Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Foodie Penpal!

I'm sure you're thinking "what the heck is a foodie penpal?" Well, let me tell you!

Lindsay, over at The Lean Green Bean started this penpal exchange program a few years ago, and apparently it has just taken off. Basically, you sign up by the 4th of every month. Then Lindsay randomly matches you with another participant. You email back and forth with that person to find out likes, dislikes, allergies, etc. Then you go foodie shopping! The spending limit is $15, although I will admit that I went over that. Ok by me, I wanted to send good stuff!

You have to postmark your box by the 15th, and let your penpal know when you've received their box. It's up to you to figure out the best/cheapest way to mail your box. I just sent mine priority since it came with tracking and delivery confirmation. Important! Then anyone with a blog waits to post about it until the 30th of the month. This isn't an automatic renewal type of program, so if you want to keep doing it, you have to remember to sign up for the next month again.

This was my first month, and I was paired with veteran foodie penpal-er Gigi from Texas. She sounds like so much fun, and a real foodie at heart! I sent her a box full of Minnesota-made goodies, and she reciprocated with a box full of Texas love! Wanna see?

I opened the box to find these fun post cards. The "Kisses from Texas" is for Emily, and the San Antonio card had a description of each item.

1. Stubbs BBQ sauce
2. Alamo Crackers - shortbread cookies: how fun!
3. Wild West Cookies - cinnamon graham cookies in "wild west" shapes.
4. Minestrone Soup Mix
5. Italian Seasoning Mix
6. Hawaiian Nut mix - seriously so good! I could not stop eating this!
7. Garlic chips - basically dried garlic cloves in some kind of seasoning. I was a little doubtful about these to begin with, but they are quite tasty!
8. Green bean chips - the same as the garlic chips, but these are a little sweet too. Travis and I love them!
9. A cedar grilling plank. How awesome is that?!

Gigi also included a few pamphlets about things to do in San Antonio, including a map of all the wineries. Yes please! Perhaps I will have to schedule a trip there sometime soon?

The downside of Foodie Penpals is that you can get an unresponsive match. My first penpal didn't email me back right away, so I was rematched with Gigi. Apparently the same thing happened to her. Then my first penpal finally did email me. I figured two would be twice the fun, so I chatted with her and sent her a box as well. She said she sent my box on the 15th, but it never showed up. :( Majorly disappointed!

In any case, I will do this again. It was so fun, and I'm loving all the little treats!

Have you heard of Foodie Penpals? Is this something you'd consider doing?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall Festivities

This weekend we had absolutely gorgeous weather. Actually, a little more like Summer weather than Fall. Travis said "Where has this weather been all Summer long?"

Since I was supposed to be resting this weekend due to my leg muscle strain (not happy about it and don't want to talk about it), we decided to take it easy all weekend. By taking it easy, that means going pumpkin picking. Of course!

Seriously though, you have to take advantage of the good weather when you get it. Who knows when it will be cold and snowy. So, we packed up a picnic basket and off to the farm we went.

The place we went to is actually kind of commercialized, and very popular. Very. We weren't surprised to see tons of people when we pulled up. Quite different from last year when we went in the rain. Oh well.

As soon as we got there, all Emily wanted to do was play on the swing set.

She was not interested in pumpkin picking, the corn maze, the pony rides...none of it. All she wanted to do was play. Which was fine with us, for awhile. 

But mama didn't pay $15 bucks for you to swing, darling daughter. So when another kid wanted to use the swing, I plucked her up and off to the corn maze we went.

That was met with a few tears. I know, I know, I'm the meanest mom in the world. But eventually she got over it.

The corn maze wasn't that exciting for Emily. I figured she was probably just hungry, so we decided it was a good time to eat. We lucked out and nabbed an empty picnic table right away. Seriously, this was what Emily enjoyed most. She even thanked God for our picnic during bedtime prayers.

Lovin' that food. A girl after my own heart!

After we ate, Emily was in a slightly better mood. We decided to go check out the pony rides. Emily got to ride the smallest pony. His name was Hans, just like in "Frozen", which Emily totally geeked out about.

She didn't really love the pony ride, but hung on until the end. I think it would have been better if she were on a bigger pony - a bigger center of gravity helps keep the rider more stable. Pun not intended! Years and years of riding taught me that the little devils were the hardest to stay on. 

In the end, Emily picked us out some fine pumpkins. Even a white "polar bear" variety to change things up a bit.

