Thanks.

When my coach’s truck pulled into her friend’s farm, I didn’t immediately recognize the place from my youth. After all, a child’s memory is fickle and depends so heavily on context. The last time I’d seen the farm, I was probably clutching my ill-fitting velvet riding helmet in my lap and eagerly straining my head to look out the window. I very likely still had chocolate icing from the morning’s doughnut on my face as I waited with my sticky little kid fingers on the car door handle, anticipating the brakes finally slowing the car enough so I could fling the door open and run toward the barn. I probably got in trouble for that, but it didn’t matter. I was long gone by the time whichever parent had unbuckled their seatbelt and turned around to chastise me.

As I scanned the familiar riding arena sixteen years later after a far more sensible (very early) morning breakfast of coffee and a bagel, recognition suddenly kicked in. “This is where I started riding as a kid!” I practically screeched.

Though the farm has since changed hands and names, a relic of its past identity hung in the darkened lounge: “Rose Ridge Farms.”

It was here that I fell in love with a horse for the first time, and here is where my heart was broken when that horse was sadly put down. I cantered and jumped for the very first time here; I also fell off for the first time. Every fiber of my little kid soul ached to be here for roughly 167 hours of the 168 hour-long week. My dreams, if not born here, were nourished here.

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Riding Ned back in 1998

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Day 30: Anticipation is the best sauce. Just kidding. Ketchup is.

Firstly, I must apologize to my tiny (really tiny) following that I did not update with day 30 when I should have. I don’t know why I didn’t. Denial? Fear? Breaking Bad marathons on Netflix? Girl Scout Cookie season? Let’s not investigate too much.

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Days 28 & 29: Spaghetti Squash and Banana ‘ice cream’

Breakfast (Saturday):

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Bacon, sausage, and eggs. MEAT.

It was a hardy breakfast, and I needed it for the long day I had.

Lunch was an apple and an unimpressive salad with leftover chicken, hurriedly scarfed down between riding and lessons:Image

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Day 27

Author’s Note: Forgive the formatting! Will update ASAP.

I’m energized by the fact that I have just a few days left. I’m also so, so over it, and the drive to just give this inconvenience up is increasingly difficult!

Some people have subtly and not-so-subtly cast judgement, and others have cheered me on throughout the process. I’m sincerely grateful for the cheerleaders, because they made me feel proud, empowered and determined even on days when I just wanted to feel sorry for myself. [Self, make a mental note. Don't be the judger in people's lives, be the cheerleader.]

Day 26: Grilled Chicken Tomato “Sandwiches” & … dessert….

That’s right. We made dessert.

Dessert is kind of a gray area among the Whole 30 conversations I’ve found online. Yet, for all of our intents and purposes, this was compliant, so my conscience is pretty clean (besides, it beats diving into the girl scout cookies I’ve already started stocking up on).

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Days 23, 24, and 25: On the home stretch

I feel like this is my hail mary week.

Monday (day 23), my department head brought in a box full of munchkins from Dunkin Donuts.

Dunkin. Mother$#%^&*@. Donuts. MUNCHKINS.

Someone else had purchased some girl scout cookies and some coconut and chocolate covered almonds and left them in the breakroom for us, too.

Today (day 25), my boss happily plopped down a box of warm, fresh cookies right in front of my face. I looked at him and sighed a series of cuss words. He laughed maniacally.

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Day 19, 20, 21, and 22

Ooh boy!

I have fallen very behind in blogging, but I do have a great excuse:

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I had an amazing time at Poplar Place Farms over the weekend, where I placed 2nd in tadpole CT and hit the cross country course for my first ever time. It. was. amazing. Here’s what I ate before and during to keep my energy up.

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