Divas Half Marathon Training – Weeks 9 & 10

It’s been a BUSY couple of weeks at work. I’ve managed to keep up the training, but have admittedly cut out a run or two or done a little less mileage. Still feeling good about the race, which is only 2 weeks away!

Week 9

Monday – Rest day

Took the day off to rest up after Goldy’s 10 mile.

Tuesday – 4.71 miles (9:34/mile)

This was the beginning of the super busy time at work. After a long day, I had a 5 mile run on my plan, but I cut it a little short. I stopped at 45 minutes.

Wednesday – Rest day

I met some friends for dinner and was definitely in need of an Old Fashioned.

Thursday – 4.02 miles (9:33/mile)

Another long day, another shorter run. But at least I got in something.

Friday – Rest day

I ran a couple of errands after work and made a pit stop at the grocery store. I decided to treat myself to a lemon bar.

Saturday – 7.25 miles (9:40/mile)

I had a 10K race on my plan, but since I raced Goldy’s 10 mile the week before I planned to just do an 8 mile run since I missed doing that distance during the week. It was raining in the morning, so I postponed running until the afternoon. I set out and was just not feeling it. I had eaten a snack earlier in the afternoon and thought I waited long enough before running, but my stomach was not feeling great. My legs were heavy and tired, too. Usually, things loosen up after a couple miles and I get in a groove. That did not happen this time. The temps were also a little warmer than I’m used to right now. I kept trying to power through, but just kept thinking about all of the bad things about this run. I got to 7.25 miles and threw in the towel.

Ugh. That’s about all I can say about this run.

Sunday – 4.22 miles (9:35/mile)

It was Easter Sunday, so I headed to church and then went to hang with family. I headed out for an evening run. Amazingly, I felt great. My legs felt better, I was in a much better mental place, and it was a gorgeous day! So thankful for a good run.

Week 10

Monday – 4.52 miles (9:34/mile)

Runs this week were about training, but also some much needed stress relief. I’m not gonna lie, the week was a bit of blur, so not much detail on these runs.

Tuesday – 4.03 miles (9:29/mile)

Wednesday – Rest day

A combination of wine at book club and a looming price increase made me finally pull the trigger.

I’m officially registered for the Twin Cities Marathon!

It will be my 2nd time, and I’m excited to see what kind of progress I can make.

Thursday – 3.22 miles (9:23/mile)

Friday – Rest day

I didn’t run, but I was rocking my Garry Bjorklund Half shirt at work for Finisher Shirt Friday!

Saturday – 11.01 miles (9:28/mile)

I headed to the chain of lakes for my long run. It was a simply beautiful morning! Of course, that meant the paths were crowded. Had to do some weaving around people. But overall, this was a great run. The miles ticked by quickly as I looped around the lakes and it felt really good to be back there.

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Lake of the Isles

Sunday – 4.89 miles (9:36/mile)

I met up with my brunch bunch in the morning and scarfed down a goat cheese omelette and hash browns. Yum!

In the afternoon, I met up with a friend at Lake Nokomis for a run. We grabbed a snack at the little outdoor restaurant on the lake.

I love that spring is here and summer is coming! Looking forward more runs around lakes and good food with friends on patios!

Divas Half Marathon Training – Week 7

This was a solid week of training! My training plan is definitely continuing to increase in intensity and mileage. I’m gearing up for Goldy’s 10 mile next weekend, so hopefully all of this work will lead to a good race day!

Monday – 4.78 miles (9:25/mile)

This run came after several straight days of workouts. My legs were feeling it when I started out–super tired and heavy. I resolved after half a mile that this run would be a STRUGGLE. Then after a mile, my legs started to warm up. I didn’t want to get too excited as I started mile 2 because I was running downhill, but surely enough my legs kept feeling better and I kept running faster. I ended up having some killer negative splits on this run!

Tuesday – rest

After that tough run, my legs needed a break. I had a Hello Fresh box delivered that day, so I hopped in the kitchen to make dinner. I made this salmon dish that we actually really good. I’m slowly acquiring a taste for salmon.

Wednesday – 7.01 miles (9:31/mile)

The legs felt pretty good after a rest day, and I was able to knock out the longer weekday run.

Thursday – 25 minute elliptical

I got home from work and made dinner. I considered taking an extra rest day, but ended up doing a quick elliptical workout to get something in.

Later that night I felt a little pain above my knee. Nothing constant or too bad. Wasn’t sure if it was a fluke or if I did something since it hadn’t been hurting when I was actually working out.

