Friday, April 19, 2019

Making Strides with Strava | Strava Review

Disclaimer: I received a Strava Summit Subscription and additional Strava swag as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Hey all! Hope spring training is treating you well! The peak of Fargo Marathon training is near and, praise the Lord, I am running healthy and un-injured. I am thrilled to make it this far in the Hansons Marathon Method program without a replay of last Fall.

Let's talk training. 


I have tracked my training over the past ten marathons in various ways, from daily journal entries to blog posts to physical training logs to online logs. I had used DailyMile in the past but they recently shutdown. That was a bummer but, as a BibRave Pro, I was presented with an opportunity to work with Strava just in the knick of time!

Strava is a program that offers tracking for running and cyclists with a "social networking for athletes" appeal. Users are able to track their mileage on Strava.com OR on their Strava app, which is the #1 app for runners and cyclists.


As a brand new Strava user, I signed up for a free account on their website and later downloaded the app to my iPhone.



With my free account, I am able to link-up my Garmin Forerunner which automatically syncs my workouts from Garmin Connect to Strava. That is SO handy because I don't need to physically enter any of my workout data! Though I can log in to add description/workout details and photos if desired.

My Strava account tracks my mileage, saves a map of each workout and includes basic analytics (pace, elevation, etc) all saved on my profile. I am able to connect with other runners and of course my BibRave Pro team, too. We have a Run Club and keep each other on track through that!


I appreciate the ease of set up and syncing workouts. As I continue to make strides and gain experience with this platform, I will share an update with you here on the blog!

Sign up for a free Strava account at Strava.com or download the app in the App Store.

Let's Connect!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Sun's Out! | Knockaround Fast Lanes Review

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

The sun! It has returned and brought some bright Spring days along with it. Marathon training mileage has been ramping up and feeling the sun beat down on my weekend long run has been so wonderful. Oh how I've missed that feeling over the past long, looonnggg winter months.

In timely fashion, as a BibRave Pro, I received a pair of Knockaround Fast Lane shades to review. I have worn Knockaround Premium shades in the past but this is my first pair of Fast Lanes. The Fast Lane style features a clean-cut, rectangular silhouette that is very flattering.


The general rule is to not try anything new for, say, your first 16-mile run in a year. Well, I broke that rule when the Fast Lanes showed up on my doorstep. I am very picky about the sunglasses I wear running, as glasses that slip down my sweaty nose are just plain annoying.

That wasn't the case with the Fast Lanes! They are a perfect fit for my face type and I was shocked to find that they are only $25 for polarized glasses. They feel like high-quality glasses but are affordably priced. LOVE that about Knockaround!


I chose the Glossy Black and Amber Ice/Gold color and of course they come in a whole variety of other colors that Knockaround is known for. My shades are holding up well and I wear them everywhere; on the run, out on errands with the kids, spending time outdoors.

My overall thoughts are: AWESOME shades and great, affordable price. Throw the below discount on that and it's a deal you can't beat!

Use the discount code "BIBRAVEKNOCKS1" for 20% off your entire Knockaround order. This offer is available from 3/25 to 4/18 and is limited to one use per person.


- Knockaround Fast Lane Specs -

  • Clean-cut, rectangular silhouette, ideal for medium to larger face shapes
  • 16 color options listed on Knockaround.com
  • $25.00 for polarized, $20 for non-polarized
    Specs from Knockaround.com
Let's Connect!


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

My First Run Happy Experience | Brooks Glycerin 17 Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Brooks Glycerin 17 running shoes in exchange for my review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

The snow is gradually melting around these parts, marathon training is speeding by and my shoes are finally able to feel that glorious pavement underfoot. YES, I can finally pack away my traction aids for a few months!

This month I have hit the road and occasional treadmill in a fancy new shoe style, also worn by the 2018 Boston Marathon Ladies' Champion, Des Linden. I wanna be like Des — that's right! As a BibRave Pro, I received the newly released Brooks Glycerin 17, my very first pair of Brooks shoes, to review:


Right out of the box, I will say these shoes are sharp! The purple/black shoe looks great on the run and nice for casual everyday wear as well. They're stylin' ;)  The Glycerin 17 does have five color options, so everyone's personal taste should be covered.

Let's Get to the Run

I started with a few low mileage easy runs and then worked up to the long run with the Glycerin 17's. The DNA LOFT technology made each stride feel smooth and the landing soft, even while running on the road.

