Sunday, February 19, 2017

Race Report: Frozen Feat 10k

After the weeks of all sorts of sick, I was feeling really frustrated. Frustrated by not being able to get as much done, by feeling so tired and headache-y and by not being able to keep up anymore.

Then I read this from the Jesus Calling devotional: "Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still"

"Being still" is something I struggle with but reading this changed my perspective. Rather than being frustrated by the influenza-ear infection/rupture-head cold-what-not, I changed my focus to seeking quietness and trust by resting in God.

While my cold didn't disappear and energy didn't return instantly, seeing the good in this "down time" took away much of my stress and frustration.

One of my goals was to feel healthy for the Frozen Feat 10k and that was accomplished! Maybe not 100% healthy, but so SO much better than before.

After picking up my husband from the airport on Friday, we were finally all together again as a family and it was awesome. He had been helping family in California for 10 days and we missed him a bunch.

The Frozen Feat race day was on Saturday and we made it a "family Valentine's Day" to make up for our time apart. The weather was a sunny 40°F (AMAZING!) and my husband, kiddos and my best friend all came to cheer me on.

Going into the race, I was hoping to beat my old PR of 46:40 (from 2012) but plans changed when I saw how icy the course was. I have absolutely no complaints about the weather and I will take icy roads over sub-zero temps any day!

I debated on wearing my YakTrax but chose not to because the course was a mix of ice and pavement. They help on the ice but the pavement really beats up those YakTrax coils!

After the gun start, I started out at a good pace but wavered throughout the race as we encountered many icy spots. Some were black ice spots and hard to see until it was too late, others were just icy puddles. Occasionally the huddle of runners I stuck with would jump off the path to run in a chunk of grass or in the snow. I had a few close calls but never completely lost footing. Thankfully.

As my husband said after the race, "What did you expect? It is the frozen feat!"... Touché.

Mile 1 - 7:10
Mile 2 - 7:20
Mile 3 - 7:32
Mile 4 - 7:46
Mile 5 - 7:35
Mile 6 - 7:49
Mile .26 - 1:50

I crossed the finish at 47:02 with soaked shoes but no wipe-outs! I couldn't hit that PR goal but the finish time was fine with me with the course conditions and my health struggles lately.

I tell you what, it just felt good to FEEL GOOD again!

This handsome guy and the rest of the cheering gang were waiting for me at the finish. P.S. My new XX2i France2 sunglasses rocked during this run! They kept the wind and the sun out of my eyes. A review will be coming in the future :)

The Frozen Feat had lots of great race swag. Each participant received a medal and a 3/4 sleeve jersey-style t-shirt. For placing 3rd Female, I received a cute Frozen Feat coffee mug, plaque and a $10 Scheels gift card.

Around 260 runners showed up for the 5k and 10k and the Frozen Feat organizers put on a great race. February's weather is unpredictable in these parts and we couldn't have asked for a better day!

My Workout Weekly Wrap: 02/13-02/19

02/13 MON: 4 mi, 00:33 @ 08:16 pace Enjoying the warm weather and country roads at my parents' place!

02/14 TUES: Happy Valentine's Day! I did a little stretching and took the kids to the library for story time and crafts. We made Valentine's and had a blast!

Roses from my Valentine

02/15 WED: 3.1 mi, 00:26 @ 08:23 pace. Fighting a head cold but the weather was too gorgeous to miss out on.

02/16 THURS: 2 mi, 00:19 @ 09:30 pace. Easy couple miles before the 10k on Saturday. That head cold is giving me trouble but a run felt nice.

02/17 FRI: Driving day! My hubs had been back in CA for a funeral and family business for 10 days. We drove to the airport and were so glad to pick him up again!

02/18 SAT: Frozen Feat 10k: 6.26 mi, 00:47 @ 07:30 pace.

02/19 SUN: Rest.

Do you race over the winter?

