Monthly Archives: November 2014

Race Recap: 2014 St. Paul Turkey Trot 5K

This is a little out of order, since I am one race recap behind. Today’s turkey trot was the second turkey trot I ran this year! I walk/ran one in my hometown with my mom last weekend.



To be completely honest, I was dreading race morning because all week I had been hearing about how cold it was going to be. And sure enough, it was two degrees below zero when I got to the start. My ankle is still giving me trouble, so I decided I’d take it pretty easy and bring my dog, Cole, along. We tested out the new Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection stuff  and jacket I bought him.

It was extremely congested for the first mile and so Cole and I had to walk. After the first mile, we were able to jog on and off. Finally, we were able to push the pace for the last mile or so. So really, I’m pretty happy with our time of 35:30!



Now we’re off to my in-laws’ for yummy eats and family time and my parents come into town tomorrow. We’ve got some good meals lined up and my mom and I are taking a wreath making class on Saturday. I can’t wait!

This, by far, has been the most challenging and difficult year of my life, but I still have so much to be thankful for. I am healthy. I am married to the most wonderful man who I love so much. I have access to clean drinking water, food and health care. I have a supportive family. I have a roof over my head. I have a job that I love. I have the best friends I could ever ask for. And above all, this year, I am thankful that although brief, we got to meet our sweet Charlie and that before that, I was able to spend seven months with him, while he grew and fought, safe inside me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Guest post: Using Aqua Aerobics to Train for a Race

I have a fun guest post for all of you today from the lovely Kaitlin who blogs over at An Apple Per Day! I loved this idea for a guest post because I’m always looking for new ways to cross train — especially when it can directly benefit race training!


The benefits of cross-training (training in an alternate sport in order to improve fitness or performance in a main sport) are well-established, and topping the list of those cross-training workouts that have shown to be highly beneficial for long-distance runners is aqua aerobics, including aqua jogging. In fact, a regular (weekly) non-running workout will give your joints and muscles a break from the effects of running on a hard surface. Additionally, using different muscle groups and movements than used in running, which an aqua aerobics routine can provide, will help prevent injury.

The benefits of aqua aerobics and aqua jogging have been widely studied in recent years, and they are growing in popularity for people of all ages and levels of athleticism. For more reading, follow these links:

Benefits of Cross Training

Cross-training with aqua aerobics to prepare for a race has a variety of benefits, including:

  1. Aqua aerobics is low-impact and has a very low risk of injury.
  2. Aqua jogging closely mimics a runner’s land-based running form.
  3. The intensity of water workouts can easily be adjusted with ankle and wrist weights.
  4. Aqua aerobics provides a unique alternative environment for training.

To get started with aqua aerobics in preparation for a race, first determine at what level intensity you want to cross-train. To get your heart rate to 70% or above for an extended period of time, consider using ankle weights or hand-held dumbbells that are specially designed for water use.

Next, invest in a buoyancy belt. These fairly inexpensive pieces of equipment will ensure that you retain proper posture while exercising or running in deep water. The belt should fit snugly around your waist and keep your upper body out of the water. Water shoes (also called aqua shoes) will offer added resistance, which means a more thorough and efficient workout. Be sure that your attire in the pool is comfortable and free of straps that will need adjusting as you work out.

Try These Aqua Moves on for Size

Spiderman: Target your core and back muscles with this gravity-defying move for runners. In chest-high water, stand facing the side of the pool, about a foot away. Sweep your hands back and forth behind you for stabilization as you “run” up the side of the wall and then back down to the pool bottom. Do six reps, alternating the leg you lead with each time. Note, pool gloves will enhance this exercise substantially.

Core-building Plank: A strong core is essential for runners. Using a flexible Styrofoam pool noodle across the front of your body, grip it in the middle and press down firmly, leaning forward until you are inclining at about 45 degrees, but with your head just above the waterline. Try to build up to holding the plank for two minutes; rest for thirty seconds and repeat. Note: planks can be held for as long as you are able.

