Monday, May 23, 2016

Training Week 20: Marathons & Birthday Cake

Well hello there and happy Monday! This is my short and sweet update with the #WeeklyWrap crew.

Today is my littlest one's first birthday and I'm celebrating my 29th tomorrow! Our birthday cake is baking as I write this. 🎂

My husband and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary last Thursday. We even snuck away for a date without kids!

And I completed my 7th full marathon on Saturday! I will share the full recap next week. 😊


Fargo Marathon Training Week 20:

Monday, May 16

Easy-Effort: 4 miles.

Tuesday, May 17

Speed Intervals: (Treadmill) 2.5 miles.

1.5 miles @ MP

Wednesday, May 18

The little ones and I made a trip to my parents' farm to visit!

Thursday, May 19

Easy-Effort: 1.5 miles.

Friday, May 20

My husband got today and the whole weekend off so we went to the race expo as a family! Then lunch and shopping with my parents and youngest brother.

Saturday, May 21

Fargo Marathon: 26.2 mi, 03:57 @ 09:03 avg pace.

The race recap is coming next week!

Sunday, May 22

Rest, rest, rest!

Total Mileage: 34.2 miles

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Training Week 19: Race Week #KeepOnCruzin GIVEAWAY with Santa Cruz Organic #MomsMeet

Race week has arrived. Eeek!!! 

Tapering brings a mix of emotions. I'm excited to return to Fargo, anxious about logistics in a busy city, and just plain happy that training was enjoyable even with a 3-year-old and  almost 1-year-old at home.

All nerves aside, toeing the line should be a celebration.

Race day is like a gigantic party celebrating the fact that you SURVIVED marathon training! Training is the hard work, isn't it? Racing is the party.

Fargo Marathon 2011: Check out those T-Rex running arms!

I'm celebrating race week with a Santa Cruz Organic #KeepOnCruzin giveaway! I couldn't have received these Santa Cruz products at a better time. We hit 93°F that week and the Agua Fresca was phenomenal!

Santa Cruz Organic is a pioneer organic brand and was the first to have a wide range of organic, 100 percent juices and blends. They currently offer more than 50 organic items ranging from organic fruit juices and sparkling beverages to organic fruit sauces, chocolate syrups, peanut butters, and fruit spreads.

As a Moms Meet Ambassador, Santa Cruz Organic sent me their Agua Fresca, apple sauce pouches, and lemonade to try.

The farm my husband works has been busy planting lately so the boys and I spent our evenings delivering supper to the field and sneaking a tractor ride on occasion. We took our Santa Cruz Organic products with us — Agua Fresca for me, apple sauce pouches for the kids.

Agua Fresca contains only USDA Certified Organic ingredients, including organic juice/fruit puree as the first ingredient after water. Unlike other juices, their Agua Fresca isn't overloaded with sugar, containing only 14g compared to the average juice's 23g.

I tried their Pomegranate flavor and it's also available in Mango, Passionfruit, and Grapefruit. A 32 oz. bottle of Santa Cruz Organic Agua Fresca retails for $3.20 - $3.49 (depending on the location).

The Apple Sauce pouches were a fun extra that Santa Cruz Organic sent me. For review sake, I stole a taste from my 1-year-old's snack and it tasted like... apple sauce (surprise, surprise!).

Both kids LOVED them and I love the fact that they only include three ingredients: Organic Apples, Water, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).

Now it's your turn!

Enter my giveaway to win two bottles of Santa Cruz Organic Agua Fresca!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fargo Marathon Training Week 19:

Monday, May 9

Easy-Effort with double stroller: 5 mi, 00:47 @ 09:25 avg pace.

Windy and took a couple walk breaks while going straight into the wind. I'm glad we went early because it was really whipping later!

Tuesday, May 10

Speed Intervals: (Treadmill) 5 mi, 00:39 @ 07:44 avg pace. 1:00 x 6 plank variations.

 2k @ 7:22
 1 mile @ 7:01
 1k @ 6:45
 .5 mile @ 6:32
 (90 sec. recovery after each interval)

Wednesday, May 11

Strength Training: 6 x 1:00 plank variations, bridges, hip raises, lunges, leg raises.

Thursday, May 12

Tempo: 6.01 mi, 00:49 @ 08:07 avg pace.