On Sunday, we just lazed around the house, watched football, and relaxed. Per doctors orders for me. 

See, I had a nagging pain in my piriformis muscle. It goes from your butt to your hip and helps with hip mobility. It wasn't painful, really, more just annoying. It kind of came and went for a few days. Then on Thursday, it went from my hip to my quad muscle while I was running. It went from nagging to more of a burning pain. I took it easy on Friday by running on the treadmill, and had no pain there but then my knee was bugging me. So I went to the doctor on Friday, and she diagnosed me with a strained muscle and prescribed physical therapy. I skipped my long run to rest the muscle this week. But with a half marathon coming up in 3 weeks, I know I can't afford too much resting time. On the flip side, I also don't want to injure myself further. Tomorrow I plan on doing an easy run to see how things feel. 

So, enough about that. Travis started working on the gargantuan task that is raking all of our leaves in the back yard. He got this cool photo of Emily jumping in a small pile of leaves.

How was your weekend? Are you enjoying Fall?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Favorites: a recipe

You guys.


Stop and read this. This is the most fan-freaking-tastic soup I have had, possibly in my life. That's almost 30 years, (less than a month! gulp!) so you know, a ton of soup-tasting time.

Curried Carrot, Apple, and Peanut Soup

Say what? Ok, I am not a huge fan of carrots. I eat them with lots of ranch, or mixed in a casserole or something. I would definitely not seek out a carrot recipe. But I saw this on Pinterest, and the other flavors definitely had me intrigued. Curry? Apple? Peanuts? Heck yea. The blend of spices are so perfect for Fall, and the house smelled amazing when we were cooking this.

I'm showing pictures from The Law Student's Wife's post, because I did not even think about taking pictures. I was in too much of a hurry to get this in my belly!

From The Law Student's Wife
We've been trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our diet, both for health and finance reasons. Right now, apples are super cheap. We always have peanut butter in our house. Carrots are always cheap. Check, check and check.

Also, you could probably make this totally vegan if you left out the greek yogurt, which is really just a topping. I didn't have any on mine. I paired my bowl with some extra apple slices, some peanuts mixed in, and a nice slice of crusty bread. Yum!

For the mamas out there: my daughter gobbled this up. It helped that we had lots to "dip" in it, like the bread and apple slices. But she really liked this.

We had it Wednesday night, and then I had it for lunch yesterday. I also have a bowl in my lunch bag for today as well.

So, go be adventurous and make this soup. It's easy, and makes plenty. You will love it!

What have you eaten lately that you are raving about? I love getting new recipes!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mamas Tell All Link-Up: Picky Eaters

It's Wednesday, which means that I'm talking about being a mom again!

Mamas Tell All is hosted by That Southern Mama, The So-Called Homemaker, and Everyday Thoughts. Go here for a list of the upcoming topics and check out the other mama's involved!

This week we're talking about kids and eating, and how to get your picky kid to eat.

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a fraud on this particular topic. Emily is not a picky eater in the least, and that's really not due to anything special that we've done as parents. We've always offered her a variety of foods, and left her to it. She also eats her fair share of mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, and quesadillas (all easy weekend lunches).

We eat dinner, and a lot of lunches on weekends and days off, as a family. We've never obsessed over what Emily was eating or not eating on her plate. I really feel like if you make a big deal out of it, their little independent selves will say "no" just because they have a choice. So, what we're having for dinner is what she gets and if she doesn't eat it...then tough. I hate cooking as it is, and I'm not going to be a short order cook.

However, Emily is pretty easy going in this area. Sometimes she'll turn her nose up at something, but bribery goes a long way! If she eats 4 more bites of this, then she gets that. (Or whatever, just a broad example here).

She is a big fan of baking with me recently, so that's a go-to treat for us. And so this post isn't totally boring, here's a recipe that we made this weekend. Emily gobbled this up with no questions asked.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

My mother-in-law gave us some zucchini and squash from their garden this past week. One of the zucchini was over a foot long and wider than my bicep. It was huge! I'd always heard that big zucchini like that aren't great to eat alone, and better if used in something. I wanted to do some baking, and so an idea was born. Since it's also Fall, I knew I wanted to add in pumpkin. Since I also love chocolate, the chips were like an obvious no brainer.

I shredded 2 cups of zucchini for the bread, and still have nearly an entire zucchini left over. Crazy.

The original recipe that I used came from Little House Living. I followed her recipe pretty exact, and just threw in the chocolate chips at the end. About a cup, or half a bag.


