Race Recap: Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay

Third time’s a charm, right? After putting my hat in the ring and then withdrawing twice (because…pregnant), this year, I finally participated in the Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay.


Andrea, Alicia, Laura and I left the Cities and headed east on 94 last Friday afternoon and after a five+ hour drive and a much-needed Chipotle stop, we checked into our Airbnb. It was a low key night (besides a thrilling trip to the grocery store for booze because Wisconsin knows what they’re doing).

I may or may not be searching for the chips with the most salt


Since the race started at 1 p.m., pre-race fueling proved to be a bit tricky, especially when you don’t eat gluten or dairy. I went with my typical breakfast — AIP breakfast sausage and sweet potatoes (because, yes, I now travel with a full-sized cooler). Then, we made a stop at a grocery store and I grabbed some pickles, prosciutto and potato chips. You know — essentials.

Even though we didn’t start racing until 1, we were meeting at the Pettit at 11 a.m. With 40 Oiselle Volee racing and friends/family who came to spectate, we had to reserve a pretty large area for ourselves. Thanks to Sheila’s amazing-ness, everything felt super organized which just let us all relax and have fun. It was fun to catch up with some teammates I hadn’t seen in awhile and meet some new ones, too. Around 12:30 we took a team photo and then it was time to warm up.

One lap at the Pettit track is 445.2 meters and the full marathon is 94.8 laps. Since there were four people to a team, we each ran 24 laps total, two at a time. Given that I’m still in a base building phase of my training, it was pretty intense to essentially do a 12×800 workout, but man…it was fun.

We surprised ourselves (or maybe I was the only one who was surprised?) and finished in 3:39.

Minnesota birds! The Flying V (And Jana who was already wearing her coat because she’s super speedy and had finished like an hour before ūüėČ )

After quick showers and a change into real clothes, we met up with some of our other teammates for dinner and beer at Lakefront Brewery (AKA my happy place Рthank you for having delicious gluten-free beer).

Back at the Airbnb, we promptly changed into #allthelux, poured some drinks, put our legs up the wall and turned on the Olympics.¬† I think I may have stayed up past 10 p.m. that night, so we’re calling it a success.

Post-race, I felt surprisingly good, besides the usual angry TFL. Had some ART and cupping done on Wednesday and feel pretty much back to normal!

Weekly workouts: 1/8 – 1/14

Monday, January 8: REST

Life got in the way and I opted to skip Monday’s run for my own sanity’s sake.

Tuesday, January 9: Strength

Hit up a weight training class at Northeast Fitness. It was a straightforward workout starting with cut downs (15, 12, 10) to warm up (bicep curls, tricep extensions, chest press and fly). Then a three round circuit of walking lunges with weighted rotation, wall ball, plank, barbell row, ab roll outs and kettlebell sumo deadlifts.

Wednesday, January 10: Run*

Easy 3.5 miles after work. I definitely overdressed for this one – it was 36 degrees, but very damp, so I opted for flow tights, long sleeve lux, vigor vest, headband and gloves, but I took the gloves off just two minutes in and could have definitely gone without the vest.

Thursday, January 11: Run*

Oh, where to start? After some nice, mild weather, Thursday brought a plunge in temperature and snow. My only window for a run was before the paths were cleared, so I strapped on the Yaktrax and headed out. After a rough first mile, I finally kind of warmed up and figured out my footing, but as soon as I turned around at 1.5 miles, I found myself running directly into the wind.

I am happy to report that my new flyout jacket kept me nice and toasty — definitely was a smart investment for Minnesota winter running!

Friday, January 12: Kettlebells and Krankcycle class + PT exercises

I got in some strength work with a lunch hour Northeast Fitness class, spending half the time on the Krankcycle and half the time on the floor. The floor workout was three rounds of kettlebell swings, catch and press (1 min.), gunslingers (1 min.), half Turkish get ups left side (1 min.), half turkish get ups right side (1 min.). We finished with some core work.

Saturday, January 13: Hot yoga

The room felt hotter than usual, so it was a nice, hour-long extra sweaty session.

Sunday, January 14: Run* + strength circuit, PT exercises

Finally, a good run! Despite the below-zero temperatures, this run felt effortless (in fact, I may have seen some 8:xx’s on my watch from time to time) and I have to admit, my layering game was on point.

After I got home, I did a strength circuit from BlondePonytail’s Train Like an Athlete plan.

The rest of the day included eating a gigantic, amazing salad, meal prepping for the week and being lazy and watching football. We opted for ordering pizzas (a gf and vegan cheeze one for me!) and it was an excellent decision. And HOLY THE MOST AMAZING GAME EVER! Go Vikings! I’m going to be on an airplane during the next game – so I might need wi-fi for that flight.

