Friday, February 27, 2009

It Has Me!

The flu bug, that it. It totally stung me and hit me like a truck. For three full days I have laid in bed, sweating profusely with a fever of 103.6, then a teeth chattering, body shaking chill that I can't warm up . Vomit and diarrhea exuding my orifices on an hourly basis. It's that bad.

I missed multiple runs, many lifts, three days of work, meetings, meals, house cleaning, etc. to lay in bed in pain and agony.

The poor boys! They would come into my bedroom to talk, sit upon my bed, only to be chased out by the horrific odor exuding my body. Topaz and Toffee didn't mind. They laid with me for three days upon my bed. Toffee really does sleep 22 hours a day.

This morning it all changed. I opened my eyes and it took a few minutes to realize I wasn't laying in stack of wet sheets, I wasn't shaking the chill out of my bones. I had slept all night without stumbling into my bathroom. Oh my gosh, can it be? The flu that had me has now let go!

I'll take a shower, I'll go to work, I'll prepare for Troy's birthday celebration, I'll scrub my bedroom and bathroom with disinfectant and catch up on the housecleaning. I'll even go to Afton tomorrow to visit with my friends. I may not snowshoe..I am incredibly weak..but I will attend the pot luck at 1030 for sure.

I hope the flu doesn't get you. It bites.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Got Bicep?

Well Rested

My goodness; I slept for 12 hours last night! I don't know if I have ever slept for 12 full hours. Well, not since I have had children..or become sober..

I guess I was pretty exhausted last night. The two furs (Topaz and Toffee) and I laid down at 7 and I didn't even read..I was out..until daylight this morning.

I didn't have much on my agenda for today so allowed myself to sleep in, until 7 AM! A late morning for me.

Topaz and I went for a 10 mile snowshoe. I met Bonnie and Marie for our monthly lunch. This month was Panera Bread where I had a fabulous Asian Salad (32g carb, 35g protein). 65 minutes at the gym lifting. That's all that was on the agenda today.

Well rested. For sure.

This bodybuilding venture is still new and exciting to me. In addition to all of the hours I run, I am now lifting at least 5 hours a week. In addition to spending more time in the gym, I am spending more time eating. I am now making sure that I eat every 3 or so hours. I am trying hard not to fall into the 'dieting' mentality that I so easily fall into. You know, saying to myself "I don't feel hungry, maybe I should skip a meal". When I have those thoughts I stop and say "NO. Eat. Feed the Muscle." Then I think about the girl with the awesome quads I saw at the posing seminar and I feed my muscle. I know I won't build muscle if I don't eat. It's tough for me, but I'm working on it.

Oh, and a few answers to questions:

On the suit, I am going to order one from and stone it myself. I will have one plain one ..either black or dark burgandy for the pre judging and a black one that I will stone all over myself for the evening show. For tanning: I'll have a summer tan for base and then will be sprayed Friday evening before the comp. No shoes necessary, I get to go barefoot. My toes will be at their worst as the summer of ultra running will be just finishing up. I'll be toenail-less. Oh well. As for tatoos; at the posing seminar I attended tatoos were brought up and we were told NOT to try to cover them, that they end up looking worse when covered with make up and such. She said depending on where they are they can hide the physique, but that a man with full sleeves won the last show she I guess I'll just leave mine alone. How do I fit it all in? I don't know. I'm a good organizer of time. I just do it :) I still have time to hang out at home, doing nothing, feeling like I should be doing something.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Strappin' on the Snowshoes

After scoping out a 50 mile run route last week I was really looking forward to a non snowshoe run. That's what I get for hoping! We received about 3.5" of snow last night. Although it looks beautiful I really wasn't looking forward to 50 miles on snowshoes..again.

I kept reminding myself that I actually had fun last year during my 50 mile snowshoe run and it was going to be warmer today than it was when I did this last year.

Topaz and I headed out at 4 into the crisp cold air. I decided to stay off of the snowmobile trails, I could hear the snowmobiles in the distance even at this early hour. Instead I drove over to Blue Hill Trail to forge yet another path through the woods.

Flashlight in hand, running down the trail, I realized the snow had made the trail much nicer to run than it had been earlier in the week. The ice had been hazardous. Now there was a few inches of fluff over the ice and as long as I was in snowshoes the surface was fine.

