Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Salade Nicoise

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Salade Nicoise

Oh my gosh! This is a fabulous salad. No kidding, it is simply the best. The recipe is quite large; it serves 8. I tweaked it a bit as my family doesn't care for tuna and Steve's Dad made tuna casserole for them while up north hunting this past weekend. Troy was not happy with the casserole. I used canned chicken instead.

I'm eating the last of the salad for lunch today and will whip up another one soon.

3 T cider vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 C Olive Oil (asks for 1 C)
1 white onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 C parsley leaves
3/4 C tarragon
Salt and Pepper

2 pounds fresh tuna (I used canned chicken)
1 T olive oil
20 anchovy fillets (I put on side and no one liked..but Toffee, my cat)
1 pound green beans
1 pound yellow beans
2 lbs tiny new red potatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
6 roma tomatoes
8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1 c nicoise olives (not sure what nicoise olives are..used black)
4 c spinach leaves
4 c boston lettuce

In large bowl make the vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients together.
Steam the beans, transfer 1/3 dressing to bowl and mix into beans.

Boil potatoes, cook 15 minutes, peel or not, 1/2 them and stir into 1/3 of vinaigrette.

Assemble: greens on bottom of platter, beans and peppers in middle, potatoes around edges with tomato. Meat piled into middle in a mound. Top with olives and anchovies. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and additional olive oil if necessary.


Pumpkin Soup

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Pumpkin Soup

For this soup I used a whole pumpkin that I cut in halve, then baked for an hour and half. After it was soft I scraped the seeds from it and spun the pumpkin in the processor with salt and pepper. You could use canned pumpkin puree instead, just DON'T use pumpkin pie pack!

Saute 3 TBS olive oil with a few cloves of garlic and 1 onion, add 2 cups of mushrooms. I like my soup chunky so I don't dice. I slice.

In a heavy pot mix 4 cups of chicken broth with 4 cups of pumpkin puree. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the sauteed veggies. THAT'S IT!

Wonderment. Fabulous. Nice on a cool fall day :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Timely Article..Paleo For Athletes Update

After posting about the Paleo Diet For Athletes last week, today an update arrived to me via email. I found it interesting and though some of you may too.

This weekend I created fabulous Salade Nicoise and Pumpkin Soup. I'll post pictures and recipes of both today.

Here is the update I received:

The Paleo Diet, published in 2002, introduced thousands of readers to the concept that there is a diet to which we are evolutionary adapted, that will lead to optimum health and body composition. As more and more serious athletes began to follow the diet, questions arose as to how to adapt the diet to the needs of someone training very hard. This led to The Paleo Diet for Athletes, authored by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel.

This week, we answer a reader question about optimum protein intake for a serious athlete attempting to refine their own Paleo Diet. Nell then provides some eating suggestions based on her own experience as an Ironman competitor.


I'm a pretty serious endurance distance runner who is trying to fine tune my own Paleo Diet.

I'm confused regarding the total number of grams of protein I need per day. I own both The Paleo Diet for Athletes and The Paleo Diet. I started with the athletes book and have recently purchased and read the original. I'm confused about the total daily protein grams because in The Paleo Diet for Athletes Book, page 67 table 4.8 suggests that with my training volume of 10-15 hrs/week, I should be consuming 0.8 - 0.9 grams/lb/day. Yet when I read The Paleo Diet I see on page 26-27 for a 25 y/o woman with a 2,200 calorie/day intake, her protein is listed at 190 grams.

Thank you in advance,
Thanks for the great question. Remember that our hunter-gatherer ancestors, although fit and active, did not typically do endurance running. They did often walk long distances, and when needed would perform a sprint Therefore, they didn't need the same amount of carbohydrates that a competitive athlete does.

The Paleo Diet is the diet that best fits our genome, because it is based on how we evolved to eat. It recommends macronutrient intake based on ranges estimated for most hunter-gatherer populations still in existence in the 20th century (which is 19 to 35% protein). A high protein, lower carbohydrate diet is very beneficial in terms of promoting optimum health and weight loss, and in preventing Metabolic Syndrome, a big health concern for a large percentage of the population.

The main purpose of The Paleo Diet for Athletes is to adapt The Paleo Diet to the nutritional needs of high-training 21st century endurance athletes. Since athletes need a higher amount of carbohydrates than sedentary people, the Paleo Diet for Athletes reduces protein and fat to accommodate more carbohydrates. However, it still provides higher levels of protein and less carbohydrate than is consumed by the typical athlete.
Are you wondering how to stick to your Paleo Food choices while you're preparing for Ironman, a marathon or another type of fitness endeavor?

After reading The Paleo Diet for Athletes, we see that there is value to utilizing some sports nutritional products that are man-made, yet we can still incorporate real food into our pre, during and post-workout diet.

I've successfully followed a Paleo regime through the last three seasons of training for Ironman Hawaii, so I'm confident that the following recommendations can support even a very rigorous training schedule:

* STARCH UP ON YAMS! Bake them in water, broil them in foil, reheat them in a pan with some olive oil on salt. By far, these are my #1 choice of fuel to stock up both the night before and the morning of a tough workout as well as a race.

* INCLUDE EGG WHITES! So easily digestible, portable and a no-brainer to prepare (hard-boil 'em a dozen at a time); you can't go wrong!

* ADD SOME BANANA! I must say, a banana never tastes as good as it does when you've just completed a long, hard run!

* MAKE YOUR OWN FUEL: While it might not be as 'neat' as unwrapping a store-bought energy bar, I find that bringing a salted yam with some raw almond butter and a sprinkling of salt along on a training ride proves to be most satisfying and a nice break from the sweet, sweet, sweet that you get when ingesting carbohydrate gels.

* LOVE THE HOMEBREW! I've told so many clients about the home made recovery drink found in Paleo for Athletes; not only can you vary the taste by changing the type of fruit, you'll also save a bundle compared to commercial recovery powders.

For all of you athletes out there- don't forget one important thing- SALT! If you've been out there training, you've lost electrolytes through sweat which need to be replaced to help take in, absorb and retain more fluids as per the recommendations in Paleo Diet for Athletes. So go ahead, add a pinch of salt to those yams!


I want to add that Precision Nutrition has some very good Paleo For Athletes friendly recipes. Some of the best post recovery shakes that I have tasted! I'll have to post a few of those recipes here as well.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paleo Eating For Athletes

A few years ago I managed to gain weight that I lost in the past (isn't that usually the case) by eating too many processed carbs and simple sugars. I wasn't eating more than 1800 calories a day, I was running 70 miles a week and lifting 3x a week, but that old scientific formula of calories in and calories out just wasn't working for me. I joined Leanness Lifestyle and found that with Dave Greenwaldt guiding me I could learn about my eating and habits. Seems rather ridiculous for some of you I am sure. What? You need to learn about what food is doing to you? What your habits are? What you are addicted to? I know. I know.

