Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall weekend adventure!

*This post is my shameless plug for our local pumpkin patch in attempts to lure friends and family to come down this fall and join us, so bear with me and my gushing =)

This past weekend we had the opportunity to visit Pinter’s Pumpkin Patch, a local pumpkin patch, corn maze, and so much more!!! We decided to head over for a couple hours to tire the boys out before naptime (which is ALWAYS a challenge for us on weekends—does this happen to anyone else?)

Here is my juicy insider tip! Visit in the morning; we arrived as they were opening and just as we were leaving at noon it was just starting to get busy.

Our highlights? I knew you would ask!
Jumping pillow (H’s pick)—This is where our early arrival really paid off! The boys had SO much fun bouncing and running on this but can’t hang once their dad the older kids get this thing hopping. Another bonus-moms are allowed on it too…and I love a good trampoline.
Corn box (B’s pick)The boys had a blast crawling around filling up buckets and even found an innocent bystander to bury. 
Mr. M was intrigued with how much less messy the corn box was than our sandbox at home. I could see wheels turning and am a little scared what might come of this. Anyone that knows Mr. M knows about his ‘invention’ ideas.

Big slides (L’s pick)L told me he wanted to ‘slide and slide and slide’ and could have played here all day. Mr. M and I had to sample the slides (for safety purposes of course) and found them pretty fun ourselves! And I have to say watching little smiling faces going down the tubes were some of my favorite moments of the day.

Pedal Go Karts (Mr M’s pick)L and B each took a turn with mom and dad and had so much fun getting to steer while we did all the dirty work pedaling! A good workout and a lot of fun.

We also visited the animal farm saying hello to some turkeys, chickens and goats (B does the CUTEST goat impression); rolled ourselves in tubes; tried out the ball zone; explored through the tire maze; and wrapped it up with a grain cart ride.

Needless to say—3 of the 4 of us were in full snooze by the time we got home for naps (don’t worry, the 4th was the driver!). 

Season passes were obtained and we will definitely be back for more!! Mr. M said if they would install a beer truck and TV he’d be the first to arrive and last to leave every Sunday. I tend to agree, I don’t see a problem with an ‘adult cider’ option =)

On our agenda for next time? I knew you’d ask!
--Snack shack (did I mention Pinter’s makes the world’s best cupcakes?)
--Corn maze
--Wagon ride to the pumpkin patch
--‘Wiggleville’ (doesn’t that just sound fun?)
--Duck races
--Pumpkin cannon (this is obviously #1 on Mr. M’s list for next time)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Sunday Drive

Last weekend my parents took the boys and I on what was one of my favorite family traditions: the Sunday Drive.

L and my dad (Big Q) started the day with a trip to a Swap Meet and we hit the road. Best part? My mom packed everything! I should elaborate:
My mother is a savant in the art of packing….she has everything you could ever think of. Fingernail clipper? Has it. Sewing kit? Of course. Plug in for any electronic device ever made? Duh. AND the ever present necessity: the wet washcloth. My sister, D, and I joke that when we are packing to go anywhere we follow the mantra "WWDD: What Would D (mom) Do" because she thinks of EVERYTHING! #WWDD #WetWashclothMemories
First Stop: Quick stop at my cousin’s house to drop off a couple things. B took the opportunity during the 5 minute stop to get out and roll around in their sandbox. He would have been fine ending the trip right here as there was a park next door, a dog down the street, a sandbox, AND chickens….a 1 ½ year old's dream! Alas, it was soon time to head to our next location so after we (mostly) cleaned him up, we were back on track.

Second Stop: Starks Liquor Store. I know, an obvious choice for a trip with two little boys =)  But we were able to put together a craft beer sampler and pick up some of their delicious cheese curds so everyone left with a treat.