I kept thinking about the two bear that I had seen earlier this winter. Eventually I decided there was no reason in fearing something that I couldn't see and probably wasn't even there.

A few grouse freaked Topaz and I out and they ruffled near the trail, sounding loud and strange so closely to us. While we were running the gravel road 18 deer crossed in front of us, what a sight!

As daylight began to dawn the sky began to run a gorgeous rose/purple. The snow had a pink reflection upon it. Beautiful!

The hours ticked by and not another soul was on the trail. I couldn't believe I didn't see tracks from anyone else. It was a lovely day and no one was out in the woods enjoying it. Lucky me!

Topaz began to roll in the snow as the temperature warmed into the high teens, chewing on the snow and chasing after the rabbits. I was able to get him to take in some water each time we went back to the car.

We left the trail and ran some of the gravel road, now covered in snow and good for snowshoeing; out across the lake and back.

51.8 miles, 2 gallons of water, 11 gels and a 2 Cappuccino Optimum Nutrition protein shakes later we headed back home. Me for a hot shower and Topaz to curl up near the fireplace.

I'm tired..I believe I will sleep well :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Greek Shrimp Salad

Another Fine Salad

The March bon appetit magazine is full of many recipes that I will be trying in the near future. Today I put together the Greek Salad with Avocado, Shrimp, and Caper Vinaigrette (too long of a name-how about Greek Shrimp Salad)

This recipe was a request from a reader looking for the recipe of the salad she was served in Maui at Nick's Fishmarket Maui at the Fairmont Kea Lani resort.

Here it is-my substitutions are in italics:

1 cup olive oil 1/2 cup
1 4 oz jar capers with liquid
1/3 c red wine vinegar
3 hard boiled eggs, white only, minced
2 T minced roasted red peppers from jar
1 T fresh parsley
1 1/2 t Dijon mustard 2 T

10 plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
2 Maui onions chopped white sweet onion
3 c shredded romaine 2 bags romaine-10 0z
1 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese 3/4 c feta cheese
1 1/2 c cooked bay shrimp 1 pound large shrimp
15 green olives
5 boiled egg whites

Vinaigrette/Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Salad/Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Add vinaigrette to salad and toss to coat. Serve vinaigrette on side. I would never drench the salad in all of this oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This salad is wonderful! Fresh, crunchy, delicious. Lots of protein, good fats, good stuff. The recipe made a the huge Tupperware bowl full-I'll be eating it for a few days :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gravel to Run Upon!

Good Snowshoe Trail

Out Exploring

This morning while Topaz and I were heading out to the trail I had something in mind, in addition to snowshoeing for a few hours. As the boys will be gone next Saturday day into Sunday, I wanted to scope out a prospect for a 50 mile run next week. I was hoping to find someplace to run through the Refuge where I wouldn't have to run upon snowshoes for 9 hours.

We ran our regular loop for 8 miles and then ventured off to a deer trail that was pretty slick with ice. Lots of ice. My snowshoes weren't gripping very well, it was cold, 3F and I just wanted to see some gravel. I looked at my Refuge map and figured we should eventually come to a non maintained gravel fire road. Sure enough, a few more miles of ice and I could see the gravel road. Woohoo! What a sight for 'tired of snowshoeing every day' eyes. I ditched my snowshoes at the side of the path and ran upon the gravel, whooping it up, scaring the bejeezus out of Topaz as I screeched with glee. Look, no snowshoes! I'm can feel it in my hamstrings..nice! It was wonderful.

The map tells me this gravel road is 25 miles in length. It eventually ends at the bank of the St Francis River which meanders all throughout the area. Perfect for next weeks 50 mile run.

I put my snowshoes back on and we hit a trail I hadn't been on before that was covered with snow, no ice. A few more miles back to the Blue Hill Trail, back to the ice and back to the car.

Next week I'll try the gravel road sans snowshoes. Of course if we have ice and snow before then I can take screws to the shoes and run 50 miles of road into Big Lake, around town and home. Ack.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Red, Pink and Girlie

I love Valentine's Day. I love the Red, the Pink, the Lace, the Velvet, Crystals, Diamonds..oh, the Chocolate. Yes, all capital letters, all wonderful images that come to mind when I think of Valentine's Day.