After a few weeks it became quite apparent to Dave and then to myself, that I was addicted to sugar. Soon after that it was more than apparent, it was glaring. Each time I ate a processed carb (whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal) I began to have horrendous cravings for sugars and processed carbs and again would begin to gain weight. I found that by eating a processed carb meal within 30 minutes of my workout, along with a fair amount of protein, I would not gain weight and I would be able to recover for my next workout. The protein along with the carb did not cause a spike of insulin and a crash, but a slow steady flow. I could eat one processed carb meal a day without gaining weight. Dave then suggested I purchase the book Paleo Eating For Athletes. With Dave guiding me through the Elite Mastery Program at Leanness Lifestyle and by eating Paleo for Athletes, I was able to lose the fat that I had gained.

Inside of this book I found scientific information to explain to me why eating the way that I was (one processed carb meal post workout) was allowing me to lose weight and to recover quickly.

I trimmed the 26 pounds from my body that I had gained, I was able to run many more races and workouts and able to recover quickly for the next run. This year I have run better than I ever have. This is a product of recovering from training, running at a lighter weight and being stronger than ever, all from changing my diet. It has to be, doesn't it?

In talking with one of my clients last week I was surprised to learn that she had never heard of Paleo, nor of Paleo Eating for Athletes. I wanted to post a "cliff notes" version to begin this conversation so you all know what it is I am referring to.

Here is a version from Joe Friel (world renowned endurance triathlete..author of Triathletes Training Bible, Going Long, as well as co-author of Paleo Eating for Athletes and many others).
Although it is now the 21 st century, athletes still have Old Stone
Age (Paleolithic) bodies. There has been no significant change in the human genome in the past 10,000 years. Physiologically speaking, we are still Paleolithic athletes.
The basic premise of Dr. Cordain’s research on paleolithic nutrition is that certain foods are optimal for humans and others are non optimal.
The optimal foods are those that we have been eating for most of our time on Earth—more than 4 million years. Only in the last 10,000 years, a mere blink of the eye relative to our species’ existence, have we been eating non optimal foods. Unfortunately, these foods comprise the bulk of what western society eats today and include such foods as
grains, dairy and legumes. Given that our bodies have not changed, we are simply not well adapted to these non optimal foods and they moderate health and peak performance.
On the other hand, we have been eating optimal foods – vegetables, fruits, and lean animal protein – for hundreds of thousands of years and we are fully adapted to them. Science tells us that these foods also best meet our nutritional needs. Eat these and you will thrive. Avoid or strictly limit them and your health and performance will be compromised.
Serious athletes, however, when it comes to immediately before, during, and directly after workouts, need to bend the rules of the Paleo Diet a bit since we're placing demands on the body that were not normal for our Stone Age ancestors. Hour after hour of sustained high energy output and the need for quick recovery are the serious athlete’s unique demands. This requires some latitude to use non optimal foods on a limited basis. The exceptions may best be described by explaining the athlete’s 5
stages of daily eating relative to exercise.
Stage I: Eating Before Exercise
In brief, we recommend that athletes eat low to moderate glycemic index
carbohydrates at least two hours prior to a hard or long workout or race. There may also be some fat and protein in this meal. All foods should be low in fiber. Take in 200 to 300 calories for every hour remaining until exercise begins. If eating two hours prior is not possible, then take in 200 or so calories 10 minutes before the workout or race begins. *Hammergel or Hammerheed*

Stage II: Eating During Exercise

During long or hard workouts and races you will need to take in high glycemic index carbohydrates mostly in the form of fluids. Sports drinks are fine for this. Find one that you like the taste of and will drink willingly. Realize that events lasting less than about an hour (including warmup)
don’t require any carbohydrate. Water will suffice for these. A starting point for deciding how much to take in is 200 to 400 calories per
hour modified according to body size, experience and the nature of the exercise (longer events require more calories than short).
Stage III: Eating Immediately After
In the first 30 minutes postworkout (but only after long and/or highly intense exercise) and postrace use a recovery drink that contains both carbohydrate and protein in a 4:1 ratio. Make your own by blending 16
ounces of fruit juice with a banana, 3 to 5 tablespoons of glucose (such as CarboPro) depending on body size, about 3 tablespoons of protein powder, especially from egg or prior is not possible. * I usually bring Recoverite to the race venue and just shake with water, which doesn't taste too great, or blend juice, banana, Hammer Whey and bring along in a cooler from home.* This 30minute window is critical for recovery. It should be your highest priority after a hard workout or race.
Stage IV: Eating for Extended Recovery
For the next few hours (as long as the preceding challenging exercise lasted) continue to focus your diet on carbohydrates, especially moderate to high glycemic load carbohydrates along with protein at a 4:
1 carb -protein ratio. Now is the time to eat nonoptimal
foods such as pasta, bread, bagels, rice, corn and other foods rich in
glucose as they contribute to the necessary carbohydrate recovery process. Perhaps the perfect Stage IV foods are raisins, potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams. *This is when I eat my 1 carb meal. I bring along yams and raisins with a tuna pouch or if I am at home I'll eat an oatmeal pancake or fortified french toast.*
Stage V: Eating for Long Term Recovery

For the remainder of your day, or until your next Stage I, return to eating a Paleo Diet by focusing on optimal foods: low g i fruits, veggies and lean proteins, the good fats.

The macro nutrient requirement changes with the demands of the training season and so should be periodized along with training. We recommend that athletes maintain a rather consistent protein intake year round. As a percentage of total calories this will typically be in the range of 30- 35% for athletes. This is on the low end of what our
Stone Age ancestors ate due to the athlete’s increased intake of carbohydrate in Stages I to IV which dilutes protein as a percentage of daily calories. On the other hand, periodization of diet produces significant and opposing swings in the athlete’s fat and carbohydrate intake as the training seasons change. During the base (general preparation) period the diet shifts toward an increased intake of fat
while carbohydrate intake decreases. At this time in the season when a purpose of training is to promote the body’s use of fat for fuel, more healthy fat is consumed—in the range of 30% of total calories—with carbohydrate intake at around 50%. During the build and peak (specific preparation) periods the intensity of training increases
placing greater demands on the body for carbohydrate to fuel exercise. At this latter time of the season Stages III and IV become increasingly critical to the athlete’s recovery. Carbohydrate intake increases accordingly to around 60% of total calories with fat intake dropping to around 20%. During times of the year when training is greatly reduced (peaking/tapering and transition periods) the athlete must limit caloric intake to prevent unwanted weight gain.
Health and fitness are not synonymous. Unfortunately, many athletes are fit but unhealthy. Frequent illness, injury and overtraining reduce performance potential. The Paleo Diet for Athletes significantly improves health long term. Compared with the commonly accepted athlete’s diet, the Paleo Diet:
● Increases intake of branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Benefits muscle
development and anabolic function. Also counteracts autoammunosuppression common
in endurance athletes following extensive exercise.
● Decreases omega6: omega3
ratio. Reduces tissue inflammations common to
athletes while promoting healing. This may include asthmatic conditions common in athletes.
● Lowers body acidity. Reduces the catabolic effect of acidosis on bone and muscle while stimulating muscle protein synthesis. This is increasingly important with aging.
● Is high in trace nutrients. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for optimal health and long term
recovery from exercise. The most nutrient dense foods are
vegetables and seafood. On average, vegetables have nearly twice the nutrient density of grains.
That was long but to the point. Obviously so many runners are able to eat a diet that consists of 80% carbohydrate and not gain a pound and recover just fine, but not all of us are created that way.
My food logs show that with one processed carb meal a day I still eat a diet that consists of 40% calories from protein, 40% from carbs (fruits and veggies mainly) and 20% fat. At certain times of the year my fat is increased to 30-40% of my total calories. This is a far cry from the way I began to eat when I first began to run. I had read over and over, each month in Runners World that a runner should eat bagels, pasta and breads, creating a diet obtaining 60-70% of its calories from processed carbohydrates.
I am surprised that this way of eating is now second nature to me. I no longer crave the sugars or sweets on a daily (or hourly!) basis. I do have times when I hear the bag of chocolate crying out my name from the cupboard. I wonder if I began to get a bit cocky when I was creating desserts every other day with Dorie. I wonder if I wanted to see how long I could stay away from sugar? It was a good feeling..knowing that I could bake and not eat a whole dessert..but it was becoming dangerous, like I was sabotaging myself. Or, maybe I just had more time on my hands during summer vacation and loved the book of desserts. I now liken it to what it could be like if I decided to get a job at a bar. Oh good Lord please stop me if I decide to take on that challenge!

