Eau Claire Half Marathon – Week 5

The week started out pretty busy with the end of my San Diego trip and some evening plans a couple of nights. I was also continuing to prepare for a new 30 day journey: Whole 30.

When I first heard about Whole 30 a few years ago, I never thought it would be something I’d try. Cutting out sugar, grains, alcohol, processed food, and lots of other things just didn’t sound that appealing to me. I started to come around to the idea of trying it as I heard more and more friends have positive things to say when they did it. It wasn’t just weight loss benefits, it was things like better sleep and having more energy. That sounded appealing to me.

A big part of Whole 30 is also learning how certain foods affect you. I know what my “normal” feels like, but I also have a feeling that I don’t know what I don’t know and could probably feel even better. I’ve never felt like my diet affects my ulcerative colitis, but given my recent flare, it couldn’t hurt to see what changes might make me feel better overall. So, I’m giving it a shot. It’s 30 days. I’ve found a lot of good recipes that I’m actually excited to try, and I have several friends doing Whole 30 at the same time, so lots of social support. So important!!

And half marathon training continues. Here’s how week 5 went.

Monday – 6.02 miles (9:27/mile)

After two busy days of exploring the zoo and safari park, my sister and I slept in a little and then headed out for workouts about 9 a.m. I had 7 miles on my plan for my long run for week 4 that I had pushed to Monday. I wasn’t really sure how far I’d make it and had resolved to just do whatever I could.

The weather was perfect: low 60’s and sunshine. I was enjoying exploring some of the parks and paths along the water and before I knew it I was closing in on 6 miles. It felt really good, but my sis and I wanted to do a few more things before our flight, so I called it good at that point.

Here are some highlights from the run.

Tuesday – 3.27 miles (9:10/mile)

I had Flight Club with the Oiselle Volee team. We met at Lake Calhoun and did a loop around the lake before dinner. It was nice to run in daylight after the time change!

Wednesday – rest

Took the night off from working out and attended a networking event/panel discussion. Felt good to take a little bit of a break after several days of activity. My body needed it.

Thursday – 6.04 miles (9:25/mile)

I started out on this run thinking I might add in the “big hill” that I ran last week, but a couple of miles in I decided my legs just weren’t up for it. I still had a good run without it and had some small hills on my route.

Friday – 4.00 miles (9:26/mile)

Legs were feeling tired and heavy for this whole run. Normally I wouldn’t care that much, but I was a little nervous knowing I needed to do an 8 mile run the next morning.

After running, I kicked back to watch some March Madness and dug into Whole 30 meal planning for week 1.

Saturday – 8.00 miles

The weather was basically perfect for this long run – mid 40s and pure sunshine. I decided to do a loop around the river crossing a couple of bridges and admiring the blue sky above and blue water below.

As I got started, I could feel the tiredness in my legs. It was that way for the first 3 miles or so. Then it seemed like they finally warmed up, but around mile 5 I could feel the tiredness again. It stuck around until I was done, but it felt good to be getting into the higher mileage long runs.

Sunday – HIIT

A friend was able to get a group of us into a free workout class at her gym. It was a high intensity interval workout. The variety was nice, but it was definitely a hard workout that my body felt for a couple of days after.

We headed out to brunch after to consume all of the calories we burned. 🙂 I was also in a mode of savoring my last tastes of certain food before Whole 30 started the next day.

In the afternoon, I hit the grocery store and did a LOT of meal prep for week 1:

  • Slow cooker sweet potato chili
  • Turkey & egg breakfast casserole
  • Baked chicken
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cut strawberries

Should set me up for a successful first week!


Eau Claire Half Marathon Training – Week 4

It’s not always easy to fit in training runs when you’ve got work, friends, travel and more going on. That’s how last week felt with figuring out workouts during a busy week, but I managed to get it done! It helps me to be flexible while also keeping running as a priority when I’m adding things to my calendar. Sometimes you have to get up a little earlier or move runs around throughout the week to fit everything in.

Totally worth it this past week as it meant I got to hang out with friends and take a fun trip with my sister!

Monday – 3.5 miles (9:31/mile)

Days like this one are why I bought a treadmill. We got a lovely snowstorm that started in the afternoon, so I didn’t feel like braving the path and slipping and sliding all over the place. I turned on some music and cranked out my 3.5 miles while watching the snowflakes fall.