Early early morning run before they started trucking today. The 5 to 6 am time slot isn't my favorite, but it sure beats running in this wind with the stroller! I woke up feeling a bit worn down; ran the first interval hard and then stepped back on the second. 2 x 2.5 @ 7:14, 7:53

Friday, May 13

Easy-Effort: 3.1 miles.

Windy, cold morning out with our dog. It was 37 degrees that morning and later it started SLEETING! Isn't it supposed to be May right now?!

Saturday, May 14

Long Run: 12.01 mi, 01:41, 08:22 avg pace.

Honestly I felt tired on this run... but, hey, it was the last one for Fargo! 6 x 1:00 plank variations.

Sunday, May 15


Total Mileage: 31.12 miles

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up and Erica and Smitha on the Wednesday Giveaway Roundup.

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Essential Home Cookin' Recipes {Book Review}

This week I have been exploring the book "Home Cooked" by Anya Fernald and Jessica Battilana.

From a graphic design perspective, I LOVE this book! The photography is wonderful, the spreads are well-designed and the copy isn't just about how to cook the food — each recipe is a story in itself.

The recipes vary in difficulty and include the step-by-step process along with beautiful accompanying pictures. For non-gourmet chefs like me, there are simple yet delicious such as the Asado Potatoes, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Buttery Piecrust recipes. Plus, there are plenty of more complicated recipes for the advanced cook.

Today my husband made the Asado Potatoes for lunch. Did I mention he's an awesome cook?!

The ingredients were simple: potatoes, butter, salt and pepper. After slicing the potatoes, he arranged them in a spiral in our cast-iron pan. He poured half of the butter over the potatoes and then seasoned with salt and pepper before roasting.

The potatoes were roasted until they were tender, brown and crispy on top, about 45 minutes. After adding the remaining butter, they were ready to serve.

Yum. This recipe was a great way to use up some of the many potatoes sitting in our pantry! My only wish is that the pages of the book were butter-resistant. We got a little on the Asado Potatoes page spread...

  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Training Week 18: May is...

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and your May is off to a good start!

All allergy/cold/sniffles/sickness aside, May has been amazing. The kids and I are taking in all of this gorgeous weather, the farmers around here are planting like crazy, and the Fargo Marathon is only TWO WEEKS away! Good news. That means taper starts today.

This is our May (so far) in pictures!

May is... the smell of fresh laundry drying on the clothes line.

May is... watching our tulips bloom.

May is... tractor rides with Daddy. Do you think toddler E enjoys the rides just a little?

May is... extra outdoor exploration time.

May is... when our neighborhood comes alive with runners, bikers and walkers! E said he's training for a race this summer. Him and I may do a 1-mile run/walk in our town this summer. We'll see how his "training" goes :)

May is... BIRTHDAY MONTH! We are celebrating W's first birthday on the 23rd, I'm turning 29 on the 24th (and so begins the last year of my 20's!), and Grandma P's birthday is on the 26th. Lots of partying to do!

May is... Fargo Marathon time. I'm mostly excited and a little nervous. I am thankful that training was so much fun this time. Bring on the taper!

I shared my appreciation for compression gear while recovering in a recent post and I had the opportunity to try SLS3's Compression Foot Sleeves.

These foot sleeves relieve swelling and improves blood circulation after beating your feet to a pulp on the long run. The arch support feels great (I'm wearing mine right now!). Use the code "BLOG40" to get 40% off on SLS3's website!

Time for compression gear, extra fluids, foam rolling, and nasal spray... The taper's here and my body is well in need of it!


Fargo Marathon Training Week 18:

Monday, May 2

Easy-Effort with double stroller: 5.12 mi, 00:49 @ 09:34 pace.

This cold or allergy mess is taking it out of me! Today's run was supposed to be 10 miles but I was well done at 5 miles. Good enough!

Tuesday, May 3

 I took an extra rest day this week to completely recover from this sinus cold before it turns into the dreaded sinus infection.

Wednesday, May 4

Another rest day. While getting the kids ready for bed, I snuck in one minute of planking. I guess that counts for "strength training" this week.

Thursday, May 5

Speed Intervals: (Treadmill) 6 mi, 00:48 @ 07:55 pace.

First run back after two days of recovering from this sinus cold/allergy what-not.
1.00 mile @ 7:40 (.25 mile jog after each interval)
 0.75 mile @ 7:22
 0.50 mile @ 7:01
 0.25 mile @ 6:46
 2.00 miles @ 7:40

Friday, May 6

"Easy Effort" with double stroller: 5 mi, 00:50 @ 10:02 pace.

