HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY RUTH

It snowed on Friday and I’m thrilled. It was so pretty and magical and I hope it stays forever. Except it won’t because it is now raining and I’m sadly watching each flake disappear from my front yard.

Since Friday, I’ve watched 6 Hallmark Holiday movies…I’ve seen them all already before so I kind of half watched them while doing chores/baking/re-arranging stuff, but gosh, I love them so much. I think one of my *secret* dreams  might actually be to star in a Hallmark Christmas movie. Here’s what I’d hope for…I’d like to be in like the town of Cookieville. I’d like my name to be Holly, or Joy, or even Rudy (like the reindeer). I’d like one of those cute houses they always have with every Christmas decoration imaginable, real snow, and of course a dog. A girl can dream right? Hallmark, when you’re ready, hit me up.

So real fast update on running. It’s been a week and a day since my trail half and I feel pretty good. I did a 5 and 4 mile street run last week and it felt super nice to just run. No time goals, no distance goals…just run as far as you feel good. I also feel like every workout I did last week involved air squatslunges, and push ups. I’m V sore but I like it. I like it a lot. This week I really feel like rowing and running sprints so trying to think of a fun workout to do with that. My Alchemy membership ends Tuesday and I’m very sad but also excited to do some stuff on my own.

Ok, enough about that. Lets talk about my dog.

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Just the cutest snuggle monkey

She is currently sleeping on my feet after a 5.5 mile hike with my mom at our favorite state park in Wisconsin. Ruthie’s Birthday* is this coming week and I’m so excited to celebrate her. I say that with a * because sadly, we don’t know her exact birth date. She was a rescue and so we guessed the date based on her adoption date age. I picked October because it’s my fave month obviously. So October 31st is her Birthday.*

Let me tell you something, before Ruthie, I didn’t really like dogs. I never grew up with one, and to be honest, they scared me. I have no idea why because I never had a bad experience, I just had an aversion to them. That all changed once Baby Ruth came along. Out of all the dogs we could have rescued, we chose a Pitbull. And you know what? It’s the best thing that ever happened to me (well besides being borned, getting married, and a few other items).

I know, everyone thinks there dog is the best so I’m going to hop on that train and say my dog is the best. She’s kind, she’s caring, she loves to hike. She’s fast AF. She’s a little bundle of muscle. She’s strong. She’s cute. And my fave thing about her…she’s a snuggler. I think that’s why I love her so much. She nestles right into my big spoon at night and it’s just the cutest thing. She keeps me warm. She gives me hugs and kisses. And she makes me feel so loved.

I feel so happy to have little Ruthie, monkey, poop monster, baby girl, little cutie as my pup child. She’s showed me what it means to truly care about something (obvi besides friends and fam) and has made life a whole helluva lot more fun/adventorous/happy/love-filled.

Hopefully she’s reading this post on her new pup-cell but Baby Ruth, I love ya so darn much. Happy 3rd (21st) Birthday. Stay fun.

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Snug Monkey
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Must be close 

XO

-Hales

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TRAIL RUN YA

I’m sitting on the floor. My feet are asleep. But there is a  mug of hot apple cider (or sea-dar if you’re fancy) nearby, a pumpkin candle is burning, Ruthie is snuggled up behind me snoring cutely, and there’s snow in the forecast. HELL YA. I have been telling people how excited I am for the snow and they look at me like I have spiders crawling out of my eyes. I love fall, I love winter. I love snow and want feet of it this year. I’m hoping to get some cross country skis and try skijoring. Any tips are greatly appreciated.

So, enough about snow, lets talk about something that won’t freak people out…the weekend! Oh it was a stellar one. Like I said last post, my gal pal Katie and I were set to run a trail half marathon Saturday morning. That meant Friday night was spent watching Hocous Pocus, drinking water, and going to bed at 8 PM. Yeah, I like snow and I go to bed before most grandmas. I think it’s cool. You can judge me, IDC.

I woke to my alarm at 5AM Saturday morning, jumped out of bed, pulled back the curtains and shouted “It’s gonna be a great day!” But in all honesty, it was gonna be a really tough day. The sky was cloudy and rain was set to start falling right around race start. Oh well, no one ever died from being wet…at least that I’m aware of.

So we set off for Duluth at 5:45 am after a tiny detour due to my poor navigation and made it to our destination around 8 am. The bus picked us up at 8:30 on the nose and took us to the start of the race…Spirit Mountain.

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View from Spirit Mountain
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View from Bayfront Park

Now let me tell you something about this race…it was called the Harder N Hell Half Marathon. I kept asking myself, why the heck did they call it this? It started at the top of a ski hill which meant it would be all downhill right? hahahahaha NOPE. I couldn’t have been more incorrect.

