END-TRAILS 12 hour trail run, 2017

Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017 was the END-TRAILS: Extreme North Dakota’s Terrifying Run Amongst Innumerable Lost Souls 12 hour trail run. Yeah, quite the name! This event is put on by END (Extreme North Dakota) Racing and it was EPIC! This was my first END event – they do a variety of extreme races including swim, cycle, multisport and of course on foot. This particular weekend featured a bike event for 12 hours on Saturday and then a 10k trail loop for 12 hours on Sunday.

Everything happened at Turtle River State Park by Grand Forks, ND. This is about 4 to 4.5 hours from my home in Hazen. To make it a bit more bearable, I stayed in Minot with my grannie the night before. I was up and on the road at 4 a.m. The drive was pretty uneventful, helped along by an audio book and thankfully, I only had to slam on the brakes once for a mini herd of deer.

So here is the situation on how this run happens. You can enter as a single person or as a team of up to 4 people (co-ed or not). My team was called Mud, Sweat and Beers and we had 3 women. I love our team name. Everyone is welcome to hunker down in the very nice central lodge at the park which has running water, functioning toilets, a kitchen, food, drinks, coffee and space. What more could a runner need? The weather was cool and overcast, quite good for running. The forecast called for high winds (bummer!) but thankfully it was mostly protected by trees along the Turtle River, the morning was particularly wind free. As a person you can do one lap or as many as you want in a 12-hour span. They just ask you let them know when you are done so they know you are safe and can accurately record your time and laps. As for teams, you can take turns running however you want, all run together or whatever. We decided to go one after another. I felt going in I wanted to do at least 3, maybe 4 laps.


Wow -we had fun. This was my first event of this nature and would tie for my furthest running amount in one day. It is quite a different beast though running 19 miles at once and 19 miles broken into 3 laps. I brought with a change of clothes for between laps just to get out of sweaty clothes that I knew would turn me cold. We all also brought along food, drink and things to keeps us occupied while we waited our turn to go again. I felt like time went by quite quickly. The sun was up right around the time we started. We had headlamps but they weren’t needed. After we had each recorded one lap, we were welcome to participate in the Halloween theme of the event and dress up and run if we’d like. My teammate Melissa and I both dressed up. I was in a onesie unicorn PJ costume and she was in a much smarter Wonder Woman costume. It was fun to run dressed up and even though my costume was HOT, my lap time was still pretty decent. Not everyone dressed up but it was fun. While we were out running the trails, the park is still open to visitors so I got a few perplexed looks from adults and a few questions from kids on why a unicorn was running by.

We ended up each doing 3 laps. At this point, it was getting dark and I was OK with not getting in a 4th lap. To be honest, it is very quiet and lonely out there – a bit scary. I didn’t know I wanted to run in the dark. By this point, many of the single runners had dropped as well as the teams. We parted ways and on the way home I was glad as we ran into snow squalls and some bad weather. In hindsight, we probably could have ran another lap together but I am totally satisfied with how we finished. I was 100% do this event again. Maybe one day I will have enough stamina to do 4-6 laps on my own? The trail terrain is nice and not too hilly. I would say this event gave me a boost of confidence that I can run far – but especially if I fuel up correctly and just take my time. I tend to go out blazing and burn out quickly. I’m not going to break any records so I might as well be smart and have fun!!

Thanks to my Mud, Sweat and Beers ladies for a fun Sunday afternoon – Alayna and Melissa, two gals up for anything. To stay true to our name we did have some mud, quite a bit of sweat and yeah, I had to have a couple (light) beers to celebrate. Cheers! I hope to participate in and END racing event again.

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living | 1 Comment

Meal prep tips

If you know me or have followed along here – you know I am a fan of meal prepping. I take my lunch to work every day. I work in a rural area with no access to a restaurant, convenience store or cafeteria. That is a good thing, because then I control what goes into my mouth. But, it also takes a bit of planning.

I thought I’d share here a few tips I have been using lately and some meals I take to work. You can see I’m not bothered by eating the same food each day as long as it fills me up.


