Finding a Balance

Learning to live a healthy, balanced life.


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FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 12/23 – 12/29

Monday – 30 minute easy run (9:09 pace)

It was -2 degrees (felt like -20 with the wind chill) so all day I was planning to go to the gym. But as the day went on, and I got less motivated, going to the gym felt like a lot of work. Plus, part of my day got eaten up with having to deal with getting a car loan (woo!)

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Tuesday – 30 minute easy run (9:40 pace)

We got to my husband’s grandma’s house around noon and because I got kind of a late start, I didn’t get a run in before we left. So I brought my running gear with me. After lunch, I bundled up and headed out. I was glad that I thought to bring my yaktrax along because the footing was pretty terrible and sidewalks would just randomly end so I ran on the street most of the time.

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Wednesday – REST DAY

Coach had an optional 30 minute easy run here but after rolling my ankle the day before and the nerve-wracking travel, I decided to take the rest day.

Thursday – 30 minutes indoor trainer

Passed the time with “The Ladies of SNL” special on TV.

Friday – REST DAY

Another long day of travel (this time back to my hometown) so I embraced the rest day that Coach gave me.

Saturday — 45 minute easy run (9:20 pace)

Hit up my high school fitness center to get 4.81 miles in on the treadmill. The fitness center has holiday hours right now — I was bummed because I wanted to sleep in, but got up to get in the run before it closed at 9 a.m. My mom walked on the treadmill while I ran and then we got ready and picked up my dad and the hubs for some breakfast.

Greek skillet #feta

Greek skillet #feta

Then we went to pick up…my NEW CAR! It’s not a brand new car but it’s the newest car I’ve ever had.

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I’m so excited and it was definitely time for an upgrade. Now just have to sell my (old) car and we’ll be all set!

I’m definitely looking forward to the holidays being over so I can get back into a normal fitness routine. But it was kind of fun deciding how I was going to get my workouts in this past week with all of the travel. This week’s workouts will start easing me into some speed work — exciting!

How were your workouts during this past holiday week?

How cold does it have to get before you boycott outdoor runs? (Minnesota is supposed to get to 48 below with windchill this week. No outside running for me.)


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Five Things Friday

Inspired by Caitlin, I was going to link up with Amanda and do my own Thinking Out Loud Thursday, but then with traveling and being busy, I ran out of time. So you get this Five Things Friday instead!

1. I’m so ready for 2014

As with most things, 2013 was full of ups and downs. But the downs really felt down this year. And while a lot happened this year that I am so thankful for, I’d still like to put the rest of it behind me. Bring on 2014!

2. I need to stop spending money

In the last few days I took out a loan for a new car (yay), bought a new Macbook to replace the one that got stolen, finished up Christmas shopping, bought two new pairs of running shoes (although I did use a gift card for one of them), etc etc. I think my bank account needs a little rest for awhile.

My new little Macbook Air is so tiny!

My new little Macbook Air is so tiny!

3. My favorite Christmas cookies are (in no particular order):

Wreaths, spritz, peanut butter blossoms, sugar cookies.

4. I want to learn how to make:

All of the cookies listed above. And this.

5. I’m going to have to make these fancy bloody marys soon

Thanks, Sara!

Thanks, Sara!

Are you looking forward to the New Year?

How was your holiday?

Favorite Christmas cookies?


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FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 12/16 – 12/22

In case you missed my announcement, I’m super excited to be working with Coach Kevin Granato of Granato Racing. For the last two weeks and this upcoming week, Coach had all easy runs on the schedule for me as I’m just trying to ease my way back into running and start working towards building a solid base.

Monday – 30 minute easy run (9:20 pace)

When I don’t work from home, the commute to and from work is at least 45 minutes each way and there was snow on Monday. So I knew it might be pretty late when I got home and by that time I’m be super hangry, so I got my run in before work. The 30 minutes went by quickly on the treadmill.

Tuesday – 30 minute easy run (9:19 pace)

For years now, winter running for me has meant escaping the elements AND a treadmill by heading to the Metrodome for Minnesota Distance Running Association’s (MDRA) $1 Dome Running. Since the Viking’s are getting a new stadium, this is the last year for Dome Running and Tuesday was my last chance to take advantage of it.