 Windy morning run with a few walk breaks. I pulled the stroller backwards (walking) when we were heading straight into the wind to spare the kids a bit. They seemed comfortable! Me, not so much :)

Saturday, May 7

I took another rest day today because the long run wasn't able to happen. Planting is in full swing which is great, but my husband is working long days and I'm pretty sure I couldn't get our kids to sit in the stroller for 14 miles!

Sunday, May 8

Long Run: 14.4 mi 02:00 08:20 pace

My husband and bro-in-law have Sundays off, even in the busy seasons, so I snuck in a run before church. It was great, minus not feeling well. I'm having a hard time recovering from this sinus cold/whatever it is so I took this run easier than planned. Now for two weeks of recovering from this sick before Fargo!

Total Mileage: 30.52 miles

What is your favorite part of May?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Motivation to Live on Less {Book Review}

Organizing and re-organizing the same amount of stuff over and over will only get you so far. How much "stuff" do we really need?

The More of Less by Joshua Becker has been an eye-opening read about the counter-cultural and often misunderstood concept of "minimalism". He points out that our excessive possessions are not making us happy and, even worse, they are taking us away from the things that do!

In this book, Becker explains the misconceptions about minimalism, the benefits of living with less, and the steps to making it your own — because minimalism looks different for each person.
"I don't advocate getting rid of everything humanly possible. Instead, I encourage people to get rid of what isn't necessary so they can better pursue their goals." Joshua Becker, The More of Less, p. 20
This book was a great motivator for my family and I to sort through our possessions to determine what we really need. I highly recommend this book for anyone doing the same!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Training Week 17: Motherhood Has Changed My Running

First off, I want to wish a Happy (early) Mother's Day to all of you moms, moms-to-be, and everyone who has a mom! That pretty much covers everyone, right? :)

Let me bring you back my first race EVER.

It was a 5k and I took off running at who knows what pace (I didn't even know). As I ran passed a couple of women, one yelled to my 22-year-old self, "You won't be running like that after you have kids!"

Motherhood often gets a bad rap, as in the little story I shared above. In my very limited experience as a mother, I will say that it is challenging and often exhausting but the joy my husband and I have in raising these precious little ones exceeds it all. Times a million.

Joining in for the "Mother & Son" dance at this weekend's wedding

Motherhood has taught me to think about myself less, to push myself more, and the capacity to love these little ones so much has completely amazed me. Becoming a mom has made me better empathize with all my mom and dad went through in raising my brothers and me, too. Sorry, mom and dad!

Contrary to that woman's opinion in my first race, I do not believe motherhood makes you a slower runner. In fact, I think it can make you faster!

Here are a few ways that motherhood has changed the way I run, and for the better:

7 Ways Motherhood Has Changed My Running

1. My personality has chilled out.

While I really appreciate structure and a predicable schedule, becoming a parent has greatly improved my "go-with-the-flow" skills. Our family does have a daily routine, which is beneficial for the kids and us parents, but it's not super rigid. The kids are teaching me to enjoy the blessings in the present moment and to be more flexible with our day and my goals. Life is too short to stress over every detail!

2. Long runs are like a mini-vacation.

Finding a few peaceful moments even in the restroom is a rarity so being able to sneak away for a run is really something special. Running 20 miles does sound daunting but when I think of it as a little "break" from my mommy duties I appreciate it more!

3. Recovery and/or tapering is a hoot.

If I do 5 minutes of stretching after a run AND sneak in a shower, it's a good day! Fitting in foam rolling and legit stretching is difficult some days but I know it will get better when our kids get older. Keeping the two of them out of trouble (and off each other) feels like a marathon in itself some days!

4. Motivation to be an early bird.

Waking up earlier to run alone is the much easier alternative compared to pushing the stroller or trying to sneak a run in on the treadmill. Nap time is sometimes unpredictable (especially with my youngest) and pushing a stroller for speed intervals totally stinks! It's much easier to kick my tail out of bed an hour earlier in the morning. I never regret an early morning run!

5. Labor increases mental toughness.

When the going gets tough during a long run or race, I can reassure myself that "well, at least this isn't as bad as labor!" I think this works both ways because the mental toughness and endurance developed through marathon training helps immensely in the labor and delivery process, too!