Friday – 3.76 miles (9:32/mile)

Walking up the stairs at work on Friday morning I felt a little pain above my knee again. I decided I’d keep an eye on it throughout the day. Going up some stairs at the end of the day didn’t bring any pain, so I tested it out with a run. No pain. (Phew!) Think it was a fluke and I must have just tweaked it weird at some point. If it comes back, I’ll take some extra time off.

Saturday – 50 minute spin class

I got up and met a friend for a morning spin class. I’m so glad to have these occasional spin classes for cross training! Great to change things up and work some different muscles.

It was a GORGEOUS spring day in Minnesota. I ran some errands in the afternoon and just had to get outside a little more before the sun went down. I grabbed my book and found a bench along the river to read for just a little bit to soak up the sun.

Sunday – 9.06 miles (9:30/mile)

Sunday run day! I got up early to get in my long run because I had a full day of Sunday fun day plans. My legs were tired in the first two miles. Not surprised after some tough workouts this week and the spin class the day before. By mile 3 I was warmed up and found my pace.

I showered up and headed out to meet a friend for yoga and a pint! It’s just what it sounds like: yoga in a brewery. The instructor is a lot of fun and the stretching felt great after my long run.

After class, we grabbed a couple of stools at the end of the bar and got our pint. Yoga, beer, and chatting with a friend is pretty much the perfect long run recovery!

After that, I was off to a LuLaRoe shopping party with some friends.

When I got home later, I made dinner and did a load of laundry. Definitely a go – go – go kind of day, but lots of fun stuff crammed in there. Happy to have a little time to put my feet up on the couch before another work week starts.

Divas Half Marathon Training – Week 1

I started 2017 wanting to do a spring half. I had one in mind, but then some discussions with family about a beach vacation made me realize I would be out of town for the half I was planning on. But, as luck would have it, there’s a Divas Half Marathon taking place on the same day as the other half, so I signed up! I’ll run a half marathon and then get to spend the rest of the day lounging on the beach — not a bad plan at all!

Last week officially kicked off training. I’m trying out the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 plan. I’m used to Hal’s plans, but this one will be a little different since it only has 1 rest day. I’ll add in an extra rest day when needed, but I’m curious to see how this goes.

I had to move some runs around to fit my schedule, which meant a couple extra rest days, but I still feel good about starting the training cycle.

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 4.01 miles (9:23/mile)

I escaped from all the hearts and flowers crowding up my social media feeds and headed out for a run. Views like this are one reason I love running.

#RunLove
#RunLove

Wednesday – rest

I had book club, so skipped a workout to run an errand after work before meeting up with friends. Rather than meeting at someone’s house, we had a little field trip that ended at a brewery. Different location, but same gabbing and laughing over food and drinks.

book-club

Thursday – 3 miles (9:40/mile)

I ended up staying at work a little late, so it was dark when I got home. I’m not a huge fan of running alone when it’s dark, so I opted to just hop on the treadmill. It was actually a good excuse to check out the new equipment in my workout room.

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Friday – 3.04 miles (9:30/mile)

I took the day off of work and headed back to Wisconsin to spend a couple of days with family. It felt more like spring than winter with temps in the low 60s. I got out for a short run in the afternoon and was actually able to wear a t-shirt…in Wisconsin…in February. Crazy!

Saturday – 4.03 miles (9:40/mile)

My long run for week 1 was just 4 miles. My parents and I headed to a local park so they could walk with the dog while I ran. It was warm again, and I saw some brave ice fisherman out on the lake. I also saw people practicing lake rescues. Good to know they’re prepared.

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Sunday – rest

I headed back to the Twin Cities on Sunday morning so I could meet some friends for brunch. Our original plan got spoiled when we heard there would be an hour and a half wait, but we found a good back-up plan just around the corner.

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Later in the afternoon, I celebrated a friend’s birthday by going to see Aladdin in the theaters. Yes, that Aladdin! The animated Disney movie you watched over and over again (or maybe that was just me). It was fun to watch it on a big screen and be transported back in time for a little bit.

We’ve been spoiled with the warm temperatures recently. Looks like they’re heading back to “normal” and snow is on the way. Back to reality.

What’s your favorite animated Disney movie?

Sleep Tight

Anyone have trouble falling asleep? Do you toss and turn throughout the night? Or hit the snooze button (a few times) because you just don’t want to get out of bed?

Sleep.

When our schedules get filled–both with fun and not so fun things–sleep can often be one of the things we sacrifice. We stay up later and get up earlier to cram everything in. Or we don’t get a restful night sleep because our minds just won’t shut off.