Third Stop: Walked across the street to the ‘world famous’ Pete’s Hamburger Stand. World Famous = Big Q watched a special on them on the Travel Channel so we had to try it. The boys enjoyed watching them boil the burgers and walking through the boat store next door.
Hanging with grandpa....
Fourth Stop: Took a ‘short cut’ to Pikes Peak (I think the quotation marks indicate how short this cut ended up being). Had a picnic, played in the park, and walked down to Veil Falls. L LOVED counting all of the steps on the way up and down. He can currently count to ‘twenty-thirty’ (thirty) and only skips one or two numbers in between. I know every parent thinks their child is a genius, but mine actually is. #saideverymomever
Child genius...

On our way to the falls

Fifth Stop: Phelps Park, Decorah. We had ice cream and than played in the park. L was so happy because they have three parks (play areas). By the end, Grandma, Grandpa, B, and mom were tired with bellyaches and L could have stayed another 3 hours.

Sixth Stop: Home. Clothes went directly into the washing machine, bodies went directly into the bath, and moms went directly into the couch.

L is still talking about the trip and it now ranks up there with Grandma’s house and the Waterpark as his favorite places to go. Those are some high praises my friends.

Sappyness alert! Those with weak stomachs read at your own risk:  Days like this make me so grateful our kids have all four grandparents that are always there to step in and lend a hand or make a memory =)  Family is the best! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Denver Trip


Mr. M and I just got back from a fantastic trip to Denver filled with sights, drinks, friends and laughs. I wish I could take credit for the planning but had a lot of help from a friend of ours who I have discovered is my traveling kindred spirit =)

*Since I’m not sure how my friends feel about their lives being posted on the internet I will keep the pictures and stories vague (to protect those who may have eaten 2 gallons of ice cream, had a small slip on the dance floor, ordered Canadian bacon pizza, ruined a chipmunks life, forgot to scoop a dog poop, or other such random non-specific examples).



3:30am 3:45am Leave for the airport

5:13am Arrive exactly 2 minutes before they stopped taking checked bags. Whoops!

7:00am Greeted with hugs, donut holes, and a ride from one of my bestest of friends who drove an hour to pick us up at the airport on her birthday….did I mention she is one of the bestest? 

10:00am Mr. M and I enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Over Easy and both discovered new favorite drinks.
Fresh lemon, Colorado honey, and Cucumber--three of my favorite things!

11:30am Hike the Seven Bridges Trail in Colorado Springs
Shady and beautiful, perfect for an August day

2:00pm Much needed drinks (heavily caffeinated for this girl!) and lunch at Brother Luck’s 

3:30pm Mr. M naps while I catch up with said bestest friend

7:00pm Birthday dinner at a restaurant that happened to be hosting a Trivia Night. This involved several rowdy debates I.E., Which country has the 5th largest land mass in the world and takes up a little over half of its continent? Hint: it’s not Canada (I will never let Mr. M live that down)



9:00am No one woke me up because they had to go potty (or already did), wanted watermelon, or threw their binky out of the crib = heaven!

11:00am Hit the road

11:25am Stopped so I could pee (sorry!) at Krispy Kreme..Spent 5 minutes watching the donut conveyer belt
Image result for krispy kreme

1:00pm Arrived at Ameristar Hotel in Black Hawk, did some sightseeing in Central City, Mr. M eats $7.99 Prime Rib and we drink $3 beers—love the prices here! Waitress gives us the senior discount—I try not to be offended

2:00pm Meet up with some more friends and proceed to drink, gamble, and laugh WAY too much. (Note to self: ‘Let’s just split a bottle of wine at dinner’=NOT a good idea)

11:07pm Discover pool closes at 11:00pm



6:30am Drink 24 glasses of water and head up to pool on the 36th floor—gorgeous view!

9:45am Set out with Starbucks in hand on our way to Fort Collins

10:15am Wonder aloud whose idea it was to drive a windy mountain road after a late night in the casino (turns out it was mine…)
Driving through a mountain

11:00am Meet MORE friends at Smokin Dave’s BBQ in Estes Park. Yum!

12:30pm Stop for ice cream…spend 5 minutes watching the dry ice ice cream maker
Note the 2 galloon tub of ice cream in the forefront of the photo-PROOF!

5:30pm 6:30pm 5:30pm Shuttle to wedding arrives to give us a ride…long story involving road construction, getting lost, and holding up the ceremony…but I won’t get into that!