Friday, September 26, 2008

October Racing

October has always been a racing month for me. Since I first began running marathons I have always run the Twin Cities Marathon. I believe next Sunday will be the 8th consecutive Twin Cities Marathon that I will be running. For the past few years I was running TCM as a training run for the Ed Fitz 100K. Sadly that race is no longer.

The weekend after TCM is the Glacial Trail 50K/50M. I haven’t yet entered but I will be there running. This is the final race as part of the UMTR Fab 50’s. I haven’t ever run the course before, I’m sure looking forward to it.

The week after Glacial Trail is the Big Woods Nerstrand Races. Nerstrand is part of the MN Trail Series. I’ve run the half marathon here a few times, it is a very quaint race. Lots of homemade pie, soups and bars for the post race and last year I won a jar of homemade jam. How cool is that! The leaves are changing, it is a beautiful time of year for this race. Last year the course was held on gravel roads because the trail was to wet. I’m hoping we’ll be moved back to the trail this year!

I don’t believe I have a race the final week of October. November 1 brings Surf the Murph! This is a 25K/50K race that will be held at the Murphy-Hanrehan Park in Savage. Les held a ‘fat ass’ style run on this course last year and it was fabulous fun. This year he is taking it up a notch to a race with tshirts and medals. This will be a final run before Javelina Jundred on November 15.

December I’ll rest a bit, find my legs on snowshoes for the January Northwoods Snowshoe Marathon, training on snow and snowshoes for Zumbro 100 in March and McNaughton in April. It’s a bit tricky training for 100s in the dead of winter. It seems though that the snowshoe running builds a good amount of strength in my legs. I never feel under-trained going into McNaughton via snowshoe running. Before I began snow shoe running I would run my long runs on pavement but I have found that a good 50 miler on snowshoes with Topaz beats a 50 miler around the lakes any day!

Boy, where has the year gone? Today the high is supposed to be 85F! It doesn’t feel very fallish, but with the boys heading up north this weekend to bird hunt, lots of football games and practices, I know fall is here. This weekend I’ll be home running with Topaz, lifting and enjoying some time alone. I'm also trying out two new recipes: Pumpkin Soup and a Salade Nicoise. I thought I'd try them out on myself before I try them out on the family!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

OOOhhh...Front Page News

WOW! Check out Complete Running today.

Gotta like that :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Tuesday With Dorie

This week the recipe is for Dimpled Plum Cake. Because none of us really dig plums and because I baked two German Chocolate cakes in the last week and because I baked Oreo Crunch Brownies on Saturday, I just can not work in another pound of butter and cups and cups of sugar.

This morning I threw out two brownies and a few cookies. My family had enough. They were dry and not so great looking. I am finding that in my weak moments I am thinking about the bags of chocolate in the cupboards, the whole milk and whipping cream in the fridge along with the pounds of butter. I have never purchased so many pounds of butter.

I love Dorie's cookbook. I have baked many many recipes from it and they have been wonderful. I have not baked a better pie than Dorie's Blueberry. I don't know that I want to bake another creation every week. I'll bake as I choose and what I choose. I have enjoyed the Tuesday with Dorie recipe each week..but I am finished.

Now, is there a Paleo Eating for Athletes Group out there? That is my next project..a resource for us.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Runnin' Down A Dream

I've had a great week. I'm recovering well. I ran 74 miles and lifted twice. Not the usual three sessions, but hey, I'm recovering (so I told myself) and I stair stepped one session.

Getting the body and mind into liking afternoon and evening runs is not an easy task. I love morning running, I am a morning person..give me a reason (running) to wake up at 4 am each day and I'll do it.

Now that the work season has begun I am trying to enjoy the afternoon/evening weekday runs but they are not so hot. I'm lagging. I have food sitting in my belly. I am thinking about the days events. I'm tired. I'll get it..it just takes time.

On Monday I began coaching another woman's beginning run group. It is so much fun. One gal told me she would be the first to fail my class. I told her there is no failing! She wants to run so that she can do something with her pup. Isn't that great? I can't wait to get together again tomorrow.

I'm coaching a Beginning II class as well. These gals took my first class and are now ready for some more speed. We ran - without any breaks - a 5K last week. We'll run intervals this week. Hills the next, a few track workouts, a long run..all good stuff. I am really digging this.

Today I weight trained my first client. He came to me and asked me if I would begin to train him, although I am not YET certified. I am not scheduled to test until December. He is an experienced runner; having run FANS with me, multiple marathons and Superior 50K. He has had surgery and hasn't been running or lifting a whole lot. We'll work on that as he'd like to run the Superior 50K again next May. We worked for an hour and I know he'll be stronger and faster..soon :)

I am enjoying coaching these classes and the weight training so much. I hope to be able to fill my schedule with this type of work. Slowly and steady..like everything else in life.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Recovery and Rest

It's hard to believe that a week has already passed since Superior Sawtooth 100. I thought about it for three weeks solid once Leadville was in the past. I no longer feel the big letdown after a race. You know, that feeling of now what? After living and breathing a race for long (training, eating, splits, drop bag, etc) it is normal for there to be a let down post race. I learned early on that the only way not to feel the big letdown was to plan another race, another endeavor, another goal.

I'm not really thinking too much about Twin Cities Marathon. It will come and go. It will be a fun run that I always like to take part in. No planning necessary. I'll jump in the car that Sunday morning, run and be back home for lunch. I'm not really thinking too much about the Glacial Trail 50K/50M the week later, either, although I should figure out exactly where it is, how much driving time is involved.

I'm thinking about Javelina Jundred. A 100 miler that I am going to run while my family is doing the Minnesota Deer Hunting thing. This year Troy is old enough to take part in the great MN tradition.

The RD of Javelina told me that I can drive my car right to the park and spend the weekend. There is a campground right at the entrance to where the park is, where the race is taking place, and I can sleep in the car there. I am not going to haul a tent along. I think the backseat should be sufficient.