Tuesday – rest

I happily took a rest day to meet up with a group of friends to have dinner at Hai Hai in Minneapolis. They serve “Southeast Asian street food” and it is 100% delicious! I ordered a couple of dishes and got to taste a couple of things that friends ordered. I need to go back and try just about everything else on the menu!


Wednesday – 5.32 miles (9:25/mile)

By Wednesday the temps had warmed up enough that the paths were clear. I headed out for my longer weekday run. I was feeling ambitious, so I decided to add a big a$$ hill to my route. It fairly steep and is .25 miles long. I wanted to do a big  hill because Goldy’s 10 mile always has some hills on the course, so I want my legs to be ready. I made my way down the hill first, ran on flat pavement for a minute, and then started my assent. It was slow and steady, but I ran up the whole hill. The legs were burning a little near the top, but I kept going and continued running at the top to finish up this 5+ mile run.

Thursday – A10 workout with Alchemy

I met up with Hyedi for a cross training workout to celebrate Alchemy’s 3rd birthday. The workout was held at an event space rather than one of their studios. We brought our own yoga mats and they put us through and A10 workout. It starts with some warm up that incorporates stretching, yoga and practice doing the moves that make up the main part of the workout. Then, they put 10 minutes on the clock and you do a high intensity interval workout trying to do as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes. This workout was all body weight exercises (e.g., squats, sit ups, shoulder taps). It also included burpies (which I HATE), but I survived. Then you do a cool down with some more stretching and yoga moves.

We were sweaty, but still smiling at the end. Since it was a birthday celebration, there were snacks and drinks following the workout.

Friday – 3.5 miles (9:40/mile)

I did a morning treadmill run because my sis and I were off to San Diego in the afternoon!

Saturday – Walk, walk, walk (San Diego Zoo)

We got up fairly early to make our way to the San Diego Zoo by 8:30 a.m. We decided to do a special panda tour where you get into the zoo before it opens to the general public and get some dedicated time in the panda exhibit as well as some behind-the-scenes looks at other exhibits in the zoo.

Anyone who knows me knows I LOOOOVE pandas! I have since I was born. I’ve seen a panda in the National Zoo years ago, but only for a few minutes. This tour allowed us to hang out in the panda exhibit for awhile in a smaller group, so we weren’t rushed through. It was so cool to be that close to the gorgeous creatures!

The tour took us around the zoo on a cart, but when that was over we spent about 5 more hours exploring the rest of the zoo. I think we covered every inch of it! Needless to say, it was a lot of walking and my legs were feeling it by the end.

I took a ton of pictures, but I’ll just share a few more here.

Polar bear nap time
Baby giraffe
Aren’t tasmanian devils kinda cute?

After the zoo, we headed back to the hotel to chill out for awhile and then went to Juniper & Ivy for dinner. I was sooo excited to try this restaurant, and it did not disappoint! Absolutely delicious meal!

Sunday – More walking (San Diego Safari Park)

We spent most of Sunday at the San Diego Safari Park, so it was another full day of walking. We got there when it opened, so beat some of the crowds to see the butterfly exhibit. There were hundreds of butterflies just flying free around you.

We hopped on the “Africa Tram” to do a 25 minute tour around some of the park.

Then we spent time visiting all of the other exhibits. We saw some of the same animals as the zoo, but the feel of the Safari Park is a bit different with some of the wide open spaces they have for the animals.

King of the jungle

These gorillas deserve a special shoutout. They were so entertaining to watch! They were really active running around, teasing each other, and even wrestling from time to time.

On our way back from the Safari Park, we stopped in Old Town for some Mexican food and margaritas to cap off the day!

I was exhausted after two busy days and slept really well before our last day of vacation. I did get in a run around San Diego, but more on that in next week’s recap since it happened on Monday!

Have you ever been to San Diego? How do you fit in runs with a busy schedule?

Eau Claire Half Marathon Training – Week 3

The training plan had 2 rest days on it which was nice since I had a fairly busy week. Here’s how workouts shook out for week 3!

Monday – 3.56 miles (9:51/mile)

A few nice and easy miles to kick off the week.

