Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Let's Hit 2016 Out of the Park!

I saw this picture today from Running on the Wall.  It really hits home because our New Year's resolutions will be in full swing in a few short days!  What are your running goals for 2016?   I also follow Deb over at Deb Runs and today her Wednesday Word happens to be RESOLUTIONS!  How fitting!

I posted this picture to my Facebook page, RUN gina RUN.  I asked my followers what their goals were and immediately got a number of responses.  Some posted they wanted to remain injury free.  One person commented that she didn't want to gain anymore weight ever again.  Some others posted about race goals.  

For me, my initial goal is to complete 1000 miles for the year.  It really was a rather "thoughtless" goal.  I completed just over 900 miles this year, so 1000 miles shouldn't be too difficult of a task if I keep the same level of activity throughout the year.  However, the more I thought about my goals, the more I realized they go so much deeper.  Keep in mind, I focused only on running related goals. Of course, I have personal goals for my family etc.  I don't ALWAYS talk about running.... Oh wait! I DO.  ( j/k)
Remember to link up with Deb for her Wednesday Word linkup. 
Here are my Resolutions/Goals in no particular order:
  1.  Buy and FIT into a "sporty" Nike 2-piece swimming suit and ROCK IT!  I have until Minnesota cabin Season - usually in June.   ( Ok, that one isn't that deep.....but a woman's got to have goals right?)
  2. Eat more healthy and prepare dinners the night before so there is no guessing at meal time. I have a parenting fail when it comes to good balanced meals for my boys.  I'm working on it and it's a struggle and a work in progress. 
  3. Stay injury free.  I have been working on listening to my body this past year. So far, I have been sticking to 20-25 miles per week and I've remained injury free.  If I start to have any areas that are uncomfortable or feel any pain at all, I immediately rest until the pain is gone.  This July,  I took 3 weeks off due to a nagging calf strain and it killed me not to run, but it really was the best thing I could do.  
  4. Finish my FIRST MARATHON! Stick to my training and TRUST.THE.PROCESS!  
  5. Try NOT to get my hopes set on a sub 4 hour marathon, just FINISH!
  6. Continue to work on my speed.  I see track workouts and hill repeats in my near future.  My friend Susan I'm sure will kick my ass doing it too! 
  7. Try to maintain 4-5 days per week of exercise; not to always ONLY be running.  Currently, I'm working on my form for push-ups.  I am Terrible and can't even do ONE complete nose to the ground push-up.
  8. Perfect my planks.  1:30:00 and holding - I will get to 2 minutes this year! 
  9. Run as many races as my pocket book will allow.  I think so far I have 7 scheduled.  
  10. Have FUN!  
Overall, I want to take 2016 by the horns and never look back!  I'm going to make this my best year yet!  What about you?  What are your goals? Just remember, whatever they are... they are YOURS!  Make them happen.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Got Sunglasses? XX2i 4K ultra high-defintion sunglasses do NOT Disappoint!

Disclaimer:  I received the XX2i sunglasses 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. 

One of the fantastic perks of being a BibRave Pro is the opportunity to review and test out awesome products for our active lifestyles!  I am a runner who logs many hours and many miles per week outdoors.  With that being said, running is sometimes uncomfortable.  Sometimes... it down right STINKS!  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be a runner if I didn't really love it. I DO. I love running. I love ALL things running. 

But.... when the going gets tough outdoors, why not make it that much better with a super cool, comfortable and functional pair of sunglasses!?! XX2i Optics, check out their website here, sent me some awesome polarized sunglasses because I am a BibRave Pro.  Make sure you check out BibRave to write your latest race review and learn about local races in your area!

There is nothing worse than having sun blazing down on you during an already uncomfortable run.   For me, winter in Minnesota is particularly crazy.  The sun glaring off the white snow can be blinding at times.... and this week we got some fresh stuff. What a perfect time to run with my glasses!  Plus the added bonus is no wind in your eyes.  In Minnesota, sometimes my eyes water and it freezes coming down my face, but not today!

Try out these XX2i 4K high-definition sunglasses to make your run more enjoyable!   And look just a little bit more bad-ass doing it!   I received mine a few weeks ago - and immediately took a picture!   Early Christmas present to me!  See, aren't they awesome???? 
Disclaimer:   I received free xx2i optics sunglasses to review as a BibRave Pro.
Check out to write about your favorite local races!

I've had the opportunity to try out these glasses now for a few weeks.  I've worn them both casually and while running.  Actually, I almost like them more when I'm being active then when I'm just wearing them for fun.  Today on my run, it was sunny and we had fresh snow on the ground.  I needed the glasses to help with the snow glare and streets where the sun was shining bright!  I usually do most of my miles in the early morning in pitch black, so it was really fun running during the daylight hours! 

