Friday, August 31, 2007

Final Summer Holiday

I've had an incredibly stress free, wonderful, happy day today.

I was only scheduled to work until 1045; closing up the office early. Happy Days! At 1000 Troy called me, "Mom, Lukas (cousin) called, can Ty and me go up to the cabin early with Lukas and Uncle Tim?" "Do you want to?" "Well, DUH!" OK, get packed up and I'll be home in an hour to bring you over there.

Laurie and Tim only live a few miles from the trail that I run upon, so I changed into running clothes and called Topaz to come along. After bringing the boys to there house, Topaz and I headed off for our run. Man, it was actually hot today. It felt super. The bridge is still out, so we ran through the creek, climbing down and back up the river banks.

After running I began to prepare a few items to bring up to the lake tomorrow. My Mom, bless her heart, doesn't like me to bring meals along for everyone. I offer every time. Can I bring lasagna? Some pasties? A turkey? No, no, no. She'll take care of everything. I always bring along my lean protein and veggies. I try not to offend her but I just don't eat sloppy joes and hotdogs or pork roast or meatloaf or ribs.

Oh, on the Mom front: today she has her second round of chemo, in Duluth. She's taking chemo from 8-3, then she and Dad are going to the cabin to spend time with us. She felt very well after the first round of chemo, three weeks ago. Hopefully this round goes as well. Thanks so much for all the thoughts and prayers for Mom. She is amazing, she is very positive and sure that she'll beat this cancer again. Go Mom.

This afternoon I whipped up some Julie friendly recipes to bring to the lake. Another pan of oat pumpkin bars, I love them! I also tried some peanut butter granola bars that aren't quite as good as the oat bars, I don't think. The crust less meat pizza-wonderful! I'll post the recipes below. I'll head up the cabin with a bag of salad fixings, my new baked items, some fresh fruit and I'm good to go.

After cleaning the house I headed off for a bike ride into Big Lake and around the the lake. It's an awesome, sunny day. 20 miles later, I'm ready for listening to the Twins.

Have an awesome holiday weekend! I'll be at Lake Vermilion :)

Peanut Butter Granola Bars:
1 C steel cut oats, 1.5 C oats, 1.5 C Protein Powder (I used Myopro Vanilla), 20 almonds, 1/4 c raisins, 1/4 C honey, 1/4 C peanut butter, 4 packets Splenda, 3/4 C Eggbeaters, Bit of water. Mix all together to form sticky dough, place tinfoil into 9x13 and spray with PAM. Spread dough onto foil and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cut into 10 big pieces or 20 small.
20 small: 113 Calories, 3 G fat, 14G Carbs, 8 G protein

Crust less Pizza
1 package Jennio 99A% FF Turkey (1.3 pounds)
1 can Ro-Tel spicy diced tomatoes
Oregano, Salt, Pepper
4 egg whites
1 c tomato sauce
1 green pepper
1 onion
20 black olives
2 c ff mozzarella (almost too much)

Brown turkey in skillet, add the seasoning, place in mix bowl and cool. Add egg whites. Spray 9" round cake pan with PAM, press turkey mix into to form 'crust'. Add tomato, sauce, peppers, onions, olives, mozzarella. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until cheese browns.

6 servings
1:211 Calories, 3 g Fat, 11g Carb, 36 G Protein

One Serving: Crustless Meat Pizza

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Crustless Meat Pizza

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Peanut Butter Granola Bars

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1 serving! Huge!!

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Oat Pumpkin Bars

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Baby Steps

When I first began to eat in a more healthy manner I would slowly change my family's diet as well. I would fix more stir fry, using lean steak or chicken breasts; adding bunches of broccoli and cauliflower. I began to grill the turkey without being smothered in mayo-can you imagine-that was Steve's Dad's great idea-MAYO! Instead I now grill the whole turkey in a turkey bag, in a baking pan for 4 hours and yum! I've begun to make the family wonderful lean meats with marinades, on the grill, with pouches of foil full of carrots and potatoes-they love it! I've been taking baby steps with their nutrition.

