Finding a Balance

Learning to live a healthy, balanced life.


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Race Recap: Red, White and Boom! Half Marathon RELAY

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Race morning was early. Calvin woke up at 3 and finally went back down around 3:30. I tossed and turned until 4:30 when my alarm went off. I ate the breakfast cookie I made the night before and drank a cup of coffee and glass of water.

I wasn’t feeling my stride shorts for some reason, so I decided on trying out my new pair of holepunch distance shorts (even though you’re not supposed to do anything new on race day? What can I say, I was feeling daring!), along with my singlet, Title Nine bra and Injinji socks.

I was out the door by 5:30 and realized once I was already well on my way that I forgot the Picky Bar I was planning to eat since I was Runner 2 and wouldn’t start running for a couple of hours. I was hoping they’d have some food at the start line or something (they didn’t). I was surprised that all of the street parking was snatched up by the time I got to the St. Anthony Main area around 5:50 a.m.! I ended up parking in a lot and walked down to Father Hennepin Park to meet up with some of the Oiselle Volee team for a photo. Great to meet so many new birds!

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Suzy, Jessy and I (other Minnesota volee) got on a shuttle to take us to the half marathon halfway point to wait for Tracy, Jana and Beth. I chatted with a friendly runner (and GOTR coach!) on the way. Once we got there (uh, after a slight detour — I think the driver may have gotten lost?) we got in line for the porta potties and all of a sudden, the first runners were already coming through!

Since Tracy is speedy speedy, it wasn’t long before I saw her pop-colored shorts in the distance and I got ready to tag in. She slapped my hand and I was off!

It took awhile for me to feel comfortable because everyone around me was running somewhere around a 7:30-7:45 pace, so I was being passed left and right. My hip felt fine, but I was still trying to take it relatively easy, but getting passed by EVERYONE can be kind of discouraging, and I realized I was running 7:55 for longer than I would have liked. I put the brakes on and slowed myself wayyyyy down. Eventually, I settled into a groove and enjoyed running on this new route.

A slight twinge in my knee and hamstring was all that bothered me during this race. I felt hungry almost immediately and longed for the Picky Bar that was sitting on my kitchen counter. I felt plenty hydrated from the day before and took water at a couple of the stops (nice to see the MCR crew around mile 12)!

I miscalculated how much I had left in the tank and started picking up the pace slightly too early. I kind of ran out of gas before I even got to the Stone Arch Bridge, so was running on pure adrenaline from the crowd lining the bridge, but wasn’t able to kick it in at the end. I crossed the finish line feeling slightly nauseated, but still devoured a red, white and blue popsicle a volunteer handed me with no issues. (But the grilled hotdogs they were also handing out? I decided to pass on that one.)

We all gathered for another photo…

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Then we headed to Wilde Roast Cafe for coffee and brunch. I was on a tight time schedule, so I savored ordered an almond milk chai and chatted for as long as I could before having to head out.

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After I got home, I was thrilled to have a leftover spring roll and coconut macaroon from our trip to the Midtown Global Market waiting for me. Calvin was sleeping, so I got to take a shower AND blow dry my hair. Heaven. When he woke up, he wanted to play with my medal:
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We finished the day out by cooking out with friends and I enjoyed a beer (or two) in my new pint glass ❤

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I was so happy that my hip held up and I felt mostly recovered from Grandma’s weekend. Oh, and I LOVE my holepunch distance shorts — SO lightweight and breathable! I hit up PT yesterday and I’m close to being discharged! He did more Graston work on my IT band and hamstring and I’ll do another week of exercises and fairly easy running and then hopefully I can dive into my next training cycle!

Have you ever done a relay? 

What’d you do to celebrate the Fourth?


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Race Recap: 2016 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

On Friday we left the Cities around noon and took a small detour to avoid some slow downs on I-35. We got to my sister-in-law’s around 3:15 (after a stop at the grocery and liquor store). Since my brother-in-law was running his 16th!!!!! Grandma’s Marathon and had to go pick up his race packet, they picked up mine as well. It was nice not having to deal with the expo once we got into town.

Andrea and I stopped by the Oiselle meet up that was hosted at Tammy’s gorgeous house off of London Road! It was great to chat with some other birds and put names to faces, finally 🙂

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After the meet up, we had our traditional pre-race meal of spaghetti and garlic toast. (And Andrea’s famous s’more bars.)

