Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 Calendar

I'm slowly beginning to structure my calendar for 2010. Here the month of January is going out and I have only just begun. I have been thinking about it a while, but haven't acted upon it. I guess I just don't feel the need to become crazy about it, as I usually do. Running has become something that I do everyday, something that I am, a part of me.

When I first began running I would make sure I had a race on the calendar each month so that I would make sure that I would get out to train. I was afraid that if I didn't have a race, I wouldn't run. This proved true many times!

I love that running is now a part of me. I didn't know this would happen. It is no longer a struggle, something that I have to schedule..it just is. How wonderful.

I'm going to run the MDRA Grand Prix this year. I've always wanted to, but in the beginning it was way too much for me, too many miles, too many races and too far out of my comfort zone. Well, it isn't any more. It will be fun and I am looking forward to it. Now it is actually less than I have been racing in the recent years and I am putting it on my calendar.

I was originally planning on a few 100s. I was thinking about Zumbro, Big Horn and Leadville were my top three. Well, they aren't panning out so well. Big Horn falls during Grandmas which I am running and Leadville is scheduled during a wedding that I will be a part of. Zumbro has a few conflicts as well so I'm not holding my breath..

Amazingly I'm not uptight about it. So I won't be running what I had been thinking about..no biggie. What? Did I say that? I did and I'm fine with it.

I'd like to run the Gnarly Bandit Series, but alas, Kettle 100 is during Tyler's graduation. That's why I normally run FANS. Not this year. I'm not going to be running a race during my son's graduation weekend.

This is another reason why the MDRA Grand Prix is a go this year!

Something I am most excited about this year is the weekend of May 20-22. I have made all of my reservations for car/hotel/flight to Chicago on the 20 to watch Mary compete in her 4th Bodybuilding show in Rockford IL. Mary was 205 pounds in 2005. She joined Leanness Lifestyle and lost the fat, grew muscle and competed and WON her first show in 2006 at 50 years old, second show in 2007, third in 2008 and will be competing in 2010 for the forth time. Elizabeth will be competing in Figure for the 1st time. I'm so excited. I have been wanting to meet up with the group for five years and am finally making it a priority. This weekend falls within the Superior Spring Races, Opening Fishing and Memorial Weekend so I haven't made it. I am this time. I'll meet Coach David Greenwalt, who I've been a client of, and all of the wonderful people at Leanness Lifestyle who I've know online for so long and now will finally meet in person. I can't wait.

I'm getting into the best shape of my life. Lean and strong. I have 16 weeks before I meet these athletes in person and you can bet I am going to have a few workout sessions at the gym with them..I will be strong as I can be. I have a feeling this weekend in May will push me out of my comfort zone and allow me to spend the next few months afterward getting ready for my own show later in the year. We'll see. I know myself pretty well and can see where this is headed, I want it.

Here is my 2010 schedule as it stands of today. It may change, I may be able to throw in a few ultras, we'll see.

JAN 1 Polar Dash 10K
JAN 23 Securian Half Frozen Marathon
FEB 7 Frigid 5k
MAR 28 Human Race 8k
APR 24 Get In Gear 10k
MAY 8 New Prague Half Marathon
JUN 19 Grandma's Marathon
JULY 3 Afton 50K
JUL 24 Boston Scientific Heart of Summer 5k NEW
AUG 1 Hennepin Lake 10k
AUG 28 Rochester Holiday Inn Half Marathon
SEP 6 Victory 10k
SEP 12 City of Lakes 25k
OCT 3 Twin Cities Marathon

Winter Carnival NOT Frozen Half

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Securian Frozen Half Marathon..Double and a Half

The Securian Frozen Half Marathon that I ran today was anything but frozen! I have run the race half a dozen or more times and never have I experienced the kind of weather we had today.

RAIN!

This morning it was 34F when I left the house but it wasn't raining. There was a thin layer of ice over the driveway and Tyler and Steve's vehicles but the roads were just wet. It had rained most of the night.

The roads to St Paul were just wet-not icy, thank goodness. As I approached St Paul the temperature went up to 36F. At least the route wouldn't be slippery.

I found a parking ramp nice and close, covered, so I wouldn't have to chisel my car out of ice when I was ready to go home.

As I waited in line to use the bathroom I watched the flagging twist itself around the posts, it was incredibly windy outside. Wind at 25 mph with gusts to 35. With the warm temps it would only bring the wind chill down to the 20s. Not bad!

Last year the Frozen Half was shortened because is was -20 with a -35 wind chill. Not today!

