Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stuffed Squash


45 years old today! Thank you God for giving me another healthy and happy year. Five years ago I gave up dreading the act of becoming older. It's not like I had any input as to whether or not it would happen! Another year = another gift.

Topaz and I went out for a quick 5 miles around the neighborhood this morning before I headed off to work for a few hours. Off to the gym for a session on the stair stepper, elliptical and hills on the treadmill. Back home for another 4 miles on snowshoe with Topaz while the boys were tramping down the trails for me. Trying to tramp down the trail for me! Nobody else uses the trail that I snowshoe upon so it is tough work trying to get a decent trail. They became tired as did I. Three short workouts was enough on this birthday.

No fear, tomorrow will be the annual birthday = miles run. I'll be running 45 miles for my 45 years. I haven't yet decided if I'll snowshoe run 20 with Topaz and run 25 into Big Lake, around the lake 2x, back home or if I'll head into Minneapolis and run the lakes for the day. I ran the lakes last year for 44, I'll probably do the snowshoe/road option. Tyler will be working all day, Steve is ice fishing and Troy will be heading of to snowboard. I have all day long. It will take me all day long!

Friday I'm running The Polar Dash 10K. It will feel good to get in some road running after all of the trail plowing I've been doing lately.

Oh, today I made a fabulous stuffed squash that Angela posted. After baking the squash I stuffed it with quinoa, celery, carrot, dried cranberry, ginger, cinnamon, onion and sage. Fabulous! I'll post a picture above. Steve even ate a squash halve and that rarely happens. Of course they really liked the prime rib soup I made for them, too. Leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner. Even though I'm not eating meat I do still prepare it for the guys. I've been fixing meat for dinner for 28 years, can't stop now!

Thank you for all of the Happy Birthday's. I appreciate it!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I almost Forgot..

Each year I usually receive quite a large gift card that I can use anywhere. I normally buy groceries for a month or use it toward a family vacation or such. This year I'm tempted to use it as it is intended-to buy myself something.

I have been thinking of a piece of jewelry or/and a Garmin 310XT. The 310XT because of the 20 hour battery life. For ultrarunners anything less is just not long enough. I have the Forerunner 50 which I like because there is no GPS so the battery life is 20+ hours.

Anybody out there have the 310 XT? I'd love some input!

Winter Wonderland

The past few days we've received over 12" of snow. It's been a long time since we've seen that much snow in one snowfall. I don't think the boys have even seen such a large snowfall in one period. When I was their age, growing up in Northern Minnesota, we had snowfalls like this all of the time.

Between Steve plowing the driveway, sidewalk, shoveling the roof and ice fishing; the boys sliding, skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling; and me snowshoe running, skiing and shoveling it seems that we have a constant pile of wet winter clothing and boots out in the mud room. My dryer is constantly running while drying mittens, gloves and hats. I have to say though: we love it!

This morning Topaz and I headed out for a shorter 8 mile snowshoe run. The snow is so deep that I am doing more breaking trail via hiking than running I am afraid. My heart rate was through the roof and my legs were becoming tired from high stepping the snow. It felt like going through the root section (Sonju) during the Superior Sawtooth 100 mile run! Ah, not quite!

After breaking trail to the lake we turned around and headed the 4 miles back to the car. Again, covered with snow. After a quick removal of snow and ice we headed home. I stripped off my wet clothing and put on dry shorts, bra, socks and shoes so I could hop on my treadmill and actually run for 5 miles! Topaz laid at the treadmill and watched.

The Northwoods Snowshoe Marathon is in a few weeks. I haven't decided if I'm going to run it yet again. I think I've run it the past 8 years. Hard to believe that 2 of those years we ran it in trail shoes..there was no snow in Duluth! This weekend, Duluth received 26" of snow. Wow. I am going to run the Winter Carnival 1/2 Marathon and I'd imagine I'll be at Northwoods too. It's the final year for the race and I'll probably find myself there.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve ! (EVE)

Don't you just love it? The HOLIDAYS! I do, I do.

I love the excitement in little one's faces as I speak with them about Santa, Rudolph and presents while I'm waiting in line at the grocery store.

I love to decorate the house, bake my heart out..cookies, fudge, Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake (which I just removed from the oven), lefse and a huge standing ribeye roast for dinner tomorrow. That roast cost me more than a week of groceries!

I love the excitement of the students at work. The excitement of Christmas, of Christmas Break.

I love to watch Tyler and Troy pick through the cookie platter, arrange and rearrange the presents under the tree, talk out the Christmas festivities..they love it as much as I.

It's a wonderful time.

I hope you are all enjoying the Holidays as much as I am.

I guess I took some time off here. Now going on seven years blogging and I had never taken over a week break. I guess it was time. I've been busy. Working full time at school and part time at Macy's, coaching beginning runners and my online clients, getting in my own running and lifting..and getting ready for the Holiday's.

In the past month Tyler turned 18! 18! I can't even believe it. Next week I'll turn 45! Wow. Many of my friends are turning 50+ and they are showing me that it is looking damn good :) Remember how awful I felt about turning 40? Thank goodness that business is in the past. I look forward to each year now.

I'm still enjoying the miles on the trail, on the road, wherever I can get them in. I've been snowshoe running lately. From tonight to Friday we are supposed to have 14-20 " of snow. I hope so!

Last week I went downhill skiing for the first time. It was a total blast. The boys were amazed that I didn't suck. I suck at snowboarding so they were expecting the same rate of suckage.

Thank you for all of the emails asking how I was doing and checking in, all of the Holiday wishes. I appreciate it!

Happy Holidays to all of you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2009 Season Wrapped Up

With the 2009 race season wrapped up for me I am currently not training for anything and my next race isn't until January.

Daily runs, lifting, working, enjoying my boys, enjoying life. When I'm not racing I don't have a lot to share!

Have a fantastic Holiday Season, it is already upon us!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Why a Raw Vegan Diet?

I’ve received many email and comments relating to eating a raw diet. Why? What do you eat? How do you prepare? How much money does it cost? and unfortunately, what about the protein? That’s the most unfortunate comment of all; it shows that so many buy into the great protein myth. After reading and researching so very much, it turns out we really only need approximately 20-25 grams of protein each day. I hit at least that many grams each day eating only fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. I am usually in the 40-45 gram range.

For the past few years I had been eating a diet high in animal protein. I believed that I needed in excess of 100 grams of protein each day to create a lean muscular build. I hadn’t researched plant based diets at this point.

During April and May of this past year I received mailed letters from Costco stating that the beef I had purchased during these two months had been contaminated with ecoli.

In June I received a phone call from the processor of the grass fed steer I had purchased stating that my beef had been processed in a facility where ecoli had been detected.

In July I watched the movie FOOD, INC. The movie struck a chord deep within me. I began to read all that I could about a plant based diet. The books by Michael Pollan: In Defense of Food, Omnivores Dilemma and The Botany of Desire fueled my curiosity. I researched the topic thoroughly.

One day in June, I recall it vividly, I decided that for this day I wasn’t going to eat any animal products. No chicken, no beef and no eggs. No eggs! I was eating egg whites every single morning. Even though I really didn’t like them, I felt that I ‘should’ eat them. I felt that I needed to begin my day with protein so that is what I was doing.

For this one day I began the day with oatmeal and a banana. For lunch I had a large salad with a variety of field greens, kale, onion, carrot, mushrooms and topped it off with garbanzo beans. I was well satisfied and it was a great tasting lunch. For dinner I was at a loss. No beef. No chicken breast? What would I eat? I had found that if I ate more than one processed carb meal during the day I could usually count on a weight gain. I was very leery of having the corn tortilla, bean and veggie wrap that I was preparing. I ate the burrito and it was very good. I snacked on fruits during the day. I was satisfied and I didn’t miss the animal products at all. I didn’t even miss the skim milk in my coffee!

I was eating a vegan diet and was really surprised at how good it felt. I wondered if my muscle would shrink away. I wondered if I would be able to lift weights as heavy as I had been. I wondered if I would gain weight from the carbohydrates.

No, I didn’t lose any muscle, I could lift just as heavy and the carbohydrates didn’t make me fat. Cutting back on the meat, thereby cutting back on the total calories and fat in my diet, created a weight loss, not a weight gain.

I happily went along eating a vegan diet for the next few weeks when I began to realize I felt best when eating mostly raw vegetables and fruits. I would realize at the end of the day, when I was full of energy, that I had consumed only raw items. A smoothie of spinach and banana for breakfast, a huge fruit plate for lunch and a big green salad of kale, onion, tomato and carrot for dinner with fruit for snacks in between was when I felt best. I began to eat this way more often and began to notice a few things.

I had a bit of a detox period. The initial detox period seemed to last about two weeks. My symptoms included bad breath, chills, headaches, some daytime drowsiness, and dry skin. My teeth felt like they were growing carpet upon them. I began to carry my toothbrush with me to work. I seemed to be shedding my skin. Even dry brushes didn’t help during this two week detox period. At about day 10 I began feeling consistently good on this diet.

After the first 10 days I began to notice other changes.

Mental clarity. When eating raw foods I found that it felt as though a cloud had lifted. I didn’t realize the full feeling of clarity I felt mentally until I went back to cooked foods, then I noticed it immediately. As soon as I went back to eating non cooked items, the clarity returned.

