Race Recap: Run or Dye 5k St. Paul

Today the high for the day is 68 degrees (spring…are you back for good?) whereas yesterday, the high was 47. When we woke up, the air temp was 32 with it feeling like 27 – this spring run was going to be a winter run after all! I’m happy to report that the cold weather didn’t stop the Neato Nelsons from gearing up for Run or Dye and having a blast despite the less-than-ideal weather situation!! Along with Dan, we had my Aunt B and her son, my cousin, D, and my Uncle J and Aunt C. My cousin J and his girlfriend A were also running the race, but they had signed up with a group of friends so we didn’t catch up with them until after the race.

When we left the house, I decided I was going to have a great time no matter how cold or rainy it turned out to be. Luckily, it didn’t rain for the entire race or I think it would have been a huge mental challenge to stay positive!

image  Dan was feeling silly on the shuttle as we were making our way to the race! After seeing the picture Dan proclaimed, “apparently the duck face doesn’t work for everyone!”😛


We got a nice one in once we got to the race

We met up with the rest of the family and got in line for the start. The pre-race vamping and music was surprisingly entertaining – I thought they handled keeping up engaged and positive in crappy weather was phenomenal. They had decided to send out runners in waves roughly every five minutes or so, so we ended up having to wait about 25 minutes before getting to the start. The announcer had everyone count down from 10 for each wave – when it got to be our turn, the announcer asked us to fulfill a dream of his: after we got to zero, and since we’re Minnesotans, he wanted us to scream “you betcha!”. It was hilarious, because as he asked us to do this, the entire crowd responded with, “oh yah, yah betcha!” – so, he got to hear it twice!😉

We ran the race with my cousin, D, and he’s a talker, so it made the race fly by. He was nice enough to go slower with Dan and I (he’s young and speedy by nature) and it was nice to have different company and a different person to talk to. There weren’t many color stops along the race (the Color Run throws color at you ever kilometer), and the colors were only yellow and green. That really is my only complaint of the entire race – it would have been nice to have more color stops along with more variety in colors.

Before we knew it, the race was over and we went over to the stage where they were having the “color throw” where everyone threw up the color in the packets they were provided with at once which resulted in a cloud of every color imaginable. there was so much color in the air that it got dark like during a bad storm. SO. MUCH. FUN.

Here are some post-race photos:

imageimage image image

I would absolutely recommend this fun run to anyone who is looking for a well-run, fun, and family-friendly race. I will absolutely we signing up next year.

After the race, we went to grab burgers at Burger Moe’s and the food was incredible and totally hit the spot. As we arrived, everyone commented how Dan looked like a zombie, but I saw something different – a bonus photo for you all as I present “Grumpy Dan”:

image image


Ugh…MORE snow. I can’t handle this; I just can’t do it much longer. I want to get out and run. I want to wear my new skirts and summer running clothes. I want to grill. I want to have drinks on the patio. I want to start my garden. I want to sleep with the windows open. I want Minnesota to act like it’s MAY!!

Ok…ranting over, and onto happy things:

  1. I ran my first mile UNDER 10 minutes! At Moms on the Run on Tuesday, we ran a timed mile so we can compare our progress over the course of the “summer” (sorry, I had to had the sarcastic quotes because it is SNOWING right now!!). I told Dan before I left home that I was aiming to run under 11 minutes, because I thought that was doable. Maybe Body Pump is starting to pay off?? Either way, my goal of running a 5k in 30 minutes or less seems way more feasible than it did a week ago!
  2. First two choir concerts went really well. If you’re in the Twin Cities metro-area, you must come to our last concert this Sunday at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Everything clicked for us and we’re having a fantastic season. Here’s a link to a YouTube recording of one of the songs we’ll be performing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS8ETIs8dQE. See if you can spot me!😉
  3. Tomorrow we are running in a fun run: Run or Dye! We are running this one with part of the Nelson clan, so it should be a blast. It’s going to rain and it’s going to be cold, but I am DETERMINED to have a fabulous time!
  4. I’m officially down a jean size! I’ve been struggling with body image and weight since I can remember, so if I’m being honest, that’s why I started running and 50% of why I keep running. I am my own worst critic and can be so negative towards my body, BUT, I’ve found that with running, I have a hard time staying mad at myself for looking a certain way because I’m actively trying to better myself. Even though I acknowledge I have a long way to go on this journey of self-love and respect, I’m making progress by losing weight in a healthy manner.
  5. I had a great hair day yesterday: 
    Good hair day!