*While I’m still being cautious with my hamstring, all of my runs have been at easy pace

This week I gave Stephanie Meyer’s Project Vibrancy Meals a shot. Give your free week a try!

I also made a loaf of Danielle Walker’s grain-free sandwich bread and ate that with almond butter for breakfasts, and mostly had dinner leftovers for lunches.

On the schedule this week:

  • Leaving my number of run days at three, but continuing to add on the total mileage
  • Drink more water!
  • Start of the Whole Life Challenge!

Do you meal prep on Sundays? What does it typically look like?

Festive Fitness

Since our house got hit by strep right before Christmas, and I took about a week off from working out, I wanted to take advantage of working from home and the long holiday weekends off from work to make up for it. Mission accomplished!

Thursday, December 28: Spin

I was looking forward to this workout but I never really felt like I hit a stride and my heart rate was really high throughout the entire thing. I chalked it up to still recovering from strep.

Friday, December 29: KrankCycle and Kettlebells at Northeast Fitness

How I missed the KrankCycle! Felt good to get in a quick 50-minute lunch hour strength session.

Saturday, December 30: Climbing

Since my mom was in town, J and I took advantage of having a built-in babysitter and went climbing at Vertical Endeavors. It was really busy (hello, holiday weekend), but we still got in some solid climbing time.

Sunday, December 31: Hot Yoga

Since the temperature high was a whopping -5 degrees, hot yoga seemed like a good idea.

Monday, Jan. 1: Alchemy A20

Since I’m old and went to bed before midnight on New Years Eve, I was easily able to take advantage of Alchemy’s free New Years Day classes with a 9 a.m. A20 and my first Alchemy class ever. It was a tough workout, but I loved it! This was the workout:

Tuesday, Jan. 2: Run*; PT exercises

33 minutes with the Oiselle MN Volee ladies. It was so cold that even after being good and remembering to do a dynamic warm up, I tightened up again. The hamstring was definitely “off” during this, but didn’t seem to feel any worse, post-run. And even for as cold as it was, remarkably, the weather felt warm compared to the previous few days.

Wednesday, Jan. 3: Alchemy A10

I hit up the Edina studio after work. The workout, while tough, was much different than the A20 – it seemed to be over so quickly!

Workout (10 minutes):

10 2xTorpedo Deadlifts (15# each)
10 Box Jumps
10 Push-ups

Thursday, Jan. 4: REST (PT exercises)

A busy day at work meant a forced rest day for me, but had a great, relaxing happy hour with friends that made it totally worth it.

Friday, Jan. 5: Alchemy A20

4:30 a.m. alarm was rough but the 5:30 A20 class at Alchemy was packed. It was a really fun workout, with a lot of variety. Like for many, pull-ups are my enemy, but I’m determined to get stronger and maybe even do an unassisted one someday in the not-too-distant future.

Workout (20 minutes):

5 Pull-ups
7 Push-ups
9 Muscle Snatch (alternating arms every rep) (15#)
12 Abmat Sit-ups
15 Air Squats

Saturday: REST

We took a weekend trip with family to Eau Claire for some waterpark fun for the kids. I was extremely sore from Friday’s workout, so a rest day was definitely welcome. And, let’s be honest, chasing after a two-year-old means I don’t actually get to rest.

Sunday: Run*; PT exercises

It was a great day for a run, weather wise. Met up with Andrea for a few miles (and brought the dog). It was a good transition from getting back into town to the long night of laundry and meal prepping (Instacart to the rescue – use my referral link for $10 off!) I had ahead of me. And bonus: No hamstring pain!

*While I’m still being cautious with my hamstring, all of my runs have been at easy pace

For many reasons that I may or may not get into in a separate post, my start to AIP has been slightly delayed. Meals for the past week and a half had been pretty clean, but with the weekend away, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was and I paid for it.

Breakfasts: AIP breakfast sausage and golden sweet potato and cauliflower hash from the Essential Thyroid Cookbook.

Lunches: mostly some combination of a protein (proscuitto, sardines) paired with a fermented food (typically sauerkraut), and a green veggie (broccoli or a kale salad).

Dinners: Well Fed carnitas, spaghetti sauce with zoodles, lemon garlic shrimp with spinach saute from the Essential Thyroid Cookbook.

On the schedule this week:

  • Hoping to increase the number of run days to three total
  • Two days of strength training (taking a week off from Alchemy to decide if I’m going to invest in a membership or not)
  • Three days of PT exercises (mostly lateral band walks, single leg deadlifts, etc.)
  • One day of yoga (of the hot variety)
  • One cardio cross training day (spin)
  • Cleaning up my diet even more – working to get fully on board with my Sugar-Free January and limit my portions of grains to only a couple times per week.