Above is a mix of kale, cabbage, riced cauliflower, green beans (frozen that I microwaved and sauteed quick in a pan for color), pinto beans and sweet potato all topped with feta cheese. I add some cottage cheese on the side for additional protein and yes, I know I eat a lot of food. I get told this often but what can I say? I like to eat! When you are eating healthy, good for you food, you can really bulk up the meal.

  • Make a plan – make sure you pick a rounded meal with protein, carbs and fats
  • Take time – set aside time to prep; it does take a chunk of time, but you are rewarded that time throughout the week. I made the above 8 meals in one hour after work one night
  • Grocery Shop – once you have your plan, make sure you have the groceries. I use a mix of fresh, frozen and dried foods
  • Prepare in advance of your meal prep – some of your food can be made days ahead of your meal prep time. For example, I am really into eating beans or lentils for lunch. I can make these after work any night in my Instant Pot while I cook supper. Set it and forget it. Once they are done, I can use later or when I make 2 lbs at a time, I freeze them. Chop veggies in advance. You can bake or roast veggies while you make dinner on the stove top. You can do all those dishes a night you aren’t prepping.
  • Frozen foods are your friend – SO true in North Dakota where we have a dismal selection of fresh and/or tasty vegetables in the winter. I love frozen broccoli and other frozen veggies I can buy in bulk. Lately you will also find some new mixes at the store – I found riced cauliflower with veggies and teriyaki sauce and frozen fruits with kale and spinach.
  • Consider cost – I am cheap. I like to use food that isn’t so expensive and dried beans, lentils and bulk veggies are great for this. I am having a (bad) moment with meat products and they aren’t sitting too well with me for the most part. I am trying a few different things with my diet but for now, I limit meat to once a day, just FYI on why that is missing here. But also, it makes meals more affordable! If you prefer meat, by all means, use meat – prep it in advance.

Even if you don’t have a specific recipe, you can pair together foods you like for a nice meal. If you are a total newbie, Google Meal Prep ideas and a TON of suggestions will come up – something is bound to grab your eye.



  • Utilize your kitchen gadgets – Instant Pot, slow cooker, spiralizer, etc. If you own these gadgets, use them. Different preparations means different styles of food to keep your brain interested. Different ways of cooking means you get done faster.
  • Buy in bulk – I do my best to support and shop local but I admit I purchase some items in bulk. Particularly in the winter I look for frozen veggies – the frozen broccoli at Sam’s is superior to anything I can find local. I also purchase bulk hummus (I’d go broke buying the smaller tubs), eggs, tortilla wraps, fresh fruit, frozen fruit and cottage cheese.
  • Portions and containers – know your portion size, everyone requires a different amount of calories. Make sure you have plenty of storage containers on hand. I like to have enough for at least a dozen meals at a time plus larger ones to store cooked frozen foods in.
  • Quick cooking – so if I have beans or lentils and squash or potatoes that I cook and roast, I want to round off my meals with some quick cooking veggies. Some of my favorite options are cabbage, riced cauliflower and kale. You can very easily and quickly saute these and season as you like to add bulk and flavor to the meal.
  • Fats – I need some fats in my meal to feel satiated. My choice for quite a while now is feta cheese. It is strong and doesn’t melt funky when reheated.
  • Be organized – I think this is the most important – between meal planning, actually cooking and storing the food, you have to be organized. Practice definitely helps.


Above I have microwaved frozen veggie mix with a spiralized sweet potato, bean, kale and tomato dish. On the right is a very popular and easy to make egg roll in a bowl. I made that bulk to heat up individual portions for dinners on a busy week. Amp that up with some steamed stir fry veggies.


This bag of kale is available at Walmart and I really like it because it is huge, lasts a long time and is already cut. This bag will make me at least 8 meals and was about $3 I think. Kale or spinach is easily added to many dishes with barely any flavor added but tons of micronutrients.


Many recipes make several servings and since it is just my husband and I – we need to be fans of leftovers. Leftovers can be eaten the same week or frozen for future use. I almost always have some meals in the freezer we can grab for those super busy weeks. I will say my husband doesn’t eat the same lunches I do but I do prep other stuff for him – that is a luxury I have since we don’t have kids I know! Another tip is to make some healthier energy bites to keep in the freezer for when the sweet tooth is calling.