Cross Country Skiing: This great upper and lower body workout is a great cardio-busting runner’s workout. In shoulder-high water, start in a standing “cross-country ski” position, with one foot in front of you and one foot in back of you, with knees slightly bent. Place arms in opposite position (if right arm is forward, left leg should be back). To do the exercise, simply jump and switch the arm/leg positions. Build up to being able to do two sets, with 12-15 reps each. To increase muscle tone, use hand-held water dumbbells and/or ankle weights.

What to Remember

It is vital to maintain a stable core during aqua aerobics workouts. Check your form before each exercise, especially when using ankle and/or wrist weights. If you feel pain at any point, or excessive “day after” pain, discontinue your workout and check with your doctor.

Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

Being watched while you sleep part two: the results

After a little mishap that involved the sleep clinic forgetting to send my doctor the results from my study, I finally got the information I’ve been waiting for since last week. The doctor did a great job of explaining everything and I found it really interesting to see how long I spent in the different stages of sleep. Even though it wasn’t severe enough to warrant the CPAP during my sleep study, they did find mild sleep apnea and were able to show me just how much it’s affecting my sleep (it’s a lot).

Perhaps the most interesting thing they found, that totally confirmed what I’ve always thought, is that (at least on the night of the study) because I didn’t get quality sleep throughout the night, I ended up in a deep sleep right before waking up, which explains why sometimes it’s SO HARD to wake up in the morning, even if I went to bed early the night before. Instead of making me get a CPAP (making me likely one of the youngest people to need a CPAP), they recommended starting with a device that I’ll wear in my mouth at night that will help keep my airway open. I’m feeling optimistic about having a plan of action, even if it does sound like it’s going to be an expensive plan of action. And they couldn’t get me in for my next appointment until December 4, but that’ll be here before I know it.

In addition, they strongly recommended that I make some lifestyle changes and stick to them for at least 30 days to gauge whether or not they are making any difference. I’ve decided to start these now since I won’t have the device for another month or so. These changes include:

  • Cutting back on caffeine
  • Getting in at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday
  • Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day
  • Cutting back on alcohol — going to attempt to cut out alcohol altogether for the next 30 days since I really don’t drink much anyways
  • Winding down before bed (I have a habit of working, watching Parks & Rec or being on Twitter right before I go to sleep)
  • Making sure to be well hydrated throughout the day and then limit fluids right before bed

Some changes that weren’t suggested but I’m going to make on my own include:

  • Cleaning up my diet and no sweets in the evening
  • This isn’t a change, but I’m going to continue to keep a notebook by my bed to write down any thoughts that are likely keeping me from falling asleep or falling back asleep when I wake up in the middle of the night
  • I’m going to attempt to make my sleep schedule incorporate a morning workout so I make sure to get in my 30 minutes (or more) of exercise everday

A Day in the Life (With One Photo an Hour)

Saw this fun idea on Andrea’s blog to do a day in the life post with one photo each hour. I decided to document my day, yesterday, which mostly included a long car ride back from my parents’ house in Wisconsin.

8:00 a.m. hour


Breakfast at my favorite place and more importantly, Intelligentsia coffee!

9:00 a.m. hour


I’ve desperately needed a car wash for an embarrassingly long time now, so when I received a $25 value gift card to a new car wash in my hometown, I decided to go all out and get the ultimate, full service wash and now I have a sparkling clean car — for a day or so at least.

10:00 a.m. hour


Cole is ready to make the drive back to Minnesota!

11:00 a.m. hour


Caught the hubs’ up on Serial on the way down to my parents’ house and finally got to listen to an episode that was new to the both of us! Just a few more to go to be all caught up.

12:00 p.m. hour


J is listening to the Packers/Vikings game and I’m less than interested so I take selfies instead

1:00 p.m. hour


Still full from breakfast, so got a little snack when we stopped to gas up the car.

2:00 p.m. hour


Still in the car, but about an hour and a half from home, so I fire up the computer to get some work done. Had to wait until now for my hotspot to work again!

3:00 p.m. hour


Wake up, Cole! We’re almost home!

4:00 p.m. hour


Someone’s happy we are home!

5:00 p.m. hour


Holiday card photo preview!

6:00 p.m. hour


Kitchen update: all of our appliances have been purchased! So tonight before leaving for yoga, I spent some time online, researching flooring, cabinet and light switch options.

