Saturday, January 19, 2019

Marathon Training? What's That?

This week kicked off training for my 11th marathon, the Fargo Marathon, coming up in May. Overall it really wasn't very exciting in running terms! After a relatively pleasant winter so far, we received an "Arctic blast" from Canada and now it's stinking cold. I now live on the treadmill ;)

The poem "Snow-Bound" by John Greenleaf Whittier explains it well:

“A chill no coat, however stout,
 Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,”

He's got that right. No coat will keep you warm in these temps! The current windchill is -33°F as I write that. Isn't that almost comical? Oh Minnesota... it's hard to imagine running a marathon outdoors four months from now!

Life outside of running is exciting as always! My husband has kicked off the year following the Insanity workouts and he's really sticking to it. I'm proud of him! He's been the one getting up early and working out lately; I've gotten out of practice since the last training cycle and I need to steal some motivation from him.

The school year is already halfway through. E's first wrestling match is coming up this week. Ninjago Legos are the boys' latest obsession.

That's life here lately!

Weekly Wrap: Fargo 26.2, W1

Returning from a hip flexor injury in August 2018 to train for Fargo Marathon 2019 in May.

SUN: Easy 6.01 mi, 53:31 @ 8:55/mi finally outdoors and enjoying decent temps.

MON: (Treadmill) Easy 5.0 mi, 41:26 @ 8:21/mi. Strength: Atlas - core.

TUES: Rest Day

WED: (Treadmill) Tempo 5.01 mi, 42:14. 1 mi WU, 2 mi @ 7:30, 1 mi easy, 1 mi @ 7:30/mi. Strength: Poseidon - full body. The pushups and tricep dips always kick my tail!

THURS: (Treadmill) Easy 4.17 mi, 37:26 @ 8:58/mi.

FRI: No running; Strength: Bia - hips from yesterday.

SAT: (Treadmill) 8.01 mi, 1:06:39 @ 8:19/mi.

Total => 28.2 miles

Let's Connect!

Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Journaling a Year in Nature | Curriculum Review

As the new year kicked off, I didn't have the usual list of resolutions or goals. Life has felt very full lately, full of so many blessings, but so full that I'm feeling overwhelmed. It seemed that I didn't need one more resolution to chase so I left this year more open-ended.

I am always looking to grow myself as a wife, homeschooling mom, marathoner and, most importantly, child of God and nature study popped up as a tangible area to focus on this year. Having a nature journal can be such a relaxing and enjoyable way to explore God's creation.

It can be. Yet I have felt stalled out over the past year, not knowing where to start.

We are following the Simply Charlotte Mason curriculum for my oldest son's 1st grade year and I ran across the Journaling a Year in Nature journal in their bookstore. I received a journal to review and just in time to kick off the longest and, in my opinion, most monotonous season in northern Minnesota.

I started off this journey on January 1st and have been working my way down the list of nature study prompts, starting with trees. Having a variety of topics to cover gave me fresh inspiration and much more depth than just writing "it's cold again" and leaving the page white to represent the snow.

For my tree study, I started with choosing a tree to follow throughout the year (in our backyard) and then did a rough sketch of it, making note of the bark pattern and how the branches connect in to the main trunk. I am considering switching to follow our apple tree throughout the year, I really enjoy watching the apple blossoms bloom and develop.

While Charlotte Mason was all about dry brushing, I hope she can give this rookie some grace as I did my sketches in black pen. It's a start. I plan on sharing this journal with our soon-to-be 6 year old as he hasn't started his own nature journal yet and this is a great springboard for us both.

I also sketched our neighbor's tree as it has a very intricate and interesting branch system. In the warmer months it has little berry or apple fruits on it and I want to do more research to identify it.

Along with beginning my tree sketches, I tracked the weather for the week which was surprisingly warm for a week in January! I look forward to working through this journal and comparing each season's weather.

One month in to this journey, I would say that Journaling a Year in Nature is serving as a source of inspiration and fresh ideas for my nature journaling growth, even in one of the most difficult nature study seasons for this area. The laminated front and back covers make this notebook sturdy enough for journaling outdoors and being hauled all over in my book bag. This journal is printed on heavy paper meant for drawing and painting without warping.

Journaling a Year in Nature is an excellent resource for an adult, student or even for the family to share. It is designed with sturdy materials to endure those outdoor adventures and the writing prompts  new areas for exploration in each season. Learn more about this book and/or purchase your own at for $21.95.

*I received Journaling a Year in Nature in exchange for my honest review.*

Saturday, January 5, 2019

I Hurt Everywhere

And it's a good thing. Okay, mainly it's my triceps and upper body in general! I haven't done push ups or dips in ages.

We have had some amazing weather for January in Minnesota, think 30's and 40's with SUN. The kids and I have been taking in the rays and I run outside when logistically possible (which honestly hasn't been much).

