12 races in 12 months: September

Wow its been a minute! Or several.. I realize its a little crazy I’m getting around to finally writing my September race recap in mid November late December, but I have a really good excuse…

wpid-20151003_113053.jpg

I’ve been cuddling this little chunk as much as possible. We welcomed our sweet baby girl in September! The last couple months have found us settling into a routine and figuring out our new “normal”.

I did find a little time to get in a little running but certainly significantly less than I did b.c. (before children). Now that she’s sleeping more (knock on wood)… I think I’ll be able to fit in a few more runs. Just in time for it to get really cold of course!

But before all this wonderful craziness, I ran my September 5K, the Leawwod Labor Day 5k. It was probably the hardest race I’ve done all year, especially mentally, but it was one I needed to remind me how far I’ve come and that I can push through.

I was working nights at the time and had a horrible night of sleep. Add a bad stomach day, a headache and an emotinally rough week prior on top of that and I was realllly tempted to bail. But the hardest part of racing is getting out of bed and out of the house so once I got that accomplished, I was ready to tackle the race.

It was raining pretty good but also quite humid, so the rain was very welcome during the race. I swear every race I pick ends up going uphill the whole time. Even though this one was an out and back, it sure seemed  to be all slight rises the whole way!

I had to stop and walk a few times, which I haven’t had to do since the beginning of this year, but I still finished in decent time. Having the commitment to do a race a month really kept me accountable to get out there and run on days when I really didn’t want to. And I’ve never once regretted a run/race!

I’ll be back next year with a recap of the final three races of the year and some talk about running through the first trimester (yep baby #2 is on the way… #embracethechaos). I hope you have a wonderful and safe New Years!

12 Races in 12 Months: August

8 races down, 4 more to go!

I was definitely ill prepared for this month’s race. Because of a new workout program I am participating in, I ran only 4 times in the 7 weeks between July’s race and this one.  I did run a few sprints and intervals here and there, but I definitely got out of my normal running schedule. But I’m glad I had a month like that to remind myself I won’t instantly lose my running fitness when I can’t fit in as many runs as I’d like. 

This month I ran the Head for the Cure race at Corporate Woods.

head for the cure kc 2015

I’m pretty sure it was exactly the same course as the Diva Dash where I set my PR in March. I learned this time though, that if you are out to set a PR, or have a fast race, you need to get closer to the start line. There were so many people merging in at the start, I had to walk for a while at the beginning. I’ve gotten a little spoiled by all the smaller races I’ve done this year.

After a slow start, the course was great, despite the humidity and I ran a good race. I have less than one week left until my next race. I’m hoping for perfect early September temperatures and a great race! 

Next month::: Labor Day 5K

Last month::: Freedom Run

Des Moines Wine

On our way home from our Minnesota trip (see the amazing food we ate here), we just had to stop  at a few wineries. We were really hoping to try some Minnesota wines while we were up there, but unfortunately they weren’t many and most weren’t open during the week. We were thrilled to find out the Des Moines area, especially Indianola, has a large winery presence. I chose three to try out and was very happy with the ones we visited. One thing I will note is all three had limited tastings where you can only taste about 5 wines. Is it just a Missouri thing where you get to taste all the wines? I love that because I usually end up discovering something great I might have not normally tried. 

But I’m not complaining really, I love any wine tasting…

La Vida Loca

The first winery we stopped at was La Vida Loca Winery in Indianola.

la vida loca winery iowa

They had some of the most unique fruit wines I’ve seen so far, like elderberry and aronia. They also had a cinnamon wine, which I have never encountered. At first, that doesn’t necessarily sound like it would be good, but it was delicious. Combined with their apple wine, it tasted like fall in a glass. I could definitely see sipping that combination on a cool day to warm the insides.

Favorites: Apple wine and First Expressions (sweet wine)

Two Saints Winery

Next we headed to Two Saints Winery and were happy to discover they had live music. After our wine tasting, it was perfect to sit on their deck, look out over their pond and grape vines and enjoy another glass of wine in the sunshine. 

two saints winery iowa

Favorites: Edelweiss (sweet white) and Frontenac Blush (sweet blush) 

Jasper Winery

The last stop on our self-made wine tour was Jasper Winery in Des Moines. This one was more of an urban winery and I loved their landscaping. Pretty flowers in wheelbarrows and prairie grasses made this feel like an mini escape in the city. 

jasper winery des moines iowa jasper winery des moines iowa

Favorites: Bed Head Red (sweet red) and All-Night White (sweet white)

I realized as I write this, we came home with ALL sweet wines. We usually favor a semi-sweet or two, but apparently Iowa is killing it with their sweet wines!

