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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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?

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?

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?

Twin Cities Jogging Tours

This past weekend I participated in my third jogging tour around the Twin Cities with Twin Cities Jogging Tours. They are so much fun and I’m already looking forward to #4!

The first tour I went on was the Haunted Jogging Tour which took place last October (during the creepiest time of year!). We jogged around St. Paul and visited some of the haunted sites around town. We learned so much and had a wonderful time getting to know our tour guide and owner of Twin Cities Jogging Tours, Angie. Here are some pics from the first tour (all photos taken from Angie’s facebook page Twin Cities Jogging Tours):

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The gang in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral

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Hanging out with Izzy at the Science Museum

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We thought the lighting paired with the orange leaves looked neat – we are right across the street from Forepaugh’s Restaurant

Our second tour was the Christmas lights tour in St. Paul. There were some pretty lights, but overall the consensus was that St. Paul needs to step it up next year! Here are some photos with some of the lights we were able to see.

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I can’t remember where this was, but the tree was really tall and we were impressed at the dedication to decorate all the way to the top!

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Governor’s residence decorated for the season

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This tree was STUNNING in person – can you imagine how many strings of lights this must have taken??

Last weekend’s tour was down in the St. Anthony area of Minneapolis where we learned about the old mills and the rebirth of Minneapolis in St. Anthony and across the river. There was a bride doing a photo shoot (it was 30 degrees and sunny, but STILL) and lots of runners enjoying the beautiful weather before the snowstorm arrived Monday. Here are some photos from the tour:

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It was a beautiful Minnesota winter day!

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Minneapolis skyline behind us

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I *love* this one…we are nerds 🙂

Angie was delightful as always and we all really enjoyed ourselves. I’m hoping the Minneapolis downtown tour will be the next one we book with her. I highly recommend booking one of these if you’re at all interested. She goes at whatever pace is comfortable for you (even doing walking tours for those non-runners), and is so knowledgeable. Check her out: Twin Cities Jogging Tours!

Have a wonderful rest of your week!!

Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis (EIA)

So one of the more interesting experiences I’ve had since I started running was being diagnosed with Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis…that’s right, I’m allergic to exercise!!

So rewind to early December last year – I was out for my normal run with one of the running clubs I belong to. The weather had just shifted to being cold (my recollection is that it was probably 35 degrees + wind chill), so I was wearing all the cold weather gear (hat, mittens, etc.). After about two miles, my hands started feeling itchy. I thought maybe my mittens just needed to be washed after being in a basket all summer and didn’t think much of it. We finished up our run (about three miles total) and everyone else stayed behind to stretch, but I decided I might be having a little reaction to the mittens, so I was going to head home to take some Benadryl.

As I’m driving home, my face starts feeling tingly, but I assumed it was my face warming up after being outside in the cold. I checked the rear-view mirror at one point and was shocked to see a very puffy Katy looking back at me. At this point, my tongue was starting to feel funny (at from having a family full of nurses, I knew puffy tongue could mean restricted airway shortly), so I decided to call 9-1-1.

Everyone kept demanding to know what I ate, but I hadn’t eaten anything except a banana in over four hours. The paramedics drove me to the hospital (after giving me a dose of Epinephrine and some Benadryl, along with some oxygen to help with my breathing), and they kept me under surveillance for a couple hours to make sure I wouldn’t start reacting again. My fingers were so swollen I couldn’t take off my wedding ring for two days!

I went to an Allergist, and after lots of questions, he determined that I have something called Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis. He recommended I do some research on the Mayo clinic’s website, but that I always need to have an Epi Pen with me at all times, and gave me a regimen of Allegra and Singulair to help with preventing a future reaction. The best part was that he said in the 50 or so cases he’s seen in his entire career, there was only one where the person couldn’t run anymore due to the condition. I was so scared he was going to tell me no more running, and that would be devastating.

From what I’ve been able to discover online, it appears that this typically presents itself in people in their late 20s/early 30s, and that they can have a reaction once and potentially be symptom free for years before another episode. So far, the meds have been managing the symptoms pretty well, as I haven’t had another full-blown anaphylactic reaction. I did have a minor reaction last week where my hands got a little puffy and I started getting hives, but I popped two Benadryls and another Allegra, and the symptoms subsided within an hour or so.

In addition to the Epi Pen, I can’t ever go for solo runs again. I’ve needed to train my fellow running buddies on how to use the Epi Pen in case I go into shock and can’t administer the shot on my own. Additionally, I can’t be alone for 30 minutes after a run, in case symptoms develop after I’ve stopped moving. Overall I’ve been able to manage these requirements pretty easily (thanks to some incredibly flexible and patient running buddies who wait with me and/or drive me places), but it does get annoying from time to time.

Initially, everyone was incredibly apologetic to me about this condition, but I found it (and still do for the most part) so hilarious. People just joke about being allergic to exercise, no one actually is, right?! At least now I have something interesting to share about myself whenever I find myself in those uncomfortable “ice-breaker” exercises, right??

I’m a little nervous about how my body will manage this condition once the weather warms up, and I’m hoping that I continue to go incident-free. I’ve got Grandma’s Half in a few months, and the Disney Wine and Dine Half in November that I’m very much looking forward to. One way or another I’m running those races!!

Does anyone else know anyone who suffers from this condition? Does anyone have any pieces of advice for me?