The course is a 15 mile loop; you know how I LOVE loops! Only one drop bag is necessary!! Yeahoo! I'll be able to see the front runners, the back of the packers, oh, the fun! The race is a Halloween Dress Up Party! As if a 100 mile run wasn't fun enough, I'll dress up for it as well :) Oh, and get this: it is in the Phoenix AZ area. It will be nice and warm in AZ as the cold air begins to penetrate MN. Don't you want to join in on the fun?

On the recovery front; I'm feeling great. Still kind of tired. I haven't been sleeping well. Steve is a huge snorer and it is getting to me. I notice that the lack of sleep is causing great tiredness.

I ran 30 miles this week, slow and easy. Two sessions on the stair stepper and 1 session lifting. My gym is moving to a different location so has been closed this weekend, otherwise I would have been lifting today.

This next week I am beginning to coach two new groups of runners. I'm sure looking forward to it! One is a beginning group and the other is a 'beginning II'. We'll focus on speed workouts, hills and longer runs. I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Helen, Julie; Let's Get This Party Started!

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Kami and Steve

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Beautiful Lake Superior

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Aid Station FUN

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First Aid Station

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Stuart, Me, Jerry

My running partners for the past three Superior 100's.
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Stuart, Still Smiling

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Larry, Colleen and Me. Receiving My Award

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Topaz Gets His Run On..

Topaz was pretty excited when I arrived home from work, walking in the back door and yelled "Topie go for a run?" He about knocked me over. It's been 5 days since he ran with me. He squealed all of the way to the trail.

I wasn't expecting to run, really. I figured a nice 5 mile walk/jog before I had to pick up Troy from football practice. Surprisingly enough my legs were feeling good, my feet fit into my trail shoes and I was able to run..slowly run..for 5 miles. Felt good to get the stiffness and the kinks out. Nothing hurt.

When I hopped on the scale yesterday I was a whopping 14 pounds heavier than race day morning. Lots of carbs holding onto lots of water, lots of salt and swelling of muscle and tissue I guess. Today I was down 8 pounds, tomorrow I'll probably be down the last 6.

I find that after a long cold soak in the tub-which I despise-but do go through the ritual post 100-the swelling goes down much more quickly. Last night I soaked in an ice bath and all night long I was sweating heavily and getting up to go to the bathroom. The cold water somehow releases all of that..stuff. Go figure? It works.

Boy, I realized right after crossing the finish line at Superior that this was the completion of my 10th 100. 10! I never would have believed that I would even want to run 10 100's. Crazy. I love it !

Thank you for all of the nice emails and comments, I appreciate each and every one.

Steve-your quibble is correct. That DNF at Superior 100 3 races ago did get me training harder. I learned to ask those that completed the race how they did it. What type of training, what type of nutrition, how long in the aid stations, lights, clothing..I asked a zillion and one questions and trained harder and harder. It did pay off. At that time people weren't into blogs at all. I couldn't find any race reports but my own that detailed the race, I finally put away my fear and began to ask questions. Nobody refused answers either, I don't know why I was so afraid to ask. Well, yes, I do. I didn't think those runners would want to be bothered by me. Now I know better.

I still shouldn't have beat myself up so badly though! Live and learn.

Run On!

Tuesday With Dorie

Thankfully I had made these cookies a few days before Superior Sawtooth 100 or I don't know that I would have been up to the task. I've been super busy and gee, I'm a bit tired...

These cookies were gone in 1 day. They are more of a candy I think, than a cookie. They were devoured with bowls of ice cream between the three men in my home. I stayed away. I knew they were fabulous though, by the wonderful aroma wafting throughout my home.

I doubled the recipe and was able to get 30 LARGE cookies.

Here's the recipe. You need to try these!

1 3/4 C flour
1 c ovaltine
1/4 c cocoa
1 1/2 t baking pwder
1/4 t salt
1 stick + 3 T butter
2/3 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c whole milk
2 cups Whoppers, chopped coarsely
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Sift flour, ovaltine, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Beat butter and sugar, add eggs, vanilla. Add dry ingredients, mix in milk and add malted milk balls and chocolate. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets, baking 13 minutes at at 350.

LOVELY! I also made some whopper cookie ice cream sandwiches for the boys. They loved them. I will be baking these again.

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Superior Sawtooth 102.6 Mile Trail Run: Bad Ass

First off, thank you so very much to Larry and Colleen Pederson for the months spent planning and preparing for this race. It's just incredible, top notch. The volunteers have the show down pat, from marking to set up to sweeping to drop bags, aid stations and awards. It's amazing. They allow the selfish ultra runners to experience a weekend of fun. While you are standing at the awards, it is fun. While you are running the race it is fun and pain. Lots of pain.

Friday morning was spectacular. The sun was shining, it was cool and dry. I caught a ride to the start with Carl, Deb and Charlie. Carl was running the 100, Deb was pacing him and Charlie had crew detail. They made up an awesome team for Carl.

Before the race we shot pictures, reminisced of past races and talked of the forecast. We were all just happy that it wasn't pouring rain! I had many people come up to me and introduce themselves. Thank you for doing so! So many said they 'met' me through this blog and read here for motivation and inspiration. I love that I am able to inspire others. I'm just regular girl, doing what she loves..and so can others. I asked a few why they read this blog..it intrigues me. Most replies were that it was interesting, that they enjoyed the race reports and that it was inspirational. It was great to meet so many new faces at the races this weekend.

At 8 AM Larry shouted GO and off we went! Off for 38 hours of fun on the trail. Oh lord. Here I go again. Didn't I tell myself during the race last year that I was going to volunteer this year? I wonder why I am doing this, yet again. Because it is the SHT and I can't get enough of it.

Gooseberry Falls to Split Rock 9.3 Miles
This is one of the few runnable sections. Much of it is on ski trails through birch and pine. Much of the trail was longer grass with a few rocks. There are lots of footbridges across the creeks. The creeks looked to be pretty dry.Eventually we came to Split Rock River valley. This area is just beautiful. There really is a big huge split red rock on the side of the trail overlooking the waterfall. Splendid. There is a lot of red rock, apparently called rhyolite, formed from a massive lava flow. The trail is covered in loose chips of this rock and the trail.

I was bunched with a fun group: Steve, Mollie, Kami, Casey. Lots of conversation and laughs.

We came into the aid station just a few minutes after 10. Too fast for me. I was a bit concerned, but knew I wanted to run a PR here. I decided not to worry and to slowly build an hour cushion, finishing in 33-34 hours instead of the 35:35 I finished last year. I decided I'd run the run ables as hard as I could while I could.

We had a large group come into the aid station. The volunteers were pros. Bonnie grabbed my bottles, I was given a sandwich and I saw Pierre as he yelled "go, go" to Matt. Pierre was right. In and out of those aid station as fast as you can go is key. You could waste a lot of time there. This was a station where the volunteers had to carry everything in, there was no access so there were was no crew or drop bags.

I felt great, so far, so good.

