The “Usual Loop”

I haven’t been posting enough picture posts!! Problem, solved. Smile

I thought it would be fun to do a post on the route we run the most which has come to be called the “Usual Loop” in the Dahle-house. It’s 3.8 miles long and we run mostly on the North Cedar Lake Trail in St. Louis Park. It has a nice variety of hills and flat sections (along with slow inclines) so that I always feel quite accomplished, even though it’s not a terribly long loop.

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We went out last Saturday for a run because it was gorgeous outside – nothing makes me happier than wintry days in MN where there’s not a cloud in the sky. Everything seems to sparkle and the air smells so fresh – I wish I could capture the scent and share with everyone! I missed it tons when we lived in Ohio.

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It was nice enough I was able to take my new Saucony Virratas out for their first outdoor run, and they responded well (as I assumed they would). I’ll do a post on them later…but, in the meantime, if you’re in the market for more minimal shoes, check them out!

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The trails were still pretty icy, but the ice has melted down lots in the past week or two (believe it or not). I still walk like a penguin over the ice, as I’m too paranoid at this point in the season to let myself get injured RIGHT before nicer weather arrives!

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After running through the ice, we come upon a cute little park overlooking a small lake that is so pretty in the summer and fall. There are always kiddos playing at the park and it’s just a fun area to run through.

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After we cross into the park, we run up a big hill that I always force myself to run up (even when my legs feel like jelly). Something about that hill makes me not want to let it win, ever! Smile At the top of the hill, you can barely make out the Minneapolis skyline which is one of my favorite parts of the run (you can’t really see it in the picture below, but it’s right above the apartment building the sun is lighting).

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From this hill, we enter yet another park (have I mentioned that I live in St. Louis Park, right? Winking smile) and from this park, we are almost home. In this final park, the city puts Christmas lights on all of the trees so it’s a winter wonderland from November – February. I’ll have to remember to take a picture of it next year, because it’s SO PRETTY.

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The weather is expected to be in the 40s this weekend (woo-hoo!) so, hopefully all the snow in the pictures will be disappearing quickly!!

Happy running, everyone!

Do you have a “usual” route? If so, what do you love about it?

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Weekly Recap – March 25th

I’m a little late this week – sorry! I wasn’t feeling well over the weekend and have been battling some insomnia issues, so I just wasn’t able to get the blog updated timely. I promise I will do better this week!

MONDAY: Rest – Dawson’s Creek night with the framily

TUESDAY: Body Pump (1 hr) and Zumba (1 hr)

WEDNESDAY: 3.8 miles outside – teaching after

THURDSAY: Rest – choir night!

FRIDAY: Rest – teaching night

SATURDAY: 3.8 miles outside and fun with the “Little Sis” from Big Brothers Big Sisters

SUNDAY: Rest – I wasn’t feeling well

March Mileage: 34 miles

YTD Mileage: 80.1 miles

Notes: Well, I got back to Body Pump…that’s good, right?? This was an “off”-feeling week. We had a 6 miler scheduled for Sunday, but I just wasn’t feeling great with the lack of sleep. I’m careful not to push myself too hard when I’m not prepared, as I think this might be playing a role into when I have minor allergic reactions. We ordered a new bed on Sunday, so maybe more restful sleep will help!

Happy running, everyone!

Running Playlist

Happy Spring (I think)!

Ironically, here in MN, we are experiencing wind chills of below-zero temps today…spring, will you ever arrive?? Last year on St. Patrick’s Day it was 80 degrees! It has to warm up eventually, right?!

In anticipation of warmer weather and ramping up the mileage, I’ve been reworking my running playlist and thought I’d share some of my favorite tunes that keep me motivated during my runs. I’ll skip the classical run playlist for now (anyone else out there enjoy listening to classical music during runs?) and focus on the “pop” songs. Here are my top five songs:

1. Anything Could Happen – Ellie Goulding

I love the beat of this song (plus I just love Ellie Goulding in general) – it’s upbeat, but slower so it helps me subconsciously remember to breathe. I also love the repetition of the lyrics, “anything could happen” – I use this to remind myself that it’s my choice on whether or not I’m going to give my run 100% of what I’ve got; I can decide to make it an okay run or a great run!

2. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield

This is such a “feel-good” song, right? Good beat, good pace, great message! This is especially good for me as I’m a person who fears the “what-ifs” WAY too much – it reminds me that nothing is set in stone, the future is yet unwritten and challenges me to make the most of it!

3. Dog Days are Over – Florence and the Machine

I love the slow-build of this song along with Florence’s voice – she’s so talented (and fantastic live)! Plus, the lyrics of “run fast for you mother, fast for your father, run for your children, for your sister and your brother” always gets me going!

4. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

This is my all-time favorite karaoke song (along with many other people, I’m sure), but what makes this one so special is at our wedding, this song came on during the reception and the entire room erupted in song and sang along – it was awesome!

5. Fighter – Christina Aguilera

I may or may not have blasted this 24/7 during a previous break-up…but, I love that this song has transformed its meaning for me. Initially, it was literal – using pain from a break-up to find that I’m better off, but now I focus on how much I’ve changed as a person and remember the person who used I be as inspiration for finding strength in the person I am now. I will run at a 10 min/mile pace someday!

So, going through these songs got me even more excited for spring weather and being able to run outside without dodging ice patches and wearing 10,000 layers! Here’s hoping warmer weather arrives sooner rather than later!

What are some of your favorite running songs?

Weekly Recap–March 18th

MONDAY: Body Pump and Yoga – two hours of torture…I kid, I kid…

TUESDAY: 2.5 miles outside – it was cold and I wasn’t feeling well (had planned 4 miles)

WEDNESDAY: 3.8 miles outside, plus teaching afterwards

THURSDAY: Rest – choir night

FRIDAY: Rest – Fondue with some friends!

SATURDAY: Rest – I wasn’t feeling well

SUNDAY: 5.5 miles with temps at 0 degrees (before enjoying ourselves at the bar for St. Patty’s Day!)

March Mileage: 26.4 miles

YTD Mileage: 72.5 miles

Notes:  Overall, I feel pretty good about the week – I managed to survive Body Pump (and even joined the Y on Sunday so I can continue to enjoy it!) and get some mileage in even though I wasn’t feeling 100%. Looking to step it up into half marathon training this next week.

Happy running, everyone!

How was everyone’s St. Patrick’s Day??

KT Tape Review

So I’ve been using the KT Tape for roughly three weeks now, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on it.

Firstly, I think it’s probably a good idea to go to a doctor/physical therapist and get aches and pains medically diagnosed. I’ve been trying to be REALLY cheap medically since my allergic reaction last fall that essentially drained my HSA, so I self-diagnosed myself initially with Achilles Tendonitis. I ended up taping my ankle based upon that false diagnosis, and the tape actually made the pain worse.

I did a little more digging and self-diagnosing and determined that I more likely suffer from Peroneal Tendonitis (the pain is in the back of my ankle, but travels to the outside of the ankle as well). I went on to KT Tape’s website to find the new taping instructions (they have a video plus a PDF you can download), and taped up my ankle for the second time.

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After wearing the tape for a few runs over the course of a few weeks, I can say I’m absolutely a fan. It doesn’t take away the pain completely, but it’s given me added flexibility and I can really tell the difference the morning after runs. Typically, I limp downstairs due to stiffness/pain that usually subsides after a few minutes walking around. Since using the KT Tape, I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in that there is no pain and only mild stiffness.

I know I still need to get to the doctor, BUT, I can see how this product will be beneficial to me in the future with other aches and pains I’m sure to develop as I continue on my running journey.

Happy running, everyone!

Does anyone else do anything to help with their aches and pains associated with exercise?

