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?

Twin Cities Marathon Training – Weeks 14 & 15

I had a vacation that fell in the middle of these two weeks, so I’ll have to catch you up on everything that’s been going on. Unfortunately, it’s not all good.

Week 14

Monday – 2.69 mile walk

I woke up still on a bit of a high after completing my 20 mile run. My Achilles was a bit tight and sore in the morning. It loosened up as the day went on, and Hyedi and I were able to get in a nice walk in the evening. It felt good to move my legs a bit.

Tuesday – rest

Technically, I had flag football practice, so I did do a little running. I was taking it easy because the field was a bit uneven and my legs were still recovering. I was tired when we were done and needed to pack for vacation, so I didn’t do any more running that night.

Wednesday – 4.12 miles (9:48/mile)

I went out for a morning run before needing to head to the airport. I was planning to do 5-6 miles. When I started out, I felt ok. My legs did not want to move very fast, so I resolved that this would be a slightly slower pace. Then somewhere around mile 2-3, I started to have some pain in my left foot. I kept going to see if it would go away. It didn’t. As I made my way closer to home, I realized I needed to cut this run short. The pain was more than I’m used to dealing with and did not feel like something I should run through.

I headed in and iced my foot a little before leaving. Walking through the airports wasn’t a lot of fun as my foot still hurt. By the evening, I was at the beach and hoping that a good night sleep would make my foot better.

Thursday – rest

The foot was a little better, but not enough where I felt comfortable running on it. I decided to take a rest day to see if that would help. Sitting on the beach with family was also a good excuse to take it easy.

Friday – 7.37 mile bike ride (36 minutes)

The foot was still a little iffy, so my sister and I hit the workout room and I did some cross training on a stationary bike.

Saturday – 7.1 mile bike ride (30 minutes)

One more day of cross training to give the foot a break.

Sunday – rest

I was supposed to do a 12 mile long run as a step-back week, but with the foot I figured I’d better skip that and keep resting it until I felt more confident that it was better.

All of these foot issues were not fun to deal with, but at least I was still soaking up the sun and enjoying some time in my happy place.

Week 15

Monday – 3.03 miles (9:57/mile) and 6 mile bike ride (25 minutes)

I decided to test out the foot on a short run. I did an easy 3 miles. It felt just fine during the run. Yay! I hit the workout room right after to get in a little bit more of a workout.

I was really happy that my foot held up ok on the run. It did good the rest of the day as well. I was really crossing my fingers that the time off had solved the problem.

Tuesday – 7 mile bike ride (30 minutes)

I got up and got myself ready to run. I even went outside and started warming up. As I was doing my dynamic stretching, I felt a little soreness in my foot. I was super tempted to just run and see how it did, but I decided it would be smarter to go with a low impact workout that day.

Wednesday – 4.77 mile run (10:01/mile)

I felt ready to attempt another run. I had 5 miles on my training plan for the day, so I thought I’d aim for something around 4-5 miles as long as my foot was feeling ok. My foot was feeling good as I got going. My legs were tired–my calves were tight for some reason–so pace was a little slow, but I was so happy to get through the run ok.

Later that afternoon, it ended up being a cloudy, rainy day so we went shopping. As we were walking around the outlet mall, I noticed my foot hurting. *Crap* I had been thinking about going to a doctor if my foot still didn’t seem like it was getting better and this pushed me over the edge to wanting to do that.

Thursday – 7.79 mile bike ride (35 minutes)

I had to say good-bye to the beach and travel home, but I was back early enough to get in a short workout on the stationary bike. My foot was feeling ok, but I wanted to take it easy.

Friday – rest

I had a doctor appointment in the morning for my foot. They did X-rays which didn’t show a stress reaction or stress fracture. That was good, but the doc said it could still be early, so something just isn’t showing up. He said and MRI is an option to see more. I’m giving it another week of rest/cross training before I think about going that route.

I’m working on finding some cross training things that will still help me keep up my fitness. I’ll keep biking and might try to do some pool running and swimming.

