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Wow, it is hard to believe that when I jokingly stated maybe I should run the 5K in Duluth, I would actually end up doing it. I started back in April with training and on Friday, June 21 I will finally be running my first 5K.

Yes, I said my “first” 5K. I like the feeling I get from being able to run like I have been. I am not fast but I have been feeling very good when I get done.

I find myself making healthier eating choices as well. It truly does all tie together.

I worked an Oink Outing at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market this past weekend.  There was a woman and her sister that stopped to ask a couple questions about eating pork. Their initial question was “Is it true that pork causes high blood pressure?” This is a question that I am sure a lot of people have had. My answer….No. It does depend on what cut of pork you are talking about; if you mean ham, bacon or sausage – very possible due to the curing processes that are used, however, if you mean fresh pork – no, not from what I know about pork. Fresh pork chops, loin roasts and tenderloins are not high in sodium as there is no extra processing done to them other than being cut and packaged. If you add sauces, marinades and some seasoning blends you can add high sodium contents. I am a firm believer in knowing what you are adding to items that increase fat, sodium and cholesterol contents.

I love to cook my pork bare bones, give me garlic, pepper and a little salt. That just brings out the flavor of pork and that is all I need. Watching the internal temperature of the pork is the most important thing in the world. If it gets over done is it dry with no flavor. Cook it to 145 degrees internal temp, pull off the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes before cutting and its always juicy and tender.

So there is my key to wanting to keep running. It has made me more conscious of my health and how I want to improve my eating habits. Of course that includes cooking and eating more PORK!

I will post next week to let you know how I did in my first 5K. 🙂

Goals help us stay focused and provide motivation. Even a simple goal like cleaning off our desk can keep our mind on the project and create satisfaction when completed.

This summer I’ve been exercising aimlessly. After I ran the 5K in Duluth in June I wanted to do an event towards the end of summer that would give me something to shoot for and stretch my talents. For example, last year I did the Iron Girl Duathlon.

All summer I watched various races come and go but could never get excited about any of them or find one that didn’t conflict with my schedule. In the back of my mind I saw the 10K race in Mankato as a possibility. Sure, it would challenge me since I haven’t run a 10K for almost 30 years, but it was later in the season than I preferred since the race is Oct. 21.

So I would keep finding excuses not to sign up and as summer came to a close I realized I was on the path to letting my exercise routine fade away like the summer daylight hours. I became increasing frustrated with myself knowing that if I let an opportunity like the Mankato 10K pass by I would be mad at myself for not trying. Then again, for whatever reasons the last few times I ran it was hard, and that was only 2 miles. How could I survive 6?

The answer was right next to me…Dale. He said he would run with me and knowing I had him at my side to help me through any rough spots gave me confidence that I could complete a 10K. So I signed us both up for the 10K and went out and ran 2 1/2 miles. It was the best run I had in a long time. Perhaps a sign that my decision was the right one.

Now I have a goal, a purpose for running and exercising even though the daylight hours are getting shorter and the days cooler. It feels good to have something to focus on. Funny thing is that my running is going better too. I suppose those 90° summer days did drag me down, but mentally I have more confidence in myself. I’ve been running 4 miles consistently and am looking to do 5. Once I do that I know I can do 6, especially with Dale running along with me.

What I enjoyed about the Iron Girl Duathlon last year was the challenge of doing something I’d never done before. It meant setting a goal and then working hard to achieve that goal. I’ve decided I can’t let the fear of failure overcome the opportunity to succeed.

“I survived the 2012 Boston Marathon”. That’s the shirt that Dale wants someone to create so that he can buy it. 87° temperatures and running a marathon are two things that do not go well together. Yet Dale was able to stay upright, when unfortunately many didn’t, and run a very respectable 3:45 marathon.

Our weekend in Boston was memorable; not only for the heat but for the great opportunity we had to promote pork during the Health Expo. As I walked into the Event Center, I could smell the inviting scent of grilled pork. Even though the place was packed and I couldn’t find our booth, I knew the Pork Power team was there. We had lots of people ask why pork was at the Health Expo. When we tell them how well a lean protein like pork fits into an athlete’s diet, you could see their head nod in agreement.

Over and over we instructed people on the proper way to cook pork and how that really does make a difference in juiciness and taste. In the end, our goal was to create a positive impression, to provide a little education and to encourage people to continue to buy pork.

Having goals and committing to the hard work and discipline to achieve those goals applies to most everything we do in life, from promoting pork to running marathons. Sometimes things happen beyond our control but that doesn’t make the preparation or the effort needed to accomplish the task any less significant.

Simply having the courage to take on a daunting task reflects the true character of a person.

Congratulations Boston Marathon Finishers

Lori has been doing some heavy lifting on this blog for a while, so I thought I would step in.

At this time last year, I was feeling pretty good about my running accomplishments. I had completed a big year for mileage (1500.5) and had a Boston qualifying run at Grandma’s, which was the first running event sponsored by the Minnesota Pork Board.

Fast forward to closing out 2011. I raced a half marathon in St Paul with a good enough time to get a nomination for MN Runner of the Year (I happened to Google my name). I raced Grandma’s 25 minutes faster than 2010, and was within 1:30 of my lifetime PR for 26.2 miles. I must have reached my running goals on that race, because it was tough to get inspired to train hard the rest of the summer.

Qualifying for Boston again was a true highlight, and I was able to register for the race on the first day. I also had lined up our flights and hotel rooms early, so we won’t scramble trying to get those nailed down. The only thing left to do was train.

