5 Races to Try in Anchorage in 2015

Today I’m linking up for the Friday Five with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney, and the topic is 5 Races to Run in 2015! Some of the races on my schedule this year are ones I’ve done before, but I’m planning to try a lot of new ones this year as well! Here are my favorites my city has to offer:

1) The Gold Nugget Triathlon

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This was far and away my favorite race of last year. It’s one of those races where the spirit and the vibe of the racers and the volunteers is awe-inspiring. All-women and geared toward beginners, there is nothing but support and love! From 9-year-old girls to 85-year-old women, from beginning athletes to women more fit than I’ll ever dream of being, this was truly a race where you saw a little bit of everything, and it was beautiful. This was my first triathlon ever, and one I’ll definitely be returning to (especially since I won a guaranteed entry slot for this year – yay!). Now if only I could figure out how to solve the problem of it being double-booked with my youngest daughter’s first dance recital…

2) Lost Lake Run

I’m still hoping to do an ultra this year, and if it happens, I definitely want to do Lost Lake for the first time as a training run. It’s 17 miles of gorgeous Alaskan scenery, and proceeds benefit Cystic Fibrosis, a cause near to my heart. This is one that sells out in under an hour, so I’ve gotta be quick if I’m going to do it!

3) The Big Wild Life Run series

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This is a run series that includes everything from a kids’ run to a 49K. Not sure what I’ll be running this year, but I’ll definitely be running something. This is another race series that just has a great vibe to it – the weekend starts with a showing of a running movie here at a local theater, with runners like Jeff Galloway and this year Bart Yasso on hand to answer questions and lead some group runs. The race series goes through the weekend, with lots to watch and run! My kids LOVE the kids’ race, and I have a soft spot for this series since last year I ran my 5K PR here! Thinking this year I might try the Anchorage Mile. I’ve never done a mile race, but it might be fun to see how fast I could push myself for such a short distance!

4) Alaska 10K Classic

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The 10K is a great distance – long enough to make sure I train, short enough that the misery’s not too lengthy. This run has an awesome t-shirt design, root beer floats afterwards, and benefits Special Olympics. What more could I ask for?

5) The Resolution Run

This was a new run to Anchorage this year, held on New Year’s Eve. More of a fun run than a race, it had glow sticks and other glowing gear in the swag bags, and several light features along the course. I wanted to run it this year, but the weather was warm, the ice was slick, and I hadn’t yet studded my shoes. But everyone I knew that ran it had rave reviews, so 2015 for sure.


Am I the only one who takes t-shirt design and other swag into consideration when registering?

Even run a mile race before?

Any runs your town is famous for?

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Moose and Skiing: An Alaskan Weekly Recap

Argh, I missed a week. Oh well. Forgive me? Back to linking up with Fitness Cheerleader and Running Rachel for #MotivateMeMonday. On Tuesday (night). Sigh.

These past few weeks have been busy ones. Thank goodness my kids remind me to stop and enjoy life – to do things that I otherwise normally wouldn’t. To remind me that we should walk to my Grandma and Grandpa’s when it’s sunny and “warm” outside, and not always drive the few blocks.

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We had a visitor in the neighborhood this week. We saw this guy a couple of times in the neighbors’ yards, eating leaves and branches. I thought for a minute he was going to follow us along to school! Moose in the residential neighborhoods are a fairly common sight here, but it still never gets old to me to see a rather huge wild animal just hanging out in my yard.

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Some unexpected changes to plans caused me to try out a new running trail on Saturday. Well, not new new – I’ve run it many times in the summer. But this was my first time in the winter. It was gorgeous and my aunt and I chatted and enjoyed the view. It was one of those runs where we couldn’t believe we’d already gone 2 miles and figured we should turn back. Don’t you love those, instead of the ones where you feel like you should be done already and you’ve gone like .68 miles? Am I also the only one who looks like a man in caps like this?

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Monday, the kids and I had school off for President’s Day, and we wanted to take the kids out cross country skiing. I took advantage of the day off and slept in, then skied with the kids, and then spent some time with my dad and stepmom who are in town from California. It didn’t leave time for my normal cardio workout, and I spent too much of the morning mad at myself for skipping a workout. I tried to talk myself down from the guilty thoughts – I should’ve gotten up earlier and gone to the gym, I shouldn’t have run that errand – that would have left time for a quick run outside. And so on. I love being on track with my workouts, but I hate that then I get into this mindset that they have to happen. I’m striving for a place of balance. Not quite there yet.