Do you cross train? What are your favorite activities?

Are you a hot weather or cold weather runner?

I’m starting the AIP on Jan. 1 AKA I will not be fun to go out to eat with

According to the fantastic online resource Autoimmune Wellness, the Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP, is an elimination diet that has been specifically designed to help those suffering from autoimmunity determine their food allergies and sensitivities, reverse nutrient deficiencies, balance gut flora, and heal their bodies over the long-term. In a nutshell, the Autoimmune Protocol calls for removing foods that are most likely to be problematic for people with autoimmune disease‚ÄĒgrains, beans, legumes, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshades, as well as food chemicals and additives. In addition, nutrient-dense foods are added to restore nutrient status, such as bone broth, high-quality meat and wild-caught fish, as well as organ meats, fermented foods and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Over the course of the elimination phase (which can last from a month to a year), you take note of the changes you experience in your health. When it comes time to slowly and systematically reintroduce foods, you will be able to tell exactly which foods are holding you back, and able to use this information to construct a diet that will best support your healing needs.

Most of you know I’ve removed gluten and dairy from my diet already, while doing my best to remove soy and I also avoid caffeine and alcohol (for the most part). The reason I started with removing gluten is for a couple reasons. The first being because, according to Dr. Datis Kharrazian (the author of¬†Why Isn‚Äôt My Brain Working?¬†and¬†Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests are Normal?):

Gluten sensitivity is basically defined as any immune response to gluten and an immune response is never good for a person with Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune disease.  The immune system is already imbalanced and overactive during an active autoimmune condition. A consistent immune reaction to a regular food in the diet only makes the immune system more volatile, further exacerbating the autoimmune condition.

This overall activation of the immune system creates inflammation and explains why symptoms of gluten sensitivity vary. For some the inflammation may target the joints, creating pain and swelling. For others skin rashes and skin disorders ensue. Many others suffer inflammation in the brain, resulting in brain fog, mood and anxiety disorders, or memory loss.

The list of inflammation-induced symptoms brought on by a gluten sensitivity goes on and depends upon the person‚Äôs genetic makeup. Needless to say such systemic inflammation also flares up an autoimmune condition.”

When it comes to my decision to cut out dairy, Dr. Izabella Wentz says it best: “There¬†are¬†certain studies that had been published that show that¬†gluten can also cross-react because of the protein similarity to dairy protein. So that‚Äôs why¬†many people don‚Äôt really feel better until they get gluten-free as well as dairy-free.

While I’ve noticed remarkable changes in how I feel over the past months, it’s become apparent that I have a long way to go. And what’s scarier, I’m noticing signs that point to what Dr.¬†Kharrazian mentions above around brain inflammation. Since I’m still eating foods that are likely cross-reacting with gluten or that I may have a sensitivity to, it’s time to get rid of them. Cross-reactive foods like rice, corn, gluten-free oats (all things I eat a lot of these days since giving up gluten) have proteins similar in structure to gluten and can trigger the same immune response, so it’s kind of like I’m still eating gluten.

So, fair warning: if you choose to go out to eat with me in the New Year, be prepared (you might be embarrassed) as I’ll be the person asking the waitstaff allthequestions.

Post-injury running update

Hello! Wanted to pop in quickly to do a little update since I am officially running again! Not much and definitely sloooooow, but I’m happy to be pain free, finally!

Dr. Travis McCathie (who is a miracle-worker and super awesome – shout out to Tracy for the recommendation) gave me the “all-clear” to run again on November 22 and on November 24, I ran for the first time in 52 days.

I ran for 20 minutes and surprisingly, cardio-wise I felt pretty good! My legs, however, protested almost from the very beginning. Instead of running, I took the dog on a 2.3 mile walk the next day and ran again for 20 minutes the day after that. It went about as well as the first run, but I felt tired. I took four days off before running again and in those four days, it was a struggle to get through the day, my body felt sore and a lot of my adrenal fatigue symptoms reemerged.

A trip to see my acupuncturist, along with some herbs, paying really close attention to my diet (AKA EATING LESS SUGAR) and a renewed effort to get a solid eight hours of sleep at night, and I started to feel better. I ran again on December 1st and 3rd and increased my time to, wait for it, 23 MINUTES for each of those runs!

Then, on December 5th, something happened. It snowed and got cold AF and I haven’t run since. But what being injured (and tbh, a lack of motivation to run outside in the cold) brought back to my life is the reminder that I love working out and I love variety! Case in point: After a group rock climbing event with my Oiselle teammates, I’ve been climbing once per week and recently invested in my own gear. I love it!

