Free Summer Activities for Kids in the Anchorage Area

At the beginning of the summer, I set myself a goal of taking Cullen to a new (to him) place each week. Sometimes it was a new park, sometimes it was traveling out of town for a hike or camping adventure.

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All of the things we did were free and almost always outside. They were activities that could have lasted 15 20 minutes or an entire hour depending upon weather and his level of happiness.

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Here’s what we did each week, and a little bit about each of the places we visited. (Each date is the start of the weeknot necessarily the date we actually did the activity.)

May 8 Kincaid Park

Kincaid Park is huge and offers a lot of different activities for people of all ages, but there is a small (but great) little playground area for kids that is comprised of several large play structures for climbing on: a giant moose to climb on, ropes, etc. When we went there, Cullen was a little young to be able to climb on the structures, but in the future I’ll definitely be taking him there.

May 15 Suzan Nightingale McKay Park (Government Hill)

This park quickly acquired the nickname of the Dinosaur Park because there was an area where you could dig for dinosaur bones. Cullen is really into dinosaurs, so he really liked this park. It overlooks the inlet, so there’s a great view as well.

May 22 Train Depot (downtown Anchorage)

Along with dinosaurs, Cullen’s other obsession is with trains. (Probably why he loves Dinosaur Train so much.) We drove down to the train depot to look at the trains. We also ran to the train depot a couple of times from Westchester Lagoon.

May 29 Potter Marsh Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk

Potter’s Marsh is a popular place to go for tourists and locals alike. It is a bird estuary and you can see salmon running up the stream in late summer. There is a long boardwalk in two directions, so plenty of space for everyone. On a warm, sunny day (like we had), the views were amazing.

June 5 Lake Hood Floatplane Base

Another one of Cullen’s pastimes is watching planes take off and land. At Lake Hood, you can watch the seaplanes take off and land on the water, which is even entertaining for adults. The planes are relatively close, which makes it even cooler. We packed a picnic lunch to eat at Spenard Beach Park and while watching the airplanes.

June 12 University Lake Dog Park

This week we took Sadie on our adventure too and took her to the dog park around University Lake. Usually we will go to the Conner’s Bog Dog Park because it is a lot closer to our house, but it is fun to mix it up every once in a while. There is a great trail around the lake, but we didn’t get too far with a toddler who likes to stop every three feet to pick something off the ground.

June 19 Balto Seppala Park

We met up for a play date at this park one afternoon. This park was recently redone with turf and new playground equipment. There is also a large grassy area for other activities.

June 26 Cullen’s choice: Westchester Lagoon

We’ve been to Westchester Lagoon before, but Cullen loves this park. There is playground equipment, but he also loves the water: throwing rocks in the water and watching the birds/ducks. We will often start and end our stroller runs from this area because there is so much to see.

July 3 4th of July parade

Cullen, Craig, my mother-in-law, and Craig’s aunt, and I went to the 4th of July parade downtown. Cullen loved the fire trucks and watching the bands.

July 10 Portage Pass Hike (Whittier, AK)

My sister and her husband were in town, so we took them to the Portage Pass Trail just outside of Whittier. It is a medium-intensity, short hike, so it is great for kids. I did carry Cullen in the backpack on the way up and down though. Once you get to the top, there are several look-out points to see the glacier and the town of Whittier below.

July 17 Camping + fishing

This was the first time we had taken Cullen camping, and now I know why. It was SO difficult to get him to fall asleep at night since it barely gets dark in the middle of the summer. The first night I think he fell asleep at 12:30 a.m., the next night was 12:00 a.m., and the last night I can’t even remember I was so exhausted. He had fun watching everyone fish and kept requesting a pole of his own.

July 24 Trip to the cabin

Technically we did take Cullen to my in-law’s cabin this past winter, but this was a trip in the summer and we went to new places we hadn’t been during our winter trip. He loved building a fire and stacking firewood. (I’m sure he won’t love stacking firewood as a teen!)

July 31 SteamDot Coffee Shop

This was our one indoor activity. The rains started this week, and I wasn’t feeling the strong desire to spend time in the rain. I knew Cullen would have a good time playing with different toys. This particular coffee shop is nice because there are quite a few toys for kids of all ages.