I don’t go very often because my knees don’t love running on that kind of terrain but it’s a good winter running option and it’s fun to see the local elites there or just the fast runners who run on the inside circle.

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Garmins and GPS in general don’t work too well inside of the Metrodome, so you have to use other methods to figure out your distance/pace:

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Wednesday – REST DAY

I spent the night making my contribution for my work holiday potluck. Did a little foam rolling and stretching.

Thursday – 30 minutes indoor trainer

Before work, I tested out the indoor trainer. Luckily for me, time flew by because I caught the end of Saved by the Bell and the beginning of an episode of Buffy. Oh, how I missed Buffy. And I’ll be honest — I was a little nervous that I’d start pedaling and would tip over or something would explode, but it seemed to be set up correctly!

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It was a fun day at work because we had our holiday potluck — complete with bubbly, an amazing spread of delicious food, holiday trivia and a fun white elephant gift exchange.

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Then, after work Thursday night was a lot of fun. I can’t believe I stayed out until midnight on a week night. Who am I? I only do these sorts of things when my BFF Rose is in town from LA!

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Friday – REST DAY

Rose, Mandy, Jen and I went out to catch up over dinner and pie! We all lived together in college and it’s always a lot of fun when we get together.

Saturday – 45 minute easy run (9:21 pace)

A balmy 20 degrees called for an outdoor run. KK met me for a nice 4.81 mile run on the amazingly clear running path! It was like a night and day difference from the last time I ran outside and it was definitely apparent in my pace.

Before my run, I met Ashley and Andrea for brunch and we got to hear all about Ashley’s honeymoon in Aruba! After my run, the hubs and I ran some errands (one of which was dropping $200 at the liquor store. Whatevs.) and then we went to the Blue Door Pub to get something to eat and stumbled upon a Surly Tap Takeover! I went with my trusty Cynic, but wish I would’ve tried a different brew:

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Sunday – REST DAY

After a weekend full of eggnog and frequenting restaurants, I considered getting in 30 minutes on the trainer but my schedule called for a rest day and I decided to stick to it. Instead, I spent the day relaxing, watching football and applying for a car loan! I might be getting a new car for myself for Christmas. Fingers crossed!

Weekly totals:

Run / Total time – 1:45 / Total distance – 11.2 miles

Cross training / Total time – 30 minutes

This upcoming week is my final week of base building sans speed workouts. Starting next week, I see tempo surges and some speed work!

Tell me about your workouts from the past week!

Do you like eggnog? (I do only if I don’t think about what’s in it.)


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My top five running moments of 2013 (and an announcement!)

In terms of life, 2013 brought lots of ups and downs (including ones I haven’t been brave enough to share here yet, but probably will one day) and to be honest, I’m SO READY for 2014. Running was kind of the same story also. 2013 brought PRs in almost every distance (it didn’t hurt that I ran 19 races over the course of the year) but it was also the year that I dealt with more injuries than ever before. So here’s my top five running moments of 2013:

1. The Marathon

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2. Chicago!

The Big Ten 10K was a lot of fun (got to show off my U of M gopher pride!) and it was a 10K PR for me, but the entire trip was also a blast — Andrea and I ate our way through Chicago and I got to finally meet Hillary in person!

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3. Witnessing my husband BQ!

No words can express what it felt like to see my husband achieve something he had worked so hard for — he didn’t just qualify for Boston, but absolutely crushed that qualifying time.

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4. Making the Oiselle Volee team

This was definitely the highlight of my year and if this list was in any particular order (and if I weren’t too lazy to go back and rearrange it) this would be #1.

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5. Hiring a coach

Yup — this is my big news! I officially have a running coach! I’m THRILLED to be working with Coach Kevin Granato and join the Granato Racing Team. I love everything about the GR training philosophy (in three words: purpose. quality. PRs.) and the results his racers achieve are incredibly impressive.