I also started up with a hot yoga practice again at my old studio in Bloomington and it makes me SO HAPPY. I’m only going once per week right now, but it’s one of the things I most look forward to each week and I know the heat and sweating is so good for my body.

Also, last night was the best spin workout I’ve had in years. The instructor had great energy and we got a full-body workout with a weight bar for our arms and core and I loved the variety of sprints and hills throughout class.

Last, but not least, I finally feel like I’ve got a routine down with self-care and strength training at home. Every evening I do¬†something –¬†alternating between foam rolling/stretching, a quick strength circuit, core, PT exercises, etc.

While, yes, I’m still pretty inconsistent with running these days, I’m cautiously optimistic that I could have some decent races ahead of me this spring. Although this line of thinking inevitably led me to registering for races, when my original plan was to wait until Feb.¬†¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į

Race Recap: 2017 Twin Cities 10 Mile

I ran with a charity bib, in honor of my dad and Charlie and to represent team Miles with Maeve

This was my 7th 10 mile and 2nd TC 10 Mile. And was a great reminder why I love the distance and this race, specifically! Even though this training cycle included a stress reaction and a hamstring strain, it showed me just how effective cross training can be.

My alarm off at 4:15. Breakfast was two scrambled eggs, a cassava tortilla and a cup of tea. I could hear it raining outside, so I threw on my Oiselle wallace jacket over my race outfit, along with lux track pants. I left the house at 5:20. Easily found parking in the neighborhood near the Lexington light rain station and met Alicia to walk to the train. Once we got to US Bank Stadium, we got off the train and headed promptly to the porta potty line.

It was a relatively fast-moving porta potty line so we were still doing OK on time. We found Jason and Laura and then headed to find gear check. After going in the wrong direction at first, we finally made it to gear check and while I was tying my bag, the gear bag broke. All of a sudden, we had very little time to spare to get into our corrals, so I just handed the bag to the gear check guy, pointed out the broken bag and crossed my fingers. (Luckily, when I got my bag back at the finish, nothing was missing.)

Even though I was technically assigned to Corral A, with my lack of training, I knew I had no business starting there. So we started near-ish to the front of Corral B. Right around 7:09 a.m., Corral B took off. It took a good mile to shake out the nerves and then the rain started picking up, which was actually a good distraction. We sailed along pretty uneventfully until about mile 5.5, when my legs started complaining just a touch. I knew this would likely happen – my longest training run was eight miles and I hadn’t run in two weeks.

Somewhere around mile 7ish, we came across ice little downhill and I wasn’t quite paying attention. I overextended a bit and tweaked my hip flexor and all of a sudden, I got real nervous about the last few miles. But luckily Laura talked me down and reminded me to focus on my form. So I focused on shortening my stride and picking up my knees (things I slack on when I get tired) and it eventually worked itself out.

Right before mile 9, I made up my mind that I was ready to be done racing. So, I picked up the pace until I got to the downhill. I eased up to avoid overextending again.

My splits were all over the place (not typical for me), but probably to be expected with a lack of training and the weather/course. It’s my second fasted 10 mile to date (I’ve only raced a few). Super proud of Alicia, Laura and Jason for their PRs!¬†I was so thankful to Laura and Jason for letting me run with them during the race. They had done both the 5k and 10k the day before, but still were running strong and kept me going!

Splits: 8:58, 9:08, 9:26, 9:03, 9:26, 9:22, 9:25, 9:03, 9:17, 8:13

Official time: 1:32:36

Weekly Workouts: 8/28 – 9/3

I came off of two weekends of more running than my body was probably ready for (Ragnar and Bird Camp), so I took the past week easy.¬†I’m feeling re-energized about my running, getting strong again and getting my symptoms under control and my Hashis into remission. Here’s the first of many shout outs to Coach Becki¬†for all of the support!

Monday¬†–¬†2.39 mile walk

This walk took way longer than it should have, which was the direct result of bringing C along and him refusing to ride in the stroller. Oh, hey, toddlers walk really slow. Regardless, Andrea and I had a nice walk and chat and refueled with Sonora Grill tacos afterwards¬†¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į

Tuesday 3 miles, 9:34 pace

Oh, happy day! NEW SHOES! I made a trip to Mill City Running to see the lovely Sara and then promptly took my new shoes for an easy three-miler.

Just like at camp, they felt great. I just might be a Hoka convert.

Wednesday¬†– Busy day, didn’t end up working out. Did have a fun evening with some friends and their kids at a nearby park though!

Thursday – Took the day as a rest day and spent four hours in the car, but a trip to the Minnesota State Fair helped me still end up with more than 13,000 steps.