The Glycerin 17 shoe is on the heavier side compared to my usual shoe style but the cushion benefit is worth a little extra weight. Brooks' motto is "Run Happy" and that cushioned feel definitely keeps my joints happy!


As you cover the long miles on hard surfaces, the Glycerin 17 feels like a gentle way to break some of that road-pounding impact. I thought these shoes felt too heavy for interval/speed efforts but they shine on long, steady workouts and even my strength training workouts.


My Final Thoughts

The Glycerin 17's are everything I hoped my first Brooks Run Happy experience would be! Though they are heavier and more cushioned than my usual running shoes, the neutral fit was perfect for me and that DNA LOFT cushion makes for a soft, smooth feel. That makes my legs happy.

I'm considering wearing these for my upcoming road marathon because these shoes really do shine on the road and my body will thank me for the extra cushioning at mile 26! (Isn't that last .2 mile always the hardest?!)

Do you have a favorite Brooks shoe? 


- Brooks Women's Glycerin 17 Specs -

  • Support: Neutral
  • Weight: 9.2 oz
  • Midsole Drop: 10mm
  • Arch: Medium, High
  • Technology: DNA LOFT
  • NEW OrthoLite sock liner offers a plush feel
  • $150.00 on BrooksRunning.com
    Specs from BrooksRunning.com
Let's Connect!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Calling All Super Heroes!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the DC Wonder Woman Half Marathon - Fargo as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Life has been very exciting lately, to say the least, as we moved to a new town on March 2nd. As I write this now, we're in the middle of a blizzard in our new-to-us house. Surprise, surprise, more snow and wind (and rain) to finish off the cold weather season.

Along with all of the excitement lately, I was able to add a new race opportunity to my calendar - the DC Wonder Woman Half Marathon in Fargo, ND. Fitting in time to train for the Fargo Marathon in May and then the Wonder Woman Half following in June has been tricky, but that comes with the territory and crazy business of uprooting one's life and moving. Things will mellow out, I tell myself. Some day I will even be able to run outside again. Yeahhhh!!!

Looking for another race to pencil in on your calendar?

First Thing: Save the date for the DC Wonder Woman Run in Fargo on Friday, June 28th & Saturday, June 29th.


Second Thing: Register with discount code "WWBIBRAVE" for 10% off across all DC Wonder Woman Run events. The Half Marathon is currently priced at $94 so catch it now before a price jump and be sure to apply the above discount code.

The race swag is epic (see pics below!), this running community looks so full of energy and they are coming to Fargo, North Dakota for the first time in 2019! I'm looking forward to it and hope to see you there.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

For The Dogs & Their Running Humans | Stunt Puppy Review

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

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a little something arrived in the mail for our special four-legged family member:


Our border collie, Saul, has been my running partner since he joined our family in 2014. Granted, he was running a lot faster four years ago. Now at 12 years old, running slowly around the block or a nice long walk is his exercise of choice.

The old retractable leash we used was guaranteed to wrap around either his legs, the stroller or one of the kids on our family walks or runs around the neighborhood. As a BibRave Pro, I was then introduced to the Stunt Runner hands-free leash from Stunt Puppy and it has been a game-changer!


Hands-free? Really? YES!

The Stunt Runner connects human to dog with a strong yet stretchable bungee connector  (strength from 42" to 66") allows for differing strides, speed or direction. Saul, a border collie, is a medium-sized dog and this leash would easily work for dogs smaller or larger than him as well.

First things first, I clip on the waist belt which that easily adjusts from 28" to 49". After adjusting the waste belt, I clip the hook onto Saul's leash and we're off.


Saul and I both hardly notice the leash is there on our walks or runs! The Stunt Puppy Alpha™ hardware is very lightweight without sacrificing strength. The floating D-ring on the waist belt allow your dog to move at their own speed without tugging on the waist belt.


The leash material is a soft to the touch, strong and durable tubular webbing that is fit for a king (or queen) pup. Saul is a pretty modest guy but he knows he looks handsome in his red Stunt Runner! We are able to cover the miles together while keeping my hands free to grab the mail, push the stroller or just enjoy a relaxing quiet stroll.

Stunt Puppy is a Minnesota-based business that understands dogs and their running humans. I have been so impressed with all of their products and highly recommend them!

