Friday, May 27, 2016

Race Report: Fargo Marathon 2016


Friday, 05/20:

11:00 AM - My husband got Friday through Sunday off of work and that was the best anniversary present! We drove to Fargo on Friday morning and went to pick up my number (and free goodies) at the race expo.

The booths were awesome at the expo and I got a free pair of Wild Hog Marathon Fitsoks, a t-shirt, and a couple Clif Mojo Bars. E was given a toddler Wild Hog t-shirt and a stuffed wallaby from Australia's Best licorice! I guess the free stuff helps to justify paying to run 26 miles.

12 noon - After the expo, we ate at the mall food court and met my parents and youngest brother for some shopping. We stopped at Savers (my all-time favorite thrift store) on the way to the hotel, too.

6:00 PM - Leo and I went out on an anniversary supper date that night and had some delicious Chicken Alfredo pasta. I really should have taken a picture.

We visited, got the kids ready for bed, laid out clothes for the next day, and I wrote 2 Thessalonians 3:16 on my arm for tomorrow's run. For every race, I write Scripture on my arm as a reminder and this specific verse had been on my heart all week. I wasn't sure how it would apply to race day but my prayer was that the Lord would give me peace at all times in every situation.

Spiderman saying, "Soh!" (Today's hipster way of saying "What's up?")

12 midnight - Toddler wakes up screaming with a night terror episode.  Baby woke up four times crying, too... It was really something. Hotels and our kids just don't seem to mix.

Saturday, 05/21: RACE DAY!

5:00 AM - My alarm went off and I woke up with a pounding headache. Took a couple ibuprofen and then it was time to get ready! Laying out clothes the night is SO helpful, as my brain is extra frazzled on race morning. Pumped, dressed, and down for breakfast with my mom. I made myself eat a toasted bagel with peanut butter.


6:00 AM - My mom drove me to the Fargodome around this time. I walked around, made about a million stops to the restroom, and enjoyed the time alone. It was tempting to fall asleep along the wall but I figured that wouldn't help me warm up for the race. I ate Honey Stinger Vanilla gel #1 before we were called down.

7:00 AM - Marathoners were called to the main floor of the dome and we lined up a while after. I started with the 3:30 pace group and met a runner also named Amy. We decided we have a pretty great name :) The morning was already warming up and it was going to be a hot day in North Dakota.

Mile 1 - 7:53
Mile 2 - 7:29
Mile 3 - 7:41
Mile 4 - 7:37
Mile 5 - 7:35
Mile 6 - 7:34 (ate Gel #2)
Mile 7 - 7:30
Mile 8 - 7:45
Mile 9 - 7:44
Mile 10 - 8:02

I felt okay for the first miles and ended up sticking closer to the 3:20 group. We had some good conversations and I met another mother runner who has a 2- and 4-year-old. Somehow we ran at a good pace while talking about pregnancy, Boston, and racing after having a baby.

At mile 10, my legs were burning and muscles started to cramp, especially my back, shoulders and arms. My face felt tingly and vision blurred slightly (which brought back memories from Boston 2012). The temp was in the 80's and my body just couldn't handle it that day.


Mile 11 - 8:17
Mile 12 - 8:28
Mile 13 - 8:38
Mile 14 - 9:14
Mile 15 - 9:08

I slowed my pace but was still overheating. The 3:30 pacer guy went down somewhere in those miles - not sure if it was the heat that knocked him over or what. I realized I wasn't going to make it to the finish if I didn't back off.

Giving up on a goal stinks but I felt peace over the whole situation and focused on making the best of this time. I know running is just a hobby (and a great one at that!) but it often translates into a metaphor for life: Things will not always go our way — Jesus himself said we will have troubles (John 16:33) — but we still get to choose our reaction to less-than-ideal situations.
Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 THESSALONIANS 3:16
I felt His peace and did my best to have a good attitude and to enjoy the scenery and the race atmosphere. One foot in front of the other... I didn't waste 15 miles and quit now.

Mile 16 - 10:01 (ate Gel #3)
Mile 17 - 10:48
Mile 18 - 9:48 (ate some kid's gummy bears)
Mile 19 - 11:03
Mile 20 - 10:10 (really wanted cheeseburger)

My family cheering section was a sight for sore eyes at Mile 17. When I saw little E watching for me, I had to hold back the tears because I was so happy. I was even able to stop for a hug or two, which is something I don't usually do in the middle of a race!


After hugs and a quick pep talk, I headed out for the final 6.2 miles. The Lord blessed me with a bunch of great runners to visit with over the miles. An older gentleman was recovering from a torn calf muscle over the winter and running his 10th marathon. A guy from MN was running his 14th marathon and a runner from my hometown was running his 56th. Isn't that crazy?!

One woman was using this as a "training run" and racing Grandma's Marathon next month chasing that BQ. Others were just trying to cross the finish.

Everyone has a story and runners are so stinkin' friendly! I love it.

Mile 21 - 10:31
Mile 22 - 11:01
Mile 23 - 10:07
Mile 24 - 11:26
Mile 25 - 11:12
Mile 26 - 9:00
Mile .24 - 6:56

Nearing the Mile 26 sign, I wasn't sure if my legs could handle a sprint to the finish. I really didn't want to trip in front of all of the people in the Fargodome. I flipped up my sunglasses, carefully examined the homestretch for potential tripping opportunities and then kicked it.

My legs felt fluid and light for that final sprint but clearly my heart had had enough. I was very thankful to cross the finish line sub-4:00. It was a good 30 minutes off my goal time but was definitely the best I could do that day.


A race volunteer gave me my medal and then onward to the food tables lined with pizza, potato chips, cookies, bananas, chocolate milk and who knows what else. 

Sadly, my stomach doesn't work right when I'm overheated and I could only force a few bites of pizza. Bummer! Because I could totally wolf down a whole slice now that I'm writing this recap :) 


I reunited with my family, went back to the hotel for a shower and then we went to Five Guys Burgers & Fries for lunch. PERFECT. My stomach had returned and I annihilated that cheeseburger.

The kids were beyond cranky and exhausted - maybe we all were - so it was time for the drive home. Thank God for air conditioning and kids that fall asleep in their car seats!

THANK YOU to GOD for the health to run, to my HUSBAND for believing in me and supporting my slightly crazy hobby, to our LITTLE ONES for being so cute, to my PARENTS for all of your help and support, to my SIBLINGS & SIBLING-IN-LAWS for being there for me, and to this BLOGGING COMMUNITY for the motivation and encouraging words!

Marathon #7 is in the books and now I'm taking at least a month off of "training mode". Marathon #8 is coming up in September and I hope it's a teeny bit cooler in September. Who knows what weather ND's Fall will bring!


How do you make the best of missing a goal in running or another area of life?


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

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

Rest.

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 (greenmomsmeet.com), 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

Off.

Total Mileage: 45.11

How has your current life season changed your running?


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