7:00pm Dance and laugh the night away with great friends at a terrific wedding



11:00am Crash romantic bride and groom brunch at Fort Collins Brewery. Stop at Odell Brewing Company and even get a private tour of New Belgium from the new Mr. and Mrs.!
Just what the doctor ordered!

4:00pm Head back to Denver, Mr. M buys grossest looking burrito at super shady gas station (I feel like that should be documented incase he gets food poisoning or something)

6:00pm Relax at hotel, watch Pitch Perfect (NOT Sports Center) and pack for the way home



3:30am Shuttle to the airport

9:00am Land

12:00pm Home to squeeze the world’s cutest little men!!!
They wanted to feed this small bale to the chickens #chickenlovers #justlikegrandpaQ


Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Post from D: Finding Inspiration

Well hello again!  After re-reading my last check-in, I realized a lot has happened in just a few short months!  The biggest update is that my foot healed up miraculously quickly and I've been running again!!  My love for the run just will not die. :)  I've been extremely cautious getting back into it and hopefully the lower mileage will pay off for some long term injury-free training (fingers and toes crossed)!  As much as I'd like to do more, I'd much rather be running a little bit than not at all.  Fortunately, zero running during the entire month of June hasn’t kept me from getting out and enjoying some fun training and races this summer!  I’ve had a blast competing in two relay triathlons with great friends, getting in my first century rides ever (huge rite of passage for this newbie cyclist!), and was even actually able to complete an entire triathlon solo (under-trained or not).

Before recapping the races in detail, I’ve been reflecting on these recent experiences a lot lately.  This Sunday, I’m competing the Pigman Long Course Triathlon in Palo, IA.  After missing the registration window (injuries don’t allow for a lot of future planning), I somehow snagged a bib-transfer on Facebook and got my name in the hat for one of our region’s oldest ongoing half-Ironman races.  It also happens to be a 40 minute drive from my sister J’s brand new house in Anamosa, IA!  A highly recommended race, in my native state, with some good friends, and having my family there to watch?  Deal made! 

Being my first injury-free triathlon of the season and my first race entering as an elite (yikes!), nerves are high and playing a little larger piece in my preparations than I’d like.  This, on top of scanning the entrant list this week and seeing an outstanding field of nationally competitive athletes, has led to a few sleepless nights.  (Check out the preview!) Sure, going after an award in a small town race is one thing, but going up against nationally acclaimed competition???  Part of me wonders how big of a fool I will make of myself in only the third triathlon of my life.   The other part of me; however, is ecstatic to participate in such an event.  The women racing are well-known pro and amateur triathletes and having a chance to compete against them and hopefully meet them will be a dream come true. #starstrucknerd  

I’ve also requested my nephews, who are coming to watch, be thrown into my sweaty, smelly arms as soon as I cross the finish line.  Seeing them cheering me on during the race and knowing they’ll be there at the finish brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.  Sorry for the inevitable sap that always manages to come out in these posts, but these little guys mean so much to me and my family’s support is never less than amazing. Let’s hope the sweat will disguise the tears Sunday!
Lincoln taking me on enough rides to make me sick at our county fair in June.
Brooks felt the same way...

I have three simple goals for the race:
    1.  Execute the race plan.
    2.  Enjoy the moment.
    3.  DREAM BIG.

My coach will undoubtedly put together a set of meticulously planned instructions for the race.  From a week of torturous tapering to pre-race set-up, race watts, and nutrition; he has it covered. 

Success will not be measured by how I place upon my competitors, but how well I execute my plan.  Wisdom that focusing on factors outside of my control (opponents, weather, etc.) just cause undue stress is key.  The purpose is to simply do the best that I can do on race day.  

This brings me to my next goal: Enjoy the moment!  Triathletes don’t compete for prizes or notoriety; we compete for the love of the sport.  Pushing myself to the limits and enjoying the wind in my hair (however snarly and sweaty it is) brings me joy without bounds.  God has blessed me with an amazingly resilient and healthy body and for that I am beyond thankful.  I plan on soaking up the experience and remembering why I do this: out of pure joy. 