Eat Local: Minneapolis

We recently spent a week in Minnesota for part family reunion and part quality couple time. I grew up spending a lot of vacations in Minnesota and it has been far too long since I have been back. We spent lots of time hiking (you can see some of the amazing scenery on my Instagram) and enjoying the perfect weather, but you know if I’m in a new location, I’m definitely going to hunt down the best locally sourced restaurants and try them out… We had some great food on our trip, all enjoyed on patios, and these were the highlights:

Pat’s Tap

This was our first meal in Minneapolis. We headed here as soon as we got in to town and, after driving all day, we were more than ready for a good meal and a drink. I saw this place on the internet and was immediately drawn to the laid-back vibe (it doubles as a skee-ball club) and locally sourced food. 

We started out with goat cheese fritters with an onion marmalade and lavender honey. These were by far one of my favorite things we ate all week. The combination of the creamy, savory goat cheese and the sweet honey was fantastic.

goat cheese fritters pat's tap mn

I probably could have made a whole meal of these, but instead I went with the turkey burger and I was happy I did. It was by far the best turkey burger I’ve ever had. It was juicy and had a great mix of herbs incorporated throughout. It was topped with whipped feta, which is my cheese soulmate, and accompanied by amazing fries topped with fat salt flakes. 

turkey burger pat's tap mn

A couple good drinks and a few rounds of skee-ball made this the perfect start to our trip. 

pat's tap minneapolis skee-ball club

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The Copper Hen

This was our big “splurge” meal for the trip. We planned to go all out with several courses, including dessert, which we don’t normally order. 

We started out with their baby potatoes coated in olive olive with homemade green peppercorn tarragon creme fraiche. 

smashed potato fries at the copper hen mn

Then it was on to one of the greatest mac and cheese dishes I have ever eaten (and I have eaten a lot of them).  The decadent four cheese blend oozed out of the middle of every noodle and the breadcrumbs added the perfect crunchy balance. Bonus points for it being the perfect size and served in a mini cast iron skillet…

baked mac and cheese at the copper hen mn

That mac and cheese is almost worth driving six hours for….

We finished the night with another perfect skillet creation… a fresh chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream. It came straight out of the oven and had that perfect slightly underbaked quality that all chocolate chip cookies should strive for. 

chocolate chip skillet cookie at the copper hen mn

From start to finish, this meal was perfection. 

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Stella’s

This one isn’t in Minneapolis, but actually in Battle Lake about three hours away, near where the second half of our trip took place. After hiking, we were ready for a hearty meal and a good glass of wine on a patio. Stella’s definitely delivered on all three counts. 

We ordered the kitchen sink pizza topped with pepperoni, sausage, chicken, roasted red peppers and olives. Even with all those toppings, the star of this pizza was the deliciously seasoned sauce. 

the kitchen sink pizza at stella's battle lake mn

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Stay tuned for a recap on the wine from our trip next week! 

12 Races in 12 Months: July

Some races are about speed or setting a new PR. Some races are about reminding yourself you can do hard things. Lenexa’s Freedom Run on July 4th was the latter. I totally jinxed myself by saying last month that I’d been fortunate so far not to run a race sick yet. I was coming off a nasty cough going into the race and got only about 4 hours of sleep the night before, but I felt decent enough to run so I drug myself of bed.  

When I looked at the sun rising behind the American flag, I just felt grateful to be there and happy to be in a country I feel blessed to live free in. 

lenexa freedom run 2015

I spent the race thinking about how far I’ve come. I’ve gone from not being able to run a mile, to consistently running 5Ks and shaving 7 minutes off my time. I feel blessed that my health has improved enough to allow me to run. The biggest struggle of the day was getting out of bed, but as soon as I started running, I was ready. 

