Thursday, April 23, 2015

Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015 Recap

Life won't slow down, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Unfortunately that means a lot of half finished blog posts sitting in my draft box. Today I rallied and managed to get this race recap out for you!

The last weekend in March I returned to Philadelphia to seek vengeance on the Love Run Half Marathon.  Last year was the inaugural race and was really well organized. I loved everything about it except for the down-pouring rain for most of the race. It figures that one of the few races my parents came to see me finish there is a record rainfall that day for Philadelphia.   I knew I had to come back and run it again, this time hopefully without rain.  

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I had just been in Philly the past weekend and had gotten a little run around the Ben Franklin Parkway where the half marathon would start & finish. This is where most of the races I've run in Philadelphia start. 

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I had quickly gone to the expo at Citizens Bank Park the day before and picked up my bib, mug, free 2 Phillies' ticket vouchers,neck buff, nice long-sleeve red tech-tee. It was really windy and cold in the stadium so I grabbed my  things, purchased an awesome Bondiband with the race logo, redeemed my ticket vouchers, and left.  I loved the stadium expo because it was easy to navigate, convenient for parking, and a cool place to visit. If it was warmer I probably would have rushed around less. 






Race morning I left a little later than I wanted to get into the city thanks to my driver/boyfriend, but managed to get to the start line with 15 minutes to spare. Now we had been having some nice spurts of spring weather ,but this particular weekend showed March would not be tamed as temperatures were downright wintry in the high 30s. That means it was somewhere in the 20s on race morning-yikes!  I was representing ZOOMA Annapolis (register here with my code LAUREN15 to save 10%) but had to layer my cute Oiselle ZOOMA tank over a cold-gear zip-up. 


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Photo taken from Love Run Philadelphia. I love this city. 
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I lined up around the 1:35 half marathoners  in the corral, which I found spacious. I shivered with my November Project buff over my face for 10 minutes and eventually found another girl in the crowd with an NP buff over her face. She came over  to me and I found out she was from the DC tribe. I love the November Project community! 

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November Project running ninja

Right before the race started I realized I grabbed my earphones but had left my little iPod in the car. Luckily I had my phone and used the RockmyRun app to listen to some music mixes.  Once we were off the race goes a bit through the city and passed some through the historical areas of the city.  My legs were feeling a little tight at the start since I have  been forgetting to foamroll lately.  I didn't really have any specific goals for the race. I just wanted no rain and to have a really nice run.

Miles 3-6 are a blur. It was fairly flat and my legs were feeling great.  I just started running and felt out how I was feeling. I went with the flow and was grateful for the sunshine.  There wasn't much crowd support as we got further toward Fairmount Park, but I was just happy to be running. My pace felt really comfortable as I tried to keep myself from going to fast and to just settle in. 

Around miles 7-9 there were some hills including one bigger one I remember from last year. I pushed up the hills, focused on my form uphill, and tried to keep my pace around 7:45 min/mi.  Once we got to the Strawberry Mansion bridge I knew we'd be heading back towards the downtown soon. There is a section of the course that is an out-and-back.  I really love running in Fairmount Park and along the Schuylkill River. 

There was enough water stops, and I had to keep reminding myself to take some sips of water despite the cold temperatures.  I was also happy to see that since it could have been icy in some spots that CGI racing salted some areas around water stops and put cones near some big potholes or icy patches on the course.  

Despite the cold temperatures, I was really in the running zone. I had layered enough and worn gloves so it really didn't feel cold when I was running.  Totally having that "run happy" high during this race.  Once we hit mile 11 I knew I wanted to keep the pace but the end started to seem so far away. There is a long stretch along the river back toward the Art Museum that seems to go on forever. It's just long and straight.  Mentally I was ready to be finished and grab some food.   

That last mile I was just telling myself to "run strong, you're almost there".  They had a really fun announcer at the finish calling out peoples names and sometimes adding special notes such as if a person was a first time half-marathoner. I like those extra touches when I'm paying good money for a race. 

I finished in 1:41:27, average 7:44 min/mi pace, which is exactly what I was aiming for! It's creepily exactly a minute faster than last year's Love Run Half. It's actually my second fastest half, despite me always finishing between 1:40-1:48 in my races.  It was awesome enough for 31 in my division and 446 overall out of almost 10,000 runners. 