The race followed the Superior Hiking trail from Spirit Mountain up and down and all around to Bayfront Park. AND IT was hilly AF. LIKE holy hills. Of course, right as we started it began to rain. Rain+dirt trails=MUD. The trail was full of leaves and mud puddles. In the beginning it was pretty easy to get around the mud and stuff but as the race went on and the rain continued to fall, the mud got slicker. The rocks got slippery. There was one point on a downhill I couldn’t stop. Thankfully there was a tree I was able to snag which stopped me from tumbling down the hillside. I did get a sliver but better that than a broken limb. At some points it felt like we were ice skating along the mud rather than running. But you know what? This might have been one of my most favorite runs ever. The conditions made me focus on my every step which kept my mind off the burning sensation in my lungs, the tightness in my hammies/hips, and how tired I felt.

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Mud Girls
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The best views

Yes, it was one of the hardest runs ever but it felt like an adventure. I think at one point I said to Katie, “I feel like I’m Pocahontas or a pioneer, just out here discovering the land.” The race was capped at 150 runners for obvious reasons and we were pretty much on our own the entire time. The views were insane. There were wooded areas, open areas, waterfalls, streams, pretty leaves…ugh, what’s not to love!?

Oh and did I mention the snacks? There were 2 aid stations for the half (oh yeah, there was also a 50 and 100K…those crazies!) and they were stocked full of the best foods. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, gummy bears, licorice, pickles, ginger-ale, granola bars, chips…I’m getting hungry thinking about it.

Something I’ll remember for next year…bring a hydration pack. I got so freaking thirsty and with only 2 aid stations, there were not a lot of opportunities for grabbing hydration. And yes, I did say next year…already looking forward to running this race again, training better/harder, and finishing faster than 2:59. Shoutout to Katie for putting up with me when I got tired, sore, thirsty, and sassy. Couldn’t have done it without you.

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Girl Power

And one last thing…instead of a finisher’s medal, we got soup mugs. How cute is that!? I always just toss my medal in a drawer so it’s nice to have something I’ll actually use.

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So tired, so thirsty

After the race, we headed to the bathroom to try and wipe off some of the mud on our legs, then headed to the Duluth Coffee Company for a hot beverage, changed our clothes and probably left trails of mud behind us, then hit up the Duluth Grill for a late lunch. GET THE ONION RINGS, that’s all I’ll say.

After we refueled, we were on the road and home by 5PM. I took a salt bath, read some Harry Potter, and fell asleep at 7:30. Goodnight.

It was a very busy, cold, tiring, exciting, fun, amazing, adventure-filled day and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I’m still on an endorphin high from the race and my hunger level is still that of a 12 year old boy. GIVE ME ALL THE FOOD. I love trail running.

Ok, that’s all. Peace, love, and snowflakes (hehe). BYE!

-Haley the Snowflake

 

 

 

 

 

Friendships Forever

This coming weekend I’m running a half marathon…on a trail…in Duluth…with my girl Katie. I feel under-trained, over-excited, and have low to medium expectations. This run is more about having fun, seeing the beautiful sights from the top of Duluth, down their ski hill, and to the lake. It’s about taking our time, appreciating the weather, then drinking bloodies after we complete 13.1 miles. It will be my first trail marathon and boy oh boy it should be an experience for the ages.

To train (yes I know I said I feel under-trained), I’ve been trying to run on the trails at least once a week. There aren’t any trails close to me so I usually head over to my supa cool parents house to do this. The furthest I think I’ve run is like 7 miles so I’m feeling meh about mileage but my legs also feel pretty darn freshhhhhhhhhh. I’ll report back after Saturday in case you’re curious. Until them, think about me.

Now, o the meat of this post…friends. Boy do I have some good ones. Last weekend the guhls and I ventured up to Girl Sam’s (I’ll refer to my friend Sam as Girl Sam and my husband Sam as Boy Sam for the time being) parents house north of Minneapolis. Not saying where we went because I know there are weird-o’s out there who might want to follow us next time LOL JK.

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Falling so hard for these leave (LOL)

Saturday afternoon we reached our destination after a 2 ish hour trip, cool music, a little shopping at a certain outlet mall, and girl talk, duh. Sam’s lovely mom had a delicious lunch waiting for us with a side of hot apple cider. YUM. I think hot apple cider is the new pumpkin spice latte….or it should be. Or maybe it shouldn’t so I can have more for me.

Anywho, after lunch, we chilled (like fine wine), had a bonfire (complete with S’mores), did fall things (AKA a photo shoot in the leaves), and just enjoyed being carefree, young gals. These girls are the best and they make me LOL. Like actual laugh out loud. Gosh, friend weekends are the bee’s knees.