I decided to sleep on the couch since I still wake up if Calvin makes even the slightest noise. Even though I slept pretty restlessly, when the alarm went off at 3 a.m. I got up without hitting snooze. I ate my breakfast cookie and drank a half a cup of coffee, along with about 16 oz. of water. After throwing a few “in case of emergency”-type supplies in my gear bag (poncho, sunglasses vaseline, etc.), John, Andrea and I were out the door at 4 a.m. sharp and en route to Duluth.

We arrived and parked at the Edgewater Hotel around 4:30 and were able to get on the second shuttle. Once we arrived to the start, we sat alongside the road with a stunning view of Lake Superior. While sitting there, I ate a half a banana and my Gen UCAN snack bar.

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We got in line for a final porta potty stop and were headed to the start corral shortly after 6 a.m. The corral was crowded and as I worked my way towards the 2:00 area, the gun went off and we were on our way!

Miles 1-6 – 8:59, 8:49, 8:48, 8:45, 8:46, 8:49

The first mile went by quickly and was pretty uneventful. The weather felt nice and cool still and my legs felt pretty fresh — I didn’t notice any of the fatigue I was feeling over the past week.

I had to do a fair share of weaving at the beginning, but the nice, wide roads made it a lot less frustrating than in other races in the Cities. Around mile two or three, all of a sudden I noticed that it felt significantly warmer than it did at the start. The first few miles ticked by and I tried to enjoy them by taking in the scenery.

Right around mile five, I noticed a little twinge in my left hip. I didn’t think too much of it, but by the time I was approaching the seven mile marker, it had gone from a ‘twinge’ to dull pain. My left foot was also starting to bother me and I felt the heat getting to me — I started to feel my pace slipping a bit.

Miles 7-13.1 -8:53, 9:06, 8:51, 8:40, 8:45, 8:43, 8:24

The next couple of miles were my slowest. I walked through the water stops and it took a lot of effort to pick the pace back up after walking. I tried to focus on my form and to do my best to keep a sub-9:00 pace. Lemon Drop hill came and went and like the last time I ran it, I used it as motivation that I only had 1/4 of the race ahead of me.

Right around mile 10, my friends Kate and Brian appeared and it helped me pick my pace back up! The crowds started to thicken as we made our way down Superior Street.

Between miles 11 and 12, I saw Jesse, Sara (my SIL) and Calvin! I was feeling awful by then, but I plastered a smile on my face and focused on getting the race over with.

Trying to harness my fast-finish training runs, I gave the last mile all I had left (which wasn’t much) and crossed the finish line not able to push any harder.

Official finish time: 1:55:46

Poll: Worth buying this?

Poll: Worth buying this? (let’s just ignore the poor form, mmkay?)

I collected my medal and shirt (not a fan) and beelined to the gear bag area. There was only one person in front of me! I promptly took off my shoes and slipped on my birkies. Ahhh, relief.

I was feeling a little woozy, so I sat down in the finishers area for a little while before heading over to the family meeting area. I got a text from Andrea that she had finished already — MAJOR PR for that girl!

Shortly after I got to the finishers area, Andrea and John and Sara, Jesse and Calvin arrived. The moment I squeezed my little guy was one I’ll never forget!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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Since we found out our car was basically being held hostage at Edgewater until the marathon was over the roads reopened, we took the shuttle to Proctor where Jesse picked us up. After a short nap, some lunch and an amazing shower, we drove back to Duluth later in the day to pick up the car. Once we arrived back to my sister-in-law’s, we celebrated with some champagne, a beer or two and juicy lucys!

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Grill master

Final thoughts

I went into this race hoping to break two hours. My 10 mile race a few weeks back gave me the confidence that I should be able to do that relatively easily, but given my low weekly mileage totals and the crappy runs I’d had recently, there was not one part of me that thought a PR was a possibility. This was a wake up call that I’m probably not training at the proper paces and was further validation that working with a coach is the right call for me. (I’ve already started working with my new coach and I’m SO EXCITED!)

Fuel: I felt like I fueled properly for this one. I took water at every stop except for the first and last one. I also took a second cup to pour over my head at a few stops and I know that helped keep me cool. I took a total of four Shot Bloks starting at mile 6 and through the end of the race. I probably could have had an entire package, but I didn’t train much with them and didn’t want to upset my stomach.

Gear: I went with Stride shorts and my Oiselle singlet as well as compression socks. I felt a bit warm with the socks, but I’m still happy I decided to run in them. My Stride shorts stayed put the entire race ❤ I could’ve used sunglasses, but was fine without.