I walked out to the start line and saw Karen Gall and Wayne Nelson. We chatted at bit, I wanted to ask Karen about the Land Between The Lakes 50 Mile Race she did last year in Kentucky. I think I may go out and run it in March. It would be nice to have a 50 mile race training run in prep for Zumbro 100 in April.

We started to run down the steep hill to Shephard, not icy at all, just steep. It began to rain, just like an April downpour. Incredible.

As I was running along I realized my feet felt awfully heavy. Not tired, fatigued heavy but just heavy. I looked down and it dawned on me that I was wearing my heavy duty Inov 8 Gortex Trail shoes. Why? I could only chuckle at myself. I have been wearing then in the snow and ice each day and didn't even think about wearing my road shoes. How weird. I remembered that my road shoes were in my car, in my gym bag. After the race I was running longer so I would stash my finish things in the car and grab my road shoes for the rest of my run. I also had on my heavy wool smartwool snowshoe sock. So not necessary!

At mile 3 or 4 I saw Steve Quick cheering on the runners. A while later I think I recognized Helen's voice. I know I saw Les out there in his snazzy tights but I lost him somewhere before I could say hello!

It was a real fun race. I decided that I should stay between the 200-210 finishers so that I would not blow up during my half marathon to 50K portion of this run. I didn't want to run too fast and not want to run a long training run. The training run was the goal. The race was to get out of the deep snow and support the area run. Road running feels good by the time the end of January comes along. Snowshoeing is getting old for me about this time of year!

At the turn around I glanced at the clock and read 2:03. Just right. The wind now hit me full in the face. The cool off was welcome, but the added resistance, not so much! There were times when I might as well had been walking against the wind, it was so strong. Runners who had light wind jackets were completely billowed out. It was a funny sight.

Water was available at 4 and 8 miles. I took a bottle at 8 miles, went to the side of the road and refilled my Heed. I was glad that I decided to carry a bottle during the race.

I think going out a person runs up more hills that coming back. I seemed to be able to cruise along more efficiently on the way back once the wind was no longer a factor.

Pretty soon I had only a mile left of the race, running away from the river and up a final real steep hill, I could see the finish line. Wayne was cheering on the side of the road, having finished.

As I finished I heard my name on the loud speaker. I glanced at the clock and read 205. Just right. A volunteer removed my chip and off I went to grab a Caribou drop my trail shoes at the car. There was no ice on my car, just rain. It began to pour as I changed out my shoes while guzzeling down my coffee.

I decided to use my pack for the remainder of my run, 19 miles. My arms were so tired! Thursday I lifted bicep/tricep for 65 minutes and was feeling it. I didn't want to carry two handhelds. Some gels, some heed and I was on my way.

Heading back out along the race course most of the runners had come in. I followed along the river and noticed a few other runners out there that I had seen earlier at the race.

I turned on my iPod and imagined it was the end of winter, a cool spring rainy day.

I hoped I would finish before the parade.I wasn't sure where it began but I thought it was going to start around 3. Before I knew it I was running toward the stop lights where I would turn to lead me back up the very steep hill again..I knew I was almost done. I looked at my Garmin 50 and sure enough..31.5 miles..almost done.

A perfect way to spend a spring like day in January!

Now I really need to put together a race schedule for 2010. Is it really already 2010?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Know Your Nut

When I was first began to research raw foods and its preparation I noticed that nuts are used in many raw food recipes to replace traditional ingredients such as cheese, creams and sauces. Dairy contains animal fat and other substances that I wanted to avoid. Nuts provide protein, “healthy” fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals. I used to think that nuts would just make me fat. Now I know that these very same nuts can help fight heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. I learned that soaking nuts is an important part of making them digestible and eliminating enzyme inhibitors so that my body can get the most nutrition from them.

Before I list a variety of nuts and their benefits I should clear up the term ‘raw’ nuts. Almost all nuts are pasteurized. Because of legislation in the U.S., most of the nuts we buy are not truly raw. If they have been shelled, they have most likely seen steam, and many nuts are dried with heat in order to reduce moisture. These are not sprout-able. That being said, nuts are still powerful foods that become a great compliment to your raw diet.

www.living-foods.com/articles/rawcashew.htm states that they sell true raw cashews that are sproutable and no, they are not poisonous. I have never purchased any from them. I purchase ‘raw organic’ cashews in bulk from my grocery store. These are shelled and pasturized.

Here are a few nuts and what they provide:

Walnuts: One of the nutritious nuts. They are high in alpha-linolenic acid and omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help reduce the potential for heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and clinical depression. Studies have shown that eating walnuts can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, and also help with diabetes. Good in salads, pates and flat breads.