Tuesday – rest

I had a meeting in the evening, but I was able to stop by Mill City Running to pick up some new shoes before! I needed another pair that are dedicated for the treadmill. I don’t want all of the sand/salt/dirt from my other pair ruining the belt of my treadmill. It’ll probably be good to have a couple of pairs that I can alternate while training.

Wednesday – 3.5 miles (9:40/mile)

With a happy hour after work, I needed to get my run done in the morning. I made it through with a little help from my “Friends.” 😉

Thursday – 5.06 miles (9:18/mile)

I wasn’t intending for this to be a pace run, but it kind of ended up that way. I started out and realized pretty quick that I was running a fairly fast pace. I was feeling good, so I just went with it.

Friday – rest

I headed to a kick-off event for our local Take Steps Walk for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. I’m on the planning committee for the walk, so I helped check people in at the event and mingled with some of the other attendees.

Saturday – 40 minute walk (2.55 miles)

A couple of friends and I hosted a baby shower for one of our friends in the morning. We played games, decorated onesies, ate food, and she opened lots of cute gifts.

The shower took place at my house, so I was in host mode the whole time. It was super fun, but I was exhausted when it was all over around 3 p.m. Despite it being a gorgeous sunny day, I decided I just did not have the energy to run. I needed to do a cross training workout for the week, so took a nice walk instead.

I ate dinner when I got home and then went to my sister’s place to watch the Duke vs. UNC game. Duke pulled out the win! Great way to end the day. 🙂

Sunday – 6.17 miles (9:25/mile)

There was some rain on and off in the morning, so I used it as an excuse to be a little lazy and do some things around the house. Around 11 a.m. I was feeling a little hungry, but I wanted to run around noon, so I didn’t want lunch yet. I ate a snack and gave myself about an hour to let it settle. I started out on my run and my stomach felt…off. Apparently what I ate still wasn’t sitting well. I went out about a mile and then circled back to be closer to home. I made a pit stop at home to drop by gloves and use the restroom. My stomach was feeling better by this point, so I headed out to finish the last 4 miles. Overall, it was a good long run. Just a little odd with the pit stop in the middle.

I’ve felt pretty good the last couple of weeks and think I’m getting my groove back. I’m hopeful that will continue as I move further into this training cycle!


Eau Claire Half Marathon Training – Week 2

Week 2 of training is in the books! Here’s how it went.

Monday – 3.06 miles (9:50/mile)

After the first week of training, my legs were feeling a little tired and heavy on this run, so luckily I didn’t have to go too far.

Tuesday  – 30 minutes stretch/strength

I wanted to do something, but wanted to give my legs a break from running. I opted to do my PT exercises and a few circuits of some strength and cardio exercises. Some ab exercises, push ups, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, etc.

Wednesday – 4 miles (10:03/mile)

I played a little game of “dodge the ice patch” for 4 miles, but it felt good to be outside. I stopped halfway through my run to take a picture of the pretty sunset colors and then my phone decided it was too cold to function, so it died on me. It started up again when I got home and got it warmed up, but I ran the last 2 miles with no music, which just made me sad. Wanted my tunes.

Thursday – 3.06 miles (9:49/mile)

I got a new treadmill! I worked from home so I could be there when it was delivered and assembled. After work, I took it for a 3 mile test run. Still getting used to all of the buttons and features, but it’s going to be so nice to have this easy indoor option.

Friday – rest

I headed to a coworker’s engagement party after work. They had a Foosball tournament going. I haven’t played in years, so it was super fun—even tough my team lost. 🙂

Saturday – 3.25 miles (9:20/mile)

I had a fun morning/early afternoon hanging out with Hyedi and her son.

A snowstorm rolled in mid afternoon, so after I stopped at the grocery store, I decided another treadmill run was the best option. I needed to do 3 miles pace, so I picked a slightly faster pace and whipped out 3 miles while watching “Friends.”

Sunday – 5.02 miles (9:59/mile)

I met friends for our monthly “brunch bunch” to start the day.

After a delicious eggs benedict and potatoes, I definitely felt like I needed a run to burn it off. The sun came out and the temps were very pleasant to start melting some of the snow we got the day before. I waited until about 3 p.m. to do my run in hopes that the path would be decent.

I started out and found that about 1/3 of the path looked like this…

A 1/3 of the path looked like this…

And the rest was somewhere in between. Felt like an all-terrain run. It slowed me down and the slipping and sliding in the deeper snow took a toll on my ankles and legs. I got all 5 miles in, but I was pretty relieved when the run was over.