In my opinion, one of the great features of these glasses is the adjustable/bendable nose pieceI have a very narrow nose bridge so I absolutely need nose pads to help me hold up my glasses; especially when running with sweat dripping off my face!  These glasses did not slip even ONCE during my run, even with a sweaty nose, and at no time during my run did I feel the need to squint when looking into the sun.  To tell you the honest truth, I didn't think it would be possible for a pair of sunglasses not to slip.  These babies didn't budge!  These 4K ultra high-definition optics also have interchangeable colors for the ear and nose pieces.  I am wearing the black color, but it also comes in blue and red. 

Overall, I am very happy with the functionality and the look of these glasses!  They will definately become a staple for me during my workouts and after for everyday kicking around!  

Don't think you can live without these babies??  It's your lucky day!  Right now, through January 2016, you can score your very own for 50% off retail!  Just use code XX2iROCKS at checkout.  I promise you will not be disappointed. 

Don't forget to check out BibRave to write your own race reviews and spread the love and give us a share! 

Happy Running!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fifteen thoughts of an over-planning, type A, slightly obsessive-compulsive, runner-mom preparing for her first marathon.

It's been about 3 weeks since I had the courage to push the registration button for my very first marathon.  The 40th running of Grandma's Marathon will include me this year! 

I have conquered my fear of Golum. (Refer to my previous post) 

There are still so many thoughts rushing through my head about the upcoming 7 months before the big day.  So, with that my latest blog post.  

Fifteen thoughts of an over-planning, type A, slightly obsessive-compulsive, runner-mom preparing for her first marathon. 

1: How the H--E--double hockey sticks am I going to be able to run for 4 + hours? 

2: Duluth can be cold and windy in June.. I better start planning my outfit now. And.... It of course has to be cute. I mean.. It's my first marathon and they'll be lots of pictures. I can't have crazy clothes on. I'll look at the pictures forever. 

3:  Where will I run my 20 mile long runs? I can't possibly do the route I do every day! Maybe the cabin? No... It's too rural. What if I get abducted? 

4:  I better register for those half-marathons in the Spring so I can get race training in. But what if they are already full? 

5: How will I fuel for the marathon? Chews? Gu? Will they make me poop my pants? Yes... True story. I think about this. 

6: What if my stomach gives me issues during the run? Oh my god... Am I going to be one of those runners that just drops trow right on the side of the course? 

7:  I wonder if this race will have plastic or paper cups? 

8:  How will I ever have enough water?

9:  What will that finish line feel like? Will I collapse at the end?

10: Will my husband be able to track me? 

11: Does my current hydration belt hold my race fuel? 

12: Should I race in underwear? Yes... I think about this too! Apparently this is a trend I am unaware of. I've never been one to NOT wear underwear. Will it make me faster?

13: How many shoes should I train in? OH LORD!  I heard the Mizuno Wave Inspire 12's have a skinny toe box. I love my 10's.  What if they don't fit right? Can I find them on sale? They have to be a cool color too! (Even though I'm smart enough to realize comfort over style)

14: I wonder if it will rain? It seems to always rain at Grandmas. 

15: I wonder if it will be sunny? The race would be so great if it were sunny! 

Yes. I am a bit crazy. I do tend to over analyze which is why it's taken me so long to commit to the marathon. I will have many more pre-race thoughts. These are for now. Maybe more to come. 

Until then.. I'll try to remain calm and stay in my seat. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Golum vs. The Marathon

A funny thing happened the other night.  My two boys were introduced to Golum.
This picture isn't a particularly "scary" picture of Golum, but it really DID scare my three year old! 

A little back story:  Tuesday night, my husband was taking goofy pictures of the boys on his iphone in the living room while I was preparing dinner.  But, the last picture, instead of showing Henry a picture of himself, he said "look here's your picture" and flashed Golum up instead.  Much to my husband's surprise,  Henry was petrified, which then snowballed into a heart-breaking cry when it was time to turn out the lights for bed.  Between cries Henry would say, "Mommy.... can you lay with me all night?  Don't leave me."  I knew I was in for trouble. Thankfully, he only got up once at 4:30 am and we just let him crawl in bed with us.  And.... of course it happened to be a rest day from running for me. No extra sleep. Go figure.  Anything for our kids.. right???  But, this extra cuddle time consoling little Hank got me thinking....

The marathon is MY GOLUM!

I am scared to death to run a marathon.  Yet, it's ALL I think about.  I.AM.NOT.KIDDING!

I'm scared to fail.

I'm scared of injury.

I'm scared of the training.

I'm scared of not being perfect.

I'm scared of not meeting my goal time. 