7:00 p.m. hour


Photo didn’t turn out great, but hit up a Sunday sunset yoga class at Yellow Barn Wellness

8:00 p.m. hour


Spent some time after class chatting with two of my favorites!

9:00 p.m. hour


Helped Watched J do some work in the kitchen.

10:00 p.m. hour


Checked my football picks and finished the Cowboys/Giants game and then lights out!

Tell me about your day yesterday!

A Healing Weekend at Faith’s Lodge


After Charlie died, we had multiple people (caregivers, counselors and social workers) recommend that we go spend a weekend at Faith’s Lodge. So, sometime in late September, we filled out an application and found a weekend that worked — November 14-16 — and made our reservation. As the date drew closer, I felt myself getting more and more anxious about going. I was nervous about telling our story. And I was worried about connecting with the other couples there.

Faith’s Lodge is about two hours away from the Twin Cities and its mission is to provide a place for families and parents to go if they have a child with a serious illness or have lost a child. There are designated weekends for families with children who are ill vs. bereaved families and further designated by what age the child was when they passed away.

We took a half day off of work on Friday, dropped off Cole at my in-laws’ and crossed over the Wisconsin border.



As we pulled up to the lodge, I was totally blown away by how much more beautiful the lodge and property were in person, but I could also feel my anxiety building. To make matters worse, I knew we were going to be the last to arrive — the other couples had nearly 24 hours together prior to our arrival. But once we walked in and were greeted by name by the lodge manager, Lisa, I started feeling more at ease. She gave us a tour around the gorgeous 12,000 square foot lodge — there were multiple rooms where groups could gather or we could go to be alone (all with fireplaces), an arts and crafts room, a theater room and a huge kitchen and dining area.




Then, Lisa showed us to our cozy, yet spacious room and let us get settled. I laid down for a quick nap and then we headed upstairs for dinner. Lisa showed us where we could put the pictures we brought of Charlie — on a table with photos of the other couples’ beautiful children. We made our plates and joined a few other couples for a comforting dinner of soup and sandwiches. We all introduced ourselves and one of the other couples asked if we would be comfortable telling our story. I took a deep breath and told them about that ultrasound, the waiting, the specialist appointments, the roller coaster of emotions, the hospital visits, Charlie’s birth and finally, how we eventually said goodbye. It wasn’t long before tissues were being passed around the table and the other couples took turns sharing their stories with us. They were incredibly sad and moving stories, but they were also beautiful in how these parents are remembering their children.

After dinner, we had a group-led discussion with a social worker. We shared our story again and got to know the stories from the couples who weren’t at dinner. We all cried together and after that, we were all so emotionally exhausted that we went retreated to our rooms for bed.

The next morning, J and I slept in and made our way upstairs for some breakfast and arts and crafts.


Mid-afternoon, we decided to go into town to catch the end of the Gophers vs. Ohio State game and get some burgers and beer. We found a dive bar with friendly service and some pretty darn good food! And of course, I ordered a Spotted Cow.


Our last night at the lodge was one I’ll never forget. After dinner, we gathered in a room upstairs, downloaded Catch Phrase on my phone, divided into two teams (girls vs. guys, duh) and sat in a circle. For the next two hours, we laughed more than I’m sure a lot of us have in months. It was then that I realized just how familiar everyone seemed and how comfortable I felt with them, even though we had just met 24 hours earlier. The internal “I don’t fit in anymore” feeling that’s become a new part of my identity disappeared and I felt at ease.

We said our goodbyes the next morning and by the time we got home, there was already a group email chain going with all of our contact information in hopes of staying in touch.  I realized that while it’s not a bond that we wish we had, we do have something significant in common and whether or not we ever see each other again, I know we won’t forget one another.


Roommate Reunion #BritneyInVegas

Last Thursday night, I went to the first out of 11 shows that Garth Brooks is playing here in Minneapolis and it was hands down one of the best arena shows (and one of my favorite shows, EVER) I’ve ever been to. Then, bright and early Friday morning, two of my BFFs/college roommates and I headed to Vegas for a quick girls’ weekend.