Almonds: High in protein, zinc and calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. Another nut that can help reduce bad cholesterol. Many uses including pates, milks, and crusts.

Brazil Nuts: High in selenium which is a powerful antioxidant. It also improves mood and mental performance. They are also high in minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, and magnesium. Makes a very rich nut milk and are great in spreads.

Cashews: Like the other nuts, cashews are a good source of protein and fiber. They are also a good source of potassium, B vitamin, foliate, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and copper. Extremely versatile in raw food recipes. Spreads, “cheeses”, cheese cakes, ice creams, dips, etc.

Pecans: Zinc, vitamin E, vitamin A. Great in salads and and used in raw pie crusts

Hazel Nuts: Once again, a great resource for lowering cholesterol. In addition to protein, fiber and iron, hazel nuts also bring vitamin C, and the B vitamins to the table. Great in raw desserts and breads.

Pine Nuts: Good for your cardiovascular system, and filled with calcium, vitamins D, C and A. Pine nuts can be good for your eyes and immune system. Great as a substitute for Parmesan cheese and adding a salty zip to many dishes.

Macadamia Nuts: One of the few nuts that have palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. It is said to help reduce stored body fat by increasing metabolism. They are also rich in omega 3’s and vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. Wonderful in desserts, spreads, salads, pates.

I no longer think of nuts as a fatty treat that I shouldn’t be consuming. Full of nutrients and so satisfying, I eat them every day!

Raw Cocoa Balls

Raw Cocoa Balls

I’ve invited a goup of friends over to watch the big game on Sunday. In addition to the traditional football game fare that I will be serving I wanted to add a few raw items.

The raw menu will include guacamole, hummus, veggies, fruits, flax crackers, soup and a few dessert items.

Because I haven’t created many (any?) raw dessert items as of yet I’ve been throwing a few things together this week to try out on my family.

Remember the McNaughton Balls that I absolutely loved at McNaughton 100, 2008? They were the best ultra food, not to mention treat in general, that I had during the race. The problem was that they had that addictive factor that I have for certain ingredients. When I recreated them at home I used peanut butter, oats, coconut, chocolate chips and honey; rolling them into balls. They were fabulous. I have yet to forget them. I was addicted.

Last night I created a raw version of the McNaughton Balls. They turned out fabulous and they didn’t cause me to rekindle my addictive behavior! Steve, Tyler and Troy enjoyed them as well. When they were selecting the largest balls, I knew this was a hit.

They will be a nice addition to our Viking Football Sunday food. Tonight I’ll be putting together a raw banana pie. I hope it turns out as nicely as these.

Raw Cocoa Balls
2 C dates
2 C cashews (raw, unsalted)
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 T vanilla
4 T dark cocoa
Place into blender and chop chop chop. Form into balls.

I rolled a few into coconut and a few into cocoa just like truffles. Amazing!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Asphalt..Lovely Asphalt ?

After logging hundreds of miles this winter in deep snow, ice and more snow I must say that when I ran after work today I became giddy as I saw asphalt peering through the snow.

We've had a beautiful spell of weather the past week, highs in the MID 30's, sun and lows in the 20's Fahrenheit. It's been amazing.

I've been able to run in 1 pair of pants, 1 thin shirt, 1 jacket..what a treat!

Saturday's 20 mile tempo/long run was difficult on road upon 3" of packed ice and snow. With screws in my shoes I was able to get traction but I could sure feel it in my achilles.

Today I ran upon asphalt! Sweet! Who knew how wonderful it would feel, pumping my knees high, running as fast as I could .. uphill, downhill, flats..wonderful! Traction all day long. It felt great.

Topaz took a dive into the ditch every few miles for a roll in the wet snow to cool his body and moisten his mouth.

The approach to my house is still deep with snow as it is deep in the woods but hey, a walk break and cool down was necessary before my run came to an end. As the snow softens, before it melts, it feels like running through sand.

Running through sand; it made me think about the spring 100s and how difficult it becomes training for them through the winter. A 50 mile race is perfect, a 50 mile solo training run .. not so much. I thought I might run the 50 mile race in Kentucky this March for a training run for April but alas, registration is closed. Sheesh, the 50 milers are filling up like marathons do. There aren't many 50 milers to choose from in the month of March, nationwide. Old Pueblo in Arizona..sounds good, doesn't it?

I suppose I better schedule out my races for 2010. My picks might already be full!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bodybugg

Ever since I first watched The Biggest Loser I've wondered about the bodybugg. The show doesn't really give out detailed information on the bodybugg but I noticed that the contestants wore their bodybugg all of the time and that they sometimes sit at the computer, entering their meals that they consumed during the day. The contestant knows how many calories they have burned and what their rate of burn is. That's about all I figured out by the show.