I’m so grateful I had such a great place to stay with the best hospitality (thanks, Tim and Sara!) and great training partners throughout this cycle (s/o Andrea, Kate and Kristen!) and a huge congrats to Tim for completing his 20th marathon, all of the amazing Oiselle women who raced over the weekend and to everyone else who raced!

This week is all about recovery and I’m already feeling much better after the race. I did some major foam rolling and saw my chiropractor for an adjustment. As long as my hip feels OK when I run on Saturday, I’m considering myself as good as new!

So what’s next? Not 100 percent sure, but talking it over with my coach and thinking that it’ll be a fall 10 mile or half.

What’s up next for you? Any fall races planned?


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Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Training: Week Nine

Monday: REST

I did a 20-minute arm workout (Thanks, Minneapolis Running!), my PT exercises, stretched and foam rolled

Tuesday: 5 miles (9:40 pace)

Pretty much everything was working against me for this one — my calves were in knots still from mowing the lawn over the weekend and I was SO HUNGRY after a busy day of meetings that I scarfed down some food 45 minutes before we headed out on our run. But after a slow and sloggy start, I felt a bit better and then started to hit a wall with around a mile left. The heat and humidity didn’t help.

Friday: 4 miles (9:30 pace)

Andrea and I finally checked out Mill City Running’s Flapjack Fridays! The run starts from Mill City Running in Northeast Minneapolis at 6:30 and there are 2.5, 5 and 7 mile loop routes. We only wanted to go about four miles, so we did an out and back. I never get sick of running across the Stone Arch Bridge. Once we got back to the store, we got in line for pancakes. There were a variety of toppings (um, hello Nutella), but I opted for good ol’ maple syrup and butter.

The rain started just as we dug into our pancakes. It actually felt pretty good after a slightly humid run.

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I headed home to shower and get ready for the day. Since I was working from home, it was pretty easy to ease into the work day!

That night, J and I met up with my co-workers to see Tracy Morgan at Mystic Lake:

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It was a great show and felt good to laugh. SUPER inappropriate, but funny.

Saturday: REST

We hit up Sea Salt for lunch (Calvin’s first trip there!)

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Afterwards, I went with Andrea to see Book of Mormon (erm, for my fourth time). I might have a problem.

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Sunday: MDRA Mississippi 10 Miler (1:29:55)

Hooray for a new 10 mile PR!

I knew I was going to like this race, when I realized the start line was in the middle of a downhill. It was a small field, but I still lined up middle-back of the pack. I made a rookie move by not starting my Garmin until I was about to cross the start line — it took almost three miles for it to finally catch up and find my location.

The race starts on the trails in Crosby Regional Park and as you come up to Shepard Road, you hit the first water stop — around 2.5 miles. I took water, but soon after that, while I was still feeling good, I started to feel kind of chilled and realized I had stopped sweating. The next water stop wasn’t until five miles, but I took two cups of water and also had half my GU. I started feeling a little better, but was still looking forward to the next water stop at mile 7.5. This could have ended up as a disaster, but since it didn’t, I’m just going to learn from it and make sure to better hydrate pre-race next time.

I think my favorite thing about this race was that since it’s an out and back, we got to see the leaders on their way back to the finish. And I’m not kidding, 90% of them actually smiled and said things like “great job” and “keep it up” as they passed us mortals who hadn’t even hit the turnaround point.

I started to pick up the pace around mile five and was keeping it right in the 8:40s. There were some challenging hills on the course, but the downhills made them worth it. I was still feeling good after mile 9, so I decided to try to go sub-8:00 for the last mile. I crossed the finish line and couldn’t stop smiling for the next 24 hours. Everything fell into place and I was really happy how this went. I also learned a lot about where my training has brought me and how I should approach the half in just a few weeks.

I’d definitely recommend this race! It’s well organized, small and a great course (even though it’s an out and back).

Pre-race fuel: Breakfast cookie

Race day outfit: Distance shorts and Oiselle shimmel

Splits: 9:45, 9:04, 9:20, 9:17, 8:40, 8:45, 8:45, 8:42, 8:10, 7:59

28th female, 13th AG


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Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Training: Week Five

Monday: REST

Monday was an official rest day, but it was a busy one! I headed downtown for an afternoon meeting and then just stayed downtown for the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST Forum event that evening. It was a fabulous and inspiring event with so many incredible women in attendance, including Cindy Kent who was the keynote speaker!

