Category Archives: ENTERTAINMENT

Making Workouts a Priority

It’s been almost 4 years since I started training for my first long distance race – the IMT Des Moines Marathon in 2008. It’s been a long journey from sprinting in high school to realizing that running a mile wasn’t torture. I’m still not sure what made me decide to run a half marathon and after that, decide I was able to run a marathon. It’s a little scary when I make comments like “I only ran 12 miles this week.”

My running group has heard this story more than once, I’m sure. In high school, our coaches used to punish us by running “campus.” Cedar Rapids Prairie has all 7 buildings (5 when I was there) on one “campus.” Running the perimeter was usually to punish us if they found out we might have attended a party over the weekend or if they knew we were slacking at practice. It was awful. Running campus was the worst thing they could have done. The hills, the distance, the heat!

I graduated in 2003. When I was training for that first half in 2008, I was back at my parents and had a 6 mile training run to accomplish. It’s hard enough to do anything but sit around and eat at family functions, so getting out to do 6 miles was a feat in itself. Since my parents live on gravel, I figured I could drive over to school and run campus before finishing on the track. This was before I had my Garmin GPS watch, so I’d need to drive the distance and finish the rest on my own.

I remember driving around and thinking, “this can’t be right.” I knew it had to be at least a few miles. Nope…1.5 miles! This torturous route was only 1.5 miles!? I honestly couldn’t believe it. After 2 laps around campus, I got bored, so I ran a little on the track and finished a 3rd campus lap.

It was that day I truly considered myself a long-distance runner. I still take the hills too fast thinking, “the faster I get up this thing, the sooner it will be over.” My short runs end up turning into speed work. And when I head back to CR, I know not to run at Prairie…I get way too bored on the short little loop I used to dread.

Getting into distance running has taken some getting-used-to. In college I would go out for a quick 15 minute, full-out run, be home to shower and go out in 30 minutes. Today, I’ve now got to wait for the Garmin to find a satellite, run at a little slower of a pace, run longer distances, and find time to eat shortly after a run, and now I’m trying to improve my stretching habit…which was basically non-existant. It’s a huge commitment, but completely worth it.

After 4 years I think running has finally reached the top 5 of my priority list, along with work, family and Grant, food, and outside activities. It’s hard to make it a habit and sleep has definitely taken a fall as this habit has taken root. Don’t get me wrong, I totally skip out some mornings and if I’m out late the night before a fun run, I have not hesitated to text the running group and declare my AM absence. But I rarely miss my Monday morning runs…a short, but glorious way to start the week.

To switch it up, I attempted 2 sprint triathlons last summer, incorporating some swimming and biking into my morning routines. The bike is way behind on it’s workouts, but swimming has gotten more and more consistent, thanks to some good friends who get me to make the commitment to the pool. It’s them that keeps me motivated to keep running high on the priority list. They workout daily, yet still enjoy life and their families. They’ve qualified for and run the Boston Marathon, done half ironmans, and join in on 20-mile training runs just to be good company. It’s those friends who I’m lucky enough to have. Not to mention all the other running buddies who are constantly motivating themselves, without the company during a run…just themselves and their determination. They’re the one’s who really keep me going.

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled on enough and I’m not sure this has anything to do with my typical blog posts, but we’ll chalk it up to a “journal entry” and call it a night.

One more quick ramble – I’m not sure I’ve ever really adhered to the “Iowa Farm Girl” blog title, so as I hope to pick things up again, I should probably start applying my posts to the reason I started the blog in the first place, which I can get into another time.

For now, I’ll say that this blog is a reflection of where I’ve come from – the Jansa Farm. Without my dad’s love for running, the Hershey race my mom had me participate in elementary (along with some Freedom Festival fun run, I think), some great coaches (Ramaker, Perkins, Becika, and Hall), and a good friend in college who showed me that slowing down was the key to running farther, I might be stuck in some gym somewhere and not outside running the streets and trails of DSM. Running is one thing I brought from the farm.

And so I don’t leave you without a photo and just a boring blog post that really, was more therapeutic for me, than it will be enjoyable for you…


Finally time for bed…until next time!




The Second Wind

I’m definitely someone who seems to get a second wind at night. It drives me nuts. Here I am, a late night at work, and all I want to do is go home and go to bed. However, there are still things to finish up, and once I start working it’s like I just downed a Red Bull. I keep on working. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but it’s going to make that 5:30 am gym class harder to make. Maybe next week, right? This can’t be healthy!

What I wanted to blog about was having a nice evening at home, which is rare. Work made it a little more difficult so instead it was spuds at Quinton’s. Yep, you heard right. The place whose soup I adored all through college is now my favorite place for a baked potato with veggies and queso dip. Yum!!