I looked up the bodybugg online and was surprised that it could be ordered by an consumer. It wasn't developed only for The Biggest Loser. After a bit of reading I learned that the bodybugg tracks your steps taken during the day, your hours of activity, sleep, etc. The consumer uploads the data taken from the bodybugg into the web based software and then enters the food eaten for the day.

I decided to try it for 30 days. My 30th day has come and gone.

The bodybugg is very simple to use. I tried the bodybugg with the digital display. It is a 'watch' that shows the data as it is recorded. I didn't want to have to wait to see where my rate of burn was at the end of the day when I typically uploaded the information. I wanted to see it as it happened.

The bb wasn't uncomfortable to wear. A velcro band holds the device in place around the tricep. After the initial battery charge it lasted up to 7 days before needing a charge. I usually upload the data at the end of the day - it charges as I plug it into the computer - and again charges while I'm in the shower. The bb isn't waterproof.

I didn't really learn any data that I didn't guess at before, the bb confirmed what I thought I knew. Well, except that maybe my caloric burn during the day is even a bit lower than what I guessed.

Because I have a very slow metabolism, by genetics I'd guess, I wanted to confirm if the slow metabolism was in fact low or if I just thought that it was.

It is.

You know, sometimes it is very easy to miscalculate calories; I of course, tend to miscalculate by estimating too low or by not entering every single morsel that I consume. I know that to get a true picture of my metabolism I need to be very exact, but alas, sometimes it becomes tiresome.

I don't always track, but I do when I am trying to lose fat or gain muscle or complete a 30 day trial.

I've researched diet/activity/hormones/metabolism at length and throughout my own trial and error came up with the conclusion that for me to lose fat I need to consume a diet made up of a maximum of 1400 calories consisting of 50% of calories from protein, 30% from carb and 20% from fats along with 90 minutes of vigorous exercise in the form of cardio. Weight lifting doesn't seem to accelerate weight loss for me. To maintain my weight of 130 pounds I consume 1600 calories a day and can change to 40/40/20; a few more carbohydrates and still getting 90 minutes of cardio in each day. To gain weight I found that I will consume 40/40/20, 1600 calories and drop cardio to 60 minutes. So see, numbers are not equal for everyone. Some people at my exact size would absolutely starve and have no energy to practice any type of exercise at this rate.

The bodybugg confirmed all of the above. I set the parameters with the web based questionnaire, entered all foods, all activity was recorded and I came up with the exact same outcome as above.It was a very interesting trial. I enjoyed watching my rate of burn.

The bodybugg confirmed my daily burn, which I had estimated using many different online calculators, my daily burn (how many calories I wanted to "use") was 2200, I'd eat 1400, creating an 800 calorie deficit..which would equate to a weight loss of 1.5 pounds each week without exercise. (3500 calories per pound of fat loss) This is why I never ate my 'activity points' at Weight Watchers. The numbers just aren't equal for all. I didn't lose 1.5 pounds each week using this method. I needed to create a deficit of 8000 calories (vrs 3500) per each pound of fat loss. Does anyone really lose a pound of fat every time they create a deficit of 3500 calories? Anyone? I'm very curious..

When I first began Weight Watchers many years ago .. like 24 years ago .. I lost weight by eating 1500 calories (21 'points' back then) a day and walking 4 miles..but I was 21 years old and had been eating a very unhealthy diet. Just by adding vegetables and fruits I changed my diet completely. In looking at my records (yes, I keep all workout/diet records) I was 178 pounds at the first weigh in and lost 55 pounds in 14 months. About a pound a week. Of course my body is much more fit and healthy now, it takes more exercise to lose fat but about the same calorie intake. I imagine as I get older it would take more and more exercise to lose fat. Thankfully I am taking care of myself now by building muscle and eating a healthful diet so I shouldn't have to worry about losing fat as I get older. I hope. That should be enough incentive to keep it healthy and lean!

I found a few years ago while tracking my food intake and energy burn with Leanness Lifestyle that I NEVER had any weight loss until I was in the 8000 calorie deficit area. I was tracking every morsel and was just blown away that I wouldn't lose fa by creating a 3500 deficit. No wonder I would become discouraged when it took me a month to lose a pound years ago.

With Leanness Lifestyle I learned every 10-14 days IF I created a total deficit of 8000-10000 calories I would lose a pound of fat; not by the 3500 calorie deficit 'rule', which I guess isn't even a rule but a fact. There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, so if a person creates a 3500 calorie deficit the theory is that the person will drop a pound of fat..but this doesn't always work for all of us and the bodybugg confirmed that for me. Everytime 10-14 days passed and I had created a 8000 deficit I would drop a pound.