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Tuesday: 4 miles (9:18 pace)

Tired legs plagued this run again and my foot bothered me for the first half a mile or so. It started to bug me during Sunday’s seven miler, so will need to keep an eye on it.

Wednesday -Friday: REST

Just like last week, the busy-ness of the week got the best of me and the bad weather made it an easy excuse to skip runs.

My parents got into town on Friday and we went to Hi-Lo Diner for an early dinner before bedtime. I had a burger and a beer because it seemed like a good pre-race meal.

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Saturday: Get in Gear 10K – unofficial time 56:17 

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I woke up for the day with a sore throat at 6:45 a.m. after a bad night’s sleep. Calvin got me up twice during the night and I was coughing in between those wake ups. It looked like it would be between 45-50 degrees with winds around 12 mph throughout the race and mostly cloudy, so I decided on shorts, Oiselle singlet, arm warmers, compression socks and a headband. I stepped outside to leave and headed back into the house to re-think my outfit. J reassured me I’d be happy with my outfit once I started running, so I grabbed a sweatshirt for after the race and headed back out the door. Race start was at 9 a.m. and I finally left my house around 8:15 a.m. Having done this race quite a few years in a row now, I know not to even try to park close, so I parked a few blocks away and got a warm up run in.

Once I reached the starting area I did some dynamic stretching and got in line for the bathroom. (Shout out to Get in Gear for an abundance of porta potties!) Most people I saw had a lot more clothing on than I did, but I really wasn’t feeling cold standing there.

Around 8:50 a.m., I headed over to the start line and remembered the barriers they have set up require you to enter the “chute” from the back. Since I didn’t feel like pushing through the crowd, I ended up behind the 12:00 minute mile pacers to start.

Eventually we took off and it stayed pretty crowded until mile 3. I spent the first entire mile starting and stopping and weaving. The first mile clocked in at 9:51 and I could tell I wasted a decent amount of energy during that mile.

The first and only water stop for the 10K-ers was right around this point and I drank a cup, but my throat was still on fire. I spent most of the race thinking about how badly my throat hurt. Since the GIG course is one I run often, I knew where the hills were, and I felt strong on all of them. Mile 4-5 was a little rough, I had to back off the pace a couple of times to catch my breath, but seeing Angie and Andrea during this mile gave me a nice boost!

As soon as I had less than one mile left, I focused on sticking with the group of runners I had pretty much been by during the entire race, and eventually overtook them going up the last hill. As I neared the finish chute, I saw my parents (they surprised me!) and dug deep to cross the finish line. I didn’t notice what the clock said and I didn’t look at my watch until an hour or so after I got home. Even though the race went relatively well, I was happy to be done and not feeling the greatest. I grabbed some post-race food and we walked back to my car.

This was my fifth year doing the GIG 10K and my second best time. Glad to have gotten this race in before the half as I’m feeling a little rusty when it comes to racing.

As for the rest of the day, I took a power nap and we headed to Sovereign Grounds for a little outing so Calvin could play.

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I noticed while sitting at the coffee shop that I felt really warm, but didn’t think too much of it, even though my parents and J said they didn’t think it was warm in there. I went to bed early that night and woke up with the chills in the middle of the night.

Sunday: Sick

Luckily, my parents were in town, so they tag teamed with J to watch Calvin most of the day. I rested as much as possible and when the Tylenol kicked in, we took a walk at the dog park.

This week, my focus is going to be getting healthy again, making sure to fit in a speed work session and nailing my long run on Sunday! Excited for the weather we’re supposed to have.

Have you been sick this spring?

What’s your 10K racing/pacing strategy?


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Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Training: Week Three

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3.5 miles (9:35 pace)

Tuesday evening after putting Calvin to bed, I laced up my running shoes for my weekly run with Andrea and Kate. My legs felt extremely heavy, but I figured that was to be expected after taking an entire week off from running.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 3 miles (9:28 pace)

I got in a quick three miles over the lunch hour since I had a work event Thursday evening. It was pretty warm out and my legs still felt heavy. I found myself feeling out of breath running up even the slightest incline.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Run the Valley 5K – 26:51 (1st in AG and 7th female overall)

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Saturday morning, Calvin woke up to eat at 5:15 a.m., and since my alarm was set for 5:45, I just stayed up after putting him back down. I headed to the kitchen to get some breakfast and had to pat myself on the back for making a breakfast cookie the night before for one less thing to worry about on race morning!