Lastly, armed with some new inspirational gear from my favorite local running shop, my last goal is to dream big.  A fear of failure will only lead to indecision and inaction.  Taking a risk like competing against some pretty fast females is daunting to say the least, but it will be an excellent opportunity for growth.  I’ll learn a lot about what it takes to get to the next level and who knows?  Race day magic has been known to lead to miracles in the past and I’m not leaving out the possibility of a decent finish! J 

Stay tuned for race recaps soon!


Saturday, July 4, 2015

H's race day recap--a very different story....

In honor of D's beautiful pre and post-MedCity recaps I thought I would walk you through a couple weeks ago when the kiddos and I ran the Cresco 10k. First just want to give a big shout out to the CFC for putting together a really well organized and fun race...also thank you for the photo documentation!

7:00am Decide to run the 10k 

7:30am Arrive to register with enough snacks and toys in the stroller to camp for a week. As soon as we pull in L (freshly potty trained) announces 'I Poot', which means we need to get to a bathroom ASAP. Everyone knows how important the pre-race 'Poot' is so I'm pretty impressed that L has mastered that skill so early in his running career.

7:40am The kids are out of the stroller running around like wild animals. Everyone comments on how cute they are while discretely moving away.

7:59am They announce the race will start in one minute. The race hasn't even started and I am sweating profusely from wrangling the kids into the stroller. Everyone is fortified with drinks, snacks, books, and stuffed animals--the stroller is getting a little crowded.

8:00am The race begins! WOW these kids are heavy.
We're off!!!

Mile 1: L plows through his entire supply of cherrios, starts trying to steal B's, first fight ensues.

Mile 2: I THOUGHT IOWA WAS FLAT--I was wrong.
Realize that B's binky was dropped sometime in mile 1--he is inconsoleable, also L won't stop touching him.

Mile 3: Pull out emergency back-up snacks for L, he eats half the container, says yucky and throws the rest at B.

Turnaround! Hurray!!!!!! I am smiling--both children are crying: L is mad we aren't going to grandma's house, B is still mourning the binky. 

'He's touching me!'
Mile 4: A raceday attendent brings us the binky on a Gator--apparently they could hear the crying at the mile 2 waterstop. L and I recite 'Little Blue Truck' from memory.

Mile 5: I start walking up the hills when I realize it has no effect on my pace..... L sings us Mary Has a Little Lamb which puts B to sleep.

Mile 6: L has to pee--we are on a trail on the side of a busy highway.... we go up into someone's yard and pee behind a bush, better him than me! L notices B is asleep so starts poking him until he wakes up and cries. A bout of 'he's touching me' ensues. Just as this happens, the 15k runners are passing us...super morale booster! 

Finish: We finished! I didn't even look at our time because I'm sure it was terrible, but who cares! We did it and it was an adventure. 

Post Race: The boys are ravenous (as if they hadn't just eaten enough snacks to feed a football team during the run). B sticks a half banana in his mouth whole, wipes what doesn't fit on my leg. L keeps trying to raid the snack table for more 'nacks'. B is throwing an apple all over because he thinks it is a ball. I guess we can have applesauce when he is done? I take this as our cue to leave...I'm pretty sure they won't be calling our names at the awards ceremony anyway =)
Chowing down bananas
B was super thirsty from his hard work


