TGIF??

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?

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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!!

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!

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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?

Something’s Gotta Give

So…I blinked and it’s now April 3rd! This means, time for a new set of monthly goals. Last month I wasn’t terribly successful (I need to take more pictures!), so here’s a late-entry for a bonus point:

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I got a haircut!

As I consider what I want to focus on this month, I have Ella Fitzgerald’s version of “Something’s Gotta Give” running through my head.

Ella Fitzgerald

Often, songs pop into my head that perfectly describe how I’m feeling at the moment – it’s completely subconscious and usually neat (unless it’s an obnoxious song such as “Tubthumping”…I know, what kind of crazy subconscious mind do I have?!). At any rate, I’m feeling spread thin. I am part of a running club that starts running 2x/week shortly, choir that rehearses weekly, I teach lessons two nights per week, blogging, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and oh, my job that has picked up in workload recently. Also, I am an introvert, so I gain energy from alone time which I have been severely lacking in. I found this a few months back and boy does it resonate with me – check it out:

0wkaL

I feel that I’m at the point where I’m on the edge of a breakdown, which typically consists of shutting down and doing nothing. I think part of the reason why I’ve been able to continue with such a busy schedule for so long is that I genuinely am enjoying everything I’m involved in. I love teaching – it brings more joy to me (and hopefully my students!) than I thought it would. I love singing and making music. I love being physically active. I love the fact that I’m getting to know a young person and hopefully be a positive adult role model. I love connecting with other runners and music lovers in this amazing blogging world. So what now?

After many days of pondering, “what now?”, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get comfortable having a busy life. I need to get comfortable living outside of my comfort zone. So, that’s my goal for April – get comfortable with the new me.

And take more pictures…I still need to take more pictures. Smile

Are any of the rest of you busy people? How do you cope?

Weekly Recap–April 1st

What a week it has been – even though I was absent from the blogging world, I was physically active outside it! As I type this recap, I’m considering what goals I should make for April – check back for a post on those tomorrow.

MONDAY: Rest – sick day

TUESDAY: 5.6 miles outside – it was beautiful!

WEDNESDAY: Rest – Sick hubby

THURDSAY: Rest – Hung out with my friend before she headed back to TX

FRIDAY: 3.8 miles outside – I ran one of my miles at a less than 11 minute per mile pace!!

SATURDAY: Rest – Fun with the “Little Sis” from Big Brothers Big Sisters

SUNDAY – Happy Easter!: 3.8 miles outside solo – first solo run since the allergic reaction in December

March Mileage: 47.2 miles

YTD Mileage: 93.3 miles

Notes: I had some breakthroughs this week with speed – have I mentioned that I’m a “slower” runner? I typically average around a 12:00 mile, and on Friday I ran one of my miles at a 10:50 pace, and my run on Sunday, I averaged at a pace of 11:30. Perhaps the Body Pump and Yoga are already starting to help? Or, I’ve really started ramping up the mileage in anticipation for Grandma’s in June, and that has helped make me more efficient. Either way, I see my yearly goal of running a 5k in under 34:30 and lifetime goal of running a 5k at a 10:00/mile pace as very attainable!

Happy running, everyone!

How did your training go in March? What changes are you looking to make in April?

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?