But I had fun skiing with my kiddos. The snow was better than it has been in several months, and with warmer weather and rain in the forecast all week, this was probably our last day to get out and enjoy some decent skiing for a while.

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I’ve lost my morning workout buddies recently, which makes it even more challenging to get up early and work out. I made a new deal with myself that Friday is my sleep-in day, unless I miss a Monday-Thursday workout, and then I’ll make it up on Friday morning. Keeping my Fridays available to sleep an extra hour has been a pretty powerful motivator to wake up early the other 4 days in the work week! ***says the girl who didn’t work out yesterday. Or today…*** Oh well. Back on it tomorrow!


What tips and tricks do you use to keep the motivation going?

Ever seen a moose? :)

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The Trail that Anchors Me to Alaska: Weekly Recap

Okay, back on track this week with working out. Normally I get up every morning to work out, because previously when I only did it a few mornings a week, it wreaked havoc on my sleeping schedule and I found it was easier just to get up every day. This week when I scheduled my workouts (one of my best strategies for staying on track), I decided that if I got up for my workouts every morning, I could sleep in and take Friday off. If I skipped one, Friday would serve as my make-up day.

This worked pretty well! I got up and did cardio at the gym on Monday, and then Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were arm, ab, and leg strength training at home. I got in a mini cardio workout when I skied with my daughter’s class on Tuesday, and then a longer ski workout on Saturday. I really need to be running more often, but we haven’t had any good snow, so I’m just enjoying the skiing now that we actually have some. Cross country skiing is such a great full-body, low-impact workout. I love having the option to use that for cardio in the winter (but sometimes I feel like I’m cheating on running!).

On Saturday’s ski adventure, I was determined to ski my favorite trail, which is actually the trail that made me decide that I couldn’t move back to California. With a view of the trees, the mountains, and the ocean, I fell in love with skiing this trail a few years ago. Now I can’t imagine going back to Southern California, and my daily exercise consisting of weaving in and out on crowded suburban sidewalks, dodging trashcans and tricycles.

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On Sunday, I crossed my first New Years’ Resolution off my list, which was to participate in a new kind of race. I did the Ski 4 Women, and it was so much fun! Since this is my first year, I did the untimed “party wave,” but it was pretty casual, and I think next year I can do a timed wave even though I’m not world’s best skier. Both Saturday and Sunday were absolutely gorgeous, with lots of sun and beautiful views.

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In other news, it was our anniversary on Saturday, and we had a delicious meal. The appetizers sounded better than the entrees for me (typical), so we shared two appetizers and then I had two more for my dinner! They were pretty small appetizer portions so it was a great amount of food without lots of heavy carbs, and I got to try lots of different things! When we came home, the kids were playing hide and seek with the babysitter….

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…. and then we watched our wedding video before sending the kids off to bed.

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Looking forward to this week – going to try to get more cardio in but we will see. My motivation has not been at its best lately. I don’t have my morning workout buddies anymore, so getting up and leaving to go to the gym in the freezing darkness has not been happening as much as it should….

Linking up this week with Motivate Me Monday on Fitness Cheerleader and Running Rachel.


Tell me….
*Work out with friends or work out alone?
*Do you ever feel guilty when you’re not running for your cardio?

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Friday Five: Favorite Indoor Workouts

Today I’m linking up for the Friday Five with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney, and the topic is Favorite Indoor Workouts!

Since from October to May it looks pretty much like this…..

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….I am well acquainted with indoor workouts! While I have loved getting outside this winter, the reality is that I usually only workout outside on Saturdays. The rest of the week if I’m not at work, it’s dark out (good old Alaska). Therefore, I do a lot of strength and cardio workouts inside.

Here are my tops:

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1) My current favorite strength training app is Sworkit. Anyone else use this? You can choose between Strength, Cardio, Yoga, or Stretching, and then further customize your workout within those choices. For instance, I’ve been doing Strength, and you can choose Full Body, Upper Body, Core, Lower Body, or Rump Roaster (heh). You choose the amount of time you have to work out, and your workout begins! None of the exercises require equipment, it’s all body resistance stuff, which makes it easy and quick to do wherever you are!

2) Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution is another great one. I wrote an earlier blog post comparing it to Insanity, since I have tried both. I love Jillian workouts because she knows how to fit an awesome workout into a short amount of time. As a busy working mom, I need that.

3) Zumba! I’ve met several people who tried Zumba and didn’t like it, but I love it. Like so many group fitness classes, so much depends on the teacher, so make sure you try a few instructors’ classes before making up your mind! I’ve gone to one that was barely a workout at all, one that was an intense cardio workout, and one where the instructor had us dropping and doing push-ups between songs. It just really varies!

4) Walking on an incline. Running on a treadmill is not my super favorite, especially first thing in the morning. I definitely log my hours, but it’s not going to make it onto a list of my top 5 of anything! However, walking on an incline is challenging enough that I can feel it the next day, but easy enough to chat with my workout buddies and make the time pass a little faster. Many mornings when I can’t get myself out of bed at 6am for a run, I can at least wrap my brain around an incline walk, and that gets me out the door.

5) Tone It Up workouts. I love Tone It Up because they’re free, easy to access, and add variety to my strength training. I admit the videos are a little silly (I shall just brush the rose petals off my chaise lounge before using it for crunches!), but I’m always sore the next day and I love the ocean background of many of the workouts.


What’s your favorite app for strength training? I’m always looking for new ideas!

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We get some snow and I wear my clothes backwards – Weekly Recap

Don’t you love weekends? I just dig things out of my pajama bins and wear them as shirts. No doing that during the workweek! Comfiest race shirt ever? Yes, please! I almost bought an extra one of these last weekend when our running store was selling them for $5. It was only the potential mockery of my husband that stopped me, but the girl at the store seemed to think it was a perfectly reasonable idea.

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Okay, this was NOT a good workout week for me. I’ve been using a training journal to plan my workouts, and it’s super helpful. Otherwise, when I don’t make time to do it (like this week), between the kids and my job, it’s like I blink and it’s Thursday and I haven’t worked out yet.

I did terribly on my strength training this week – like literally, none. But… let’s stay positive. I do have two whole workouts to report.

Monday I had the day off from work for the holiday. We went ice skating and had some family races.

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I couldn’t figure out a way to squeeze in a workout without taking too much time away from family on our day off together, so I just left a little early and ran home while my husband got everyone’s skates off and drove home. Worked out pretty well. It was a short 3 miles, but I pushed myself and got some faster miles in than I have lately, and I was just proud of myself for fitting it in.

I don’t know what happened to Tuesday-Friday. They’re seriously a blur of kids’ sports, school activities, and working late. I don’t know. Whatever.

But Saturday…. the heavens opened and we FINALLY got some snow!!!!! We have had nearly ZERO snow this winter in Alaska which is super lame. So Saturday morning I collected some friends and we finally got out and did some cross country skiing! It was an easy, relaxing pace, which almost didn’t feel like it “counted” as a workout. But later than night as my arms began to ache, I remembered what a great total-body workout cross-country skiing is. It was so much fun to mix it up and do something different.

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In other news of the weekend, I accidentally wore this top backwards for almost the entire day. I didn’t notice until I tried to put my phone in my pocket and it was on my butt. *sigh* Pretty sure I accidentally wear clothes backwards more than most adults.

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And I went upstairs at 9:30, telling my husband I was going to bed early because I was soooo exhausted. And then I accidentally read this entire book. Whoops. Luckily Sundays are for sleeping in.

IMG_5408This week will be better. I already have plans for a 6:30am gym workout with a friend and that will start the week off right.

Linking up with The Weekend Update on Running N Reading, and Motivate Me Monday with Fitness Cheerleader and Running Rachel!


Please tell me – is there anyone else out there who accidentally wears clothes backwards?

If you live somewhere with real winter, have you gotten much snow this year?

Ever stay up for hours reading “just one more chapter?”

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5 Things About Me

Today I’m linking up for the Friday Five with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney, and the topic is 5 Things About Me! Since I’m a relatively new blogger, this will give me a chance to introduce you guys to some aspects of my life and personality outside of running and fitness!

