Finding a Balance

Learning to live a healthy, balanced life.


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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:

Friday

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Saturday

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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.

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New lux glovessss

We ended the night with another bonfire party!

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Sunday

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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So much fun that this photo turned out blurry

Then, we ordered pizza:

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Monday

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).
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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.

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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.

HUGE THANK YOUS TO:

  • 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!

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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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Title Nine Bravangelists to the rescue + a giveaway!

Disclosure: I received a free bra — all opinions are my own.

It probably goes without saying that a post about sports bras might venture into TMI territory. But I’ll say it anyways: This might venture into TMI territory.

I’ve always felt very lucky that I’ve never had to worry about having a large chest that got in the way of running, playing sports, etc. I’m sure I’ve also taken it for granted at times, but I recently found myself in a new situation: I love my Oiselle bras (they’re comfortable and cute), but now I need to wear two of them when running or a weird combination of one sports bra + a tank with a built in shelf bra. I guess having two back-to-back pregnancies and then nursing Calvin for 10+ months did a number on me.

So when I had the opportunity to attend the Title Nine Fit Fest Media Night to have an expert ‘Bravangelist‘ fit me for a sports bra, I couldn’t wait.

Ahead of the event, our Title Nine contact, Jessica, emailed and asked that we provide our current bra size and I was like “Uhhhh.” To be completely honest, I’m still wearing nursing bras and tanks because all of my old bras fit weird. Jessica assured me that it wasn’t a problem and they’d be able to find me the perfect bra.

After hitting up Tilia for a quick dinner (um, of fries and a lobster roll — the ideal meal before trying on bras in front of other people) courtesy of my bro (it’s fun to sit and harass the chef), I arrived to Title Nine Edina at 50th and France. Julia, the store manager, greeted me by name! Shortly after, Erin, Jessie, Bert, Samara and Anna arrived. So great to meet some of the other bloggers I follow, in person!

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We met Molly, Title Nine’s head Bravangelist (and bra buyer) who fit us each individually. She took a few really quick measurements (and if it matters to you — you can even keep your top on) and brought me a few different options to try on. Easy peasy!

Bloggers + Molly!

Bloggers + Molly!

She told me I was a 32C and in some of the bras that run small, a 32D, so it’s pretty obvious that I’ve likely been wearing the incorrect size for many years. In fact, while the majority of American women wear a 36C bra, most sports bras are made for A or B-cup women.

I tried on the 3-reasons Brooks/Moving Comfort bra (similar to the Moving Comfort best-selling Fiona bra) and the Tech Athena. Both felt very supportive and comfortable, but not quite right.

Yep, 10 months postpartum and my stomach still looks weird

Yep, 10 months postpartum and my stomach still looks weird

The third bra I tried was the one I ended up deciding on — the Fits-to-a-T sports bra, made by Brooks/Moving Comfort. I love everything about this bra — it’s comfortable and extremely supportive and the racerback cut shouldn’t lead to any chafing or rubbing on long runs. OH and the straps are adjustable for just the right fit (with velcro — perfect for a nursing mom).

The winner!

The winner!

What I loved about all of the options I tried was that they were “band and cup”-style, which I’ve never worn before. They felt much more supportive than the typical S, M, L-type bras I’ve always worn in the past. This got me thinking that I don’t think I’ve ever worn the proper sports bra. Ever. In my life.

We also participated in a “bounceathon” in our bras where we tested out how the bras handled jumping rope, bouncing on a ball or hoola hooping. It felt a little awkward, but it was a good way to really put them to the test!

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The best part of all of this? There’s a public Title Nine Fit Fest on Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday, June 30 at Title Nine in Edina! RSVP here to sign up for your personalized bra fit with a Title Nine Bravangelist expert. It’s a super quick process, but seriously life changing. And the staff at the Edina location is super friendly and knowledgeable (btw, good luck with your half marathon, Angela!) and they’ve got a carefully curated selection of awesome clothing and gear in addition to sports bras (for example: they carry Oiselle items, some designed specifically for T9)!

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Enter to win a Title Nine bra of your choice! The giveaway is open to anyone in the U.S. Along with the bra, you’ll get a personalized fitting, either in-store or by-phone, depending on your location.

(Note that if you’re a winner that’s located within driving distance of a Title Nine store you’ll be asked to redeem your prize at the closest/preferred retail location.)

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment below about ANYTHING to do with sports bras! For an additional entry, tweet about the Title Nine Fit Fest using the @TitleNine handle and#T9FitFest hashtag. Then let me know you tweeted, with a separate comment and link to the tweet. Good luck! Enter by the end of the day on Monday and I’ll pick a winner Tuesday morning.

Stay tuned for my full bra review (once I start running again!)


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Race Recap: 2014 Building Strength 5k

This past Saturday, I ran the Building Strength 5k for the third year in a row. My recaps from 2013 and 2012 are here and here. The race benefits South Metro Human Services. The funds supported South Metro’s programs that benefit their clients (people who have mental illnesses or chemical dependencies).

