Thursday, July 31, 2014

5 Friday Favorites - 8/1

Goodbye July, Hello Fitness Friday!

Stop by the link-up to share your favorite fitness links! Here are my favorite pictures, Scriptures, workouts and foods this Friday.


5 Last Pictures for July

We were attacked by the horses! Or they just wanted some attention. E love petting the horses :)

Peas fresh from Grandma's garden are the best.

He takes the word "iPod" literally. Eye-pod.

This wild, spinny fair ride is the closest thing to a "date" that we've had in a while!

This boy loves when daddy comes home! And I do, too :)

5 Truths for Today


  • We have this hope [our faith and hope in Jesus Christ] as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19
  • The heavens are Yours, and Yours also the earth; You founded the world and all that is in it. Psalm 89:11
  • And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
  • So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.2 Corinthians 4:18
  • Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

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5 Best Workouts This Week

  1. 7 x 400 speed intervals on the track
  2. Upper Body Dumbbell Workout at CTolleRun.com
  3. 45-minute tempo run
  4. 5-Minute Ab Workout at CTolleRun.com
  5. 90-minute long run

5 Favorite Foodie Pins

Banana Buttermilk Pancakes
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Avocado Egg Salad
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Homemade Chicken Fingers (Healthier than McDonald's! ha)
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Homemade Hot Chocolate (Freeze it to make a summer treat!)
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The Best Date Bars Ever
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Have 5 Free Seconds?

Stop over to vote for me at the Runner's World Cover Contest!

Click here to vote!
Tell me about your Friday!

Linking up at Fitness Friday.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Speedwork: Why It Matters

Training for the Blue Ox Half Marathon started this week! Similar to the Half in May, I am using a modified version of the Hal Higdon Advanced Half Marathon plan.

While training for and racing my first half marathon this spring, I learned so much about the importance of speed work and specific training runs... And how much I have lacked training intensity while training for full marathons.

With the full marathon, my main focus had been on hitting a certain amount of mileage per week. I hit the mileage but the runs lacked intensity and I had a "just get it done" mentality. Running the half has changed my training philosophy from mileage-focused to quality-focused.

If you want to race fast, you have to train fast!


Here are a few key workouts that I'm working with each week (or alternating weeks for speed/hill days). For more detailed information, check out Hal Higdon's website. I really like his plans because they are free and they have worked for me in the past.

  • Speedwork: Run 400-, 800-, or 1600-meter repeats at a specific effort (ex. 10k, 5k, or 1-mile pace) with walking or jogging in between each repeat.
  • Hills: Find a hill about 200 to 400 meters long. Run up the hill and jog/walk an equal distance in between each repeat. If you live in a hill-less area like me, try running on the treadmill with incline for repeats of 400 to 800 meters with recovery in between repeats.
  • Tempo Runs: Begin with 5-10 minutes of easy running, build speed for the mid-part of the run, and gradually slow down to an easy pace for the last 5-10 minutes. Peak near your 10k race pace.
  • Long Runs: Keep a comfortable, conversational pace on long runs and don't get hung up on hitting a specific mileage. Higdon also schedules a 3/1 run where you run the first three-fourths of the run at a conversational pace and accelerate to near race pace for the last quarter of the run.
Weekly Training Structure

MON: Speedwork OR Hill Intervals

TUES: Strength Training + Optional 3-mile run

WED: Tempo run for time

THURS: Strength Training + Optional 3-mile run

FRI: Easy OR Race Pace Run

SAT: Long run for time

Speed work and more specific training have helped even while racing with the jogging stroller this summer! Running a 7:00-min pace has been a rare occurrence for me in the past, but now I can even hit it while running with the stroller. It's not because I'm a super-fast runner - It's because speed-work works!

I look forward to running my next full marathon with this more-focused approach to long-distance training!

Approaching the 10k finish line as a family :)

What is your favorite workout?
What lessons have you learned from training?

Linking up at Tuesdays on the Run.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!

I'm joining up with Fitness Friday at Jill Conyers.com and am jumping on the "Friday 5" bandwagon. Her post was full of so many random fun things, I just couldn't help myself.

Thanks, Jill, for this awesomely random Friday idea!


5 Faith Pins


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5 Running-Related Things

  1. Training starts for the Bemidji Blue Ox Half Marathon next week!
  2. I'm setting race goals similar to my Fargo Half Marathon goals from this spring: A-Goal, B-Goal, and P-Goal (P = preggo). If we aren't expecting, I am shooting to break 1:30.
  3. Dailymile.com is my favorite online training resource! It tracks my weekly mileage and keeps runners (and walkers, cyclists, etc.) in touch with each other.
  4. Strength training workouts from CTolleRun.com are awesome. Carrie has awesome training tips and workout videos all online and free.
  5. Rollerblading with the jogging stroller has grown to be my favorite cardio crosstraining!

5 Picture Stories


Homemade Buns. Why is it that buns taste better than loaf bread? This was my first go at making homemade buns!