- Stunt Runner Hands-Free Leash Specs -

  • Duraflex® Buckles
  • Biothane® Waterproof Material
  • One-Hand Swivel Snap Hooks
  • Available Colors: Silver, Orange, Black, Blue, Red
  • Made in Minnesota!
  • Price: $44 on Stunt Puppy's website


Let's Connect!




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

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Super On-The-Go Snacks | Food Groove Mission Review

Disclaimer: I received a variety box of Food Groove Mission's Super Food Bites in exchange for my review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Life seems to be always on the run doesn't it? The kids and I are often grabbing a snack to take with in the car here or there. Sometimes it's crackers and peanut butter, other times it's granola bars or dry cereal. Planning ahead with a snack for the road is smart though these snacks seem to lack much "substance".

As a BibRave Pro, I received a variety box of Super Food Bites from Food Groove Mission and they happened to arrive just as we were off to Urgent Care when our middle son was sick (he's 100% recovered now, no worries!).


After reading the nice little note from the FGM Team, I grabbed a bag of the "Nutty Adventurer" flavor and ran out the door, Kleenexes and all. This combo of dates, peanut butter, and variety of other nuts and seeds held me over through the afternoon, as we ended up sitting in the waiting room and pharmacy for quite a while. Turns out the 3-year-old likes super food bites, too!


The variety box came with a few samples of each flavor: four Mother Earth, three The Nutty Adventurer, and three Holy Truffle Punch. The super food bites are full of ingredients that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while still being "free" of gluten, dairy, soy, grain and added sugars.

Dates are the main flavor that I notice in the super food bites which I like in moderation. The Mother Earth flavor with a blend of berries, seeds and nuts tasted the best in my opinion and I could see myself enjoying super food bites as an occasional snack.
The quality of ingredients is super, that's for sure: *Dates, *Pumpkin Seeds, *Goji Berries, *Golden Berries, *Cacao Nibs, Almond Protein (Non-GMO), *Unsweetened Coconut Chips (Coconut), *Almonds, *Almond Flour (Almonds), *Açaí Powder, *Chia Seeds, *Rooibos Powder, New Zealand Manuka Honey UMF 16+ (*denotes organic ingredient) (Ingredients listed for the Mother Earth bites on Food Groove Mission website)

The Super Bites Variety Box is $39.90 and shipping is free on orders over $39. Use discount code "BIBRAVE15" for 15% off an entire order (one use per customer).

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Race Report: Frozen Feat 10k 2019

When I find a race I like, I keep coming back year after year. The Frozen Feat 5k/10k in Grand Forks, ND is one of those races!


I returned to run this race for my third consecutive year because it's close to home (only 45 minute drive), parking is easy, the race is well-organized and the weather in February is about as close to gambling as I ever get.

The 2017 race was around 40°F, making an icy, slushy mess. The 2018 race was about 18°F above zero; just right if you ask me. And this year... the 2019 race ended up being -16°F actual temp with a windchill I'm not sure of. Though that didn't set any race day temp records. It has been colder!

On race morning, I took off at 7:45 am and drove to Grand Forks by myself. Whoa. My husband and the three boys had some "man time" at home while I was off for a "relaxing" mom's day out. Relaxing ;)

I cranked the tunes on the way to the race while sipping coffee and enjoying the absolutely perfect driving conditions. While it was very cold, there wasn't a blizzard in sight for the first time in a long time. This race has a public parking ramp nearby for participants and when I pulled in, the temp in my van said -12F... even sheltered in the parking ramp. Oh boy, here we go!

My running attire for the day included layers and lots of 'em. About three pairs of tights topped with sweat pants, a few shirts of different sleeve lengths, my running jacket, a vest, two pairs of gloves, two neck gaiters, one pair of normal socks, one pair of compression/taller socks, a hat and the trendiest ski goggles I could pawn off my husband.

Warm enough? For sure! Overdressed? Likely.

After an indoor National Anthem, the 10k-er's proceeded outside to dance around at the starting line before taking off. We took off in a herd that thinned out very quickly. The course was icy but well-cleared of loose snow; runners were all warned to wear appropriate footing for traction. I used my trusty YakTrax that haven't let me land on my butt yet.

My goal for this race: Beat last year. Considering I was 3-months postpartum after our 3rd son in 2018, this goal wasn't overly ambitious.


I always take off too fast but gradually fall into a more realistic pace after a mile or so. Running in all of these layers made me feel so slow and sluggish!