2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup butter melted
1 cup pumpkin puree (1/2 can)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix zucchini, melted butter, sugars, eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract in one bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices.
- Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture slowly, mixing with hand beater or stand mixer if you have it. Once well combined, add in chocolate chips.
- Grease and flour two bread pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes. I started checking for done-ness around 45 minutes, but with 2 loaves in there it really took the extra time. Just keep an eye on them.

Honestly, these tasted exactly like the muffins we made a few weeks ago. Honestly, no one in my house cared. Emily has eaten two huge pieces so far, even after I told her there was zucchini in there. I will not disclose how many pieces I've had! 

So, now that I've written you a book, go check out the other mama's stories in the link up! 

Do you have issues with a picky eater? Any tips or tricks that have worked in your home?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Runners Tell All: Race Bucket List


It's time again for the monthly Runners Tell All blog link-up, hosted by The Lady Okie and Sunshine to the Square Inch. For a list of our monthly topics, go here.

This month we're talking about our race bucket list. The races we've set as "goal" races, the ones we'd love to travel too, and the ones that just seem like fun.

Honestly, being newish to running, I haven't given this a whole lot of thought. I love traveling, and I like traveling for races. But, I haven't invested a ton of time into thinking about which races I'd really like to do if given the chance. There are two, however, that I have thought about (read: started thinking about logistics, time off, drive time, fly time, etc).

First: The Detroit Free Press Marathon. If you've been hanging around my blog for any amount of time, this should come as no surprise. I've mentally committed to running a full, and this is the one I've chosen. It's in Oct, which is great to me because that means I don't have to train during the winter. Also, I have a lot of family in the Detroit area, so it would be nice to visit them as well.

Next up is kind of a wild card, but one that I'm seriously considering as well. The Avenue of the Giants. Basically, you are running through the giant redwood trees in Northern California. This race includes a full, half, and a 10K. A running friend mentioned it a few months ago and really piqued my interest. It's in May, so I would just focus on the half marathon. Also, Trav's birthday is in May, so we could make this a "birthday trip". You know, with a half marathon thrown in there. But it's close enough to San Francisco and Napa that we could definitely make a full vacation out of it. I'm thinking 2016.

Side note: Humboldt County also hosts this same race in October as part of their county fair. At least, it seems exactly the same to me. Not sure about the distances though.

*I'm editing this at the last minute to add a race I just found out about. Vacation Races offers seven races hosted in or very near national parks. A friend of mine just did the Smoky Mountain half this weekend and said it was awesome. I was taking a look at the website, and saw that they host a half marathon near the Grand Canyon. Huzzah! That's on our bucket list of places to go, so totally awesome that I could fit the two in together. It is also in May. Hmm...now I've got some planning to do!

So, that's really all I have for a bucket list so far. I'd love to run in Europe somewhere, but I'd also just love to go to Europe - running or no running.

Go check out the other blogs to get some ideas for your own bucket list!

Do you have a race bucket list? What's on it?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!

I know we've all been waiting a long time for Friday to finally roll around (I mean, why can't it be Friday every day?). Friday just naturally puts people in a good mood. Like the Good Samaritan that brought a giant box of donuts to the office this morning. Sugar high for every one!

Since we're all in a good mood, here are some things that are making me particularly happy today:

The Atlanta Falcons. I am not a huge Falcons fan, by any means, but I picked them over the Buccaneers in our office league and was completely happy with that decision this morning. I went to bed last night when the score was 35-0, and they ended up winning it 56-14. Good job boys! Hopefully this means good things for my picks this week!

All of my Fall candles. This isn't the entire collection, either - don't hate! The weather here has been crisp and cool, so that requires good smelling scents like pumpkin, apple, caramel, cinnamon, ginger....yum! Also, slightly off camera is a huge bowl of cashews and candy corn. A Fall candy treat must have. You should try it!

My parents and their amazing thoughtfulness. They just came back from Scotland and sent us a bunch of goodies. I am loving this beautiful scarf. It's a deep purple with thistle print in the lighter purple area. So gorgeous!

Also, they sent me this gorgeous bracelet. The stone is made out of the heather plant. There is a process where the stone makers take the dried heather and reduce it down until it becomes a hard stone. It's beautiful! Here's a link to the company's website with more options and a better description of the process: HeatherGems.

Last, but not least, these two. They also make me happy! Travis is sporting his new hat from the St. Andrews golf course, and Emily is holding her Scottish bear. She also received an adorable little kilt. Can't wait until she fits into it! 