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Me

 

1. I love junk food. Any and all, but especially candy and chips. Right now instead of tracking calories, I am recording any junk food I eat in something I have dubbed my “Junk Journal.” Right now I am aiming for only two items in the Junk Journal each day. Today was a Diet Dr Pepper and a Rice Krispy Treat, which sadly I consider a pretty good day. *sigh* I have such a long way to go in my nutrition.

2. I’m super short. I’m about 5 feet even, which of course is shorter than pretty much everyone, my students included. The funny part is that I am not at all tortured by it and completely forget all the time that I am small. It is not part of my personality, and not part of my self-image. When I see other really short people, I sometimes can’t believe how small they are, and then when they walk by they’re several inches taller than I am! I have perfected the art of hopping up on countertops to grab things out of the cupboards, a habit my husband cannot stand, and I thank my lucky stars for my short height whenever I curl up in an airplane seat and comfortably fall asleep.

3. I hate being cold. This is not even remotely interesting until you consider that I live in Alaska. And I love it here. People ask me all the time how I survive up here considering I am such a baby about temperatures, and I honestly don’t know. Warm coats and auto-start on my car heater? We go to San Diego about once a year and I am usually the coldest one in the group, stealing someone’s sweatshirt and asking to go inside.

4. I am really talented at sleeping. I have a special technique I use for falling asleep when it’s noisy, and I am particularly gifted at falling back to sleep when woken up in the morning, even if I have already slept for 8 or 9 hours. I can nap anywhere, any time. Sleep is one of my top priorities in my life. Seriously.

5. In social situations, I am extremely shy, and also extremely obnoxious. I love having friends, but HATE meeting new people. I am paralyzed with a completely blank brain when it comes to making small talk with people I don’t know. I do not know what to say to people! On the flip side, when I’m in a social situation where I know people there, I tend to get obnoxiously loud and tell stories all night long. Basically I have no social skills. But luckily my friends apparently don’t mind. :) Because I’ve got some great ones.

So basically I’m a very short person who eats lots of junk food, whines about being cold, sleeps all the time, and will either ignore you or dominate the conversation. If you weren’t itching to be my friend in real life before, I’m sure I just motivated you with that Friday Five list! ;)

 

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What We’ve Been Up To

Workouts have been a little boring around here lately. Lots of treadmill running, lots of workout videos at home. The weather hasn’t been the greatest, and I’ve been hurting for running buddies.

But…. I did FINALLY do this!

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Studded my running shoes! The local running store does it, and it’s taken me all winter to get my butt in gear and get it done! They put screws into your shoes all around the perimeter, and it helps you grip in and stay stable on the ice and snow. I did a couple of miles on the bumpy, icy sidewalks and didn’t feel unsteady at all – they’re amazing!

In other news, I did an easy three miles with my friend on Saturday, and then felt good after she went home and decided to do a few more. I haven’t gone more than 3 miles in WAY too long, and it felt amazing.

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I’ve been trying hard not to overextend our little family, and to make sure we get lots of downtime together at home. My mom came to visit for a few weeks, and that was amazing. We’ve worked on the snap circuit set my kids got for Christmas, made some stuffed animals, and my youngest started her own version of yoga. Basically just relaxing and hanging out together.

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And I think we’ve FINALLY found an ultra to race this year! We’ve had a bunch of dates that would work, and a bunch of races that looked interesting, but no good races on the good dates. But we’re looking at the Skyline to Shore 50K in California in October. Hoping this gives me plenty of time to train, and also squeeze in some other races I’ve been excited about.


Linking up this week at the Weekend Update at Running N Reading!

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2015 Resolutions!

I love making New Years’ Resolutions – the more, the better. I love the possibility of improving myself, and the MANY different options I have for that! There are so many things I want to do, change, and learn in so many areas, but for this year I’m going to try to focus on 4 goals: one each in Family, Faith, Fitness, and Food.

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Family: Unplug in the evenings!
For this one I’m bringing back a goal I started and loved earlier this year, which is to put my phone away between the time I walk in the door from work and the time they go to bed. My husband and I both did this for a few weeks earlier this year and it was wonderful. It left me more time to interact with my kids, more time to clean the house, more time to read, help around the house, etc. I was more mindful of what my kids were doing – how long they were taking to get ready for bed, how they were treating each other. It’s so easy to tune out when I’m checking Facebook or reading the news on my phone, and such a terrible habit. I’ve committed to this with my kids for the upcoming year, and I know they’ll help hold me to it!