I am a runner.  I don't doubt that.  I run 20-30 miles per week.  I keep progressing with stamina and speed.  Just like the picture above, I love racing and freezing in the cold for a medal and a beer!  I love the gear. I thrive on finish lines!  I post happy selfies of myself post-run.  Those selfies are true definitions of what I'm feeling at the time.  But in the back of my mind, I long to finish a marathon. 

2015 was supposed to be my year. 

June, July and August came and went.  I could have trained for the October Twin Cities Marathon, but I didn't.  I was comfortable in my 13 mile bubble.  Long runs consisted of 10 miles and great conversation and most days the runs were fun.  I blamed an injury in July that kept me from not running for three weeks, I used a girlfriends injury as an excuse not to train.  I used my kids as an excuse not to train.  Fear. Golum. Excuses.

The fact that I haven't completed a marathon doesn't define me. I know that. I know that in order to succeed I have to jump outside my comfort zone. 

Maybe my goal finish time is unrealistic: 4 hours.  Some may think I'm crazy.  I've finished a half marathon in under 2 hours... so I should be able to finish a marathon in double the time.....right??  Not exactly.  My friend, who is also a seasoned veteran when it comes to marathons,  said you need to reevaluate your goal to be "just to finish." 

"Just to Finish." Why does that sound like a negative?  I don't mean that she meant it negative.  She was trying to give me confidence no doubt, but in my head just to finish wasn't good enough.  Hence... Golum.  There he is again.  Fear. 

But why?

Some days I think about the marathon as a task to be completed.
Some days I think about the marathon as a pain in my ass.
Some days I think about the marathon as a life-changing event.
Some days I think about the marathon as something unreachable.
Some days I think about the marathon as a time-sucker because I spend so much time worrying about the damn thing. 
Some days I just THINK about the marathon.

I wasn't kidding when I said that I think about running a marathon.  EVERY.DAMN.DAY!!

2016 is my year. No excuses.  I will face Golum head on.  I will train.  I WILL.  (I sound like an under armour ad.  Lol!)
For now, until my very first marathon. I will continue to live vicariously through my wonderful friends I have met on social media.  You're marathons inspire me to complete mine.  I love hearing your stories and watching your success!

PS:  Henry is still afraid of Golum, but only got up once last night at 1:30AM for me to lay with him.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Got Protein? Got Omega-3's? Hemp Hearts to the RESCUE!

Feeling that afternoon slump?  Tired? Out of energy? Need a healthy, non-processed pick-me-up?  Hemp Hearts to the Rescue!!  

About one month ago, I was given the opportunity via my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship to taste and review Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest.  I am always excited to try new products and was happy to do this review.  Disclaimer:  All opinions are my own - I was given this product for free in exchange for my review.

Manitoba Harvest is a natural food company that makes products using hemp.  Hemp is a natural super plant and the hemp seed is harvested from the top of this plant.  It has a nutty taste and is very high in protein and Omega 3's.  If you'd like more information you can visit the link above and it will go directly to the website!  

I took this image directly from the Manitoba Harvest website at Manitoba Harvest.  I liked the graphic because it shows the different options of products available. 

I was excited to try Hemp Hearts because I eat salads and yogurt often.   This product is an easy and fast way to increase your protein and omega 3's!  Just sprinkle this "on-the-go" and you're all set!   Below is a picture that I took of Hemp Hearts on top of my spinach salad that I had for lunch recently. I am bummed about how this photo turned out on the blog, it's blurry, but the hemp hearts are right on top and blend in nicely when eating. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the texture and taste.  They have a subtle nutty flavor with a soft texture, much like rice.  In my opinion, it tastes a little like a brown rice variety, without all the cooking. :)  Over the last few weeks, I have been sprinkling it on most salads and some yogurts that have fruit and granola.  I found that if I just put it on my yogurt I don't like the consistency quite as much, but when mixed in with other fruit and granola the flavors blend together very well. 
Hemp Hearts do come in an organic version and are vegan and vegetarian friendly.  They are packaged in an easy-to-use package that is resealable.  I know that sounds crazy, but when products take too much time, I won't use them.  I can literally just sprinkle right out of the bag and go.  

For me, one downside to the Hemp Hearts packaging is the Nutrition Facts information.  The 2 oz. bag, which is pictured below, is not broken down into smaller serving sizes.  I would love to know how much a tablespoon is for example.  This 2 oz. bag has lasted me a long time because I only use small amounts at one sitting.  Unfortunately, I can only estimate the nutrition facts because the bag does not list it per tablespoon/teaspoon option.  This " downside" however does not deter from the product and I would still purchase.  It's only a suggestion. 

The price is right for Hemp Hearts!  $2.99 for a 2 ounce bag and $8.99 for an 8 ounce bag.   You can order off the website or browse your local stores to see which products they carry.  I did search in my area on the website and they have several locations where I could find these without paying shipping costs. 