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After the race ended I grabbed a soft pretzel and a snack bag that included tastycakes.  Pretty much the best post-race food ever. Every race should have Philly soft pretzels to replenish carbs. The finish line area was right in front of the Art Museum and the famous Rocky steps. The area was really open and it was easy to navigate and find my boyfriend.  

I was also really happily surprised with the race. My pace didn't feel like I had to push it the entire time and felt comfortable. It also was my 10th half marathon! It felt really special because 3 years ago I ran my first half marathon in Philadelphia and finished right at the Art Museum as well. Look how far I've come as a runner since then! 

Lately I have not been doing speedwork and feel like maybe I've been getting slower, especially after a crappy winter of running.  A great race always pushes all that negativity right out the door. 

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Cheesin'. Half Marathon #10-complete!
I love the huge spinner finisher medal we received.  Much more enjoyable than finishing in the pouring rain as well.  

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Once I stopped running, my body was freezing. FREEZING. However, I will take sunny freezing temperatures over chilly rain any day. My boyfriend and I made a stop to grab some green juice at a random fitness studio we googled. Next we grabbed a hard-to-get beer on the east coast, Pliny the Elder, at Monk's Cafe.  We had been trying to get it for a couple weeks (#beernerds).  After I finally warmed up, we had a delicious brunch and afternoon in the city. 

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Overall: The Philly Love Run Half Marathon is still a really well organized race with a nice course and awesome swag. I especially like the addition of the free home game Phillies tickets. It's a nice spring half marathon and great way to jump-start your spring running.  

GUYS, amidst awkward race photos with bad facial expressions and eyes closed, I managed to get maybe my best race photo ever. I usually hate my race photos because the angle is awful giving me extra fat-looking face, my eyes are always closed, and I'm always mid-pose. This time the camera got me in a full thumbs up, looking right at it, and smiling! It's a race photo miracle!

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Do you prefer running in the cold or heat? Do you ever like your race photos? 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Marathon Monday 2015

Wishing everyone a happy Marathon Monday! I'm cheering for all my friends running the Boston Marathon and definitely will be watching the results live via my computer at work today. 

Why isn't Marathon Monday a national holiday? 

 Besides cheering for Shalane and Meb, I know friends and other bloggers running so it's really fun to virtually follow everyone. 

I think the Boston Marathon is the most inspiring sports event!
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One day soon it'll hopefully be my turn to run such a special race. I'm feeling really inspired and think this year might be there I get my time with only a minute (plus a little extra) to shave off! 

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Last year getting to be there in Boston to watch the race and cheer on a friend was an amazing experience! Boston Strong! 

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Are you following the Boston Marathon today? Do you have friends running the race? 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Get ready, Baltimore-Shack Track and Field is Coming!

I am SUPER pumped to be sharing the news with everyone that Shack Track and Field will be starting in Baltimore next month!

What is that you ask?

Shake Shack is a delicious restaurant which serves burgers, fries, milkshakes and other yummy treats which I've previously raved about with numerous locations across the country. 

In cities including New York, Philadelphia, and DC there is a group called Shack Track & Field started by one of Shake Shack's awesome Operations Managers, Allan.  A group of people run together on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 PM usually 3-5 miles and then end up at a Shake Shack to enjoy a free beer. You could always just run the most direct route to Shake Shack though! 

It's open to anyone of any running pace.  It's one of those awesome community experiences because you know that at 7 PM in multiple cities, people are all running and ending up at a Shake Shack.   

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Let's face it, people probably end up grabbing dinner there too because who could resist their yummy food?

I had initially read about Shack Track & Field in Runner's World  a few months ago (see article here)  and totally wanted to go to one of the DC or Philly runs. Lucky for me, I was invited to the demo run of the Baltimore Shack Track & Field last night.  I tested out the 5 mile route Charm City Run had come up with which included a nice run down along the Inner Harbor, through Harbor East, and into Fells Point before heading back towards the Shake Shack.  

Baltimore's Shack Track & Field will be starting next month in May (5/12) and continue at  7 PM on the second Tuesday of each month.  It's also great because Shake Shake has partnered up with my favorite running store, Charm City Run. The run starts from Charm City Run in McHenry Row at 7 PM with a 3 mile or 5 mile route, ending up at Shake Shack in the Inner Harbor at 400 East Pratt Street

Someone from Charm City Run will be bringing along a drop box to stash extra clothes, your keys, wallet, phone, etc. so you can grab them at Shake Shack right after the run.  

You can even snag an awesome Shack Track & Field shirt to rep around town! 

More information including all the dates & locations for each of the Shack Track & Field runs can be found on their website.  