Apparently, I Am Out of Shape

Yep…I really thought all my running meant I was in better shape than I am. I went with my friend to try Body Pump and Yoga at the local YMCA this past Monday, and I am STILL SORE. I foolishly thought that running (and watching my legs lean-up) meant they were strong and in shape…try some squats, my friends. Smile

I really enjoyed the Body Pump class though – it was 60 minutes long and it broke up all the different muscle groups and exercises so it wasn’t as boring and monotonous as lifting weights can sometimes seem. Even though I enjoyed the class, I spent the majority of class internally cursing myself for letting myself get so out of shape. Before Dan and I got married, we started seeing a personal trainer (Jose was the BEST) and with his help, we both lost weight and gained strength. It’s really tough remembering how much I used to be able to do and how little I’m currently able to do. Oh well, I went and moved my body and that’s what mattered.

So, after KILLING myself at Body Pump, we headed to Yoga which turned out to be a really stupid idea. My muscles were done – fatigued to the point I had to grasp the handrail when walking downstairs because my legs felt like jelly. Luckily, the yoga class happened to be led by the NICEST instructor EVER. As we were trying poses, my muscles were shaking so badly that I couldn’t do anything. I decided about halfway through class that I would just use this as stretching and meditating, and that’s essentially what I did. Our lovely instructor kept saying “everyone is doing their best – this isn’t a place for judgment” – I must have looked a mess! So, I know I would love attending this again in the future, but preferably NOT after Body Pump.

I am writing all of this on Thursday and I still can’t lift my arms properly. The runs I’ve gone on the past couple days have helped loosen up the legs, but boy my muscles are enjoying reminding me that they exist and need some attention! I’m a little concerned that the heavy leg work might not be the best idea with training for a half, since I felt quite pokey as the legs just weren’t cooperating. Anyone else run into this issue?

Completely off-topic, but I finally tried the new Starbucks Hazelnut Macchiato Latte, and I’m a fan:

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Sbux = Yummy!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Since I didn’t get to fully enjoy the yoga at the Y, does anyone have a DVD or studio in the Minneapolis area they recommend?

My Life as a Sometimes Music Teacher

My studio is well underway and has been officially in existence for over six months. I had always thrown around the idea of starting a studio, but had some anxiety (have I mentioned yet that change and I don’t typically get along all too well?) surrounding “what-ifs”. Last fall I decided to stop fearing what wasn’t and start embracing what is, and haven’t looked back!

Here are some items I’ve learned through this new adventure:

#1) I thought I would be the one teaching and not learning, but I have discovered I too have been learning a great deal.

What I hadn’t anticipated was what a wide range of abilities I would be tasked with teaching from the get-go. I had students who had some musical background and could sight-read and match pitch well; at the same time, I had students who were approaching singing needing more help with the basics. I learned it’s important to help students recognize the progress they’re making – whether it’s singing an entire song a cappella in tune, or finding proper placement of a vowel on the first try.

#2) Everyone is on their own journey and it’s important to respect and embrace that.

Maybe I think too much or something, but I’ve noticed through teaching (especially through teaching people in different life stages), that it’s very important to go at their pace for learning and growing (with a little nudge here and there when needed Smile). Similar to how I’ve found running be such a personal experience, making music can be a very personal and meaningful journey. I feel so blessed every lesson I teach that I have been selected to accompany my student on their journey.

#3) Everyone is different and has different learning styles – it’s important as a teacher to figure out (and quickly might I add) what their style is and embrace it.

I learned in college that every teacher should be prepared to present any given topic in seven different ways to accommodate everyone’s different learning styles. This is probably the thing I use in lessons more than everything else I learned. For students who have the technical background, I can use technical terms to help them achieve the correct placement, for example. For those who don’t have the technical background, I have to explain things in a way that is meaningful to them.

All this after only six months – I can’t wait to see what the next six years bring!

Happy making music, all! Note

Any other teachers out there? If so, what lessons have you learned in your teaching experience?