Monday, June 8, 2015

New Post from D: When Life Throws You (Another) Curveball

She believed         SHE COULD               So she did
Yep. I've got a good curveball for you. I’m not sure exactly where to begin, but I was planning on doing a race recap post of the Med City Half-Marathon and a preview of my upcoming triathlon season.  I'll start with the first, but the second might go a little different than initially planned.
Let’s start with the good news.  The Med City Half-Marathon was a fantastic race!  As I mentioned in my previous post, I was ecstatic to be returning to the race scene after a long hiatus.  Race day morning was filled with excited jumping up and down and squeals ("It's race day!!!") and nervous energy ("Sorry, I can't answer any questions right now, I'm deciding if I need arm warmers.") . This was especially appreciated by my chauffeur (thanks Mom!) and fellow runners who spent the night (sister H and cousin L), since it was also 5am and well before we probably needed to be awake. I'm a real peach sometimes. Leading to more excitement was a text the night before from Ruth Brennan Morrey.  Without too much gushing, Ruth is one of the most inspiring women I know and an amazing professional triathlete who lives right here in Rochester.  She would be using the race's 20-mile training run option as a run for herself to get in some faster paced intervals and was wondering if we could start together.  Even though her 'training' run pace would likely be faster than my race pace, this was probably my only opportunity to keep up with RBM on the run!!!  I couldn’t pass it up!  I also hooked up with another TerraLoco coach at the expo the night before who was planning around my pace as well, so the race was shaping up to include some good company.  And good it was!  The first 3-4 miles were filled with friendly chatter with fellow runners on the course and seeing some awesome fans on the way. (Huge thanks to Lynette who came out with the best sign ever! Thank you!!)
Displaying IMG_1456.JPG
My plan to start conservative though the rolling hills the first half and pick it up toward the end if I felt good worked well. I stayed smooth and controlled at the start and then fed off the crowd’s energy and surprisingly found myself leading the women's race around mile 6.  After that, Ruth and I had a lot of fun confusing the lead women’s race bikers and spectators alike. With Ruth’s faster intervals and recoveries, there were more than a few ‘lead changes’ between her and I. The lead bikers (who are tasked with staying with the lead woman) had a hard time keeping track!  We eventually clued them in that Ruth was not actually competing in the half marathon, but when she remained ahead of me for miles 6-11, it appeared the lead bikers were actually with the second place woman!  Then, in true Ruth fashion, when her intervals were done with a few miles to go, she looped around back a few blocks to run with me the remainder of the race.  At this point my legs were a bit fatigued, but I was in delirious disbelief I was holding a decent pace and was staying in the lead. We ran the last few miles in and I crossed the finish line feeling strong, powered by the cheers from my mom, aunt and uncle, and lots of friends.  

More importantly, I was able to watch so many friends (and family) finish too!  We had a great group from my hometown run the race and I couldn’t have been more proud of my sister, H, for not only finishing, but beating her time goal!  Training is difficult enough as it is, but add in a double runner stroller, two adorable (but a handful) boys ages 1 and 2, a full-time job, a husband, and a filled to the brim (but impeccably organized ☺) weekly planner, and you have a lot of work to do!  She is an inspiration! (Word has it she has a race recap of her own to share soon, so stay tuned!)


Now for the not-so-good news.  Following the race, I had some serious tightness in the bottom of my left foot. Thinking is was a tight plantar fascia, I stayed on top of stretching, rolling, and icing the rest of the day and tried to take it really easy. It thankfully felt started felling much better and I was able to get through a few short runs during the week with only minor discomfort.  I had my faithful physical therapist take a look on it Friday. He did some work on it and ok’d me to run as long as my stride wasn’t altered.  Feeling fairly confident, I headed out for my planned run that Sunday. However, about halfway through the run, the pain returned until I was sure a knife had become stuck in the bottom of my foot.  Ouch...  After limping around my house that night with major swelling, I called Mayo Sports Medicine first thing the next morning and got in for an appointment.  By the end of the day, I was fitted for a boot for a stress reaction in the navicular bone of my foot and was headed to my parents’ home in Iowa for some TLC and nephew hugs and kisses (turns out my self-diagnosis of a tight plantar fascia was a little off).  Prognosis: follow-up after 3 weeks in the boot and obviously no running... for a while.   
Someone's shoes are cuter than others...
Here's where the next piece starts. Unfortunately, I won't be able to complete my planned upcoming races and I'm heartbroken not knowing when I'll be able to run again, but that doesn't leave me without a plan. Getting through another injury will require nothing less than a well thought out strategy. If there is one thing I know about myself is that having goals and a planned path to reach them calms me and gets me through the toughest of times. And let's be honest, 3 weeks in a boot seems likes cake compared to the 3 months I spent on crutches this winter! (Having full use of your hands while walking should never taken for granted!) Going through more difficult times has also given me the knowledge that I will persevere. My plan is to take one day at a time, avoid getting caught up in the what-if's? and why agains?, and to focus on the controllables. Just what are these controllables? While I can't control the fact that this happened or the amount of time needed for healing, there are a few things that I can do to help.
1. Nutrition: To give my foot every chance of healing quickly, my focus will be on maintaining a nutrient dense and whole food intake along with a positive energy balance! Calcium, Vitamin D, protein/carbs/fat: check! Building strong bones requires optimal nutrition and a few treats! Ice cream (with a dose of Lactaid) is a good source of calcium, right?

