{Apostle Island Ice Caves}

Our cave adventure began after a half day at work on Friday. First order of business once on the road-caffeine!  Caribou Coffee is one of my favorite’s after Starbucks.

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After checking into our hotel, it was time for dinner at the Pier Plaza Restaurant, which was recommended to us from some locals.
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The apple vinaigrette was amazing, and keeping in faith with my list of 30 things to do leading up to and during my 30th year, I had to sample some local beer. The South Shore Nut Brown Ale hit the spot with the fresh Lake Superior Trout and Whitefish fish fry. Yum!

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The next morning we were up by 6:00 a.m. as friends of ours had told us to get to Meyer’s Beach early (where the hike to the cave begins.)  With the ice caves being completely frozen for only the second time in over a decade and the polar vortex weather adding to the awe-inspiring frozen beauty, the ice caves are attracting people by the thousands.  I hate crowds when enjoying nature, so it was time to haul butt to the lake.

Three dollars pays for your parking at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  The rest of nature’s display is free!  The distance to the first cave is just over a mile.  From there you can trek across frozen Lake Superior another .6 miles and see cave after cave. The total out distance you can travel is three miles, which is what we did.  We of course stopped along the way to take photos, play in the caves, and enjoy the best beauty you can find-nature’s!

If you live in the area and are thinking about visiting the Apostle Island Ice Caves, then be sure to call their ice line found on the link for current conditions.  The ice was between 16-18 inches thick when we visited making it likely they will remain open through March 17 (according to their website as of today).  This is obviously highly dependent on Mother Nature herself, so check in advance.

Apostle Island Ice Cave Tips:

1) Arrive early in the morning; no later than 7:00 a.m. to beat the crowds.

2) Where Yak Traks or something of the like.  Boots are not enough if you really want to get out on the ice and climb, crawl, and explore.

3) Pack a snack and some water if you plan to spend hours enjoying the sights like we did. Bring your own breakfast, too.

4) Bring something to put your wrappers in.  I saw people leaving their dog’s business behind and tossing their cigarette butts on the “ground”, which means this will all be in Lake Superior when it melts.  Stupid people!

5) Dress warm!  Nothing ruins winter fun like not dressing for the weather.

6) Bring ski poles if you want extra support or might have difficulties walking in snow and ice.

7) Bring a camera!  I keep looking at my photos over and over reliving the morning.

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After enjoying the ice caves we were starving so we headed to The Pickled Herring for some lunch, also inside the Pier Plaza Restaurant. After lunch we enjoyed a bit of sunshine in Bayfield before heading home on the 4.5 hour drive. The drive was so worth the beauty, and I am so glad we made these last-minute late winter plans. To not see the ice caves as they are this winter would be a shameful thing to pass up.
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Nature always leaves me feeling rejuvenated, humbled, and grateful for the things I have.

Thank you nature!

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 10}

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This week presented several opportunities for cross training and enjoying winter outside. Overall mileage was disappointing, but we moved our long run to tomorrow so we both felt more like running. Ryan has a cold and we both stayed up WAY too late on Saturday night. Staying up until 3:30 in the morning does not make you want to run your long run. Oops!

Monday-5 miles (Sarah)

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Easy miles outside

Tuesday-8 miles (both I us)

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Wednesday-Ice Skating for 1 hour

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Thursday-4 miles

Friday-New Sneaks for both of us

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Ryan needed new shoes and I forgot mine, so we stopped at a sporting goods store. Ryan tried on three pairs of shoes-Asics Gel Nimbus (too cushioned), Mizuno Wave Riders (not enough cushion/support), and the Brooks Glycerine (a perfect balance of cushion and support). I bought the latest version of the same shoe I have earlier versions of and love-Mizuno Wave Rider 17’s.

Saturday-6 mile snow trek to Apostle Island Sea Caves

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After over four hours hiking through the snow and ice we were wiped. We decided to count those miles as our run.
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A full post with lots of pictures coming later this week!

Sunday-Hour long yoga class
Moved our long run to Monday.

Ryan’s Tip of the Week-See Sarah’s tip

Sarah’s Tip of the Week-When training for your first marathon one of the most important purchases you will make is your running shoes. It is extremely important that you purchase shoes that fit your feet and your body. Initially I purchased shoes based on trial and error. Most shoes I’ve purchased, I’ve been very happy with minus a few exceptions. Over the years my shoe styles have changed slightly.

Training for my first few marathons I felt I needed the extra cushioning of the Asics Gel Nimbus for my joints. I also got lots of miles out of this style of shoe, usually around 450-500 miles, which did wonders for my wallet. I stuck with this style of for a long time. Once you find a shoe you love, buy multiple pairs. I often buy the same older style of shoe in multiple colors when the newer model comes out to save money.
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It usually only takes buying the wrong shoe one time to make you realize how significant the right shoe is. Training for my second marathon I thought I needed a more expensive shoe since I was a more serious runner. I bought a “better” pair of shoes, or so I thought. Eight miles out on a sixteen mile out and back run and I was in significant pain. When I got home I had a blister on each arch, both two and a half inches in diameter. I had to drain the blisters multiple times a day, and the foolish act on my part left me sidelined from running for more than a week. Once you find a shoe you love, don’t think buying a more expensive pair is better. The best shoe it the one that fits you well.
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As my training has progressed over the past years I wanted a less bulky and lighter shoe, but that would still provide comfort for long training runs. I found that perfect combination in the Mizuno Wave Rider’s. Every year they’ve updated the shoe I find they only get better.
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When deciding on what shoes are right for you I’d recommend going to your local running store and having them perform a gait analysis while watching you run on a treadmill. With the right fitting shoe you can enjoy more pain-free miles, decrease your chance of injury, and perform even better on your runs. I also like to keep two pairs of running shoes in the rotation so the first pair can bounce back after a long run. This is also a benefit when the roads are wet and sloppy. Dry shoes make happy feet!

Total Weekly Miles-23 miles + ice skating + yoga class

Happy Training!