What is making you happy today? Have you been to Scotland? I think I need to add this to my bucket list!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mamas Tell All Link-Up

Today, and for the next few Wednesday's going forward, I'm going to try to participate in another link-up. Written by moms, for moms and moms to be.

Mamas Tell All hosted by That Southern Mama, The So-Called Homemaker, and Everyday Thoughts. Go here for a list of the upcoming topics and check out the other mama's involved!

Today, our topic is "How to keep your marriage alive after children". 

This topic is so, so important. Mainly because it is hard. Marriage is work - most people would agree on that. You get out of it what you put into it.

Now, I'm not going to profess to be a marriage guru or pretend like we're doing everything right. Our relationship, like any, has its ups and downs. But I think there are a few main points to follow in order to get this right.

Not just a Dad - role model and teacher of "cool"

1. Love & Respect the Person you Married- Well, this seems like a no brainer, right? Should be. Obviously you love the man you married (or woman - holler at my male readers, and LGBT readers!) But the respect thing is huge, too. I love and respect my husband for the man he is, which is not just my partner parent and someone to shoulder the parenting with. It also includes supporting him in his goals, interests, choices, and decisions. Even when they maybe don't align with mine. He respects and supports the goals I have, and vice versa. 

"I wuv you baby"

2. Talking it Out - Discussion and communication is key. Not just "how was your day?" or "did Emily eat her whole lunch" or "did Emily poop today?" (don't lie - this is usually topic #1 in our house right now and I know it is in your house, too), but "how did you feel about X happening?" and "did you hear about Z on the news? What are your thoughts on that?" 

Way before baby - Cardinals Game in 2009
When we're dating our future spouse, we delve into every nook and cranny of their brain to learn all their quirks, thoughts, and ideals. That shouldn't stop after we say "I Do". 

3. Date Night - Even if this is just on the couch in your home, carving out time for each other shows each other that you still value them as a person that you want to spend time with. Not just someone to change a diaper or pick up the kids from school. I think we can get so wrapped up in going through the motions of our days with kids involved, that having that adult time really makes a difference. 

Day Date pre-baby

For us, it's popcorn (wine) and a Netflix show or movie. When we're lucky, it's a real dinner date, or even a day date!

First trip away after having Emily - Bayfield/Ashland 2012. Ignore the crazy creeper guy in the background.

I think the overall idea that I try to work towards each day is remembering that I have to invest in my marriage and my partner to keep things working. I will admit that I can get wrapped up in my own wants and "needs". It's good to have reminders sometimes to slow down, take a look at the person standing by your side and say "Hey there good looking! Tell me all about your day, what are you thinking about lately, and oh yea - maybe we could have this conversation after some much needed 'alone' time?"

Wink wink.

How do you balance marriage and parenting? 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Race Recap: Minnesota Power Tunnel 10k

This weekend I had another race down in Duluth. I know some of my readers (hi mom!) are thinking another race???

Well, this one seemed really cool! The Minnesota Power Tunnel 10K, where we got to race on I-35. Yes, actually right on the interstate. Through the tunnels. How neat is that? I believe that it is usually illegal to even be walking on the interstate, so this race had some unique appeal.

Of course I had to leave my house before the sun was up to get down there and checked in on time. What else is new? Luckily my friend, Colleen, was up for the challenge. You should remember her name, she also ran Ragnar with me. Colleen convinced her friend, Angie, to run as well. So the three of us set off for Duluth at 5:45am.

We got down there with plenty of time to pick up our race packets, use the bathroom, and get a feel for the lay out. The finish line was right by the William A. Irvin ship, with the post-race goodies and what not in the DECC.

The starting line was on I-35 by the old train depot. I had my phone with me, but failed to even think about taking any photos. Here's a shot of the start from last year's race.

Courtesy of MNPower Tunnel 10K's FB page

We did manage to get another runner to snap a photo of the 3 of us. Not the best pic, but proof we were there. It was also about 35 degrees at the start, so don't laugh at all the clothing I'm wearing.

And hello? What is my hair doing? 
The race is chip timed, but they do a gun start. I believe they don't have the chip mat at the beginning because of logistics and lack of power on the interstate. So I made sure to be nice and close to the starting line, faster runners be damned. (I mean that in the nicest possible way!)

The race course is nice and open, since it's on the highway. You run through 4 tunnels, I think. I wasn't really counting. Warning! Your GPS signal will drop in every tunnel. Mine came back, but I know Colleen's did not. That can lead to some weird pace times. At one point, my watch said I was running about a 3:45 mile. Very cool, but never gonna happen!