I do wish I would have been able to try the Hemp Heart Bites or Hemp Heart Bar.  I am a grab-and-go kind of girl; oftentimes eating my breakfast and snacks on the go!  The Hemp Hearts can be eaten right out of the bag, but it would be easier to throw a "bite" in your mouth!  I will definitely be trying more products!

Here is a great graphic for all of the benefits of Hemp Hearts!!  Go on!  Give them a try!  They are available at many of your favorite stores! 

 Thanks again to Manitoba Harvest and Sweat Pink! for allowing me to taste and to review this product!  I give it two thumbs up!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Worth the Hurt - Half Marathon #3 Race Recap

Last weekend, on a whim, I decided to run my third half-marathon - The Belle Plaine Scenic Byway Half Marathon did NOT disappoint!  I love the medal and I love the race slogan!  "Worth the Hurt."
I was warned from multiple people that this race was difficult.  Beautiful, but extremely hilly.  I was immediately intrigued and actually looked forward to the challenge.  I just had to conquer the hilly beast.  

The race was located in a nearby town just 10 minutes from my house. The route ran along the Minnesota River Valley which is beautiful!  One would think, "Oh the river valley, it should be flat."  WRONG!!  This course was as described with beautiful fall color, corn fields, quaint farm houses,  river valley, hills, hills, hills, hills..... and more hills.....and, when you think you're done with hills, mile 12 comes along!!

Because this race was so close to home, my husband and kids came out to support me.  I'm excited for this race recap because he really documented the "hurt" I was feeling during the race!  

It was a very small race with only 112 people running the half marathon.  The start of the race was a little unorganized as we were not quite sure where to start.  I do think that it was great that there were pacers.  I had high hopes to stay close with the 1:50:00 pacer, but at mile 3 I lost him.  I giggled to myself as I crossed the starting line because one of the race volunteers just shouted 1,2,3 GO!!  But, again, there were so few runners it was easy to hear him and I started near the front of the pack anyway.

Before the race, my husband asked where the best place to spectate was.  I usually start to have my mental struggle about mile 8-9 and the course was not a closed course, so many people were driving to multiple stopping points along the route.  It was a quiet course in the way of spectators, but I enjoy the quite and the course was absolutely beautiful.  I have a hard time watching the scenery as I run, but I tried hard to enjoy my race and look around me to take in the natural beauty beside me.

Starting at about mile 2.5 the hills started and never stopped.  Most were gently rolling, but I would describe them as slow burn.  Once you think you're done, there's another in the distance!  My most favorite part of the course was the downhill from mile 7-8.  I had just come off a very long hill from mile 6.3 to about mile 7.  At that time, I had a few fellow runners come up alongside me.  We quickly made friends and chit-chatted about the usual running stuff - pace, how many races, etc.  

The downhill from 7-8 was great!  There were hay bales with song lyrics. My new buddy Mike and I were competing to see who could figure out the song and sing the lyrics first!  These hay bales were about every 200 ft for almost 1 mile!  A welcome relief and super fun!  Thanks to the race coordinators for a great idea.  At the bottom of this hill was the first time I saw my husband and boys!  It was so great to see them. I was feeling great at this point in the race as well!  
So happy to see my family!  Mike, my singing partner, is in the red!  :)

At the bottom of the hill pictured above was a great water stop.  People in gorilla suits were dancing around and you could throw water balloons at them.  I learned after the race that the water stops were competing for prizes based on our votes as to who had the best water stop.  I loved the gorillas dancing and the high school boys WWE wrestling in the middle of the course at water stop 11.5. 

A few more progression photos will follow!  It was fantastic to see my boys and husband multiple times on the race.  They would often drive by and yell...  " GOOOOOOooooo Mommy!! "

By mile 10 I was still feeling pretty great.  My lungs felt amazing.  If it weren't for my legs I really could have kept running.  I guess that's what strength training is for??  I really hope to do that marathon someday.  Is 2016 my year???

Feeling great just at mile 9!

Mile 10 -  I bet you couldn't tell it was mile 10. :)  

At mile 11.5 I rounded a slight corner and there she was......  THE BEAST!  The hill of all hills.  An entire MILE of hill from about 11.8-12.8.   This hill is truly so big you can't see the round top. All you see if skyline above the top of the hill.  I can't tell you the mind games you play with yourself when you see this beast.   My mind was truly racing... how am I going to run UP this hill in the final hour?  How can I get a PR race with this hill in my way?  Is this for real? 

I looked at my watch and realized I had about 17 minutes to finish the race under my PR time and a wave of confidence came over me.... if only for a slight second.  I had 1.5 miles to run so I figured just don't walk this hill, just don't walk this hill!

My husband was at 12.5 - just about to the top. He ran a block with me and yelled " You got this babe!!  You can do it!! "  I pushed and pushed and surprisingly my paced slowed, but not terribly. I looked at my Garmin and this mile was 9:58!  Pretty solid time!
The BEAST!  Just keep going! 