Split Rock to Beaver Bay: 10.1 Miles
Another long section before aid. I again carried my GoLite Rush Pack without a bladder. With a bladder I drink too much and can't measure the amount I am consuming. I carried 2 24 oz bottles of Heed in each bottle holster along with a 24 oz bottle of Heed in the back for back up. I normally consume 24 oz an hour, during the first 50 I drank this amount, the second 50 my drinking was much less as it had cooled and I wasn't running as hard.

This is a tough, slow, rocky section. Lots of boulders and it looks like you are running up a dry stream bed. Lots of picking up the legs high and trying to find good footing. NO ROOTS though, a good thing. I was still in a bunch of 7-9 runners which was a lot of fun. Matt, Steve, Kami, the guy from Faribault who I ran with at Vermont last year, Molly, Pierre, Casey. It was fun to listen to snipets of conversation. I knew that eventually I'd be by myself and with my own thoughts.

I saw Steve fall through this section, on his already broken hand. His shirt was covered with blood and he looked bad. I felt horrible for him. I couldn't believe he even started the race with his bad hand. I assumed, incorrectly, that he would drop at the next aid station as he told me he was the first casualty of the race. I said 'you were a casualty before the race began' I didn't mean this to mean he was a DNF casualty before the race began. I meant that his hand was a casualty. Poor guy. He kept on though! All the way through Sonju, like 56 miles or so. Amazing.

There were some very pretty view through this section. I took many pictures and then decided I needed to spend more time running. Remember the PR? Stop stopping all of the time!

The aid station was beehive of activity! First drop bags and crew access. I saw Deb and Charlie right away, waiting for Carl. Deb filled my bottles and Charlie handed me my drop bag..what a treat! It's nice to be able to 'use' other's crew members! I was so grateful for all of the help I received. Just having someone take your bottles to refill is a great help. I disposed of my gel foils and took some more out of my drop bag and headed on out. As I was leaving I was shocked to see Jerry from Missouri and Stuart from Kansas! I ran 35 hours with Stuart last year and 12 with Jerry. I thought they were up ahead of me. It was great to see them again. I hung with them for a very very long time :)

Beaver Bay to Silver Bay: 4.9 Miles
Only 4.9 miles! What a treat! Stuart, Jerry, Kami and I headed out of the aid station together. We had lots of catching up to do. We followed the Beaver River along the trail and then to an ATV/snowmobile trail uphill to an outlook over the City. Lots of climbing of big rocks, it began to get pretty warm, but was probably only 60F or so. We were climbing and working hard, scrambling over the rocky ascents and steep steep descents. I began to worry about my knees. I remembered how badly they hurt last year during this section. Thankfully, my knees didn't bother me through the whole race. At the aid station I dropped off my gel foils, refilled more gels and grabbed my night lights. There weren't drop bags at Tettegouche so I had to pick them up here. I yelled out to the runner to remember their lights here, it would be getting dark for most of us at Co Rd 6. Some didn't have their lights here. . .

Silver Bay to Tettegouche:.9.9 Miles
This is one of my favorite sections, but not my favorite. It's up there, though. There are beautiful views here. I'll post a picture of Stuart, Jerry and myself. The lake in the background is Bean or Bear Lake. The views are just incredible. We climbed, climbed and climbed, eventually making it to the Bean Lake Overlook. Absolutely amazing. Lots of oak, maple and birch..I did see many Mountain Ash in full red berries. This is challenging section with all of the climbing, but it is early enough in the 100 where it doesn't completely kick the butt yet. Mt. Trudee is in this section, a huge climb with a flat top, overlooking the city of Silver Bay. It's called a weather resistant anorthosite dome. After cruising over Mt. Trudee I remembered the "drainpipe" was in this section. It is a 150 foot rock crevice with rock steps. It's just nuts. It's steep steep steep and the rock steps are a foot apart or more. I had to sit on a step, stretch my legs out and somehow get to the next. Thank god my knees were holding up. I can't imagine what this would be like with sore knees. There is a wooden railing next to the drainpipe that shouldn't be there. It is rickety and moves around. I finally realized it was more of a hindrance than help! I was SO looking forward to the lumber in the trail showing me that Tettegouche was coming up. Soon enough I began to see 'normal people', hiking out from the Tettegouche wayside. I knew I was getting close.

I was starving! When I am moving this slowly and it is cool, I can really eat during a race. So far I had consumed 3 full sandwiches, potato chips and gels. I had plenty of calories in the tank, but not too many. As I came into Tettegouche I broke into a huge whoop! I was stoked. FOOD and friends!

Alicia fixed a baggie for me with a sandwich, chips and other goodies. My bottles were filled and off I went. Jerry, Stuart and I began down the trail. We were 1:40 ahead of last year's pace. I was feeling great.

Tettegouche to Co Rd 6: 8.6 miles.
We ran out of the aid station and I told Jerry and Stuart I was still starving. I couldn't believe it. I had consumed a whole sandwich, grapes and chips and I was hungry. I told them to go ahead and I'd get some food I always keep in m pack for emergency. I pulled out another sandwich (!) and a banana and some licorice. I chowed down and caught up with them on the suspension bridge.

This section crosses Crystal Creek. I could see the Sawtooth summits ahead. Yikes, pretty soon I'll be up in that stuff. The trail climbed steeply toward the summits.

The first 4 miles of this section is tough. Lots of climbing, lots of descents, just tough stuff to get through and oh so slow. There are some great views of Lake Superior and the mountains of Fantasia, Marshall and Mystical.

Pretty soon I was at Sawmill Dome. Man, all I could think of was when John Storkamp was running the BETA with us and crashed hard here. I pictured him layed out on that rock acting as though he were dying. Good memories, hu? Thanks for the smile!

This section is where the crazy beaver dam is. It wasn't quite dark, when I was here last year it was pitch dark. I went across, carefully, and noticed that the water was much lower than last year. I didn't hear the beaver whack his tail as me either!

I came across the glacial erratic, a huge rock that is over 25 feet tall. I knew I was getting close.

I was looking forward to Nancy and Tom's aid station. I knew that Jeffery and Jason would be there, too. There is nothing like seeing friends along the course. The aid stations become everything.

As I was coming down to Co Rd 6 it began to get dark. I kept trying to get down the steep path of rocks and roots in the dark and knew I needed to take the time to get my flashlight. I kept hoping I could make it without having to take the time. Eventually I realized this was ridiculous, get out the flashlight and look where you are going! I did. I retrieved my hand held and figured I'd put on my big Black Diamond headlamp at Nancy's. I was able to get to Co Rd 6 1:35 earlier than last year.

As I was running down into the aid station I heard "JULIE BERG"! It was awesome. Jason took my bottles, Jeff checked me in, Lynn gave me hot broth and a sandwich while I retrieved a jacket, long sleeved shirt and gels from my pack. I placed my Black Diamond headlamp on my head and was ready to rock and roll .. I mean rock and root the night away.

Co Rd 6 to Finland: 7.7 Miles
Jerry told us he was feeling inspired to run faster (finishing in 30:17!!!) and that he was going to go ahead. Stuart spent more time in the aid stations that I cared to so I would leave and he'd catch me a bit later. This was our routine most of the night.