As I glanced at my watch 1-mile in, I thought I saw "8:19/mile" for the pace and thought to myself, this is going to be a rough one. Not that 8:19 is a bad pace to run, but because 8:19 shouldn't feel as hard as it did. Turns out that was a 7:07-mile... that's why I was tired. Were the fogging goggles messing with my vision already?!

Mile 1 - 7:07
Mile 2 - 7:20
Mile 3 - 7:46

Finally half way. Good. Because I can't see through these fogging goggles and the ice on my gaiter is blocking my breathing! Thankfully the man in front of me had a red jacket on, so I followed him as the foggy goggles continued to narrow my vision.

Mile 4 - 7:51
Mile 5 - 7:45
Mile 6 - 7:50
Mile .19 - 7:09

My pace was anything but consistent in this race but I was surprised to finish in 46:56 (7:36/mile avg). This ended up being my personal fastest Frozen Feat 10k time thus far, though I felt like a (blind) polar bear barreling down the path! This course was an out-and-back and WOW did I see some frosted, frozen faces on the home stretch.

In hind sight, I would have ditched a top layer and bottom layer. And the goggles? Well, my face and eyes stayed quite toasty, so maybe I would keep those. The style points for being one of the few goggled-nerds on the course were just through the roof!

I ran straight from the finish line directly to my van to grab dry clothes. Changing into them before sitting down was awesome - because, seriously I was drenched. In sweat or condensation or who knows what? (probably sweat)

Yes, there is a person under all those layers.

The post-race food included a couple warm soup/chili choices along with the holy grail of carbohydrates: the Texas Roadhouse BUNS and large amounts of that special cinnamon butter. Amazing. Delicious. Awesome.

The soup warmed me up and then I ate three buns. I probably could have eaten a half dozen!


Race swag this year included a pair of Frozen Feat Fitsoks (my favorite!), gloves, and a neck gaiter along with the finisher's medal. A Finisher's Shirt was optional this year for an additional cost. They also present mugs with gift cards to the Top 3 male/female finisher and the age group winners for for each distance along with flowers for the "Love Birds" couples winners at the end of the race festivities.


I ended up finishing 4th female overall, missing that top-3 spot, though I did manage to snag a mug for winning my age group this year. I was happy to grow my mug collection as they have such cool designs each year! And I love coffee.

The Frozen Feat 5k/10k is the perfect pick-me-up after a loooong, stinkin' cold Midwest winter and a great one to kick off spring marathon training! Speaking of marathon training, I should probably get on that...

----------- Welcome to the Weekly Wrap -----------

I have the pleasure of guest co-hosting again this week at the Weekly Wrap, a weekly fitness-related blogging community headed up by Holly and Wendy!


Link-up your fitness-related post and stop by to support your fellow bloggers:



Let's Connect!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Finally Forced Outside

This week went by in a blur. A blur that included more crazy cold temps, another blizzard and the sinus cold that just won't quit. The Frozen Feat 10k was this Saturday and I felt very tempted to DNS due to being sick lately and to the crazy cold weather...

Against my better judgment, I put on my big "Midwest runner" pants and showed up anyways and I'm SO glad I did! The actual temp at race time was -14°F with a 4 mph breeze, so I bundled up and ran the distance.

In the right running attire, these temps weren't so bad minus my face mask continually freezing up over my nose and mouth and my husband's ski goggles fogging up.


My full race report is coming up next week!


Weekly Wrap: Fargo 26.2, W4

SUN: Off - Recovering from being sick; sinuses stuffed up and my husband has the flu. The kids came with me to teach Sunday School and we went home after that, called it a day.

MON: (Treadmill) Easy 4.33 mi, 36:58 @ 8:34/mi feeling better but still weak as the sinus cold lingers. Strength: Atlas core x 1 circuit.

TUES: (Treadmill) Easy 5.08 mi, 42:36 @ 8:23/mi avg with 1 mile at 7:30. This is usually a speed work day but I cut the run intensity down as I'm still not feeling 100%.

WED: No running. Strength: Poseidon full body x 2 circuits.

THURS: (Treadmill) Tempo 5.01 mi, 41:46; 1 mi WU, 1 @ 7:30, 1 mi easy, 1 @ 7:30, 1 mi easy. I needed a little speed pickup before Saturday's 10k but seriously contemplating not running due to being sick and the weather looking really cold. Strength: Bia hips x 1 circuit.

