Monthly Archives: August 2013

FAB Tips: how I stay organized

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

In keeping with the theme of the blog, I’m starting a new series called “FAB Tips.” And the first post of this series is going to focus on getting and staying organized.

Unfortunately for me, the fall doesn’t look like it’s going to be any less busy than the summer has been. While I’m a big fan of an actual planner where I can write stuff down, cross stuff out (I LOVE crossing stuff out) and see the “big picture,” being the tech geek I am, I love using technology to help me stay organized as well.

I’ve been using my new Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 to help me stay extra organized as my life is seeming to get busier and busier every day. The two tools I use the most often on my Tab are the Calendar app and Cozi apps.

First, the calendar app syncs with Google Calendar where I keep things like my weekly workouts and also use it to set quick reminders for myself.


The Cozi app is the way my husband and I stay coordinated with out schedules. Or, rather, he stays coordinated with my schedule 🙂 I use it to let him know what I’m planning for dinner that night, what night I’m designating as his night to make dinner, when I work my second job, when I have appointments, when I’ve scheduled double date nights for us, when our dog is going to daycare — and so on. And he uses it to let me know when he’s going golfing and stuff like that. At first when I suggested that we use Cozi he scoffed and asked “couldn’t we just, like, talk about our schedules?” Well, a few months later and he’s hooked.


I don’t put everything in Cozi — just the stuff I figure affects the hubs or that he’d care about:


Cozi also has a handy grocery list feature and I’m pretty sure if you pay for the Gold version of the app there are some other cool features.

How do you stay organized? Do you like crossing stuff out?


FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 8/19 – 8/25

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: Nothing

I was up at 2:45 a.m. to make my 5 a.m. flight and once I made it to Atlanta, I had just a little time before the opening plenary at the conference. Then we (we=Andrea and I) had dinner plans with our friends Kate and Brian right after the last session of the day:

Medici Salad ~ Baby Spinach + Fresh Cantaloupe + Prosciutto Chips + Marcona Almonds + Shaved Parmesan + Sherry Vinaigrette, Fried Green Tomatoes With Smoky Pimento Cheese or Horseradish Cream + Smoked Trout,  Fried Chicken Served With Mac N’ Cheese + Mojo Collard Greens

Medici Salad ~ Baby Spinach + Fresh Cantaloupe + Prosciutto Chips + Marcona Almonds + Shaved Parmesan + Sherry Vinaigrette, Fried Green Tomatoes With Smoky Pimento Cheese or Horseradish Cream + Smoked Trout, Fried Chicken Served With Mac N’ Cheese + Mojo Collard Greens

I loved this place! It was within walking distance from Kate and Brian’s and all of the food was SO flavorful. Not pictured was the chocolate bomb dessert. Amazing.

After dinner, I work for a couple of hours and literally passed out with my laptop still on.

Wednesday: 4 miles in 37:52

I have to admit that I was motivated by BBQ to make myself get this run in. I got to bed late so didn’t get up early enough to run before the morning session, but we had an afternoon break during the conference. So I took advantage of the free time to get a quick run in. It was my first post-Ragnar run and my legs were definitely still tired and heavy, but still no soreness to speak of.

After taking a quick shower, Andrea and I took MARTA eastbound to meet Kate and Brian for some delicious BBQ.

Fox Bros. "Burger:" Chopped brisket topped with bacon, tomato, red onion, pickles, melted pimento cheese and jalepeno mayo....oh and more mac n cheese

Fox Bros. “Burger:” Chopped brisket topped with bacon, tomato, red onion, pickles, melted pimento cheese and jalepeno mayo….oh and more mac n cheese

Oh man. This is exactly the reason I’m not a vegetarian anymore. Although I have to admit, I love the side options offered at BBQ joints just as much as the BBQ itself.

After dinner, Kate and Brian took us to this cute little dessert shop/bakery to get desserts to go (to eat once we weren’t full anymore) and we took a walk around the park to burn a few calories!