Digestion. By eating raw foods my digestion process was very quick. I didn’t have any stomach upset, or problems running with a stomach that wouldn’t empty.

Energy. I couldn’t believe the energy I felt. I wasn’t tired. I needed less sleep. I began to wake at 430 on weekends because I wanted to and my body was ready to wake up for the day. Amazing.

I find that sometimes the fruit is too sweet to me. I have to ‘tone’ it down with a cleansing stalk of celery or cucumber. A shake of bananas, romaine and celery is wonderful. For some reason blended or juiced pineapple with garlic is good. The garlic cuts the sweetness of the pineapple.

I have run 2 100 mile races while eating a high raw diet.At Leanhorse 100, in August, I consumed a few vegan items pre race. Microwaved sweet potato and oatmeal pre race and Hammergel during the race. The race was fabulous. Recovery was quick and swift.

By the time Javelina Jundred 100, last week, came around I had been eating a raw diet for 7 weeks. I consumed raw pre, during and post race. Again, the race went terrific and recovery was even better. I had no swelling, no aches or pains at all. I was, I am, amazed.

My endurance level hasn’t dropped at all while changing my eating habits, nor has my weight lifting. As a matter of fact I seem to expend less energy now while running. I can run faster without raising my heart rate as high as before. I can’t explain it.

I have been researching raw diets and raw diets for athletes , in particular. I’ve found a wealth of information and other ultramarathoners who are eating a raw diet. Who knew?

High fat or low Fat? I found that when I consumed raw sunflower seeds, cashews and whole avocados as well as olive oils, I felt like I had a barrel of oil in my stomach. Many of the raw recipes that I found were full of plant fats; over 60% of the recipe’s calories came from fat!

I found that there are two camps of raw foodists: high fat and low fat. There are some who believe you can eat all the nuts/seeds/oils/fat fruit and veggies necessary to raise your calories to the necessary level and there are those that believe one should consume a low fat raw vegan diet of approximately 80/10/10. I have to agree with the 80/10/10 camp. High fat is just not a healthy way to eat. Even high plant fat. Some raw diets consist of 70% of calories coming from fat as the veggies don’t provide many calories. If you don’t consume higher calories from fruits (bananas, mangoes) to reach your daily calorie requirement you will do so with fats instead. While researching low fat raw vegan diets by Dr. Douglas Graham, Roger Haeske and Frederick Patenaude I was happy to see that I could trust the way that I felt and the way that the higher fats were making me feel.

At this point I continue to eat a raw diet, however I can’t say that I won’t eat steamed yams or roasted brussel sprouts again. I love the flavor of those two items and when Ifeel the need, I will consume them. I don’t believe I’ll eat animal products again, ever. I just feel so good without them, I wouldn’t want to feel the way they make me feel again.

Cost. The average cost for my food is $53 a week. Yeah! I can't believe what a bargain it is. I shop at either Costco or Cub Foods. Most of the time I can find organic for every item I want to purchase. Costco has a great selection of items and I can buy bananas by the case.

There are a few questions that I’ve answered. I’m certainly not an experienced raw foodist. I am just eating as to what feels good, or great, to me.

I’m finding that juicing is something else that I enjoy very much. I may try a 7-10 day juice feasting trial soon after a bit more research...just out of curiosity.


Take sourdough bread and slice in half. Pull out the bread from the middle, leaving a bit of bread layer but not too much.

Step 2

I smear with a mix of mayo and dijon mustard. I add red onion, lettuces and pickles.

Step 3

Pile on the meat, cheese and whatever else you may want inside of your sandwich. Place top on and wrap tightly in saran wrap. Place heavy plate on top so it kind of smooshes it all together. I slice into 4ths.

Marvelous Muffeletta

The guys have been hunting each weekend from last month pretty much up until Thanksgiving.

This past weekend was the Minnesota Deer Opener. Troy called me on Saturday night to let me know he shot his first one. A big doe. Smart Buck was following doe through the woods, Troy couldn't get a shot at buck as he was hiding behind a tree. Doe trotted right out into the opening. Bam. Troy shot her right through the heart "just like I'm supposed to, Mom". He was pretty excited.

I reminded them that I would be working when they arrived home and asked what they might like for dinner. Not soup, not chili, too hot. They'd been hunting at 65F! How about Marvelous Muffeletta? One of their favorite sandwiches...

It would be ready for them when they arrived and I'd be home an hour or so later. Here is how easy it is to prepare: (next post)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Breville Juicer and Juice


No, not steroids, as I was once accused of taking. I took it as a compliment because it was directed toward me after lifting a PR and running a PR race. In this case I mean as in juicing fruits and vegetables for health.

When I first began eating a vegan diet, over 4 months ago now, I began each morning with a smoothie of dark greens and fruit. Many mornings I am still consuming these, however, I am now juicing regularly, too.

By juicing I am removing all of the fiber of the fruit and vegetable. With the fiber removed, fresh juice digests very easily, so I am not expending as much energy on digestion. This extra energy then becomes available for my body and mind.

Remember when I posted how difficult afternoon runs were for me; that I felt out of energy and my legs felt very tired? I really couldn't figure this out. I assumed it was just the change of schedule-from AM summer vacation runs to PM afternoon runs. The weekend rolls around and I have alive legs and all is well on the weekend AM runs.

Well, the past few weeks-two weeks prior to Javelina and this week-I found that my afternoon runs no longer sucked. Three weeks ago I was still running a high mileage week. I was running 5 in the AM and another 5 in the PM. I was surprised that the 5 in the PM were good, energized runs. I couldn't figure it out. I went to the gym 3 weeks ago and lifted a few PR's. The week prior to the race I cut back on mileage, thereby figuring that the energy I felt during PM running was due to the taper.

This week I recovered so quickly from Javelina 100 that I was back to running AM/PM again, something I have never been able to do post 100.

I finally realized that a large part of the reason for the great PM runs and the recovery is due to the juicing. It has to be. Another part has to be due to the raw diet. I had absolutely no bloat/swelling at all. I went back to work on Tuesday in heels .. I never have been able to do this before. I had no soreness or stiffness whatsoever. Of course I do have the horribly dry skin, hair that falls out and cold sores that I normally have post 100. Yes, I always suffer these maladies post 100.

Back to the juicing...I usually juice approximately 32 ounces for a morning breakfast. I like to begin with a sweet base so I use 4-5 medium-sized carrots and an apple as a base for a 32-oz juice (one quart). By using carrots and apple as my base I am sure to have a sweet tasting juice no matter how many greens I add.

Carrots and apple are high in natural sugar. When I first began juicing I used few dark greens because the taste of the greens was so strong. I usually used the sweet base of carrot and apple and added celery, romaine, and cucumber as they are alkalizing and very mild in flavor. Over time I cut back on the carrot and apple and have increased the dark greens as I have adjusted to the flavor and find it wonderful and refreshing.

When I want a large supply of juice I'll use whole heads of celery as they have a high water content so I can get a lot of juice out of them.

After juicing the fruit base and the alkalizing vegetables I'll add the dark greens. My favorite dark greens to add are now kale and spinach, sometimes collards. I usually save my collards for wraps, using only the ripped ones for my juices and shakes.

Finally I'll add lemon or lime and ginger root. I juice the skin of the lemon or lime too, and about 1" of ginger root. I find that the citrus juice adds a zing to the juice, the ginger adds a great spike of flavor.

After accepting a part time position with Macy's a few months ago, my first purchase using my employee discount was a Breville Juicer. It works very very well. I place a plastic grocery bag or large Ziploc bag into the pulp container to catch the pulp, thereby making clean up even quicker. It stores nicely under my kitchen sink and clean up is a snap. It takes me less than 15 minutes to clean the fruit and vegetables, juice and clean the juicer.

Since juicing my desire for morning coffee has plummeted. I can't believe it. I have always enjoyed grinding my own beans each morning and preparing french press. I found that I now have desire for juice and not coffee! I didn't go through a caffeine withdrawal but I do find that I still want coffee one or two times a I have it. Eventually I'll probably just give it up altogether. Again, this shocks me.

Today after my run I juiced 3 carrots, 1 apple, 1 head of celery, 1 head of romaine, about 2 cups of spinach, 1 lemon and 1" of ginger root. It is pictured above. Tasty!!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Trail Run Report

After running Javelina Jundred last year I immediately knew that I would be running it again. I hoped that I would be able to run it again in 2009. I enjoyed the race so much I really wanted to go back.

I’m so glad I was able to take part in Javelina Jundred 2009! Sometimes when high expectations are placed on an event there can be a let down, but JJ did not disappoint. The whole event was fabulous fun in the sun.

I flew into Phoenix on Friday, visiting the packet pick up at race headquarters, called Javelina Junction. By coincidence I seated myself next to Mary Croft and Wally Goettel of Minnesota. I knew they were going to be at the race but really wasn’t sure if I would recognize them. As I introduced myself to the runners on my left they overheard me on my right and introduced themselves. Small world!

The race start temperature was a balmy 49F. I wore a tank top and skirt with the Moeben sleeves I received from last year’s JJ. They were perfect! As the sunrise took place and I warmed up I was able to roll them down to my wrists. During the night I rolled them back up. What a great idea for Shannon to come up with.