The course was fairly flat and I loved that they had sprinklers pointing over the course at several points to beat the humidity. I think I’ll be trying to do this one again next year. Races are one of my favorite ways to start out a holiday. 

lenexa freedom run 2015

I’ve got three runs planned this week and I’m ready to hit it hard!

 

Have you recently tackled a big fitness goal or obstacle?

 

Next month::: Head for the Cure

Last month::: The Midnight Run

June

June was such a great month! I got tons of girl time in this month with my friends and also had plenty of quality time with the husband. The summer is such a bittersweet time. I want time to pass quickly so I can get to fun things I have planned, but also want it to slow way down so I can enjoy it. Even though its feeling like its already half over, there’s still so much fun to be had. But first, let’s talk about June…

june the clean project

Planning::: A road trip to Minnesota! We’re hitting up Des Moines, Minneapolis and the Detroit Lakes for a family reunion. Its been a while since we’ve gone on a long vacation and I couldn’t be more excited to get away!

Craving::: A massage. One a month. Wouldn’t that be the best?

Grilling::: These grilled sausage hash packets I shared with you at the beginning of the month. Especially since we’ve been having the kind of weather where its too hot to turn on the stove. 

Reading:::  Outlander I haven’t seen the tv show, but all the interest around the book peaked my interest. The book is SO good. Its about Claire, who is transported from 1945 to 1743. I’m not a big time-travel fan, but this one is not cheesy at all. There’s a lot of action and a lot of romance too. It can be a little graphic at times, there are a lot of fighting scenes, but if you love historical fiction like I do, this is definitely one to check out. There are 8 books in the series, so I know what I’ll be reading for the time being. 

Blogging::: Did you catch my recipe from above, my favorite Weston wines and June race recap?

 

-I’m also doing Simple Green’s Smoothies’ 30-Day Challenge to drink a green smoothie every day. Its not too late to join me!

 

What are you reading, craving planning and/or decorating this month??

12 Races in 12 Months: June

I’m halfway through my 12 races in 12 months challenge!! I am surprised at how easy it has been so far to get my 5K in every month. Luckily, so far, I haven’t been sick or injured race day and hopefully that streak continues… 

So far this year I’ve run

7 races

64.5 miles

and shaved 3 minutes and 10 seconds off my PR!

I’m happy I took on this challenge and I’m looking forward to the second half of the year. Now on to June’s race… 

This race was one of my favorites and this is the 3rd time I’ve done it. The Midnight Run is always a sweaty good time. 

midnight run 5K 2015

I’m always apprehensive running a race at the end of the day, rather than the start. I rarely properly fuel or hydrate beforehand, so I don’t usually expect too much but at the same time, its nice to run late at night when its a little cooler than usual. 

midnight run 2015

I realized after the first mile I had run one of my fastest ever miles, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep that pace. By the end of the second mile, I had only slowed down by about 20 seconds, so I figured I’d be able to make that happen a third time. I ended up finishing just 30 seconds shy of my PR (set at March’s race). I’ll take it!  

I’ve now set my sights on trying to shave another two minutes off my PR so its time to get busy…

Next month::: Freedom Run

Last month::: Turkey Creek and Martini Mile

Weston Wine

Yep another wine trip… becausse its basically our favorite way to spend an afternoon. We have been to Weston, Missouri twice now to visit the wineries and we are big fans. Weston is a historic small town about an hour from KC that has a great state park that we’ve camped in once and lots of cool little shops to browse. It also happens to have four wineries within easy driving distance from each other.  

The most recent time we visited was Memorial Day weekend and we took my parents up to experience the town. It was a rainy day, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time.

Riverwood Winery

This one ties for my favorite winery in Weston for all that it offers. Its about 10 minutes out of town in a remodeled school house. It definitely isn’t where you would picture a winery, but they have done a great job taking the institutional school feel out of the building and grounds. 

riverwood winery weston mo

riverwood winery weston mo

Besides their wine tastings, they also offer scotch and bourbon tastings and food.

riverwood winery weston mo

We have had a really hard time deciding what wines to bring home each time we’ve been there, because we really like the majority of their wines. But if I have to pick a favorite, Asian Pear wins for its uniqueness.