This is a hard section. We'll they are all hard from miles 1-77; really. They are bad ass tough trails. You have no idea until you have run the 100 year. You know, my 50 mile time on the SHT is 12 hours. I need to DOUBLE my 50 mile SHT time and ADD 10 hours to get my 100 mile time. There are NO comparisons between the two races.

It was dark, I was happy with my lights. I was almost half way finished, I was trying not to think of the 20 more hours left of the race. Just think about the next aid station in 8 miles; that is all that matters. Aid station to aid station. The trail goes up the high cliffs overlooking Baptism River and the high cliffs called Section 13. It's nuts. It's climbing climbing climbing and steep descents where I am holding onto the trees, or ground, trying to get down. Most of the time I had my handheld in my mouth as I needed both hands to guide me down the rocky cliffs. Yikes.

This is the area that the bugs are so bad in the summer. You go down down down into the bowels of the earth. Into the mossy muddy stinky swampy ishy area. There are long boardwalks all over the place, most are covered with chicken wire so they weren't real slippery.

Eventually I reached the Finland ski trail and new aid was getting close. I was able to do a bit of running on the grassy trail and took the sharp right turn, remembering that Maria and I had missed this turn two times during training runs.

Amen. The Finland Rec Center parking lot. 1/2 way there, baby!

Finland Rec Center to Sonju Lake Road: 4.4 Miles

This aid station is always wonderful. I could hear the generator in the distance. THANK GOD. I needed to see some civilization. I felt like I had been in the woods forever. My feet were aching, my legs were sore..my skin was beginning to hurt. My headlamp was giving my a head ache. I was going to switch my hat for my nice fleece hat I bought at Leadville.

Dawn Long does this station. She makes a fabulous home made chicken noodle soup with garlic in it that is absolutely fantastic. I had a cup of soup and a wonderful warm grilled cheese with ham. Oh man. After gobbling that down she offered me a cookie with coconut oil and organic 65% chocolate..oh lord. It was so good. I took care of my drop bag business and began to hear of all of the people that had dropped here. I couldn't believe all of the incredible runners that the race had taken out. I was warm, my tummy was full and I was ready to hit the cold slow trail of doom.

Finland Rec Center to Sonju Lake Road: 4.4 Miles
4.4 Sounded like a treat! Man, the miles just began to take for fricken ever. It is so hard to stop looking at the whole race and to instead focus on running aid station to aid station. I knew I had to do this, it was too big to think about the 50 miles that were left. I left the aid station with Kami and her pacer, Tania. Tani was going to run 7 miles with Kami. Guess what, she ended up doing 27 miles! We left the aid station together, Stuart was taking care of his drop bag and would catch us in a bit. It was getting cold and colder and slow and slower. I knew what was coming up. My second worst section. Sonju Root Fest. It's awful after 50 miles and in the dark. It's constant slowness, pick up the foot and leg 12" and do it again over and over, hoping that I can find a piece of earth to put my foot down upon instead of another stupid root. Really. It's terrible. It makes my feet black and blue on the bottoms. No blisters (thank you foot potion!) but tons of bruising. We trudged on.

We came to the Old Trappers Cabin, another beaver pond and across Sonju Creek. All I wanted was to be out of this god forsaken section. Why was I running this race? This hurts. This hurts badly. I still have 20 hours left. Ugh. The WORST section is next. Shit pie.

I could hear the generator. I saw lights. Oh, Happy Days! I was smiling and whooping and hollering. They aid station workers clapped and hollered back to us. Oh yippee!! There were Christmas lights strung along a wonderful manicured grassy section up to the trailer. It looked like I was coming into a fancy park or something. It was! There were no runners at the aid station other than myself, Stuart, Kami and Tania. One person took my bottles, another put a hot sandwich and soup in my hand, another changed my batteries in my headlamp and my handheld. I was so happy I took some pictures of these wonderful workers! I loved it. A little bit of warm food, smiling and laughing and fabulous aid station volunteers was just what I needed. Heaven.

Crosby Manitou State Park to Sugarloaf: Longest 9.4 miles. Ever.
I knew this was going to be bad. It always is. I've run the 100 here three years in a row and I've run this section during night training runs 3x and day training runs 3x. I know what it is. It sucks during the day on fresh legs and who day hikes this anyway? I wonder if anyone does. The only good thing was that I knew Maria and Doug had the aid station here and that was something to look forward too!

More roots..roots upon roots. Remember HR Puffinstuff..or something like that..there were bad trees with big roots that tried to grab people and pull them in. That what these roots are like. I was on a narrow trail with bad mean roots 6=12" thick upon the ground and they were trying to trip me, to make me fall, to bruise my feet. It was SO slow. Ugh. Get me out of here..yeah, out of here into Crosby Manitou. Oh lord.

As I hit the bit of gravel road into Crosby ManitouI was so exited for Doug and Maria's aid station. I was able to actually RUN a bit and stretch my legs out. It felt wonderful, I was able to warm up a bit. The rain had stopped, but I still felt wet and cold. My headache had gone away since I changed hats and loosened up my headlamp.

Maria had paper bags along the route with candles inside. Nice touch! We ran into the aid station and there wasn't another runner in there! Deb and Charlie were waiting for Carl. Deb would begin to pace Carl here. Charlie filled my bottles and gave me my drop bag. I didn't need anything here. I was taken care of. I still had gels for the next section in my bag. Doug asked what I would like. Maria had a menu set up! I saw homemade beef stew on the menu. Oh, yeah! Maria scooped me hot stew into a cup and gave me one of her wraps. I then went to grab some potato chips and my flashlight fell into the bowl, knocking them all over. Yikes. Her food was wonderful. Hot beef stew? Wow. Good stuff. It was really nice to leave the 100K mark with hot food in my belly and good luck wishes from good friends. I was still an hour and 10 minutes ahead of last year. I wondered what Manitou would do to that?

Do you know that the Superior Sawtooth 100 has 21000 feet elevation? Do you know that there are mountains in Minnesota? Do you know that the Sawtooth Mountain Range exists? This is a tough course. It's constant rocks, constant roots and ascents and descents like you would not believe. Yeah, in Minnesota.

So..Crosby Manitou to Sugarloaf: 9.4 Miles

Terrible. Just Terrible. It took me 4 hours to get through this 9.4 mile section. Yup, 4 hours. Most of the time I had a flashlight in my mouth as I again needed two hands to get down the tough steep descents. They were worse than the ascents. It went on and on. I knew it was going to be horrible so at least I knew this in advance. I felt badly for those who didn't know that this section was as bad as at was. Two years ago when I ran this section of the race the bridge was out. A poor soul volunteered to help cross each runner across the river. We both fell down that year. I fell on top of him and hit my head. At least this year there was a bridge. I was thankful for that. I kept telling myself that after this section was finished the sun would come up, the course flattens a bit and I would be able to run a bit. Good things to look forward to. I kept pushing the fact that I had 40 miles to run in the back of my brain. That didn't help anything at all. I kept pushing positive thoughts toward my brain and it really helped turn things around.

I began to list the things I am grateful for. My family. My healthy boys that love me. I still have a job, I wasn't cut with the budget cuts, I am healthy, I'm 20 pounds lighter than the last time I ran this race, I have met some incredible people through running. I am thankful that I can do this. I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS. Tomorrow night I'll be in a bed, with sheets, with a finish buckle, and this is only one day out of my life. So buck up and get it done.