I read the notes I had made from last year’s race, telling me not to bother with a flashlight at the start. I’m glad I took notes! About 5 minutes past the start the sky began to lighten up. It was going to be a beautiful day. I could feel it.

There were many runners dressed in Halloween costumes; Bumble Bees, Butterflies, Batwoman, Militia, Goddesses, Gods, it was pretty cool. I can’t imagine wearing those extra items for 30 hours. My own clothing becomes cumbersome during 100s! There was a girl who took pictures all along the course, throughout the whole race at the runners coming toward her. I carried my cameral for one loop and couldn’t wait to stash it in my drop bag.

Javelina Jundred is a 15.5 mile loop that is run alternating directions, 6 times with an additional 9 mile loop at the end for a total of 101.8 miles. The start/finish is called Javelina Junction where the huge start/finish/aid/camping/results/drop bags are placed. Coyote and Jackass Junction are the two smaller aid stations placed at 5 mile intervals. The course is a constant climb or downhill. You pretty much run up the mountain for 7 miles, run rolling hills for a mile and run down the mountain for 7 miles. There isn’t any flat trail at all. The trail is made up of sandy soils, some compacted, some loose and beachy with lots of rocks in some sections. There aren’t any roots. There isn’t any shade, it is totally exposed with a backdrop of mountains and cactus. It’s really quite pretty and so different to what I am accustomed to.

I went into the race with a few goals. One, as always, to pull out a finish, and two, to really race it, beat last year’s time of 23:15 or so. I’d try. The first loop went very well. I was feeling good, running well and I didn’t feel too warm. I went out faster than I did last year, but was still running within myself. I didn’t feel like I was overdoing it. I was keeping track of my splits and had a pace chart with me. I was sure to drink a full 24 oz of water between each aid station and while at the aid station I would gulp down another 10 oz of ice cold water. It felt refreshing and wonderful.

Nutrition: In July I began to eat an all vegan diet and by August I was eating mostly raw vegan. For Leanhorse 100 I added vegan items (oatmeal, cooked sweet potato) and had difficulty finding good food. Because I had to leave my cooler of food behind, as there wasn’t room for it in Tom and Nancy’s vehicle, I was dependant upon area supermarkets and restaurants which were not vegan/raw friendly. I wasn’t going to let that happen again. Live and learn, right? This time I made room for my Vitamix and researched markets in Scottsdale. I knew that I could find fresh produce. I bought a cheap cooler/ice packs at a Scottsdale Target so was able to mix and store my smoothies/juices before the race. I had pre-race items, race and post race items. Spinach, dates, bananas, nuts, mango, ginger root, lemon, etc. I was all set nutritionally. I decided not to use gels but rely on my raw foods instead. This would be the first time as for Leanhorse I used gels in addition to bananas and raisins. A bit scary but I wanted to test this out.

The aid stations had watermelon, bananas and oranges which I was able to use at Coyote and Jackass. I had my cooler at Javelina Headquarters, drinking smoothies every lap. They didn’t upset my stomach and gave me plenty of energy. I was a bit nervous as I hadn’t put this nutrition into practice at another 100 mile race; only training runs.

As I came into Lap 1 I was on 21 hour pace; a little fast but I felt fine. Lap 2 and 3 and I was still on pace, feeling fine. My feet didn’t hurt, I wasn’t too warm, there was plenty of ice on course. I was impressed with all that was offered as aid. I saw S Caps, crystallized ginger, ginger chews and capsules, tums, pepcid; all that one might need.

During Lap 3 the moonrise took place. It was so awesome! As the moon began to rise the coyotes began to howl. I just stood still, stunned. I heard them much more loudly this year than last. They were only a few feet away. I saw a pack of 12 and stopped dead in my tracks. I looked back and saw two men way in back of me. I waited for them. As they approached I told them I was a chicken and that I would follow them. We talked a bit and then they just trotted on down the hill and the coyotes scattered. I followed on their heels. The howling took place all night long!

At 45 miles I was starting to feel hungry. I came into JH and ate a ton of watermelon. It was so good; cold and wet. I couldn’t believe I was already at 45 miles. It didn’t seem that I had been running for so long. I was almost half way to the finish! I slurped back a spinach/banana smoothie and headed back out on the trail.

The next loop wasn’t so great. I began to feel tired and my skin was hot and chapped. I cold feel sunburn on my neck and my lips were raw. I began to talk negatively to myself and forgot that I should be celebrating the fact that I was out in beautiful Arizona, running the Javelina Jundred. Funny how things can change so quickly!

As I came into mile 60 I grabbed my iPod, hoping that the diversion would get me out of my funk. I was now on pace for 22 hours. Fine by me! I looked around to see if I could find another runner that I could hook up with but there was nobody going back out. Lots of runners dropped out at 60 miles. There were tons of them dropping. It was depressing. I had to get out of there. I walked over to my drop bag and took my headlamp and another smoothie. Before I knew it I was back out on the trails thinking about mile 75.

My music helped me, before I knew it I was having positive thoughts and ready to run hard again. I began to pass quite a few people and with each person I passed I felt a bit more motivation to go and catch the next one. It was something to engage my mind for a while. As I approached two guys running side by side they laughed at one another and told me that I was kicking their asses. I had to pass them and make sure I beat them to the finish!

I thought I could feel a vibration under my feet, upon the ground. I turned off my iPod and heard and felt this thundering noise. I just stood there, wondering what in the world was coming toward me. Pretty soon a group of 15 horses came into view! I had seen droppings from them all day long but had never had a view of them until now. They were on the trail, blocking my path. Again, I just stood there, waiting for someone else to scare them off the trail or waiting for them to leave. I wasn’t sure what to do so I began to talk with them, hoping they would soon leave. I looked back and nobody was in sight. I began to walk slowly toward them, talking to them in a sing-song voice like I do to Topaz. The just stood there looking at me, twitching their ears back and forth. I could tell they weren’t going to charge me or anything. I made sure that my light wasn’t in their eyes and slowly walked through the herd. They just twitched their ears back and forth and didn’t even pay any attention to me. I was being foolish for feeling fear.

For some reason the landscape made me feel very spiritual. I think it was the landscape that made me feel this way. I don’t know if it was the vegetation that was minimal, the mountains, the sun, the cactus, the full bright moon in the sky; or if it was the silence of the course, rarely was I running with anyone, I guess I don’t know what it was for sure, or what it was for sure. But many times I felt in awe of my surroundings and so thankful that I was able to be there, thanking whoever it was for creating such a lovely place and putting me there to enjoy it. I felt peaceful and full of joy. It was a wonderful feeling.

Mile 75 and I was tired, like sleepy tired. I normally consume Hammergel Espresso gels during 100s, and one every 30 minutes for the first 12 hours, but since I was running this one raw I was relying on whole foods only. My eyelids had become heavy and I felt like I could take a nap! There wasn’t any place to lay upon the trail as the cactus grew right to the trail-I would have to lay in pickers. No thanks. At mile 75 I decided I had to lay down for a bit. I knew that I would no longer be on pace for a PR but didn’t want to fall asleep on the trail either or while I was running. I filled up my bottle, grabbed a smoothie, a change of clothes and headed for my car. My lovely red down blanket was in my car. I set the timer on my iPhone and covered myself up. I fell asleep instantly. Before I knew it my timer was sounding and it was time to get a move on.

I wasn’t stiff at all from my rest, I felt refreshed and ready to move on out and finish up the last long lap. Oh thank god, I was ready to be done! I felt like I had new life in my legs as I ran my last long loop. I again was able to pass many people on the trail but I noticed that there were even less runners than during my last lap. So many runners go out too fast early, then burn up in the heat and have to drop. I’m just amazed at the drop rate. There was only a 40% finishing rate. Crazy.

As I came into mile 90 I was so excited. Oh, Jamil, place that necklace around my neck and let me get this party started! Jamil clasped the glow in the dark necklace upon me signifying I was on the last loop, the short loop, only 9 miles left! Amen.

I ran out of JH, passing a runner upon the trail. He began to talk in a quiet voice “Your running strong, I’m not. Your going to beat me. Oh man. Yup, your going to beat me” I just smiled and said I’d see him at the finish. I didn’t really see anyone else going out on this last loop, I saw many that were coming in to get their necklace.

As I was climbing up to Coyote I came upon Stephanie from AZ. I had seen her upon the course earlier and learned that she read my race report from last year and that this was her first 100. She asked how was it that I was passing her? I told her I had wheels upon my shoes! It was all that I could think of for a response. Congratulations, Stephanie on your first 100 mile finish! Way to go!!

I arrived Coyote for the final time, filling up my bottle with water and then headed down Tonto Tank trail for the finish. Tonto is an all downhill, sandy trail that I was able to bomb down last year. My sides were now killing me and I was lucky I could jog down the trail. Down down down I ran, the sun rising in the sky. I had hoped to finish before the sun rise but alas, I didn’t make it. I was fine with this. I ran hard, raced well and gave it what I could on this day.

My finish time was 24:38; 3rd in my age group, 7th girl of 41. What a blast! Thank you to all of the volunteers and of course Jamil, for making this race a fantastic one.

I don’t have any pain, stiffness or swelling. I was able to take Topaz for a little run this morning; I can’t believe how minimal recovery has become. I think this is due in large part to the nutrition I am currently eating. My body loves live plants!