Favorite wine: Asian Pear

Pirtle Winery

Pirtle is my other favorite. Its located in the heart of Weston in an old church.

pirtle winery weston missouri

The fun part about Pirtle is they have mead! Mead is a 100% honey wine and its so delicious. They have effervescent meads as well as fruit meads, but I love the traditional mead. They also have fruit wines and traditional wines of course. They have a gorgeous wine garden outside to sip a glass under vines and flowers. 

Favorite wine: Weston Bend Rose

Weston Wine Company

Weston Wine Company is also in the middle of Weston and would be a great place to take the girls for a tasting. All the wines are named after cuts of diamonds. We haven’t tried one yet, but they have tastings with mini cupcake pairings.. I think another trip is in order to do a cupcake/wine tasting soon…

Favorite wine: Rosette (a semi-sweet rose) 

Jowler Creek

Jowler Creek has a special place in my heart because they use green methods, such a chickens to control bugs among their grapes and solar power…

jowler creek winery weston mo jowler creek winery weston missouri

All their wines have an animal on the bottle, so its easy to remember which ones you love. 

Favorite wine: Critter Cuvee (a semi-sweet wine)

 

I happen to think Missouri Wine is such a hidden treasure. There are so many great wineries making amazing wines from Missouri and the Weston wineries are no exception. I’m looking forward to continuing our wine tour of the state soon.

May

Hey friends! I hope this first week of June finds you well. I don’t have much time on this dreary, rainy day, but wanted to pop in with the May recap/what I’m currently up to. I’m looking forward to a busy, but fun June. As always, I want to hear what you are up to lately, so tell me in the comments!

currently may 

Playing::: In the garden! I actually have a real garden and a container garden this year, so I’m having fun trying lots of new things. I’m trying cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers and sunflowers for the first time this year. I’ll share a full update soon, but so far, we are getting way, way too much rain and almost zero sun. It’ll be interesting to see  how things turn out. 

Going::: On mini trips. Due to schedules this summer, we are trying to do one day trips around the area…. hiking, wine tasting, exploring… Its a nice way to do some fun things without a big time commitment. 

Wearing::: Alllll the dresses from Target. I just bought this dress that will be perfect for the 4th of July (6th of July when we actually get to celebrate it) and scored this fun fit and flare dress too. 

Sipping::: A bunch of new wines. I’ll be sharing a recap of our recent wine tasting trip to Weston next week and our favorite wines. 

Reading::: Lot’s of historical fiction, especially medieval era ones. Nothing specific to recommend this month, I’ve been tearing through them too fast to remember any specific titles.  

Blogging::: In case you missed it, I recapped a double header for this month’s race(s). 

 

Tell me, what are you sipping, wearing, reading… this month?

 

Linking up with Anne and Meg.

 

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Grilled Sausage Hash

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with y’all forever. Like since we last went camping… but I needed some good grilling weather to make another round at home. We made this grilled sausage hash last weekend on a rare warm day (seriously where is summer this year?!) and it was almost as good as it was fireside. There’s something about eating food you made over a fire you made yourself after a long day of hiking that cannot be replicated at home. But its still a quick and delicious meal at home! 

The last time we went camping, I made it beforehand, froze it and just threw it on the campfire when it was dinner time. That’s my favorite kind of campsite cooking… one that requires zero prep when its time to eat. And it actually doesn’t require too much time to prep period. 

grilled sausage hash- great for camping!

Lay down two layers of foil.

Then add in order:

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 lb shredded potatoes (I use the plain frozen hashbrowns)

seasonings- salt, pepper, a bit of garlic powder and a pinch of chili powder

2 sausages, sliced (I use Niman Ranch sweet italian sausage)

2-3 oz shredded or chopped cheese

Once you have your ingredients all together, add another piece of foil over the top and roll the sides of the bottom layers of foil with the top until you have a tightly wrapped package. If you’re prepping ahead, throw the packet in the freezer until you are ready to cook. Grill or cook over the campfire for 20 minutes until the bottom layer becomes crispy and the cheese is melted. 

grilled sausage hash

 If you’re camping, it can be enjoyed straight out of the foil…

grilled sausage hash packet

Enjoy!

Where are my fellow campers at? What’s your favorite camping meal?