FRI: Off. With the blizzard finally being over, the kids and I went to get my haircut, run some errands and then I ended up going to the clinic to get checked for strep throat again. I had strep throat in December and this felt much the same; thankfully I checked out negative. Hopefully whatever this is clears up quickly...

SAT: RACE DAY. Frozen Feat 10k, 6.2 mi, 46:56 @ 7:36/mi. Race deets to come next week :)

Total Mileage => 20.62 miles


Let's Connect!




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

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Chillin' in the Polar Vortex

Hey all! If you're reading this post, that means we have survived a water outage, sick kids, the Polar Vortex 2019 and more sick in our house.

Whew. It's been a long two weeks and I'm breathing a sigh of relief as it's time for the Weekly Wrap link-up! I am excited to have the opportunity to guest co-host this week :) Check out the link-up at the bottom of my post and here's my wrap up for (technically the past two) week(s).
.....................

As you have likely heard (and felt) week, the good ole' Polar Vortex put the Midwest in a deep freeze on Tuesday and Wednesday. Brrr. Seriously. BRRR!


In our part of northern MN, the worst we saw was a windchill of around -57°F; a low that hasn't been touched in at least a decade they say. Honestly I don't remember the last time it's been this cold!


While the water was out for 24 hours in our neighborhood during this past two-week stint, thankfully our electricity stayed put and our houses were warm and cozy. Just so happens our middle boy threw up the night of the water outage. Isn't that the way it works!

I nominated the Polar Vortex week to also be called "Treadmill Appreciation Week". As there is no other way I would have gotten any miles in, with sick kids nor the cold, without our faithful Proform! Up until I got the stomach flu myself (Thursday), I kept up with regular marathon training runs via the 'mill.


Currently we're staying cozy here and the temps are warming slightly, to a glorious +15°F, so the older kids went outside. The public school cancelled two days this week but we managed to finish a full week of homeschool, even with mom being sick! I'm still recovering from the flu and my husband is now sick.

Oh, and we're closing on our house and likely moving this month, too. I should be packing right now.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment, can you tell?!

Baking our way through the Polar Vortex :)

Let the winter crazies continue and by God's grace our family is making a slow return to full health. Look on the bright side: We made it to February, there's hope in March and maybe even t-shirt weather in April.

Just get me out of this winter sickness funk!

Boy #3 and Boy #2 sledding in the slow-cooker during the Polar Vortex

Weekly Wrap: Fargo 26.2 Training Week 3

SUN: (Treadmill) Easy 6.2 mi, 54:29 @ 8:47/mi. Strength: Hams/Glutes.

MON: (Treadmill) Speedwork 5.00 mi, 41:33 @ 8:16. 1 mi WU, 4x400m @ 7:30/mi, 4x400m @ 7:00/mi with 400m easy pace recovery. Strength: Lunges and squats.

TUES: No running; finished the Poseidon full-body strength workout from yesterday. I can see slight improvements in my upper body strength; like actually being able to do "real" pushups now!

WED: (Treadmill) Tempo 5.01 mi, 42:02 @ 8:23 avg. 1 mi WU, 1 mi @ 7:30, 1 mi easy, 1 mi @ 7:30, 1 mi easy. Feeling exhausted, like I'm coming down with something. Strength: Bia hip strength circuit.

THURS: Woke up at 5 am with the stomach flu. Gah! Basically laid around all day, watching kids while trying to "rest" and not pass out.

FRI: I felt much better though very weak this morning and dedicated all energy that had returned to sanitizing our house. Hope to resume running tomorrow.

SAT: Flu "Recovery" Run 3.12 mi, 25:31 @ 8:11/mi, feeling okay but still weak and stuffed up in my sinuses. Strength: Hams & glutes.

Total Miles: 19.33 miles

----------- Welcome to the Weekly Wrap -----------

I'm the guest co-hosting this week at the Weekly Wrap, a weekly fitness-related blogging community headed up by Holly and Wendy! My first time linking up with the Weekly Wrap was back in April 2016, almost 3 years ago (whoa!), and I keep coming back because this community of women is so encouraging and supportive. These Weekly Wrappers are a wonderful crew :)

Link-up your fitness-related post and stop by to visit the other bloggers:




Let's Connect!

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 SimplyCharlotteMason.com 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.