The boys used to have ice cream every night before bed. Ice cream in a dish, ice cream in a malt, a float, etc. Lots of ice cream. I began to make them a smoothie every once in a while. Now, they ask for smoothies. MOM! Smoothie! They yell out every evening, around 8 PM. I use frozen berries, cherries, fresh banana, no fat Dannon yogurt and sugar free smoothie juice, in banana strawberry, or blue berries, it's awesome stuff. They love it, and so much more healthy then their past loved malt.

For breakfasts I've moved the boys from sugared cereals and Malt O Meal to UN SUGARED Cocoa Wheats and steel cut oats. I couldn't believe it when I looked at the Malt O Meal nutrition and saw it was mostly sugar. Ugh. Cocoa Wheats isn't all sugar. Good change. They love the steel cut oats when I boil them and soak them all night, just heating up in the morning. Troy likes fresh berries on his, Tyler likes cinnamon and almonds with his.

On Saturday we went to the Renaissance. It was a beautiful day, we had a blast. When we came home they wanted chicken and noodles. Well, that takes forever: the rolling out of the noodle dough, it has to dry, etc. So I made a quickly healthy version: Chicken and Dumplings. I had 12 big fat lean chicken breasts in the freezer, so instead of boiling up three whole chickens I boiled the breasts with low fat canned chicken broth. I then prepared the dumplings with Eggbeaters and whole grain flour, instead of the dozen whole eggs and white flour I usually use. I was going to use egg whites but wanted the yellow color from the Eggbeaters.

I kind of pulled the breasts apart, so they resembled the look of the pulled, boned chickens I do. Wala! Healthy Chicken and Dumplings, and no one said a word! Nobody noticed that their mouths weren't covered in chicken fat and that the dumplings weren't sliding all over their plates. It was awesome good!

Here's another great breakfast or post cardio meal. The boys have been eating these for breakfast too.

Amy's Oat Pumpkin Bars
Mix: 6 cups oats, 5 cups eggbeaters, 1/2 c raisins, 2 cans canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie), cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to taste, 1/2 c walnuts (if desired), 10 packets Splenda (more or less to your taste).

Spray PAM into 9x13 pan, bake at 425F for 40 minutes. Cool. Cut into 12 servings, they are big servings! Store in refrigerator. Eat at room temp, toast or microwave. Very Good! Here's the stats: 226 Calories, 2G Fat, 32 G Carbohydrates, 19G Protein. An awesome good breakfast!

In other news..I'm just going to taper for Superior 100. It's a week out. I'm running on the treadmill for high intensity interval training and night runs with Topaz on the trail, those are slow and easy.

We're going to head to Lake Vermilion over Labor Day, our last summer weekend at the cabin. I'll run a few 6 miles up there and next week, on Thursday, I'll head on out for the big one.

Yikes.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wonderful Weekends..

It's kind of the pits to like weekends again, to look forward to Friday, to plan the weekend. I never wish away days, they go by too quickly, but I do look forward to the weekend now that I am back. to . work.

Actually, going back to work hasn't been THAT bad. I enjoy my job very, very much. It's not stressful, I have great hours, I have the same days off the boys have; yeah, summer, Christmas, spring break, etc. I love that. It's just tough making the transition from summer fun to not summer fun. I realize I am fortunate in that I am able to go without pay for 8 weeks, I wasn't sure how that would go when I took this this lower paying job 4 (4!) years ago, but it's been worth it.

I had been commuting to downtown Minneapolis, taking me 1 1/2 hours to go 54 miles. It was getting old. So was wearing suits, heels and nylons. I don't think I've worn nylons since I worked downtown. Yes, driving or riding my bike into work, 7 miles from home, has been very nice indeed.

So while I'm back at work my running schedule is changing. I've been getting up early to run on my treadmill for 20-30 minutes, then hitting the trail with Topaz after work. Then I was feeling guilty for coming home from work and immediately heading to the trail, so there would be time for dinner and then jet off to football / baseball practice. I've found that it works well to hang out with the boys after work, cook and eat dinner, bring them to the fields with Topaz in the car, then head to the trail to run, picking up the boys later. It erases the guilt factor. A good thing. Mom guilt? Yeah.