Give meal prepping a try. Even if you can’t do it every week, it sure is nice to have on hand now and again. I make 4 meals for 5 work days with that 5th day being a Subway day (our only “fast food” restaurant) or supper leftovers or wing it day. Enjoy!

Posted in Dinner idea, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living, Informational, Main Dish | Leave a comment

Fargo Mini Marathon, Red River Double, 2017

This was mine and my Mom’s second year of doing the Red River Double as part of the Fargo Mini Marathon events on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in Fargo, ND. I ran the 10k and then walked the 5k with Mom. My Mom walked the 5k for time and then walked the 5k again with me.


The events happened to fall on the weekend of my birthday so it was super fun to travel to Fargo with my parents and meet up with my sister for the weekend. We got a hotel for both nights to enjoy the run events, meet up with friends, watch Bison football at a local bar, go to CycleBar and do some shopping. I love visiting Fargo, but it is ALWAYS jam packed with things to do.

The weather cooperated for the most part, it was cool but nothing too major. I was really hoping for a good time on my 10k run, hoping to keep my pace in the 7 minutes and something seconds per mile; likely upper 7 minute miles. The route started out like usual, it goes from the Fargo Civic Center along the Red River in both North Dakota and Minnesota. Once we got to Oak Grove High School there was a little confusion. Some of the people in front of me were being waved through but they didn’t think it was correct saying, we are running the 10k!! But we all kept going. Then, we got to the turnaround point but it wasn’t actually marked. There was an aid station there where they told us to turn around but there was no sign or pole or anything. At this point, I also saw a cell phone bounce to the ground so I stopped to try to find the owner and we quickly reunited the person with super baggy sweatpants he lost his phone!! Whew.


So, that was confusing but we were all confused and together seemingly. I looked at my watch A LOT which I don’t like. I prefer to just run on feel and do the best I can. I wasn’t feeling that great about my pace. But, I kept trucking along. I know the area fairly well and as the miles were ticking off I thought, wow, we must take a shortcut back into the Civic Center to end at 6.2 miles. Once we got close to the Civic Center we were not routed inside but around. I knew this was longer than 6.2 miles on my watch but maybe the Civic Center threw my GPS off so I just kept running but did feel like the time was really not too well for me. I finished in about 53 minutes and felt kind of blah about that.

After I grabbed a drink and caught up with my Mom I told her my race measured closer to 6.7 miles? After visiting with some people nearby, they also had the course measuring long. They Red River Double doesn’t start for another hour or so and we had plenty of time to mill around and check the finishing times. We knew from prior years that they posted times fairly quickly.


My Mom results went up and she CRUSHED it walking the 5k in under 45 minutes. So impressive!! She finishes in the top half and doesn’t even run! My results were slow to post and eventually the race director came on the sound system saying the race is being renamed a 6.6 mile race due to it being long. I have NO IDEA how that happened since they are the same people who do this run every year and do the Fargo Marathon. There is construction downtown but there was last year and it isn’t exactly new. He felt really bad. There were some people kind of pissed they missed a PR but really – we all ran the same distance and since probably no one has a 6.6 mile run – we all got a PR! Mistakes happen.


This made me feel a bit better about my time but I know I have better in me. Just not today. Again – happy to finish healthy and smiling!


6.6 mile run: 53 minutes, 10 seconds. 8:04 per mile.

Mom and I set off for the Double portion and walked the next 5k together chatting the whole time. When we finished we were handed a 5k medal which is what she already had earned. The year prior, we received a special Double medal. Well, whatever. The medals are very nice, there is a lot of food and I really liked the t-shirts this year. It was still a fun event.

A few weeks later, we both received a package in the mail – no return address – only to open it and see a special Red River Double medal. So I don’t know if those were on back order or what the deal was? At $3 a pop to mail them, I imagine it was kind of a spendy issue. So a few kinks this year, but nothing too major.


We were happy to spend time in Fargo and cram so much into ONE weekend. Sunday I woke up to attend an awesome CycleBar class and then we hit the road back home.

