Running Goals: 2017

Golden Valley 10k running 042917 Valerie | Kale and Ale

In the home stretch of the Golden Valley Run the Valley 10k.

After a low-key year for running in 2016, I plan to make up for it in 2017. One of my top running goals since moving to Minnesota has been to run around nearby Medicine Lake at almost 9 miles. I’ve never built up to that distance during the short summer running season, but since I’m finally acclimating to weather and have been going to the gym regularly, I’ve made it a goal this year.

When I found a 10k for the end of April in the next town over from where I live, I signed up. I know the best way to hold myself accountable with a running goal is to sign up for a race. Having spent the winter doing yoga, elliptical and weights, I was training from 0 miles. I found a 10k training plan and started one day at a time. From my first run, I quickly got stronger.

The day of the race I was concerned about my performance. I hadn’t done my legs any favors the week leading up to it. I was at a concert standing and dancing the night before, and had attended a Barre fitness class two days prior. While my goal was to finish, I crushed it with a 10k personal record of just under an hour, at 59:26. I attribute that to the much-dreaded treadmill runs where I pushed up my speed on shorter runs. This is something I’ve known for years that I need to incorporate into my training and had been reluctant to do, so I guess now I know the results.

Golden Valley 10k 042917 group | Kale and Ale

Gotta love a race where pastries are part of the post-run snack. Holly, Nyssa and I with our post-run carbo-load.

I’m now at a good base to run Medicine Lake in a month or so (my personal running goal is to build up to 7.5 to 8 miles by the end of May). And when one of my race buddies Nyssa mentioned doing a 15k in June or July (a distance I’ve only done once), I was on board and am interested in doing one to keep up this momentum and distance. Either way, I plan to run around Medicine Lake this summer and make running outside earlier and later in the year a new tradition.

What are your summer fitness goals? I would love to hear them in the comments so we can help motivate one another!

Friday links

Hello, wonderful friends. Has this week been as much a struggle for you as it has for me? Living so far north, the time change means it’s dark when I wake up, making it much more difficult to get moving. Here’s hoping next week is easier!



Beyond Vegetarian: More specific labels like “climatarian” and “reducetarian” can help people stick to their food choices by making them feel like part of a community. This is a really great article, as I am so often asked if I eat fish, chicken, etc. My answer (in my head) is always “no, I’m a vegetarain.” I believe the specific labels both explain ones diet and often the reason why they have that diet. What do you think of this often hot-button issue?

For my runner friends: 8 ridiculous things people say to runners. Question: How many of these have you heard? Answer: Too many!


Are you thinking of planting a garden or joining a community supported agriculture program for the first time this year? If so, be sure to check out my guide on CSA and garden planning and steps.

No-bake peanut butter chocolate cookie | Kale and Ale

No-bake peanut butter chocolate cookie

If you are looking for an easy vegan and gluten free dessert, make this: No-bake peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. I made them for a work lunch yesterday and they were easy to  make and crazy tasty.

Have you signed up? I am starting a newsletter, sure to be the easiest way to stay updated on new Kale and Ale blog posts and happenings. With a few fun things planned for the spring, now is the time to get on the list and make sure you don’t miss anything! Sign up here.

2015 In Review: Fitness

2015 year in review: Fitness | Kale and Ale

This is the second in a series featuring highlights from 2015. Today I take a look at activities and trips I’ve enjoyed this year. Monday we discussed food and Friday looks at drinks I’ve had and made this year. Share your highlights of each topic in the comments below!


This spring I bought a used bike when my old bike (and I mean old–its the only bike I’ve had since middle school) was damaged beyond repair. This hybrid bike serves my needs and then some, taking me on nice summer bike rides and getting me to and from beer events nearby. I love living near bike paths and having another alternative to a car.


This year I took up hiking, in preparation for my summer trip to the Grand Canyon and Zion national parks! I have wanted to visit Zion for a while and go somewhere new, so when Aaron and I were looking for a trip we could fly direct from the Twin Cities and do something different, we decided to go to Vegas and visit the parks, making a big loop.

But first, we had to break in our hiking shoes, so this summer we went to state parks around the Twin Cities, hiking in the morning and stopping at a brewery or winery after. I hope to do more of this in the spring/summer of 2016, as it’s a great day trip and way to explore Minnesota. See write-ups of various day trips.

Back to Zion and Grand Canyon: the trip was amazing. There are no words, so I’ll leave a slideshow right here.

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I only ran one race this year-something I need to change in 2016. The race was fun and unique: a trail run using nature as its obstacle course. It coincided with Oktoberfest, so at the end runners were rewarded with, as you can guess, a beer! Read more about my adventure running the Timber Trek.

Timber Trek end |

A muddy, wet and hay filled mess. It was fun.

As I said, I hope to partake in more races next year. I don’t have the group who runs events here like I do in South Florida, but I want to push myself at a fun event. I think I’m going to run a Spartan Race [note: affiliate link] in 2016, specifically probably the short event in Minnesota next June. Who’s with me!?!? Seriously! To prep, I plan to do some weight training this winter.