Congratulations to all of the runners at Javelina Jundred. I feel honored to have shared the race with you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Obesity in Sherburne County

A few weeks ago I received an email from the Sherburne County Public Health Department requesting my participation in a focus group regarding physical activity, nutrition and obesity in Sherburne County.

I learned that Sherburne County Public Health recently received a $604,000 Statewide Health Improvement Program grant to be used to implement community wellness strategies in regards to physical activity and nutrition.

The email stated that there would be four focus groups within the County. Each of the groups would consist of 10-12 people. Each group was to meet for 90 minutes.

Of course I accepted!

My focus group met last night. There were three other participants who had been contacted as I had been and there was a County Heath employee who was transcribing the meeting. Our forum moderator was a woman retired from the Minnesota Health Department who is now a consultant. Sherburne County contracted her to moderate these meetings. She did a great job leading our meeting and keeping us on task.

Our whole meeting related to obesity in Sherburne County. We were asked questions relating to our workplace, our neighborhoods, and our community. We were asked the percentage of those obese in our neighborhoods, our workplace our community. We were asked about our surroundings and access to activities. Health clubs, biking trails, gyms, lakes, etc. We were asked about healthy food options-how accessible are they? We were asked if coworkers size/diet/health affected their or our work. We spoke of our family habits, our meals, how income affects diet. Most of the time our discussion turned back to income and education. We discussed obesity topics for a full 90 minutes.

I was asked to think about changes that could change a community. I offered using Sherburne County employers as a drop off for CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture). If the workforce didn’t have to drive to pick up their CSA portion (as I drive to Maple Grove and don’t mind it a bit) more people might participate. I also stated that if our local grocery store, Cobornes, would offer a $5 free fruit/vegetable for every $50 spent it might get some residents to actually try fruits and vegetables.

I kept thinking about the changes that have taken place relating to tobacco use. Who would have thought that you wouldn’t be able to smoke in bars/restaurants just a few years ago? We’ve come a long way.

At the end of the meeting I was asked if I would continue to meet and provide input for the Health Department. Of course I again accepted.

After all of the focus group information is compiled the report will go to the Statewide Health Improvement Program Leadership Team and it is their responsibility to implement strategies specific to Sherburne County Health and Wellness.

SHIP will implement four areas of change: School, Health Care, Worksites and Community; mainly through policy change.

What are some ways that you can think of to change a community towards wellness? Small steps lead to big changes. I’m very excited to be a part of this group.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wild Duluth 50K

Andy and Kim Holak have jumped into the Race Directing business with a fabulous race. If you don't know Andy and Kim I'll make a brief introduction. Andy and Kim live in Duluth and are very experienced, very talented ultra runners. They both nearly always win their races including the Superior races, Ice Age races as well as winning in other portions of the US. Kim has finished Hardrock twice.

The first time I ran Voyager and was past the cut off I was embarrassed as I met Andy for the first time, upon the trail. He was first coming back and I was last going out. He cheered for me and I turned red. After the race I told him how embarrassed I felt still being out upon the course and there he was, heading home for the finish. He set me straight. He was super supportive and told me that the ultra marathon sets an equal playing field. It doesn't matter where we place, we are all out there running and that he looks at the back of the pack runners with amazement. We are out there for nearly double the hours and don't stop. We persevere to the finish. He told me he was proud of me. I couldn't believe it at the time. I do now.

The race began at Chambers Park in Duluth. I haven't run this portion of the Superior Hiking Trail in the past. This is a section that was finished the last year or two. I had run from the third aid station on, so I was very excited to see this new portion of the trail.

I went into the race as I did Twin Cities Marathon a few weeks ago: tired and using it as a training run. This would again cap off a 100 mile week in preparation for Javelina. I was able to recover from TCM easy enough. I only hoped the outcome would be the same here. I ran a 50K at Afton on Friday with Topaz and here I was again, going to try back to back 50Ks. Topaz and I took it very easy Friday, taking 8 hours to get in the complete course. I didn't feel sore..just tired.

Apparently the thought of a training run caused me to go into the race unprepared. As I couldn't find Bay Front Park in the dark I ended up at a Starbucks on Superior St. looking for directions. A customer gave me great directions, I was at the Park but couldn't find access to the bus that I could see parked ahead. Crazy. I looped around over and over and eventually jumped a curb and made it to the lot with a minute to spare. As I was juggling through my bag, applying lube, looking for gloves, grabbing gels..I could have used 6 hands, Joann arrived at my window. I tried to talk and get ready at the same time and it wasn't working. Where's my bottle? How can I be so unprepared? Um, because you had the training run syndrome pounding through your head. Oh. Yeah.

Eventually I found one of my four gloves, a hat and some gels and such. I followed Jo to her van to see her pups. She has an old pup that isn't doing so well and a brand new puppy that was with her as well as her hubby. We ran to the bus and Andy asked if I had collected my bag. No. We ran back to Andy's car, collected my bag and number, Andy placed my bag into my car and back to the bus. Whew! Thanks Andy. All set. It was really nice to have a bus to take us to the start so that our vehicles would be at the finish. Ah, the little niceties.

On the bus I saw near Jo and Rick. Rick gave us a tour of the city on the way to the start. He pointed out the pedestrian bridge going over 35 and said we would run upon it into the finish. Cool. He pointed out West Duluth, where he grew up, the aid stations along the way, some of the Voyager course and eventually we were at the start of the race.

Brr. It was 33 degrees, clear. I had on wind pants that are sizes too big, long sleeved top, vest. Fleece hat, one glove..good to hold my bottle with.. I couldn't find any of the other three which I knew I packed and were in the car.., iPod, gels. I didn't have on a watch. I didn't know how far apart the aid stations were, I didn't know how many there were...I guess I was a bit too lacadasial about it all. Training run was all I was thinking.

As we lined up my other hand was cold. I must have mentioned it to Shelly because before we began, Mike came up to me and offered a glove! How sweet. I graciously accepted it, thanks Mike!

As we lined up at the in the way back..Andy gave a course description. He was very descriptive of the course, and before I knew it he was giving a blow by blow of each section. I couldn't remember all of what he was saying. I could hear the love of the trail and the excitement of sharing the race with us in his voice. It was fun to listen to him but I couldn't retain it all.

Andy was going to begin the race by clanking two rocks together but in practice they cracked..or was that a he said GO!

I saw Wynn blazing ahead of us as we circled the lot before hitting the deer trail. I asked Maria : who is that in the Afton shirt running with Wynn? I couldn't think of who would be running with Wynn that quickly except Andy..who was directing. Well, here it WAS Andy, he was running with Wynn to get him around the lot and direct to the trail.

In a few minutes we were at the deer trail. It went straight up. STRAIGHT. UP. People in front of me were running up this path. I fell in along with them and nearly coughed up a lung. I couldn't breath. The hill went up up up. Maria stated that it looked like an Afton Fat Ass trail. I agreed. But why are we running and more importantly why am I running? Stop this insanity. I had this conversation with myself. Why are you running this hill? Because Maria and everyone else is. Does it matter? Can you breathe? No. I'm gasping and sweating and coughing and I can't breath. STOP IT! Ok. I began to walk. And gasp. And worry about the cold that I still have. Maybe this was too much. Oh my god, it's the first freaking mile. Scary. I walked and sweat and coughed and gagged. I removed myself from the deer trail and walked to catch my breath. Holy crap. Jo and Rick came up behind me. I was trying to catch my breath.

At the top of the hill I rested and took my time going along the ridge which eventually intersected with Mission Creek Trail. I was able to take normal breaths as I was ridiculing myself for running up the damn hill. Peer pressure, how stupid to succumb too.

By the time I was at the first aid station I had removed my (borrowed) gloves, hat and my vest was off of my arms and bunched at my waist. My pants pockets both had broken zippers..yeah, they are the first pair of running pants I ever purchased, so I had all of my gels and stuff in my vest pockets. I felt like a bag lady. I had stuff all over the place. In my haste to leave my car I forgot to unattach my keys to the ring so was carrying the whole damn thing with me! Ring, remote starter, keys, fobs to work and the gym. Nice. It was warming up quickly. I should have worn shorts. I had to take off my top and tie it around my waist adding to the bag lady effect. Enough of my unprepared- ness.

The trail was absolutely gorgeous! As I was running along it reminded me so often of the sections further north that I be surprised when I realized I was in the City of Duluth! The whole 50K was within the Duluth city limits! Totally amazing.

Outcrops of rock near aid station 2 were so much like the section of Bean/Bear Lake further north. We climbed forever and a day, then were rewarded with spectacular views of Duluth and Lake Superior. Just amazing. We seemed to climb for a very long time.

There were awesome sections of pine forest. Soft needles to run upon, the smell of pine profuse in the air. Such a treat. I was so happy. So happy to be running within myself, so happy to be enjoying the sun, the trail, the peace and quiet. This trail run was everything I had hoped it would be: a wonderful day on a fabulous foot path.

I kept thinking about how much I love running in the woods. How I enjoy the smells, the feel of the different terrain under my feet. Climbing the rock, taking in all of the views, running upon the soft needles of pine, enjoying the color of the leaves changing.

I kept realizing the stark differences between Twin Cities Marathon and Wild Duluth 50K! TCM was an assault of the senses. The noise, the people, the City. Wild Duluth was sensuous to the senses: the silence, the woods, the lake, soft footfalls. I enjoy trail running so much more than road running. To think I didn't know trail running existed..