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living, Misc | 1 Comment

2018 and IIFYM

Happy New Year! Generally every new year brings a time where many people want to become more healthy, lose a few pounds and/or become more fit. I’m no different! I do not think you need a new year to set goals or make plans, but if that is the kick you need to get started, so be it. If anything, now is a good time to refocus after all the holiday parties and foods. As I have gotten older, I really appreciate how good GOOD food makes me feel. I just feel brighter and more myself after fueling my body up on a ton of veggies, lean protein and healthy fats. Now, don’t get it wrong, I LOVE cookies, chips, chocolate and all that other stuff. But it doesn’t really love me back. It makes me feel crappy, bloated and even causes my face to break out if I had a really off few days of eats. I’m definitely not one of those people who can eat anything they want any time they want.


For nearly five years now, I have been working on improving my health, fitness and diet. You have probably noticed there are about a billion “diets”, exercise programs, shakes, teas, etc. out there. I’m not going to knock any of them (but seriously you do NOT NEED A SHAKE A DAY of $160 protein powder, drinking tea won’t make you slim and chances are your juice diet will just give you the shits and then cause you to overeat once you can put real food in your mouth again), they exist because people have used them with successful results. I have done some of these programs and shakes and what not. They CAN BE a great tool for you to get started or make a change. HOWEVER, at this point in my life, I am really focused on long term, sustainable and realistic goals. Personally, I do not feel an expensive shake and little meal containers every day is a sustainable option. There is NO WAY I could be low carb for any amount of time with all the exercise I like to do. I’m not going to talk in this post much about exercise. I truly think if you are wanting to lose fat, diet and what you put in your mouth hole is the change that is needed. Moving helps for sure and I think they go hand in hand. I love to workout and make it part of my day. However, I still struggle with my eating – overeating, binging, restricting, etc. It has gotten better these past five years but I am a work in progress for sure!! I hope you bear with me while I share what I’ve been working on lately.


I love to read articles online and research various “healthy” options that are available. I am always clicking on article links or this and that. The key to losing weights is quite simple, no? Eat fewer calories and move more. OK, it is easy only in theory, but in practice, I know it is much more difficult. I’ve read quite a bit on IIFYM – If It Fits Your Macros. Macros are macronutrients and has been a growing “diet trend” as it is flexible dieting. On a side note – I know a lot of people are fans of intuitive eating. But for me, I intuitively eat A LOT of shit so while that sounds lovely, it is not working for me and made me become fat. IIFYM says you can eat anything you love and still lose weight or build muscle, depending on your goals. There are various ways to calculate what your personals set of macros should be and things to consider is if you are male or female, wanting to grow muscle, lose weight, how active you are and more. Someone professional should calculate your specific macros, but there are tools you can find online. Your macros are made up of Protein, Fats and Carbs. Generally, the main focus is on protein intake, then carbs and then fats as far as percentage wise. You can easily track your macros by reading food labels and using a tracking app such as My Fitness Pal or Lose It.


Sometimes, I truly feel people don’t understand my struggle with food, weight and self-image. Through my IIFYM research, I have joined a group of women where we can exchange recipes, follow each other on social media, bounce ideas off of one another and share how we feel. This has really been a game changer for me. Often, women are told to eat 1,500 calories and diet. Well, for ME, that is severely undereating and would just lead to restriction and ultimately, bingeing, failure, self-loathing and eventually weight gain. In an effort to ditch a few pounds, I became more invested in learning about IIFYM. It has helped me to lose 10 pounds but it also gives me freedom in choosing foods and in particular, choosing foods that best fill up my macros. I am a volume eater and so while you can choose candy bars or other things, I am more drawn to healthful foods rich in micronutrients to fill up my plate and fuel my body. Some of the women in our group are meticulous about weighing and measuring food. I’m not to that point (yet anyway). Right now, I am just trying to figure out the puzzle and how this can become part of my daily life. I don’t want to count calories or macros forever, but I do want a healthy and sustainable way to eat. So far, this has been a great option for me. As with any subject, Instagram can be a great resource or overwhelming – a few accounts that I have liked include @cartergood and @jamessmithpt (crude language from this guy but it makes you think.)


