{Friday Fab 5-Punch Fear in the Face, Bear Trax 20k, Oiselle, Lululemon,…}

{#1-Oiselle Distance Short}
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Now that the weather is getting nicer outside my legs are loving the freeing feeling on runs. I’m also loving the Distance Shorts from Oiselle. The fit is comfortable, loose, but flattering and they come with three (3!!) pockets which are handy for storing needed items on the run. The back pocket is great for a phone, GU’s or identification/credit card. The side pocket is great for GU’s or keys as is the inside pocket. These shorts come in several colors and sizes and are only 39 bucks. I bought the pink color a few months ago and added the red to the rotation in the last week. I’m sure more will be in my future. If you don’t love the fit of Nike Tempo shorts like me, then definitely consider these shorts instead. I feel less restricted in these and I wear a small. Right now you can purchase the pink for $29 on clearance (only size small is left-sorry!).

{#2-Lululemon Scuba Hoodie ii}
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While I’m talking gear I’m loving these days, I have to tell you how much I love the Scuba Hoodie I recently purchased. I’ve eyed this baby up for over a year watching different colors and prints come and go. The cost seemed too steep for a hoodie, but I kept coming back to its cute, flattering look and wanted another sweatshirt/jacket to take on our vacation this summer for cool mornings/nights. I finally decided to go for it AND I love this thing. Seriously! I’ve worn it after work EVERY night this week and I’m not a change-into-comfy-clothes person. It is fleecy soft on the inside, comfortable fit, flattering, and more stylish than most hoodies. If you want a wear anywhere hoodie and can part with the dollars, this is really worth the investment.

{#3-Sierra Nevada Summerfest}
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Remember that list of 30 things to do/complete before and during my 30th year? Well I haven’t forgotten about it at all. I’m consistently working on drinking my 30 new to me beers (rough job 🙂 Sierra Nevada Summerfest was the new choice for this week. Summer beers are one of my favorites and this one will now be added to the rotation.

{#4-Bear Trax 20k}
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My first race of 2014 is this Sunday. I can’t believe the year is nearly 1/3 of the way over and I haven’t run a race…time to take care of that! It is a trail race on some hilly and single track trail so I am not going to lie-I’m nervous. After spraining my ankle during the Dances with Dirt Half Marathon nine months ago, I’m a bit freaked. My ankle is not 100% and I’m not sure if it ever will be. It has improved immensely, but this weekend I face my fears and hope it will end in a better way.

{#5-Punch Fear In the Face}
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And so this weekend, I will punch fear in the face! I will go after the goals and hopes I have. Lately, I just can’t get the lyrics from Ben Howard’s song The Fear out of my head “I’ve been worryin’ that we all, live our lives, in the confines of fear.” I tend to agree that we all live in fear of this or that or whatever. So this weekend I won’t. I’m going to not be afraid! Let’s not live our lives in the confines of fear. Set that goal. Run that race. Go after that bucket list item. This might also mostly have to do with the fact I’m scheduled (and already paid for) to jump out of an airplane tomorrow provided the weather cooperates.

Happy Weekend! Punch fear in the face!

{Friday Fab 5-Snicker Chex Mix, Map Art, Chester Woods 50k, Slow Cooker Lasagna,…}

{#1-Snickers Chex Mix}

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Last weekend for the Super Bowl we had a few friends over. I love any opportunity to make new recipes and the husband loves Snickers, so I knew this would be a good one. It ended up completely exceeding my expectations. Amazing! Seriously-go to the grocery store and get the ingredients to make this NOW! Definitely a treat not to keep in the house all the time as it’s addicting. I took the rest of ours to share with other teachers at school. The husband got home on Monday night, saw the empty container, and demanded to know where the Snickers Chex Mix was. He was mad that I took it to school. It is that good. Another favorite of the night was the Feta-Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatballs I made. They were yummy!

{#2-Lululemon Keep It Up Jacket}

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In a Wisconsin Marathon Training post a few weeks ago, I mentioned my new favorite running jacket. When I bought the jacket I wasn’t completely sure it was worth the money (I put my x-mas gift cards towards the purchase of the jacket). The jacket seemed so simple, almost a bit boring.

Shockingly, I don’t own another black running jacket for cold weather so I decided to keep it. Taking it out for its first run, it was love at first mile. The jacket stays put, the soft shell blocks wind and repels wet snow without trapping heat, and keeps me warm. The hood isn’t annoying, you can button the hood without wearing the hood providing neck warmth, and remove it completely if you want. As you run and warm up a mile or two in, you can hold the jacket open in place with magnetic fasteners on either side of the zipper. It is easy to layer under and does look stylish, too. If you’re looking for a new jacket to wear in the winter weather that has been colder than most for many, this is a great choice.