August 7 Anchorage International Airport

I have been running on the Coastal Trail many times and have seen the airplanes take off and land right next to the trail, but I didn’t know this was a thing to do with your kids until I heard other moms talking about it. We didn’t pick the best day to do this as it was drizzly, (It hit August and the fall rains started.), but Cullen still loved it nonetheless. We watch big cargo planes and passenger jets take off and land that were so close it felt like you could touch them. (FYI The highest concentration of airplane traffic is right around the noon hour.)

August 14 Cullen’s choice: Dinosaur Park

This week I let Cullen pick where we went, and he chose to go back to the Dinosaur Park. We brought our lunch along, and he had the entire park to himself.

August 21 I think this was the one week we didn’t get out and do anything.

August 28 Beluga Point and McHugh Creek

This is a really quick drive from Anchorage (10 minutes from the south side of town). There’s a couple look-out points at Beluga Point, and we walked down to the water to throw rocks into the water. It was funbut windy! After spending about 30 minutes at Beluga Point, we drove back down the road just a little ways to McHugh Creek. We didn’t hike the trail but instead just checked out the creek, waterfall, and look-out point from the top parking lot.

September 4 Cullen’s choice: Beluga Point

Cullen wanted to go back to Beluga Point, and I wanted to see if there were any beluga whales in the Turnagain Arm as I had heard they were there, but sadly we couldn’t find any. We did see some dall sheep though.

After that, we left for Minnesota, so our summer adventures in Alaska concluded. It was a lot of fun forcing myself to explore different places, although I like to do this anyway. I definitely see ourselves doing the same thing next summer.


Fun Fall Weekend + Failed Workout

I am loving this picture-picture fall weather we are having in Minnesota right now! Actually it was on the warm and humid side on Friday and Saturday, but then Sunday was sunny with a hint of crisp fall air.

This weekend, my mom, Cullen, and I went to the Twin Cities to stay with my sister, Kristy, and her husband, Nick. It was a full weekend but a lot of fun as I did some shopping, attempted a marathon pace workout that actually didn’t go so well, a trip to the zoo, and a visit to the apple orchard.

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We drove up on Friday afternoon and stopped at some stores we don’t have in Anchorage: Nike Outlet, Trader Joe’s, and Home Goods. I also went to Lululemon even though we do have one in Anchorage, but I had been doing some online shopping and wanted to try on the pieces in the store. As always, Lululemon took more of my money than I had planned, and I ended up buying these running tights (because it is going to be cold when I get back to Alaska), this running long sleeve top (that seemed warmer than a lot of their other long sleeve running tops), and this sweatshirt because I am a sucker for cute, comfy sweatshirts, and it is all I wear during the winter because I’m always freezing.

Friday night we had dinner together, and Kristy and Nick grilled turkey burgers for everyone. After dinner, we hung out and watched Sing (Cullen’s request) since Cullen napped in the car and didn’t go to bed until 10:30 p.m. anyhow.

Saturday morning Kristy and I did my marathon paced workout. It shouldn’t have been too hard, but I really struggledeven more so than I did three days prior during a similar workout.

Saturday’s workout:

30 minutes @ GMP (goal marathon pace) = 6:45 6:49, 2 minutes easy, 30 minutes @ GMP, 2 minutes easy, 20 minutes @ GMP with the last 5 minutes a little bit faster

I naturally woke up at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning, had some breakfast (RX Bar, toast with peanut butter, coffee, and Generation UCAN), did some computer work, and we were ready to go by 9:00 a.m. Definitely a little later as the humidity was on the higher side, but it was raining from about 7:30-8:30 a.m.

We did a couple warm-up miles that felt fine. We knew the humidity was going to be a challenge, but it was overcast. Then it was time to go! The first 30 minutes we hit all but one of the targeted paces: 6:44, 6:43, 6:45, 6:53.

By the end of that first set, I was already feeling like I was putting in way more effort than I should be, so I decided to slow the next segment down to 6:50 6:55. We started out, but within the first mile I knew things weren’t moving so quickly anymore. I really struggled to stay with Kristy, and I thought about stopping way too many times. I finished but it wasn’t pretty: 7:08, 7:18, 7:14, 7:11.

