Joy: Summer Time

A day late, but I was one of the lucky few to have today off from work. And thank goodness, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do everything I hoped to this weekend.

After an extremely long/frustrating MBA meeting I didn’t get on the road until 7 pm. I was hoping this would mean traffic was light, but no such luck. You can only move so many vehicles around Mille Lacs Lake at one time.

cross lake whitefish chain

Saturday morning I went for a walk with my mom and brother, Saturday afternoon I visited with a friend running 3 miles, checking out Red Raven Cafe and Cuyuna Brewing, and then headed up to another friend’s cabin. I was able to watch fireworks from their boat, make a quick late night visit Moonlight Bay, and recovered with brunch at the Warf Sunday morning. Then it was back to family time, and a good night’s sleep.

I’m so thankful to have Monday off to make the most of the weekend, I’ll leave “up north” around noon, do some grocery shopping and prepare for the weekend, and just might visit one more friend Monday night. Tuesday will be spent outside having fun during the day, but I’d like to be settled back in my apartment in the early evening. Wednesday I really do have to return to work.

How did you spend the weekend? Did you save enough vacation time to take this whole week off? Or are you fitting in what you can with the time you were given?

The Salt Cave MPLS: Gotta Go Gotta Relax

Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Last week I took a step towards relaxation. I carved out Saturday afternoon to visit the Salt Cave in Minneapolis. I had no idea what I would be doing there, or it would be with, or if it would even work.Gotta go gotta relax

Place: the front room just looks like a basic store front, then you head downstairs to enter the cave.

The Cave: Salt on the floor, salt blocks as a wall, salt released in the air, zero gravity chairs, soft lighting, and the sounds of the ocean.

People: I was alone. Someone greeted me, made sure I was settled in the cave alright, and dimmed the lights. The light was on some kind of timer, because my hour of relaxation was up when the lights became brighter.

Again? Definitely. This would be a great gift, or event to do before or after a life change  such as a wedding, baby, illness, or loss. If someone in your life wants to get healthier but cannot exercise for some reason, I would recommend a session to help them cut out the distraction of life.

How do you relax?

Could you sit in a room and breathe for an hour without a distraction?

Joy: Getting Out

Weekends are sacred. They are my time to get stuff done, my time to relax, and my time to do what I want. Sometimes that means everything is scheduled, sometimes that means nothing is scheduled. This weekend I only had one true plan, sitting in a salt cave at 2 pm on Saturday. Everything else was open with some ideas of what to do. For me, there’s nothing better than pizza and an early bedtime on a Friday, but that’s not what I ended up with.hudson wisconsin, wisconsin vs minnesota, across the border, new glares

A friend of mine works from home and loves to camp with her husband. They were setting up for the weekend just across the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, which as a Saint Paul resident is fairly easy to visit (although I hadn’t done it in the almost 2 years that I lived here). If I am going to venture into that dark side Eastern state, I typically am only sliding into Superior quick to buy New Glarus beer while visiting Duluth.

Stillwater, MN has always been my destination if I want a cute downtown near the river, I had never considered Hudson, WI. But when my friend asked if I was available to meet up with her and her husband I knew it would be good to get out of my apartment and do something a little different.

Without intending to we were talking and laughing for almost 5 hours. And as I type this on Saturday late morning I have no idea what the rest of today will bring. All I know is I went against my usual plan last night and it worked out. So maybe I should go against the plan again.

Grandma’s Half Marathon Race Recap 2017

Here it is! In one little post I’ve compiled what worked for Grandma’s Half Marathon 2017. Since this was my 3rd half at Grandma’s, and I’ve also completed the full and the 5k I’ve learned plenty of tips over the years. So if you’re considering the race in the future and have more questions, let me know!