But, on the bright side, it was a productive evening, I’m blogging two nights in a row (though I should be sleeping), and I promise I’ll get up for that cardio conditioning class. I’m starting to wonder why I’m still blogging when I should be in bed. Actually, this post is more of a test to see how I like blogging from the Ipad app. So far, so good!

Plus, I’m really into the 5 minute Crest White strips, and I always get really antsy waiting for my 5 minutes to be up.


Ok, it’s been 5 minutes…I mean 10. Time to floss, brush, and get to bed because I’m getting loopy!

Till next time…

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Busy Start to 2012

Wasn’t it just Christmas?  I had my (I mean our) tree up…

Andrea C. and I headed to Sacramento for the California International Marathon, a visit to my good friend Matt, and a tour of the California State Capitol.

My favorite two facts about the California State Capitol was that they don’t allow the Governor in either legislative chamber.  Not on the floor or in the gallery.  Also, their State Senate still does every vote by roll call.  So much for technology!  Oh, and I also enjoyed the first portrait of current Governor Jerry Brown.  It’s unknown whether he’ll get a second commissioned after this second stint in office.  I think I would if I were him!

Then it was off to Mexico…

Holidays with the family, NYE at where else? Carl’s in Sherman Hill!

And then came a new job!  Though I’m still up at the Capitol, I’ve now moved out to the lobby and I’m working for LS2Group and loving it!!  What a great group of people to work with and I still get to walk into this beautiful building everyday.  And walk I do!  Our new office is just a few blocks away, so I’m barely driving.  Exercise, check.  Helping the environment, check.  Lucky for a mild winter, check!

It’s great walking to work everyday and yes, the weather has made it a little easier, but in other news and 2012 excitement, I finally got a new car!

Luscious (the name we gave her in high school) was with me for 9 1/2 years and we went from 65,000 miles as a senior in high school to almost 198,000 this January.  We’ve been through a lot, she’s seen the backside of many tow trucks, been hit by a deer, hit a deer and a yellow pole in the Wendy’s drive through, she’s driven all over Iowa, to Los Angeles and back, and although it was hard to see her go…

I couldn’t be more happy with my new purchase or the service I got at Karl Chevrolet!  A big thanks to Steve Ames and Brandon Williams for their help in getting me set up!

The only problem is that with all this walking, I don’t get to drive it much.  It’s already been to Creston with GW and I’m sure there are many more road trips to come!  And yes, I’ve decided to grow up and stop thinking of my car as a he or she and I promise, no nicknames!

So, now that I feel caught up a bit, maybe I’ll get around to doing this more often.  It’s not like I don’t have a lot going on that I can’t share.  Just finding time is the issue!

Speaking of time, sleep takes some, and I’m starting to ramble.  Off to bed!

Till next time…



Training for My First Triathlon

Another successful workout this morning at the pool.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate as well for the afternoon workout.  Yep, I’ve decided to dive in and sign up for my first triathlon.  It’s a sprint distance, so I think I’ll be ok physically.  It’s the mental part of open-water swimming and the transitions I’m a little worried about.  Good think I have a lot of support from friends!

Here is my schedule for the next 5 weeks:

Week         Mon       Tue       Wed           Thur           Fri      Sat        Sun

May 23   Swim 21   Rest   Swim 28   Swim 35   Bike 70  Rest    Run 35
Bike 42                Run 23

May 30   Swim 23   Rest   Swim 31   Swim 39    Bike 77  Rest   Run 39
Bike 46                Run 23

Jun3 6    Italy          Italy     Italy          Italy           Italy      Italy    Italy

Jun 13   Swim 18   Rest    Swim 26    Swim 31    Bike 62    Rest  Run 31
Bike 37                                                      Run 18

Jun 20  Swim 14   Rest    Bike 46       Swim 23    Rest        Rest    Race
Bike 28                Run 14

At least these are the workouts I’m planning to get in each week…not necessarily in this order.

Thanks to JH for the website suggestion containing training plans…  I’ve pulled this from the last four weeks of their swim-heavy sprint triathlon plan.  Those numbers are the minutes I’m supposed to spend running, swimming, and biking.  The workouts highlighted in red are workouts that should be done as a “brick,” or back-to-back.  Sorry for the poor format.  I’m still learning how to paste charts into my posts.  Suggestions?

For instance, Monday’s “Swim 21, Bike 42” workout indicates doing one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Farther down, the “Swim 18, Bike 37” indicates doing a swim, immediately followed by the bike.  We’ll see how this goes!

Uneventful day at work and in the world of meals.  Scrambled eggs with salsa for breakfast.