So what’s in store for 2014? I’ll definitely be focusing on quality, not quantity (in terms of racing) this year. With Coach’s help, I hope to set some new PRs; but more importantly, take my running and racing to the next level. And of course, I can’t wait to cheer on my husband at Boston!

What did your 2013 look like?

What does 2014 look like for you, fitness-wise?

(I wrote a similar post, linking up with Miss Zippy over at We Run This Blog if you wanna check it out.)


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FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 12/9 – 12/15

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – 60 minute Real Ryder spin class

I had debated canceling my spot in class the night before because I knew it was going to be a long day of travel and there was the possibility that we were going to get more snow. Sure enough, more snow fell overnight, but I’m really glad I didn’t end up canceling. The high intensity spin class was the perfect way to start the day and I felt pretty energized all day. After class, I got ready and finished packing and then headed to MSP. We booked the trip late so there weren’t any direct flights, and Connecticut was getting some winter weather, but luckily we made it to BDL with only a minor delay.

Wednesday – 3 miles on the treadmill @ 9:26 pace

Despite traveling for eight hours the day before, followed by a client dinner where a few glasses of wine were involved, I only hit snooze once and got my butt out of bed at 5:30 and hit the hotel “gym.” I got in a few quick miles while watching the local Connecticut news. Then, it was back to my room to shower, get ready and pack up to get to a full day of meetings before heading back to the airport for more hours of travel back to MSP. I pulled into my driveway just before midnight and headed immediately to bed.

Thursday – 30 minute easy run 

This run ended up being “easier” than I was planning. Well as far as pace goes. The running path was worn down, but my legs must not have been used to running on the snow yet and it was apparent in my slugging 10:47 pace. I just couldn’t get my legs to move any faster!

Friday – Rest Day

Friday was a rest day and a double-date night with Mandy and Tony! We went to the Rabbit Hole, a new-ish Korean street food-inspired restaurant that I first tried a month or so ago and couldn’t stop thinking about.

The Appa (Smoked Bacon, Bleu Cheese, Gruyere, Bourbon Onions, Arugula, Tomato Jam, Kimchi Aioli, Fried Egg); Kimchi fried rice; charred green beans and soju!

The Appa (Smoked Bacon, Bleu Cheese, Gruyere, Bourbon Onions, Arugula, Tomato Jam, Kimchi Aioli, Fried Egg); Kimchi fried rice; charred green beans and soju!

Saturday – 30 minutes easy run

Again, much slower pace than I wanted because of the snow. I need to dig out my yaktrax ASAP. But it felt good to get out there and did seem a bit easier than on Thursday. 10:41 pace.

After my run, I headed out to finish up some Christmas shopping. I was promptly reminded of why I do my shopping online thankyouverymuch. I grabbed my favorite salad from Panera for a quick lunch and then spent the rest of the day doing some much-needed cleaning around my house. And Christmas present wrapping.

Truth.

Truth.

Saturday night, Andrea and I went out for dinner at Burch (I can’t stay away from this place either!). It was an epic evening.

Cinnamon smoked barramundi, cauliflower, bacon aioli

Cinnamon smoked barramundi, cauliflower, bacon aioli

Butternut squash, fig cheese, maple syrup (that fig cheese, OMG)

Butternut squash, fig cheese, maple syrup (that fig cheese, OMG)

Flourless chocolate torte and lemon tart. Simple and delicious.

Flourless chocolate torte and lemon tart. Simple and delicious.

Unpictured: Potato pierogi, golden raisins, poppy seeds and rapini risotto, grilled lemon, mascarpone. Also, my cucumber press cocktail.

Weekly totals:

Run / Total time – 1:28:18 / Total distance – 8.5 miles

Cross training / Total time – 1:00 

Coming soon: a big announcement! And hopefully some decisions about which spring races I’m going to sign up for.

How were your workouts last week? Do you like wrapping gifts?


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Five tips for healthy traveling

I just returned from a whirlwind work trip to Connecticut. I had never been there, so even though it was quick, it was fun to at least see part of the state.