{#3-Slow Cooker Lasagna}
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Hate making lasagna because of its time consuming layers? Then try this super easy to make, fast cooking time, and delicious to eat version. Plus, there are so many ways to personalize this dish to your liking; you can choose your favorite sauce, cheese(s), veggies, and even pasta type if lasagna isn’t your thing.

{#4-Map Wall Art Project}

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I have an obsession with daydreaming about travel. Wanderlust gets the best of me at least once a day. I’m grateful of the places I’ve gotten to visit despite my not-so-full Passport. I love reminiscing about the places I’ve (we’ve) visited, the food and beers I tried, and the sights of each place.

To remember and revisit these memories, spend more time cherishing the travels I’ve made, and to remain inspired to enjoy the journey-I created this map art project. Each pin represents a place the husband and I have been either together or on our own. The purple pins represent my travels and the teal pins represent the husband’s travels. Most of the pins represent OUR travels.

One of my favorite things to do with the husband is travel as he is my favorite travel companion. We simply have so much fun exploring together, talking, and life dreaming. It’s our philosophy that {Home Is Wherever I’m With You}. The song Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetics Zeros is basically our theme song! 🙂

To make the larger map I purchased a map that was appealing to my eye and matched the colors in our family room. I then glued the map to foam board that the husband cut to size with an utility knife.

Then came the fun part-putting in our pins. Reminiscing over our travels before we were a twosome and after was a great way to spend an evening. We then put the map in a frame leaving out the glass. Each time I look at our project on the wall I’m reminded of travels past and coming in the future, and my heart skips a beat.

The last step of the project is putting the black and white photos taken from our different travels on the wall surrounding the map. I’ll be sure to share a photo when this is complete. All we have to do is hang the photos.

{#5-Chester Woods 50k}
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I officially registered for my first ultra marathon (50k) as of a few weeks ago. I had a race schedule change to the Chester Woods 50k rather than the Kettle 50k. The Chester Woods was closer, half the cost, and in the morning-all logical reasons to switch. Plus I’ll need the husband’s support, so it worked better for him, too. So scary, but so excited for this next adventure!

Anyone have a new distance on their race calendar this year? Don’t forget…get Snickers ingredients NOW. It is worth the break in clean eating.

Happy Weekend and eating of Snicker Chex Mix!

{Friday Fab 5-Winter Rambles, Athleta, Campfire Treat…}

This whole working five days in a row thing…wow! I don’t even think I had a chance to breathe this week. As I write this post I’m very behind on my miles, so weekend warrior it is this weekend.

{#1-Weekend Warrior Runner in the Midwest Right Now}
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This made me laugh out loud. One-it sometimes feels true. Two-I love A Christmas Story.  You’ll shoot your eye out!

{#2-Winter Weather}

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It has finally warmed up some, but that usually means lots of snow or sleet, or both! At least the trees looked pretty afterwards.  Think about the positive!

{#3-Athleta}

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Their newest catalog arrived in the mail this week. Paging through it had me smiling and excited page after page. Way to go, Athleta! Much improved on the style front.  If you’ve never checked out Athleta before, definitely head over to their website to see what it is all about.  I consider their workout gear a bit pricey, however after falling victim to Lululemonitis I’ll admit my price sense has been distorted.  I’ve also learned, with the exception of Target C9 gear, you pay for what you get.  Please steer me in the right direction if some of you have found other brands of running clothes that are cute, stylish, comfortable, and affordable.  I’ve yet to do this with the exception of C9.

{#4-Made it to Thursday celebration}

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Like I said…five full days of work with obligations after work each day-tough stuff! I do love it though!

{#5-Campfire Treat Candle}

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Yumazing! There is something so comforting and make-you-smile-feel-good about this scent. Makes me think summer!

Hope you’ve all had a great week. Stay warm and stay tuned for Sunday’s Wisconsin Marathon Training Post-Week 3.

Happy Weekend!

{Motivation Monday-Winter Running/What to Wear}

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With the weather officially cool in the midwest it is important to dress the part else you may not actually get out the door or last very long once you are out there. Getting out the door is the hardest part. I always tell myself-Go at least a mile. If you want to come back after that, then do so. I’ve never came back yet.