This is why a contestant on The Biggest Loser can lose 35 pounds in one week. The numbers don't always make sense. The metabolism is a very complex individulized system. The contestants aren't creating a 1,272,500 calorie deficit in a week and it isn't all water weight either..they continue (some of them) to lose double digits eacy and every week.

In order to use the bodybugg calculations, graphs, charts, etc. a subscription to Apex is needed. I be live the cost is $20 per month, however it was thrown in with the bodybugg I am using. Costco has the bodybugg for $179 which includes the 1 year subscription to Apex and the digital readout watch.

All in all, it was fun to use, interesting to confirm my rate of burn, but not really necessary for weight maintenance/loss. I didn't really learn anything new about myself.

I think the bodybugg would be a great learning tool for someone who hasn't researched diet/metabolism and is just staring out in figuring out their puzzle.

Yesterday I went out for a huge shopping trip. Mall of America, Shopps of Arbor Lake, 50th and France..I walked alot. I then lifted legs for 65 minutes. The bodybugg showed that I burned 5400 calories during the 24 hour period. Of course this includes a 20 mile run. That is about what I would have estimated it at.

I know that each mile I run burns approximately 100 calories, less if running long and slow, a bit more if running short and fast. Because I did 10 miles of tempo within the 20 miles I would have guessed I would have guessed the 2500 in running energy expenditure, 1500 because I'm not dead (living, breathing, being, 1000 for 7 hours of shopping, 300 for an hour of weights. Pretty close! Guess I didn't need the bodybugg for that.

Again, it was fun to use but I think the Garmin 310XT is the better purchase for me :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Flaxseed Crackers

Flaxseed Crackers

For the last few months I have been trying to create a cracker to my liking. I want it to be full of seed, low in fat, hearty and crisp. I want it to dense enough to hold a good smattering of guacamole or hummus but not so dense or thick that it resembles bread

A few experiments failed miserably. I tried using quinoa and brown rice as a base, I didn’t like either as the end results were quite crumbly. This may be because I didn’t let either cool enough before adding the seeds-maybe the rice had to cool completely in order to become sticky. I’m not sure.

I tried a few that had a flax and water combination but the result was very grainy and I didn’t care for it.

I kept on trying as I really wanted a great cracker, much like the ones I purchase at Ecopolitan.

Eventually I decided to use ground whole wheat as my base and whalla! Perfectly dense yet crisp crackers, full of seedy wonderfulness!

Here is how I came to the final result:

Whole wheat flour 2 Cups
Sunflower Seeds, ground 1/2 Cup
Sunflower Seeds, whole 1/2 Cup
Sesame Seeds, ground 4 TBS
Sesame Seeds, whole 4 TBS
Almonds, slivered 4 TBS
Flaxseed meal 4 TBS
Salt 1 tsp
Water 3/4 Cup
Honey 2 TBS
Olive Oil 2 TBS

Mix all ingredients until a ball is formed, knead 3 minutes, let rest 15 minutes. Divide into 2 pieces. Place one piece upon a sheet of wax paper and roll out to about 1/4 thickness. I then sprinkled with another couple TBS of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Cut with pizza cutter into desired size. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until deep golden brown. I found that the crackers became more crisp as the cooled.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Biggest Loser

Yesterday marked the first week of the ninth season of The Biggest Loser. NBC usually carries two series each year. I believe this is the 5th year. As most of you know I am a big fan of the show. It wasn’t always that way.

I first watched The Biggest Loser in the 5th season and I couldn’t finish watching the episode. I was channel surfing and came across the group of contestants as they were working out in the gym. Jillian and Bob were screaming at them, the contestants were crying and I felt pity and shame for them. I felt pity and shame for them because I didn’t know the shows premise, nor did I know that these contestants wanted to be here. that they needed to be here. I remember feeling like they were being made fun of because they couldn’t complete the workouts or the tasks that were presented to them. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to witness such an atrocity.

As the season moved on I began to pick up on newspaper and radio articles about The Biggest Loser. I heard people around me talking about the episodes. I couldn’t bring myself to watch another episode during the current season.

The following season was about to begin and I decided to watch from the beginning. I needed to see what the intrigue was and how these people actually changed their lives and actually lost weight.

Well, episode 1 changed everything. All of my preconceived notions about the show were trashed. I watched how these contestants are at their last straw, they are at the last stop before the pine box. They are excited to be on The Biggest Loser, they are excited to have help to change their lives and to change their bodies.