Summer Tan Lines. We have had a busy summer outside - lots of jogging stroller miles, trips down the slide, and time spent swinging. I love E's sandal tan :)


Potato Pancakes. So tasty, so easy. 3 cups mashed potatoes + 1 egg + 1/2 cup flour + handful of cheese >>> fry until browned and EAT!.


Throwback. We are enjoying the county fair with Grandma and Grandpa E. I had to place these photos side-by-side: My mom and me in 1988 and, 26 years later, E and me!


Horsing Around. I miss my horses! I had the chance to lunge my old show horse, "Lexi" last weekend. I'm so excited for E to ride horse for the first time :)



5 Awesome Running Songs

  1. Go Hard by Lecrae
  2. Mark My Words by P.O.D
  3. The Harvester by Brandon Heath
  4. Movements by Rend Collective
  5. Breathe Into Me by Red

What's new this Friday?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Signing with Your Toddler

This week we are sharing tips for "Helping Your Toddler to Communicate" on the series, "One Year and Beyond"

Before I write anything, let me confess that I'm not a master of this mysterious toddler stage. With E being only 16 months old, the wild times of toddler-hood have only just begun!

I was hesitant to try baby signing at first, thinking maybe it was just another fad, but now have to say that signing has been a great way to connect with E. The online dictionary at Baby Sign Language.com has been a wonderful resource. Their dictionary includes easy-to-understand images and videos for everyday words. Plus, by using their online resources, we didn't have to spend money on buying books or flashcards!

We started teaching E signs at around 6 months and I questioned whether he was absorbing any of the signs we were teaching. Now as he is in the early toddler months, the "hard work" is paying off! Actually, teaching him wasn't hard at all. The key was just remembering to use the signs in our daily life and being consistent.

Basic Toddler Signs

Here are a few basic signs that we use every day. "Milk" and "please" are by far the most frequently used in our house. E has his own special version of some of the signs, too. For "hurt", he always points to his head, no matter where the "hurt" is. His signs aren't exact but the definitely get the point across!

Signing has saved us from some tantrums and E seems to be proud when he does his signs. Instead of screaming when he wants desperately needs something, signing makes him think and ask for what he wants which can prevent a meltdown (not to say it eliminates them, but it sure helps!).

"Milk"

Image Source: Babysignlanguage.com

"Please"

Image Source: Babysignlanguage.com

"More"

Image Source: Babysignlanguage.com

"Hurt"

Image Source: Babysignlanguage.com

"All Done"

Image Source: Babysignlanguage.com

And here is another one of his "special" signs: "Share Food Now!"

He really wanted some of the fruit snacks I was eating. Maybe I should eat vegetables more often because he never wants me to share those!


Do you have any tips to share for communicating with little ones?

Linking up at One Year and Beyond.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Yet Another Race + 5 Favorite Summer Toddler Activities

This week, I am linking up with the toddler series, "One Year and Beyond" and we are sharing our favorite summer toddler activities.

This summer has been eventful one and I am so thankful for the beautiful weather! Though I am not a huge fan of 5k's, E and I ran one together last weekend. The 5k course went right by our house and was on my usual running route. Can't beat that! Also, running a local race is a great way to meet the other runners in our new hometown.

Daddy was gone this weekend for his other job so E and I took on this race together. It actually went very well and we maintained an average pace of 7:01/mile to finish in 22:04. That was a new 5k PR for me with and without a stroller!

My prayer during the race was "Lord, please don't let me fall on my face." That prayer may sound a bit trivial and shallow, but God truly cares about even the little things on our heart and I was seriously nervous about falling!

Racing with a jogging stroller takes a little extra coordination, especially because the course took a lot of turns. Since we are a new family in town, I didn't want to be remembered as "the girl who ate pavement in the 5k"!

When they announced the results, E actually won the race because he crossed the line first :) His post-race regimen included playing his toy guitar and eating egg pancake in the backyard.


Mine included stretching like crazy and rolling out my legs with the rolling pin.

Say what, a rolling pin?! Yes, my rolling pin actually works better than the foam-roller for certain muscles. The next day, my legs feel brand new again. (Don't worry, I wash the rolling pin very well before rolling out bread dough.)


Later that day we re-fueled on parade candy. My best friend came to visit and we enjoyed our time taking in the sun and eating our candy, in moderation of course ;)


5 Favorite Summer Toddler Activities

Without further running rambling, here are our five favorite activities plus my our new favorite summer treat.

1. Stroller Mileage

Tired baby? Go for a stroller ride. Cranky baby? Go for a stroller ride. Happy baby? Go for a stroller ride. The jogging stroller has always been a source of peace for E.

E and the stroller go way back! He looked like such a doll at 6 months :)

2. Park Play Dates

Play dates at the park are growing to be a near-daily activity for us. There is no better way to meet other kids/moms and wear him out before nap time!


3. Tractor Time

When Leo is spending long hours in the tractor, we stop out to bring him food and visit. E loves to "drive" while the tractor is in GPS mode and honk the horn! I can tell he wants to be just like daddy when he grows up.