Looking for a different challenge, I signed up for the Master Run Coach program, which follows training principles set down by Arthur Lydiard. Without going into details, a runner needs to have a large aerobic training base to add speed to as he gets closer to the race. I am finishing my base training this week, putting in about 70 miles. Wow.

One last thing. I ran 1785 miles in 2011, nearly 20% more. Most of that occurred in the months of November and December, when Boston training kicked in, and snow and ice were not problems like 2010.

Summer vacation is officially here for my kids!  They had their last day of school yesterday and celebrated by having about 25 classmates over to our house for a party.  The 9th and 10th graders hung out together while the 3rd and 6th graders kept me posted on what the older kids were up to.  I completely trust my girls, but they forbid me from checking in on them, so I needed to have someone report back on the older kids whereabouts.  The classmates had a great time playing football, capture the flag, and having a mud fight in our pond.  All good, clean (well not all clean), fun for kids. 

Today, the first day of summer vacation, my oldest three children headed off to work.  Our kids will not be spending their entire vacation going to sports camps, hanging out with friends, playing video games, and watching TV.  Instead, they are expected to work on the farm, even if that means missing out on some of the events their classmates are taking part in.  Our children don’t always find this fair, but we feel work experience is an important piece of raising responsible, self-reliant future adults. 

After I delivered all my kids’ friends to their respective homes today, I went for a run with Teresa K.  The 1/2 marathon in Duluth will be Teresa’s 1st 1/2 marathon and she is so ready.  I have been training with her for a few months, and just when I got done whining about my lung problems, I started having knee issues.  I’ve been wearing two knee braces on runs now and I think these will see me through the race.  I’m not pain-free, but the discomfort is tolerable.  Teresa is a yoga person and has had no injuries or illness.  Maybe I’ll try to work yoga into my training routine next year.  Couldn’t hurt.

Grandma’s Marathon, 1/2 Marathon and 5K are less than 2 weeks away. Despite that, most of our discussions lately have centered around our families and farm activities. This is for good reason, since these are the activities that take up most of the time in our lives.

But as our races get closer, I get the feeling that most of us feel pretty good with where we’re at. Dale has a good solid base and isn’t feeling the aches and pains he did last year. I have more confidence since I’ve been running more. The boys are fresh off a successful track season and even though the 1/2 marathon is a stretch, they’ve vowed to run together and help each other out.

So the excitement builds and we look forward to the race, hanging out with our friends and meeting new people as we promote the product and lifestyle we love.  Stay tuned and see you in Duluth!

 

We broke ground yesterday on our sow expansion project.  There wasn’t a golden shovel to scoop the first dirt.  No press to capture the moment in photos.  All that was needed was a backhoe, a willing crew, and sunny weather. Thankfully, we had all three.

A farmer’s work day is always long, but now Brandon’s days will become extra-long.  Yesterday he started work at 6am, took a 10 minute lunch, snuck away to Maddie’s junior high concert from 7-8:30pm, went back to work and finished up around midnight.  Although the days are long, I think Brandon is really glad to be moving forward with the project finally.  Planning and doing all of the groundwork gets long and feels unproductive.

Training for a half marathon sometimes feels that way… it gets long and sometimes feels unproductive.  I’m trying a different approach to the training this year.  I’m only running 3-4 days a week in hopes of staying injury free.  We’ll see how this approach works and if my final time suffers because of it.  Seven weeks to go!

Bronchitis.  An innocent enough sounding word by itself.  But try to pair bronchitis with running and you get terrible results.

“How long until I can run again?”, was my question to the doctor last night.  I finally went to see the doctor after coughing for two weeks straight.  The doctor told me I would have to hold off on running at least through the end of the week.  I was braced for the worst, so didn’t feel that taking off 4-5 days from running was too bad.  I was also given a prescription for a z-pack, an antibiotic, and an inhaler to use every four hours.

I do everything in my power to avoid antibiotics, but figure this time an antibiotic is the quickest way to my goal of getting back on track with my 1/2 marathon training.  I’m going to get healthy, tweak my training plans a bit, and be back on track in no time.

Although sites like this snowpile in our yard indicate that winter has not completely left, the signs of spring are here. The robins are back and you can hear birds chirping in the morning. The temperatures are warmer and the spring winds are blowing. I have an urge to clean my kids closets.

Track season is underway for the boys. The past 2 Saturday’s they have had an indoor meet at MSU in Mankato. This Thursday they will have their first outdoor meet in St. James.  Brett has run in the 4 x 800 relay , the 3200 m. run and triple jump. Adam has done the 1600 m. run. The events may change depending on the needs of the team, but they will generally do longer distances.

With Dale’s help and encouragement I’ve run some longer distances outside. Increased exercise through the winter months has given me a better base to train from.

Spring is a time of new beginnings. After the cold, quiet winter, plants and animals (and people) come to life. We have a new found energy that makes us want to do things, especially outside.

Welcome back Springtime!

Running has been such a positive energy source in my life, I’ve decided to share that with elementary age girls through Girls On The Run (GOTR).  GOTR is a program created by Molly Brown in 1996.  The program focuses not only on running, but creating positive self-esteem among 3rd-5th grade girls.

Last week I held my first class.  My daughters, Kendrah and Maddie, are helping me out as junior coaches.  We had ten girls turn out for the first class and there was a palpable energy flowing through the gym.  It was so great to see girls with all different strengths, personalities, and abilities working towards their own personal goals.  Sometimes girls feel like they need to look or act a certain way, but the GOTR Program strives to teach every girl to embrace their own uniqueness.

I’m looking forward to a fun season that culminates with a 5K run on May 22nd. I’m sure my 1/2 marathon training will only benefit from this program also.