With the time change, we arrived in Vegas at 9:30 a.m. and by the time we dropped our bags at the hotel and found a bar with a patio, it was about 11:30 a.m. We promptly ordered this when the waitress suggested it:


While we knew the 100 ounces of margarita wasn’t a good idea, it did seem like a very Vegas way to start our trip. But yeah, bad idea. After the bar, we headed back to the hotel where our fourth roommate, who drove from LA, met us. We got ready, went out for dinner and then it was time for BRITNEY!

She. was. terrible. And I loved every minute of it.


Post-Britney, we did a little gambling, had a few more beverages and found some cheese fries. But then, all of a sudden, I hit a wall and was EXHAUSTED. It was then that I remembered it was almost 4 a.m. Minnesota-time. We headed back up to the room where I promptly passed out.

On Saturday, I woke up earlier than I would’ve liked, but really couldn’t sleep anymore. We found some breakfast and Starbucks and then made our way down to the pool where we stayed for the next four hours. I think those four hours were among my top moments of 2014. It was so amazingly relaxing. The weather was a perfect 75+ degrees and oh so sunny. Perfection.


Eventually it was time to leave the pool and get ready for dinner. We headed to the Cromwell where we had reservations to try Giada’s new-ish restaurant. The entire menu looked pretty delicious, but we opted for the tasting menu experience which ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

It was four courses with the highlights being the bacon-wrapped dates, the Sicilian roasted lamb and the amaretto chocolate cake complete with edible 24 karat gold. We got sent home with a cool “souvenir” that included recipes for the dishes that were a part of the tasting menu, and to my husband’s delight — a signed Giada headshot. lmao.


We had an early flight Sunday morning and came back to 30 degree weather and snow. Lame.

Post-running fall update: Walking around Vegas wasn’t good for my ankle/knee and definitely slowed my recovery. I now haven’t run in over a week which is a major bummer.

What’s your favorite Britney song?

Being watched while you sleep

Creepy title, huh? Just a couple of nights ago, I went in for a sleep study. For the past five or so years, I’ve struggled with sleep issues on and off. The only times I feel like I’m getting quality sleep is when I’m finally so exhausted that my body just crashes. In general, I never wake up feeling refreshed and take naps on the weekend like nobody’s business. AND I’m pretty sure I developed sleep apnea while I was pregnant which can be really dangerous, so my doctor suggested that I get this checked out now. I’ve already been through a ton of other kinds of testing (blood work, etc) and everything looks normal. I’m hoping that whatever they find out (if they DO find something) and me cleaning up my diet will help me finally start getting better sleep.

So anyways, if you’ve ever been curious about what a sleep study is, it went something like this:

8:45 p.m. – Arrived at the hotel/sleep clinic. Yes, the sleep clinic is in a hotel. They must have a partnership where they get a block of rooms to office out of and hold the studies. It’s pretty smart; plus, you get access to their continental breakfast in the morning.

8:50 p.m. – Had to go back out and move my car because I parked in the wrong lot.

8:55 p.m. – Hobbled back up to the room (per my injury from falling while running)

9:00 p.m. – Filled out two additional long questionnaires (I had already filled one out at home)

9:15 p.m. – Started getting hooked up while watching a bad TNT show

10:00 p.m. – More electrodes get pasted to my face

10:10 p.m. – Got ready for bed and sent the hubs a selfie


I sleep in style. Oiselle Podium PJs FTW!

10:15 p.m. – Lights out

Sometime around 11 p.m. – Still not sleeping and had to call the technician in the room to unhook me so I could use the bathroom (awkward)

Unsure of time – Back to bed. Weird dreams during the night.

6:40 a.m. – The technician woke me up over the speaker

6:45 a.m. – Took all of the wires and electrodes off of me

7 a.m. – Showered and got ready for work, filled out more questionnaires and then was on my way to work!

Next week, I have a follow up appointment with the sleep doctor (I’m sure there’s a more accurate title for her, but I’m unsure of what that is right now) where she’ll go over the results from the study. The technician wasn’t allowed to tell me anything the next morning. The only thing I know is that I don’t have moderate (or severe, for that matter) sleep apnea, because they didn’t put me on the CPAP and I’m pretty sure I don’t have any restless leg issues (not that I thought I did) because I rolled over once and the electrode came off of my leg and they didn’t come in to put it back on.

Have you or anyone you know gone through a sleep study?

How do you make sure you get good sleep?