Building Strength 5K Recap & Sunday Long Run

On Saturday morning I ran the Building Strength 5K Walk/Run. The run benefits South Metro Human Services, a non-profit organization that supports people with mental illness.

Building Strength 5K Walk/Run 2013
Building Strength 5K Walk/Run 2013

I was really excited to do this run again because it was kind of a milestone; I ran it last year and it was the first 5K I ever did! It made me reflect on all of the races I’ve done since then and all of the things I’ve accomplished. I used to have to really train for a 5K, but being in the midst of 1/2 marathon training means 3 mile runs are a common occurrence, so preparation for this year was much different from last year. I’m so excited for the Monster Dash 1/2 and Las Vegas 1/2 to add more milestone races and distances to my running resume.

It was a cloudy and fairly cool morning, but pretty nice for running. Rain was in the forecast, so our hope was we’d get done before that started. I knew I wasn’t going to race this one because I had an 8 mile run to look forward to on Sunday morning. My friend Hyedi and I ran together. We thought we’d take it easy and do 10 minute miles, but neither of us had a watch to easily look at our pace, so we didn’t really know how fast we were going. Turned we tied for 2nd place among females with a time of 28:05 (avg. pace of 9:03) – ha! We were too busy chatting to notice. Luckily we beat the rain and only had to deal with some sprinkles.

I even rocked my Team Challenge training shirt for the 5K. 🙂

build strength 2

Sunday morning was my long run with the Team Challenge group. I was going to participate in the foam rolling clinic with the group before our run, but a few of us missed the memo on exactly where we were supposed to meet, so we were in one spot while the group was in another. We eventually caught up with the group, but had missed the clinic. I was pretty bummed because I was really looking forward to learning how to use my new foam roller! But, I have a friend who is going to show me some stuff, so I’ll get to learn a few things soon.

I got ready to start my run then looked down at my headphone and realized one of the rubber pieces for my Yurbuds was missing. It’s fallen off before, so I wasn’t sure if it was in my car or had fallen off somewhere between my car and the running path. I still wore them, but had to adjust that right ear bud a few times. Luckily, I found the rubber piece in my car, so all is well because I love running with music and these ear buds work really well and stay put while you’re working out.


Overall, the long run was uneventful. I was feeling a bit tired for the first half of the run, but then got a burst of energy around mile 4 (have no idea where that came from). Around mile 5.5, I had some GU and I think that helped carry me through the rest of the 8.3 miles. Yesterday was National Coffee Day, so I stopped at Caribou for a free small coffee on my way home.

Free coffee on National Coffee Day
Free coffee on National Coffee Day

What was the first race you ever did?


Fun(draising) Friday 9/27/13 – Camp Oasis

Camp Oasis is a summer camp put on by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America for kids living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Check out this video (even just the first few minutes of it). They asked kids at Camp Oasis one question: If there was a pill that made your IBD go away, would you take it?

I was struck by the number of kids who said “No.” But, one of the main reasons they wouldn’t take it is because they wanted to continue to go to Camp Oasis. This camp is truly an oasis for these kids to escape to every summer and just enjoy being a kid surrounded by others who understand what they’re going through.

The second most popular reason for not wanting to take a magic pill was that they felt Crohn’s or colitis made them who they are and has made them a stronger person because of everything they’ve gone through. Their courage, strength, and perseverance are inspiring. We can all learn a lot from them.

When I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, I probably would’ve given anything to take a magic pill and just feel “normal.” But, now that I’m older and wiser (well, kind of) I understand the sentiment of these kids feeling like their disease doesn’t make them weird or strange, but makes them unique and is part of what makes them who they are.

These kids are why I’m participating in Team Challenge. The funds that I’m raising will support the continuation of this camp as well as other vital services for individuals battling these diseases every day.

I wrote about my ‘happy place’ awhile back. I think Camp Oasis is a ‘happy place’ for a lot of these kids, and they deserve that. Will you please help send a kid to camp and support CCFA? Even a little bit can go a long way to helping a child have the opportunity to run around in the sun with their friends and just be a kid for awhile.


Lots of exciting things are coming up this fall, so I have some countdowns going.

8 Weeks – Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon

The Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon is exactly 8 weeks away! That means I’m halfway through my training and fundraising with Team Challenge. This morning was our weekly group run. It’s a step-back week, so we just did 5 miles by the river in St. Paul. It was a gorgeous fall morning for a run. The air was cold and crisp, but the sun was shining. We met by a Caribou Coffee, so of course I had to grab some hot coffee to help warm up on my way home. 🙂

river 1

river 2

5 Weeks – Monster Dash 1/2 Marathon

The Monster Dash 1/2 Marathon is 5 weeks away! This will be my first half marathon. My training plan for Vegas works out well for getting me ready for this race too. Our Team Challenge coach knows I’m doing this race just a few weeks before we head to Vegas, so she’s got some good suggestions for me to be ready for Monster Dash and have some time to recover after.

I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to dress up in a costume for Monster Dash. It would be fun to do, but obviously something I can run 13.1 miles in. Any good ideas for costumes?