Too full for dessert, so we got it to-go and I ate it later :)

Too full for dessert, so we got it to-go and I ate it later 🙂

Thursday: Nothing

I went to bed the night before feeling like I was coming down with something and woke up Thursday morning with a headache. The morning sessions weren’t super interesting, so I stayed in bed and got some work done. Once the conference got out, we headed to the airport and grabbed something to eat. I checked the flight status on my phone and saw that it was delayed by about 20 minutes. That was going to make my one hour, now 40 minute layover interesting. Not two minutes later it updated to say my flight was not delayed by over an hour and I’d miss my connection altogether.

So we headed over to try and rebook my flight. I wasn’t able to get on any other flight back to MSP until 3:30 p.m. the next day. Once I was rebooked I was told to wait for them to get my hotel taken care of. After about 30 minutes of waiting, I went up to one of the gate agents to find out that they were no longer giving out hotel vouchers because the reason for the delay had now been changed from mechanical issues to “air traffic issues.” Thanks. So I got back on the train and since Kate and Brian are amazing, they picked me up from the station and took me in for the night.

At least I got to see this little guy again!



Went to work with Kate! And FINALLY got back home to Minneapolis around 10 p.m.

Saturday: 3.39 miles in 35:24

Just some easy miles with Mandy before I left for the day to celebrate J’s grandma’s 80th birthday! Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Sunday: 16 miles in 2:46

At the risk of sounding overdramatic, this was like, the worst day ever. (warning: I’m about to get real whiny) It all started with the run. I was up and at my friend John’s house by 8 a.m. Already, I know this was a later start than we should have gotten, but I got home super late from the birthday party the night before. I ran with my Polar handheld water bottle and we set out to do one loop around Lake Harriet and then do the majority of the run on the shaded path along Minnehaha Creek. I think we both felt doomed from the start. The air was heavy and sticky and my legs felt like they weighed a million pounds. I was having a hard time keeping my heart rate down and we just couldn’t seem to get enough water. But somehow we stayed around a 9:30 pace for about the first half of the run. Buuuuut then it started to go downhill. And it got even more ugly when we had about four more miles to go. John was feeling pretty water logged and I could feel my PF getting worse with each step I took. After shuffling along for two miles, we decided to walk/run the last two miles.

Even if it means not getting much sleep, I will never wait until 8 a.m. to get out to run on a day that’s supposed to be so awful. Or I’ll do it on a treadmill (seriously). Lesson learned.

After my run I proceeded to get sick and then eat a Chipotle burrito and then took a shower and then laid down for about a half an hour before having to get ready to go to work. All I wanted to do was lay in the fetal position the rest of the day. It was 99 degrees when I got to work and six hours in that outdoor concession stand-like building I work in meant that I was gross and sweaty and continued to feel sick for the rest of my shift. I clocked out just after 9 p.m., came home and ate my staff meal and crashed. hard.

There was very little about this week that was balanced. Too much eating, too little sleep, too little exercise and definitely too much stress. Unfortunately, the next couple of weeks aren’t looking any better. I work both jobs on Thursday and Friday this week and then work Saturday-Monday (Labor Day) at the PT job and then work both jobs on Wednesday and Friday next week. I also have 18 miles this weekend. But I am looking forward to a trip to the State Fair, the Desaparecidos concert with the hubs and starting physical therapy for my foot this week!

Do you go to the state fair?

Any nightmare traveling stories?

Favorite southern food?

Healthy Living Summit: less than a month away!

Hello from Atlanta! Yup — my flight was delayed and I got put on a new flight leaving at 3:30 today….

Anyways, does anyone know where the summer went? Healthy Living Summit is less than one month away! HLS will be my first blogging conference and I can’t wait. It’s nice that it’s being held in Minneapolis so I didn’t have to worry about traveling or taking off too much time from work. I do have to fit a 20 mile run in sometime that weekend which should be interesting.

There will be some mini-mingles and fit-mingles held throughout the weekend and I’m currently looking into hosting one. So if you’re going to be attending, make sure to RSVP for my mini-mingle!

Also, I’m super excited to announce that I’m attending the conference on behalf of GymPact. For anyone that has been reading FAB for awhile, you know that I love GymPact and will sing its praises to any who’ll listen. I’m up to 354 workouts and have put my GymPact funds (About $235 to date) for fun stuff like registering for races and buying new workout clothes! For me, I’m not looking to GymPact to make a bunch of money (you only make $1-2 typically per week) but rather it’s about the motivation not to be charged for missing a workout. And that’s really motivating to me.