I'm in week 4 of the Afterburn workouts. They've kicked my butt. I finished up the last one of week 4 today, now they increase a day, as well as the cardio for weeks 4-8. I'm going to hold back on Afterburn until I race Superior, then will get back at it. I've loved these workouts! 1 handed T pushups, squats, deadlifts; I love it.

Well, it's the weekend. Looks like a high, dry, sunny, beautiful weekend. I'll hit hills at Hyland, as Buck is closed due to erosion/wind damage. After this Hyland Hill workout I'll call it taper time. We're going to go to The Renaissance Festival. The boys opted for The Renaissance instead of the Minnesota State Fair this weekend. Fine with me. They have awesome turkey legs on the grill :)

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Paw in Poo. See paw at bottom?

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Tree Down

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Bridge Out

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Paw In Poop

On Wednesday I went back to work. I'm thankful that I have a job where I get 8 weeks off during the summer, that I get to spend every day with my boys, that I can run first thing in the morning when I have a ton of energy, I can wear a pony tail, swimming suit and running shorts all summer long. All that came to an abrupt end on Wednesday when I went back to work. Oh, the pain.

The alarm woke me up at 430, which is just dandy when I'm leaving early for a run or race..but work..not.

As I walked into the shower Topaz gave me a very dejected look. He put his ears down, tail down and laid there, waiting for me. As I put on pants he about died. Hu? It's that time already? Back to work and your nixing the morning runs? Well, for last week, I did.

From Wednesday to Friday I ran in the afternoon and had absolutely NO energy. You know, in the morning, I can run fasted and have plenty of energy. But in the PM, even after eating a few meals, I have no energy. At all. I walked much of my Wednesday and Thursday run.

I need to figure out a running schedule. I don't have time to head the 15 minutes to and from the trail head each morning to run an hour. I'll have to either run treadmill or neighborhood asphalt in the AM, trail in the PM with no energy. Maybe I'll get used to the PM runs again. I don't know.

Originally I was going to head up to Duluth today for a marathon distance on the SHT. Andy Holak is hosting a fun run - 27 miles - on the trail. I was going to drive up early, run, and head back home for the Twins game. Alas, the run was rescheduled for 2 PM today, so it didn't work out for me. 2 PM? That's late for a marathon on the SHT. I'd still be running at 8 PM and wouldn't make the game.

So, instead, I opted to take my trustee training partner, Topaz, out for a 50K at the Blue Hill Trail. We headed out at 6 AM, ran to noon and had time to do Target errands with the family, haircuts and still have time to get off to the Twins game.

There was a huge wind storm last Monday and many of the trees are still down. When I ran the Blue Hill Trail on Tuesday, I was the first one there to see all the damage and then reported it to the headquarters. They were quite startled when I told them the bridge was out; a huge oak fell right across it.

Most of the trees have been bucked up, moved off of the trail, but the bridge still has a tree on it. Topaz and I still ran across the bridge, it's sturdy enough, we just had to pick our way across it 6 times. No biggie.

I suppose I'm done with my long runs now before Superior 100. I'll run another Buck Hill session - 30 repeats - next week. Then I guess I'm ready. There really is not much more that I can do to be ready for Superior.

I did see an interesting thing. Lately I've been noticing piles of poop on the trail that is filled with acorns and berries, lots of wild plum and grapes. As nature's bounty changes, so does the animal poop. Well, today I noticed a pile of poop that had a PAW in it. Yeah, a PAW. A paw with six claws to be exact. I wonder if one of the claws is a dew claw? I don't know. But it was interesting enough for me to take a photo of it! Steve and the boys think I'm crazy to be digging in pooh, but hey, it was interesting. Or, at least, I thought it was..

OK, off to the Twins. Go Twins!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Superior Hiking Trail Night Run Report

Well, you know..another amazing adventure!