Along with my cookie, I had a cup of decaf and a glass of water. It was supposed to be around 58 degrees at race time, so I decided on my Oiselle singlet and a pair of distance shorts. I also wore some compression socks and threw a pair of arm warmers and a hat into my bag, just in case.

Andrea picked me up and we arrived at the Brookview Community Center in Golden Valley a few minutes before 7:30 a.m. We got our packets, used the bathroom (not a porta potty – woo!) and did a quick warm up before lining up for the 8:10 start. I ended up skipping the arm warmers, but opted to wear the hat.

We started out closer to the front than the middle. Once we started, we really didn’t have to do too much weaving, and also weren’t getting passed, so it felt like a good position to have started in. I had zero goals going into this and wasn’t even sure I was going to race it — even though that’s what my training plan called for. With the disappointing runs earlier in the week, I had no idea what I would be capable of after we crossed the starting line.

But once we took off, I felt surprisingly good and the heaviness in my legs had disappeared. After a cautious first mile in 8:52, I officially made the decision to give the rest of the race all I had. The next mile felt great — I over took a few runners and saw the second mile clock in at 8:12 on my Garmin. Not too long after that is when things started hurting.

We started up a gradual incline that felt like it was never going to end. One person I had passed earlier passed me on the hill and I felt a moment of panic that I wasn’t going to have any kick left in me for the end. But once at the top of the hill, I regained my focus and set my sights on the fact that I had less than one mile to go.

As I neared the finish, I was able to dig deep and increase my pace (not as much as I would’ve liked) and passed the runner who got me on the hill. As I crossed the finish line and heard the announcer say I was in the top ten for women! I couldn’t believe it!

Once Andrea crossed the line just moments later, we headed into the community center and loaded up with post-race snacks. Of course, the donuts were calling my name.

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The posted race results are a little weird, with some “unknowns” posted, but if they are indeed accurate, I may have pulled off an AG win! That’ll teach me for leaving early! It felt really good to race again and it was also a wake up call that I’ve got a LONG way to go to get back to my 2012-2013 level of fitness.

I will DEFINITELY run this race again next year. It was well organized, had a nice-sized field, a good course and good race swag!

Sunday: 2.89 mile walk and a 1.29 mile walk

It was another gorgeous day, so Calvin and I met a friend for a walk around Lake Harriet. Calvin was fussy for the first part of the walk, but that escalated to full on screaming by the time we got halfway around the lake. So guess who got to carry a 20-pound baby around the last half of the lake? Yep, you guessed it — this lucky lady. I guess I got my strength training in for the day also? Oh, and he was in SUCH a good mood once I started carrying him, he was practically blowing kisses to everyone we passed.

Then, once we got home, we decided to take another walk to take the pup to get his long overdue “pup cup” from Dairy Queen for his birthday.

Anyone deal with “heavy legs?” What was the outcome?

How did you enjoy the weather this weekend?

 


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Walking for Charlie

This past weekend, 28 humans (including five tiny ones) and two dogs came out as part of Team Charlie to walk the Hope Walks and Rolls 5K to remember Charlie and raise money for Faith’s Lodge.

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It was so special to have so many people there, surrounding us! And of course, it felt extra special to be walking, 28 weeks pregnant with Charlie’s little brother.

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The course was, in fact, not a 5K, but more like 3.7 miles, but we all made it — including my friend who is 38 weeks pregnant (!!!!) and my dad who just had open heart surgery not even three weeks ago. Looking forward to making this an annual event.

After the walk, the parents and J and I went out for lunch and took a quick trip to the Garden of the Sleeping Angels to hang Charlie’s memorial.

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It was a special “Charlie” day I’m sure we’ll always remember.


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Race Recap: Joe Plant Memorial 5K

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I walked the Joe Plant Memorial 5K with Andrea a couple of weeks ago. We do this race every year and it was awesome to see how it just keeps growing year after year! I felt great the entire 3.1 miles, with the exception of tight calves. We finished in 51:45, which I’m pretty happy about, especially considering my Goldy’s 5K time was 51:22, just three weeks earlier.

I also realized that this could be my second to last 5K! Team Charlie! is walking the Hope Walks and Rolls 5K this weekend with some friends and family to support Faith’s Lodge. After that, who knows? I have a work client’s 5K in the middle of June that I’ll walk if I’m feeling up for it, but not registering for that one quite yet!

Cross your fingers for us for good weather on Saturday!