I was inspired by Leesa, an online mattress company, to write this post about sleep. I know I’m guilty of not getting a good night sleep. It has always taken me a long time to fall asleep at night because I just can’t shut my brain off. I’ve even had some restless nights of sleep this week making me feel more tired by the end of the day and not motivated to do much.

It’s important to remember that sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle. I’m always striving to eat healthy and stay active, but those things become a lot harder when I’m just too tired.

With a new half marathon training cycle starting next week, I’m going to try and take some steps to promote better sleep. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Sticking to my bedtime. I aim to go to bed at 10 p.m., but that sometimes gets pushed a little later if I’m watching TV or busy doing stuff.
  • Reading before bed. I think I could help myself relax and get my mind to turn off by reading more regularly. I just started a new book, so this is a good chance to get into it.
  • Continuing my workout routine. Exercise is a great way to de-stress and it promotes good sleep.

I’m excited to dive into another training cycle. I think these tips will help me stay in good mental and physical health so I can accomplish all of my 2017 goals.

Image provided by Leesa
Image provided by Leesa

What are your tips and tricks for getting a good night’s sleep? 

Leesa inspired this post. All opinions are my own.

Reflecting on 2016 and Looking Ahead to 2017

As one year ends and another begins, we can’t help but reflect on the things we’ve done and look ahead at what’s to come.

2016 was a pretty good year for running–if I do say so myself! It was the year of the half marathon. I ran three, and managed to improve my time with each one. It all started with the New Orleans half in February, then the Garry Bjorklund half in June, and finally the Vancouver half in October. As you can see, these races took me to some pretty cool destinations too!

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New Orleans half
Garry Bjorklund half
Garry Bjorklund half
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Vancouver half

Along with a PR in my half marathon, I also managed to get PRs in my 5 mile, 10K and 10 mile!

I’m looking ahead at races for 2017 and trying to decide what I want to tackle this year. I have a few things figured out, but I’m still up in the air on a couple others.

I’ve already registered for the Goldy’s Run 10 mile in April. This will be the 5th year in a row that I’ve run it. I love the 10 mile distance and love having this race in the spring to keep me motivated through the MN winter.

I’m also planning on a spring half. I’ve got two options depending on whether I’m out of town at the beginning of May. The day of either race is three weeks after Goldy’s 10 mile, so great timing for training.

I’m considering joining a local running store’s race team as well. That would mean I’d need to run at least three races from their list, and I already have several that look good.

The big thing I’m contemplating for 2017 is doing another full marathon! I did my first in 2015 and I think I got the bug to do it again while spectating at the marathon a few months ago. I know the training is time consuming, but I made a lot of progress in my running during 2016, so I’d like to see how I can improve not only my marathon time but the training.

The good thing is, I’ve got lots of good options! I have no doubt it will be another wonderful year of running!

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What are your 2017 running goals?

Holiday Hunger

1 in 10 people in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin experiences hunger.

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It’s a startling statistic.

With the abundance of food facing us this time of year (holiday parties, cookie baking, potlucks, etc.), it can be easy to forget that there are too many people struggling to put food on the table on a daily basis.

Last week I had the privilege of attending an event at Second Harvest Heartland, a food bank in the Twin Cities.

At the beginning of the event, their Director of Development, Marketing and Communications gave us some background on the organization. Second Harvest is part of Feeding America, the nationwide network of more than 200 food banks. They serve 532,000 people each year, and 33% are under 18 and 10% are over age 60.

Then we took a tour of their 61,000 sq. ft. warehouse. It’s an impressive place!

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They ship 9,800 boxes of food per month from this place and share food with 6 other food banks.

One of the most impressive things I learned on the tour is that 55% of the food Second Harvest distributed last year was fresh. They have been making great strides to get fresh produce out to people who need it. It’s great to know that people aren’t just getting food but good, nutritious food.

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That’s a lot of onions!

After the tour, we participated in a simulation called Hunger 101. We paired up and took on the personas of real people who have struggled with hunger. We were given bios and a budget. Our task was to figure out how to buy food for our family for one day. The simulation was timed to show some of the stress these families feel. Let me tell you, it was hard!

We were able to visit the bank to withdraw money, but our family only had $4 to take out. Then we could visit an office to see if we qualified for food stamps. The family I was part of was just two people and earned “enough” not to qualify for food stamps. That meant we still only had $4 to buy food for the day. Another stop we made was to the local food back where we received some food to help us out. After looking at our shopping list and budget, we went to the grocery store for our food. Due to our limitations with budget, we weren’t able to pick out the most nutritious food and didn’t hit the recommended amount of calories for the day. A really eye-opening experience.