At aid station 2 Helen and Val were manning the station. It was fun to see both gals helping us out. I grabbed a few gels, filled my bottle and was on my way. I asked Shelly how far along we were and she estimated 10 miles. What a great way to spend the first few hours of the race.

The next section was every bit as beautiful and I even recognized a few sections from the Voyager 50 mile race. The highlight was climbing Ely’s Peak. I climbed and climbed upon rocks just like the Carlton Peaks section. Wow. Rocky outcrops through an oak and maple forest and then up to Skyline Parkway.

Shelly and I were running along together and both commented that it seemed this whole section was a climb. It was amazing! So beautiful.

Pretty soon we came into aid station 3 where Zac greeted us with his camera! Bonnie and Jim were here too, helping us with food/fluids. I stuck to water during the run with gels. At one point my stomach was grumbling like it was hungry so I grabbed a corner of peanut butter and jelly here. About 15 minutes later I had a raging headache. It may have been due to the jelly/sugar. I’m not sure. I don’t carry Advil along any more so I just sucked it up.

As I left the aid station Bonnie told me to follow the road for a while and take a right into the woods, hitting the trail. I ran along along along, looking for the flags. I spotted them on the left, continued on.. here I saw someone running toward me. At first I thought she must be a 100K runner, but then saw realized it was Dawn. Oh oh. She told me that she had missed the turn as had I. I turned around and followed Dawn, eventually seeing the flags marking the right turn in all of their glory. I don’t know how I missed it, but I sure did. Even after being told by Bonnie that it would be there and there they are, plainly marked. Oh well. I turned into the woods, thankful that I didn’t have a watch on and that I was still happy, enjoy the day.

Pretty soon it was time for aid station 4, the Voyageur 50 Mile turnaround at the zoo. Again, I managed to miss a marker that was plainly marked. I ended up following a river for a long while until a man with a very nice border collie that I spent way too much petting, talking and being kissed by (the dog, not the man), told me I should get going and pointed me in the correct direction.

One of my pet peeves is runners complaining about course markings. Stating that the course is poorly marked, that the course wasn’t marked, etc. I know darned well the course was marked well and that I missed the turns that I did. It was not the marker’s fault or the RD’ fault. It was my fault. Always is. I never complain about markings and wasn’t going to say anything about missing the course. I ran into the aid station and Shelly stated “you must have missed the turn into the woods, I noticed you weren’t in front of my anymore” busted! Yeah, I confirmed that I missed the turn and yet another. Oh well.

I filled my water bottle and told that I was already at mile 19. Unreal! I was having so much fun I couldn’t believe that 20 miles were about in the bag. I didn’t want this to be over yet!

I ran on, toward the next aid station, enjoying the trail. I ran past the Spirit Mountain Ski Hills, under a few bridges, along 35N. It was a reminder that I was in Duluth and not out miles deep in the forest as I kept on thinking that I was.

Pretty soon I saw Dawn up ahead and my competitive side wanted to take over. Before I knew it I was running faster, thinking about catching her. No. You aren’t racing. Slow and easy. No hard recovery for Javelina. Enjoy. Enjoy. OK. I ran on, through the forest when an outcropping of rock appeared. I climbed the rock and peered over the side-there was the City of Duluth, the big green football field, Lake Superior. Fabulous views.

At the next aid station someone stated “You finally caught me, it only took you 22 miles, Julie, see you at the finish” I don’t know who it was but I don’t recall seeing him at the finish. There are so many people that I don’t recognize at races. I often wonder if the ‘know’ me from my blog or if they know me from real life. I ran with a man from WI, who knew me via my blog and I don’t even know his name! He knows all about me, though. That is the disadvantage of introducing oneself via a blog.

The next section was pretty cool. Entering more city running, the Enger park which had this super huge bell ringer thing. Andy later told me I should have rung it. It was a beautiful park. With a climb of over 1300 feet elevation the views were fantastic.

Running into the final aid station I saw Jim and his son, Jeff. It was so great to see so many familiar faces at the aid stations. Jim filled my bottle and told me I only had a 5K to the finish! I couldn’t believe it. Too short! I wanted more. Really, I was going slow enough that I wasn’t taxing myself at all. I was truly enjoying a great day in the woods. Topaz would have loved it. There were plenty of rivers for him to lay in,I’ll be taking him to run those trails.

As I ran the final segment I couldn’t help but wonder what my time would be. I kept thinking it must be near 8 hours, but then with Shelly not to far in back, I didn’t think she would run that slowly. I took Superior 50K easy in May and finished in 630. I was running about the same pace here but this course seemed a little more difficult. Superior 50K has a few long climbs that you do 2x, but this trail is continuous shorter steep ascents and descents. This course reminded me much of Glacial Trail 50K, too.

The final section was so much fun, mostly running downhill - finally - as I had to finish near the lake at Bay front Festival Park - passing through city neighborhoods, birch woods, rock boulders and downhill with more rock outcroppings and a whole mess of jack pines; the fragrance was wonderful, even with a stuffed head cold.

Down down down rock steps with amazing views of the harbor. Before I know it there is the pedestrian overpass going over 1 35. What a trip! Over the traffic, waving to the drivers underneath me, laughing all the way. Down the concrete ramp and under I 35 now. Cool. Running along the street turning into Bay front Festival Park. What a great day, a fantastic trail and an awesome run. I felt fabulous. As I ran into the finish I saw the clock blink to 6:59.

A beautiful brown Border Collie greeted me at the finish. He wanted to go for a run. Lots of kisses and pets, I had to pull myself away from him.

This race was such a treat. Andy and Kim did a great job planning the start/finish, the aid stations, everything. It was perfect.

The park had a huge warm center where I was able to change, our hosts had various chili's and drink to offer. I lounged around a bit, taking in all of the conversation until it was time to head on home.

Thanks Andy and Kim for putting on a great race! I can’t wait to run upon those trails again!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Metallica! Via iPhone!


Oh yes, another fabulous concert last night. I love Metallica. True 'old school' heavy metal. Correctly named thrash metal. I suppose of the metals there is thrash, death and black. Metallica is Thrash.

Last winter they announced they would be hitting the Target Center in Minneapolis as part of their World Magnetic Tour. I asked Tyler if he'd go with me and he said yes without hesitation. He wanted to see Metallica too. He's choice of music has been influenced by his mother..

At the time Metallica hadn't announced who would be opening with them. We sure were excited when we heard later that it would be Lamb of God. We've seen LOG three different times now, twice as openers and once as a headliner. Playing with Metallica will make them much more out in the public ear. LOG is more of a death metal band. Love it.

I ordered tickets right away, they ended selling out the first day tickets went on sale. I was able to get tickets on the floor. Holy shit.

The first time that I saw Metallica was with Steve in 1988! Wow, I was a different person then. 24 years old, no children, heavy drinker, drugs..yuck. I guess about the only things I haven't changed in the past years is my choice of music and my husband! In 1988 Metallica was a part of the Monster or Rock Tour. They played all day long with Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken and Kingdom Come. I don't recall a whole lot as I was chemically altered, but I do remember the great loud music and the hot sunny July day. I couldn't have imagined at the time that I would be back in 21 years to listen to Metallic 1) sober and 2) with my 17 year old son! Incredible.

The second time I saw Metallica wasn't so hot. They played in the Dome .. 2003 I believe and the sound was horrible. The Metrodome makes the music sound 'tinny' somehow. It was a big let down. St. Anger was a horrible album (in my opinion).

Last night was amazing. The first band (I don't even recall their name) was on for about 30 minutes, then Lamb of God took over. Most of the 20000 rockers were there for Metallica and didn't get into LOG at all. The few on the floor with us that were into LOG enjoyed them immensely. They put on a great show. We were so close to the stage, right on the bar, first row. Incredible.

LOG is a death metal band. By far most popular type of 'extreme metals' in the US. Death metal is characterized by fast tempos, distorted guitars, guttural vocals, morbid lyrics, and complex song structures with musical nuisances hidden under the noise.

I was able to take iPhone photos. I never take concert photos! I'm always too far away, even a few rows is too far away.

When Metallica came onto stage it was mayhem. The crowd was frantic, ready to thrash. As they stepped onto stage padomonion broke. I was pushed and shoved farther forward until I was leaning over the bar separating me from the stage. I couldn't believe it. Tyler is strong, 6'3", lean, 185 pounds. I asked if I could hold onto his waist so as not to be thrown over. He said it was fine. I held on for dear life.

The stage was in a massive round shape, it had coffin shaped 'things' above holding all of the lighting. Huge flames shot out of the stage, I thought I was going to be scorched. Hot indeed.

That Was Just Your Life, The End of the Line, Ride the Lightning and Holier than Thou, from their new album, Death Magnetic opened the show. This album is so much better than the last. It's what we expect from Metallica. In your face heavy metal thrashing goodness. They played on and on and on. You know how long their songs are..the concert was amazingly long. Cyanide and All Nightmare Long had us in a frothing frenzy. Hot, sweaty, thrashing the way we know how. I tried not to think of all of the H1N1 floating through the crowd. Santitarium and everyone knew the words, the crowd sang along word for word for the rest of the concert. When Nothing Else Matters and Sad But True were played the crowd became still and actually crooned along with the James. It was amazing. Oh man, then Master of Puppets. Pure craziness, and to be right up there, front and center, I couldn't get enough. The Encore? Die Die Die my Darling, Motorbreath and then Kirk yelled out that we only had to sing out three words, then I knew the song: Seek and Destroy! We followed his directions and sang out the lyrics, just as we had been all night long.