I came to the top of the 12 mile hill with about .3 miles to go to the finish.  I gained some speed, took a final look at my Garmin to gage my time and crossed the finish line in 1:57:45!!  A PR by about 1:15!  I'll talke it!!!

Post race beer at the finish was new for me!  But it tasted pretty good really!!

This race definately is "Worth The Hurt!"  I may say this has been one of my favorites!  I definately would do run it again!!!  Can't beat a picture with my sweet boys at the finish line either!!
William - 5,  Henry - 3

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My Own Personal Running Survey

I recently saw a running survey and really enjoyed reading it, so I'm going to give it a try.  Here's to getting to know me a little bit more. 

How long ago did you start running?

I started running a few times per week about 4 year ago.  It really was just a hobby that I occasionally started doing, when I had the time.... which wasn't very often.  About two years ago, a few friends in my neighborhood got me hooked on morning running and now I MAKE time and find that if I try hard enough, I definately have enough time to get my run in.  It's now a passion and I couldn't imagine life without running.

What time of day do you find is the best to run?

With my full-time job and my two very busy little boys, early morning 5AM workouts are my "ME" time.  The house is quiet.  Most of the time, my boys are still sleeping, and I can run guilt-free.  I say guilt-free for all of you moms out there. How often do we get to do something for ourselves where we don't have to worry about a billion other things??  My alarm rings at 4:45 three to four days per week.  Sometimes, even earlier if I'm planning a long run. 

Where is your favorite place to run?

I enjoy road running.  The treadmill, or "dreadmill" as I call it, is only good for extremely cold days or icy conditions.  I was recently in Colorado however, and did some trail running!  It is awesome! There is something so exhilarating about dodging rocks and jumping down inclines.  But, I hurt in muscles I didn't know I had after running trails for sure!

Are there any road conditions you won't run in?

I train with some pretty bad-ass women.  We run in absolutely any weather.  Here in MN it's dark 9 months of the year at 5AMIt also gets extremely cold.  Last year my limit was 8 below zero -- and with the windchill it was a miserable 8 miles.  My nostrils froze and it took me hours to warm up after.  On the upside?  I'll always have the memories.  BUT, usually, fresh snow on the roads or ice keeps me inside.  It's silly for me to risk slipping or breaking a limb when I have a treadmill in my basement.  I also don't venture out when it's extremely cold with windchill.  Although I did run a 10K race in -27 below.  NEVER AGAIN.  My eyelashes had icicles and those icicles and icicles.  Catch my drift.  ha ha ha

What are your favorite running shoes?

No question.  Mizunos.  I run in the Wave Inspires and have been for 4 years.  They have treated me well, so there is no reason for me to change.  I have 3 pair in rotation at this moment. 

What is your favorite race distance? 

Currently, I like the 10 mile.  Not to short, but not too long and I'm not sprinting like I would in a 5K.  I have yet to run a marathon. Maybe one day, I can say my favorite distance is a marathon.  Bucket list for sure! 

Do you like to run solo or with someone else? 

Most days I really enjoy running with friends, and typically I'm doing just that. I have some amazing friends that I run with daily and love chatting.  We are always talking, but it helps to pass them miles.  Typically, I run my races solo though.  Races are my time to push myself. 

Does your family support your running? 

My husband is my biggest supporter.  With two boys sometimes it's hard to venture out of the house and he handles it like a trooper!  I love it when they come to my races and cheer me on!  My mom is hilarious because she always says... " I worry about you when you run those distances.  You're going to hurt yourself."  I also don't think she realizes how far a mile is. :)  But like any mom she's proud of me and I like to make her proud as well. 

What have you gained from running?

Where do I start?  Running has given me so much!  I have met amazing friends through my running.  I follow so many wonderful blogs and runners on social media.  I have learned how to take care of my body. I have gained strength. I have lost weight.  The list goes on.  

What is most rewarding about running? 

There is nothing quite like that finish line!  I LOVE crossing finish lines.  The work and dedication it takes to make it across is like no other. The emotions you feel when you are done with the race can only be described by runners.  I feel invisible, like I can do anything.  I visualize that finish line during my races and that gets me through tough runs as well.   


Friday, September 11, 2015


Yesterday, I gave away my son.  I gave him away to Kindergarten.  I gave him away to be free to make friends, make memories, make smiles, makes laughs and make mom proud!

As we lay in bed "Kindergarten-eve" Will asked all sorts of questions.  "Mom, but what if I don't know anyone?"  "Are you going to be there"  "But how do I ride the bus?"  He was a school veteran in my eyes; he had full time preschool last year.  I didn't think there would be much change.

