brands, family, friends, love

Time to Fall in Love with JORD

November 30, 2016

As November comes to a close, the end of the year holidays and gift giving season is upon us! Just last night my husband was asking me what I want for Christmas. This year I exclaim, “Nothing! Please, nothing!” I mean it, really I do. How do we chose the right gift for the people we love when we feel we have everything, already? How do you choose what to gift those who give you everything by just being there for you?


I have the opportunity to work with the watch company, JORD Wood Watches, and I am pretty excited to share them with you. Can you imagine the best part of receiving a beautiful men’s watch to love and share? The best part about sharing our love for JORD is that my husband loves JORD! All those years when Pete replied, “I want nothing for Christmas.”, he was still pretty excited about receiving this watch from JORD.


I have to admit, I am totally obsessed with my Garmin vívoactive watch. Before my Garmin, I happily wore the Pebble watch. My activity watches inspire me to be more active than I already am. There is something about getting to the next tier of daily steps or being confident that 4.25 loop around my neighborhood is really 4.25… not 4.2 or 4.3 – because when you love the running numbers as much a running, the watch is another fun part of the runner’s life.

However, my Garmin doesn’t really match my cocktail dress for a wedding. I don’t really need to count my steps on date night. I think it’s OK for everyone to have a little vanity, and honestly, it bothers me sometimes when my fitness watch distracts from my outfit. Also to mention, I have the worst tan line ever from Summer marathon training. A nice watch, like the Conway series – Dark Sandalwood and Burgundy Pete picked out from JORD, is perfect for an active watch wearer on a rest day.


Over the last few years I’ve tried to pressure Pete into his own watch but he never really bit the bullet on trying one. I have to say, when our (I say “our” like it’s “mine” but that is marriage for you, folks!) watch arrived, I had to remind my husband not to shred the box upon opening! He was pretty pumped to try a new watch, especially one that would fit so easily into his daily life.

The JORD company prides itself on creating hand-crafted wood time pieces that tell a story. Well, here is ours:


The first time I remember meeting Pete, he was in the hallway of our dingy, college, off-campus apartment. If you told me 13 years later we’d have our four kids and a happy, domestic life I would have laughed in your face. Even so, having a husband to love and having a family together is something I always knew I wanted, since I ever learned to want anything. There has always been something calming, intellectual and bohemian about my husband. He may not have the long hair, Led Zeppelin posters in the bedroom, or Phish on repeat, like he used to – but trust me, that beautiful man is still there. He just had to make room to be a parent, like I did, too.


The best thing about receiving a JORD Wood Watch for Pete, is the watch is so calming, intellectual and bohemian, just like my sweet husband. It fits his aesthetic, style, personality, and his mood. He can wear it to work, out to a football game with the kids, and on a date night with me. The JORD watch is effortless and cool, like the 20 year old I met while I had my dad move my desk into my tiny college bedroom. I wouldn’t have agreed to share JORD with you if their style didn’t already fit into our life.


If you are considering a watch as gift for someone, or for yourself, JORD is offering a $25 e gift code towards any watch of your choice now through March (if not Christmas, you can save your discount for Valentine’s Day!) Here is more information about the Conway series – Dark Sandalwood and Burgundy watch Pete chose, as well!

Also, be sure to visit my Instagram page to enter a giveaway for a $50 gift card towards any watch! These gift cards would make a great stocking stuffers, too!

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. Pete and I’s meeting is completely unique to us.

activities, adventures, do, family, friends, local, love, motherhood, move, post-run, recap, run

Too Tough to Kill: My First Marathon

November 15, 2016

Finish Pose TCM 2016

I proudly completed my first marathon on October 9, 2016 at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota. I can simply start this post by stating: running my first marathon was not just the longest run of my life, my first marathon was an experience. Until race day, I boasted my four month long training was probably the hardest part about running a marathon, and that the race would just be the “after party”.

I was wrong. I was so, so wrong.

My pre-race training goal was, what I thought, a 4:15:00 finish, approximately 9:45 minutes per mile. This pace “plan” was met with some great long runs in the ballpark pace without feeling like I was pushing myself too much. I could go about my regular life after my long runs without being too broken down. I set to run the marathon around 9:50-10 minutes per mile (watching my pace on my Garmin) for the first 16-18 miles and then hopefully be able to push my body to it’s limits in the final stretch.

TCM Mile 23

Unfortunately, even though I had a great Summer of training to complete my pace goal, my body just did not show up for race day in the way I had hoped. Don’t get me wrong, my body was there but it was hurting more than it should have. I remember starting to panic around my already fatiguing body at mile 8, knowing I would have to be happy with finishing my first marathon at whatever pace was meant for the day. I think was too cold, I think I should have ate more that morning, and I think I just thought too much.

My first marathon was an experience like no other in my life. No long run or training plan interval run could hold a candle to actually running those 26.2 miles. One thing I have absolute confidence in about my training plan is that without it, I would not have finished the race. I am so proud of my marathon finish because I did the best I could with the day that was given to me, and trust me, I did not give up.