It was warm at race start, and sunny. Because I received my Oiselle shimmel when I was already pretty pregnant and didn’t like the way it looked on me, I still hadn’t worn it for a race. This seemed like the perfect opportunity! I paired it with my fresh green Distance Shorts that Oiselle sent me along with the shimmel, my Superfly cap and new Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s. (Because a race is great way to break in a pair of new shoes, right?)

I didn’t run early in the week because I was pretty sore after last weekend’s race. Then, I was even more sore after sprinting the bases at softball on Thursday night and had Pilates the next morning, so I didn’t run on Friday — the day before the race. So I felt a bit creaky when we took off.

Right before the race, I decided that my goal would be to beat last weekend’s time, but my more ambitious goal would be to break 30 minutes. I wanted to prove to myself that I could, since I mentioned in my last recap that I felt like I could’ve if I wouldn’t have stopped for a beer.

We didn’t start right up front, but it’s a small enough race that we started closer to the front than we might have usually done. I wore my Garmin this time, so I could focus on my pace to hopefully achieve at least one of my goals.

I found myself getting pretty winded already just a mile into the race and not feeling quite as confident at the 1.5 mile mark. The race course makes two loops around a park and after finishing the first loop, I was ready to be done. But somehow I finished, and ended up achieving both goals! As I’m writing this on Sunday, the official results haven’t been posted yet (pet peeve of mine), but according to my Garmin and Runkeeper (averaged the two times), I finished in 29:22. EDITED TO ADD: results are up and official time was 29:18!

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This race was also fun because some of my coworkers came out and walk/ran, too! And the course was GORGEOUS — the fall colors are really getting to be pretty amazing.

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It’s hard to believe that my 5k PR is almost five minutes faster than I finished this past weekend. It feels almost impossible that I’ll ever run that fast again. But, I’m hoping to not only run that fast again, but faster. I still hope to break 24 minutes sometime in the near future, so I guess it’s time to get to work!

Did you race this past weekend?

Have you gotten out to enjoy the fall colors?


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Race Recap: 2014 Blubber Run + Flock Meetup

This past Saturday, J and I ran the Blubber Run, the inaugural 5k that’s a part of the Stevens Point Brewery’s Pointoberfest. I had no plan going into this — all I could think about was that the day I decided to stray from my Couch to 5k app and run a straight .5 miles on my own, it felt really, really hard. I barely made it through and the next day I went back to Couch to 5k. I had considered doing a Couch to 5k workout for the race, but instead decided just to run on feel and see how it went would go.

After over four hours in the car and not the best pre-race fuel, we arrived at the Stevens Point Brewery. J and I got our race bibs and went on a walk to loosen up. It was quite warm — 75 degrees and sunny. At 2:55 p.m., we lined up (I positioned myself towards the back) and waited for the race to start.

I didn’t wear my Garmin and had my phone, with Runkeeper going, in my pocket (yay for Distance Shorts!) so I never really knew what my current pace was. The first quarter mile felt awful — my legs felt like they weighed a ton and my tight calves were really bugging me. But as I warmed up, I felt a little better and settled into some sort of groove.

I was expecting a beer stop at the halfway mark, but it was actually at the 2 mile mark. Since I wasn’t technically “racing” and I didn’t dress up for the race, I decided that it would be fun to actually stop and “enjoy” a beer. Most people stopped, so it was pretty fun!

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I finished my beer and set back out. (This is the part where I realized I’d be happy to never do another beer run again as there was a nice chorus of burping and belching going on around me. Gross.)

For the last mile, I concentrated on sticking close to the other runners around me and trying not to get passed. It worked well and I even passed a few runners near the finish. I crossed the finish line and saw 31:58 on the clock. It’s nice to know that if I wouldn’t have stopped for that beer (no regrets, though!) that I would have likely broken 30 minutes, especially since race wasn’t chip timed and I started near the back of the group. I still have a ways to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy 5k time, but this race was a definite confidence booster!

As soon as I saw my in-laws, I asked them how J had done and they told me that he came in first — with no one even close to him! He finished somewhere around 18:5X.

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During the awards ceremony, they asked J if he had stopped for a beer. His “no” reply was met with a deafening “booooooo,” which was pretty funny. He’s determined to win next year AND stop for a beer.

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We celebrated post race with some Point beer (the Chai tea porter was the most interesting one I tried) and some Mexican food. Perfection.

After we got home on Sunday, I dusted off my yoga mat and met up with some of the Midwest Oiselle birds for some yoga and sushi. After getting my butt kicked in yoga (seriously glad we decided on a c1 class), we grabbed some drinks and sushi — it was a lot of fun getting to know everyone. I’m reminded again of how lucky I am to be a part of such an amazing team.

IMG_2349This weekend I have another race but haven’t decided if I’m going to run the entire thing or take it easy instead. I also started my six week Pilates Reformer sessions this week. Feeling good and happy to be back into a workout routine!

Have you ever done a beer run?

What fall races do you have planned?