After the concert they asked for the house lights. It was bright as day. We squinted up at stage, they pointed us out, handed Tyler a handful of guitar picks and a drumstick. WTF? It was close, intimate all of a sudden. They chatted with us, let a ton of huge Metallica black balloons fall upon us. They continued chatting, telling us the show was finished, thanking us for coming out to support us. It was crazy. They asked for a show of hands from those who this was there first Metallica concert. They kind of laughed, and thanked them profusely for showing. I looked at the guy next to me and said 'geeze, this is my third, I guess I'm part of the older crowd'. He didn't think so, apparently. We all chatted amongst ourselves after being thrashed for over 5 was crazy. I've never had a concert experience such as this. Totally amazing.

Tyler and I both enjoyed it, fully. I wasn't too exhausted when my alarm woke me for the AM run three hours after I retired. I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight-if my ears quit ringing!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Frosty Frolic

Frosty Fun Run

This morning when I looked at the digital thermometer I saw the coldest temperature of the season thus far. 17F. Brrr. I dug through my winter clothes finding a pair of light tights, long sleeved top, gloves and turtle fur. I pulled out my winter running jacket and heavy smart wool socks. No gortex or booties yet!

As I pulled out of the garage I was suprised to see an inch of fluff on the ground. Looked like Topaz and would be making tracks upon the trail for the first time.

The sun began to rise within the hour; I was able to see all of the frost covered spiderwebs and all of the animal tracks upon the snow. Deer, wolf, fox and rabbit. The sun rise gave the snow a purple pink cast. Beautiful.

Topaz and I froliked upon the soft covered trail for 10 miles, never seeing a soul, enjoying the splendid silence of the beautiful woods.

I've enjoyed running reduced mileage this week. I've felt a cold coming on all week long and it has taken a bit of energy away from me. Each weekday morning this week Topaz and I ran 3 miles and then another 5 after work. I lifted legs and biceps each once, 1 hour of stair stepping. With 10 this morning and 10 tomorrow I'll have a total of 60 this week. Next week I'll increase mileage again, the long run will be at the Duluth Wild Races 50K/100K. I'm running the 50K. I figure that will be a good last long run before Javelina 100 two weeks later.

I wonder how much snow the guys are out hunting in today, up north? Probably more than fell here.

Tomorrow I'll cap off the weekend with a meal at my new favorite eatery, Ecopolitan.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dome Sweet Home

The Marathon begins at the Metrodome; home of the Minnesota Twins AND the Minnesota Vikings. Yesterday the Twins played, today they will change the grounds to the Vikings, tomorrow back to the Twins. The last Twins game in the Dome? Maybe not..

Twin Cities Marathon 2009

On Saturday evening I wasn't so sure that I was going to be lining up at the start for this year's version of the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon.

Saturday morning, as planned, I headed to Powder Ridge to run the ski hills. All went well physically but mentally I felt a bit crabby. I'm not sure why. It may have had to do with the fact that at the end of the day on Saturday I would already have 81 miles in for the week. I suppose I was tired.

Later in the morning a working dog club came out to Powder Ridge, hiking the trails around the perimeter of the course. I saw Border Collies (Yay), Australian Shepherds Bernese Mountain Dogs and Great Pyrenes Mountain Dog, the dog that was a close second when purchasing Topaz. I visited with the dogs and their owners for quite some time. The dogs were much more interesting than the owners..

I packed up my things at PR and headed for home. With nobody home I decided to take Topaz out for a quick 5 miles. He smelled the pups on me and made me feel even more guilty for not yet taking him running. Off we went, in the rain, to the trail.

Running along I noticed many downed trees over the trail. We've had a few really windy days and the DNR hasn't yet cleaned up all of the debris. Topaz was catupulting himself over the trees and I eventually did the same. I leaped over and then landed in a hole. I twisted my ankle, landing on the outer side of my foot. You know that feeling..that sharp stab of pain from the ankle that goes directly to the head and all you can see is blackness..yeah, that one. I must have let out a shriek because before I knew it my eyes were open and Topaz was barreling toward me as fast as he could. I was standing, on one foot, when his paws were up on my thighs and I was down upon my back..with Topaz on top of me licking my face for all he was worth. I just laid there and laughed! It was hilarious. I peeled Topaz from me, picked myself up and walked off the pain for about 25 feet. The pain went away and I finished running, never thinking about it again during the day.

My foot never hurt again until about 5 PM. All of a sudden my foot became hot, swollen and painful. Painful just sitting there, with no weight upon it. I couldn't believe it and it took me a while to realize it hurt from the earlier fall upon the trail. I tried to stand up and could not put any weight on the foot at all. I had to drive home, stopping to fill up with gas. Oh my gosh, I could not put any weight on it at all while pumping gas. It hurt just to drive. Crazy.

I arrived home and had to drag the foot behind me into the house. I searched on my iPhone and much to my horror thought it may be a stress fracture of the fifth metatursal. Holy crap. The more I read about it the more I thought this could be the case.

Now, I have a very high tolerance for pain and I don't jump to injury conclusions. Actually I would probably deny it before admitting to an injury but this had me worried. I read that I should RICE, so did so, and hobbled off to bed, setting my alarm for the race but really thinking that I would not be running since I could not put an ounce of weight upon my foot.

The alarm went off in the morning and I moved my ankle around while still under the covers. pain. I rubbed the fifth metatursal upon the pain. I rolled out of bed and gingerly placed my foot upon the floor, placing weight on it. NO PAIN. WHF? How can that be? I walked into my pain. Wow. I'm going to run Twin Cities Marathon after all. I was talking aloud to myself "well, it doesn't hurt, so I should try it. If it hurts during the race, I'll's only a training run pressure. Yeah but you read that stress fracture pain comes and goes. Maybe it is in go mode now but will be back. Yeah but what do I do..sit here and not run the marathon because the pain might come back. No. I'll run and see what happens.

So I did. Nothing happened!

I ran the full 26.2 miles and felt absolutely no pain in my foot whatsoever. I thought I'd feel pain in the evening, as I did on Saturday but pain at all. How odd is that?

As planned I ran the marathon as a long supported training run. With a strenuous week of high mileage and a hill day prior I just wanted to get in the mileage. It was great being able to run without a pack or hand held.

I forgot to send in my Boston Qualifier time result so that I could start in Wave 1. Small details. I lined up in Wave 2. Man, the crowds. I forget each year how crowed the marathons are. After running trail all year long it is certainly an eye opener!

It was a cool morning, about 45F with a high of 50F forecast. A skirt and long sleeved shirt was fine. My hands were cold the whole race, however. They never did warm up. Maybe because I was holding a few gels.

The course is so beautiful. Lot of hills, lakes, river, parkways and many many spectators. I am just amazed at all of the spectators that come out each year!

At mile 2 I found I was running with the 345 pace team, I knew I wasn't rested enough to run a 345 so after a while I slowed down. It was difficult, mentally, as I though about last year hanging with them and running a PR and BQ. I stayed with my plan.

The parkway around Isles, Calhoun and near Harriet were so crowded with runners and spectators that it was difficult to get through. The views were wonderful, I took it all in and just enjoyed myself. I was so thankful to be running the race after really thinking that I wouldn't be able to with my mysterious foot pain.

At around mile 13 I looked at the clock and saw I was at 201. That was just right, it was a pace I knew I could keep up for the remainder of the race; a nice long, supported run.

At mile 20 the 415 pace crew came upon me. I ran just in back of them the remainder of the race, finishing in 414. What a great day, I am so thankful that I was able to run it pain free! Thankfully the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness from the hill workout didn't hit me until this morning or I would have really struggled during the race. Today I have black compression socks on under my dress and high boots. They feel SO much better!

I was able to see John T two times upon the course, the first time he was eating his breakfast! What were you eating, there, John? I saw Bonnie and Maynard on the Franklin Avenue Bridge and Debbie at the finish line.

I've posted race reports for TCM here 5 different times, I really don't have too much to add! This year the Twins were playing at 110 so it was a mad dash from the finish to the bus so that I could it back to the Dome. I quickly changed out of my wet shirt into my finishers shirt on the bus and was at the Dome by 1220. Plenty of time!

Twins win! Amazing. Another game on Tuesday..let there be more!

Congratulations to all that ran the Twin Cities Marathon yesterday, way to go! My spell check isn't working again. I apologize.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October = Racing

It is hard for me to believe that it is already October first tomorrow, but by the temperature this morning it is quite apparent. Today was the first fleece hat run day for me. Topaz and I left our driveway at 430 AM this morning to a beautiful sparkling sky full of stars. Before I turned on my headlamp I gazed at all of the different formations that I could recall. What an awesome morning.

It was brisk! The digital thermometer I have in my kitchen showed my a cold 33F. I switched out my inov8 hat for my fleece and I was glad that I did. Long sleeves and pants for the first time as well.