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I want S’more fall weather
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Yes, I’m wearing shoes

The thing about being up North is you just feel so cozy all the time. There were always blankets within arms reach, warm drinks, snuggly couches, girl talk, boy talk, whatever talk, and it filled my heart with happiness and joy (for real though).

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Cozy AF

These girls are truly the greatest. They don’t judge me for being my weird self. There’s no fighting, no drama-it’s just good, happy fun. I knew it was real friendship when everyone was in for boardgames and apple cider mules Saturday night. Matches made in friend heaven if you ask me. And when sprinkles began filling the monopoly pieces, no one even turned a cheek. Because a sprinkle in a board game wheelbarrow and high top sneaker is normal.

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Look closely and you’ll find something sweet

Last reason I know our friendship is true…they got me a birthday cookie cake and sang to me. I could cry just thinking about it. UGH. The best. It was a lovely weekend with the greatest friends and I feel so happy to have found 3 gals that make life fun.

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3 cool friends

Find your people who appreciate you for you, no matter how strange you might be.

And have a great day 🙂

XO

-Hales

Falling into the Weekend

Really trying to keep these titles clever. It’s realllllllll tough. Also, I just painted my nails and am trying supes hard not to smudge them…also real tough.

Had the day off today so of course I’m trying to pack as much stuff in as humanly possibly. Woke up at 6am to Sam’s alarm, drank some coffee, did some strict presses at the local gym, then hit up the doctor for an annual check-up. What a super fun morning OMG **flips hair.* JK, that was weird. To reward myself for a clean check-up, I stopped at Target to grab a fall scented candle. I stood in the candle aisle for about 5 minutes sniffing all the different pumpkin and pine flavored scents (side note, why in the world do they have a candle flavored like flannel sheets? That’s just odd) and finally chose a pumpkin vanilla candle. Go team fall!

After Target I made a little stop at Chuck and Don’s for some dog food for little Ruthie before taking an A20 at Alchemy. The workout was a blast and a half per usual. For some reason, I have been getting super duper sweaty lately and it’s annoying to very annoying but whatever, I guess I’m just a sweaty human? It’s like I hit 25 and my sweat increased 2 fold (IDK what that even means it just sounded scientific) and now that I’m a day away from turning 28, I’m really curious to see what happens to my bodily functions. Anyway, I hit up a local hill post A20 for some hill sprints to conclude the days work. The hill is about .20 miles long and is right along the river in Minneapolis. I did 6 sprints with a nice jog down for recovery and loved every minute.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with vacuuming, dusting, toilet scrubbing, laundry-ing, and a little meal preppage. Oh yeah, and one more glass of iced coffee.

Now for part 2 of this post. Last weekend. OMG I can’t even begin to describe how fun/enjoyable/relaxing/exciting/FUN it was. Sam and I borrowed his mom’s mustang (I don’t remember what kind it is but it’s old and COOL and has red interior!) and met up with my parents for a weekend fall drive.

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My cute little parents
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Our ride for the weekend

The trip started from Hudson then drove down the Mississippi River road through towns like Maiden Rock, Pepin, Alma, La Crosse, Winona, Prairie du Chen, Ferryville…and many more. We took our time, stopped about every hour, and saw some really beautiful scenery. The road wound through all these tiny towns and followed the river tightly.

In Alma, we had lunch at Pier 4. I had the ribs and pulled pork plate and thought it was tasty! The baked beans were insane.

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Sup foo

The weather was super shitty on Saturday and it rained pretty much all day but it was actually v relaxing and made the drive super cool.

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Rain in the distance

After driving for about 5 hours on Saturday, we made it to Iowa. We stopped at a neat little park called Pike’s Peak in McGregor and boy oh boy was the view beautiful. I’m always amazed by the things in the Midwest. The Mississippi River blows my mind.

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View from Pike’s Peak

After stopping at the overlook, we were on to our final destination, Dubuque, Iowa. I probably never would have traveled to this city but I’m glad we did. It has the most amazing supper club I’ve even been to in my life. The place…Timmerman’s. It’s situated up on this cliff and overlooks the water. It’s gorgeous and the food/service was the best. I walked in and instantly wanted to stay forever. There’s a big bar in the dining room where we started off with a lovely glass of vino, then made our way to our table next to the window (if you even come here, ask for a window seat, totes worth the extra wait).

Our meal started off with stuffed mushrooms (Sam picked out all the stuffing and left the mushroom cap LOL), then headed into the main course. I went with the duck and my mom instantly said, “aww, you’re eating Ducky.” Yes, she was referring to the little duckling on Land Before Time. Thanks mom. I ate it anyway and LOVED it. Duck really does taste a bit like chicken but this one was so moist and had a delicious cranberry sauce on top. My dad let me pick out birthday dessert so I obvi went with the decadent chocolate cake and it did not disappoint. I’m so happy just thinking about this meal/time with my fam. The best.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel (which was attached to a casino) and played a few slots. My dad and I were unlucky but Sam and my mom won like $50! Go team!