They will be spreading the word around Baltimore to get people to come out next month during the next few weeks.  

It's only once a month so indulging in some beers and burgers after getting your sweat on with other runners won't leave you feeling guilty and makes for a nice monthly social gathering and way to meet fellow runners in the city.  

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We all had a great time enjoying some Shake Shack after the run 
I suggest carpooling or taking public transit home if you do decide to eat though. The little over a mile run back to my apartment after a burger, 2 beers, and some fries was not the most pleasant time! 

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Update: You can find information about Baltimore's May Shack Track & Field run here

Have you ever been to a Shake Shack? Do you do any social group runs?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Summer Snacking Tips with Kozy Shack® Simply Well® Pudding {Giveaway}

At least here in Baltimore, it actually felt like spring this weekend.  I'm putting away my winter coat and busting out my flip flops.  I don't believe in stressing out about the upcoming "bikini season", but I still think try to focus on better-for-you snacking. With spring and summer comes more events, parties, barbecues, and social activities.That means more cold beers, yummy party snacks, and less-routine food options. I never try to get stressed out about having lots of fun food and drinks, but I always try to at least keep my snacking smart.

 Check out these simple tips I follow for summer snacking below. 

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A new lighter snack I've been enjoying is the Kozy Shack® Simply Well® rice and tapioca puddings. Now I'll admit I'm a fan of packaged puddings you can buy in any grocery store even though I sometimes feel a pang of regret for buying a packaged snack when I could make my own healthier batch of pudding at home. 

 I was excited to try the Kozy Shack® Simply Well® puddings because they are only 90-calories, gluten-free, and have no added sugar.  I found them right in the supermarket next to other refrigerated puddings in 4-packs. 


Friday, April 10, 2015

Five Friday Favorites:Trips to Take 4/10/15

I was going to post something else today but once I saw the fun  DC Trifecta Friday Five linkup of five trips to take I wanted to participate. It was really hard to narrow it down and decide between awesome places I've been versus places I dream of going. I There's a milltion places I want to go in the U.S. and nationally. Yes, I've got a serious case of wanderlust. Anyhow I ended up going with a mix plus some recent trips I will be taking thrown in! 

5 Friday Favorites: Trips to Take

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1. Las Vegas, NV

I have never been to Las Vegas and as I said last week, am beyond excited to celebrate my friend's birthday and run the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon in November. I'm not a huge gambler (mostly because I'm poor) but cannot wait to get dressed up, explore the nightlife, hang out at a pool bar, and eat some great food.  I definitely need suggestions on places to eat and things to do!

2. Paris, France

I know it's cliche to babble on about how Paris is one of the greatest cities in the world, but I think it's true! I went to France right after my senior year of high school with other French students and had an amazing time. I got to explore Paris freely, learn their metro system, and eat lots of delicious foods.  Even though all the skills I gained as a French minor in college are disappearing,  I really need to go abroad again STAT.  

This was back in the day before I had a camera phone so all my copies of photos are on my hard drive . So here's a photo of me at a French restaurant in DC pretending I'm actually in France. 


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3. Italy

I tried not be stereotypical and just list Western European countries even though I have not been and wish to visit most.  However, I feel like Italy would be an absolute dream for a foodie like me. Definitely a trip where I would need to pack multiple pairs of yoga pants.  I also really want to see Venice before it's completely underwater. If you hadn't heard, it's a crisis. To satisfy my craving of beaches, there is the gorgeous Island of Capri. Pizza, pasta, old churches, art museums, red wine, gelato, and beaches-all my favorite things in one place! 

4. Tahiti

Tahiti is the most populous island in French Polynesia located in the Pacific Ocean. From what I can tell it is the ultimate island vacation.  This is definitely an expensive, wish-list vacation dream for me. I follow the Tahitian Tourism's Instagram which always gives me a moment of escape when I look at the photos. I imagine sitting on a white sandy beach with bright blue waters and a cold drink in my hand. Tahiti (and Bora Bora) are where most of those stunning photos of overwater bungalows you see are from. Sign me up!

5. Disney World in Orlando, FL

It's a slightly silly addition to the list with so many amazing trips out there, but I'm mostly excited because I'll be going back in a few weeks on another family vacation. I've been there a least a handful of times already, but it's always a different experience. My sister has been interning through the Disney College Program this semester so we get to visit her plus got a great deal on a Disney hotel & the parks!  It's in it's own category of theme parks and truly is such a magical place-especially if it's your first time visiting.