I learned that the contestants are not being made fun of, they are not on the show only to win the prize of $250,000, they are not there for me to feel pity or shame for them. They are here as a last resort, a new beginning. They are ready to CHANGE.

Change is hard. Change in uncomfortable. Change is what will save them.

The ninth season began with the contestants weighing in on a scale in front of their community instead of on campus. My thought was that they would have the whole community to support and follow them. The community would be more involved in their journey. Not only that, but it shows that the contestant is really ready to change. Getting up in front of your neighbors, coworkers, friends and family with a pair of shorts and sports bra is no small feat. That’s a huge testament stating “I’m ready” in my book!

Each season the contestants are more unhealthy than the season prior. This season brings the heaviest person yet at 525 or so pounds. Twin men at 484 and 485 pounds. It’s crazy, it’s sad, it is a testament as to the way people are living .. or not living their lives in this day and age. It’s epidemic.

20 years ago the average woman size was a 10. Today it is a 14 and a 16 is a close second. The average weight for a woman at an average 5’4” was 130 pounds. Now she is 160 pounds.

This season the teams are family members. Mother-daughter, father-daughter, twins, cousins. Shortly after the contestants arrived they were told they would be riding their bikes..26.2 miles! A full marathon of bike riding. The team would ride stationary bikes and when their total mileage was 26.2 they could stop. The last two teams would not be going to the house. They would be going back home! Yellow and Blue were going back home, just like that. They will be back in 30 days to compete against one another on the scale, the winner will be allowed back into the house and onto the show.

The weigh in last night was absolutely insane. The smallest amount lost was 13 pounds. The twins each lost 23 pounds and they were still below the yellow line. One of them had to go home. The biggest contestant ever lost 34 pounds! In one week! Women lost 25 and more pounds, the biggest first week losses ever. Amazing. The are rock stars!!

From my perspective I see changes taking place on Day 1. There is a spark of hope in their eyes, one more chance at change, they begin to believe they can do this. After a successful week they know they can have another successful day..and another. Little successes that lead to big, life changing success. It’s all about change.

When discussing the show with others invariably they will ask me “how can they get so large? How can they do this to themselves” I don’t understand how the question can be asked. I want to respond that I don’t understand the question. Don’t you see..this could happen to anyone? Haven’t you ever had an addiction, weight that you couldn’t get off, one day it is one pound, then it is 10 pounds and then it is 20 poounds, one day you don't feel like exercising, then it is two days..then a year has passsed, one day it is a cookie, then a brownie, then a cake..haven't you had the feeling of despair..or hopelessness? I guess not, but I can’t believe it is so. Man, I've felt all of the above and continue to do so. It seems that every day is a battle with food. I will never be able to out-run what I can eat.

It’s going to be another great season. Cheers to the contestants as they change their minds and their bodies, cheers to the trainers as they teach the contestants and cheers to NBC for letting me watch the process. I learn something about myself with every episode.

Jillian has completed an 8 week episode series which will be airing this year. I’m sure it will be every bit as interesting as The Biggest Loser.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Easy Runnin'

Those of you who don't live in the now frozen tundra of Minnesota are going to tire of running blogs that are all about weather.

For those of us who run outside all winter long, our runs become all about the weather. I don't find that the same is true for my summer running, however. Heat, humidity, bring it on. Love it.

Topaz and I went out for a run near home on gravel roads today. When I arrived home from work it was +10F. The sun was out, there was a very light wind, I only had to wear one pair of pants, one fleece shirt, single jacket, gloves, neck gaiter, hat. What a treat! I opted for road versus trail and snowshoe. There must be a good 3" of ice and snow on the roads but running is much easier than trail snowshoe running.

I was able to pull my neck gaiter down, expose my face, feel the sunshine! Amazing. It's kind of funny how I have adapted mentally and physically during the past few weeks of winter running. Horrendous negative temps in the -25F range. Bitter cold. After running through that cold snap it truly does feel balmy at 10F.

I was planning on taking Topaz out for 5 miles and running 5 on the treadmill. We got lucky. 10 miles outside.

Easy Runnin'.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

-28F is Freaking Cold

OK, this morning I heard the newscaster say "well -5, -25, it really doesn't matter once it is below zero". I beg to differ.

-28F is what my thermometer said this morning. My floors felt cold. I set the interior thermostat at 68F and the house was only 61F. The guage is upstairs so it is 68F up there, 61F where we live most of the time. Brrr.

I was going to run 10 miles on the treadmill, until I saw Topaz's dejected eyes when I stated so. Ugh...

Pulling my winter running clothing out of the dryer I began to layer it on. After I was all dressed I began to put on Topaz's booties. He smiled and pranced with glee.