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

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hands-Free Running for Hands-Full Runners | Stunt Puppy Review

Disclaimer: I received this Stunt Puppy leash to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

There are days when I peacefully run solo and others when I am in the wonderful company of my kids in the jogger and our now 10-year-old Border Collie, Saul.

When I'm out with the whole crew, I get the occasional comment of "You sure have your hands full!" While the kids and dog are usually well-behaved, between pushing the jogger and holding the dog's leash, my hands are quite literally "full".

Running with Saul on his old leash was complicated. It would end up wrapped around his leg, the stroller or who knows what else. Needless to say, he really didn't like wearing his leash.

Little did I know there was a hands-free solution!

As a BibRave Pro, I received the Stunt Runner hands-free leash by Stunt Puppy. This leash is designed specifically for runners and their faithful four-legged running partners!

The belt easily buckled around my waist and adjusts from 28" to 49" (and they can whip up a custom size, if need be!). The kids were excited to help me prep for the first test run.

The flexible connector piece that connects you and your dog stretches from 35" to 51" and the black metal D-ring on the waist belt slides to the preferred running position. These design details allow for your and your dog's stride to feel natural and unhindered.

Saul hardly notices it's there!

A video posted by Amy W (@creativeaim87) on
The Stunt Runner's simple, lightweight design certainly didn't slow us down. We are both very pleased with the freedom of running with a hands-free leash. I can't wait to try it out with the dog and the kids in the jogging stroller this summer!

Stunt Puppy designed this leash specifically with runners in mind and it shows. I was also very impressed by Stunt Puppy's damage repair policy. If your pup chews the buckles on your Stunt Puppy leash, they will replace them for $2 to cover shipping. Now that's a deal... because we all know puppies (and sometimes even old dogs) chew everything!

The Stunt Runner is available in orange (our favorite!), black, blue, red and silver and proudly made in the USA. Even better, they're a Minnesota company! Maybe I'm a little biased :) Woop woop, Minnesota!

Use the code BIBRAVE217 for 20% off your Stunt Puppy purchase through 3/15!

Join us for #BibChat with Stunt Puppy on Twitter on Tuesday, FEB 14 at 8PM CST and you will have a chance to win your own Stunt Runner Leash!

My Workout Weekly Wrap: 02/06-02/12

02/06 MON: 3.25 mi, 00:34 @ 10:29 pace. Morning run with Saul to break in the fresh snow.

02/07 TUES: (Treadmill) 5 mi, 00:41 @ 08:11 pace. Fartleks, 2:00 with 1:00 jog.

02/08 WED: Vinyasa Yoga (17:55) and 6 x 1:00 planks.

02/09 THURS: (Treadmill) 5 mi, 00:42 @ 08:24 pace. 

02/10 FRI: Yoga

02/11 SAT: 7 mi, 01:01 @ 08:40 pace. Today was a beautiful 30 degrees, making for a gorgeous run. I hope next weekend's 10k can be like this!

02/12 SUN: Rest.

Who is your go-to running partner? Are you a dog person?

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

Monday, February 6, 2017

Somewhat Valentine's 10k Plans

I'm making my way back to "healthy" again and, compared to last week, I'm feeling like a spring chicken.

Last week was a surprise. We resumed normal life, played outside and I was back slowly running again, but then I took a turn for the worse with bronchitis and a ruptured ear drum (from a mystery ear infection). The kids and my husband stayed healthy at least and after a round of antibiotics, I should be good now too. Good riddance!

Who taught him to stick out his tongue?! #toddlertude

Before the second wind of my sick week, I did sign up for the Frozen Feat 10k - I must have been feeling pretty good that day! A neighboring town has an outdoor 10k and we're going to make a "family affair" out of the day - running the race and then out for a post-Valentine's lunch date after.

Yes, a 10k in the middle of February in North Dakota... The weather will definitely be a surprise. Like Russian roulette for runners? Maybe it will be a beautiful 30 degrees or it will be a nasty blizzard day!