We stopped for some water at this point, and Kristy and I started talking about my extremely labored breathing, so labored that I can barely catch my breath. This happens when I don’t take enough iron, and it dawned on me that I had been taking less iron in the last week. You see, usually I take a prenatal vitamin with 30 mg of iron + an iron supplement with 65mg. However, this last week I started taking some vitamins my coach gave me last summer that are some ‘premium’ vitamins. What I didn’t realize was that there isn’t any iron in this multivitamin pack. I was continuing to take my iron supplement, but 95 mg (which is usually what I take) versus 65 mg is a fairly sizable difference. It seems I need all 95mg as a very similar thing happened to me two winters ago when I changed up my vitamin ritual. I even blogged about it here.

The other possibility is the humidity was too high and affected me, which I’m sure didn’t help. Either way, I’m going to increase my iron intake and pray that that’s what my body needs.

Kristy and I finished up the last 20 minutes of the workout as best I could run it, even though the splits were even slower: 7:19, 7:26, 7:45.

I was so dead at the end of this workout. Oddly my back even ached, and I felt kind of nauseous and completely depleted of anything and everything in my body. Even trying to run a cool-down was a challenge.

As we were running back to Kristy’s house, we saw my mom and Cullen at the playground, so we walked back to the house with them. On our way, we stopped at a garage sale and scored a train tablecomplete with extra train tracks, Thomas and Friends trains, and more train accessories than one kid could play with for $20. It was such a steal and is still in excellent shape. Prior to purchasing this set, this was one toy Cullen asked to play with time and time again, and he literally hasn’t stopped playing with it since we got it. I’m so glad he got one, but sadly we won’t be able to take the whole thing back with us to Alaska.

Saturday afternoon Cullen actually took a nap (the power of Grandma’s!), and Kristy and I took our time eating and getting ready. Around 4:00 p.m. we headed to the Como Zoo because it was the one thing Cullen really wanted to do when in Minnesota. He, of course, loved it and was literally running from exhibit to exhibit. He seemed to especially like any of the animals in water.

Saturday night we laid low, Kristy made a Chicken Artichoke Pesto Pizza based off this recipe, and Cullen wanted to watch Secret Life of Pets. Once again he didn’t go to bed until 10:30 p.m. (even though we tried much earlier).

Sunday morning I did an easy 7 miles before church. After church, we all headed to the apple orchard where we picked apples and enjoyed a quintessential fall day. It was so nice!

Then it was back to Kristy and Nick’s house for lunch, the Vikings game, and a little more time together before we had to pack up and head back to the farm.

Today I’m laying low, going for an easy 6 mile run in a little bit, and then will probably do more blog work, Beautycounter-related things, and maybe even take a nap!

The One Beautycounter Product I Can’t Live Without

How much do you like your skin care routine?

Is it something you look forward to doing each morning and night?

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Do you use products that are safe for your skin and safe for your skin to absorb every day?

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In the past, I’ve liked my skin care routine, but it wasn’t something I was necessarily excited about. I was fairly happy with the products I used, but I know they weren’t safe! Since discovering Beautycounter and using their products, I can say I truly look forward to my skin care routine each morning and night. The products really work, and they are often compared to the quality of department-store products. Plus, they are safefree of parabens, toxins, and 1500 questionable ingredients. It took me a while to find what worked for my skin, but I am glad I stuck with it because I’ve never been happier with my skin.

In the past, I remember walking into Sephora looking for skin care products, and the employees would ask me, What is your skin concern? Honestly, it was hard for me to articulate what was wrong with my skin. I didn’t have anything major wrong with my skinI just wanted it to be healthier-looking overall. I wanted it to appear as though it was healthy and glowing. And now I’ve finally been able to achieve that with Beautycounter’s Rejuvenating Radiance Serum.

You guys! This stuff seriously is the best! It has helped even out my skin tone and firm my skin because, while I don’t feel like I need to use any anti-aging products yet, it never hurts to be pro-active! It is super lightweight, and I use it every morning and night before moisturizing. I also appreciate that a little bit goes a long ways, which makes the product worth every penny.