Random side note: OK so this is going to sound dramatic, but I had been preparing myself for weeks for how my fair (eating) experience was going to be different from year’s past, given that I’m avoiding certain foods (mainly gluten and dairy). But it was WAY easier and more enjoyable that I was anticipating. I printed out a gluten-free foods list from the fair website, and was surprised by all of the options. I ended up getting the french fries which I’d never gotten before (!!!!), a hard cider, the mini sconuts from French Meadow, kettle corn and a Chicago-style hot dog on a gluten free bun.

C loved the food and the animals. He didn’t love being in the stroller or having to hold our hands. Sounds about right for a two year old!

We all ended up taking naps in the afternoon and then left for the cabin that evening. Long day, for sure!

Friday 3.01 miles, 9:04 pace

I worked from the cabin in the morning and then we had errands to run, but it was still nice and cool out by the time I got out for this three mile easy run. Besides getting cat-called by some construction workers (WTF), the run was uneventful and felt pretty good. And running on the country roads totally reminded me of Ragnar!

Saturday – 8 miles, 9:23 pace

J and I headed to the Mesabi trail head near the cabin. I ran towards Grand Rapids and he ran towards Coleraine. We figured we’d finish running right around the same time since I was running 8 miles (figured around a 10 min/mi pace) and he was going to run 10 (and was trying for a slower 8 min pace).

tbh I felt pretty awful from the moment I woke up Saturday morning – I ended the night before with a couple too many gluten-free beers, hard ciders, handfuls of kettle corn, etc. I was feeling the imflammation and my stomach wasn’t too happy, either.

But even though it took a bit longer than usual to feel warmed up, I was pleasantly surprised to eventually settle into a nice groove. Miles 4-6 felt pretty effortless (minus a moment of panic where I thought I had to use the bathroom and the porta potties I came across were padlocked). The hills started to take their toll during mile 7 and I think I actually tweaked my hamstring at one point. I picked the pace back up for the last mile, but I was pretty tired.

Saturday afternoon we decided (on a whim) to hit up Bovey Farmer Days and specifically, the cribbage tournament that was taking place in the basement of city hall. To say we were out of place would be an understatement. I’m pretty used to getting stared at (hello, growing up in rural Wisconsin with white parents), but this definitely was an experience that pushed me out of my comfort zone. J and I were among the second youngest people there (by a lot) and the youngest person was our thirteen-year-old nephew!

We didn’t really know what to expect, but when we got there, it wasn’t exactly the¬†warmest¬†welcome. And I could feel myself getting nervous when the person who was running the tournament started reading the rules.

I’ll save you the details of what took place over the next three hours, but the TL;DR version: We didn’t win, most people were very friendly, some were not and were quite impatient with us, but we still had a good time. Ask me about it the next time you see me. Trust me – it’s quite the story.

Sunday – 11.7 mile bike

Legs felt tired, but it was a nice day on the Iron Range, so I was happy just to enjoy the ride and took it nice and easy.

Looking forward to the cool, fall-like weather we’re expecting in MN this coming week!

Race Recap: 2017 Ragnar Great River

My alarm went off at 1:45 a.m. and I was out the door by 2:30 a.m. We met at Volee teammate Kaitlin’s place and was on the road to Winona by 3 freaking a.m.

After a slight detour due to road construction and missing our 5:45 a.m. start time, we finally made it to the start line. Alicia headed out with the 6 a.m. crew and then my third Ragnar experience was officially underway!

Leg 1: 6.6 miles, 9:16 pace

Thank goodness this leg went well because I felt like it set a good tone for my Ragnar experience overall. I felt pretty strong (legs were fresh after a few unintentional rest days prior). I had 15 “road kills” — mostly on the hills, where I felt the strongest and was able to pass some walkers.

Splits were: 9:30, 9:28, 9:21, 9:21, 9:08, 9:03. I was, however, SO happy to see the “one mile to go” sign and even happier to see my teammate Jacenta waiting for me at the exchange.

After our van was done with our first legs, we stopped in Nelson, Wisconsin at the Nelson Creamery for sandwiches. I was pleasantly surprised they had gluten-free wraps! It was raining by this point and everyone was starting to feel the effects from our early start, so we pulled off at Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Park to get in a quick nap. Half of the team snoozed in the van and Laura, Alicia and I found a pavilion to stretch out under. I slept a solid 40 minutes and felt like a brand new person when I woke up.

We got a text from van 2 that they were ahead of pace, so we drove a few miles down the road to the next exchange. Rachel, runner 12, came flying into the exchange and then Alicia was off! Van 1 was back on the clock.

