Running Abroad: Helsinki

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Last week I traveled to Sweden and Finland with other design students from my study abroad program. In between the Swedish meatballs and Finnish reindeer meals, I explored the town on foot. Helsinki was DA. BOMB. it reminded me a lot of Minneapolis with its bike corridors and running paths around the lakes. I would say it is the best running city I’ve visited in Europe so far!

Where to run: 

Helsinki

canal in Helsinki

For an urban experience surrounded by Finnish bikers and walkers commuting to work, try the Baana – a bike/pedestrian highway situated below street level in an old railway line (Where are my Minneapolis peeps at – remind you of the Midtown Greenway at all?) that is lined with old rock formations and funky playgrounds. Take it southwest and continue along the canal for views of boats and more playgrounds.

If you’re a lake lover like myself, hit up Töölönlahti for some open space and views of Finlandia Hall and other Nordic architecture. Veer off into any of the parks around its perimeter for extra green space fun.

Enjoy!

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Butternut-Apple Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing

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For this recipe, I was inspired by hummusapien’s Butternut Squash Salad with Orange Maple Cinnamon Dressing post. Swapping out a few ingredients, I came up with my own tasty variation that’s great for an easy meal or side dish. Enjoy!

Using coconut oil to roast veggies is a perfect alternative to other oils. Its high heat capacity allows its chemical structure to stay intact at high temps. Swap it in next time you’re roasting!squash

Roasted Squash Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of pepper

Dressing Ingredients (Makes extra)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

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  • 4 c baby kale
  • 1/2 Organic apple, thinly sliced (I used a honeycrisp)
  • 1/4 c pecans, chopped

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat pan and oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut squash in half length-wise and remove seeds. Cut into small chunks, removing skin.
  3. Cover in spices and oil and pour onto the hot pan using a tongs to toss squash pieces and distribute oil and spices. 
  4. Roast squash for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together dressing ingredients, and chop apples and pecans.
  6. When squash is tender and slightly golden, remove from oven and let cool.
  7. Toss kale with ~2 Tbsp dressing and add remaining ingredients and 2 c roasted squash.

Bon appetit!

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Running Abroad: Denmark

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I believe that one of the best way to experience a new place is by running. I am able to sense the environment around me and discover new routes and features I would otherwise miss if traveling by car or hitting the treadmill. So, as I am living in Denmark this semester, I have set out on foot to get to know my rural neighborhood. My small town called Lejre is a beautiful place to run. Whether it’s around Ledreborg Palace, past some big cattle, through the fields + golf course, or on wooded horse trails, it’s a scenic view every time. 20140315-162427.jpg

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Maple-Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash

I just tasted heaven….. or at least got as close as humanly possible. This dish could quite possibly be worthy of the gods. But let’s be real, squash caramelized with maple syrup and EVOO, stuffed with tender roasted veggies, and topped with feta can’t be THAT good, right? And even if it were, it wouldn’t be under 250 calories right? WRONG and WRONG. This light dish is chock-full of fall flavors and is perfect for a chilly winter at-home date night!

Acorn Squash

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 medium-large Acorn Squash
  • 1/2 c onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz fat-free feta
  • Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • Pinch of lemon pepper

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. Place halves cut-side up on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Toss vegetables in maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. After the squash has cooked for 10 minutes, add the veggies to the baking sheet, reserving some of the maple/evoo mixture to spoon or brush onto the squash.
  4. Flip Acorn squash upside down, bake for 10 more minutes, turning veggies as needed.
  5. Flip right side up, and continue to bake until squash is tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer veggies into each squash half and top with crumbled feta.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Roasted Acorn Squash

For more like this, check out Power Veg

Days 25-32 // 40 Workouts in 32 Days

Andddd the rest of my workout challenge, long overdue:

Day 25: {Workout 25} Sledding + walking date with the bf

Day 26: {Workout 26} 60-minute spin class at The Firm

The Firm

Day 27: {Workout 27} Brushing up on my lack of soccer skills with Steve.

Day 28: {Workout 28} Taught Steve how to cross country ski! Super chilly day out, but he was a natural.

{Workout 29} 60-minute heated vinyasa yoga class at Corepower Yoga in St. Paul. My sore muscles from day 26’s spin class felt oh-so-yummy in the hot studio. Whenever I come back to yoga I remember how much I love it.

Day 29: Packing.

Day 30: {Workout 30} Yoga sculpt awesomeness.

Day 31 AKA Day 32: (Messed up the numbering earlier, so day 32 is right!) Left for Denmark!

Even though I didn’t hit my goal, I averaged one workout a day, upping my fitness from previous weeks. I hit some motivation road-blocks, but was consistently reminded that when I work out, it feels amazing. Stay tuned for a running challenge I’m planning while here in Denmark!

Days 12-24 // 40 Workouts 32 Days

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This past week has been a setback to my goal of 40 workouts in 32 days… I was so unmotivated to get my butt moving but found it again the past couple days. Reconnecting to my fave yoga+spin classes plus buddying up kept me accountable and looking forward to working out! After visiting those classes, I remembered how AMAZING it feels to sweat. Because of my bump in the road, I’m reevaluating my goal and resetting it to: 35 workouts in 31 days (I counted the wrong # of days from the start! #whoops). I leave for Denmark SIX DAYS from today! Time to kick it in!