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Faith: Pray and/or meditate daily
Seems self-explanatory. :)

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Fitness: Participate in a new kind of race
Still trying to find a date for an ultra this year with my dad and sister. Also planning on my first cross-country ski race this year!

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Food: Leave food on my plate
This is my big one this year. Over the past few years, I have successfully changed my outlook toward exercise. I wake up early and exercise nearly every day. It’s gone from a goal that was extremely hard for me to accomplish to a successful habit, and a part of my life I crave and love. But…. I still weigh the same. I still look the same. I still eat the same. And it’s time to fix that.

I spent a lot of time thinking about a goal for my eating this year. At this point, I’m not willing to cut processed foods, refined sugar, carbs, or eating out. All of those things bring me a lot of joy and happiness. And it’s really not what I eat that’s the problem. It’s the amount of food I eat. And even more damaging than that, it’s the mindset of how I think about myself as an eater. That I am someone who eats a lot. That I always love getting seconds. That I eat everything on my plate because I love food. That I eat whatever I want because I exercise.

None of those things have to be true. None of them should be true. It’s hard to make drastic changes because I like my body how it is, and I really do love food. However, I know that having a healthier outlook on food, and a healthier body will make it easier and more enjoyable to attain my fitness goals. I know that the lighter I am, the better it feels to run and the easier it is.

So… I’m starting with the amount of food I eat. My goal is to not get seconds on any meal – to look at all the food on my plate at once, and decide yes, that’s a good amount to eat for one meal. And not only to not get seconds, but to actually leave food on my plate at every meal. To change my mindset so that I’m finishing eating when I’m full, or when something doesn’t taste good anymore, rather than when there is no more food on my plate. It’s hard to even write this out because it sounds so basic, but in the interest of honesty, this is where I am. Cleaner eating needs to happen too, but that will be down the road. For now, wish me luck with this one – it’s gonna be a hard one!


*Do you like to set lots of Resolutions? None? Just a few? Share some – I’d love to hear them!

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14 Favorite Fitness Moments and Outdoor Adventures of 2014!

My year of fitness was incredibly varied this year, with some new sports, new races, and just a generally new outlook on exercise in general. Here are my 14 favorite fitness moments and outdoor adventures!

1. New Year’s Day Cross Country Ski
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I love that my kids are getting old enough to exercise with us! On New Year’s Day, my husband and I left my littlest with a babysitter and took the two bigger kids out to ski our favorite trail. We had so much fun together, and it really got me excited about the years ahead that we have to share hobbies with our kids!

2. Spring Break 2014

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Spring Break brought another opportunity to share my new love of cross country skiing with my family. My dad, stepmom, and sister came up from California and we enjoyed a few fun days of skiing together. I love that my family is always up for a fitness adventure! On this particular day, we had me, my husband, and two aunts in addition to our San Diego crew. So fun!

3. My Kids’ First Triathlon

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My kids saw me training for my first triathlon and decided they wanted in on the fun! A local elementary school puts on a triathlon for kids, and my oldest two took on the challenge! It took some scrambling, but we managed to see both kids swim, bike, and run their way to their first triathlon finish! I was bursting with pride – both because they finished the race, and because they each did it in their own way. They didn’t care about any outside expectations – they did their own thing, which was such an inspiration to me two weeks later, when it was finally time for….

4. My First Triathlon

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This was definitely my favorite race of the year. Seeing women of all ages, shapes, and sizes come together to conquer a 3-sport race was incredibly humbling and inspiring. I have so much room for improvement, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me in this sport!

5. Our Summer Vacation

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We had an amazing opportunity this summer to spend a few weeks in San Diego, and then another week traveling around Southern Utah. Lots of runs with family, swim workouts, walks, and hikes – all with my very favorites!

6. First Day Hike

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I feel so fortunate to have friends with a sense of adventure, who are knowledgeable about all that Alaska has to offer. There are so many downsides to living here – it is HARD to deal with the long winters and being so far from family. But moments like this make it worth it.