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I’m glad a place like Second Harvest Heartland exists in the Twin Cities to help families in need. They have an impressive operation and their programs are doing great things for the community.

A big part of their success depends on volunteers, so if you’re looking to give back, check them out!

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Seattle/Vancouver Weekend

It was a couple of weeks ago that I was out west for the Vancouver Half, but I wanted to share more about my trip! It was a jam-packed few days.

Friday

I flew out to Seattle early on Friday morning and met up with my friend Anna. Our first order of business was brunch. We grabbed some delicious biscuits and gravy at a cute little restaurant. Then we headed to her place to drop my luggage and regroup. We headed out so she could show me some of Seattle. Of course, we had to walk around Pike Place Market.

 

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We walked around a bunch of the shops and restaurants. So many fruits, veggies, fresh flowers, and other goodies in the buzzing market.

We wandered past the market and headed down to the sculpture garden and then made our way back. We were wearing our running clothes so we could do a shake-out run in West Seattle. To get there, we took a water taxi! It’s a big boat that gets you across the lake in about 5 minutes. A little different from the ferries, but pretty slick!

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There’s a nice path along the water right where the taxi drops off, so we did a 3 mile run along the water with a view of downtown.

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We lucked out with our timing and the taxi was just getting ready to leave when we got back, so we jumped on really quick to head back to the car. As soon as we got in the car, it started to rain – perfect timing!

We cleaned up and headed to dinner. When we got back we were both pretty tired, so we headed to bed fairly early.

Saturday

We spent the morning getting packed and ready to head to Vancouver. We grabbed brunch and did a couple of quick errands before hitting the highway to head north.

This was one of the craziest and most amazing things I have ever seen…a tiny dog in a carrier attached to the back of a motorcycle. And he was wearing goggles!

I can't even!
I can’t even!

Soon, we were in Canada and made our way to the hotel. After checking in and dropping our luggage, we headed to the race expo to get our bibs. It was about 4 p.m. and the expo closed at 5 p.m. Luckily, it was just a few blocks from our hotel, so an easy walk. There was hardly anyone at the expo by the time we got there, and it was actually pretty small. I was a little surprised, but ok with it because I hate fighting my way through a busy expo.

We explored the harbor area and took in the pretty views after grabbing our stuff.

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We both loved this orca statue! It looks like it’s made of giant leggos.

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In the evening, we headed to a delicious pasta dinner at Lupo. Complete with a roasted beet salad and handmade ravioli stuffed with braised short rib. So good! After finally getting back to the hotel (we had to wait a while for a cab), we relaxed for a bit and went to bed early so we’d be ready for our race.

Sunday

Having our hotel a block from the start line was amazing for an easy, low stress race morning. The race was great, and we were both ready to celebrate our PRs with some food after we got cleaned up!

We walked over to the Gastown neighborhood and found a restaurant that was still serving brunch. After stuffing our faces (hey, we ran 13.1 miles!) we explored the neighborhood a little. It’s a cute area with lots of shops and restaurants, cobblestone streets and some pieces of history.

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We stopped in a tourist store and picked up some maple candy and fun Canada souvenirs — including mugs with a plaid moose on them. 🙂

On our way back to the hotel, we grabbed an afternoon treat at Tim Hortons because, donuts!

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We ended up just lounging for a bit in the afternoon watching Happy Gilmore. We both felt funny not exploring the city more, but we were exhausted.

After getting our second wind, we set out to get some dinner back in Gastown and then stopped at a restaurant along the harbor for the free beer we got with the race. The end of the Seattle Seahawks game happened to be on, so we got to watch that as we drank our beer.

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Evening harbor views
Nighttime harbor views

Monday

We grabbed breakfast at a restaurant along the harbor before checking out of the hotel and heading back to Seattle. We rolled in around 2 p.m. and had a little time to kill before I had to be at the airport. We walked around the Fremont neighborhood and saw the troll under the bridge.

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I got another view of the water and skyline, too.

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Soon, it was time to head to the airport and say good-bye.

It was a fantastic weekend! I was so happy to explore two new cities and spend some quality time with a great friend.

I know that I can travel and explore new places anytime, but I love how running has become a part of those adventures. A “runcation” or “destination race” has become one of my favorite ways to travel. One of the best ways to see a city can be on foot during a race! Need to figure out where I want to go next!

What are your favorite destination races?