Even though the website shows a hilly elevation map, the course is really not hilly at all.

Courtesy of MN Power Tunnel 10K's FB page

This is an out and back course, and towards the turn around there is kind of a long hill. But then you get to fly down it! 

Courtesy of MN Power Tunnel 10K's FB page 
I believe that's London Rd right by Black Woods Grill. They give out water bottles instead of cups, which is nice for several reasons:

1) You don't spill it all over yourself - especially concerning in the cold weather.
2) You can put the lid back on and carry it with you. 

There is one more "hill" towards the end when you come up off the interstate via the off ramp and turn towards the DECC. But really, it's very manageable. I like to play mind games with other runners during races (am I the only person that does this?). There was a gentleman coming up behind me right before we started up the ramp. I was determined to run up strong and not let him pass me. Not only did he not pass me, I never saw him after that! 

My goal for this race was to stay at a steady 8:30 pace. I think I did a good job at relaxing into that, despite my Garmin watch going in and out with the tunnels. 

My finishing time was 53:03, or an average of 8:32 mn/mile. Also, a PR for me by 12 seconds!

Overall, I really enjoyed this race. They were pretty slow to get results up online, but given that this is only the 2nd year of the race I will cut them some slack. The 10K crowd was nice and small at 500ish people, but there is also a half marathon and some in-line skating races that go on as well. So it felt just big enough not to be overwhelming. The volunteers and race coordinators were great too, super helpful and friendly. I think this is one to add to the yearly race book!

Did you run a race this weekend? Do you play mental games with other runners?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Stitch Fix #2 Review

It's my favorite day of the month! My Stitch Fix is here!

Hooray! If you're not familiar with this online styling service, check out my first review here. Today was a dreary, cold day, so I was pretty stoked to have this waiting for me at home.

The best part about Stitch Fix is that you get to try the clothes on in your own home, with your own clothing or accessories. Then you can send back whatever you don't like in their prepaid envelope. It costs $20 for the "styling fee", but that is credited towards your purchase. Also, if you buy all 5 items, you get a 25% discount!

Enough detail, let's get to the clothes!

Fun2Fun - Thayer Graphic Print Key Hole Blouse $48

Ignore my doofy face here. I was working on teaching hubby how to use the camera and get proper lighting. Work in progress!

I wear tons of black and white, so this fits perfectly into my wardrobe. The keyhole detail is cute and makes this modest top a little more young and fun. I like the loose feel of this top, too. I went back into my style profile to change my sizing after my last fix, and this whole Fix was bang on this time. Love it.

41Hawthorn - Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse $58
Sanctuary - George Zipper Detail Skinny Jean $128

Ok, seriously? I love this outfit. How did someone in California find a pair of jeans that would fit me so well, without even seeing me? Can you tell that they are olive green? They have a fun little zipper detail for the pockets, too, instead of normal jean pockets. Probably way more than I would ever spend on jeans, but how can you deny love? I love love love them.

The top is a for sure winner too. It's great with these jeans, or regular denim jeans. Or maybe even white jeans this Spring/Summer? It's a little on the sheer side, so I threw a cami underneath. Also, our weather is cold enough already for layering. (Sad face!) The sleeves have a fun little detail in the back with a V cut in. This would maybe be better on the front side where it hits my elbows, but overall I still really love the top. I felt so cute and chic in this outfit. Winner winner chicken dinner. 

Octavia - Dustin Window Pane Print Infinity Scarf $32

This was the first thing I saw in my Fix, and I literally squealed when I saw it. I've pinned a few scarves on my style board, so I was super excited to see this. It's a warmer fabric with a little fringe around the edges. Totes cute for Fall. Plus, the navy color will go with just about anything I pair with jeans. Keeper.

Fun2Fun - Judd Paisley Print Scoope Neck Blouse $44

This top I wasn't too sure about, but I think it looks pretty good with jeans. My style card suggests throwing a boyfriend type sweater over top for the colder months. I like the paisley print too. It's probably not something I'd grab off the rack, but I liked it on. Plus, it's cheaper to keep it with the 25% discount if I buy everything. So this is kind of like a freebie item!

Honestly, I am so thrilled with this Fix. I felt like the stylist really nailed my sizing and my style, plus put some fun things in that are maybe a little outside my norm. I'm 99% sure I'm keeping the whole box.