TCM Finish

Something was missing on race day. All Summer long I ran in “beast mode”. Beast mode is fun, beast mode is wake-up and take on the day, like life just pulled you from the forest and told you to get living. I wasn’t in beast mode on marathon day. Sure, I pushed hard and had some great moments. However, I can’t look back and see the raw joy I expected to feel.

The best thing about running my first marathon was experiencing the race with my husband. On the other side of this blog post is a woman who got extremely lucky when she was 20 years old. I met Pete, fell in love, and we truly have been number one to each other, ever since. He has seen me through my best and my worst. I like to think running the marathon together was him getting to see me at both! Without Pete, running wouldn’t be as joyful because I wouldn’t have him to share it with. Running makes us  better individuals, a better couple, and better parents.


I had some pretty awesome runs this Summer with Pete. We were blessed to have help from our parents on long runs and did 16, 18, and 20 (Pete, my brother, and I ran the Bear Water Run 20-miler) miles together. I also got to run with my kids by pushing the double jogger. Some of the most fun I had training was running with David as he followed along on his bike. One time, I told him I needed to run seven miles, so I’d run two loops and he could bike with me for one. He ended up biking all seven with me without complaint. Every time I asked him if he was ready to go home, he asked if he could bike more. Surely, he has a little of his mama in him!

In addition to my husband and kids, seeing our family and friends out supporting us brought me to tears at some miles! In addition to Pete and I, my brother, two sister-in-laws, and cousin all crossed the marathon finish line that morning. I couldn’t be more proud of all their finishes. Following their training made my own training so much better. On Saturday mornings, I’d finish my long run and over the course of the day would hear as my family also finished their runs. The support and praise for each other was continuous. Everyone was a champion.


Even the cheering I received from absolute strangers pushed me harder than I ever imagined. At mile 24, I saw a young man sitting in a chair holding up a sign. I was struggling, mentally and physically, and this man looked and pointed right at me. He didn’t cheer, smile, or move. He just pointed and stared like he was telling me, “I see you. You got this.” It was exactly what I needed two miles out. I needed to be calm, stay focused and remember that even though I could barely run, I could finish. I’ll never see that man again, but I will remember him forever.

This Summer would not have been what it was without the constant support of my family. My husband and kids, my parents, siblings, in-laws, cousins, and extended family who brought me up when I was down. They checked on me when I was hurting. They watched my kids so I could run for hours. They made it easier to be a wife and mom, and also be able to run. Plenty of times I was stressed, on edge, late, moody, difficult, tired, hard to get a hold of, distant, and self-absorbed. Ultimately, I am incredibly loved, supported, and happy. I can’t say I always recognized the necessity to let those in who love you, before I became a runner.

Finish Line TCM 2016

My 4:44:47 finish time was backed by four intense months of training and I do not regret a single step last Summer. Running has absolutely changed me for the better. The fact that I stuck with my training plan, raised four kids, and am happily married is proof that I can do anything I put my mind to.

“At mile 20 I thought I was dead.
At mile 22 I wished I was dead.
At mile 24 I knew I was dead.
At mile 26.2 I realized I had become too tough to kill.”

Even though running the marathon was the hardest thing I have ever done, I can’t wait to do it again – better. Will I run another marathon? Hell, yes. Did I think I would at mile 23? No way. Five days after the race, I ran again. Then again, and again, and again because I love to run! Hopefully, the next few months post-marathon can be a celebration of what my body did and an exploration of the other things it can do. In addition to continuing to run this Fall, I signed up for my first indoor triathlon in January. I’ve started to swim and indoor bike and I hope to cross another amazing experience off of my bucket list.

Since many of you reading this today have shared in my marathon journey, I want to personally THANK YOU, thank all of you for inspiring me to be best person I can be. Thank you for supporting me during this incredible experience!

activities, brands, do, eat, local, move, post-run, postpartum, run

Fuel Your Life with Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine

October 3, 2016

I am excited to share a recent opportunity I had with Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine to learn more about food as fuel to help me more easily attain my running goals. It can be overwhelming, with all the information out there, for me to know what I should be eating, how much I should eat, and how to eat to be a successful runner. Sure, anyone can run without following an eating plan, but I made some big running goals this year. The two biggest ones being successfully continue to breastfeed our now ten month old baby, and simultaneously train for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on October 9th. I had about six months to recover from pregnancy and birth and run with the postpartum body, just to be in good enough shape to begin a four month marathon training plan.

Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine

I mention that because I needed to try my best to fuel my body to help make these two big goals work together: breastfeeding and marathon training! Thankfully, both of these goals burn a lot of calories. One thing I really haven’t had to worry about too much over the last few months is how many calories I consume. However, the quality of food is a factor I am constantly reminding myself to pay attention to. When I eat well, I feel good. I need to eat smart to help fuel my running goals and also eat to support my child.