Sunday was a little stressful as our car started having some trouble but we still made the most of it. We had a nice walk in the morning before heading off to the town of Galena. Oh gosh I fell in love with this town. It felt like I was back in the colonial times. The sidewalks were brick and many of the buildings were made out of that beautiful red brick as well. GO TO GALENA.

Our trip came to a close at 9:30 pm last night after about 600 miles of driving in 2 days. It was so fun to get out and explore our beautiful country. The US has so much to offer. Get out and explore. Make memories. See the land people. It’s lovely out there. PS, I’m still not on insta (virtual high fives) so here’s some more pics from the weekend. And yes, those are chickens in a yard…the things ya find in Iowa.

Cheers world/nature. I love ya.

-Hales

Insta Bye

Big news people. I deleted my Instagram. There. The news is out. Like full on deleted it. You can now call me “Insta Gramless.” Cool. It happened last Friday and I’ve never been happier. JK, I have. But it feels amazing. I feel like I have a whole new world in front of me…a dazzling place I never knew (name that movie).

So, why delete the gram? I’ll tell you. I was getting drug down a deep dark hole of comparing my life to picture perfect grammers. The girls with perfect hair, perfect bodies, perfect smiles…Yep. Not gonna lie, I compared myself to those girls daily and it was getting annoyingly annoying. I compared my life to people who travel more than I do and started to feel bad for myself. I’d ask myself, why can’t you travel more? In the end, I’d always feel bad about myself. I was also spending wayyyyyyy to much time with my eyes glued to my phone. I spend 8 hours a day staring at a computer screen…I don’t need to stare at a phone screen as well. Sam would also feel sad becuase I’d be on the Gram almost always which meant I was not present with him or Ruthie or whoever else was around me.

So, almost a week down and I am feeling so much better. It’s really nice not worrying about what I’m missing out on if I don’t scroll the gram every 10 minutes. It’s really nice taking in the my surroundings instead of constantly IG storying or snapping pics. I will still take pictures and I still have Facebook (only for the puppy vids), but I feel so fucking free. Here’s to spending the rest of my life Insta Gramless and appreciating the things around me and living in the moment.

Moving on. This past Saturday, I was fortunate enough to volunteer with a local organization called My Team Triumph. My running pals and I pushed chairs in the Twin Cities 10K and it was probably one of my most amazing experiences ever. Seeing the smiles on the riders faces was the best. Hearing cheers from other runners literally brought tears to my eyes. The course was beautiful and it was the perfect morning for a run. I highly suggest getting involved in the community if you are able. Together, we can help bring joy to other’s lives and make a difference.

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Runners!

My sis, her bf, and their pup were in town last weekend also so that was a blast. Saturday afternoon we all piled into my sister’s car and drove to Stillwater, MN for some window shopping and lunch. Lunch was below average, but the company and laughs made up for it. I also forgot my leftovers which I guess was alright because I wasn’t super attached to my pork chunks. The candy store across the street from where we ate really satisfied my sugar craving and I left with a bag of Chewy Sprees and Sour warheads…my mouth waters thinking about eating those babies.

After lunch we headed over to the Lift Bridge brewery. Now, that was funsies 2.0. I chugged a mango blonde then my sister and I proceeded to call my mom, dad, and brother and sing them voicemails.  I wish someone would call me and leave drunken vmails…JK don’t.

Saturday night, my super awesome dad built a very large bonfire in our backyard. I mean it felt like the flames shot up to the sky (they didn’t obvi but that’s how big it felt). It was a lovely day full of fresh air, family, and love. The best kind of Saturday.

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Fire to the sky

This week has been busy coaching Middle School Cross Country, meal prepping, and exploring a new park! Our CC meet was at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve yesterday and feeling inspired by all the runners, I decided to hang around after and hop on one of the many trails (side note, the park has free entry every first Tuesday of the month…go!). It was a 3.8 mile loop around a pond/lake body of water, through the woods, and around some prairies. It was hilly to v hilly but a blast. Like I’ve been saying, trail running is the best. It just makes me so happy. Try it!

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After the run I rushed home to make a lovely dinner of pork chops, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and cranberries…yes, the kind that come from a can. Let me tell you, this was one stinky meal. My bum was like a firecracker after but w/e, it’s just a natural thing ya know? Everyone loves a tooter. Tooter, that’s a funny word…yes, I know I’m weird. Live your best life. Be weird, be you.

Das ist alles. Auf weidersehn (apparently the pork chops turned me German).

-Hales McGales