Saturday – 12.88 mile bike ride (1:10:08)

This was supposed to be the day I did my second 20 mile run. I woke up and it was 55 and sunny. An absolute perfect day for running. But, I was not running. I had already decided that attempting a 20 mile run would not be a good idea. I set out for a bike ride instead. My foot did fine, but my butt and hamstrings were sore afterwards–not used to that much time on a bike seat.

I was super frustrated and bummed that I couldn’t run. I have one 20 miler under my belt, but I had a goal of getting in two for this training cycle to hopefully help me be even more prepared for marathon day. I’m a little anxious thinking staying in shape for the big day without Hanging out with a cute kiddo in the afternoon while babysitting for friends helped brighten my mood. 🙂

Sunday – Flag football tournament

Sunday was the Touch of Football event benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. The flag football tournament took place at U.S. Bank Stadium, where the MN Vikings play. I was taking it really easy with my foot, and luckily had a very understanding team. We did A LOT better than last year and had a lot of fun for a good cause!

I am hoping and praying that some more rest and cross training will help me get to the marathon start line healthy enough to still have a good race.

How have you dealt with a running injury close to a race?

Twin Cities Marathon Training – Week 9

It was a step-back week, which worked out well with having a busy week with some traveling to celebrate a friend’s wedding thrown in!

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 7 miles (9:32/mile)

It was cloudy when I started running after work, but I wasn’t expecting it to rain while I was out. Around mile 3, it started sprinkling on me. It actually felt pretty good considering it was so hot and humid. The sprinkles turned into a steady rain and I could tell by the clouds that it wasn’t going to let up. Luckily, I was close to home, so I popped inside after about 4.15 miles to finish up the last 2.85 miles on the treadmill.

After my run, I got cleaned up and headed out to meet up with a friend and her run group for some dinner. They got caught in the rain during their run as well, but we feasted on some yummy seafood at Sea Salt.

Wednesday – 4 miles (9:28/mile)

I had a happy hour with coworkers immediately after work, and then I headed home to get in my 4 mile run to cap off the day.

Thursday – rest

This was a travel day back home to Wisconsin. My sister and I were headed to a wedding that weekend, so we spent the night at home to break up the drive and spend a little time with our mom and grandma.

Friday – 13.1 miles (9:35/mile)

I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it in my long run on Saturday with all of the wedding festivities, and being in a new city, so I got up early to do my run in my hometown before we hit the road. For the step-back week, my long run was actually supposed to be a half marathon, but I wasn’t going to do a race, so I just planned to run 13.1.

I parked at Carson Park where my family often walks and I’ve done a lot of runs before. I knew the area pretty well, but didn’t exactly know where water fountains were, so I kept some extra water in my car and planned to loop back there when I needed to refill.

To start, I actually made my way out of the park and over to the trail that runs along the river. I’ve run this trail a little before during the Turkey Trot 5 mile. I took the opportunity to explore the trail a bit more.

I started around mile marker 3, and I found the markers were ticking down every half mile, so I figured I’d try to find the start of the trail.  I found it just over this bridge!

I turned around and headed back to the park. I did find 1 water fountain on this part of my run, but I wanted to refill my water. At this point, I was just over 6 miles into the run. I took a loop around the park, which is about a mile, and then headed out of the park again to hit a different trail. I followed that out about 2.5 miles and then headed back to my car. To get back into the park, I had to run up a big hill for the second time. My legs were pretty dead after that, but I only had about a mile and a half mile left. I took one more loop around the park and was done.

It felt great to get the run done and explore some new paths. With that out of the way, all I had to do was focus on celebrating my friend and enjoying the wedding!

Saturday – rest

It may have been a rest day on the training schedule, but was a full day of wedding fun. We started at the salon for hair and makeup before heading back to the bride’s parent’s house to get dressed. After that it was pictures and then the ceremony and reception. I stayed busy trying to help keep things on schedule and take care of little tasks for the bride as her personal attendant.

The ceremony was beautiful and after that we danced the night away!

Sunday – 4.02 miles (9:21/mile) 

My sister and I slept in a little and then grabbed some breakfast on our way out of town. I got home mid afternoon and ran to the grocery and then squeezed in a 4 mile run before relaxing for the rest of the night.

