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!


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?

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.


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.





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!


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.


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.


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.




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


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.


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!


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.


Evening harbor views
Nighttime harbor views


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.


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


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?

Garry Bjorklund Half Training – Week 5

Vacation continued–with a few rules that I followed closely…


But, I did a good job of sticking to my training plan even while out of town.

Monday – 4.02 mile walk

My mom and I got up and headed out for a long walk on the beach. The weather was nice, so we didn’t get too hot. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and then headed out for dinner at a restaurant on a pier and took a ride in a ferris wheel.


Tuesday – 3.07 miles (9:50/mile)

I got in an easy 3 mile run on the beach and cooled off by dipping my toes in the water after.


Wednesday – 4.56 miles (9:43/mile)

I set out to do a 4 mile run. It was pretty warm and humid even at 9 a.m., so I carried my water bottle with me and ran on the streets instead of the sand to have a little more shade. I got 2 miles out and was a little bit away from my planned turn around spot, so I kept going a little further. Then I decided to take a short detour to the water fountain close by. When my watch beeped that I had reached 4 miles, I was still a ways away from home. Whoops. I decided to just keep going and log the extra half mile.

Thursday – 3.05 miles (9:51/mile)

I started my run on the streets for 2 miles and then headed to the beach for the last mile.

Friday – 2.32 mile walk

Took an easy beach walk with my parents before taking some time to enjoy the ocean for a few more hours before I had to head to the airport.


Saturday – rest

I got up and headed to the Get in Gear race to cheer on a couple of friends who were running the 10K. Then ran some errands and spent some time getting settled back into reality.

Sunday – 8.10 miles (9:39/mile)

My long run for the week was 8 miles. I debated heading to one of the lakes to do it, but didn’t feel like getting in the car to drive somewhere, so I just ran near home. The temps were much cooler than at the beach, which was actually ok. It was a pretty uneventful run and I felt good the whole time. I was happy to see that the water fountains have been turned on for spring/summer so I didn’t have to carry water with me.

I miss being on vacation already, but it does feel good to be home!

Garry Bjorklund Half Training – Week 4

I’m getting back on track with my training plan and stuck to the schedule pretty closely this week.

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 3.61 miles (9:40/mile)

Run with Kate and Hyedi. My legs were tired and heavy the whole time. I feel like that happens sometimes after a rest day. It was also been an unusually long day at work which might have contributed.

Wednesday – 4 miles pace (9:33/mile)

My training plan has a pace run every other week. I set out wanting to at least do a 9:40 pace, but really hoping I could do closer to 9:30. I started out fast in mile 1, so I made myself slow down and tried to settle into a pace. I got closer in mile two and then found a good 9:30 pace for miles 3 and 4. My legs were tired by the end, but I felt pretty good on the run.


Thursday – 3.04 miles (9:54/mile)

It was sunny as I left work, so I was excited to get home and run. It started to get cloudy as I went and light rain was falling on me by the end, but it was a nice easy 3 miles.

Friday – 2.44 mile walk

It was Finisher Shirt Friday in MN, so I pulled out my TC Marathon finisher shirt from last fall to wear to work!


The sun was shining in the afternoon, so I headed out for a 40 minute walk after work. Then I had to pack and get ready for vacation!

Saturday – rest

VACATION! This was a travel and rest day. I got in around lunchtime and my mom and I promptly found a fruity drink.


I spent the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sun.

Sunday – 7.07 miles (9:51/mile)

I got up and headed out for my long run before 8 am. It was low- to mid 60s and sunny with a light wind and 85% humidity. Beautiful morning, but it was still a sweaty run.


Totally worth it considering the rest of my day had this view…


New Orleans Weekend Review

Finally got around to writing up an overview of my weekend in New Orleans while there with Team Challenge for the New Orleans Half Marathon.

I got into NOLA around 1 p.m. and headed to the hotel. I was starving after I got my stuff in my room, so I ventured out to find some food. I stumbled upon a po boy place just a couple of blocks away and got a grilled shrimp po boy to kick off the weekend of southern eating.


After that, I wandered around the area close to the hotel before heading back to get dressed for dinner. I had a reservation at Commander’s Palace. This was the one restaurant I definitely wanted to go to in NOLA – it has been on my list for a very long time. I left early so that I could explore the Garden District a little bit before dinner. I walked around and checked out Lafayette Cemetery. It was closed, so I just had to look from the outside.


There were a lot of old, beautiful houses in the area as well. I’m a sucker for big columns on the front of a house.

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Then, it was time for dinner.


I knew I wanted to try a soup and Seafood Gumbo sounded too good to pass up. To follow that up, I had the Crispy Crawfish and Cream Cheese Gnocchi. Both were soooo good!

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The service at the restaurant was great. It’s definitely a fine dining place. There was always someone there to make sure I had what I needed and I watch the servers simultaneously set down plates at other tables. Probably one of the fanciest places I’ve been to. So glad I treated myself to that meal.

In the evening I met up with some fellow MN and Wisconsin Team Challenge folks and hung out in the hotel bar for awhile.

On Saturday morning, I got up and headed out to breakfast at a place my cousin had recommended — The Ruby Slipper. I had a Florentine Omlette and the buttermilk biscuit was to die for! I could’ve eaten a dozen.

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That meal was my fuel to head out on a cemetery tour with a couple of my Team Challenge friends. We toured the St. Louis Cemetery. It was so interesting to hear about the history of the city and the different ways people are buried. The cemetery is maybe the size of a city block, but more than 100,000 people are buried there and it’s still used today!




This is the tomb of Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.

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After the tour, I headed over to the expo to get my bib and check out the vendors. At this point I was getting excited to hit the course!

Saturday evening was the Team Challenge pasta party. It was held at Mardi Gras World, which is the warehouse where all of the parade floats are stored. We feasted on pasta and heard from some inspirational speakers to get ourselves pumped up for the race.




Sunday morning was all about the race. You can read more about that in my race recap, but later in the evening was about eating more food. A group of us headed over to the House of Blues for drinks and eats. Everyone was pretty beat after that, and most people were leaving early on Monday, so Sunday night was spent relaxing and watching the Oscars.

I got up early on Monday morning to head over to Cafe Du Monde to get beignets and coffee for breakfast. So much powdered sugar, but soooo good!!




I got them to-go and sat on some steps across from Jackson Square to take in the view.


I walked around the park to check out the area. There were musicians and artists set up around the perimeter of the park. I wandered in some shops along the street on my way to the French Market. It’s basically like a farmer’s market and flea market. I picked up a few souvenirs and headed back towards the hotel because I had a lunch reservation to get to.

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I could not come to New Orleans and not eat at one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants. I went to Emeril’s for lunch. I sat at the chef’s counter so I had a view of the kitchen while I ate. I ordered the chicken and waffles with watermelon slaw to get a good last southern meal. It was absolutely delicious!


After lunch I was able to meet up with a friend from high school who was in town for the race as well. I explored Bourbon Street with her and her friends for a couple of hours. We found a couple of fun places to grab a drink including an outdoor patio complete with some jazz music.


Before long it was time to head to the airport for my flight. It was so hard to leave the warm weather and come back to MN, but it was a great trip and I’m so glad I got to explore this cool city!