My goal for this race is to not be sick

I had hope of running hard when I first signed up but now I just want to feel good again. Being sick is very humbling and it reminds me to thank God for the gift of health. I miss feeling good and need to remember not to take the healthy days for granted!

In spite of the somewhat downer week, BibRave did send me a "welcome package" that included super flashy BibRave gear and a Runnerbox. The kids helped me dig through all of the surprises and of course they thought everything belonged to them.

Our favorite treats were the Unreal candy cup and the Elevate pouch from Shine Organics. I did share the pouch with the kids but no one touches mama's chocolate!

Don't forget to join us for Legend Compression #BibChat tomorrow night at 8PM CST! It's a great time to chat with the running community and you will have a chance to win some Legend Compression for yourself as well - like an early Valentine's gift :) 

My Workout Weekly Wrap: 01/30-02/05

01/30 MON: 3.2 mi, 00:30 @ 09:22 pace. Farthest run since my battle with the flu. Feels nice to be back again!

01/31 TUES: The littles and I went out on a winter adventure in the fresh layer of snow, followed by Runner's Yoga (25:29) that evening.

02/01 WED: (Treadmill) 5 mi, 00:41 @ 08:14 pace. 1 mile x 800m jog intervals. I was feeling much better today and worked in a little speedwork.

02/02 THURS: ...The sick has returned.

02/03 FRI: My ear drum ruptured last night and I finally went in to the doctor today. He said last week was likely influenza, now I'm just dealing with the bronchitis leftovers and who knows when that ear infection started. Let the antibiotics begin!

02/04 SAT: We took E skating while W stayed back with Grandma. So much fun! I'm still wiped but the antibiotics seem to be working fast.

02/05 SUN: Rest.

Do you have any special plans for Valentine's? Any races?
Have you tried Runenrbox before?

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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Week of the Couchathon

Looking back on the week, my most prized accomplishment was bleaching the bathroom Monday night after the kids started feeling well again.

Other than that, I didn't really get much else done.

Both of the littles had a "cold" (or so I thought) for a few days last week and I was sure that I had escaped sickness' grasp. Turns out I was quite incorrect in that assumption!

The exhaustion and fever continued for five days, affectionately dubbing this week my "couchathon". I don't remember the last time I've laid around so much!

I did my best to keep the kids busy with little activities here and there while I laid around like a vegetable sipping Alka-Seltzer Plus.

Cold sweats, hot flashes, gunky coughing, wheezing, body aches, major fatigue. I don't like to self-diagnose but I bet you a batch of cookie bars that this wasn't just a cold!

The very-flu-like sickness took a run through our household and I'm ever thankful that our kids get the flu shot. Their bout hardly slowed them down. As for me, my body had a really hard time fighting this and I'm still recovering.

I did a few rounds of yoga this week and the calm stretching helped relieve the body aches. By Saturday, I was feeling antsy enough to try running but my trip with the pup proved to be very short. My lungs just aren't there yet.

I think he was annoyed by the brevity of our run!

My Workout Weekly Wrap: 01/23-01/29

01/23 MON: Started coming down with a "chest cold" over the weekend and had a slight fever (99). The kids and I played outside in the morning and I did the Vinyasa Yoga Flow video (17:55) in the evening.

01/24 TUES: Went to the library in the morning because I thought I was feeling better and by evening I had a 101.7 fever. Woops.

01/25 WED: Vegged out on the couch. We watched the "Minions" movie in the morning and I basically supervised their playing while laying down... Hot flashes, cold sweat, dizzy and totally wiped with the fever moving down to 101.2.

01/26 THURS: We watched the "Minions" movie again this morning! (I must be out of my mind) Feeling better and I did have enough energy for a relaxing Hatha yoga video (34:06).