Again, I’m not knocking other diets – you have to find what works for you. I imagine I’ll try other new things as they come along – I’m always up to try stuff. But so far, this has been a game changer! I eat A LOT of foods and I feel amazing. So, as you go into 2018 and if you are looking for ways to improve your health, you may want to consider IIFYM. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2018. I don’t have any resolutions, per say, but I do have goals. Now is a great time to start – but if you didn’t start on January 1, every day is a new day and a new year. If you have any IIFYM ideas or accounts to follow, please let me know!

Posted in Feisty Eats, Healthy Living, Informational | 1 Comment

Blue Moon JellO Shots

Oh hey – I have one more idea for you to help ring in the New Year! This fun mini beer looking drink is actually a JellO shot. They are fun to make and super fun to enjoy with friends.


Blue Moon JellO Shots

  • 2 3-oz. packages instant sugar free orange JellO
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. Blue Moon beer
  • 1 c. vodka
  • 1 c. cool whip
  • 1 Orange, cut into tiny slices, for garnish


  1. In a large heatproof glass bowl or measuring cup, empty JellO powder. Pour over boiling water and whisk until JellO is dissolved.
  2. Stir in Blue Moon and vodka.
  3. Pour mixture into plastic shot cups and refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Top with Cool Whip for “foam” and garnish with a tiny orange slice.
  5. Serve for yourself with friends.

Enjoy and Happy New Year. I wish all my friends (online and in real life) a happy, healthy 2018!

Posted in Feisty Eats, How To, Misc | 1 Comment

Antipasto Skewers

Are you heading to a New Year party and need a quick, easy appetizer? I have the solution for you. Even if you don’t cook – you can make these. The only cooking required is boiling the 3 cheese tortellini. The rest is just assembling.


These are easy to customize to your preference. They are also easy for guests to grab and have in one hand while they have a drink in another hand.


Antipasto Skewers:

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Pepperoncini
  • Pepperoni
  • Cooked 3-cheese tortellini
  • Black olives
  • Green olives
  • Mozzarella pearls
  • Salt, pepper, dried crushed oregano and balsamic vinaigrette dressing all optional but recommended

Simple grab some skewers and thread at least one of each ingredient onto the skewer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried oregano and drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinaigrette. I just used a store brand. You can easily assemble these the night before and keep covered in the fridge.


If you are vegetarian, skip the meat. Like meat? I think some salami would also be great here. Cubes of cheese or other pickled veggies would fit in just fine as well. Fresh basil leaves would be a nice touch. I choose some spinach tortellini as well as white ones to have a red and green Christmas theme. Take these to a party and you’ll have friends. Enjoy!

Posted in Appetizer, Entertainment, Feisty Eats, Healthy Living, Sides, Veggie | Leave a comment

Knife River Indian Village Running, fall 2017

This year has been hustle and bustle. I mean almost every weekend we are off somewhere doing something. I really wouldn’t have it any other way. One mild fall weekend, I didn’t have any plans! So, I decided to travel about 15 miles away to run the trails out at Knife River Indian Villages by Stanton.


There are miles of trails that are well groomed and it is pretty much flat. The run was great and I somehow made a 2 mile loop into about 6 miles and ended up with 13 or 14 miles this day.


It worked out great to get there at about sunrise and I got to snap a few pretty pictures. My tip for running at sunrise – you definitely want to look at the weather app. This will tell you the sunrise for any city. Then, you want to be there a good 30-45 minutes before sunrise when the sun starts to peek over the horizon. You can get some pretty pictures – same goes for sunset. It happens quickly though.


You can see I had gloves and long sleeves on to start – it was another windy morning but all the trees kept me protected for the most part.


I LOVE this photo – one of my favorites I have snapped.


The size of this dandelion was huge. I should have made a wish!!


The Knife River curving around. I saw a few deer this morning by the river eating.


The fall colors were showing off. I went on a great weekend as some of the trees were naked but these ones were beautiful. I miss the sound of the wind through the cottonwoods. Gosh, I just love summer.




By the end of the run I was down to just a tank top.


This was my last photo of the day on my way home in the full sun. Nothing too remarkable about this run other than it was beautiful and a nice change to run somewhere else other than the streets of Hazen.

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living, Misc | 2 Comments