In May I emailed the MN DRS group that I belong to, to see if anyone was up to a BETA II run on the SHT. We did one last year, a 50 mile beta run, trying to help out Race Director, Larry Pederson, to see when and where he'd have runners at aid stations and how long would it take runners to get through the first 50 miles of the new 102.5 mile SHT Superior Sawtooth 100 (102.5). Well, we had a blast. So it was only obvious that I'd ask the question.

In the end, there were 8 others that were able to make it up for a run on the SHT. Maria and I planned a night run on the trail. We'd run the night portion of the race. Maria's great roving aid station volunteer and husband, Doug, agreed to follow us along the course and offer us aid. Race Director, Larry Pederson, offered to help Doug. Now, how many RD's do you know out there that are willing to offer aid for 13 hours during a training run? Maria, me, Jason, Pierre, Duke and Wynn were going to run.

We rented a home in Tofte, right on the beautiful Lake Superior for the festivities. This home has it all. 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a home theatre, bar and pool room, awesome deck looking out onto Lake Superior, bonfire upon the rocks. It was incredible.

I arrived about 2PM. The cleaners were still doing their thing inside so I sat on the beautiful deck, taking in the view of the lake, waiting for the next arrivals. Pretty soon Maria and Doug, Larry and Wynn, Pierre and Duke showed up. Jason was going to meet up with us later on the trail, as he was waiting for his friend, Amy, to get off of work, then they would drive up, meeting us around 8 at Co Rd 6 aid station.

After getting our packs, food, water, etc. together we all piled into the roving aid station and headed out to Co Rd 1, where we'd begin. Ah, the excitement!

We took some pictures (which I will post soon) and headed on up the trail. I had two 24 oz bottles of heed and a few gels to start out. In 6.8 miles we'd meet up with Doug and Larry. It was beautiful, warm, still, I love the SHT. I was surprised as we were climbing up a huge cliff, up to Sawmill Dome, I told Maria "I smell cigar smoke, what the hell?" Sure enough, we rounded the corner and there was a guy, sitting on the huge outcrop of rock, smoking a cigar! I laughed at him, told him I KNEW I smelled someone smoking a cigar, that he wasn't able to get away with anything! We ran on, amazed that one would damage their lungs that way, while out climbing cliffs.

At the next aid, Co Rd 6, I was dry on liquid. During the race I carry 3 24 oz bottles, but during this run only carried 2. Don't know why. We met up with Larry and Doug and were surprised that Duke and Wynn were here. Apparently they waited for Larry and Doug, as they were waiting for Jason somewhere. They never found Jason, so came to aid us. Duke and Wynn are super fast. They waited quite a while for their aid, then left for the trail as Maria, me and Pierre filled up. We had our lights ready, this section would become dark. This section would be 7.6 miles, before we'd meet our aid at Finland Rec Center. As we were eating peanut butter jelly sandwiches, rollups and filling our bottles, Jason and Amy pulled up. He was able to run the next section with us and Amy went to the house to rest. This section has the Cliffs at Section 13, the crazy beaver boardwalk, it passes through excellent moose habitat. As we were going over the beaver boardwalk the beavers began thumping their tails at us! We talked of alien beaver attacking runners. Sure enough, they were out to get us! Crazy beaver.

The bug section wasn't bad this time. There were plenty of moths bothering us, gathering toward our lights, but the other bugs weren't bad at all. Unbelievably, Maria and I AGAIN passed the SHT trail sign as we were running quickly down the Finland Ski Trail. We missed it last year during a training run, too! We laughed, turned around Pierre and Jason, and headed back 10 minutes. Sure enough, there was the sign for the turn off the ski trail back onto the SHT.

Finland Rec Center to Sonju Lake Parking Lot is 7.5 miles. This is the rooty section. The Cedar bogs are deep and thick. The roots grow across the SHT, causing major lifting of the legs and foot pain. During this section I heard something in the tree. It made a TON of noise. I was leading the pack..for some reason I did most of the leading..I was scared when I heard this thing and screamed and ran way back to Pierre .. and hid behind his knee. His bad leg, I was trying to squat down and hide behind it. Jason aimed his flashlight at the 'thing'. Here was a crazy, mad, giant .. ROBIN fluttering his wings at us. Jeeze. A frickin' robin! It scared the heck out of me :)

We went past the Old Trapper's Cabin, overlooked Sonju Lake, Jason incorrectly took a boardwalk out to the lake, we called him back to us on the trail and finished this section up.