I’m not the only one who think this stuff is a miracle-worker. Almost 300 reviewers give it an average of 5-stars. Check out the reviews here.

This is one Beautycounter product I recommend over and over again and will definitely be ordering on repeat because I love it that much. I really think it was a game-changer in the appearance of my skin, and it will always be one of my favorite Beautycounter products.

As always, if you have any questions regarding the Radiance Serum or any Beautycounter products in general, don’t hesitate to reach out. I love helping people find products that work for their own personal needs!

Click HERE to shop the Rejuvenating Radiance Serum

(or any Beautycounter products)

Friday Favorites

Ten mile run this morning in the pouring rain! It usually is just a drizzly Pacific Northwest rain here, but it was coming down good this morning. I ran 2.25 miles to my friend Kelly’s house, and then we ran 5.5 miles together before I ran the 2.25 miles back to my house. I usually run on my own, but I do like having company at least once or twice a week!

I’m highlighting some of my favorite things in this post that I am especially excited about these days. I’ve got everything from a new cozy fall sweater to running podcasts, and a delicious protein bar that I finally find locally!

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C Tolle Run

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I’ve mentioned the C Tolle Run podcasts before, but I just had to mention them again because I think they are so fun and Carrie (the host) is a natural at interviewing people! I recently listened to the Alysia Montano episode, which was nothing short of spectacular. She and Carrie talked about Alysia running pregnant, why she won’t be getting a couple of the medals she probably truly deserves, and empowering women in the sport of running. I also listened to the Amy Cragg podcast yesterday, which was a good one too!

Fall Sweater

I just ordered this Free People sweater as the weather has changed to fall already. While I am not excited about fall because of how early it comes hereand I know what comes after that, I am super excited about the sweater! I am definitely lacking some good sweater/long sleeve options for winter, and I couldn’t resist when I saw it for 40% off and just under $60. I had been eyeing it earlier and grabbed it right away when it went on sale!

RX Bars

I’ve had a few RX Bars in the past from Trader Joe’s when traveling back to Minnesota, but I was stoked to find them at Target here in Anchorage. I bought the Sea Salt Chocolate flavor and love it! Twelve grams of protein and all whole foodslove!

Open-back Lattice Sweatshirt

I purchased this sweatshirt a couple weeks ago and have already worn it more times than I care to admit. It is so easy and comfortable with jeans or athletic wear. Right now it is on sale for $25, so grab one (or two) because you won’t want to take them off. There are several other colors too, and I was really close to buying the black.

Beautycounter Radiance Serum

This Rejuvenating Radiance Serum is pretty magical. I have been using it since July, and I don’t think I’ve ever had such smooth skin or such an even skin tone. I use in every morning and night before moisturizing, and it is lightweight and absorbs so well into my skin. I highly recommend it! Others agree as it has a 5-star rating!

Beautycounter is just rolling out the promos latelyone right after another. This weekendnow through Monday, September 4th, with a $150 purchase, you will get a free Facial Oil ($68 value). The facial oils are amazing and what got me hooked on Beautycounter products in the first place. After trying far too many other high-end products for my dry skin, the facial oil was the only thing that helped my parched skin this past winter. I continue to use it every night and love how moisturized my skin is when I wake up in the morning!

Shop Here for Beautycounter Products

Oiselle Sale

If you are on the market for some new Oiselle clothes, I’d highly recommend checking out their sale this weekend because they are offering an extra 40% off their sale items. I really like these shorts, this tank, love this bra.

I am working this weekend at the store, and then Monday is Labor Day, which means we get to spend an entire day together as a family. I’m stoked! I don’t know what we will do, but I don’t have a run that day either, which makes it even a little more sweet!

The Importance of Resting

I’ve always preached about the importance of resting: taking days off of running, getting enough sleep, proper recovery after a long run, and so on, but these things are ringing even more true as I am battling a cold this week, and I’ve had a few niggles pop up that probably didn’t heal properly due to poor recovery.