There will be some fun stuff coming up through this partnership, but for now, if you’ve been thinking about giving GymPact a try, you can do it using a special code the GP folks set up for me. It allows you to try it out risk free without having to enter in any payment information AND you will earn $5 right off the bat after completing your first pact! Use the code “FindingaBalance” (case sensitive without the quotes) when you sign up.

Happy Friday!

If you have any questions about GymPact — just ask!

2013 Ragnar Great River race recap

Overall thoughts:

  • Amazing weather — we lucked out
  • Eating real food makes a huge difference
  • A minivan is plenty of room if you pack smart
  • I love, love, love night running

My alarm went off the earliest it’s ever gone off for a race — at 3 a.m. I showered, drank some coffee (and crossed my fingers that it’d carry me through the next 30 hours), at two pieces of Ezekiel toast with almond butter, packed up the car and was at my friends’ Mandy and Tony’s house by 4:15 a.m. We loaded all of our stuff in Tony’s mom’s minivan and were on the road by 4:30.

The start line for the Great River race is at Levee Park in Winona, MN — about 131 miles away. Our team got to work decorating our van (all of the credit for the artistic stuff goes to Mandy), then we picked up our team T-shirts and our van’s race bibs, safety flags and went through our safety briefing. Before we knew it, they were calling all 8 a.m. start time teams to the start line!

But first we had to take a photo!

But first we had to take a photo!

Angela (she’s the one in the middle in the photo above) was runner #1 for our van, so she took her place among the other runners and then they were off!


Ang did awesome, of course, and before I knew it, Tony finished his leg and Mandy was almost done with hers, which meant I was almost up!

Leg 1 – Distance: 6.6 miles, difficulty (hard), 1:02:41 (9:24 pace)

Roadkills: 5

My first leg started out around 11 a.m. and it was quite warm in the sun but wasn’t too hot with the nice breeze. There was no van support on this leg and no water stops, so I ran with my water bottle. To my surprise, I passed a total of five people and wasn’t passed once on this leg!


Unfortunately, just a couple of hours later, one of our runners had a tough run and ended up having to drop out after her first leg because of the heat and dehydration.

Leg 2 – Distance: 3.5 miles, difficulty (hard), 30:41 (8:46 pace)

Roadkills: 6

This was my favorite Ragnar run to-date. Everything about this run was amazing. I started out around 10:30 p.m. and decided on a tank top under my sexy safety vest, even though I was shivering just slightly while waiting for Mandy to hand off to me. Since this run was during nighttime hours (7:15 p.m. until 6:45 a.m.) I also had to wear a headlamp and flashing LED taillight, in addition to the safety vest.

As soon as Mandy handed off to me, I took off, passing two people right away. I think I knew right from the start that I wasn’t going to have any issues maintaining my pace — everything just clicked. There were a couple of hills on this leg, but nothing too terrible. The gravel roads for part of the leg were also challenging, but again — manageable. I passed one final person right before the finish and handed the slap bracelet off to the next runner, Nick.

After Mandy ran another leg (she was covering it for our injured runner), our van was done for a few hours. We chatted briefly with the other van and then got ready to get some sleep. I brushed my teeth (which was awesome) and changed into some comfy clothes. Half of our team decided just to throw our sleeping bags down on the grass to sleep and the other half slept in the van. I fell asleep right away and exactly two hours later, my alarm went off at 4 a.m. and we were off to the next exchange.

Leg 3 – Distance: 5.1 miles, difficulty (very hard),

Roadkills: 5

It was sometime just after 10 a.m. and this run took place on all kinds of terrain, regular pavement, gravel roads and then 2.5 miles on horse/walking trails. It was very uneven and you had to watch your footing, but it was a gorgeous view:



However, it was kind of hard to appreciate the view, considering I had a bunch of MF-ing hills to contend with, including two of the steepest hills I’ve ever run — one after the other, and right at the very end. See?


Let’s just say that I was pretty crabby after this leg. But I calmed down and we headed out to support our last runner, Nick, who was running his leg and also our injured runner’s leg. Once Nick made it to the exchange, we said goodbye to van #2 and headed back to Minneapolis to grab our cars, go home and shower and then make it back to the finish line in time to see Katie cross.