01/27 FRI: The fever is gone - Hallelujah! - but I still feel like a zombie walking around. Went for a <2 mile walk/run with the dog and, while the fresh air was wonderful, I'm not ready for any cardio for a while.

01/28 SAT: We took the kids sledding in the neighborhood. Very fun, though the cold air makes me cough up a lung! Kids are feeling quite peppy. In the evening I did a round of Runner's Yoga (25:29),

01/29 SUN: Rest

Have you been sick this winter?
Tell me something exciting about your week!

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

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Taking Performance (and Recovery!) to the Next Level | Legend Compression Review

Disclaimer: I received Legend Compression Leg Sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I'm a rather simplistic runner — grab my running shoes, appropriate clothing for the weather, my Garmin (or not, some days) and I'm good. Over my years of running, I have added an item or two to my gear list because they truly make a difference in my performance — compression wear is at the top of the list.

Running in compression wear makes my legs feel lighter and less fatigued, even at mile 20 of a marathon. I used to think it was all in my head but the proof is in the pudding. Compression really works!

As a BibRave Pro, I received the Legend Compression Leg Sleeves to review and I put them to the test this month. I have used compression socks for training, racing and recovery in the past but this was my first time using leg sleeves.

I found that the leg sleeves are great for indoor workouts (or hot weather runs this summer). The material is breathable and I didn't overheat like I do when wearing full compression socks.

When wearing these on a chilly winter run, I layered them under (and even over) my running tights. Layering with the leg sleeves was a cinch and I was able to put them on/took them off with ease.

Besides looking super cool, Legend Compression Leg Sleeves offer many performance benefits:

Compression Done Right (Not Tight!)

Legend Compression Leg Sleeves aren't as "tight" as other compression wear, being 15-20 mmHG vs the usual 20-30 mmHG. This means they are easier to get on and off without sacrificing the support and performance benefits! Based on their experience and understanding of medical compression, Legend Compression Wear has found the right amount of compression that is most effective for training and recovery.

This #rightnottight fit has many benefits including increased athletic performance, increased oxygen levels and blood circulation, reduced muscle fatigue, exertion and soreness and faster recovery time!

My leg sleeves are easy to slide off even after a sweaty workout, which I appreciate. Some other compression brands feel like they might as well rip off a layer of my skin as I peel off the sock!

Durable Power Band

The power band on the top of these leg sleeves makes them easier to roll on and off and, once on, the sleeve STAYS PUT! I didn't have to worry about them sliding down in the middle of my run. The durable power band also protects the sleeve from rips and tears during daily usage.

Lightweight and Breathable Construction

Legend's Leg Sleeves are lightweight and made with an open stitch in the back for ultimate breathability. They are moisture wicking and work great for layering up during a winter run. For summer long runs, these sleeves are also UV protective.

What I LOVED about Legend's compression leg sleeves is their high quality material, #rightnottight fit and that they are proudly made in the USA! Now I think it would be fun to have a collection of Legend's compression leg sleeves in every color assortment and then mix and match :)

Check out Legend Compression Leg Sleeves here and take 20% off your order using the code "rave20"!

Be sure to join us for #BibChat on Twitter on Tuesday, FEB 7 at 8PM CST to talk all about compression and for a chance to win Legend Compressionwear for yourself!

My Workout Weekly Wrap: 01/16-01/22

01/16 MON: 4 mi, 00:35 @ 08:50 pace. Lots of snow and slick roads but overall it was a beautiful morning. The above zero temps feel GREAT! Our dog joined me for the last mile and he was a big fan. I think he gets a little depressed when it's too cold for us all to play outside.

01/17 TUES: Runner's Yoga (25:28)

01/18 WED: 5 mi, 00:43 @ 08:41 pace. This morning was gorgeous! 20 degrees and a little wind. Just a perfect morning after such a cold snap. The dog joined me for the last two miles and he was just as excited as me.

01/19 THURS: Vinyasa Yoga Flow (17:55) and Bowflex plank/push-up video on Youtube.