    Good hair day!

So that’s all I’ve got on this wintry, “spring” Friday.

Anyone else have a race planned for this weekend?

I’m back from the unplanned hiatus :)

Hello blogging friends!

It’s been a challenging 2+ weeks for me and I needed time to rest and recharge. Actually, more accurately, I needed time to process and work through my feelings on Boston. Thank you to everyone out there for your posts related to the bombings and for feeling comfortable enough to be so vulnerable so publicly.

Winter has seemed unending this year, and like most Minnesotans, I’m suffering from a severe case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. We had a lovely weekend this past weekend (we hit 70!), but are expecting snow to return this week. I don’t think I can handle much more of this mentally, but, it doesn’t look like I’ll get much of a choice!

I’ve been busy with Body Pump (increased weights last night!!), went for a swim for the first time in years, and of course have been running. Moms On the Run has started back up officially, and I’m really looking forward to the structure of the runs and am hoping it will help me get faster. I’d really like to be able to run a 5k in under 30 minutes at some point in my life!

Choir has been hectic, too, as we had our first concert last Saturday. I’m happy to report it went splendidly and am looking forward to the two we have left this week. I feel so blessed to get the opportunity to sing with such wonderful people and make beautiful music. I am looking forward to the break this summer so I can focus more on running prior to my two upcoming half-marathons!

Additionally, I went up to Fargo last weekend for my friend’s son’s baptism (she finally had the baby!). I was (and still am) incredibly honored to be asked to be his sponsor, so it was a really special weekend that helped me remember the wonder of life and reflect on all I have thankful for. I really hope that I’m able to be a positive influence in his life and help him grow and learn. He’s already such a lucky guy to have such amazing parents!

I have so much to catch up on, but promise I’m back and will be blogging more regularly again!🙂

How is the weather in your neck of the woods? Enjoy it twice as much for me, please, if you are experiencing legit spring weather!!

I’m Addicted to Races

Seriously – I had to cut myself off because I still find myself searching for more and more to sign up for. I need (see how I do that, start justifying this by using words like “need” instead of “want”?!) to sign up for a couple 10 milers this summer/fall to help get acclimated to running long distances prior to Disney, so I’ll have to lift the moratorium at some point. Smile

It’s going to be a really fun spring (if it ever arrives!!) and summer for sure – here’s what I am currently signed up for:

Run or Dye “Fun” Run 5k – May 4th


Photo courtesy Run or Dye

I am VERY excited for this run, because the Nelson side of the family decided at Easter to make it a family event. I’m unsure how many of us ended up signing up, but it should be around 10 people. I am such a “family” girl, so the thought of sharing a race with my family is pretty incredible.

Rave Run “Fun” Run 5k – May 10th

This should be a fun run, too, because it’s a night race and I LOVE night races. The husband and I are running this one with a friend, so it should be a blast. Glow in the dark sticks, neon lights, and a promise of an after-party also have me psyched.

Grandma’s Half-Marathon – June 22nd

Image taken from Grandma’s Half website

I am SO excited to get to experience Grandma’s this year – we were luckily selected in the lottery (I’ve read the chances of being selected are roughly 50/50), so the ability to get to run this seems even more special. I’ve heard raves about Grandma’s for years (even before I cared about running), and am so excited to see what the hype is all about. I checked and there is a net-decrease in elevation, so I’m hoping a PR will be in store for me as well.

Warrior Dash 5k Mud Run – June 29th


This will be my second year doing the Warrior Dash – it is held at one of Minnesota’s downhill skill areas (which apparently is laughable to those from mountainous states), so nearly the entire course is straight uphill. I’m hoping that the Body Pump and additional running will help with my endurance this year as I absolutely left room for improvement last year!