To recover, I made a shrimp scampi with spaghetti squash instead of pasta. It was really good and super easy to make!

Eau Claire Half Marathon Training – Week 1

I’m officially back in training mode! It feels good, but I can also tell I’m not quite at the level I’d like to be. I’m not too far off, but I’m hoping getting back into the regular routine and following a training plan will get me back up to where I’d like to be soon.

As I was planning my spring races last fall, I knew I wanted to do a half marathon. This was the perfect year to give the Eau Claire Half a try. It is in my hometown, after all!

I’m following the same training plan that I did last spring to train for the Divas Half Marathon where I broke 2 hours. I’m not really sure yet what my goals are for this year’s half, but running strong and feeling good are a good place to start.

Here’s how week 1 of training went.

Monday – rest

I was technically supposed to do 30 minutes of cross training, but after the tough Pettit Marathon Relay on Saturday, I decided one more rest day would be ok.

Tuesday – 3.22 miles (9:30/mile)

I met up with some of the Oiselle Volee team for a group run and dinner. We ran along the river on the St. Paul side and then had some Pho at a Vietnamese restaurant to warm up.

Wednesday – 4.01 miles (9:37/mile)

Sometimes getting out of the house for a run after work is tough. I was a bit tired after the day, so started out telling myself I could do 3 or 3.5 miles if I wanted. I got going and started to feel good, so I settled in and made it the full 4 miles to hit my full training run for that day.

Thursday – 3.04 miles (9:34/mile)

An uneventful 3 mile run, and those are totally ok with me!

Friday – rest

I met my sister and a couple of friends for dinner and a Gopher hockey game!

The Gophers beat Ohio State 2-1! The game started at 8 p.m. — a little later than normal. By the time I got home and got to bed, it was about midnight.

Saturday – 3.15 miles (9:34/mile)

I let myself sleep in a little bit after a later bedtime and got a few things done around the house in the morning. Around 11:30, I headed out for a quick run.

After that, it was a quick shower and lunch before heading to help out a friend at a fundraising event. We were bagging groceries for donations.

On my way home, I got some gas and a car wash since the weather was finally warm enough. I had to grab a little coffee at the gas station knowing that I had one more outing for the day.

I headed to a girls’ night out/birthday dinner for a friend.

We made a stop for another drink after dinner, so it was another late night with a 1 a.m. bedtime. So yea, I know I’m getting old when a midnight and 1 a.m. bedtime for a Friday and Saturday night are “late.” 😛

Sunday – 4.23 miles (9:30/mile)

This was my long run for the week. Feels a little weird to call 4 miles a long run, but also felt nice not to have a daunting distance ahead of me as I get back into training. It was a good run and I’m looking forward to building up the long-run mileage over the next 11 weeks.

I got a couple of other errands done during the day and then met up with a friend for dinner. It was Restaurant Week, so we feasted on a 3-course meal. We split the mac & cheese and pot pie, which was a really good decision because both were amazing! A true comfort food meal.

I did a lot of eating out over the weekend. While it was fun and really good food, I’m hoping to get back on track this week.

Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay Race Recap

I’ve run a lot of races. Lots of different distances. Lots of different locations.

But the race I did last weekend was definitely a first. It was a marathon relay, so 4 people were covering 26.2 miles. That doesn’t sound too unusual, but the kicker for this race was it was indoors…on a track…surrounding an ice rink.

It was at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, WI.  This race was a meet up for a lot of area Oiselle Volee runners. I recently joined the Volee team, so I was excited for my first race as an official member. There were 10 Oiselle teams doing the marathon relay–40 ladies total. My team was made up of three other Minnesota Volee members.

For the relay, you can split up the distance however you want, but most teams do 12 x 800’s. Meaning, you do two laps around the track (800 meters) and then change runners. Each person does 12 two-lap sets.

You wear an ankle bracelet to keep track of your official time, so you have to hand off the bracelet each time you change runners–just like passing the baton in a relay. Our on-deck runner was the person in charge of moving the bracelet from one runner to the next.

Since we were running shorter distances with each leg, we all tried to push our pace a bit. It was like an intense interval workout. The concrete under the track and the fact that you were running in circles in the same direction took a little bit of a toll on your body. I could feel it a bit in my left calf and my right hip.

