Current Obsessions III

I started doing these current obsessions posts (exhibit A and B) expecting them to be a monthly thing, but that hasn’t really worked out. Ended up having a couple months where I didn’t have anything new that I was loving. But, recently I’ve found I have a few things that I can’t get enough of:

Tulips – I’ve always loved tulips, but I am absolutely obsessed with them this spring. Maybe it has something to do with the wicked winter we had. Whatever the reason, I’m seeing their bright colors everywhere. I picked up these beauties at the farmer’s market last weekend.

tulips

farmers market flowers

Mini Teddy Grahams – This resulted from an impulse buy at Target (we’ve all been there). They’re a sweet, easy treat to have around the house.

teddy grahams

Patios, rooftops, outdoor eating in general – Hey, in Minnesota we need to soak up the sun when we get a chance! Might as well enjoy some quality time with friends hanging out on a patio, rooftop, or lakeside restaurant. Hoping for lots of outings like these in the next few months!

rooftop

The Big Locus (TBL) - Thielens bacon, lettuce, & tomato
Eating outside by the lake at Sandcastle

What are you loving lately?

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Half Marathon Training – Week 10

My next half marathon will be here before I know it! Kind of excited for it. The weather is warming up which is exciting, but I’m also hoping the weather on race day is comfortable for 13.1 miles. Here’s a recap of training last week.

Monday – Rest day

Tuesday – 4.45 miles, 10:07 avg pace

The temperature finally decided to get into the upper 70s, so I was all hyped up for a run after work. I made my way out to the running path and got going. My legs were a bit heavy and tired as I get started which isn’t unusual after a rest day. Most of the time my legs warm up after a bit, but they kept feeling pretty tired for the whole run. My pace definitely didn’t suffer and RunKeeper showed that I had negative splits for miles 1-4! So, still a good run even though I don’t know that I ever hit my stride.

Wednesday – 3 miles, 10:41 avg pace

I ventured out for a rare weekday morning run. It was a run that was good for my body and my soul. A little cheesy, but it really was a run where I just slowed down and embraced the beautiful morning.

morning run 5.21 4

morning run 5.21 5

Thursday – Sand volleyball

I subbed on a friends volleyball team again. This week was way better than the week before! It was sunny and 70 – perfect for some sand volleyball, and I didn’t have to wear socks to keep my toes from freezing.

Friday – 5 minute walk, 25 minute run, 5 minute walk

I was going to meet a friend for a run after work, but something came up so we had to reschedule. I headed out for an easy workout on my own instead. It was in the mid 70s and the sun was shining, so a very nice afternoon, but I can tell that i’m not used to running in the heat after this past winter. Pace was nice, easy, and relaxed.

Saturday – Rest day

I had considered doing my long run, but actually decided that my body needed some rest. I felt tired and a little sore from my workouts during the week. Even though it was a rest day, it was still very active. I kicked the day off with a lovely trip to the Mill City Farmer’s Market with Hyedi. We grabbed something to eat first (priorities!). I went with the ham and cheese croissant – delicious! I washed it down with some raspberry limeade that was fresh squeezed. Very refreshing.

farmers market

We walked around to look at all of the vendors and picked up a couple goodies. I got some scallions that I’m gonna use in an easy fried rice recipe that I like to make. I couldn’t leave without getting some of the gorgeous tulips either!

farmers market flowers

I spent the rest of the afternoon running errands and touring an apartment building. Then my sister and I went out to dinner with a friend. We found ourselves on the rooftop of Louis Ristorante. The views from the roof are great, and there was a nice breeze. I ordered the limone rizzo cocktail (bombay, limoncello, prosecco, lemon twist) and got the  rigatoni with a tasty cream sauce. Then I had to get some chocolate gelato for dessert!

rooftop

louis rooftop

Love that patio season is upon us!