Have you tried Pilates on the Reformer?


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FAB Fitness: Cabin Workouts

After a minor setback (more about that, later), my return to running has been going really well. I’m still doing the Couch to 5K program since I’m terrified about doing too much, too soon. I looked at my calendar the other day and realized that my first postpartum race is less than 2.5 weeks away! I know I won’t be racing it at that point, but it’d be cool if I could run the entire thing without stopping. And for extra motivation, my new Oiselle singlet arrived this week!

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Here are my workouts from this past weekend.

Saturday: 2.42 mile run (12:49 min/mi pace)

Labor Day weekend, we headed to the cabin for some relaxation and time with family. The weather wasn’t fantastic (oh, except for on Monday when it was time to come home) but the mornings were cool and perfect for running. Jesse’s sister and brother-in-law are training for a half and TCM so they had a long run on Saturday morning and J had four miles fast on his training plan (he’s training for a 5K right now) so we headed to the nearby trailhead.

I used the gift certificate to Mill City Running that I had received for my birthday to purchase a Stunt Puppy running leash and Cole and I broke it in Saturday morning. It worked great!

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Before heading out for our run. Sporting my new Oiselle superfly cap and my not-so-new Distance Shorts and Winona Tank.

Looking back at my first postpartum run, it’s been great to see improvement in my pace. The speed seems to be coming back easily and my legs feel good. This run was a five minute warm up walk, 1 minute, 30 second run and 2 minute walk for 21 minutes and then a five minute cool down walk. I felt awesome but my shins were really sore after the run was over.

Sunday: 1.07 mile walk

Sunday was a pretty low key day. J had a 60 minute run on his training plan, but I decided not to run two days in a row. Instead, I took the pup for a walk.

Monday: 2.42 mile run (12:49 min/mi pace)IMG_2193

Monday was the most beautiful day of the long weekend so I laced up my running shoes and Jesse and I headed out to get in a run before our drive back to the Cities. I ran with the pup again and broke in my new Oiselle Off the Grid knickers. LOVE THEM!

So about that setback I alluded to earlier…the week prior to last week was a little rough. I had been dealing with all-day lightheadedness and I ended up getting dizzy during a run which caused me to lose my balance and fall pretty hard. I was pretty close to home, but was still so dizzy that I accepted a ride home from a nice stranger lady. I didn’t get badly hurt (just some road rash, scrapes and bruises) but it shook me up pretty badly. I made a doctor’s appointment for the next day and it took about a week for me to get the courage up to run again. I’m feeling much, much better now, but it was scary!

On a random note, I’m getting so excited for it to be full-fledged fall. Bring on the cooler weather, boots and scarves!

Do you run while on vacation?

What are your fall racing plans?

Summer or fall?


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FAB Fitness: Week of 8/4 Workouts

Wednesday: 4.03 mile walk (17:57 min/mi pace)

Lesson learned: bring water with you when you’re planning to walk four miles. To be fair, I had planned to drink water at the halfway point, which is a park with a water fountain. However, when I got there, there was a bright orange cone where the fountain was supposed to be. I was feeling pretty awful by the time I got home, so I won’t be making that mistake again.

Thursday: REST

I felt like maybe I had overdone it the day before so I took it easy on Thursday (4,400 total steps for the day).

Friday: 2.5 mile walk (23 min/mi pace)

Although we had gotten preliminary results back, we got the final autopsy results on Friday and while the news wasn’t anything necessarily “bad” or surprising, I was feeling pretty stressed and anxious, so meeting Andrea for a walk around Lake Nokomis (followed by dinner at Sandcastle, of course) was just what I needed. We walked with Cole, so our pace wasn’t anything spectacular (because my dog stops to pee on EVERYTHING) but it felt good.

My new Oiselle Distance Shorts arrived on Friday!

My new Oiselle Distance Shorts arrived on Friday!

Saturday: 1.31 mile walk (21:06 min/mi pace)

Just a leisurely walk after dinner with the pup and husband.

Saturday morning, Mandy and I made a trip to my favorite local running store, Mill City Running where I dreamed about buying one of everything in the store but instead just picked up a few things. Then, we met my friend Rose who was in town from LA and Jen for a fun al fresco brunch!

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After brunch, Rose, the hubs and I got to babysit Jen’s two-month-old while she and Mandy went and got inked!

Speaking of getting inked — here’s a pic of my new tatt:

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Then that afternoon, thanks to my amazing friends who got me a giftcard, I went for another energy bodywork/massage session at Blooma with the amazing Deborah Savran.

Sunday: REST

Another low total steps day (4,500). J and I went to a St. Paul Saints baseball game and then were pretty lazy for the rest of the day.

I’m hoping to be cleared to run at my six-week postpartum checkup tomorrow! I talked to my OB earlier in the week and he didn’t seem to think there would be any reason that I wouldn’t be cleared as long as I make sure to ease back into things. I plan to take Katie’s advice and use the Couch to 5K app to do so!

How have you eased back into working out after taking some time off?