I didn’t have a watch to keep track of my personal pace/time for each leg, but I was able to sneak a peak at the main race clock and get an idea of how fast I was going around the track. I think I was hanging somewhere around 2:15 – 2:20 per lap. No matter what the pace, I felt like I was pushing myself to run as fast as I could with each leg.

Everyone on our team was doing awesome and flying around the track! Very fitting since our team name was The Flying V!

We finished the marathon relay in 3 hrs 39 min 37 sec! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to achieve a marathon time like that on my own, so it was amazing to do it on a team with three other stellar runners. And with the support of all the other Volee teammates cheering each other on. We kept it light and fun all weekend with lots of laughs and a fair amount of inside jokes when the weekend was over. 🙂

Certainly an interesting running experience! If I do this race again, I’d probably train a little bit differently to prepare for the speed and interval aspects, but overall I felt good throughout the race. Getting my running groove back slowly but surely.

Next up is training for a spring half marathon with a 10 mile and 10K race thrown in. Looking forward to getting back into a regular training routine!

Have you ever run an indoor race? What’s on your spring race schedule?

A week without social media

I took a week off of social media. And as you can see, I survived.

Social media is part of my daily life — as I’m sure it is for many you. It’s not only part of my personal life but my professional life as well. I work in communications, so I spend time at work strategizing how we can use social media to reach people with a health message.

I love social media. I love that I’m able to keep up with what family and friends are doing. I love that I’m able to share moments and memories from my own life. But I started noticing some not-so-good things and habits, too.

  • I’d wake up in the morning and check Facebook or Instagram before even getting out of bed.
  • I’d mindlessly scroll through my feeds looking at pictures and status updates on my phone. Not all bad, but still a lot of time on social media channels rather than connecting with people in real life.
  • I’d spend all that time on social media and come away not feeling as good about myself or my life. A great thing about social media is sharing things from your life, but a bad thing is when you start comparing your life with other people.
  • I’d post something and find myself constantly checking to see how many “likes” it got.

It was around the holidays that all of these habits and feelings came to a head for me. I decided I needed to do something to reset my social media mindset. I figured January was a good time since it was a new year and the perfect opportunity to just step away for a week.

I primarily use social media on my phone, so on a Saturday night I deleted my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat apps to reduce temptation. From that moment on, I was off social media for seven whole days. And you know what–it was surprisingly easy. I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would.

In those first couple of days, I still had the impulse to go on social media and check out what was going on, but I’d move on to do something else and it would go away. On Monday of that week we had a really big snow storm, and I was definitely tempted to share a picture of the snow outside my front door, but the feeling quickly passed. I’ll share it with you now, though cause this post needs a couple pictures. 😉

After those first couple of days, I wasn’t noticing that urge as much. The week got easier as it went by; even when Facebook started sending me emails telling me a friend had posted a photo or updated their status to try and get me to come back to the channel. Before I knew it, seven days was over and the world hadn’t ended.

It felt really good to just unplug and reset both my habits and my mindset around social media in my personal life. I’m not giving up social media forever. The apps were re-downloaded on my phone after my week was over.

The usual things I post about will still show up on my profiles: running, food, etc. I even posted a food pic the day my break was over after brunch with friends.

But I am trying to change a few things to help keep a healthy relationship with social media.

  • Being mindful of how much time I spend on social media. It’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole of scrolling and get lost in your feed. I want to spend some of that time connecting with friends offline or doing other things to stimulate my mind.
  • Turning off push notifications on my phone. I go on social media enough that I’m not concerned about missing things. I think things like the notifications from Instagram when someone liked a post just added to my need to constantly see how many likes it had. Not needed.
  • Reminding myself that someone’s social media life isn’t their real life. Most of us pick the fun, cute moments to share, so it can be easy to assume that everything is sunshine and roses in someone’s life (heck I’m guilty of doing that). I need to do better at stopping myself from comparing where I’m at in my life with where other people are. It’s not good for my mental health.

This break really showed me that while social media is really nice to have in my life, it’s not something I have to have to get through the day. I want to focus on the good things social media can bring to my life and limit the negative. I may take other social media breaks from time to time, even for a day, just to remind myself of these things if I start to forget.

Have you ever taken a social media break?