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I'm also linking up with ClareJill,Katie, and Heather



Where was the best trip you have taken to? What is your dream vacation spot?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Run for Another {Janji water for Haiti}

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary shirt and pair of shorts from Janji for promotion purposes. Discount code is provided by Janji As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 


One of the things I love about the sport of running is the widespread involvement with charities. Most of the races I run support a charity or fabulous cause not to mention all the amazing organizations like Team in Training and individuals who run races to raise money for organizations.  

Janji, a Boston-based running apparel company, takes it a step further. Why not include charitable causes into your everyday runs? I've seen Janji apparel in stores before but surprisingly had never tried their clothes. As I scrolled through their website I was immediately drawn to the bright colors and funky designs inspired by countries that they aid.  I was really excited when Janji said they wanted to send me a couple pieces from their new Haiti line.  

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Janji means "promise" in Malay and reflects the company's commitment to fighting the global water crisis.  Every piece Janji sells is inspired by a country to which the proceeds help give one week to three years worth of clean water.  Countries Janji helps include Peru, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, the U.S.A., and now Haiti.  

Imagine coming back from a sweaty run and not having any clean water to drink.

That is a reality in Haiti where 3.6 million people lack access to safe drinking water. When I read about this crisis I was so moved. It made everything happening throughout my day seem so significant. Clean drinking water is a basic need and has become a global health crisis. 

I could certainly take time more often than during races to #runforanother

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I'm not just helping spread the mission of Janji but also about their brand new Haiti shirt from their spring line which debuts today.  The purchase of each shirt gives ONE YEAR of clean water to someone.  Janji works with water.org there to supply clean water pumps-you can read more about it here.  

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It was hard to get a clear photo of the amazing shirt as a whole. 
Besides helping an amazing cause, I loved how soft, high-quality, and colorful the clothes were. I love how soft and lightweight the women's Haiti shirt is. The light blue is one of my favorite colors to boot! The Haiti Anna Running shorts (MRP $36) were a little shorter than what I usually rock on the streets but had a really comfortable waistband and cute little zippered back pocket that fit my keys perfectly.  

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These Haiti Anna Running shorts give 8 packets of nutritional medicine to a child in Haiti! 

If you are looking for a new, really cool looking shirt for your spring running as well as taking time each day to #runforanother and help end the global clean water crisis, check out Janji and their new Haiti line.  

You can check out the Haiti women's and men's shirts that just debuted on the website today, 4/8/15 at noon. 

Lucky for you, you can use the code "newproduct10" to get a discount on new Janji releases every Wednesday!  

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Running for another in my new Janji gear
What's your favorite charity to support through running? Have you ever heard of Janji? 

This post was linked up with WOW Workout Wednesdays and Tuesdays on the Run.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

5 Friday Favorites: Good Things 4/3/15

Congrats to Leah on winning my MealEnders giveaway !

Since there's lots of be happy about right now, the DC Trifecta Friday Five linkup of five good things seemed perfect. My life has been super hectic right now, topped off with a late Friday work day (which should be illegal) so you're getting this late-night Friday Faves post.  

5 Friday Favorites: Good Things

1. Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas

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The Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon has been on my bucket list race for a while. I mean who doesn't want to run on the famous Las Vegas strip at night and then continue the party afterwards? It didn't seem like it would work out this year,but with a few changes of plans I'm in and could not be more excited! My friend is celebrating her birthday that weekend so we're going to run the half and then celebrate. I'm a crazy runner lady so that sounds like an awesome birthday to me.

If you want to join me, register here !

 (Sorry you can't use my Rock 'n' Blog discount for Las Vegas right now, but use LAUREN15 to save on any other RNR half or full marathon in 2015!) 

2. Springtime Temperatures

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Okay so those rainy day forecasts aren't fun, but seeing lows in the 40s and temperatures averaging in the 60s for the next few days makes me happy. See you next year, winter! I'm ready for shorts & flip-flops!

3. November Project

Photo courtesy of November Project Baltimore

November Project Baltimore is always a good thing in my book, but this Wednesday's workout was special. We organized a little Coaches' Appreciation Day and pulled a surprise off for our three fearless co-leaders on April Fool's by showing up as a group with masks of the co-leaders on. I ran there just in time for the big surprise! It was really great to give the co-leaders three big cards some of the members crafted and show how much we appreciate them! 