Leg 2: 3.4 miles, 9:27 pace

Dressed in all black, ready for my night run

At 7:11 p.m. I headed out on my second leg. My body felt tired and the first mile (9:39 pace) was pretty rough. The hills were steeper than in my first leg and my legs just didn’t want to turn over. I managed to pick up the pace just slightly as the elevation evened out slightly, but it was tough (9:34 and 9:19).

Elevation map for my second leg

Our entire van was feeling pretty loopy from lack of sleep, so naturally we cranked up the music, ate PB&J sandwiches and then set out to find a place to crash for a couple hours.

Have glow sticks, will van rave

We decided to throw our sleeping bags down on the grass and sleep under the stars at Stillwater High School, the location of the next exchange.

Unfortunately the foot traffic near our sleeping location kept me from being able to sleep much more than 30 minutes or so and I woke up feeling worse than when I had gone to bed. But before we knew it, it was time to meet van 2 at the next exchange and run our third and final legs.

Leg 3: 2.7 miles, 8:41 pace
My final leg was at 5:38 a.m. and boy, was I ready to be done. So, following Alicia, Laura and Kaitlin’s examples, I gave this one all I had left. The lack of hills and cool weather made this run feel pretty effortless, even on tired legs.

Once Jacenta and Rachel rocked their final legs, van 2 headed out to bring it home!

van 1 – done!

The next priority was real food and for some of us…..a bloody mary.

Soon it was time to meet up with van 2 and cross the finish line together!

I think most of us were surprised when the final results were posted and we finished in less than 30 hours, and were the second place women’s team overall!

Final results:

2017 Great Lakes Bird Camp (WI) Recap

HELLO!! I took almost one year off from blogging (my last blog post was a recap from Bird Camp last year). I’ll go into this more in a future post, but I’m in a much different place these days when it comes to my running, diet and overall health, so I’ve decided to start blogging again, but just for fun and when I feel like it. And I’ve renamed the blog. So as part of that new outlook, I surrendered my findingabalanceblog.com fancy paid account and I’m back to good ol’ wordpress.com. Oh, and when I imported my site back to wordpress.com, a bunch of photos disappeared and the formatting got screwy, but I don’t really care.

Aaaaaanyways, this past weekend was Bird Camp! This won’t be as long of a recap as last year, but here are some of the highlights ūüôā


Alicia and I left the Cities around 10 a.m. and swung through Hudson to pick up fellow Volée member, Trisha. Then, we were on our way! We stopped in Eau Claire for glorious Chipotle and then headed to Camp Timber-Lee in East Troy, WI.

When we arrived, it was so fun to see so many familiar faces! We checked in, got our swag bags…..

And filled out our bios/got our pictures taken. Then, we headed down to the lake to do some ice breaker activities. It was so much fun to hear what others were training for and to put faces with social media names!

We ate a quick dinner and then all gathered for a viewing of the Birdstrike film. We were lucky enough that Nora, part of the Birdstrike team, was able to join us for the evening and answered questions following the film. Nora is such a badass (and all around super awesome woman).

Next up was a fashion show where we got to preview the Oiselle Fall 2017 line. I didn’t take any photos of this because a lot of the items aren’t officially released yet, but let me tell you, and trust me, I’ve gotta start saving up!

What made the fashion show portion even better was that Steph and Alisoune from Oiselle HQ also attended camp, so we got to ask questions about fit, material, etc.

Steph and Alisoune!

Another fun addition to this year’s camp was that Haute Vol√©e Anna Weber brought her massage therapist, Melody, and we all had the option to schedule massages with her. So I ended day one of camp with an incredible massage. Melody was also kind enough to share some self care tips!


Even though I had grand plans to sleep in, I was awake by 6:30 — boooooooo. After breakfast, Haute Vol√©e (and my coach!) Becki Spellman gave her talk about mental toughness and running.

Next up was the Hoka Prediction Run! This was probably the part of camp I was most looking forward to. I’ve always been curious about Hoka shoes, so it was awesome to be given the opportunity to run three miles in a pair and have the Hoka rep there to answer questions.

For the prediction run part of it, we had to guess how long it’d take us to run three miles and then take off our watches before heading out. I was a solid one-minute+ off of my actual finishing time, but it was a fun experiment.

I was so excited when I saw Anna Weber was going to be attending camp and speaking again this year! I feel like we have a lot in common, plus Anna is sweet and hilarious. Her talk did NOT disappoint!

With the long run the next morning and having just done the prediction run a couple of hours prior, I sat out the running portion of the next activity — a team “Minute-To-Win-It” challenge. But the ridiculous challenges that we had to do in between running were just as fun. Like this one:

After the challenge, we had some much-needed down time. I opted for heading to the beach and swimming around a bit and playing cribbage with Laura.