2 Weeks – Twin Cities Marathon

I’m not running the TC Marathon, but I know at least six awesome people who are, and I’m so excited to get out on the course and cheer them on! My friend and I are going to hang out around mile 20 on the course. We might try to find another spot to watch earlier in the course too, but that’s still TBD. We’ll be ready to cheer and offer support as our friends make their way into the last six miles of race. We should be easy to spot because we’ll have bright pink t-shirts courtesy of Hyedi who is running the marathon as a sole mate for Girls on the Run. Pom poms, noisemakers, signs, and other fun stuff may also be involved. 😉

GOTR cheer shirt

I picked up a spectator’s guide for the marathon at Caribou this morning, so we’ll have all the info we need!

spectator guide

Along with these awesome races, the fall season will also be filled with friends’ weddings, going to see Wicked – The Musical with the family, and lots of other fun stuff. The next couple months are going to be jam packed, but I’m super excited for all of these awesome events!

Are you counting down to something fun?

Fun(draising) Friday 9/20/13

I’ve had a pretty good week of fundraising! I knew I needed to kick my fundraising into high gear after vacation. I got a great idea from our Team Challenge mentors and endurance manager to do $13 on 13. I posted a bunch of stuff on Facebook and Twitter and had some success getting donations from family and friends. Thank you to everyone who has donated!

So far, I’ve raised $1,243! I’m so excited that I broke the $1,000 threshold, but I still have a long way to go. While $1,243 is a lot of money, it’s actually only 34% of my fundraising goal. So, I’m continuing to plug away at sending out donation requests!

Another thing I’m doing is contacting businesses for donations to a group fundraising event that the MN/Dakotas Chapter of Team Challenge is putting on. Check out details below! It’s a brunch featuring local musicians, a silent auction, and wine grab. Should be a lot of fun, and of course the best part is it raises money for CCFA!

Team Challenge Fundraiser!
Team Challenge Fundraiser!

Do you have any other good fundraising ideas for me? Ideas for things I could do if people donate (e.g., cartwheels at the finish line, get a picture with an Elvis impersonator)?

Race Recaps: Run@Work 5K (PR!) & Summit Brewery Beer Run

On Friday, Sept. 13 I ran the 5th Annual State Capitol Run@Work 5K. It was a 5K just for state employees. Up until about a week before, I had fully intended to just leisurely run this race. Then I found out it was being chip timed and that mindset went right out the window. I hadn’t actually run a 5K race in a while and started to get hungry for a 5K PR. I knew I had one in me, I just needed the race to give it a shot.

The day of the race was gorgeous! It was sunny and cool – perfect weather for running.

Perfect day for a 5K!
Perfect day for a 5K!

I was super excited for this run, and I kind of went balls to the wall. My adrenaline was already pumping when we lined up at the start after a busy and semi-stressful morning in the office. A couple of my coworkers and I lined up near the front so we’d have less weaving to do. (There were almost 450 people in this race!) The horn sounded and we were off. You immediately go around a corner and then we were met by a lovely hill.

Going up?
Going up?

The good news is the course was pretty much an out and back, so while we had to run up the hill to start we got to run down the hill to end the race. I knew the hill was at the beginning, and between my adrenaline and trying to weave around people to get out of the herd, I think I took the hill a bit faster than I needed to. I felt fine the whole way up, but definitely noticed that I was running faster than usual.

The course overall was a bit hilly – I wasn’t expecting that. After going through part of the neighborhood, the course actually took us through a cemetery. Yes, we ran through a cemetery on Friday the 13th (whose idea was this?). I was more focused on keeping up a steady pace than worry about the gravestones that surrounded me. Some of the road in the cemetery was gravel, which if you remember from my Ragnar recap is not my favorite, but luckily the gravel was more packed down, so not as bad to run on.

After making our way out of the cemetery it was back into the neighborhood and before I knew it I was running down the big hill towards the Capitol. I could already taste the PR. The downhill probably helped, but I still had a good amount of energy left to have a strong finish. The finish line lead you right up to the steps of the Capitol.

Finish line!
Finish line!

Like I said, I wanted a PR and I got one! My official time was 26:33.10! I crushed my old 5K PR of 28:54. I finished 100th out of 447, placed 27th out of 288 among females, and placed 13th out of 108 in the 35 and Under (F) age group. One of my coworkers actually finished 3rd among females in our age group! Super impressive!

The Run@Work 5K was a lot of fun, and I would definitely sign up for it again next year.

The next day (Saturday morning) I did the Summit Brewery Co. Beer Run. This 5K is part of the MN Brewery Running Series. All of the runs in this series start and end at a local brewery and are very low key. It’s not timed, they don’t close off streets, and they cap registration at 100 people. This was the perfect follow-up to my Friday 5K. I did the run with my sister and three friends. We did a nice and easy run/walk combo along the course. The route even took us through some really nice neighborhoods that I didn’t know about in St. Paul.  It was another gorgeous morning for a run!