In training and preparation for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, I met with Jill Merkel at Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center in Minneapolis. Jill is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) specializing in sports and performance nutrition. My 60 minute session provided me with information to fuel running goals, increase performance, speed recovery, and improve my overall health as I continue to train.

Jill at Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine

We have seen a shift in the food pyramid as of late, stressing the importance of eating the rainbow, lean meats, healthy fats, and eating grains and starches in moderation. I was happy to meet with Jill and learn more about how to fuel my body with these foods. My one-on-one nutrition coaching session created a plan that supports my unique needs, goals, and lifestyle. Jill gave me a lot of information about eating clean, what to eat pre-workout to fuel me, how to eat post-workout to rebuild, and the importance of hydration.

Jill worked with my specific goal: running the Twin Cities Marathon. She created a daily game plan which broke down my daily caloric needs, a 6 meal day-to-day plan, and also the types of food to eat. These foods include fruits and vegetables to prevent injury, protein to build muscle, grains and starches for fuel, and fats for protection. Jill also taught me more about serving sizes, what a serving size looks like for common foods, and what types of foods you can eat more of in contrast to what foods we should eat less of. A key part of meeting with Jill was discussing available food options. For example, I can rebuild post-work out with protein of my choice like: lean meat, eggs, yogurt, or a great vegetable protein like, tofu.

This is where I go back to what we eat being so important. I am not at my best physically or mentally when I fill up my body all day long with foods that don’t fuel me. I love a big donut on Tuesdays with my family or pizza Friday with my kids, so I don’t have to cook. It’s all about balance. On Sunday and Monday I am meal prepping eggs, chicken and salad and trying to not drink an entire bottle of creamer in one day. I try not to eat late at night, so on that Tuesday morning when my dad gives me half of his Boston creme, I eat it without worry.

Jill gave me a lot of resources and paperwork to help remind me what types of foods help sustain my active lifestyle. This included a diagram of an “athlete’s plate” to make it easy to see what my meals should look like. She also gave examples of foods in the different groups I can find at the grocery store and keep at home. Jill is a big fan of smoothies, a food I have been trying to get in my weekly if not daily routine, so we talked about how to make that happen.

Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Entry

I had a pleasant and informative meeting with Jill to help attain my running goals and I recommend meeting with her, or another registered dietitian, if you are looking for ways to fuel your life! The session is also affordable, they can schedule around your busy life, and there is convenient underground parking at their Minneapolis location.

Want to learn more? Follow these links for more information:

Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center –  Minneapolis, Rochester

Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center – EXOS Performance & Nutrition Services

Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon – Twin Cities in Motion Website

activities, adventures, do, family, love, motherhood, move, postpartum, run

My Own Track Team

July 6, 2016

I have my own personal track team these days. We are all running around together, supporting each other, logging lots of miles and trying to get our rest days in! Since my number one agenda is to keep everyone alive and entertained, I thought no better way to burn some energy than at the high school track on a beautiful, 65 degree, sunny, Minnesota morning.

boys on track

Last Friday marked the near end of week 2 of marathon training. My husband and I (among other awesome-sauce family members) are using a 16 week training plan for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on October 9. This will be my first marathon and my husband’s fourth! We plan on running together but he is using a intermediate training plan and I am using a beginner plan.

I thoroughly enjoyed supporting my husband training for previous marathons. Of course, it’s a pretty sweet deal being his number one fan 4 years running. Last Summer was the most difficult of previous years, training and life-wise, but I am nothing short of excited to put on the miles this Summer with someone I am absolutely proud of.

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family, love, motherhood, move, postpartum, pregnancy, run

Dog Days

June 30, 2016

Once one season of my life ends and another begins, I find the song “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine come up on my running playlist more often than not. It’s not that the particular season I was in was anything terrible, but I definitely seem to carry a bit of nostalgia and even a little sadness for the past.

Happiness hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her stuck still no turning back
She hid it ’round corners and she hid it under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble she sank with her drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink
The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run
Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind
You can’t carry it with you if you want to survive

I’m now entering the next season of my life. Last year, I welcomed the birth of our fourth child in November and celebrated the seasons with my children by spending as much time together and as happily as we possibly could.

Find more about running and motherhood on The Thrive Blog

We survived that Winter, with all it’s holidays and all-nighters. With the help of my village, I miraculously got myself and the kids where we needed to be – physically and mentally. When I look back now, I remember it being tough adding a new baby to our already big brood of boys, but I look back and I am immensely happy and proud of last Winter.

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Creamy Crock Pot “Crack Chicken”

June 24, 2015

Creamy Crock Pot Crack Chicken. Find more recipes featuring protein on The Thrive Blog

I know the title “Crack Chicken” isn’t the most friendly, but the recipe is popular on Pinterest and some of you may have heard of it before.

I failed to do a grocery run earlier this week, so I searched for recipes I could do using the food up from my pantry, fridge and freezer. Thankfully I had a few odd items to make a delicious supper for my family without having to run to the store. Free meal, we say!

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