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Momentum Jewelry Ambassador Discount and Wish Wraps

Disclosure: I am a Momentum Jewelry ambassador and receive complimentary products. This blog post contains my affiliate link. As always, all opinions are my own. 


I am really excited to announce that I'm a new ambassador for Momentum Jewelry! I love getting to a part of the teams of brands I love so it is exciting to support an athletic jewelry company that I've been a big fan of since I reviewed their products last year. 

I am completely obsessed with good vibes, positive thinking, and inspirational mantras. Having a reminder on my wrist or shoes while I'm working, running, or going about my day really helps me focus. 

Momentum's motivate wrap bracelets are my favorite with their cozy, tee shirt-like wrap material and great choice of mantras.  You can pretty much always find one on my wrist! 

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If you use my ambassador link, you can save 10% off any order from Momentum!

I totally had positive energy during my awesome race at the Love Run Philadelphia half marathon this past Sunday and loved having that reminder on my wrist to glance during those tougher miles. 

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You will be hearing and seeing more from me about Momentum Jewelry, but right now they are having an amazing sale to debut their new WISH wraps.  These beautiful leather wrap bracelets with little rhinestone studs are chic and inspiring.  They are available in brown or black leather with an assortment of sayings.  

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I chose one that says "dream big" as a reminder to always reach for big goals and remember that I have the power to achieve anything that I want. I chose the brown leather and love how great it looks on my wrist, especially now that the weather is warming up and I'm able to show off my stacks when I'm wearing short sleeves. 

If you purchase a wish wrap through me as an ambassador you can save 25% (so they are only $30 instead of $40) through April 20th at midnight.  

Just click on my link, and click on suede & leather at the top of the website, and then click on wish wrap to order. 

These make a great gift, especially with Mother's Day around the corner!

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Check out Momentum Jewelry on FacebookTwitterInstagram or online.

Do you have a favorite inspirational saying or mantra? 

Friday, March 27, 2015

5 Friday Favorites: Five Favorite Spring Foods 3/27/15

Don't forget to enter my MealEnders giveaway !

Since spring is my favorite season, and I love food, the DC Trifecta Friday Five linkup of five favorite spring foods seemed to be a great match. Read what my five favorite springtime foods are. 

5 Friday Favorites: Good Things

1. Jersey Peaches


I grew up in South Jersey and was always around fresh produce and farms when I was younger. It may be surprising to you, but New Jersey is called the Garden State for a reason! I love all types of fruit year round, but there is something great about a fresh Jersey peach in season. Juicy, sweet, the size of a softball and absolutely delicious! 

2. Ice Cream 


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I love ice cream in any weather-I heard they actually sell more in the winter! However as the weather gets nicer I definitely find myself enjoying it more. I love taking walks to grab some local ice cream in the city or visit a local shop in my travels. A childhood favorite is always a big soft-serve cone from Kohrs Bros. at the Jersey shore right before the summer is in full swing. I posted the photo on Instagram and apparently others thought it looked delicious as well! 

3. Huge Fresh Salads

Baltimore needs a SweetGreen for sure!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

MealEnders-An End to Overeating {review & giveaway}

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary 4 pack of  MealEnders lozenges for review through the Sweat Pink Ambassadors network. Giveaway was offered and is provided by MealEnders. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Through blogging and being a part of many networks, I receive products and reviews offers each week with most of them not being worth my while.  Initially I was hesitant to accept the offer from Sweat Pink to try out MealEnders lozenges which claim to help keep you from over-eating, but curiosity got the best of me. 

They are low-calorie, stimulant-free signaling lozenges which come in four different flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Chocolate Mint, and Mocha.  



These lozenges are gluten-free with 15 calories per piece and only 2 grams of sugar.
  
I have my degree in Chemistry and love learning about science. Naturally I was intrigued by the food science of how these lozenges work, especially with the plethora of bold yet ultimately false claims made by diet foods in today's world. 


Mealenders lozenges have two layers. The first is a outer "reward" layer that is sweet like candy and signals the end of the meal. It's a softer, sweet layer that melts away in your mouth. The second is a tingling "inner core's active-taste layer"  engages the trigeminal nerve or "taste" nerve to signal the end of eating.  It's harder, and the best way to describe the feel is that tingling from menthol cough drops but in a delicious flavor. 

Many times I have trouble waiting the 20 minutes for my stomach to catch up with my brain and end up overeating. Also as a huge sweet tooth, I always love eating something sweet after meals-especially after dinner. 

 
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