Color Run “Fun” Run – July 14th


This will be my second year doing the Color Run. It was such a blast last year, I am excited for a repeat this year!

Twilight 5k – July 27th


This will be my second year doing the Twilight 5k, but I’m looking forward to this race because it’s a night race (hence “twilight”), and I PR-ed here last year (before PR-ing again later in the season). I’m hoping for a repeat PR this year!

Disney Wine and Dine Half-Marathon – November 9th


I am most excited about this race! Not only is it in my favorite place on Earth, but, this is what got me hooked on the blogging world! Dan and I had been planning to take a trip to Disney the week of November 9th, but soon discovered W&D Half was also that weekend, so we had to race it. We will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary, so it should be a pretty special trip in more ways than one!

As you can see, I’m looking a little empty from August through October, so I’ll need (there I go again with “need” Smile with tongue out) to find a race or two to fill them up.

Happy racing and running, everyone!

What are some of your upcoming races? Is there a race you’re really looking forward to? Why?

Race Recap: Chocoholic Frolic 10k

Well, this was a race to remember! Last year, this race was called the Running Opener, but the organizers tweaked the race to make it more appealing to a larger audience. I don’t remember how many participants there were last year, but the race didn’t sell out. This year, the race sold out well before race day due to promises of chocolate and awesome race swag (including a tech long-sleeved half-zip T as well as a drawstring bag). The race consisted of a 5k or 10k option, which was the same as last year. I really enjoyed last year’s race (it was my first 10k!) and was looking forward to this newer and hopefully better version!


While I had a mostly good experience at the race, there were some items that annoyed me. First up – packet pick-up was from 12-6pm in St. Paul on the Friday before the race as well as 7:45 am before the race at 9:30. Not only were the hours not terribly accommodating for those of us that work business hours, BUT, they sent out an email on Thursday telling us to get there early to ensure we get a shirt that fits correctly. So, even though I selected my size when signing up for the race, and even though the race sold out WELL in advance of the race, they couldn’t guarantee the correct size? Annoying. Since I couldn’t get to packet pick-up on Friday, we got to packet pick-up FIRST thing Saturday morning and they were out of the size of shirt I ordered. So, we got there early thinking we could get the correct sizes; that didn’t happen, and then we had to wait in our car for an hour and a half! Why wait in the car? Because Minnesota is AWESOME and the weather was 35 degrees and rainy! Sad smile











I was puffy in the morning and complaining that I looked ridiculous when I smiled – Dan said jokingly, “do the duck-face!” – it worked. Smile with tongue out

Overall, the course was nice – it was two loops for the 10k-ers, which isn’t my favorite, but it was quiet with few pedestrians in the way (it probably didn’t hurt that the weather was crappy). There is one nasty hill, but I like challenges. Smile


Above photo taken from Final Stretch’s Instagram page

I was consciously trying to keep myself from going too hard too fast – I’ve been getting speedier, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t bonk halfway through the race. I ran at a steady 12:30 pace for the first 5 miles or so (with walk breaks here and there to give my legs a break) and then gave myself permission to kick it into gear at mile 5. I ran the sixth mile at a 10:50 pace (what?! I’ve never come CLOSE to that before) and the last .2 miles at a 9:30 pace (which was my best effort at a “sprint” that long into the race). I PR-ed by 30 seconds and am still on a high from how much faster I was able to run the last mile or so. I know now I could have pushed the pace earlier on, but I’m not unhappy with my strategy. I just know better now for upcoming races!


After the race, we went quickly to find our chocolaty snacks! I was EXTREMELY disappointed with what was left over (I wasn’t that slow – there were probably a good 40 people behind me) for us “slow” people. The chocolate dipping sauce was gone, so I got two Oreos and chocolate milk. That’s it. Oh, and a banana. And they ran out of potato chips. I am very hopeful that Final Stretch learned a thing or two about the race this year to fix for next year. Being a slower runner, it gets really annoying when races run out of things prior to us finishing. We paid as much as the faster runners, and I feel that we deserve everything we paid for. Additionally, they started the drawing for prizes (chocolates and such) BEFORE everyone finished. I felt sorry for the last runner – if I felt forgotten, who knows how they were feeling.