Salad for lunch, which was not the best I’ve had.  I was trying to clean up some things so here is a list of the ingredients:

– Lettuce (of course)
– Fresh salsa (getting pretty tangy by this point)
– Peas (probably a weird addition)
– Chopped walnuts
– Dried cranberries.

While I was preparing my lettuce, I went ahead and cut up the whole head and divided it into bowls for the rest of the week.

With such an early morning at the pool, I had a lot of extra time to be busy…and relax.

I prepped for the week (lettuce bowls that is).  Washed and spun it before dividing into the bowls…

I did the Sudoku puzzle.

Don’t tell anyone, but I occasionally (ok more often than that) read the Dear Abby section.  I like to see if my response is the same as hers…plus sometimes the questions remind me that life isn’t really too bad!

I even had a few minutes to get started on the crossword puzzle.  A lot of mornings I’ll bring it to work to continue my attempt while I eat lunch.  Plus, doing it at the beginning of the week means it’s a heck of a lot easier than Sunday mornings. 🙂

This evening I meant to get out on the bike, but with the rain, I ended up staying at work a little later and not getting home in time.  Instead I headed to Great Harvest Bread Co. for the first time and picked up a couple of loaves of bread.  I can’t wait to try them!  I’ve been meaning to stop by there for like the past year, but when Groupon had a deal, I just couldn’t resist. Thank you Groupon!

Then a trip to Hy-Vee to stock up for the week and weekend, before a New Leaders Council meeting and then off to the I-Cubs game with YPC!  A busy evening indeed!

Highlights from the night:

Corn dog!!

Oh, and a Coors Light to wash it down.

Watching some of the crew sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game!”

Check out the pizza mascot…gotta love Casey’s Pizza!

And some great views of the Capitol behind the field.

The pictures don’t do it justice…next time I’ll bring the good camera.

Ok, enough from me tonight!

Sweet Dreams!


What is your morning routine?  Do you admit to reading Dear Abby? 🙂

Do you use GroupOn and LivingSocial?  What’s the best deal you’ve found?



Iowa State Capitol Post

I came across a photo I took during a run one morning and never posted…thought I’d add it to the gallery. 🙂


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Mullets on a Stick

It would not be a complete summer in Des Moines without at least one evening at the Iowa State Fair.  What more could you ask for – fried food on a stick, mullet wigs and non-wig mullets, fair rides, The Dairy Barn (not to be confused with the Dari Barn in Grinnell), the largest vegetables and animals you’ve ever seen, and smells you can only find in Iowa?

The evening began with a stop at the Beechwood.

Followed by a walk up to the bus stop at the Capitol.  Why deal with parking at the State Fair Grounds when you can catch a $2 (round trip) bus ride and not have to worry about that extra $6 Miller Lite?  Moral of the story…”Park n’ Ride!”

So many thing to do at the fair…so we started with food!

Corn Dogs!

Cheese Curds!

Chicken Lips!

After successfully filling our stomaches, we headed to the fair rides.  Word of advice – in the future, rotate that order – rides and THEN food.

I can’t remember if this one was called Thunder, Lighting, Power Surge, or what.  We also hoped on a ride called the Tornado, which was poor judgement on my part.  My stomach spent at least an hour punishing me.  You live and you learn!

Once my stomach settled down, I was able to visit The Dairy Barn for a delicious chocolate shake!

The last part of our evening outing included me running from barn to barn, getting photos of the animals.  Apparently I miss the smelly things and it might be a sign I should get back to Cedar Rapids before the withdrawals get any worse.

We walked through the Cattle Barn where we got a look at the BIG BULL.  Wow was he big!!! 

Then there was my skinny cow.  I couldn’t get over how much his or her bones stuck out!

Next, I wanted to check out the hog barn, or swine barn, as I was later corrected.  Unfortunately, the hogs are switched out in the middle of the week for goats, so I missed the Hereford Hog.  Why was I looking for the specific hog, you ask?  I found out about a year ago while randomly searching Google for family tree information that my great-grandfather, John C. Schulte, created the Hereford Hog.  “Herefords were created from a cross of Duroc-Jersey and Poland China hogs by John C. Schulte of Norway, Iowa, around 1920.”  So, while I didn’t get to see a Hereford, I did get to see the Big Boars of the year.

Big D and Tiny (I’m not sure which name is more appropriate)

On the way out of the fair, I couldn’t help but notice the large sign that could only be found at the Iowa State Fair.  Where else could you find a Hot Beef Sundae? 

Next Year’s Iowa State Fair Goals:

  • Go more than one day
  • Rides and THEN food
  • Find the Hereford Hog!!
  • Try a hot beef sundae

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