2. Cross training: Thankfully I am able to continue to bike and swim with no pain. Active recovery is good for blood flow and for the brain! Outdoor swim season has started here in Rochester and I could not be more thankful for the Rochester ORCA's masters group who have welcomed me into their 5:30am weekday practices. Minus the brief experience with mild hypothermia one day last week when the pool heater was down, these are a blast! (Note to self: bring a wetsuit just in case this happens again -- delirium and uncontrollable shivering are not pretty...)  I really love being in the water and this group always promises a lot of laughter and fun to start my day. I'll continue swimming with some of my usual friends indoors once in a while as well -- I would miss these people way too much to give it up and plus, this gives me a chance to be spoiled with the luxury of an indoor, individual shower stall and towel I don't have to wash and carry around myself! Thankfully my co-workers haven't mentioned anything yet about my less-than-stellar appearance when I roll into work with wet hair and wrinkled pants from getting ready in a super fancy outdoor locker room.
Biking is allowing me to continue to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful Minnesota outdoors and my coach has agreed to keep providing me some bike workouts to maintain and hopefully build upon my (meager) bike fitness. I'll also be hitting up the local YMCA for some deep water running. It'll be a little while until I'm able to utilize the AlterG treadmill, so this will keep some of my work running specific. Being able to continue to set goals in these other disciplines is a huge blessing!! It provides direction and an outlet for my frustrations.  
3. Physical therapy exercises: Yep... therabands, core work, and strength exercises will become even more of a focus. Jane Fonda, watch out. You have nothing on my mat and band routine.  All I need is a thigh master and I could be the next super star.
Just look at that enthusiasm!

4. Mindset: This is the most important factor of all. I am a firm believer in the power of positivity and practicing gratitude in every situation. Negative energy not only slows recovery, but also makes me a miserable person! Keeping a positive outlook during my running hiatus will allow me to continue to push forward until I'm eventually able to get back to training. As a true research nerd, I have found a wealth of studies that show athletes who use positive self-talk and set goals for their rehab experience "exceptional recovery".  In one study, recovery rates were found to be significantly related to a number of mental activities. It found that "fast-healers" were more likely to practice goal setting, healing mental imagery, and positive self-talk than "slow-healers"(1). Mental activities?? Sign me up! I've already downloaded a meditation app and hope to make this a regular part of my day along with as much praying as I can fit in. Setting mini rehab goals and celebrating small successes will also be key. And you better believe I'll be rewarding myself with at least a celebratory coffee when I'm able to complete the ridiculously difficult ground-to-plank pushup my physical therapist has assigned. 
For every setback, God has a major comeback. (large poster)
This doesn't mean I won't also allow myself to be angry or sad. Expressing these emotions will be essential too, but after doing so I will move on and avoid wallowing. I've read that an injury is the runner’s ultimate test in mental toughness. I'm up for the challenge and truly believe I will get through this with grace trusting that it's part of a bigger plan. God's ideas don't always seem like they make sense, but I know this is a minor blip in the big picture. Here's where gratitude comes into play. Overall, I live a pretty incredible life. I have an amazing and supportive family, great friends, a cozy home, a cute dog, and a good job. I may be down, but I am definitely not out. I intend to keep having fun and working hard through this and, just like my navicular bone, I'll come out stronger than ever.
     Blogueira on Line
1. Ievleva L, Orlick T. Mental paths to enhanced recovery from a sport injury. In: D Pargman (Ed.), Psychological Bases of Sport Injuries. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology; 1999:199-220.