We grabbed a quick picture with two of my running buddies, and then left to head home and get out of our cold clothes.


Overall, it was okay – I definitely won’t rave about this, and I’ll think twice before participating again next year unless they assure us they will be better prepared.

What’s your biggest pet-peeve at races?

Weekly Recap – April 8th

MONDAY: Body Pump

TUESDAY: 5.6 miles outside

WEDNESDAY: Rest – I needed a night off to be an introvert🙂

THURDSAY: Rest – choir rehearsal

FRIDAY: Rest – taught three voice lessons

SATURDAY: Chocoholic Frolic 10k – recap coming shortly!

SUNDAY: 2 mile walk to loosen up the legs

April Mileage: 13.8 miles

YTD Mileage: 107.1 miles

Notes: I had a very busy week with both running and music – it was wonderful! Plus, I PR-ed at the Chocoholic Frolic 10k (despite crappy weather and crappy hills). I’m planning to start integrating some swimming and other cross-training cardio options as I continue to ramp up mileage to give my legs and body time to recover.

Happy running, everyone!

How is April starting off for you? Has the weather cooperated for outdoor exercising in your neck of the woods?

My Love Affair With Choral Music

It’s been a while since a music post, so I thought I’d dedicate today’s blog post to one of my favorite genres of classical music: choral. I am very lucky to have been born and raised in a state that not only highly values classical music (well, at least we used to – I’ll avoid getting up on my soap box regarding the current MN Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra lockouts), but many different types. Specifically, Minnesota is a large participant in the Lutheran Choral Tradition (I capitalized it because I think it deserves it…even if grammatically incorrect :)) which was popularized by F. Melius Christiansen. We have some wonderful private Lutheran colleges with highly praised choral programs which have continued this tradition, including my alma mater, Concordia College. I was lucky enough to get to sing with the Concordia Choir under the direction of Dr. Rene Clausen for three years, and they were some of the most rewarding years of my life thus far (and most likely to come).


Current Concordia Choir (image courtesy Concordia College)

I don’t talk religion often, because I views beliefs as highly personal, but something about the action of singing together with 70 other people is a very spiritual experience for me. I can’t articulate specifically what it feels like, but for you choral singers out there, you know the instant where everything just *clicks* and you lose yourself in the music? There’s nothing else like it. It’s simultaneously very personal and very public, because you are sharing this experience with peers you have worked so hard with to create the best music you can, while basking in the feelings you as an individual are feeling. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

In my second year of the Concordia Choir, we performed Dr. Clausen’s piece, “In Pace” (Latin for “In Peace”). One of the best parts of choir was Dr. Clausen – not only an incredibly talented composer, arranger, conductor, musician, etc., Dr. Clausen is a wonderful human. He would always tell us the background behind the pieces we were singing in order to appreciate more when performing (and, as a music history buff, this was especially appreciated on my part). According to what he told us during rehearsal, Dr. Clausen wrote “In Pace” in response to his visit to a concentration camp in Germany during one of the Concordia Choir’s international tours. After hearing that, I don’t think I made it through a rehearsal or performance without tearing up. One of Dr. Clausen’s strengths as a composer is to use chords and voicing to create crescendos that build and build to a climax that is typically very emotional for the performer and audience member. There are two main climaxes in this song, the first occurring around the 4:55 minute mark and the second occurring around the 6:30 minute mark which can be heard in the version the Concordia Choir performed back in the 90s that’s made available through Spotify to listen to: Concordia Choir – In Pace.

The text translated to English reads:

In peace, I shall lay me down and take my rest. If I surrender my eyes and eyelids to slumber, I shall sleep and rest. Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Even to this day, I have trouble getting through listening to the song without becoming emotional. To me, this piece transcends singing notes on a page – it speaks to a part of my soul. I wish for everyone to have this experience – even if it’s not with music, that you find something that speaks to you on a level that could never be accurately articulated.

And with that, I wish you a wonderful Friday and a fantastic weekend!

Happy listening, singing, running, exploring, or doing whatever else gives you great joy!