It was an ordinary morning with just a few extra hiccups.  This was the first time I needed to make sure that he had a great balanced breakfast.  In the past, he ate his breakfast at his preschool.  I prepared smoked breakfast sausage, our favorite, the night before and his dad got him started on his breakfast before I came downstairs for the morning. It had rained the night before so the slugs were out on the driveway distracting my 3 year old.  Now that I look back it was good for me too because I was just as distracted looking at them as well.

My husband does photography on the side so he takes charge of all of the milestone moments in our boys' lives.  Normally, William doesn't listen too well with pictures, but he was so excited he posed for as many as Brad asked.  My baby looked so grown up!  It's not often that we spike his hair and put on collared shirts.  THIS was a special occasion.

I was doing well and excited to see him off on his first day.  There are many kids at the bus stop including a few kids his same age.  He truly couldn't wipe the smile off his face.  As the bus approached he eagerly waited to step up the steps to his seat.  These were the first steps to his future.  It's crazy that those 4 bus steps could mean so much.  I gave away a bit of my son yesterday.  A part of me had to let go, and as he waved goodbye...I sobbed!  Uncontrollably.  I'm tearing as I write this.  I never expected to have such emotion.  Where did my baby go?

I know that he is only 5 1/2 and he needs me for nearly everything, but his independence gleamed brightly yesterday.  He did fantastic at his first day and as we cuddled in bed last night, he filled me in on most of what his day was like.  He jabbered on about anything and everything and even stopped to kiss me on my cheek and tell me I was his best friend.    I cherish those memories and can't wait to hear more.  Bring on Kindergarten!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Race Recap: Women Rock Starlet Challenge

Last weekend I ran the Women Rock - Rock Starlet Challenge in St. Paul, Minnesota.  For late August, it could have been a scorcher, but we had a perfect 55 degree start and cloud cover!  My absolute ideal running conditions!

The Women Rock race series is put on by Team Ortho and it includes a 5K, 10K and half marathon.  This year, they offered a series race and included a Friday night 2.5K around the state Capitol.   Three Races. 4 Medals.  A "bling-whores" DREAM!!!  wink,wink.  I chose to run the Rock Starlet Challenge of 2.5K, 10K and 5K (in that order.)
Who doesn't like bling that looks like diamonds!!!
This race is a woman only race and had around 6500 participants.  I went to the race with my best friend Briana and we met a few other friends while there as well.  The expo was small but fun to attend as we acted like total goofballs dressing up against the Women Rock Curtain!

Briana and I acting like goofballs!
Jessica, Amanda, me, Briana and cutie-pie Anna!

The 2.5 K race was short and sweet - we finished together in 12:56.  Post race food, water and of course great bling! It was fun running around the capitol. I've never really explored the capital grounds and there are great grassy areas and sculptures around for interest. Neat location!

The next day was the main race day.  We got there early enough to score fantastic close-to-the-start parking for only $5.  Can't beat that!  It was nice because we could hang out in our car and stay warm. Believe it or not, the wind was chilly! :)  The 10K race started first and it was an out and back course - straight, out and back.  That does have it's advantages, but in my opinion, pretty boring.  I was focusing on a PR for this distance, so I tried to focus all of my energy on pace and trying to catch the woman in front of me.  I did notice that the race mile marker flags were all over the map and not accurate, so thank goodness for my Garmin 220.  I feel bad for anyone not wearing GPS - especially if you're not a seasoned runner.  It might have been discouraging to see mile 4 when we really were only at about 2.5.  It wasn't a "race-killer" for me, but it certainly was a mistake that could have been avoided.

My previous PR was 53:04 so I knew I had to race fast! My comfort pace is around 8:45/mile.  I was just coming off an injury, but my leg felt great so I went for it and PR'D!! Yeah!!!  52:35 was my official 10K time.  I discovered a photo from my 10K finish on the Woman Rock Facebook page, so here it is.  Why is it that race photos are so unflattering.  Clearly, I had the finish line in mind with that photo.  But, I still maintain that I love crossing finish lines!  There is really nothing like it!!  The exhilaration and excitement I felt with the PR was awesome!  I texted my husband a post race selfie to tell him about it too! 
Eyeing that 10K finish line!

Post Race Selfie
Bri and I at the finish of the 10K
 The above picture makes me laugh so hard!  HA!  ME.... LAUGH.... LONG....TIME!  :)  Bri has arms on her that would kill me in a fight!  I have NO muscles. We got a great laugh on that one!

We had about a 45 minute break in between the 10K and 5K.  Just enough time to stiffen up!  :)  But after my PR, I didn't much care about running the 5K my fastest!  Suprisingly, I was able to pull off 9:01/mile for my 5K putting my time at finish to 27:25.  Pretty good time for a break in between.  I was dissapointed with my first mile though at 10:30.  The crowd was HUGE - and like a dummy I didn't start up front, so I was weaving in and out the first mile.  Lesson learned - I HATE WEAVING.  So, I'll be starting near the front with all of my future races. 