01/20 FRI: 7.68 mi, 01:01 @ 07:58 pace. Slushy & warm outside. It's so nice to be above 0 degrees! My Yaktrax are now officially broken and the right one slipped off like 4 times during the run :(

01/21 SAT: Run/Walk with the dog, 3.1 mi, 00:36 @ 11:34 pace. Testing out the Stunt Puppy hands-free leash! More on that later.

01/22 SUN: Stayed home from church with sick kiddos and my getting-sick self! Hope this is a short-lived cold and cough.

Do you use compression wear in training or recovery?

Linking up with Wild Workout WednesdayHolly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up and Mommy Moments.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Who's Got Goals? I Do, I Do!

Three weeks into January and I'm finally sitting down to write out goals for 2017.

Yes, I'm going to DO THIS! I'm a goal-happy kind of person but this year it has been harder to articulate them and to narrow it down to what is most important.

1. Live Confidently in My Calling

I turn 30 this year and this new decade will be one of living boldly, confidently and unapologetically in my God-given calling. The 20's decade was crazy! So much change — single college student, grad, career woman, new wife, first-time homeowners, first-time mom, stay-at-home mom, moving to a new town and mom to two — I hardly recognize my 20-year-old self. My twenties were full of newness and huge life changes.

This year I am sharing more about my struggles in person and in writing on this blog. Sharing opens up a door to encourage and band together with others who are riding the same struggle bus. (Sidenote: I love to say "struggle bus". Got it from my youngest brother!)

It's easy to feel like "I'm the only one that struggles with _____" but it's never true.

The exhausting months of raising a tremendously sweet but very high-need baby, making time for God's Word and prayer in unpredictable life seasons, judgement of homebirthing and extended breastfeeding, worries of a new homeschooling parent, victories and crazies of toddler parenting, uncertainties of TTC (trying to conceive), the unique challenges of a marathon running mom, the balancing act that is life. Those are a few of the topics I haven't been able to put to words over the last couple years.

This year, I will share more in hopes of spurring on those who are wearing similar shoes.

2. Find a Routine That Works for Now

What I'm learning in life with little ones is that a certain routine works for a while and then something (or someone) changes and the routine needs to adjust accordingly. I think it should be call "season fluidity".

For example, now that our youngest is 19 months old and IS sleeping through the night — finally, praise the Lord! — the early morning wake-ups are getting easier and the kids are both becoming more predictable. My body still feels so tired but I know it's time to establish a stronger morning routine again. It's like I have a "tired hangover" from being so sleep deprived for the past year and a half!

The goal is a 10:00 p.m. bedtime and 6:00 a.m. wake-up. I have done it before in past seasons (actually 5:30) but it's a habit I need to re-form. Funny thing... now that I have a smartphone again, it even tells me when to go to bed. A tad bit ridiculous but effective as well :)

3. Build My Lifetime Running Base

Last year I ran three full marathons and this year I have zero on the year's schedule. I have dropped obvious hints in past posts and since I'm becoming more vulnerable officially today (see Goal #1), I will tell you that babies are on my mind, not marathons.

While I really enjoy training and especially racing, I'm exercising for now to maintain basic fitness and add bricks to build up my "lifetime running base". Greg McMillan explains that we all experience seasons in life when we need to take a planned or unplanned break from training. The key is to do what you can in your current season.

After my past pregnancy and postpartum experiences, my thoughts about these "slow down" periods have changed. Though I may not run as fast or as much mileage as I do during training periods, I am still gaining running experience and knowledge... and I may pick up a few spontaneous races here and there.

Each workout is a "penny" added to my lifetime fitness "piggy bank".

"You (Only Faster)" by Greg McMillan, p.252

That's a wrap! I'm already loving this new year and look forward with excitement for the year ahead.