It's not the outdoor time or old injury that's made me so stiff. Not even the slip on ice I had a few weeks ago. Ouch, that did hurt too.

It's been the Strength Training for Runners program that I bought from RunnersConnect with my Christmas money. Yeah. Merry Christmas all right, here have some sore muscles ;)

In all seriousness, this strength program has been exactly what I needed to kick off the new year (thanks, mom & dad!) and it's the closest thing to a "running coach" that I'll ever have. That hip flexor strain last August took a whopping 4 months to completely heal. FOUR MONTHS! And I don't want to go back to that. My hip and core strength has been lacking, especially after returning to running after our third baby, and I am going to be dedicated to strength work in 2019.

The Plan: Include 4 Strength sessions per week.

It's doable, not too time consuming, and I can do these routines with the kids crawling all over/hanging on me. This RunnersConnect program contains training prescriptions for every race distance with details on what days to do which workouts. Then the workouts (all with Greek mythology-inspired names) are listed with reps, descriptions and a video covering all of the moves. This reminds me of our strength training program for college tennis - it's detailed, I know exactly what to do, no guess work and that, I like.

Now is the perfect time to get rolling on the "strength train" as I'm rebuilding my running mileage base and working back into marathon training mid-month!

How often do you strength train?

My Weekly Wrap

Easing back into marathon mileage after a hip flexor strain in August 2018. 

SUN: Long-ish Run 6.02 mi, 50:34 @ 8:28/mi in the snow, somewhat windy. Good news is I felt no pain in my hip even in the loose snow and ice. Strength: Hamstring/Glutes.

MON: (Treadmill) Easy 4.09, 36:10 @ 8:50/mi. Strength: Atlas - core.

TUES: Off - Happy New Years!

WED: (Treadmill) Easy 5.0 mi, 41:57 @ 8:23/mi. Strength: Poseidon - full body.

THURS: Off - House sale meeting went later than planned.

FRI: (Treadmill) Easy 4.17 mi, 36:19 @ 8:42/mi. Strength: Bia - hips.

SAT: Long Run 8.01 mi, 1:01:55 @ 7:44/mi. Strength: Achilles and Hams/Glutes.

27.29 total miles

Let's Connect!

Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Conquering the Winter Laundry Mountain | WIN Detergent

Disclaimer: I received WIN Sports Detergent in exchange for my review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

The snow season makes up about six months of the year around these parts and so enters a whole different kind of running. Instead of shorts, tanks and sunscreen, it's all about Yaktrax and layers upon layers of clothing (still wear the sunscreen though).

Though the change of the season is to be expected, especially as a lifetime-Minnesotan, the large increase of dirty laundry in the cold months always catches me by surprise! And it's not just my own - throw in the snow pants and many winter layers for three kids (+ my hubs) and we may just be able to sled down my laundry mountain.

To conquer my laundry mountains and attack the sports-stink in our athletic wear, I received WIN Detergent as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Since the majority of detergents are designed to combat stains and stink in cotton-based items, these detergent prove to be not as effective on the synthetic fabrics used in our sweat-wicking activewear.

Those synthetic fibers are considered "hydrophobic" which allows water (and sweat) to wick away from your body and evaporate quickly. That is perfect for activewear BUT this hydrophobic material can hang on to that sporty stink if only regular detergents are used.

That's where WIN comes in.

The fundamental difference between WIN and other detergents is that WIN contains ingredients that separate oils from the synthetic fibers, thus washing away the oils and bacteria that = stink! Makes sense, right?

I have been testing the WIN High Performance Sports Detergent for a few weeks now and it has indeed cleaned up even my stinkiest running attire. This detergent is available in Fresh Scent and Fragrance + Dye Free.

One 32 oz bottle of WIN Detergent is $10.95 on Amazon, plus free shipping if you have Amazon Prime. That's affordable and certainly worth a try.

Shall we call it a WIN "win"? ;)

Save 20% off your windetergent with code RAVE4WIN on their website. Code is good until 1/15/19 and one offer per household.

Let's Connect!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

My 2018 Top Nine

Dear 2018, It's been fun! Here's a little rundown of my "Top Nine" before this year officially closes:
  1. Grandma's Marathon in June, 3:32:17. Check that one off the race bucket list! 
  2. Completed 25 product reviews, 1 race ran with the BibRave Pro team
  3. Many, many adventures with my three wild, wonderful boys (& the dog)
  4. Year #2 with BibRave is now complete
  5. Grand Forks Half Marathon + coffee with my best friend in September
  6. Injured in August. Hip flexor strain that took 4 months to completely heal. 
  7. Met up with awesome homeschool-boymom-sub-3-marathoner, Danielle
  8. Celebrated 6 years of marriage in May with this handsome man. I thank God for him and pray that we have many more years together <3
  9. Many frozen miles ran for that spring marathon, and then I missed the entire tail-end of summer and all of fall running and racing!
What is a highlight from your 2018?