As the sun came up I thanked God. I was so thankful that I was of the Wild Manitou River Gorge.

I finally came upon the Caribou Wayside with the bridge and knew that the aid station was about 2.5 miles away. Thank goodness. I began to run. Oh my gosh, to stretch my legs, to stretch out my back, to see the sun rise. Good stuff all around. My legs weren't dead. I was still moving. I kept saying Amen ?

72 miles down and I came into Sugarloaf. I love Sugarloaf. It lets me know that I'm done with the worst of the worst. Manitou is in the past, the sun is up, I can look at views, I can remove my lights, my night shirt and get onto the business of finishing this race. From here on out the race is more runable.

Sugarloaf to Cramer Road: 5.6 Miles
Kami's dad was at Sugarloaf and he said that he thought Helen was going to finish in 26:30! I couldn't even imagine such a possibility. 26:30!! This is Helen's first 100, and yeah, she finished in 26:30. Isn't that incredible?? Wow. Yes, it is.

After getting some soup and removing my hat and shirt, lights into my drop bag I was in pretty good spirits. My stomach was good, I was drinking, I was warm, I wasn't in as rough shape as last year and I still had an hour cushion on last year's time. I was shocked that Manitou didn't take that away.

I ran along this section pretty nicely. The trail was a bit softer, still lots of roots, but nice birch forest, some good running sections. My feet were toast. No blisters but major bruising and pain. I kept putting away the pain, pretending they didn't hurt. What good did it do to dwell upon? I wasn't going to drop for sore freaking feet.

I enjoyed coming into Cramer Road. This is where I dropped two years ago. It's nice to come in and feel good, strong, and know that there is no way I'm dropping here today. Kami's Dad had a hot latte' for her! What a nice Pa! I ate a chocolate brownie here. After I did so I worried it may make me sickThis gave Kami another lift and she began to run again. I would pass her, then pee, then she'd pass again. Tania was still pacing her and they were moving right along, getting the job done. I ate a chocolate brownie. The volunteer told me he made them and I ate it. It was good, then I worried it could upset my stomach. It didn't though, but it made me want more of them!

Cramer Road to Temperance River State Park: 7.1 Miles
Now I was getting into the race. Now the doom of the night had left, barring an injury I was finishing. I LOVE the last 25 miles. This part of the course is beautiful and it is daylight so I get to see it all. The Temperance River in all of her beauty, the incredible rapids, the cool rocky areas to run over, the climb of a zillion wooden steps, the 'normal' people out for day hikes. I turned on my iPod and put in one ear bud so that I could still hear runners. I hadn't seen one 50 miler yet, I assumed they'd be coming upon me soon. Kami and Tania dropped back when I began to run, I didn't see them again. I ran as hard as I could..which wasn't very hard..but felt good.

I was happy.

The views in this section are incredible. Huge maple forests, turning color, wildflowers, mushrooms, Tower Overlook, the awesome water falls, it is the best.

As I came into Temperance the aid workers commented on my smile. I told them I wouldn't do this if it wasn't fun. Sure, it was hard as hell, I was tired and sore but man, this is something special. I was joyful. I didn't need anything from my bag, I had some soup and left running, still 1:10 ahead of last year's schedule. Amazing.

Temperance River State Park to Sawbill: 5.7
I couldn't believe I was already this far into the race. On one hand, when I thought about the 20 miles to go, it felt overwhelming, but on the other hand, when I thought that there were only 2 aid stations left, I couldn't believe it. Every once in a while I would begin to cry because it was all so overwhelming. I was running alone, visiting with hikers along the route whom were totally amazed that I was out running 102.6 miles. My number was 1001 in big red numbers, so they would as what I was running. I told them and their mouths would fall open. I'm sure I looked like a crazy woman; laughing and crying along the trail, running as hard as I could, all hunched up with a pack upon my back..but I had on a pretty pink skirt with pretty pink gaiters :)

Carlton Peak is absolutly fantastic. It is my favorite section. It's amazing. There are huge blocks of anorthosite rock, somehow they are positioned 50-75 feet above the trail, but are easy to climb, as there are plenty of knobs to hold onto as you climb. It's so very very beautiful. Tyler and Troy love this section as well. I smile the whole time I'm through this piece. I ran down down down from Carlton and finally saw the first 50 miler of the day. He was so complimentary of me. He told me I looked fresh, that he was amazed that I could run 100 miles. As he ran away I realized he gave me a lift. On I went, onto Sawbill. Crazy.

I came into Sawbill and was just stoked. Laughing, happy, feeling great. When the volunteer told me I had 5.5 miles to Oberg I became all choked up again and teared up. Man, emotional!! I didn't need anything from my drop bag, I wasn't hungry, I had a few pretzels, filled my Heed bottles and buzzed along, so very happy that I was actually happy..and having fun after the night of terror in Manitou!

Sawbill to Oberg Mountain: 7.1 Miles
I remembered that it took quite some time to get to Oberg for some reason. I think it is beause I am so excited to get there, to only have 7 miles left once through Oberg, that I end up disappointed that it takes so long. This year I didn't set myself up to become disappointed. I took each mile in, enjoyed every step, taking in the wonderful views. There are quite a few spur trails in this section and I purposely took one of them. The Cedar Overlook is a steep 300 yard climb that has a spectacular view of Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains. It was well worth the additional time. I came back out to the SHT and past the campsites, then to the Onion River. I couldn't believe it. I was actually running, I was happy, I was signing, I was on my way to Oberg. Oh man.

Wow. I couldn't even believe that I was thinking about running into Oberg. I couldn't believe that Oberg was on the radar. I had been thinking about Oberg for 25 hours. I love this section!

At Oberg I saw Kate Havelin manning the station, Curt King was there, having dropped from the 50, and Ed Dallman was doing drop bag duty. I had an empty bag, I left one there just in case I wanted to drop something off. I really wanted to drop of my whole pack, take off my shirt and run in my bra and skirt. I was tired of my bad smell, my wet shirt and my heavy pack. I didn't though. I continued with my clothing.