7. Time at the Cabin

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We spent tons of time at our family’s cabin this summer, which is normally a recipe for disaster – laziness and tons of junk food! But this year I registered for a 10K at the end of the summer to keep me focused and get me out there running! I was super proud of myself that I got out and ran several times each week. That didn’t really help with the overeating part, but…. there’s always next year!

8. Adventures in Rowing

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A few times when I didn’t get out for a run, I made time in the evenings for a row around the lake. My form needs serious help, but it was a fun new way to get my heart rate up and get some arm work in at the same time. And you really can’t beat the view!

9. Workouts with My Girl

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My older daughter and I had so many great workouts together this year, particularly at the cabin. We ran together, biked together, she biked while I ran… and we always had a great time. I can talk to this girl for hours – she is such great company.

10. Family Hikes

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We made it a goal this summer to get out and try some hikes this summer with the kids and explore a little bit more. We…. didn’t do that great. But we made it out a few times, and this was one of my favorites – a rainy-day drive and walk around an abandoned gold mine.

11. Alaska 10K Classic

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I hadn’t run a 10K in years… maybe never? It was the perfect distance. Challenging enough that I had to stay on track with my running, easy enough that it didn’t take over my summer. The only bummer was that I didn’t know a single person there, running or spectating, so it was a little lonely. Next year I’ll remedy that and recruit some of my running buddies to come with me, because this baby was a fun one.

12. Creek Walk

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One night after dinner while my dad and stepmom were visiting, we went on an impromptu walk after dinner one night. The sun was shining, the kids were happy, the company was great, and the scenery was beautiful.

13. Ice Skating at the Cabin

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Over Thanksgiving weekend, we went back up to our family’s cabin, this time to ice skate. For a few hours, we skated, explored, and played hockey together. It was easy to feel like we were the only ones in this Alaskan wilderness.

14. Winter Running!

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My goal this winter was to get outside and run in the snow, and so far I’m actually doing it! Winter #5 up here and I’m finally making it happen this year. Never give up on your goals!

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Solstice Means Darkness. And Awesome Hair. (Weekly Recap)

So I call these weekly recaps but it’s occurred to me that really I just usually write about my Saturday workouts. Uh, sorry. It’s really because there’s nothing notable about my mid-week workouts. They’re all morning workouts so it’s lots of treadmill time and strength work. Pretty soon I’ll be posting a review of my favorite new strength training app though!

Anyway, this week I skipped a few workouts this week due to being generally unmotivated busy at work and sick with a cold. I think I did one day of strength training at home and one day of walking on the incline at the gym.

But…. luckily Saturday rolled around and it was time for my weekly run/skate morning workout! I’m lucky to have a no-excuses workout buddy, and even though it was dark and cold when we started out, it got done! I knew the day was meant to be awesome when I started off with hair like this (AFTER pinning back with bobby pins AND a headband).

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When I was at the Turkey Trot a few weeks ago, I noticed some women running in fleece skirts. Since I finished getting ready at 9:06 and I didn’t have to leave until 9:15, I figured I had time to whip one up. I found the most random fleece in my collection for my prototype, and BAM! A little extra warmth for the coldest temps yet!

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Our original plan was to run at 9:00, which is still pitch-black darkness here. Luckily we were able to bump it to 9:30 so that it was just dusky, finishing up the run portion at about 10:15 with a gorgeous sunrise. The Winter Solstice is this weekend, meaning it’s our darkest time of the year. I know the darkness can be miserable, but I try to just mentally find things to enjoy – when else do you get to exercise at sunrise?

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Here we go at about 10:30, transitioning to our skate. Still so dusky! But gorgeous…

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The whole time we were skating this morning we kept saying, “Isn’t this gorgeous? This is so pretty. I can’t believe we live here. This is the best way to start a weekend.” For sure so obnoxious. But seriously.

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Then later today my youngest asked if she could paint a rock. I absentmindedly said yes and all of the sudden she was walking in from outside with this giant planter bowl full of snowy rocks. *sigh* This child. Think she’s a little excited about her plan?

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Thoughts on fleece skirts for cold weather running?

How many days off do you get this week from work for the holidays?

Any races coming up before the end of the year?

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