When we arrived to Doug and Larry it was about 4 AM. Duke and Wynn were finished for the night, and Jason said he was done as well. Maria, Pierre and I wanted to continue and run the next section..9 miles of hell from Crosby-Manitou State Park to Caribou River Wayside. We filled up on aid and headed out. Doug and Larry would take the three guys back to the house, then meet up with us in 3 or 4 hours. It was only 9 miles but this section is tough as hell. One thing on our side: the bridge was now built across Manitou River. During the 100 it wasn't and I fell here and cut my head. At least I now knew I could walk upon a bridge. I remembered this was a tough section, but thought that since I only had 30 or so miles on my legs, it wouldn't be such a bitch. AH, was I wrong! It was still a bitch. Man, the wild Manitou River, has deep deep gorges that you go down, on lose rock, pounding your legs and toes. You can't run this section. Most everyone will hit this section in the dark. I guess those slower may get lucky and have the sun rise-but then you'd be pushing the cut offs. The first 4 miles are all walking. You climb down down down into the gorge, cross the river and climb up up up forever and a day. I was becoming very quiet, worrying about how tough this was for me on relatively fresh, 30 mile legs. I thought about the 100 mile race at Vermont I had just finished, three weeks ago, maybe this is why my legs felt so sore? I couldn't believe how tough it was. SO TOUGH. Finally we climbed out of the Manitou River gorge, to higher ground, that we could actually move a bit faster over. We went over a bridge at the Caribou River, where there was an aid station last year, where Larry's daughter was serving up pancakes. She won't be there this year, we will have to go another 2.5 miles to the Caribou River Wayside for aid.

We were running forever to reach the Caribou River. Finally, there it was. We knew we had only 2.5 miles to wrap this run up. Maria wrote into the notebook at the SHT stand, I sat on the bench and ate a PBJ 1/2 and took the first Advil of the run. My legs were aching like never before. My quads and hamstrings. I couldn't figure it out. Pierre squatted on the bridge. A few minutes later and we dragged ourselves up and out. I said "Shit. This next 2.5 miles is going to take us an hour". It was daylight now, we put away our lights, but still, the moving was slow. We told one another it didn't matter if it took us an hour. This was all about time on feet, training the night portion of the race.

Maria led us the next 2.5 miles. We ran! We were able to do quite a bit of running this next 2.5 miles. I couldn't believe that the pain went away in my legs, it felt good to use running muscles again after all of the climbing and downhill picking. It was wonderful.

13 hours later, we ran into Caribou River Wayside to Larry and Doug. Happy faces all around. Thank God. We completed 38.6 (I think) miles in the time it takes me to run the 50 mile here in the daylight. This was one fricking tough 50K+ in the dark!

I kept telling myself during this section "now during the race, just keep thinking..only one aid station at a time" I can't think about the 30 miles still ahead of me, that's just too big. I need to focus on one aid station at a time.

We climbed into the van and headed to the house. Duke and Wynn asked us all about the 9 mile section. They were going to go out and run it later in the day.

I showered, went down to the beautiful deck and enjoyed the day. It was fabulous. We hung out, cooked dinner, rested, had a bon fire on the rocks and slept deeply and soundly Saturday night.

What a fabulous weekend. Big thanks to Doug and Larry. Without them, this would have been very difficult and long. We would have had to do aid plants along the course, then we would have had to go back and pick up everything. They were just so generous of their time, to do this for us. Thanks to Jason, Maria, Pierre, Duke and Wynn for joining me in a wonderful training run and another fun weekend adventure !

The next time we meet up there it will be showtime. The Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile Trail run. There is also a Moose Marathon and a 50 mile option; something for everyone. Go HERE for more information.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Back to the Superior Hiking Trail

This week has flown on by. Next week at this time I'll be back to work. Ugh. I need to keep reminding myself that I am LUCKY and GRATEFUL to have had the last 10 weeks off, quit fretting over the end of summer vacation!