All in all the race was a huge success and such a great time with friends! I absolutely love my running friends.  It's so great to catch up with everyone at the start and finish lines! I will hopefully be doing this race again next year! 

3 Races, 4 Medals!  My DREAM!
Below are a few more pictures! I know... ENOUGH WITH THE PICTURES!  I can't help it.  It was so fun.  Post race bubbly at the end in our own collector glass, music and friends!  What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

BuluBox Bonus??!? Or BuluBox Bust??!?

A few weeks ago I was selected to review Bulu Box. If you're not familiar with what Bulu Box is you've come to the right place. My honest review follows. 

Bulu Box is a monthly subscription box that includes 4-5 samples of fitness and nutrition samples. There are two options; the Bulu Box Original includes items related to health and fitness. There is also the Bulu Box Weightloss box that includes all samples for Weightloss. I received my bright orange box last week and have devoted some time this week to testing out its contents. As you can see, I was excited to receive it and couldn't wait to look inside.

DISCLAIMER:  I received the BuluBox FREE in exchange for my review.  This post is strictly my opinion. :)

In my box were five samples. Clockwise from top left: Earths Care Anti-itch Cream, Simply Bean dietary supplement, Moveit Energy Gummies, Runa Ginger-citrus Guayusa Tea and Fusion Jerky in Lemon Pepper flavor. 

The concept of the box is great.  I find it convenient to have a one stop shop where you can sample different products  to see which ones you really like.  Oftentimes, I want to try something but don't want to buy a full size product and then be disappointed if I don't like it. With Bulu Box every month you get to try the hottest new health and fitness products. How great is that?  

Another cool perk with Bulu Box is the review program that each customer can participate in.  Once you receive your samples, simply go to Bulu Box and review the item. Each review earns you 10 points. 10 points = $1. The more you review products, the more money you earn toward any products you'd like to purchase in the full size format.  There are also other easy ways to earn credit toward full size product. Check out for more ways to earn them.   I love getting a deal so the review program is right up my alley!!

In addition to the review program offered to offset the cost of full size product, I was pleasantly surprised at the subscription options and price. For ONLY $10 a month you can try out Bulu Box. That's less than one lunch out on most days and there's something about the surprise of what may be inside that intrigued me.  You can decide to subscribe month-to-month or in 3,6 or 12 month increments. I would personally sign up with month-to-month only because you can cancel anytime and there is no obligation.  However, if you use code SWEATPINK you get 50% off a 3- month subscription.  That's only $15 for three boxes!  You can't go wrong.  You'll get a great sampling and can decide if you want to keep receiving the orange boxes in the mail!  Who doesn't like goodies at their doorstep?

My favorite sample of the Bulu Box  I received was the Fusion Jerky. It appears to be a full size bag and everyone I shared it with raved about the taste! Way to go Fusion Jerky and Bulu Box.

Unfortunately, I would not buy any of the other products in this box.  One item out of five isn't too bad though...and at $10 a box you don't feel like you're breaking the bank.

For me personally, the sampling size of the products I received was not adequate to really dive into an opinion on if I really liked a product or not.  I do think that the samples need to be larger for optimal review.  For example, it's hard to know if an energy chew really worked with only one package.   But, the beauty of Bulu Box is that you always have next months box to discover something new that you love!! 

Overall, I would say Bulu Box is a BONUS! It's low cost makes it affordable for everyone and there are great perks that earn you cash with the review program. 


You receive 50% your first 3-month subscription. So why not start?!? Give it a shot! That's 3 months for $15!! Just use code SWEATPINK at checkout for your discount.  I say give it a try!! 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Race Recap: Gopher to Badger 5K

Last Saturday, I ran the Gopher to Badger 5K. 

I started the day with a bit of disappointment because I was supposed to do the half marathon.  I have had a leg injury for about a month.  It hasn't kept me from running entirely, but with more frequent exercise it seems to be getting worse. I didn't want to chance it, so I transferred my race down.  That way, I could still run the race, but not aggravate the injury even more.  I'm not quiet sure what is going on exactly.  At first I thought it to be a calf strain, but now I'm feeling weakness with pressure, so I'm guessing a stress reaction.  Of course I'm avoiding the doctor. I know they would tell me that rest is best!

This was a solo race for me as well, which was a bit different.  I must be a runner if I can do races without any friends. I love the feeling of crossing that finish line.  I am a social person, so I can strike up a conversation fairly easily, so I wasn't worried about going it alone.

The race got it's name from long-standing rivalry between the Gophers and the Badgers.  The first five men and the first five women across the finish line won the border battle!  This year, the Gophers took the trophy!  GO GOPHERS!  I completed my undergraduate at the University of Minnesota so my heart was with the gophers, even though I didn't dress the part for race day.