Packet Pickup: I arrived in Duluth about 2 pm and parked at the DECC. There was quite a bit of traffic due to the kid’s races. My overall parking/driving tip. Is to not sit in a long line, go around, choose to walk farther if it means not sitting in your car waiting to find a spot. Both times I got caught in long lines, it turned out the line was not for what my destination was.Garry Bjorklund Half 2017 UMD Housing

Wandering around Canal Park Friday was a great way to establish where to meet friends Saturday after we each finished running. Although it turns out we didn’t use our prearranged meeting spot since we happened to run into each other in the beer tent.

Pre-Race Dinner: Blackwoods. I highly recommend this spot if traveling with a group, but get reservations in advance if you need a specific time. The menu is large, the food is decent, and the prices are fairly reasonable. Everyone should be able to get something that works for their body.Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Cliff Bar Pacers

Race Day! The alarm went off at 4:10 am, and we were heading towards the buses at 4:40 am. They load the buses one at a time, so you really do want to get on the bus at 4:45, even though they say they load until 5:15.

Race Start: Line up with the pacer. If you want to finish in a specific time, use the pacers that are provided. Also, this will help reduce the number of people you have to pass at the start.

Race: Do the best you can with what you have. I knew the race was going to be tough for me. There were times that I was in front of the 2:45 pacer feeling great, and there were other times I thought I would never catch back up. I only chatted with 2 girls on the course, it turns out one of them had a friend in common! The sun came out around the 10 mile mark and I was very happy that I was not running the full marathon.

I consumed a ton of water during the race, typically 2 cups per aid station. Plus ice and sponges. I stole a ice trick from a triathlon friend and put ice down my sports bra and down my shorts. It helped keep me cool even if it did seem weird. I also took 2 gu salted caramel gels, mainly for the caffeine.

Cuyuna Country Club Golf Course

Post Race: Lunch at Norther Waters Smokehaus Restaurant (the one up on the hill, not the one in Canal Park). After a quick shower food was of the utmost importance. I saw Northern Waters on the morning bus ride and knew I would want it post race. The Sitka Sushi is my new favorite after many years of ordering either the Cajun Finn or the Northern Bagel.

Recovery: 4 mile walk on Sunday and 9 holes of golf walking (no cart) on Monday! I need to get myself to yoga next, but not sure when that will be.

Joy: Organized Chaos

I have survived the weekend. I traveled to Duluth, navigated the crazy traffic of race visitors clogging canal park, ran 13.1 miles (with plenty of walking included), came home to see my family/celebrate fathers day and also shower a friend with blessings before her sweet baby arrives in July.

Thankfully I took today (Monday) off so that I wasn’t additionally stressed on Sunday evening with traveling back to St. Paul and preparing for another work week. Instead I got to wake up slowly, pack my stuff, and I might get to go golfing (if the weather holds)!

I made a royal mess of my schedule for Tuesday. I told one friend I couldn’t meet up because I had class, only to realize days later that no, classes are now on Wednesdays. And then my dad told me that he has a good family friend visiting who has been sick lately and wants to see me when he flies in on Tuesday. So my first day back of the work week is going to be a crazy one. But oh well.

A race recap will be posted eventually, in short: its better to train, but thankfully I made it through. I was bummed to miss my favorite sight on the course, the chain of trolls pictured above, but had this photo from my last time at Grandma’s 2 years ago.

Do you ever double book? Or are you good at limiting your commitments each day?


Joy: going my own way

I tend to over schedule myself. But I’m trying to chose what I want to do, and what will be best for me. So last night I went to a wedding, but left as the dance started up. It was so good to see friends, but at the same time I knew I didn’t want to stay out late and need to recover today.highway 210 railroad tracksSo I took it easy. And was able to wake up today ready for family time, homework, and preparing for another work week, and of course the drive back to the cities.

My road might not look like anyone else’s, I’m single, no kiddos, living in the smallest studio in St. Paul, and about to complete a MBA with no idea of what my next job will be. I have to remind myself that I need to be okay with going my own way. Following someone else’s path is most likely not going to be a road to my own success.

Do you go your own way?

Or do you feel pulled toward’s someone else’s directions?