I was able to get in my three Afterburn strength and three Afterburn cardio session in the first three days of the week, along with my regular ultra training. He suggests that one NOT complete the strength training on consecutive days, but since I'll be on the SHT Friday-Sunday I did it anyway. Plus the cardio. Feeling good.

Tomorrow I and 9 other friends are heading up the SHT for a 40 mile night run. Woohoo! Some are crewing, some are running, some of us are training for the 100 mile race in September. This will be a great training run.

Tonight I'll prepare peanut butter jelly sandwiches for aid, cut up oranges and cook up a mess of lean burger for our taco feast after the run.

Our plan is to begin running at 7 PM, through the night, into the day, hopefully ending by noon. We are renting a fabulous home in Tofte, right on the lake.

We'll be running the night section of the race, Highway 1 section through to Sugarloaf + some more. Approximately 40 miles. I'll have to get out my trustee Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail book. Ought to be one hell of an adventure!!

I looked through my guide and found a few notes. I have to take notes, I've run this section 3 or more times and I still forget the topography of each section. I wrote under Highway 1 to Co Rd 6: Section is 6.8 miles; steep, very challenging, first 4 miles REAL HARD then 2 last miles a bit easier, or at least walkable. Sawmill Dome is here, where John (Storkamp) crashed. (during out Beta 1 last year). Then toward the end John came flying through the woods. Not dead afterall.

Co Rd 6 to Finland Rec Center: 7.6 miles; this is where the CRAZY FRICKIN Beaver Dam is. Crazy boardwalk going across the fricken beaver dan. Unreal, thought I'd fall in, beautiful Section 13 cliffs, glacial erratic over 20 ft, buggy haven. Bugs were so bad I couldn't wait for another hill to climb and get out of hell. Felt like I was in the bowels of the earth.

During Beta I, Maria and me were the only two to make it the full 50.5 miles. It took us 15 1/2 hours. The others called it a day between 25-35 miles. We were pretty excited we finished. Alas, neither of us finished the 100 last September. Dang.

A month later, in August, Maria and I went up to run the next section, Finland to Temperance. We began at Finland at 5 AM and saw a zillion toads on the trail. It was crazy toady. We didn't have too many problems running the rest of the sections. Although it was daylight and we would be running this in the night during the race. Sonju lake area-all those damn roots is nothing like it is in the light like it is during the night. Holy shit. Whole different beast. It's hard. HARD to navigate through. The cedar trees have roots all over the top of the trail, it's hard to get through. The constant lifting of the legs becomes tiring, the constant pounding of root on foot becomes painful.

I'm sure excited to run the night section of the race during the night for training. It's all that I can think of to do in addition to last years training, and my Buck Hills, that I didn't do last year. Just another bit of insurance toward a finish.

Today the boys and I are heading off to St. Cloud to do some shopping. Tyler is beginning fall baseball season, Troy is beginning football and they both need gear. I could use a few things myself.

Oh, and I need to bake up some infamous Oreo Brownies.

Over and Out...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

TWINS WIN!

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WooHoo! Twins WIN!

This morning was an 8 mile recovery run. Slow and easy, 10 minute miles. Topaz did more waiting for me than usual. I was tired from yesterday's hills but wanted to get in a slow run.

The Sandhill Cranes were crazy today. I saw three different pairs, all squeaking and squawking at each other and then one pair was bouncing off of the ground, jumping into the air, then landing on the grass. As one landed, the other would jump. Mating ritual? I don't know. They make the oddest noises. They screech. They are nervous nellies, bobbing their heads up and down, like we are even going to make a bee line for them.

We went to the Dome to watch the Twin play today. Sure was glad to get the only run during the whole game! Man, S L O W game, but at least we came out ahead. GO TWINS!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Back to Banging up Buck

This morning I slept in, made the the boys breakfast, made myself breakfast and packed a cooler to take out to Buck Hill. I didn't stop for a big bag of ice as it was drizzling out and the temperature was only supposed to hit 75 for a high. Just some gels, 4 bottles of water and a baggie of HEED if necessary.