I told him we were only running until I became cold, then I was finishing my miles on the treadmill. He said it was a deal.

Keeping a close eye on Topaz I made sure he wasn't doing 'paw in the air dance'. He wasn't. He was running like this morning wasn't any different than any other morning. He bolted across the field, made a u-turn and came back to me as fast as he could. He laid upon the frozen tundra and loosened up the cement like snow with his paws so that he could chew it up. He continued to paw the snow, then rolled in the loose pieces that he had softened up.

4 miles, 36 minutes and that was enough for me. -28F (-41F windchill) is not the same feeling at -5F. It just isn't.

We ran up the driveway and into the house. Brr. I pulled off my winter layers and again pulled on shorts. Nice warm treadmill of 6 more miles. I didn't mind the treadmill at all!

Stay warm fellow Minnesotans!

Polar Dash Bling

Friday, January 01, 2010

Polar Dash 10K

Polar Dash 10K

My goodness, I knew it had been a long time since I've run a 10K but I didn't realize HOW long ago!

Ann Maser and I ran the Victory 10K 6 years ago. I can't believe that it has been that many years. Wow.

Today I ran the Polar Dash 10K. What a blast! I must say, this morning I asked Steve " why exactly am I driving an hour to run an hour, then driving back home for an hour ?" "Well, you haven't raced since Javelina 100 have you? You needed social interaction, you haven't run a road race since Twin Cities Marathon" Oh. I guess I had already asked him that question!

It was cold this morning. -6F in Big Lake. 5F at race start. The race didn't begin until 11AM! It gave me time to shower, clean house and run a few errands before race time.

I forgot about all of the people, parking, etc. Oh my gosh! I arrived near the race at 945-plenty of time! Well, not so. Parking lots were full and neighborhood streets were parking on one side only, narrow streets, homes very close together with driveway accesses onto the streets so you couldn't park along most of the street area. Boy, this sure doesn't happen at ultras..does it!

Finally I came across a church at Franklin Ave and River Road Terrace or something. Luckily there was one spot left! I added a few layers of clothing, changed out of my boots and into my shoes and was all set. I glanced at my Forerunner 50 and began jogging to the start. 1.4 miles I made it to the Shiners Hospital, race start. Lots of people!

Very nice start. Lots of room for everyone inside the facility plus a huge warming tent. Great organization, even pacing groups! I couldn't believe it. For a 10K?

It was even chip timed. I received my chip, an embroidered hat and gloves. Wow again. Nice stuff. Now had to jog back to my car to drop off my goodies! Out and back I went. At least I would now know the way back to the car after the race.

I lined up at the 9 minute mile group thinking I wanted to run in less than an hour. I tried not to think about tired legs and 45 miles of snowshoe running less than 24 hours prior.

The gun blared and off we went. For the most part the road was pretty clear of ice and snow and the course was plenty wide for all of the participants. There weren't too many spectators with the cold temperature! I ran along, each mile was marked with a mile marker on a huge feather-just like Twin Cities Marathon. Amazing. They spend some money to put together these Ortho races. They are really really nice.

Up hill, flatten out, up hill, when do we go downhill? I was breathing hard..well, gasping, and I wanted to go faster. How? I continued on just doing what I could.

Eventually I ran up to another pace group leader. He was leading the 852's I believe with a finish of 55. Well, I figured I'd hang here as long as I could. He began to talk about Trail Mix 50K and said that was his first ultra. I looked over and said that it was mine too, 6 years ago. We introduced ourselves and he recognized my name, my blog. He was talking and running effort sly. Me, not so much. As we made the turnaround I told him I couldn't really talk and run this pace at the same time. I told him I began ultras so I could slow down! At mile 4 I dropped back a bit, he turned around and said "Come on, famous ultrarunner, you aren't slowing down" Oh yeah, I'm slowing down.

I always kept him in my sights and wasn't too much farther behind. After mile 5 there was a huge hill. I decided to run it very slowly, not quite walking, but almost. Sheesh. Tired tired tired.

As I came into the finish I saw the clock turn to :57. My chip will show a bit less, not too much. Yippee! I made my goal of under an hour.

I walked past the finish line and saw that there were volunteers handing out medals. Medals! Medals at a 10K. I couldn't believe it. They are beautiful medals too. Huge, hanging on a lanyard with a clip. Ortho has put together 4 races and each race has a medal that will fit together into a holder, creating this big circle. Very cool. Makes me want to re look at the dates to see if I can run each race. Funny that a cool award would make me want to run the series. It does though.