My upper hamstring/glute got a little injured after running Her Tern Half Marathon. It was really tight the few days following the race and would bother me when I started running. The week following the race I was not good about resting and recovering as my sister and brother-in-law were in town, so we were hiking, camping, and adventuring around the state. It has been flaring up every time I do speed work or race. More recently, at its worst, it is just tight for a quarter of a mile or so at the beginning of the run, and then the tightness thankfully subsides as it warms up. I also must have tweaked my knee a little when running the Skinny Raven Half Marathon. It bothered me going up and down stairs for a couple days following the race, and then I felt it again when doing lunges earlier this week.

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I went in to the chiropractor today for a spinal adjustment and some ART (active release technique). It is nice to knock out two birds with one stone and get an adjustment and have manual therapy at the same place. I saw Dr. Cain at Active Health Solutions regularly for my hip flexor pain this winter that was ultimately diagnosed as a hip labral tear. He was the only professional that made me significantly better, and I highly recommend his services. He is super knowledgeable and finds the root of the problem rather than just treating where the pain is. I still have no idea if what he did ultimately healed my hip, but I know I did make a lot of progress under him!

I had a 9 mile track workout written for this morning’s workout, but Nichole made a good decision by having me do an easy 45 minutes instead since my cold is not getting any better and to keep the niggles at bay. Reason #253 I really like working with a coach. I know I wouldn’t have been able to hit the times she had written for me, and it probably wouldn’t have done anything for my fitness. If anything it would have burst my confidence a little and prolonged this cold.

Picture from a previous track workout.

One of the hardest parts of being a stay-at-home mom is resting when you are sick. If Cullen napped, I could nap, but naps are non-existent these days. I try to go to bed as soon as I can after he does, but I also have other things that need to get done too: laundry, clean the kitchen, blog work, answer emails, etc. It is just too hard to rest with a toddler constantly on the move.

Truthfully I am the last person who should be giving advice about resting as I am not very good about staying off my feet, napping, or truly relaxing. This is why I am going to Minnesota three weeks before the marathon. When I’m at my parent’s, I won’t have to be on my feet as much, so I will be able to relax and sleep more!

This last month before the marathon is when I’m in the depths of this marathon training block. I’m logging high mileage, doing crazy-hard track workouts, and wondering how I am ever going to run a 6:50 pace for 26 point 2 miles! That’s when I am reminded how important rest, recovery, and sleep are in order to expect your body to perform at its best!

My Next Marathon and Going for my BIG Dream Goal. . . .Again

I have been keeping a little secret from you guys. No, I am not pregnant, and yes, it is a good thing!

I have been working on this goal since May, but I wasn’t ready to share it at that time. I was worried I would fail, and I hate failing, so I wasn’t willing to ‘put myself out there.’ I put myself out there last summer and failed, so I wasn’t willing to do that again so soon. And who knows maybe I will fail again, but I guess I’m willing to take the risk.

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After Sunday’s performance at the Skinny Raven Half Marathon, my confidence has been boosted. I’m feeling more sure I can accomplish my BIG dream goal once and for all.

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During the fall of 2013, my coach, Nichole, put a bug in my ear that has been with me ever since she suggested it. I really think you could run a sub-3 hour marathon one day, she said in her quiet, sweet but confident voice. I’m sure my eyes bugged out of my head as I was trying to wrap my mind around what she had just said. Sub-3?? My PR at the time was 3:17. I would have to cut off over 17 minutes of my marathon time and run each mile 40 seconds faster. That’s a lot! Yes, I had cut nearly 30 minutes off since my first marathon, but I was getting to my threshold, right? Plus, my half marathon PR was only 1:30. There was no way I could turn around and run another half marathon again at that same pace! But the bug stuck. . . .

That winter I got pregnant, had Cullen during the fall of 2014, and started training again. I really didn’t know what to expect that next summer, but with a few surprisingly successful races early on, Nichole contacted me again and said she had an opening for coaching. That was during May 2015, and we worked together for the next year trying to clinch a sub-3 hour marathon. By the spring of 2016, I was at the best shape of my life, running a 18:30 5K and 1:24 half marathon.