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We had a lovely dinner at Cava, a cute Italian restaurant in Southington. When we were seated at our table, the decor of the room literally took my breath away. Throughout the restaurant, they used 40,000 Christmas lights total. Everything was just gorgeous.IMG_0316

I used to approach traveling quite differently than I do today. When I was younger, and traveled less, I’d take the opportunity to eat fast food (which my family didn’t eat a lot of) if we were in airports and fast food or gas station “treats” if it was a road trip. While I do still enjoy some Sour Patch Kids every once in awhile, I obviously feel so much better when I don’t go so overboard. So here are just a few things that I try and make sure to do while traveling:

Tips to healthy traveling

Skip the tram – I do my best to allow time at the airport to walk where I need to go, if possible, instead of taking a tram between terminals or concourses.

Order smart – not any different than when I’m not traveling, just something I have to remind myself. Watching portion sizes and asking for sauces and dressing on the side can help.

Hydrate – traveling always dehydrates me so I try to stay on top of my water intake. I’ve started bringing a water bottle with me on trips (empty, of course, to get through security) and if you’re flying, a lot of airports have water bottle filling stations now.

Snack smart – depedning on your travel schedule, it can often be difficult to get in a meal while traveling. And then, once you can finally eat, (if you’re like me) you’re starving and might not make the best decisions. I find that if I can make smart snacking decisions, I’ll make better meal decisions as well. Some of my favorites include: trail mix, Kind bars, dried fruit, almonds, and so on. And if I’m really on top of my game, I’ll pack this stuff and bring it with so I don’t have to pay so much for it at the airport.

Do a little research – before I go on any trip, I try and figure out how I’m going to get my workout on. The first (and easiest) option is if the hotel has a gym. Sometimes this is a deciding factor for me if I’m going to stay at that particular hotel or not. Other times, I don’t have a choice in a hotel so I will then look at option two: running outside! Even if the hotel has a gym, running outside is a great way to see a new place from a cool perspective. And a lot of hotels are now offering running/walking maps or of course, there’s the running concierge program that Westin Hotels have started. But safety first! If these aren’t options, working out in your room (if the hotel has DVD players, you could bring a home workout DVD along) or seeing if there’s a local gym or studio to take a class. And sometimes hotels have deals with local gyms and have free passes for their guests.

With all of that said, my favorite thing to do when I am in a new city is to check out their food scene. And since I’m traveling so healthy, I make sure to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Example from my Connecticut trip (sadly, I was too full to partake in dessert, but normally I’d be all over that!):

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What’s your #1 tip for healthy traveling?


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Feeling festive

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I have mixed feelings about winter. Unlike a lot of people around here, I don’t hate it, but there are definitely aspects that I could do without. Like having to dig my car out of the snow. Or icy/scary driving conditions. But I think snow is pretty and I like living in a place that has four distinct seasons. And things like my Sorel furry boots, or my YakTrax for running, or hot drinks with booze, make winter in Minnesota a little bit more bearable. And fun weekends like the one I just had prove that you can totally enjoy the season instead of hibernating all winter long.

Saturday:

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Andrea had won a pair of backstage passes to the Guthrie at the Girls on the Run silent auction. We got some breakfast at Caribou, before heading over to the theater for the tour.

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The tour was super interesting! I’ve seen four shows at the Guthrie, but realized I had never seen anything on their bigger, main stage. We also got to see the costume shop, rehearsal space and where they build the sets. We’re already plotting which show we’re going to see next.

Side note: I absolutely love the Guthrie. The Healthy Living Summit Cocktail Party was held there and we did our wedding photos there also!

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After the tour, I had a hair appointment (photos of that later) and then went to my friend Allie’s holiday party! It definitely put me in the festive, holiday spirit. And it was fun to catch up with some college friends.

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…and to finally meet her adorable little Zissou!

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Sunday:

Woke up and headed to Absolutely Arms with Mandy and Andrea. Good class and was nice to be warm and inside since it had started snowing again outside.

After getting home and eating some lunch, it was time for Jack’s birthday party! He turned two last week.

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Busy weekend is now being followed by a busy week. Lots of dinner and happy hour plans with friends, traveling for work, ’tis the season!

How was your weekend? Do you like winter? If not, how do you cope?