6. Pre-race jitters are lessened.

Between pumping a bottle for the baby, packing up the diaper bag, getting the kids dressed and eating breakfast, I have less time to think about being nervous now. I still get some pre-race jitters but the kids do a great job of distracting me with mommy duties. And seeing them again at the end of the race is extra motivation to run faster :)

7. Race goals are more open-minded.

Though I am training with a 3:20-3:30 marathon finish time in mind, my true "goal" is to be grateful and flexible with whatever happens on race day. Maybe tapering was less than restful or the kids were up a lot the night before the race or someone is sick or baby is teething. Many variables come into the picture so keeping an open mind for race day is very helpful.

All I can do is run my hardest on race day and be content with the "best" that my body gives me. If I take racing so seriously that it's not fun any more, it's time to stop running races. Missing a goal time stinks but that's the way it goes sometimes. In the end, being able to run and race is a GIFT in itself. May God be glorified with my best efforts!

Motherhood is joyful chaos. I thank God for my family, this calling on my life and for my own mom and all she does!

Happy early Mother's Day to you!

Our best attempt at a family of photo these days :)


Fargo Marathon Training Week 17:

Monday, April 25

Easy-Effort: 7 mi 01:03 08:56 pace.

Rain, rain, rain this morning!

Tuesday, April 26

 Speed Intervals: (Treadmill) 5.52 mi, 00:42 @ 07:36 pace.

 Intervals followed by 2:00 easy jog:
 3k @ 7:22
 2k @ 7:01
 1k @ 6:46
 .5 mile @ 6:32

Wednesday, April 27

Strength Training: Hip raises, leg raises, bridges. Plank variations for 6:00 total, broken up into 1:00 and 1:30 minute intervals.

Thursday, April 28

Tempo Run: 6.29 mi, 00:47 @ 07:30 pace.

I rarely wake up at 4:30 to run... but planting has begun. 6 miles before 6 am! WU, 3 miles @ 7:13, .5 mile jog, 2 miles @ 7:15, CD

Friday, April 29

"Easy Effort" with double stroller: 6.03 mi, 00:56 @ 09:19 pace.

Having some allergy troubles or a sinus cold. Not sure which one. Running helps to clear the congestion though!

Saturday, April 30

Long Run: 20.27 mi, 02:47 @ 08:14 pace.

Last 20-miler for Fargo. The run went well though I was tempted to skip it due to the whole feeling sick thing. Thankfully I made it, though! This was a "warm-up" for all of the wedding dancing to follow that evening! I was thankful to sneak in a short nap with the kids that afternoon before the wedding.

Sunday, May 1


Total Mileage: 45.11

How has your current life season changed your running?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Be Authentically, Uniquely, Distinctly You! {Book Review}

Distinctly You by Cheryl Martin isn't your typical self-help book that tells you to look "inside yourself" to discover who you really are. She points us to the true source of our identity — God.

Martin begins by explaining that God has meticulously planned our design from our looks and intelligence to our personality and heritage. Everything! He made us with something specific in mind that is perfectly matched with our specific blend of abilities and characteristics.

While the world picks on those who go against the "norm", God created us to stand out, to be unique, the best we can be... to be distinct.
"When you are distinct, you allow God's Word to be your standard for living, not popular opinion or popular culture; not what your neighbors or co-workers are doing, or what your favorite television show espouses, but God. It is impossible to experience distinction as God intended by going your own way or following the crowd." Distinctly You, p. 115 (emphasis added)
Martin delves deeper into the life of godly distinction by defining twelve "blockers" and twelve "builders" of becoming distinctly you. She encourages the reader to ditch the cycle of comparing, competing, and coveting and instead strive to do your best and be authentic — to run the race God created you for.

Being a woman of distinction means seeing yourself as God's masterpiece and following the example Jesus set for us.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. EPHESIANS 2:10 NLT
The distinct woman is discrete, discerning, and diligent while being gracious, friendly and kind to others. She humbly walks in God-confidence as a daughter of the King.
"When I encourage you to control you, don't judge, mind your own business, be likable, and be confident in your value, I'm not talking about having an attitude of arrogance or pride. Instead, it's a God-confidence rooted in the knowledge of who you are: a daughter of the King." Distinctly You, p. 216
I enjoyed reading Distinctly You and found it very encouraging as I am living out God's will for my life. Living against the grain of this world isn't comfortable but pressing on in the confidence that God made me for this gives me great courage!

Learn more about Distinctly You on
Visit Bethany House on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.