Divas Half Marathon Training – Week 2

Ok, I was a little more on my game for week 2. I got in all of my training runs, including a pretty nice pace run that I was really happy with this past weekend.

Monday – 3 miles (9:40 pace)

Treadmill run. Nuf said.

Tuesday – 4.01 miles (9:34 pace)

Since I know Goldy’s 10 mile is a hilly course, I making myself do my hilly route more often. I hit the hills for this 4 miler to start getting ready.

This was supposed to be a pace run, but I kind of forgot. Whoops. I’m hoping I can PR at Goldy’s, so I’m aiming to have my pace runs be about a 9:20-9:25 pace. It wasn’t too far off, so not a total loss, but I’ll pay more attention to my plan going forward.

Wednesday – rest

I headed to a volunteer meeting after work, so was a good day for some rest!

Thursday – 30 minute elliptical

I made myself get up early to hop on the elliptical so I could get in my cross training since I was meeting a friend for dinner after work. It was restaurant week, and we had an Italian feast!

i-nonni

Friday – 3.06 miles (9:29 pace)

All week we kept hearing that a big snowstorm was going to hit on Friday. The storm shifted south and we got exactly zero snowfall. I’m definitely not complaining! That meant I could still easily get outside for a run to end the work week.

Saturday – 5.05 miles (9:31 pace)

It was a chilly and windy day, something I actually wasn’t used to after a period of spring-like temps. But, the sun was out and it felt great to start doing longer runs. I always get excited about hitting the 6+ miles point in a training cycle, so I’m looking forward to next week.

5-miles

Sunday – 3.02 miles (9:18 pace)

I was pleasantly surprised with this pace run and felt really good. The cold temps in the morning probably helped, but I’ll take it!

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.

new-equip

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.

ice-fish

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.

upton43-brunch

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!

IMG_0595
New Orleans half
Garry Bjorklund half
Garry Bjorklund half
img_1681
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!

image1-6

What are your 2017 running goals?

Holiday Hunger

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

img_1944

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!

img_1933

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.

img_1943
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.

img_1946

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!

img_1932

Turkey Trot 5 Mile Race Recap

It’s not turkey day without a turkey trot! This was my 4th year doing the Turkey Trot 5 mile run in my hometown. I was happy to see the temps were close to 30 the morning of the race – not bad at all for a run.

My parents and I got to the start about 15 minutes before the race started. They made their way to the start line for the 2 mile walk (with the dog) and I headed to the run start. I made my way into the corral and stayed near the front to hopefully avoid a lot of weaving around people.

The strategy worked out pretty well. The road is also wide at the beginning of the course, which helped. I did notice that my pace was a little faster than I was planning since I was moving with the flow of the crowd, but I was feeling good and getting warmed up.

Not long after we started, some snow flurries started falling on us. It was actually really pretty!

As I passed miles 1 and 2, my watch beeped close to the mile markers. At mile 3 I ran passed the mile marker and a little ways away noticed my watch hadn’t beeped yet. I was about 0.1 miles off. It was the same story at mile 4. I was thinking the course was going to be short. As I made my way through the last mile, we rounded the path down near the river and then up by the ice arena where my watch beeped for mile 5 just before crossing the finish line. So things worked out in the end!

I had told my parents that I was expecting to run a 9:30 pace. I ended up keeping up my fast pace from the beginning of the race and ran a 9:16 pace! More than enough for a new 5 mile PR!

I made my way to the food lines at the end and found my parents. With our mini pumpkin pies in hand, we headed back to the car. We were on our way to pick up my grandma and had to stop at a gas station to get some pumpkin spice cappuccino (our new tradition). We ended up stopping at three different gas stations before getting all of the drinks we needed — long story, but worth it!

turkeytrot

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and enjoying the holiday. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Did you run a turkey trot?