Summit Brewery and the Start/Finish line
Summit Brewery and the Start/Finish line

The race ended at the Summit Brewery and we grabbed our beer and a bagel! Who needs a medal when you get a beer at the finish line? (And you get to keep the glass! Well, a clean one.)

Beer and bagels - breakfast of champions ;)
Beer and bagels – breakfast of champions 😉

After we finished our beer, we got to take a tour of the brewery. Really to cool to hear about how the beer is made and learn a little more about Summit Brewery Co. The run was super fun, and I would totally do another one and check out another local brewery.

Did you run any races this week? Were they for fun or were you going for a PR?

Fun(draising) Friday – $13 on 13

I found this during my run on Wednesday!

dollar 1

Instead of using it to buy a Diet Coke (my favorite :)), I decided to put it towards a more important cause: finding a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. How am I doing that? I’m donating to my personal fundraising page for Team Challenge — the endurance training program I’m participating in to train for a half marathon in Las Vegas and raise funds for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).

I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) about 8 years ago. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). Both are chronic inflammatory conditions meaning there is no cure. I have been lucky and my UC has been well managed by medication for a long time, but others are not as lucky. Better treatments, support and a cure are needed. That’s why I’m training for this half marathon and working to raise funds for CCFA. I have a goal of raising $3,700 by Nov. 6, but I really need your help to get there!

I’m putting my dollar and 12 more dollars towards my fundraising goal – one dollar for every mile I will run in Las Vegas to raise awareness of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Will you please join me and donate $13 today? You can help make finding a cure possible and support vital programs and services for those living with Crohn’s and colitis.

Please consider donating today!
Please consider donating today!

Thank you so much for your donation and support!

And because it’s Friday the 13th, what’s your favorite scary movie?

Vacation Running and My Happy Place

I was on vacation last week and it was glorious! It was my annual trip to Myrtle Beach with my family. This has been our family’s favorite vacation spot since I was little. Myrtle Beach is my happy place. It is so peaceful and relaxing to spend a week by the ocean. There is nothing better than listening to the sound of the waves, soaking up the sun, and enjoying time with family.

Myrtle Beach - My happy place :)
Myrtle Beach – My happy place 🙂

Along with getting to relax and spend time with family (we had a lot of relatives from my mom’s side of the family there too!) I made sure to get in my runs to stay on track with my half marathon training. I knew I had really become a runner when in thinking about this vacation one of the first things I wanted to do was go for a run on the beach. 🙂

On our second day there (Sunday), I got up and went for a 3.35 mile run on the beach. It was already getting hot and humid at 8:30 a.m., but felt great to be out on the beach running.

Morning run on the beach
Morning run on the beach

Monday was a cross training/strength day. I did some one-leg squats (per Coach Chris) and did some push ups and crunches. My family was planning to walk on the beach for exercise, but it was getting pretty hot by the time we were ready to get going, so my mom had the great idea to walk against the current in the lazy river! A great total-body workout to walk forward, backward, and swim against the current. Worked a lot of different muscles and stayed cool in the water.

Lazy river workout
Lazy river workout

Tuesday’s workout was speed work. I needed to do 5 x 400m intervals, so I decided to head to the workout room and do it on the treadmill so I could accurately measure the distance. Tough to be inside, but if you have to run on a treadmill you might as well have this view…

Nice view!
Nice view!

Wednesday was another morning run on the beach. A nice and easy 3.07 miles at a 10:10 pace to kick off the day.

I took Thursday off from running after staying out late spending time with family, but we did do a morning walk on the beach, so not a total loss.

I made sure to wake up a little early on Friday so I could get in one more beach run before vacation was over. Friday morning was gorgeous! It was 70 degrees, partly cloudy, not as humid, and there was a nice breeze. I ran 5.3 miles at a 10:24 pace. This run was good, but a little more challenging because the tide was in further than the other mornings. This meant there was less hard sand to run on, so for most of the run I was on wet sand or some of the softer, loose sand. I had to watch my footing  a little and weave around a bunch of jelly fish that had washed up on the beach overnight. Near the end of my run the tide was going out, so I finished strong.

Beach. Run. Love.
Beach. Run. Love.

I think my commitment to getting in my runs even while on vacation really helped keep me on track with my training. As I mentioned in Sunday’s post, I felt great on my 7 mile long run the day after we got back.

My vacation wasn’t all running. I had plenty of time to hang out with family, eat some amazing food, and relax on the beach. The week went by way too fast. I can’t wait until next year!

Hush puppies! My absolute favorite and you get the best ones in the South!
Hush puppies! My absolute favorite and you get the best ones in the south!
Shark Tacos! (Cousins went deep sea fishing and caught shark. My cousin-in-law did an amazing job cooking it for tacos.)
Shark Tacos! (Cousins went deep sea fishing and caught shark. My cousin-in-law did an amazing job cooking it for tacos.)
Love my beach mug. Nothing better than drinking coffee on the balcony overlooking the ocean in the mornings.
Love my beach mug. Nothing better than drinking coffee on the balcony overlooking the ocean in the mornings.

Do you workout when you’re traveling or on vacation? What’s your favorite vacation spot?