My Weekly Wrap

Easing back into running after a severe hip flexor strain in mid-August.

SUN: At my parents' farm for Christmas. Strength: Kratos hip strength routine from (more on this later!).

MON: 4.08 mi, 34:02 @ 8:20/mi in the snow. Strength: Atlas core strength.


WED: (Treadmill) 4.08 mi, 36:08 @ 8:56/mi. Strength: Poseidon full body strength.

THURS: (Treadmill) 6.21 mi, 55:25 @ 8:56/mi. Strength: Bia hip strength.

FRI: Off

SAT: (Treadmill) 4.0 mi, 35:06 @ 8:46/mi

18.3 total miles

Let's Connect!

Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

It's quite likely that I'm stuffing my face with Christmas leftovers and possibly overdosing on pie and lefse. May you have a blessed Christmas celebrating our Savior's birth with friends and family!

This is a poem that the older two boys memorized that has become a favorite of mine as well:
My Gift
by Christina Georgina Rossetti

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,--
Yet what I can I give Him,

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Run Virtually Anywhere | GoZwiftRun Review

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift RunPod in exchange for my review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Let's just throw this out there right away: I have been either on the treadmill or not running at all lately. Strep throat threw me for a loop but my motivation to run outside in the dark on icy roads has been dwindling too.

Now is the time to, first, get healthy again and then gradually build my running base before marathon training starts in mid-January. Good news here is all signs of my hip flexor injury are gone! That is a huge answer to prayer and I'm praying that it doesn't pop up again as mileage grows.

About those treadmill runs...

The treadmill (or "dreadmill") may be notoriously smack-talked by runners because it's boring but, when it comes to real life, it can be quite a "run saver". I can turn on my kids' favorite show, currently the PJ Masks, and fit in a few miles while they watch and the baby eats Cheerios. A few miles on the 'mill is certainly better than no miles at all!

As a BibRave Pro, I received a Zwift RunPod to take my treadmill runs to exciting virtual training locations. Through the Zwift RunPod, you run in the "real world" to power your avatar across various courses all over the world.

Currently you can get free access to Zwift on their site for a limited time, all you need is a RunPod! {hint: discount code in this post}

To get set up, I first needed to create a Zwift account (for free) and download the Zwift app on their website. The download did take a while, so plan ahead and start the download before it's time to run. I used my Mac laptop to do this and other BibRave Pros have used their phones and iPads as well. Zwift is compatible with many but not every device. I was hoping to run the program on my Amazon Fire tablet but it wasn't compatible.

After I downloaded the app and logged in to Zwift Run, I was able to customize my avatar's outfit, skin color, hair and accessories. As you accomplish more goals in the game, you "earn" access to more avatar items - much like in a video game.

Oh, the places you'll go! - Dr. Seuss

When you're ready to run, choose a custom workout or just a casual run, join up with other runners who are logged in to Zwift or run solo, and then choose your route. I've been craving pizza so I headed over to this Italian Villa:

All that was left to do is RUN. From my treadmill, I ran all kinds of crazy places, which my kids thought was awesome. They even saw Santa! To see a video from my run, check out my Instagram post and arrow right.

Though I don't see myself using Zwift regularly, I am glad I was able to experience this virtual run technology. Call me old school, my little iPod shuffle is all I need for an indoor run.

That being said, with the huge popularity of virtual games these days, virtual experiences like this that actually require the user to move their real world bodies would make for some major health gains. For 15% off a Zwift RunPod use "BibRave15" at Offer is good for the first 1000 Pods only!

If you could run ANYWHERE on earth, where would you run?

My Weekly Wrap

Easing back into running after a second degree groin pull/hip flexor strain in mid-August.

SUN: Sick

MON: Feeling much better on Day 3 of the antibiotics. Went for an easy 2-mile treadmill run with the Zwift app. 2.01 mi, 17:33 @ 8:45/mi.


WED: (Treadmill) 4.01 mi, 34:41 @ 8:39/mi. 1:00 plank variations x 6.

THURS: (Treadmill) Easy-Effort 3.41 mi, 30:02 @ 8:48/mi followed by 3 x 15 front squat reps with 20#. Getting back into regular running, I'm noticing I need to be more disciplined with my paces. Like this "easy run" should have been at an even slower pace! And the workouts need to speed up. Getting back at it!

FRI: Traveling to Grandma and Grandpa's for Christmas

SAT: 6.35 mi, 55:05 @ 8:41/mi OUTSIDE in the fresh snow!!! A little hard to run in with ice underneath but I was sure glad to finally run outside again.

Let's Connect!

Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.