We made it just in time and all ran across the finish line as a team.


The aftermath: well, unlike last time I did Ragnar…you know, where I swore I’d never do another? Well this time, I actually can’t wait to do it again!

Other than my legs feeling fatigued and some soreness in my quads, I feel pretty good. I could use some more sleep but I don’t think that’s going to be happening until next week sometime! I’m off to ATL!

Tell me about your running plans this week! Did I convince you to try a relay race?

FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 8/12 – 8/18

Monday: 10 miles in 1:38

This run was supposed to have taken place on Sunday but I moved it to Monday since I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to rest before I worked the second job on Sunday afternoon/night. I left my house around 5:30 p.m., after a particularly stressful day at work.


It was a beautiful evening for a run and cool enough that I didn’t need to bring any water along. Plus, I knew there would be fountains at mile 2, 3.5, 6.5 and 8 on the route I was planning to run. Mandy joined me for about four of the miles — it was nice to have some company!

Tuesday: Rest

I went for my weekly acupuncture session and so far, I think it’s been really helpful! No migraines since I’ve started my treatments!

Wednesday: One hour personal training session

We focused on arms and abs and then did a lot of stretching and Pilates to get my legs/hips ready for Ragnar!

Thursday: Rest

Another extremely stressful day at work (there may have been some tears) and then Ragnar packing after work. I was in bed by 10 since I knew the alarm going off at 3 a.m. was going to be paaaaaainful.

Friday: Ragnar (race recap to come soon!)

Leg 1: 6.6 miles

Leg 2: 3.5 miles

Saturday: Ragnar 

Leg 3: 5.4 miles

Sunday: Rest

We had a pretty relaxing day. I slept 12 hours and we went to my in-laws to pick up my dog. They fed us lunch and then the hubs and I went out for dinner.

This week is going to be weird again because I’m making a last minute trip to Atlanta on Tuesday and don’t get back until midnight on Thursday. I’m bringing running stuff to ATL but the weather forecast looks kind of crappy, so we’ll see how much running I actually get done. I have a busy weekend waiting for me when I get back, but I’m making it a priority to fit in runs, including a 16 miler on Saturday!

What I packed for Ragnar

If all went well, my alarm went off this morning at 3 a.m. and we packed up the van and were on the road by 4:30 a.m. aaaaand right about now I’m likely cheering on our first runner, Angela, who just got into town from Cleveland last night (and she drove!) But I wanted to show you what I packed last night for this little adventure:


The hubs got me a fancy new camera for my birthday! I used it to take these photos and as you can tell, I still need to learn how to use it properly.

Running Essentials

  • My three Oiselle-inspired outfits — I am wearing outfit #1 and have the other two outfits packed in separate gallon-sized Ziploc bags.
  1. Stride shorts and Flyte tank
  2. Distance shorts, 2009 ragnar shirt
  3. Stride shorts, Lesko sports bra and my Lumberjack Heroes team tank!


  • 2 sets of running shoes
  1. Saucony Guide 5s
  2. Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s


  • 2 pairs of compression socks – including my new fancy Ragnar ones
  • Spibelt
  • Handheld Polar water bottle
  • Nathan fuel belt
  • Vaseline and Body glide
  • Headphones – I probably won’t wear while running, but wanted them for in the van or for trying to sleep
  • Garmin
  • The Stick (thanks, Kori!)

Other essentials

  • Sleeping bag
  • Two towels — one for sitting on in the van and one for sleeping on in place of a pillow and for changing under
  • Toiletries (contact stuff, first aid stuff – we’ll also have an actual first aid kit, baby wipes)
  • My new Samsung Galaxy Tab (thank goodness for 4G LTE)
  • Sunscreen
  • Oiselle hoodie and comfy pants to lounge in between legs
  • Teva sandals for in between legs
  • Sleep mask/earplugs
  • Flashlight
  • Safety gear – reflective vests, headlamps and tail lights

Fun stuff and food

  • Car window “chalk”
  • I was in charge of the pretzels and fruit snacks but we’ll also have other snacks and of course I packed Picky Bars!

For other great tips about packing for overnight relays, check out this blog post from Oiselle!

If you want to follow along on our team’s Ragnar adventures, I’ll be tweeting with the hashtag #lumberjackheroes!