October brings a full race calendar for me. This Sunday is Twin Cities Marathon. I am looking forward to it very much. It is the only marathon I usually enter each year, other than the Northwoods Snowshoe Marathon in January. I like to support the local marathon by entering it each year. I don't really have a time goal. I've changed my thoughts since the last time I posted. I have been having such great track workouts that I thought I should go for a 330 or 335 but TCM really isn't a goal race for me, it is more of a support the local running community race and a fun run. I'm going to run hills on Saturday, as Javelina Jundred is only a few weeks out. I can use some more hill training. I imagine I'll have tired legs on Sunday due to the hills, which will be good training for the 100 mile race on the 31st!

October 17 brings the Wild Duluth 50K and 100K. This race is on the Superior Hiking Trail, a section that runs through Duluth. I haven't run this part in its entirety so I am really looking forward to the race. Because the race begins/ends in Duluth I don't need to spend a night, take vacation time or anything else. A nice drive up north in the early morning, a nice run and a drive back home before evening. No problem. No time goal for this either..just a nice long run in preparation for Javelina.

October 31 brings Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Halloween Party! I love this race. Held in beautiful Scottsdale Arizona, I can't wait to go back. 80 degrees, sun, fabulous! At this point I'm going to try PRing at 100 mile distance. I may change my mind, but I'm thinking a 22:35 would do nicely.

I'll be coming home November 1...then I suppose winter begins. I may plan a trip to TX in February for Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile Trail Run. I think I may need something to look forward to in the dead of the winter.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Green Burrito

Kale Salad, Sweet Beet, Hummus Plate

The Ecopolitan

On Saturday Bonnie, Marie and I met at The Ecopolitan, located on Lyndale Avenue South in Minneapolis. I found The Ecopolitan by doing a search of raw restaurants in the area. The Ecopolitan is the only restaurant that the search engine located. I was anxiously awaiting Saturday so that I could finally check it out. In printing the menu I couldn’t believe that every item on the menu was something that I would want to try-this has never happened to me before.

The Ecopolitan is a restaurant, juice bar, wine bar and eco-shop. It is a non-profit organization and is a component of the eco-health network which promotes eco-raw living.

The restaurant offers healthy and sustainable dining by creating 100% uncooked, plant-based meals with 100% organically grown ingredients and no additives, GMOs or toxic processing. The menu is completely vegan, contains no refined sugars or flours, and is free of most common allergens-no wheat, corn, soy, dairy, eggs or peanuts. The fruits and vegetables are locally grown when available; they arrive fresh and are cleansed with purified water and food grade hydrogen peroxide.

I parked a few blocks up Lyndale and walked toward the restaurant, spotting Bonnie and Marie on the front step. The restaurant is in a converted older home. Thankfully there are no older upholstered pieces of furniture covered with dust as that for some reason sends me away ( think Hot Springs South Dakota bas restaurant) as does a restaurant without a lawn. That’s right. Restaurants with concrete pads only, without grass are a no no for me. OCD? Probably.

The Ecopolitan seating area is the size of a living room; hard wood floors, wooden chairs, either a wooden or glass disk table. There are a few tables out on the front porch for patio seating. In back of the seating area is a very small juice bar with a few food items for sale as well as a closet area that has juicers, blenders, raw/vegan cookbooks and such for sale.

We sat down and our waitress was with us immediately. We looked at the menus and looked at the menus, so much to choose from! Because I had closely inspected the menu earlier online I knew that I wanted to try the Purple Kale Salad with the Sweet Beet juice. Kale is my new favorite food and I wanted to see how they prepared their tahini garlic dressing. I’m happy to say I have replicated it quite successfully! Bonnie decided on the same with the Hummus Plate and Marie decided on the Green Burrito with additional Flax Crackers.

Oh My God. Delicious. Fabulous. Awesome.

The Purple Kale Salad: kale, red cabbage, tomato, kiwi, basil, sprouted quinoa, raisins and the tahini-garlic dressing. As good as I make at home, which is saying a lot. Not that I am bragging about my culinary skills but so often I go to restaurants and leave thinking “what a waste or money, I make better at home”. This was as good as mine and I was so thrilled and so satisfied and so happy and so anxious to go back!

The Sweet Beet: beet, carrot, apple, kale & ginger. It was so good! The first time I juiced the beet at home it was a little too much for me. A bit too starchy, too thick but tasty. I am now used to the taste and enjoy it greatly.

Marie’s Green Burrito was amazing. She received three collard wraps stuffed with curried humus, lentil “taco meat”, fresh veggies, sunflower seeds, sprouts and hot sauce. It was served with a large scoop of salsa and guacamole. I had a bite of her burrito and I may pick it out next visit.

Both Marie and Bonnie loved and raved about the flax crackers. Bonnie ordered another batch to bring home with which to eat her leftover hummus plate. The hummus plate was a huge scoop of humus, tomato, cucumber, olives, sprouts and dates. Served on dressed greens and flax crackers.

Our service was very good; there were probably 4 other tables filled during our stay and a few carry outs.

As we were enjoying our fabulous meal a man approached us. I knew who it was right away. THE Dr. Tel-Oren who is the creator/owner of Ecopolitan restaurant and Eco Shop.

He introduced himself, we introduced ourselves. I told him it was our first time at his restaurant and how happy I was with it. I told him I enjoyed his website as there was so much information available. I spoke of his weekends foraging in Wisconsin, his un-cooking classes and Sunday lectures. I can’t wait to take part in these events.

We all enjoyed our meals very very much. I was 100% satisfied with the food. The service was good, the mirror in the bathroom was dirty..oh well. The food is what this place is all about. The surroundings..not so much. It is not a plush posh heavily polished dark wood, leather and chrome area. It’s grandmothers living room.

As we were leaving I told the waitress that we usually choose a different restaurant each time we meet. I told her we no longer need to shop restaurants. We now know where to meet and my goal is to try each item on the fabulous menu. We normally meet in Maple Grove, half way for all of us. I don’t mind driving an additional 20 miles each way for The Ecopolitan. Not at all. I’ll have a blast eating my way through the menu. I think I’ll stop by after Twin City Marathon packet pickup this week.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mongo's Grill

The other night I met my friends Bonnie and Marie at Mongo’s Grill in Maple Grove. We try to get together once a month for lunch or dinner but sometimes life gets in the way and before we know it we have missed a month.

Bonnie and Marie were the first people that I met as I stepped into the world of ultra-running. We’ve been friends since.

I had been looking for a running group in Minnesota, looking for longer distances to run and looking for someone to run with. I found an online community called Minnesota Dead Runners Society. I had been reading the emails from the group for quite some time when someone (I think Bonnie) mentioned she would like to have a meeting for beginning ultra-runners. I didn’t even know that ultras existed nor did I realize that people ran upon trails. Bonnie posted the meeting place as Lake Como on a weeknight. At the time I worked for Berkley, downtown Minneapolis, so I figured I’d just work late and meet this new group of people at 630 at Lake Como. I was nervous! I had never met a group of people via online before.

When I walked into the coffee shop there were about a dozen people in attendance, as well as Bonnie and Marie. We listened to Don Clark, Larry Pederson and Tom Andrews speak about ultra-running. I couldn’t get my head around it. Really. I thought they were crazy, but crazy in a good, inspiring way. At the end of the meeting Bonnie invited me to spend the weekend with she and Marie as Bonnie ran the Ice Age 50 Mile and Marie ran the 50K. I committed myself to the Ice Age 50 Mile and that is where the ultra-running began for me!

So, the Mongo Grill: I was very pleased! It was vegetarian and vegan friendly. It could even be raw friendly as you wouldn’t HAVE to have your dish grilled as I chose to.

This is how it went down: I took a bowl and proceeded over to the huge buffet lined with a zillion different vegetables. I could choose from mushrooms, broccoli, baby corn, water chestnuts, spinach, pea pods, boy choy, red and green peppers, bamboo shoots, red chilies, bean sprouts, red onions, green onions, yellow onions, tomatoes, celery, peas, cabbage, potatoes, beans, carrots, jalapenos, zucchini and squash, to name a (not) few. For protein there was beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, salmon, calamari, crab, scallops, sausage and tofu. There was brown rice, white rice, shanghai noodles, steamed noodles and wraps to pick from. For sauces you could add thai peanut, orange pineapple, teriyaki, honey mustard, Mongolian, sweet and sour, red wine, spicy szechuan, lemon, garlic, red pepper, curry, BBQ, black bean or chili garlic. Isn’t that amazing! I couldn’t believe all of the options and I certainly couldn’t believe how fresh everything was.

After I filled my bowl with all that it could possible handle I brought it up to the cook for grilling. He poured the contents of my bowl onto the hot grill and in about 3 minutes it was all ready and plated for me. Fabulous!

I must say, when I first looked at the bowl that was going to hold my bevy of luciousness I didn’t think it was large enough. I thought I could eat 6 of the bowls and I said so. In all honesty, after I finished my plate I was full and couldn’t eat any more.

The prices weren’t too bad: $12 for the meal or $14 if you want to add all you can eat salad bar.

I will certainly go back at another time. We all enjoyed it.