Trent/Waldron Glacier Half Marathon where I ran a 1:24:22

Nichole had said if I could break 1:25 in the half marathon, that sets me up for a sub-3 hour marathon. I ran that 1:24 three weeks out from Grandma’s Marathon and had a nearly flaw-less build-up to Grandma’s. Race day came and brought temps in the upper 70s and humidity in the upper 70s as well. I like my warm weather, but racing a marathon for 3 hours in those conditions is another story. I held on for the first half, but quickly fell off pace after that. I just couldn’t get enough fluids in me, my breathing was becoming more labored, and I was on empty.

I was devastated. Absolutely devastated. So many people were cheering for me, and now I had let so many people down. I know that there are only certain things you can control on race day and weather is not one of them, but I still wasn’t very disappointed with myself.

Randomly a week after the marathon, my nagging hip injury appeared, and I was out of any formal training for the next 10 months. It was a rough 10 months, especially since it was winter in Alaska. I tried to stay positive and hopeful, but there was a lot of hopelessness.

I’m not entirely sure how I overcame a labral hip tear and cam impingement, but winter turned to spring, and I was miraculously able to run pain-free again. I jumped into a couple races and realized I hadn’t lost as much speed and fitness as I thought I had. I ran the Pulsator 10K and breaking 40 minutes and thinking, what if? I was surprised I was able to break 40 minutes after training only for about 6 weeks. I immediately contacted Nichole and said, I don’t know if this is possible, but. . . .

In good Nichole fashion, she was optimistic but also knew time was precious and every workout was critical. I gave her the reins and said, I don’t want to attempt this sub-3 hour thing without you. We nailed down the Twin Cities Marathon as the goal race: good weather, flat course, and my sister will be running it as well!

We’ve only been working together since the beginning of June, but somehow she’s whipped me into shape, and I am now nearly in the same shape I was last summer. We still have 5 weeks of training, but some of those weeks will involve a taper. I have nothing but full confidence I can run a sub-3 hour marathon, but I also know there are a lot of things that could happen between now and then that could once again foil my plan. I am going to do everything in my power to achieve my BIG dream goal! It is something I thought was unfathomable, but those are the dreams that really are magical and worth chasing!

Skinny Raven Half Marathon 2017 Race Recap

On Tuesday of this week, I celebrated 10 years of being in Alaska . . . . TEN YEARS!! Never ever in a million years did I think I would live in Alaska for 10 years, and let’s be honest, I never thought I’d live in Alaska period.

Since moving to Alaska, I have run something at the Run Fest race series 6 of the last 9 years. I have usually done the half marathon, but I did the 5K when I was 7 months pregnant and the marathon the following year 10 months postpartum.

2009 Skinny Raven Half-Marathon 1:36:36

2010 I’m not sure why I didn’t run this year.

2011 Skinny Raven Half-Marathon 1:39

2012 I was training for the Twin Cities Marathon and didn’t want to jeopardize that performance.

2013 Skinny Raven Half-Marathon 1:30:35

2014 Snow City 5K 22:51 (*Ran 7 months pregnant.)

2015 Moose’s Tooth Marathon 3:06:34

2016 Injured

Last year at this race, I was injured, and I went to watch my athlete, Sam, run the marathon. (I was also supposed to do the marathon.) It was hard to watch everyone race. I longed to be out there training again, and I only hoped that I could come back stronger.

The next 8 months were filled with discomfort from my hip, a lot of money to see professionals, and a lot of sadness knowing I had been in the best shape of my life the previous summer. I was finally able to start training again in May, but I figured my race performance this summer would be pretty dismal.

The day prior to the Skinny Raven Half Marathon (Saturday), I was able to have my mother-in-law watch Cullen, which was so nice and allowed me to really rest up for the race. I worked at the coffee shop for a few hours and even watched a movie by myself. (I do not remember the last time I did that!) I know being off my feet helped with my performance.

Per usual, race day morning, I spent about 30 minutes warming up with some easy jogging, drills, static stretching, and striders. I felt ready to go by the time the race was going to start. The weather was perfect for racinglow 50s, overcast, and cool. There was a drizzly Pacific Northwest rain, but that didn’t bother me.