It was a packed weekend, but a lot of fun! Next week’s training runs kick it up a notch again, so we’ll see how this next phase of training goes.

Divas Half Marathon Race Recap

What. A. Race.

But, I’ll get to that. This is a tad long, but stick with me.

In my last two weeks of training I was busy at work and then on vacation with my family, so I didn’t get a chance to do weekly recaps, but there wasn’t anything really out of the ordinary. I managed to get in a few short runs on the beach while on vacation along with plenty of rest and relaxation leading up to race day.

On Friday, we stopped by the race expo to pick up my packet. It wasn’t a huge expo, so easy to get in and out.

After that, my parents and I headed to dinner and had a couple of drinks on a patio to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I was sitting on a bar stool and must have been sitting in an odd position for awhile because I woke up on Saturday morning and noticed it hurt when I twisted my knee in a certain way. I tried stretching my legs and took it easy all day, but was feeling the pain on and off. Needless to say, I was starting to get a bit anxious for my race. I didn’t hurt when I walked, but I hadn’t tested it running. By the time I went to bed it was better, so I crossed my fingers all would be well in the morning.

On Sunday morning I woke up about 5:30 a.m. to start getting ready. Luckily, no pain in the knee! (Phew)

The weather was perfect. It was clear and about 50 degrees. The race also started nice and early – 7:10 a.m. My parents dropped me off near the start line and then made their way to their first spectating spot. I lined up just behind the 9:00 minute mile pacer as I was hoping to do about a 9:15-9:20 pace if I wanted to PR.

Start line

Things got going right on time and we headed down Ocean Blvd. There were over 1,000 runners, but I didn’t have to do a lot of weaving around people and found a comfortable pace that didn’t feel like I was going out too fast.

About mile 2 I saw my parents at their first spot. We had talked about them going to 3 spots along the course, but they ended up going to about 6! Super spectators! They got some good action shots and even had a sign. ❤


In the first several miles, I was keeping up a faster pace than expected, but felt good. In mile 5, we turned up a street heading west and I felt my pace slow a little running into the wind and slightly uphill. I felt a slight twinge of pain above my right knee (the one that had been hurting the day before), but nothing bad. Going into mile 6 we started heading east and got the benefit of the slight downhill, so my pace picked up. I also noticed that I wasn’t feeling anything around my knee anymore. (Yay!)

As we approached the halfway point, I looked at my pace and started doing a little math. I was not only on pace to PR, but I realized if I kept up my pace I could actually finish in under 2 hours. That goal hadn’t occurred to me until that moment. I thought doing a sub-2 half marathon was a ways off for me. In my last 12 mile training run, the first 10 miles were great and then my legs basically gave up on me for the last 2, so I was a little worried something similar would happen, but decided to see what I could do.

We made our way through some more neighborhood streets and around mile 11.5 we turned back on to Ocean Blvd. On the home stretch. The sun was rising and there wasn’t shade, but it was at least behind us. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other. At mile 12.5, they hand out tiaras and pink boas to the runners. I grabbed them, but just carried them in my hand so I could concentrate on pushing it through the finish line. I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch. It said something just over 1:57. I knew my actual time would be a bit higher because my watch paused when I had to stop and tie my shoe early in the race, but I was feeling pretty confident that I had done it!

I grabbed my celebratory pink “bubbly” and medal. That medal is a beast! It’s huge and so heavy.

My parents found me and we made our way to the car. I checked the live race results and sure enough, I had finished under 2 hours!! Official time was 1:58:08. I still can’t believe it! The great weather and a flat course helped, but I know I put in a lot of good training for this race. It provides some fuel for bigger and better goals and some confidence as I get ready for marathon training.

Overall, I had a lot of fun at this race. It was a literal explosion of pink (seriously, look at the swag), but it was well organized and you can’t beat running in Myrtle Beach.

Not pictured: the pink race shirt – ha!

Here’s to the next running adventure!

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!

New Orleans half
Garry Bjorklund half
Garry Bjorklund half
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!


What are your 2017 running goals?