After dinner, physical therapist and fellow Vol√©e member¬†Lauren Hogan gave us some super helpful tips to help stay injury free during her “Things Your PT Wants You to Know About Running” presentation.

The last talk of the evening was 2x Olympic race walker, Maria Michta Coffey! It was really cool to hear about Maria’s Olympic experiences, her journey to getting to the Olympics and race walking, in general. It was fun to get to know Maria over the weekend as well!


It was a nearly perfect morning for our long run. What made it even more perfect was opting to head out a bit later than others in the group (since our group was only running seven miles), and then we got to sleep in a bit.

I’m obsessed with these compression socks

The long run location was at Lapham Peak Unit part of Kettle Moraine State Forest. My legs were not happy about this run and I have to admit that even with the fantastic company, I was ready for this one to be over.

After the run, we were all pretty much desperate for coffee, so we found a cute shop called Mama D’s and then we were all human again. Especially, Alicia.

so happy rn

On our way back to camp, we noticed there were llamas and farm animals, so of course we stopped for photos. Because, Instagram or it didn’t happen.

After showers, everyone piled back into their cars and headed to Lake Geneva for the rest of the day. We grabbed lunch at Simple, one of my favorite places to eat.

Then it was time for a boat tour of part of the lake! Fun fact: The Lake Geneva mail boat jumpers were once featured on NBC Nightly News!

After the boat tour, we hit up Studio Winery for some wine (duh) and then ended the evening with dinner and drinks at Gordy’s. They took great care of us and we had fun harassing the band that was playing.

There was something a bit strange about two of my worlds colliding (where I grew up + my running community), but it was also kind of cool. We even paid my mom a surprise visit!


I successfully slept in until past 7 a.m. (which may or may not have had something to do with the number of drinks the night before). We all got up and started packing our bags. The rain was coming down pretty hard and I have to admit that I was starting to miss my boys, so we decided to hit the road for the long drive ahead of us.

Quick stop in the Dells on the way home

Thanks so much to leaders Sheila, Taylor, Jana and Tracy for all of your work putting on an incredible weekend! And of course, a huge thanks to Oiselle! I’m excited to help with next year’s camp ūüôā

I still miss the snack table..

Recap: Fall Great Lakes Bird Camp (AKA the greatest weekend ever)

Man, I’m coming down off of my bird camp high and it’s not pretty. So I stayed up late last night to write this and relive #allthememories. Sorry in advance that this is so long:


I rushed around all morning finishing up some last minute work, dropping off the little guy at daycare and packing and unpacking and changing my mind on everything I packed. Before I knew it, Amanda texted that she was out front! We headed to the airport to meet up with the other drivers and birds who had flown in from out of town.

Not even an hour into the trip and Courtney found some birds

Not even an hour into the trip and Courtney found some birds

We made a quick stop for lunch and then I had the privilege of getting to know Courtney and Amanda (who are both so lovely and wonderful) better in the car on the way up. After we arrived and checked in, we headed out for a short group run. It felt good to shake out the legs after a few hours in the car.


The rest of the evening was a lot of fun reconnecting with the other Minnesota birds who I already knew (including my roommates: Megan, Jessy, Ali and Lisa) and making introductions with some new faces at the welcome reception! Next up was dinner and then we gathered for our two sessions that evening.

The first session was super timely since I’ve been really focusing on cleaning up my diet as of late: Rasa Troup, Olympian and Minnesota Vikings nutritionist spoke¬†about fueling for runs (and life). ¬†Next, Oiselle Haute Volee¬†Anna Weber talked about how your dreams¬†don’t need to have prerequisites and/or deadlines. She talked about her story of putting a hold on her “regular life” to train full time to work towards qualifying for the Olympic trials in the marathon. It was cool to hear about her ups and downs, what her training looks like and then spend the rest of the weekend with her, getting to know her better.


Rasa, talking nutrition

Next it was bonfire time! I stayed awake longer than I thought I’d be able to, chatting with other birds and then headed to bed to rest up for another jam-packed day.


In case you were wondering, this is how you do a beer fridge

In case you were wondering, this is how you do a beer fridge


We got up and headed to breakfast bright and early. Afterwards, the rest of the group headed out for a short run. I wasn’t planning to run (because of my hip), so I grabbed my Kindle, a blanket and a coffee and curled up on a bench outside of my cabin. It was a crisp morning, but sunny, so it was super relaxing to do some reading by the lake.