Going into the race I was hoping to run a 1:25:xx finish time. I looked up the pace for a 1:25:30 finish time, which is an average of 6:31 minutes per mile, so I told myself I had to maintain a 6:30 pace. This sounded pretty scary, but I also was optimistic I could do it.

I’ve said before that I can tell within the first mile how my run or race is going to go. Maybe it was the downhill during the first mile, but I felt really good starting out. My stride felt smooth, I felt in control of my breathing, and my energy felt strong.

I ran with a couple of the guys for the first few miles, but there weren’t any other women around me.

Mile 1 6:19 (downhill)

Mile 2 6:28

Mile 3 6:31

Mile 4 6:38

I got a little worried when I saw the split for mile 4, but I think it was slower because this is the potion of the trail where we run through several tunnels and the trail becomes more wooded and my GPS never picks up a good signal. I tried to not get too worried, but I also knew I had to buckle down and stay focused if I wanted to achieve my goal time.

Around mile 4 my boss, Neil, joined me on his bike and biked with me the rest of the way, which was so nice of him! I really think it helped distract me and helped me stay focused. Otherwise I would have been by myself with no one to push me.

Mile 5 6:31

Mile 6 6:40

Mile 7 6:35

I felt relatively good through the half. Overall, I still felt strong, but it also started to get a tough at this point. Luckily when I turned around, the next couple miles had a slight downhill, and I always feel like I am flying during this part.

Mile 8 6:18

Mile 9 6:22

I believe it was somewhere during these couple of miles a moose ran across the race course twice and impeded us runners. I had to slow down for a few seconds because no one was sure where it was going to go. You could tell the poor guy (gal?) was really scared and not sure what to do as it was trapped by the runners, a fence, and the road. It was pretty scary and definitely the closest encounter with a moose I’ve had during a race.

It always seems like the last few miles drag on forever during the race, but now looking back on it, they went by quickly as I don’t remember much about them. I remember there was hardly anyone out cheering during the last couple of miles, so once again, I was glad to have Neil there with me.

Mile 10 6:35

Mile 11 6:33

Mile 12 6:27

Mile 13 6:32 (gradual uphill + steeper hill)

I was so incredibly happy to see 1:24:xx coming down the homestretch! I had really just hoped to run a 1:25-something, so to run a 1:24, absolutely made my day!

The Best Running Shorts

Over my nearly 25 years of running, I’ve worn a lot of running shorts. A LOT! A lot that I didn’t like, but some that rose to the top and have become my favorites that I wear time and time again. The best of the best are all lightweight, super comfortable, don’t ride up or fall down, and a piece of clothing that I don’t get distracted by when running.

The Nike tempo shorts had to of been the first pair of shorts I really loved. I loved them so much I ended up with 4 pairs of them! And they were really great shorts. First and foremost they did not ride up, the liner was comfortable, lightweight, sweat-wicking, but can we say diaper-butt?!?

Thankfully I’ve moved on from these shorts, and I have now found practical, comfortable, and CUTE shorts!

These are my all-time favorite running shorts. Like I said, I’ve tried a lot out there, so these have risen to the top, and they are always the first pairs I pull out to wear.

Oh, and be forewarned, I like my short shorts because let’s be honest, I don’t need a couple extra inches of material to get in my way.

Brooks Greenlight Shorts

This is one of the few pairs of compression-style shorts that don’t ride up so much that cause me to yank on them every 0.25 mile and readjust them. These Brooks Greenlight Shorts have a pocket in the waistband and stay very comfortable over the course of a run.

Lululemon Hotty Hot Shorts

These Lululemon Hotty Hot Shorts are a new purchase last month, and I have already worn them more times than I can count. Not only do I love the bright, fun color, but I also love the waistband, the multiple pockets, and the flattering fit. This is the 2.5 inch version and they also make a 4 inch version as well.

Oiselle KG Shorts

I have purchased more compression-style shorts than I care to admit in order to find a pair that doesn’t ride up so much. These KG Running Shorts by Oiselle have a longer inseam to begin with, so even when they do ride up a little, they are still covering all the essential parts. The drawback to these shorts are the fact they do not have a pocket, which is not necessary but definitely a nice feature. I still love them and wear them all the time.