Sunday – 50 minute walk

I was still planning to do my long run on Monday, so I wasn’t sure what kind of workout (if any) I’d do. I slept in and by the time I was ready to go workout it was pretty hot out. I opted to go for a walk and soak up some sun.

Then I headed to a friend’s house for dinner and some catch up time!

The Flag Day 5K race entry winner is…Jennifer! Congrats and enjoy the 5K!

FlagDay5Kwinner

 

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all the men and women who have or are serving our country!

Apartment Search

I’m on the hunt for a new apartment. I live with my sister right now, but we’ve decided that we want to get our own places when our current lease is up. While I’m excited for the next chapter and having my own place, the process of apartment hunting can be tough.

I love watching home buying shows on HGTV, so I like searching out and touring apartments. The part that’s going to be really tough for me is making a decision on where I want to sign a lease. I am the WORST at making big decisions. I took forever to buy a car. I always have to see all the options and weigh the pros and cons.

You know you’re a runner when being near a good running route is high on my must-have list. That’s one thing I don’t think I can compromise on. 🙂

morning run 5.21 8

Being on my own means my budget will likely be tighter, so I’m always keeping that in mind as I search for apartments. I don’t want to start spending so much in rent that I have to cut out races or other fun things. Which reminds me — if you’re on a tight budget but looking to do a race in June, don’t forget to enter my race entry giveaway for the Flag Day 5K by midnight on Sunday!

I know I’ll have to make some compromises and give up some amenities, but I’m determined to find a place that feels like home.  Wish me luck!

What are some things on your must-have house/apartment list? Do you live near a good running route?

First Summer 5K and Race Entry Giveaway

The end of the week is almost here and a long weekend is ahead. I won’t be traveling anywhere, but I’ve got some fun stuff on my calendar that will involve seeing lots of friends and of course running!

My third half marathon is just over 2 weeks away. After that, I’ll have another 10K race in July and then I’ll be focusing my training on getting ready for the TC Looney Challenge in October. These are my 3 big races, and then I had planned to fill in the rest of my summer and fall with some fun 5Ks.

My first 5K of the summer will be on June 14. I registered for the third annual Minnesota Daughters of the American Revolution Flag Day 5K Run/Walk. This race is sponsored by the Minnesota State Daughters of the American Revolution and benefits the Minneapolis VA Fischer House. If I can support a good cause while also supporting my running addiction, I’m all in! And this is a great cause: The Minneapolis VA Fischer House provides families a free place to stay while their loved one is receiving treatment at the VA.

A stay in the hospital is never very pleasant, so being able to have family close by to offer support is so important. I love that Fischer House allows veterans to get that family support — especially when you think about the sacrifices and support they’ve given us by serving our country.

The course is USTF certified and will be chip timed. Not sure if it’s smart for me to race this 5K since it will be a week after my half marathon, but we’ll see how I’m feeling. It’s tempting. 🙂

Photo Credit: Minnesota DAR Flag Day 5K
Photo Credit: Minnesota DAR Flag Day 5K

If you want to run the Flag Day 5K, then I have good news for you! Of course, you can register here like I did, or you can win a free race entry! To enter, leave a comment by midnight on Sunday, May 25 and tell me about your favorite race or event that supports a good cause and/or what you’ll be doing over Memorial Day weekend. I’ll randomly pick a winner and announce it on Monday (Memorial Day!).

I can’t end this post without saying a huge THANK YOU to all of those who have or are currently serving our country!

Photo Credit: Minnesota DAR Flag Day 5K
Photo Credit: Minnesota DAR Flag Day 5K

I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Morning Run for the Soul

I normally do my runs in the evening during the week. I can’t bring myself to set my alarm any earlier. But this morning I had an appointment so I didn’t need to be into work until a little later. I decided to try and take advantage or the extra time.