4. Pool Fun

They have a nice outdoor pool in town, but the kiddy pool in our backyard is proving to be E's favorite.


5. Sandbox Race Tracks

Playing in the sandbox is the "little boy version" of a tea party. Either we are making race tracks for his tractor and CAT or he's pouring sand on his head. Personally, I prefer track building.


If you need some extra energy to keep up with all of the summer activities, try these crazy caffeinated chocolates for dessert. My brother bought some for me this weekend and they are really tasty! Warning: Do not consume more than 4 chocolates a day and don't share them with your kids. E doesn't need any extra energy!


And here is a toddler-friendly summer treat that both E and I enjoy - Frozen Greek Yogurt. It's delicious, on the healthier side, and comes in both Vanilla Bean and Dark Chocolate Swirl flavors.

If I ever want to enjoy some by myself, it's best to eat it during nap time. The second I take one out of the freezer, he comes at me like a baby bird with his little mouth open!


What are your favorite summer toddler activities?
How about your favorite distance to race?

Linking up at One Year and Beyond and Fitness Friday.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Developing Spiritual and Physical Discipline

My family and I were battling a nasty stomach flu last week and it feels so good to feel good again! You know something is wrong when I don't feel like running, drinking coffee, or writing.

We had a great time with family over the 4th of July and now everyone is feeling much better. We went out for a pontoon ride, kayaked, and had a campfire. I tried eating a s'more (because those are a requirement of camping) but it didn't sit too well. E really enjoyed camping, minus the life-jacket that didn't fit him very well!


Of course we went for a family run, too!


Over the past couple weeks, I had been developing a new morning routine of waking up at 5:00 am for Bible reading/prayer/devotions, working out at 6:00 am and making breakfast for the guys at 7:00 am (depending on Leo's work schedule). While we were all sick, I fell off the routine because we mainly slept and/or laid around all day for two days straight.

I have been reading the book Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas and the below quote speaks well on the subject of discipline.
"If a man does not exercise his arm he develops no biceps muscle; and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigor of moral fiber, nor beauty of spiritual growth."The Greatest Thing in the World, Henry Drummond
If you want to be a better runner, you need to run.

If you want to grow in your relationship with the Lord, you need to spend time with God and His Word.

Positive growth requires discipline.

5 Tips to Develop Discipline

God continues to use long-distance running to teach me physical and mental discipline. As I am growing in my relationship with Him, He is showing me how these principles apply to spiritual growth as well!
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 TIMOTHY 4:8

1. Make Time

We make time for what we want to make time for. Key word: want. I could write an entire blog post on the excuses people tell me for not exercising. There are equally as many excuses from those who say they don't have time to read their Bible.

When I was feeling a bit whiny about waking up early to pray and read, God reminded me of those mornings that I woke up at 4:45 am to run when I had a much younger baby and was working full-time out of the home. I have always been very disciplined with running and marathon training but my spiritual training was lacking. I read my Bible and prayed before bedtime, but by then I was basically a human zombie. I want to give God my best, not my leftovers.

2. Set Your Priorities

Make a list of what is most important to you in your life and organize your time accordingly. Take an honest look at how you spend your time now.

Does the way you spend your time line up with your priorities? What time-wasters can be cut out? Which activities don't line up with your goals?

Writing this down in my journal has helped me to keep my priorities in check and manage my time for efficiently. I know that God deserves my first and best each day. Serving and spending time with my family is the next most important and running comes somewhere after that. I love running, but relationships are first. (And running with family is the best. Win-win!)

3. Be Consistent

While there doesn't seem to be a magic number of days to form a habit, consistency is key. We are creatures of habit, which can work for us or against us.

I started running long distance about 5 years ago and at that time "going out for a run" was a generally uncomfortable experience. I was entering the world of desk jobs at the time and knew that running was a necessary evil that would help me maintain my sanity and stay in shape. Fast-forward to now and a day without going for a run feels incomplete.

This same principle applies to my relationship with the Lord. The more often I wake up to read my Bible and spent quiet time with God, the more I desire to start out my day with Him every day! Consistency is key.

4. Stay Focused on the Goal

Having specific goals keeps you on task and helps to fight through the tough times when you just don't feel like it. I'm guessing that I'm not the only one who doesn't feel like waking up early to read my Bible and lacing up my shoes to get out for a run every morning.

Remembering why I spend time with the Lord and why I exercise help me to get through the bad days. When I lack motivation to get out of bed, I remember how good I feel afterwards and how I never regret waking up early to read and run.
Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 TIMOTHY 2:21

5. Save the Excuses

As I mentioned earlier, I could write an entire post of the excuses I have heard, but I won't. Negativity isn't really something I care to share because it is very contagious. Excuses are contagious, too. Are you spending your time with people who build you up or drag you down with them?

"The mark of a true friend is someone who makes you want to be at your best when you are with him." Henry Van Dyke, Princeton professor and clergyman.

What did you do for the 4th of July?
What habits are you working on forming or breaking?

Linking up at Mommy Moments, Motivation Monday and Fitness Friday.