The 5K was a relatively low-key, non-crowded race.  About 450 people completed the 5K.  It started in Minnesota and ran across the river border into Hudson, Wisconsin; hence the name Gopher to Badger. :)  I was impressed by how easily I parked.  I arrived only about 10 minutes before the 5K buses departed for the starting line and I still was able to find street parking easily.

We boarded the buses and I sat down next to a guy named Tom.  We chit-chatted a bit and headed to the starting line.  We discussed briefly our average paces. I knew that he was going to be a bit faster than me, but I quickly had my goal of never letting him out of my sight.  My last 5K that I PR'd I had a finish time of 24:05.  I averaged 7:51/mile. I knew that this race was going to be a bit harder with my leg and the humidity, but I wanted to give it my best shot.

The starting line was in a quiet and wooded housing development with narrow streets. Surprisingly, the streets were not so narrow as to where we were hitting elbows.  We started at mile 10 of the half marathon, so there wasn't an official starting line exactly, but the race was timed so we did have the racing mats for recording our starting time.

Overall, this race seemed fast and very flat. We only had an elevation gain of about 35 feet which I loved.  At one point we did cross the interstate bridge over the river.  Not the most beautiful location, but racing by cars I felt gives you a bit of motivation to run just that much faster. 

At about mile two, I could see Tom start to slow just a bit up ahead and I thought, " I got him!"  I wanted to pass him so badly.. or at least try to finish with him.  That's my competitive nature coming out for sure!  I just couldn't quite catch him.  We both rounded the corner toward the finish line and he finished about 10 seconds ahead of my time.  I was very happy with my race finish!

25:24 - 8:04/mile. I'll take it!  74 degrees with humidity made this a perfect 5K.  I had a sneaky suspicion that I may win my age group only because I didn't see many women at the finish line.  But, the awards ceremony was 90 minutes from my finish and I didn't want to stick around. I found out later that weekend, that I DID INDEED win my division. I was bummed that I didn't stay. Lesson learned. 


25:24 Finish Time
1st in my age group 35-39
9th women across finish
58th finisher overall

I was very happy with the medal for this race!  Who doesn't want a race medal, especially when it looks like this!!!!

 I think that races should always have race medals. I have been to many where the 5K finishers don't get a medal.  They worked hard to get there as well and for many the race may be their first race and it's always a huge accomplishment!

I will be doing this race again for sure!  Well organized, affordable, and great SWAG.  I was looking back at the women top finishers and I was only 90 seconds away from placing in the top 5 women. I would have been able to earn the GOPHER title. That's my goal for next year!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I'd still cut off my arm for a DIET DEW!

Clean Eating!  I used to be scared of this phrase.  I mean... really what exactly IS clean eating?
Almost 4 weeks ago, I set out on the clean eating journey.  Throughout my entire life, (I'm 35) I've had the nickname "garbage-gut." I know... it's an attractive name right?  But really, I've been able to eat pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want.  For the most part, I'm an active person.  Since I've started running 4 years ago, I feel that I'm in some of the best shape of my life. But yet, I feel that I can always do more. 

I enjoy food.  A LOT!  Pizza is certainly one of my favorites.  I haven't had pizza since I've started focusing on healthy, whole foods that are not processed.   Soda is another ENORMOUS part of my life.  I don't think you understand... ENORMOUS!  A 7am diet coke was a regular occurrence for me!  I've given that up too! It was hard at first and there are days that I would cut my own arm off for diet mountain dew, but I'm doing well with it and have lost pounds of bloat because of it!  Water is now my staple and I'm usually carrying some sort of water bottle at all times.
Clean eating isn't really that hard, but it does require planning.  And at times, lots of planning which lead me to my dinner last night. I didn't have a lot of time and wanted something healthy that would fill me up. I had vanilla greek yogurt with fruit, granola and honey.   It's becoming one of my absolute favorites and I do not count calories or serving sizes, I just go with it.  I figure it's healthy for me and I'll eat until I'm full.  Besides, I run enough to not really worry about the calories anyway.  This recipe came from a blog that I follow.  Her link is here.  Check her out!  Great photos of her food and I've been inspired by her a lot to make healthy choices!
I am also including a recipe for one of my absolute favorites - Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps!!  Fry up the ground turkey, throw in all the ingredients listed, pair it will red butter lettuce and you're set! All for under 350 calories.  Can't beat that! 
I'm on the hunt for more healthy and fast recipes!  But, so far this clean eating thing is going very well.  I'm officially down 7 pounds and weigh in at 139.  I'm 5'7".  Typically I'm wearing a size 4.  It's safe to say hopefully I can keep these habits up. There's no stopping me now!