Kate fixed me a bag of goodies, I was there for less than a minute, and ran along toward the finish. As I left Oberg I began to sob, quite loudly. I was so grateful for the weekend, so happy that I had made it. I did notice that I was dizzy, that my hands were double their normal swelling state, that my arms were huge. Oh well. 7 miles baby. Moose Mountain and Mystery were no problem. I climbed and climbed, enjoying stretching out those climbing muscles without having to hold on for dear life and having to hold a flashlight in my mouth. Gee, thankful for the little things! I really had a great 7 miles. I knew I was going to come in less than the 35:35 I had last year. I was hoping it would be a 34 something. I ran as hard as I could. It began to rain. Then rain hard. Pretty soon another 50 mile guy came upon me. He told me I looked spunky and like I just stepped out of the shower. Hello! I told him it was sweat, but it was sweet of him to say so. He was only the 2nd man I had seen from the 50. Where the hell were they all? Pretty soon I was climbing Mystery, which isn't too bad as it is a switchback. I saw a girl in a while shirt coming up on me. It was Valeria! I love her. She asked how long we had..I said about 1.5 miles, she was drenched without a jacket to wear but we were almost done. She'd hit the finish before me. She gave me a hug and I told her she was the first woman I had seen from the 50. She was the only! Go Valeria! As it began to pour, I began to run as fast as I could. I saw the Lutsen Chalet sign and ran harder. I saw the campsites and ran harder. Nothing hurt now, my dizziness was gone, my pain was gone, I put it all away and focused on finishing in less that 35. I heard the Poplar River and began to sob. Loud, wracking, gasping for air sobs. I was so thankful. So very thankful. I hit the gravel road. I ran hard. Harder. Fast. Faster. I came out of the trail head, onto the pavement. It was pouring rain. People honked their horns, screamed out of their windows. A girl got out of her car and yelled JULIE BERG..YOU GO GIRL! I told her she was getting wet, get back into your car, and thank you! A guy stood out on his deck "JULIE BERG..I RAN WITH YOU AT THE START. I DROPPED. RUN ON, YEAH!" I was crying. Sobbing. Down the road I went, turning into the grass, up to the swimming pool. "IT'S JULIE. JULIE BERG" Wow. I did it. RUN RUN RUN finish this bad ass race.

34:34:05. Fabulous. As much as I stressed the PR and time, that isn't what it is all about. Really. You know what it is all about? It's about stretching yourself. It's about reaching out of your comfort zone, doing something that you are not sure you can do, trying as hard as you can, preparing as well as you can..and if you are able to reach that goal..it's magic. By reaching that goal you build confidence within yourself. You feel good about yourself. You begin to complete more tasks that are out of your comfort zone..you build more confidence. It's not all about running. It's about life. Sometimes it is tough and you don't succeed at your goal but that is good practice, you'll succeed next time, or the next. You will learn and you will do it. Oh yes, you will. If I can, we all can.

The people. People that are now my very good friends. Some of the best people in the world. Tom and Nancy. Standing out in the rain, watching me finish, telling me how proud they are of me, then heading out to get out of the cold rain. Amazing. John Taylor. Finished 1.5 hours before me. Had an awesome day. I enjoy running with John so much and kept asking on the course where he was..always a good hour ahead of me. Kudos John! To see Jim and Bohdan, Charlie and Deb, Helen (26:30!) went to get me a Diet Coke after running the blistering pace, all the great people. Larry and Colleen. Sara and Joe. Lynn. Doug and Marie. Wonderful people. Thank you for helping me.

After a quick warm shower I walked back to the finish for the award ceremony. I received 3rd Master and another great wall plaque with mirror that Larry made as well as the coveted Brooks red finishing jacket and buckle. It was great to see all of the finishers. Congratuling everyone, amazed at all that everyone did. I was cold and exhausted. At 9:00 I went back to the townhome to relax and read and reflect upon the day. Sleep eventaully came and this morning I couldn't wait to again thank everyone. I found Bonnie, Don, Maynard, Gretchen, Mike, John, Larry and Jo and chatted for a long time. Great people, great friends.

Those of you that didn't finish, don't despair. Don't beat yourself like I did two years ago. It did me no good. Learn from what happened. Each race is an experience. Like life; it's hard...but it is good and it takes practice.

This document stopped spell check half way through; it must be too long. Now I must go to sleep so will post pictures tomorrow after work.

Run On!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile Trail Run

I haven't had to make family preparations yet this year while leaving for a 100 mile run. For McNaughton my parents just happened to be arriving from Texas for the end of the winter season and were passing through on their way up north. Mom took care of everything. For FANS I'm only gone one night; nothing to take care of. For Leadville everyone was along but for Superior..oh man. Superior takes place on a Friday, the first week of school. I hate to take the boys out the first week, plus they would have to miss a football practice, so I go alone. This means finding rides to and from practice, fixing meals in advance, making sure they have clean clothes for school and get up on time for school (Steve leaves before 5 AM and isn't home until 7 PM), getting papers signed, homework in, gifts and cards for the birthday parties over the weekend. It takes more to get the family ready for my 100 than to get myself ready.

My drop bags are packed and labeled, running pack is full and ready, breakfast and food is in the cooler and ready to go. I'll leave right from work tomorrow and hit the packet pickup in Two Harbors. I'll miss the briefing but will be there in time to drop off my drop off bags and get to Caribou at a decent hour. The race doesn't begin until 8 AM so a good night sleep will be easy to come by.

I haven't taken a look at the forecast..it really doesn't matter. I pack warm clothes, rain clothes, a bit of everything because everything usually takes place. I predict some rain, some sun, not warmer than 60 during the day and not cooler than 20 for the evening. No sunglasses required as it is dark in the thick woods of the SHT!

Off for fun..over and out..

Monday, September 01, 2008

Pretty Puff

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Daring Bakers: Eclair

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The Daring Bakers: August Challenge

Eclairs! I've never made eclairs but they are one of Troy's favorites at the bakery. I was excited to try this challenge when I first read the post. I love to create recipes within recipes. This creation consisted of the cream puff dough, the pastry cream and the glaze.

The recipe was chosen by MeetaK by Pierre Herme' Chocolate Desserts. It was fabulous, and not quite as difficult as I originally guessed it would be.

I did have to make the cream puff dough twice. The first time I undercooked by nice little puffs. They came out of the oven beautiful and high; then sat on the counter to cool and fell flat upon their little faces. I couldn't believe it. I cut into one and the eggy strands were still wet. Definitely undercooked! Luckily this was quick to put together so I whipped up another batch of the pastry dough and made sure to bake the little puffs long enough. This batch was superb!

The cream was fantastic as was the glaze. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. What is not to like? They were all gone by the end of the day. A testimony to their tastiness.

Here is the fabulous recipie:
Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate ÉclairsRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 20-24 Éclairs)
Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm
1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds bypositioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets withwaxed or parchment paper.
2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.
3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip thehandle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in theoven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continuebaking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total bakingtime should be approximately 20 minutes.
Notes:1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.
Assembling the éclairs:
Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)
1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside thebottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 - 104 degrees F or 35 - 40degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops ofthe éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill thebottoms with the pastry cream.
3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottomswith enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry creamand wriggle gently to settle them.
Notes:1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to createbubbles.
2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.
Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff DoughRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 20-24 Éclairs)
½ cup (125g) whole milk
½ cup (125g) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to theboil.
2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to mediumand start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together veryquickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. Youneed to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the doughwill be very soft and smooth.
3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using yourhandmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again donot worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time youhave added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted itshould fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.
Notes:1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined bakingsheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer thepiped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.
Chocolate Pastry Cream Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé
2 cups (500g) whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75g) sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.
2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.
3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.
4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.
5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.
3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.
Chocolate GlazeRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 1 cup or 300g)
1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature
1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.
Notes:1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.
2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.
Chocolate SauceRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé (makes 1½ cups or 525 g)
4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 g) water
½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
1/3 cup (70 g) sugar
1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.
Notes: 1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

This seems so incredibly long, but it really goes by quite quickly and it isn't very difficult to make. REALLY!!