Neighborhood walk at night

Neighborhood walk at night

Day 12: {Workout 13} 30 minute walk during a lunch break from work. Gotta fit in whatever way possible
Day 13 {Workout 14} 1-hour Yoga Sculpt at Corepower Yoga. Teacher Kathy B is a rock star in the studio… Left me with a puddle of sweat on my mat!
Day 14 20-minute walk… Nice fresh air but not counting towards the workouts.
Day 15 {Workout 15} 30 minute run with the BF at Macakester’s indoor track + a little strength.
Day 16 Ended up with a mongo headache so no workout for me.
Day 17: I’m avoiding gluten and added sugar for a while to see if my frequent headaches go away. It was a no-headache day although I got the hiccups twice?! (Ultimate tip: the only way to get rid of ’em is to drink water from a glass covered w a paper towel. Try it… Nothing else works for me!)

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls

{Workout 16} 75-minute yoga sculpt with the same teacher as Day 13! Love the energy in that class… Every down dog, the class lets out a loud ‘WHOOP WHOOP!!’ Love. It.
{Workout 17} Cold hike with the boy around Minnehaha Falls = beautiful. It was a good chance to get outside before the deep freeze coming to MN tomorrow (high of -16F, low of -26)
Day 18: {Workout 18} Bachelor premiere calls for a commercial break core+cardio workout (will post later)
Day 19: {Workout 19} 20-minute elliptical
Day 20: {Workout 20} 20-minute treadmill run… Halfway-to-40 workout!
{Workout 21} indoor rock climbing double date at Vertical Endeavors in Minneapolis! So much fun to climb again.
Day 21: lazy day.

Frosty yoga pants

Frosty yoga pants

Day 22: another non-workout day but with a full day of work.

Day 23: {Workout 22} 30+ minute run around the neighborhood

{Workout 23} Spin class sweat date with the bf at The Firm

Day 24: {Workout 24} 75-minute yoga sculpt as per-usual! Super loads of sweat = frozen pants when stepping outside!

The remaining days will be the time to kick it in and work it out! I have plans for spin class, cross country skiing, yoga and sculpt, more climbing, and running.

First-time sledder

First-time sledder

Days 4-11: 40 workouts // 32 days

Time has been flying by and these workouts have been a blast. I’ve been able to catch up with good friends while getting my sweat on. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Day 4: Rest20131229-223256.jpg

Day 5: {Workout #4} 30-minute run with my friend Liv inside at Macalester!

{Workout #5} 60-minute spin class at The Firm. (If you’re in the Twin Cities, this is a must-visit gym. Every class is a PARTY complete with bumpin tunes, black lights, and amazing instructors].

Day 5: {Workout #6} In-home strength workout

Day 6: {Workout #7} 45 minute cross-country ski. First ski of the season! Cold but fun time with dad and sister.

Laura (right) and I jumping for joy

Laura (right) and I jumping for joy

Day 7: {Workout #8} Easy 2-mile walk to and from church for the Christmas day service.

Day 8: {Workout #9} Short AM tabata workout with 40 seconds on, 20 off (jump rope, rollerboards, jump squats, bicep curls, mountain climbers, glute bridge lifts, jumping jacks, and push ups) x2.

{Workout #10} 30-minute PM run around Lake Harriet (fave lake in the 612! Beautiful for Canoeing in the summer & running year round!) with my friend and running bud, Emma! Snowy and slushy with great company 🙂

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Day 9: {Workout #11} 75-minute power vinyasa yoga class at Minnesota Power Yoga

Dancer Pose at MN Power Yoga

Dancer Pose at MN Power Yoga

Day 10: {Workout #12} 1.5-hour XC ski with my sister Laura and friend Britta. We trained and raced together for years so we’re soul ski sisters for life. Super warm day (40 degrees!) with gorgeous blue skies… One of my favorite skis ever!

XC skiing with Britta and Laura

XC skiing with Britta and Laura

Day 11: Rest.

Tomorrow is a spin class kind of day!

Days 2+3: Cold Weather Running

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I braved the Minnesota cold on Friday and went for a short 20-minute run to loosen up my muscles after crossfit. It felt great! It’s always a good idea to follow a tough workout day with an easy jog or walk to work the lactic acid out of your muscles.

Saturday night I did a quick circuit workout at my house with jump squats, push ups, planks, bicep curls, jumping jacks, and “rollerboards,” a machine to strengthen your core, arms, and shoulders for cross-country skiing.

I’m looking forward to working less after today and having more time to be active, but I am glad that I squeezed in a workout in the little time that I had.

Here are some of my fave products for cold-weather running (30 degrees or lower) that I sport during my runs:

cold-weather Running Outfit

Smartwool base layers and socks are the only things I trust to keep me warm when it’s cold out. I just got some Newton shoes and they’re lightweight (and come in awesome colors). Didn’t have the best traction in the snow but my feet stayed pretty warm (most likely thanks to the socks!) I have similar gloves and headband to these and they’re not too hot, not too cold for brisk runs. I recently got the lululemon pullover and tights – they’re great technically and aesthetically. I love the side vents and the thumb holes in the jacket and all the pockets in the tights!

40 workouts 32 days