I set my alarm for 6 a.m. – my normal wake-up time. When it went off, I was tempted to turn it off and set it for an hour later because I really did not sleep well last night. Before I hit snooze I looked out my window, over the trees, and across the street to see the sun shining down on my regular running route. The rays of sunshine helped pull me out of bed and into my running shoes. I grabbed my headphones and arm band, but at the last minute decided to leave them behind. Something told me I wouldn’t need them today.

I made my way outside. It was 54 degrees with a light breeze. Perfect weather.

morning run 5.21 1

I wanted to try for a 2 to 3 mile run, but was going to play it by ear depending on how my legs felt since I ran last night. I ended up doing 3 miles in just under 33 minutes.

While I’m not a stranger to running in the morning, this run was a bit different.

I slowed down. My pace was nothing special. I averaged a 10:41 mile. I’ve been loving that my pace has been getting faster, but it actually felt good to slow down.

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the wild flowers.
Sometimes you have to stop and smell the wild flowers.

morning run 5.21 8

I looked and listened. Not listening to music gave me the opportunity to hear the birds chirping and to focus on the scenery around me. I run this route all the time, but I noticed more of my surroundings.

1676EAF7-700C-46C8-A9CA-750015758D47

I took pictures. It was a beautiful morning and I had to try to capture some of it. There’s even a scenic overlook on my route that I’ve never actually stopped at, but this morning I did.

morning run 5.21 6

morning run 5.21 4

morning run 5.21 5

Thank you, St. Paul, for having a purple water fountain on my route.
Thank you, St. Paul, for having a purple water fountain on my route.

I think I needed this run. It was good for me mentally and physically to slow down, look at the beauty around me, and appreciate the good things. I’ve always felt that running is therapeutic and good for the soul. Whether I’ve had a good day or a bad day, a run can help me get centered, sort through my emotions, and sometimes provide a brief escape when I need it.

Words of wisdom on a morning run.
Words of wisdom on a morning run.

 Is running ever therapy for your soul?

Half Marathon Training – Week 9

Another solid week of training in the books. My half marathon is just 3 weeks away. I’ve been thinking about shooting for 10 minute miles, and I think it’s in reach if my training keeps up like it has. Here’s how the week went.

Monday – rest day

Tuesday – 5 miles, 10:10 avg pace 

Pretty standard, uneventful run.

Wednesday – 3.16 miles, 9:32 avg pace

I’m still not sure where this pace came from! Maybe it was knowing that I only needed to do 3 miles, or maybe it was knowing I had plans with a friend later so I wanted to get my run done and have time to get ready. I headed out and just felt really good on the whole run, so I went with it.

Thursday – beach volleyball

I fully intended to come home and get in a run before subbing on a friend’s volleyball team, but I was exhausted after work so I decided volleyball would suffice as a workout for that day. It was about 45 degrees when the game started and the sand was freezing! I opted to wear my socks and my toes were still numb at the end!

beachvball

The game was really fun despite the cold (and getting beat). Running in the sand was a good workout.

Friday – 2.5 miles, 10:20 avg pace

I actually opted for the treadmill for this workout. It was a bit cool and I just felt like getting in a quick run.

Saturday – 2.42 mile walk

I met up with a friend for a walk around the lake and a yummy lunch at Sandcastle. It was a beautiful day, so walking and eating outside was lovely, but getting to catch up with my friend was really the important part of the outing.

The Big Locus (TBL) - Thielens bacon, lettuce, & tomato
The Big Locus (TBL) – Thielens bacon, lettuce, & tomato
Chips and pico de gallo
Chips and pico de gallo

The rest of Saturday was spent grocery shopping, napping on the couch, and having dinner on a patio with my sister and a friend.