Tomorrow I’m meeting up an ALL RAW restaurant. I’m so excited! I’ll have to post about that experience on Sunday. I really can not wait. It isn’t often – I should say it has never happened - that I have visited a restaurant and happily wanted to chose every item upon the menu. What a concept! Most of the time I look up the menu online and can't find a thing that I want to eat. This usually happens when I meet my book club or when I am meeting others who don't eat the same way as I. I am enjoying picking out new restaurants and eating with others who are open to another way of eating. I am really, really digging this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Zucchini "Pasta"

Romaine Wraps

A Few Raw Foods

After posting the sweet high fat laden treats in cake form from The Cake Slice I thought I better post a few raw, crunchy food items to balance out the blog.

The zucchini 'pasta' is light and crunch, so delicious. I have a spiralizer that I had purchased years ago to make fancy appetizers with different fruits and vegetables. More recently I am spiralizing zucchini, cucumber, apples and eggplant, then creating a dipping sauce or dressing to place on top.

The sauce atop the zucchini is a tomato/basil pesto which I made by blending sundried tomato, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and basil. It's so fresh, so full of flavor and so satiating..I just can't believe it!

The romaine wraps are simple as well and oh so tasty! You could fill them with anything. I have used garbanzo beans, hummus, strawberries and lime sauce, all kinds of items. Pictured is chopped tomato, avocado, red onion, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Really, it is fabulous!

On this healthful eating note, tonight Michael Pollen of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma is speaking at Winona State. He's sold out. I would have liked to listen to him. Next time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fitting It All In

Shelly posted a question asking for some guidance as to scheduling real life with running. This is a question that I am asked frequently so I will try to offer some tips.

When I first began to run Troy was 1 and Tyler was 5. I bought a treadmill and placed it right in front of the living room TV so that I could run on it when the boys were up or when they were napping. When I wanted to run outside it had to be very early in the morning, on weekends, when Steve was home. I wanted to be home by the time the boys woke up and I didn’t want any resentment while I was gone by giving all of the morning parenting duties to Steve. I would leave by 4 AM and run with a flashlight/headlamp, returning in time for them to awake. I didn't have Topaz at this time and I didn't know people ran on trails. All of my running was treadmill or asphalt. Mostly treadmill.

Now the boys are 13 and 17 and I just love to be home in the morning when they wake and I like to fix them breakfast, so I always leave early. When they were little my long run was probably 2-3 hours, not the 5-8 I am doing now.

With my much longer weekend runs that I am now completing I usually leave by 4 and return about 9, which is about the time they wake up these days. When I have a full day of hills I am usually not home until lunch and I let them know this the night before when we go to bed.

As for scheduling my regular week work days, well…it has become a smooth oiled machine over the years. Although, I must say that the change from AM runs to PM runs is not a change I have enjoyed. I truly love my summer vacation and my morning runs for that 10 week period. I am definitely more of a morning runner and I find my afternoon runs after work to be more difficult than running first thing in the morning.

Here is how I plan out my day currently:

Because it has been in the 80’s the last two weeks and that is too warm for Topaz to run in the afternoon with me, I’ve been getting up at 4 AM so that I can run 5 miles with him in the cool darkness of 50F where he can enjoy himself and not overheat. We get home by 515 and I can jump in the shower, I’m dressed, made up and downstairs by 600. I quickly put together my juice breakfast by juicing kale, spinach, lemons, apples, celery and ginger. I pull out the salad I made the night before for my lunch and put it into my cooler along with a couple pieces of fruit, some mixed nuts and dried fruits. This goes into the car along with my gym bag that I packed the night before with shorts, run shoes, run bra, hair tie and top.

At 615 I wake up Troy and Tyler and ask for their breakfast choices. Troy will usually say pancakes and Tyler will say bagel and peanut butter. Now, I realize they are old enough to wake themselves up and old enough to make their own breakfasts. They know this too but I am home and I enjoy doing it so I do. I won't always be able to do this, they will be out of the home before I know it. I begin their breakfast and my coffee. Both are ready by 640 which is when they are showered, dressed and downstairs. Boys don’t take very long to get ready! They eat, I drink and we talk about the day.

I usually prepare a few days worth of pancakes on evenings and then I can just reheat in the morning. No sweat.

Troy and I leave at 710 for the school and Tyler leaves a bit after us for his classes and work.

I work from 730-3. With my workday ending at 3 I have quite a bit of afternoon/evening time available. With the hot afternoons lately and with Troy playing football until 430 I have been changing into run clothes after work and running 5 miles around the lake in town since it has been too hot on the trail for Topaz. I then go to the gym for 30 minutes of lifting before I pick up Troy at 430.

At 500 we are eating dinner. Sometimes it is something that I placed into the crock pot at breakfast time, sometimes it is leftovers from the night before. I ALWAYS cook enough for two meals. ALWAYS. Maybe enough for three meals. The other night I made burritos. I browned 3 pounds of hamburger and a pound of refried beans. I was able to make 21 burritos. They ate them for two days. When I make lasagna or manicotti I prepare 3 pans. They usually eat a pan and a half during one meal and I have enough for another meal the next day. I add a fresh salad and homemade bread and everyone is happy. Nobody in my home ever complains about leftovers. They love leftovers as they warm up quickly and they are able eat right away. Steve doesn’t get home until near 7 so he has to eat alone. There is no way we could wait that long to eat dinner. We’d be snacking until dinner and that would not be good.

My evenings are pretty open. If I don’t have a meeting or if I’m not coaching a running class I am getting my house work finished, laundry, preparing tomorrow’s lunches and dinner, hanging out. I don’t mind 2 or 3 evenings without anything going on, but more than that, and I am looking for something to do.

I always have tomorrow’s work outfit, shoes and jewelry ready the night before. Everything is ironed and ready to wear. I always have my gym bag packed and ready to go. I may be able to fit in a run or a workout at the gym on the way to the grocery store, Troy may have a late practice so I can run a wide block around the schools while waiting for him. Before Tyler bought a car I was driving him back and forth to work, I would leave home 90 minutes early to pick him up so I could work out at the gym beforehand.

I go to bed early. I am in bed by 9 and I read until 930. Yes, weekends too as I get up at 4 on weekends as well.

Sunday I woke up at 4, ran 15 miles with Topaz, came home by 730, cleaned house. The boys woke up at 9 so I made them French toast. Steve and the roofing crew were working hard and I wanted to feed them dinner. I made sloppy joes and put them in the crock pot. I and the boys ate breakfast, I then went grocery shopping, hitting the gym on the way to the store. I had to buy ice cream and didn't want it melting in the car. After grocery shopping I did our laundry. I was back home at 2 and really didn’t have anything else to do. I went outside to ask Steve if I could help out by picking up shingles/tar paper that was all around the house. Of course I could. I got out the wheelbarrow and hauled over 20 loads of shingles and paper to the roll off container. The guys were impressed. I didn’t have anything to do Sunday afternoon so I was able to help out. It was beautiful outside, I couldn't swim at the pool as it is closed, I had already run enough and Troy didn't want to play croquett or bocce ball. By 730 they guys were done, the boys were doing their homework and Steve and I were relaxing on the couch…I was having my sore calves rubbed. Plenty of time for everything! We were all in bed by 9.

Some days get busy…I sit on the Orrock Township Board, the Sherburne Planning and Zoning Board, I’m a member of book club, I coach running classes, I work,, I go to the boys games..I just schedule everything out. It works. There is time enough for everything.

If the boys have a practice before their game I will drop them off and run during the practice, return for the game, and if it is cool I’ll bring a change of clothes while I sit and watch the game. I bring spare clothes everywhere.

Many times I grocery shop during my lunch hour. I only have 30 minutes, but the store is only a few minutes away. My sister and Mom are amazed at how quickly I can get through the grocery store. Even when I have more time I fly through because that is what I am used to and I really despise grocery shopping but I do it often. I have two growing teenage boys who are starving all of the time and I seem to need fresh fruits and veggies every three days!

I write my grocery list so that the items that I am going to purchase are in order as I get into the store. This helps for a quick shopping. Sometimes I may have to shop two days in a row if I need a lot of food, but if I don’t have time on the weekend then this is how I get it done. It works!

I run errands to the post office, the pharmacy, etc. during my lunch hour as well. I don’t like to sit at work during my lunch break, I like to get outside to feel the sunshine and air plus it is a good break from the office. If I have time I will then shovel my salad down my throat in my car after my errands or I will just eat at my desk but most of the time I am not running errands..I’m sitting at a picnic table enjoying the sun and fresh air..unless it is winter. Blech.

I do suffer during the winter months. I am going to look for one of those lamps before the days are dark at 5 PM.

In the winter I run on my treadmill for 3-4 miles each morning and then after work I snowshoe with Topaz from 330-5 or so. I don’t have any coaching classes during the winter months and only a few meetings; the boys don’t play winter sports so it is very boring for me on week night evenings. I am not gardening, I am not swimming in the pool. I get so tired of darkness at 5 PM and feeling like I should put on my pajamas and go to bed at 7 as there is nothing else going on. In fact, I am now negotiating with a retailer for a position within their ‘floater pool’. I will be able to schedule myself when I am available and will be on call when others call in sick. I would like to work a few evenings here and there and obtain a nice discount as well. I really don’t like having free nights upon free nights..I really do become bored and a girl can only run, bake and clean so much.

I do love a good portion of the weekend at home, however. We are all relaxed, low key, just enjoying home.

This is how I schedule my days and it seems to work. I never feel stressed or like I can’t get everything in that I want to. I feel as though I have plenty of time to do all that I want to do.