What a fun race. I walked back toward the hospital, seeing Caribou Coffee, Cocoa, cookies, chips and bread on the way. Amazing.

I don't remember 10Ks being this organized and well done in the past. I'm looking forward to the next one!

I jogged back to my car, the lot almost empty. As I came up to my car a couple asked me to take their picture. They then offered to take mine. Why not?

Quickly starting my car I begin to strip off my wet clothing. I'm so glad I brought dry clothes along. Into dry clothes and heading on home. Smiling, happy that I decided to run this 10K! It really was nice to share the New Year with a big group of runners, doing what we love to do.

Happy New Year!

45 for 45

I decided not to drive into Minneapolis for my birthday run as I'm driving into Minneapolis this morning for the Polar Dash 10K.

Lindsey-I'm not doing the series, although I did think about it. I believe the marathon falls on the day of graduation for Tyler this year. Or the day after. I'll be volunteering at his all night grad party. I believe there was a conflict with another series I'm running as well. I love the award idea though. How cool!

So, the run. I decided to run 45 with Topaz near home. I called the Sandunes Gas station and Liquor Store to make sure they were open (duh, New Years Eve Day!) for water supplies. My friend owns the liquor store so I knew we could stop there for a while and thaw out/rehydrate and that he wouldn't mind Topaz being in the store.

We left the house on snowshoes at 4 AM. There was a full blue moon so it didn't seem that dark. I wore my headlamp, Topaz wore his booties. The moon cast shadows upon the snow. It was super beautiful. My iPhone battery charge was lost immediately in the cold temperature of 1F. Luckily I didn't need to call anyone!

We ran out of the neighborhood, down the County Road ditches onto the snowmobile trails. Every once in a while I'd remove my hat so that I could hear for any engines roaring. There weren't many snowmobilers out until mid day and they were all very nice to Topaz and I. They didn't mind us sharing their trails at all. At times we left the snowmobile trail for horse trail, cross county ski trail. The cross country skiiers were NOT very friendly. What is up with that? I made sure to stay off of their tracks, we foraged through the deep ditches. They still complained. Oh well.

As we were running into the Sandunes State Forest I saw Topaz's tail curl over his back and his hair stand up on his rough. What do you see? What do you smell? I stopped and looked around. He crouched into position and gave two coyote his eye. They were on top of a snow bank and began to follow us along, barking and yelping as we went. Topaz eventaully ignored them and we ran along.

Soon we were at the gas station where I refilled my bottles with Heed and gave Topaz water and biscuits. He was too excited to eat. He wanted to continue our run. I checked his booties, all fine. I used the bathroom and we were on our way out.

As we approached the turn around at 22 miles I looked at my watch. Only 4 hours. We'd be finished early than I anticipated if we kept this pace.

We soon came across some horse riders. They had been winter camping at Ann Lake. Brrr. They were having a great time and were very friendly. They told us that there was a pack of grey wolves along the trail but that they scampered away from the horses. Great. I didn't want to run into wolves. We would soon be on the snowmobile trails, maybe we wouldn't see them.

No, we saw them. Pretty soon I noticed BIG paw prints in the snow and blood. Jeeze. Freak me out. It was only bunny fur and blood, but still..ick. I saw the wolves across the frozen pond, the way we came through on the way out. I wasn't taking that route back. I tracked over the ditch and back onto the cross country ski trail. I decided I'd rather but up with crabby people than hungry wolves!

The temperature was cool, but I was toasty warm in all of my layers. My face was becomming sore as I was smiling and laughing so much. I would hollar out to Topaz "Topaz, look at the bald eagle!" He'd look back, 'yeah, Mom, we've seem them before". "Topaz, look at the sparkly snow!" He'd get excited with the excitement in my voice and curl his tail higher and run a little faster.

Just as I was becoming tired of my snowshoes we hit County Road 10; almost home. We walked the last mile, cooling down. I trudged through the ditches back onto Co Rd 15. Over the bridge, don't get hit by the cars, and into our neighborhood.

Home. Safe, sound and smiley! I love that I am able to run 45 miles at a drop of the hat. Fully fit and strong.

We made it home safe and sound at 9:20 hours. Only 120 PM and still a whole afternoon/evening left of the the day. Topaz ate heartily from his bowl, I took a hot shower and drank a hot cup of tea.

45 miles. Fun! Happy birthday to me.

I called Steve out at the lake to see if he wanted to see Avatar. He was up for it so when Tyler and Troy arrived home we all went to the movie. It was as good as everyone is saying that it is. Fabulous!

Well, today is the Polar Dash 10K. I better lok up directions and get dressed to run :) Have a Happy New Year!