If you want to run with me in June or another race in 2016, Spartan Race is giving away a free event to one reader of Kale and Ale! And even if you don’t win the giveaway below, there are deals going on now.


Giveaway: Now closed

Spartan Race is giving one reader of Kale and Ale entry to a 2016 Spartan Race in the continental U.S., valued between $75 and $225, depending on the style and length of the race. The giveaway is good for open heats only, which is a non-confirmed start time.

You must be 18 or older to enter. The contest starts at midnight Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, and runs until the end of Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, Central U.S. time. Winner will be picked at random via Rafflecopter. Learn more about Spartan Races [affiliate link] including styles, location and what to expect.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Timber Trek 2015

Timber Trek end |

A muddy, wet and hay filled mess. It was fun.

This weekend I ran my first race in 15 months, the Timber Trek, put on by Corridor Running. It was part of Oktoberfest activities in Amana, a group of villages in Iowa that were founded by Germans seeking religious freedom. This race was new to me in that it is a trail run with natural obstacles.

This was my first trail run ever and running the distance ended up being the least of my worries. It was stated as a 4.3 mile run, but I believe it was more than 4.5 miles in the end according to my running app. I had a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work getting the hang of running single file much of the way, so you had to be in step with the people in front of and behind you, while keeping an eye on the trail and dodging branches, rocks, holes and sometimes wires on the ground. But there was always time to rest at the obstacles, as these were the types of things where you were wading in water up to your waste while your feet were getting stuck in the muck, only to reach the bank and having to pull yourself up in slick mud. There were other interesting obstacles along the way (hay bales, walking a plank that isn’t even), and you run along trail, prairie and cornfields. It really was a fun, different race and I like how they use the natural elements as obstacles.

Timber Trek Corridor Running |

Climbing up the bank after making it across the creek. Photo from Corridor Running Facebook page.

The Corridor Running program is good, too. I have run a July 4th race with them twice, and they are well organized, provide a variety of race styles and distances, and offer different shirts every year made of good-quality material. Those are the types of things that keep people wanting to sign up for the same event year after year.

Possible next races

In the past few weeks I have given some thought to try a 5k Spartan Race next year. (Disclosure: This paragraph contains affiliate links.) I kind of love and fear this idea, as it will be a great accomplishment to finish it, but it will take a lot of work and I’ll be sore. Spartan Race will be in Minnesota next June, so I have a lot of time to prepare and it will give me motivation to lift weights this winter. It would be really fun of others want to join this race and we make a team (as in, start lifting weights and mentally preparing now, people!). If you are motivated to sign up for a race now, get $10 off a Reebok Spartan Race with code SPEAR10.

And not long after that, I think I would like to go back to running the Corridor Racing July 4th 5th Season 8k.

Besides those two, what other races are worth marking on the calendar? And what races will my running readers be participating in?

2013 Palm Beach Turkey Trot

I haven’t posted a running update for way too long. That is because I haven’t been running regularly for way too long. (And, I’m sure you have noticed I haven’t been blogging as often — life has been way too crazy lately.)

But I really am going to make an effort to get back on track with both running and blogging. As the weather is about perfect in South Florida now, the treats and food temptations are at an all-time high and any likelihood for depression is greatest being away from my family for the holidays, I really need to focus on running and getting back into a routine. And that started today with the Town of Palm Beach United Way Turkey Trot 5k.

Supersoft T-shirt for the 2013 Town of Palm Beach United Way Turkey Trot

Supersoft T-shirt for the 2013 Town of Palm Beach United Way Turkey Trot

Sleepy Val before the race

Sleepy Val before the race

I had never done this race before, but I thought it would be great to get up, run around the Island of Palm Beach and start my day. Little did I know it wouldn’t even be 50° at race time. (I know, I know, it’s November. But it’s Florida. And I don’t have warm running clothes. And my lungs aren’t used to exercise in this weather. So there is all that.)

It was a well-organized race with a great, easy route. There were about 600 to 800 runners, so it was a nice size, not too big and not too small. And because it is the town of Palm Beach, the shirt is supersoft and nice, on par with the one I got at my Fourth of July 8k this year. Yes, this is my second holiday race this year, and I’m really digging these holiday races. Great way to start probably my two favorite holidays.

As I said, I haven’t been running much; it was two weeks since my last run, in fact! But I was really happy with my time considering the weather and my lack of preparation.

What’s next

I still have an arch ache a lot when I run. I had it about 1.5 miles into this run. ¡No bueno! So I need to stretch more every day, and I need new running shoes. This will be my third pair ever, and for my second pair I got the same I had before (Adidas Supernova), but I kind of want to try new shoes. I have overpronation and flat feet. What running shoes/brands do you love?

Also, it’s that time of year for fun runs in full effect in South Florida, and I need to find some new runs. What fun races would you recommend in South Florida?