I made a mental note to get at least 17 hill repeats, but I really was hoping I could do 20.

One hour and 15 minutes later I arrived to Buck Hill. And a ton of rain. Oh well, guess I don't need heat training anymore anyhow.

I ran the 2.5 mile warm up and then proceeded to the hill. It's daunting looking up that hill, thinking that I wanted to run 20 of them and I don't even have one in the bag.

Up the hill I went, iPod playing, bottle in hand. Rain coming down, feeling pretty good on my skin. It's been a long time since I've run in the rain.

I ran faster down the hill, trying to let go a bit. I did learn at Vermont that I'm pretty good at climbing the hills-thanks to Buck-but not so hot coming down. I mean, some people FLY down the hills. I tried. I wasn't very flyish, but I'm getting better at it.

After each hill repeat I put a rock in a line, each rock counting my repeat. Wondering if I could have 20 rocks there in my line at my finish.

I continued. After one hour I had 7 repeats in. I did 3 more, had a Hammergel, refilled my bottle with water and headed out for the 2.5 mile run. The transition from hills to run didn't make me complain as it did the last three hill sessions. It was fine, actually, it was a nice change. Wow, major change of opinion there.

Back to the hill, now I knew I could bang out another 10 hills. I just knew it.

Nobody else was out at Buck Hill today while I was out there. Well, there were some 4 wheelers getting a lesson and a tour. I met the instructor with a new group of students a few times on the top of the hill, he asked me how many and what I was running the hill for. Nice little conversation to break up the 4 + hour run.

OK, number 16. Wow, new territory and feeling strong. Up I go, down I come. Pretty soon I place rock number 19 in my line. I go up the hill and think how banging these hills out is like shot of something in my vein. Something to get me to the finish of Superior. Something to make me stronger, fitter, faster and more stubborn. All of that.

As I'm trudging up the last hill a song plays on my iPod: Staind; So Far Away and I begin to cry. The words "I can't forget that I'm not ashamed to be the person that I am today" I realize how far I've come. How much I've changed. How much of my life that I've been ashamed of myself. The lies, the drugs, the drinking. I've let that go. I'm not ashamed of myself anymore. Sometimes, I'm even proud of myself.

Boy, what running can do for a gal.

I place my last rock and count 20 of them in line. I write Julie 20 in the sand. Pick up my supplies and drop them in the car, to run my final 2.5 miles as a cooldown. Boy, was it a cooldown-the rain really began to fall. I turned my face up to the sky and thought how grateful I was to be out there running.

As I came back into the lot, there was Les Martisko, ready to pound out his repeats!

This afternoon we're all going to The Simpsons Movie. What a great day, enjoy it!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Another Week Flies By..

My summer vacation is going by too quickly, time is going by too fast and there is nothing I can do about it! I can enjoy every day though and that is just what I am doing.

I go back to work on August 15. Less than two weeks, yeah, I'm counting. Yikes.

I am feeling fully recovered from Vermont, I had a very quick and easy recovery this time around. Been running my daily mileage with Topaz and hitting the Afterburn workouts each day. I like it :)

Tomorrow I'll head back on over to Buck Hill. I know that hill helped me out immensely during my Vermont race, I know it can help me out during Superior. I'm not so concerned about the heat training any more, that was for Vermont that I was there at noon, in the heat of the day, banging out hill repeats. Tomorrow I'll probably head over later in the morning, my goal is to bang out 17-20 repeats.

Next Friday I and 9 of my friends will be tripping up to Lutsen to run/crew a 40+mile night run on the Superior Hiking Trail. I can't wait. It will be the final major piece to my Superior Sawtooth 100 (102.5) Trail Race training. I'll continue trekking over to Buck Hill each week until the race date as well.

It is supposed to rain tomorrow afternoon so we'll probably check out The Simpsons Movie. I'm not a big fan, but all of the males in my home are. Sunday we have Twins tickets. Go Twins.

God Bless all that are involved with the search/recovery of the 35 W Bridge Collapse.