I know from numerous outdoor runs throughout the winter that dressing appropriately helps ensure you have a successful and comfortable run. I love running outside throughout the winter although I was not always big on this. Years ago I didn’t dress appropriately and therefore never went more than a few miles outdoors in the winter. Miles on the treadmill and around an indoor 2OO meter track only hold a person’s interest for so long. After training for my first marathon mostly on a treadmill for the first two months I knew I couldn’t keep doing that forever. It was then that I began to reevaluate winter running outdoors. If I ever wanted to run more than five miles outside, then I’d have to change my attire.
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Modern technology in running attire has made it possible to wear minimal layers and still stay warm. The first mile is always a warming up time and one should expect to be chilled to cold. Once the body warms up though you will be thankful for the lighter layers not holding you down and causing you to get cold from sweat. So how do I dress for winter weather…well, it is extremely individual. As I’ve gotten more experienced as a runner, I’ve found I need fewer layers to stay warm. I find no matter how often I run outdoors in races versus long slower runs, etc I still struggle with exactly what to wear on a run, but I follow these general guidelines for dress:

55 or above=shorts (either Nike Tempo or Lululemon Speed Short) or running skirt (love C9 from Target) and a t-shirt or tank top

45-55=capris (love Nike and love,love Lululemon), t-shirt, and a lightweight long sleeve shirt (love Run Swiftly-Lululemon) that may or may not stay on. Arm warmers are great!

40-45=capris, t-shirt, and a medium weight long sleeve shirt

35-40=pants or running tights (Road Runner Sports has awesome tights), t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, and a headband

25-35=running tights, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, and light jacket OR
t-shirt and heavy/warm jacket or shirt, hat and gloves

15-25=thermal/thicker running tights (love my Nike thermal tights), t-shirt, thermal/thicker long sleeve shirt, jacket (love Lulu again), hat, and gloves

-15-15=thin running tights with running pants over top, t-shirt, thermal long sleeve, jacket, hat, and gloves/mittens

If it is much below zero, I generally run inside or don’t run. A great website I’ve used to decide how to dress is from Runner’s World-What to Wear.
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Last year I trained for the Rock n’ Roll Arizona Marathon throughout the Wisconsin winter doing all my runs outside except for my speed work sessions. It is impossible to run fast on slippery and snowy roads and sidewalks, so I brought that workout to the gym on a treadmill. All of my other runs were done outside. My first 20 miler came two days after we got 20 inches of snow and had school cancelled for two days in a row. I still went out dressed appropriately, ran at a slower pace, and put one foot in front of the other. The wipeout that had me sliding on my belly only deterred me for a couple of blocks. Had I worn my Yaktraxs that wouldn’t have happened.
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This year I will be wearing my Yaktraxs fo show. My ankle is still recovering. I only wear heels a few times a week. When I wear them I can feel my ankle hurting although it is not a hurt hurting. It still swells after days on my feet, heel wearing, or after long runs. I am just so grateful it doesn’t really bother me while running.

During the winter months don’t be afraid or frustrated that your pace is slower. Running on snow and ice is similar to running on a beach; your muscles work much harder to maintain your balance. Running a slower pace on a harder terrain can still mean faster on an easier terrain. Take my PR in Arizona as proof. Those of you who live in Cali or elsewhere without snow, ice, and sleet-well just be glad. I will hate you all in February.
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Better yet, let winter be your maintenance miles. Stay in shape and enjoy the holiday treats without the guilt. Run to holiday tunes (a future post coming on that) and the holiday lights. Run for fun. Find a turkey trot or jingle bell run to motivate you.

When dressed appropriately you can run all winter long and enjoy it.

Happy Monday!

{Friday Fab 5}

No running again this week so I…
{#1-Made Ry a birthday treat…}

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This year it was super simple, oh so yummy, and a bit healthier than cake. Guess what, we liked it way better than cake! Make brownies in a pizza pan however you normally do and let cool. Mix cream cheese and vanilla with mixer and layer over brownies. Top with lots of fruit and enjoy!

{#2-finished Running On Empty…}

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So crazy to think Marshall Ulrich ran across the United States at the age of 57 in a matter of 2 months. It just goes to show anything we put our mind to is possible!

{#3-did Daily Hiit…almost everyday}…

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These workouts are tough for me, but what I absolutely love is that they encourage you to do what you can, give suggestions to make the workouts easier or harder whatever your fitness level might be, and just be active. They recognize that most the battle of exercise is mental and keep pushing you. After 12 minutes or so of body rockin’ I was drenched in sweat and felt like I couldn’t do another push-up, sit-up, shoulder press…and on and on. I am sore and owe my first endorphins in days (14 to be exact) to the people behind Daily Hiit. Thank you!

{#4-made more Popsicles…

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Strawberries, bananas, and one Chobani yogurt- mix, pour, freeze, and eat. Easy!

{#5-and made myself feel better by buying new running clothes…Oops!}

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Well, I at least used up a gift card while feeding my Lululemon addiction so it wasn’t so bad on the wallet.

What running, sports, or endurance books would you recommend reading?

Happy Weekend!