Oiselle Mac Roga Shorts

I absolutely love the Oiselle Mac Roga Shorts. They are so comfortable, and I love the shorter 1.75 inseam. The one thing I would change on these shorts is to move the zippered pocket on the back right butt cheek to the center of the body. It feels a little odd to be carrying a GU in the pocket and have the right side of my butt feel a little heavier. Otherwise I absolutely love these shortsthe waistband is nice and wide and they do not ride up while running.

Lululemon Speed Shortss

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. . . . .HANDS-DOWN my absolute favorite running shorts. There is nothing about these Lululemon Speed Shorts I do not like. These shorts are pretty similar to the Mac Roga with improvements: the continuous drawstring, so it can’t fall out in the wash; a back, zippered pocket centered on the small of your back; two additional pockets in the front of the waistband, and probably the one feature many other shorts are lacking: the backside of these shorts comes down lower, so if they do ride up, your horizontal butt crack is still covered.

I own three pairs of these shorts and wouldn’t be opposed to buying more.

Happy Saturday and weekend! I’m off to race the 5K and 10K at the Alaska Distance Classic this morning!

74 Miles . . . .and so thankful!

Woohoo! 74 miles this past week in 6 days! (A few weeks ago I ran 67 miles in 7 days.)

There was a lot of mileage, but I just take it day-by-day to figure out how to get each run in. It’s a high enough of a priority that I make it happen each day.

Here’s how my workouts looked this past week.


AM 7 miles, easy | 8:57 average pace

Easy miles pushing Cullen in the stroller. I enticed him with all sorts of things: trains, the ocean, birds, the playground, etc. Luckily he still really loves the stroller.

PM 5 miles, easy | 8:37 average pace

Easy run on the Chester Creek trail where a guy asked me for a cigarette, and I saw Kikkan Randall running.


16 miles, tempo workout | 7:18 average pace

2 mile warm-up

4 miles @ 6:30

(actual: 6:29, 6:31, 6:33, 6:27)

1 mile easy

1 mile @ 5:40

(actual: 6:08)

1 mile easy

4 miles @ 6:30

(actual: 6:32, 6:32, 6:37, 7:06)

1 mile easy

1 mile @ 5:40

(actual: 6:20)

2 mile cool-down

Oh boy! Nichole really had me working during this workout! I don’t know that I have ever done a harder workout. I really had to fight hard for these splits, and even then I didn’t get all of my goal times. I was still happy with my results and the effort I put into it.


6 miles, easy | 9:35 average pace

I ran this one on the Campbell Tract trails, which is one of the few actual trail runs I’ve ever done. It was definitely nice to get off the pavement, but it seemed like it took forever since my pace was quite a bit slower.


AM 7 miles | 8:40

Keeping the easy runs truly easy these days as I posted about on Instagram. Too many times I see people doing their easy runs at paces far too close to their race paces. My pace for this workout is about 2 minutes/mile slower than my half marathon pace and nearly 3 minutes/mile slower than my 5K race pace.

PM 5 miles, easy | 9:57

Another very easy trail run around the Campbell Tract trails.


8 miles, easy | 8:32 average pace

My upper hamstring/glute is still not quite healed from the half marathon almost two weeks ago. I know I didn’t recover the days after the race since I was busy traveling around the state, and I’m still paying the price. Nothing painfuljust stiff, and it takes a little while to warm it up.


20 miles, long run with hard miles

2 mile warm-up

4 miles @ 6:30

(actual: 6:32, 6:27, 6:31, 6:25)

10 miles, easy

2 miles @ 6:15

(actual: 6:21, 6:24)

2 mile cool-down

This was a good run in the fact I remembered that even though I didn’t love everything about every mile during this run, I was out there doing a long run pain-free. After 10 months of struggling with my hip injury, these are the runs I live for!

Total: 74 miles

Follow me on Strava to see updates every day. Find me under: Michelle Baxter.

This week is a little lighter in terms of mileage, and I am running the 5K and 10K at the Alaska Distance Classic on Saturday!