Want to try Stitch Fix out for yourself? Shameless plug for my referral link here
What says the blogosphere? Yays? Nays?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Also known as "Fall goodness that needs to be in my belly".

I first saw this recipe on Julie's blog, Table for Two. If you want some good recipes - go to Julie's blog. We've made several of her recipes and I've pinned tons more. She's such a good cook and comes up with awesome flavors!

These muffins are like a sweet and savory treat. Our weather is definitely Fall like, so I thought Emily and I could do a little bonding via baking. Also, I ran 11 miles on Saturday, so I was feeling like treating myself.

First, assemble your ingredients:

Then, mix your dry ingredients in one bowl. You can fold the eggs, butter, and pumpkin puree in another bowl or in a fancy stand mixer if you have one. I do not. Sad face!

Best little helper!
Combine the two with a mixer (handheld or stand). You're supposed to add the dry to the wet mixture, but my dry was in the bigger bowl. I don't think it mattered at all.

Then, chop up your semi-sweet chocolate. Make sure you get two bars. Don't be a dummy like me and only get one. You need 6 oz of semi-sweet chocolate, and one bar is typically only 4 ounces. Luckily I had another bar of unsweetened that I could use. I don't think it affected the flavor at all. After you chop that up, fold it into the muffin mix.

Once you've got everything mixed together, fill up your muffin tin. This is pretty thick, so best to use a spoon. Bake at 350 for 20-25 (23 was perfect for the first batch, 21 for the second). Then let them cool for about 5 minutes before you transfer them to a wire rack.

This made 17 muffins for me. We had a little left over from the first batch. You'll notice there is one missing here. We couldn't help ourselves and had to taste before the second batch was out of the oven!

Nothing makes me say "yum" more than melty chocolate. Yum yum yum!

Kid tested, kid approved.

Like I said earlier, these are a savory and sweet treat. The pumpkin spice helps it not to be too sweet, but the chocolate is just the right touch. So far, we kind of love them!

Go to Table for Two for the full recipe and ingredient list. You'll be very happy if you do!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Minnesota Mile

Hi friends! How was your weekend? Mine was busy and full of running. Naturally.

Saturday morning I was up with the sun to get 11 miles in. I ran a new-to-me route that was actually kind of nice. Rolling hills that I never thought once "oh man, another hill!?", and wide shoulders along most of the roads I traveled on. Plus, lots of friendly drivers that gave me lots of room on the road.

On Sunday, hubby and I were up bright and early, again, to travel to Duluth for the Minnesota Mile. This is a fun, short race. Yes, really only a mile! It's part of the "Bring Back the Mile" campaign, which I guess is a nationwide thing?

In any case, we had to be there super early to get my race packet and ensure a good parking spot. I shouldn't have worried about that so much, since the race had less than 300 participants. It was actually a nice, relaxed race. As always, the Grandma's team does a good job of communication and organization. The MN Mile is broken out into a few divisions: the All-City Mile is for those with a projected finish time of 6:46 or longer (us slow pokes), and then the Duluth Mile for 6:46 and faster. Each has a men's and women's division.

The best part of this is that 250 finishers get a guaranteed entry into the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon, which is one of the most popular races in these parts. It's hard to get in the lottery, so I was willing to take the gamble!

I wasn't really planning on running the mile as fast as I could. We had a nice day planned with brunch and the weather was beautiful. I figured I'd just go, run the mile in maybe 8:15 or 8:30, and carry on. But once you get there, the atmosphere is just fun and the whole idea is fast. So once the starting gun went off, I was booking it!

I finished at 7:11! That's crazy fast for me. I felt really good after the first quarter mile, which was a little tough, but my body kind of relaxed into that pace and I was flying! Knowing that you just have to keep it up for a mile is helpful, too. I was 9th in my division, so not winning any awards, but I felt pretty happy with myself!

Please forgive the glare on my glasses and my slightly flushed look! 

Since I've mentally committed to running the Detroit Marathon next Fall, I've been very curious as to what I can expect for a full marathon finishing time. 4 hours or under would be great.

Uhm...who am I kidding? Just finishing would be great! But based on this race predictor chart, it looks like a sub-4 full marathon is not too far out of reach!

Average predicted full marathon race time is 3:53:30, with 4:01:21 being the longest prediction

Of course, that's if everything goes well, I stay healthy, and all the stars align. But I'm ready to start putting in the hard work to get me there!

How was your weekend? Are you working on any goals, long term or short?