Once everyone got back, we reconvened at our meeting place — a blue ox statue near the main resort lodge to walk over to the high¬†ropes course at Clearwater Forest. This was one of the activities I was most excited about. I hadn’t done anything like this since maybe sixth grade (?) and I had no idea if I was going to get up there and freak out, but I was hoping I’d be able to complete the course.¬†I was one of the last to go, and I found myself getting more excited after watching everyone else having so much fun! I was so impressed — even a few birds who were nervous, they still made their way up the course. Once you got up there, the most fun way down was to zipline! It made me want to try it again!




Once we got back to the resort, we had lunch and then walked over to the leaders’ cabin area for a bootcamp class. Amanda led us through an intense two rounds of lunges, squats, jumping jacks, commandos, sprinting, etc. etc. I was definitely feeling it afterwards.


Next on the agenda was mini golfing, human foosball and froyo, but first things first, we took a team photo by a leaping deer, because…Deerwood.


Roommate photo!

Roommate photo!

Traditions Mini Golf is the CUTEST place and they also are one of (I think, four) places in the country with a human foosball arena. AND they have froyo!



Human foosball. I wasn’t wearing the right shoes to participate ūüė¶

After dinner, we all gathered for a Oiselle trunk show where Heather showed off some current pieces AND some sneak peeks of things coming soon. I swear I could hear my bank account crying while she was showing a gorgeous new vest and winter jacket.


New lux glovessss

We ended the night with another bonfire party!



I woke up to an amazing sunrise, which made it a bit easier to get my butt out of bed. The long run was taking place at the Cuyuna State Park, which was about 25 minutes away, so we all piled into a few cars to drive over.


I was only planning to run about five miles, so I ran with Jessy for the first half of her run and then I headed back to the parking lot to take in the views for awhile with Laura and Carrie while waiting for everyone else to finish.



Once we got back to the resort, I took a quick shower and then we headed to the bonfire area for a group yoga session and it felt SO GOOD. My sore muscles were practically saying “ahhhhhhh” out loud as Rachel guided us through a lovely, restorative 45 minutes in the sunshine, with the lake just a few feet away.


Next was lunch and then we had some down time. It was a bit chilly and windy, so I opted out of the water recreation activities to take a power nap. Once I woke up, I took a shower and got ready. I went to find caffeine and then sat with some other birds, overlooking the lake.


At 5 p.m. we gathered at the bonfire area/leaders’ cabin for core work and form drills, led by one of the Haute Volee, the hilarious Becki Spellman.

We also filmed our second #DiscoDanceOff


Form drills are one of those things I know I should be doing, but I never knew if I was doing them quite right, so this was super helpful! And the core session was awesome because it was interesting to see the kinds of core work an elite does, and it was also informative because Becki really explained HOW to do the exercises to get the most out of them.

After dinner, Jungle Chicken (AKA my friend and former St. Paul neighbor, Erin Ward) gave her talk: I get knocked down…do I get up again? It kicked off with dancing to Chumbawumba. Because, of course it did.


Somehow, Erin managed to be funny and inspirational and self deprecating all at the same time. I appreciated her openness and honesty — it was the perfect last “talk” of the weekend.

After that heaviness,¬†were all feelin’ the need to¬†dance party and so we did — to JT and 90s hip hop.


So much fun that this photo turned out blurry

Then, we ordered pizza:



Even though breakfast was moved back to 8 a.m., I woke up around 6:15 naturally, but forced myself to go back to sleep until 7. Luckily, when I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I had the foresight to down a bottle of water and take ibuprofen as a precautionary measure. So besides being tired, I woke up feeling fantastic.

After breakfast, we all met at the blue ox for a last group photo and to say some goodbyes (sniff).

Then, most of the group headed out for a short run, while the rest of us set out to find caffeine. Our plans were thwarted due to the on-site coffee shop’s fall off-season hours, so we drove to Holiday for coffee. While we were there, chocolate donuts were calling our name.


We enjoyed our donuts and then everyone finished packing up. Before we knew it, it was time to check out and say the rest of our goodbyes.


  • Oiselle – Sally, you and the team have built something incredible. And to Feather, who is the nicest, cutest person and represented HQ well.
  • Leaders: Sheila, Darci, Jana and Tracy – from the first email that went out about camp, I knew this was going to be an amazing experience. It was so well organized and there was a lot of care that went into making sure that every. single. person. had an unforgettable time.
  • Elites: Anna and Becki – Unlike others I’ve met, Becki and Anna were friendly and treated everyone the same, whether they run 7-minute miles or 11-minute miles. Plus, they’re both really funny. And I got some great insight and perspective around my injury issues from Becki during dinner.
  • All of the educational and inspirational speakers!
  • Last, but definitely not least, the amazing women who make up this team. I’m so lucky to call you teammates and friends!

Head up, wings out!