Sunday – 10 miles, 10:10 avg pace

I went to one of my favorite running spots for this long run. It was mid 50s and sunny. The lake was calm and peaceful.

nokomis1

My first lap around the lake was a bit sluggish and slow. Miles 1-3 were about a 10:30/mile pace. Not bad, but not as fast as I had been doing my long runs. When I started out on my second lap, my legs started to feel better and my pace picked up without me even realizing it. I told myself to slow down a little – it’s a marathon 10 mile run, not a sprint. Miles 4-7, I was hanging out between a 9:50 – 10:10 pace. Much better. I slowed down a bit for mile 8 (10:28). I had started to feel a couple aches and pains and wanted to make sure they didn’t stick around. My feet/legs started to feel better and miles 9 and 10 picked up to about 10 min/mile pace again.

nokomis2

I got home from my run, showered and got ready to head to the Twins game!

twinsgame

A perfect day for watching some baseball and stuffing my face. 🙂 Target Field is a good place to be when you have runger. I shared a helmet of nachos with my sister as my lunch and then we got ice cream for dessert.

twinsnachos  twinsicecream

Not the healthiest of options, but I balanced it out pretty well with other eating during the day – and of course that 10 mile run. Can’t help but splurge every now and then.

Do you have a favorite running spot? What do you like to splurge on every now and then? Do you have a favorite ballpark food?

Half Marathon Training – Week 8

Don’t worry, you didn’t miss weeks 1-7 of my half marathon training. I had been planning to do a half marathon in early June, but was focusing on training for my April races. So, I’ve jumped into half marathon training now. I picked things up with the Novice 2 plan from Hal Higdon, and it’s been going good so far. Here’s the recap of training and other fun stuff from last week.

Monday – Rest day

I had done a 9 mile run the day before, so I gave my legs a break. My sister and I walked around a bit doing some shopping and had to grab some frozen yogurt – my kind of Cinco de Mayo treat.

Cinco de Froyo anyone?
Cinco de Froyo anyone?

Tuesday – 5 mile run, 10:14 avg pace

The training plan called for a 3 mile run, but I had a work thing on Wednesday night, so I decided to try and do the 5 mile run for the week a day early. I felt good on this run.

Wednesday – Rest day

Thursday – 3 miles, 10:25 avg pace

I had to resort to the treadmill for this run because the weather wasn’t great.

Friday – Rest day

I hit the road right after work to head to my hometown for the weekend.

Saturday – Stroll in the Park for Epilepsy Foundation

The Stroll in the Park is a fundraising event that my family volunteers for every year. It raises money for the Epilepsy Foundation of Western Wisconsin. We arrived at the park at 8 a.m. I was in charge of manning the coffee and donuts table again this year. That means I get to keep my cup full of coffee, but also means I’m tempted by the yummy glazed donuts. The actual stroll is about a 1.3 mile walk around the park.

strollinthepark14

If mascots aren’t your thing, this walk isn’t for you. There are lots of them. 😛 Volunteering means I was on my feet from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., so I was tired when we left the park.  It’s a fun event and the weather was beautiful!

Saturday night, we went to church and then headed to dinner at one of our family’s favorite restaurants for a great meal.

Blue Crab Cakes with lemon dill cream sauce
Blue Crab Cakes with lemon dill cream sauce
Proscuitto Filet with a Gorgonzola cheese sauce
Proscuitto Filet with a Gorgonzola cheese sauce

Sunday – 6.02 mile run, 10:14 avg pace; and 3.09 mile walk

I headed out for my run in the morning. The weather was gorgeous in the high 50s/low 60s. I wasn’t sure how this run would go given how much I was on my feet the day before, but my legs actually felt really good the whole time. I was excited to see that my average pace was around 10:15 for another longer run. I had been hanging out around 10:30/mile for a long time, so I feel like my long run pace is getting faster.

I came back home, showered, and then headed out with my parents to run a couple of errands and hit up another local park for a walk with the dog. We walked 3.09 miles, so I definitely got in the miles that day!

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and cooking up a Mother’s Day dinner of chicken kabobs, grilled pineapple, and watermelon cake.

grilledpineapple

watermelon cake2

All in all, a solid week of training!

What races are you training for? Do you have an event that you participate in or volunteer at every year?