And I can't wait to break in my new journal — I'm kind of a journal-writing fanatic :)

Weekly Wrap: 01/09-01/15

01/09 MON: (Treadmill) 4 mi, 00:36 @ 09:05 pace.

01/10 TUES: Runner's Yoga (25:28)

01/11 WED: (Treadmill) 4 mi, 00:31 @ 07:51 pace. 400m speed intervals.

01/12 THURS: Vinyasa Yoga Flow (17:55) and Bowflex plank/push-up video on Youtube.

01/13 FRI: (Treadmill) 7.22 mi, 01:00 @ 08:18 pace. If the weather stays like this, I'm never going outside again!

01/14 SAT: Out of town with my parents and siblings. We stayed in a hotel the night before and pretty much everyone slept terrible. Felt like a zombie the rest of the weekend!

01/15 SUN: Off.

What is one goal you are working toward for 2017?

Linking up with Wild Workout WednesdayHolly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up and Mommy Moments.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Quick California Catch-Up

Last week was a nice catch-up week after being gone for so long.

Catching up on the house, laundry and big-time catching up on the time zone change! Even the kids slept in til 9:00 am on numerous mornings last week - which was fine, but getting to bed before 11:00 pm was tough. We were all about two hours off our usual but this week has been much better.

To keep myself from going all picture crazy on this post, here are just a few memories from our two weeks in California.

For the first part of our trip, we traveled to Newport Beach, California via a smooth (a.k.a. happy kids) flight to Las Vegas followed by a VERY LONG drive to the beach. It was a Sunday night and the Las Vegas to Las Angeles traffic was insane.

Once we arrived at the beach, the weather was perfect for us - around the 60-70's during the day - and the ocean water was SO cold. This must be the off season for beach goers because we had the place nearly to ourselves all day.

My sister-in-law and I discovered that the "Eat Chow" restaurant made the BEST espresso! Their espresso con panna (espresso with cream) was absolutely delicious!

We spent a lot of time at the beach building sand castles, running, watching the kids and searching for shells. I walked in the water only up to the tops of my feet (yes, I'm a baby). The brave ones boogie boarded in the chilly waters and drew the attention of a few dolphins. And a sea lion!

We stopped by a tide pool in Corona Del Mar and explored for a while before hitting the road back to Vegas.

The shore was loaded with beautiful sea shells!

The drive back to Vegas took 7 hours (instead of 4) because of a fatal car accident and crazy traffic. Surely, the city life is NOT the life for me!

My parents and siblings flew home the next day and we flew on to Oregon, making our way to the most northern parts of California, which strangely feels a lot like northern Minnesota (minus the mountains). I was so happy to be back to small town life again.

It snows there but the snow easily melts in the sunshine and the temps were in the 30's and 40's. I love the California sun!

And I love the view of Mount Shasta. Someday, just maybe, my husband and I will climb that mountain. It's funny how close the mountains seem, when in actuality it is over an hours drive away.

For now, I'm content with watching it while I run by.

After enjoying a week with my in-laws, we took the three flights and an hour drive to get us home. It felt good to be home in this flat, cold tundra-like place! Just in time for another blizzard.

Home sweet home!

{Weekly Wrap: 01/02-01/08}

01/02 MON: 2 mi, 00:19 @ 09:30 pace. It wasn't THAT cold but the wind made the blowing snow feel like needles piercing my face. Then the storm later that day. Brr!

01/03 TUES: Vinyasa Yoga Flow (17:55)

01/04 WED: (Treadmill) 4 mi, 00:33 @ 08:13 pace. 400m speed intervals

01/05 THURS: Runner's Yoga (25:28)

01/06 FRI: (Treadmill) 3 mi, 00:26 @ 08:37 pace.

01/07 SAT: 6.26 mi, 00:52 @ 08:19 pace. 0 degrees and sunny.

A photo posted by Amy W (@creativeaim87) on

01/08 SUN: 6 x 1:00 planks.

Did you travel over the holidays?

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