2017 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Race Plan

In one week I’ll be heading home, to then drive to Duluth, to then run Grandma’s Half marathon (actually named after Garry Bjorklund), then drive back to Aitkin for a baby shower. Its going to be a long weekend. But its also going to be a good weekend, no matter how the race goes.

grandma's half marathon 13.1 2017

The race will be slow, it will probably be painful. I’m not pleased with my training efforts, but it is what it is. After reviewing my 2012 and 2014 recaps, I’m fairly certain that I can finish. Weather depending. When I completed 26.2 in 2013 I was rained on few times. Cold weather is where I am best. If the weather is similar to last year, hot hot hot, I may not finish.

Pre-Race Dinner: I have no idea. It partly depends on crowds and what I’m in the mood for.

Pre-Race Breakfast: Coffee and a Bagel. Every single time.

Post-Race Meal: Depends. I have a friend running the marathon, and I usually see people I know in the crowd. But I also want to get back to Aitkin at a reasonable time on Saturday night.

Do you plan races down to the minute?

Or go with the flow?

Joy: Exploring

I finished yoga on Saturday morning with plans to do a few things around my apartment, and I got outside the studio, saw the beautiful day, and knew there was no way I was staying inside.

paved bike trail minneapolis

I texted a friend to see if she wanted to go for a bike ride, and we decided to attempt the trail that could go to Stillwater. We didn’t say we were going to Stillwater, because its an 18 mile out and back trail, for a grand total of 36 miles. Instead we chose to park at the Maplewood Community center and ride as far as it felt good. Since it was our first time on the Gateway trail we went about 7 miles in before deciding that was enough of an adventure of the day. At least by bike.

We then ventured into White Bear Lake to check out Big Wood Brewery, and then to Washington Square Bar and Grill. Both had patios, so other than my sleeping hours and yoga hour, I was outside all day long. It was perfect! Maybe we will make it to Stillwater by bike someday, but its okay that it didn’t happen. We still saw a new part of the metro, and had a great time!

*Of course there were quite a few bike mishaps, but we got it all figured out.

Do you plan your weekends? Or do you wait until the moment of to see what you’re in the mood for?

Summer 2017 Goals

June is here!! And while the official start of Summer isn’t…Minnesota has other plans. I’m a little worried about this summer as a lot of my weekends are already planned, but there are a few things I know I want to do.

dead end road

  1. Outdoor Live Music – this might be the state fair, it might not.
  2. St. Paul Saints Game – I went once last year, but need to go again!
  3. Bike! I’m not sure where, but somewhere. Once a week would be lovely, but didn’t happen last year when I tried.
  4. Swim! I soaked my wetsuit over the weekend, there’s no reason why I can’t jump in a few times.
  5. Run…a post to come soon about my plan for Grandma’s Half, we shall see what other races I attempt this summer/fall.
  6. Pizza Farm. Its been a goal for a few years, it really needs to happen.
  7. Milk Jam – Its shameful, I haven’t been there yet.
  8. Como Zoo – its been a few years, I need to get back!
  9. Plan a trip – I’ve got lots of places I want to go. California, New Orleans, Nashville, I just need to schedule it!
  10. Finish my MBA – ahhh yes. By the end of August I will be done with all of the homework.

What are your plans for the summer?

Joy: this view

On schedule this week! I was complimented on Saturday for staying up with friends until 2 am on Friday night. And was worried I had overslept when I woke up at 8 am. Turns out no one else was up yet, not even those who had gone to bed earlier. It appears I am officially an early riser.

dock sunset lake

This particular photo is sunset, not sunrise. Thanks to the aforementioned late night, there was no Saturday morning run. I’m writing this on Saturday evening with every intention of running on Sunday, although rain is highly likely. And I also hope to go on a long bike ride/first outside ride on Monday. Although again, rain is highly likely.

At least over the course of the three day weekend I had this moment. Of the quiet lake. Being where I wanted. Without pressure to act a certain way.