I even wanted to name our Ragdoll cats Comet and Cupid. The boys wouldn't allow Cupid. They figured Comet was OK. I instead named then Toffee and Truffles .. names of Godiva Chocolate. I have already come to the conclusion that I am addicted to sugar..

This morning Topaz and I headed off to the trail early, in the darkness. I wanted to get home in time to make the Valentine breakfast of heart shaped waffles served with strawberries. This year I used a new waffle recipe: Yeasted Belgian Waffles. A recipe with yeast and maple syrup. The batter only needed to rest for 3 hours to overnight. I mixed it up before I left the house and whalla..20 miles of snowshoeing later it was ready to pour into the Belgian waffler. The boys woke up to the fantastic scent of waffles. They loved the waffles. I had a bite and declared them delicious.

The boys and I spent the day together. I decided that because they would be snowboarding from 3-12PM tonight I'd run errands/gym after I brought them to the church to catch their bus. We had a great day; we played a game of Scrabble, which Tyler is way to good and always beats us and a game of Dominoes which Troy won. Caught up on laundry and house cleaning. Mixed together a batch of Oatmeal Toasting Bread; three loaves of which I am baking now.

Instead of making the Waldorf Astoria Red Cake which I made for Tyler's birthday and Christmas I made a butterscotch caramel cashew bar. The recipe is from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book another recipe book where I want to make every recipe, although I added the chocolate ganache finish for the top. The butterscotch sauce is amazingly good-and very easy to make. The base layer is like a shortbread; butter and sugar-no eggs. Topped with butterscotch chips, Karo syrup and cashews..then I added the ganache. Perfect!

After a day of baking and hanging out at home I brought the boys to the church and then went to the gym for a quick 2 mile treadmill run warmup and 65 minutes of bicep/tricep. I was glad when I came to the last tricep extension because I could not bang out another one. My triceps were beginning to cramp! Crazy. My head was banging to Lamb of God, Ozzie and Megadeath. Another 2 mile run on the treadmill and time to come home.

The house is quiet..Steve has been in Duluth..I think I'll take a hot bath, light a few candles and watch my Perfect Posing for Bodybuilding DVD :)

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Bodybuilding Posing Seminar

Yesterday morning I held the final class of 6 snowshoeing outings. The weather was perfect; calm and sunny, the snow looked as if it was studded with diamonds. My clients were treated to another fine weather session. I moved the class to the morning as I had another engagement for the afternoon.

I not only stepped out of my comfort zone, I took a flying leap from it and landed at the Myth in Maplewood. I wasn't at the Myth for a concert but will be on April 30 for Lamb of God but for a Bodybuilding Posing Seminar. Yeah.

When I made the decision to do whatever is necessary to compete in a Bodybuilding competition this fall I researched any type of learning venues that I could make available to myself. I found this seminar which still had openings.

Thinking about walking into to a room full of bodybuilders made me nervous weeks ago, but as the seminar arrived I was more excited. Excited to learn, excited to spread my wings, excited to meet others that could inspire and motivate me.

The first round was posing for the Figure class. OK, those of you that know about this world of bodybuilding will probably find these next paragraphs boring. You may be saying "well, duh" I though, am a complete newbie. I know nothing about this other than lifting iron. So, for Bodybuilding shows of course there are male and female divisions. The females divided themselves among Figure, Bikini and Bodybuilding. Figure is the division where the women have lots of muscle, it isn't heavily striated but the women that I see competing in Figure are heavily muscled and defined so I am not sure on this and the definition isn't quite as defined as bodybuilding. The Figure girls wear the 5" high heels, the beautiful suits with all of the crystals, no longer the one piece but two piece only. They walk along the stage and then complete the quarter turns. They don't put together a routine to music and I don't believe they complete the mandatory poses which are done in bodybuilding.

Bikini, which is a brand new division this year, is for a woman that is more 'beach body', lacking muscle definition, and even muscle at all, from what the show director was saying. She told us that if she had a Figure girl that wanted to go Bikini, she would have that Figure girl stop lifting and just diet.

Bodybuilding is the division where the woman has clearly defined, well striated muscles. Nice, big, full muscles, then dieted down and dehydrated down to show all of them off. She wears a plain two piece, no jewelry to distract from the physique in the morning for judging, preforms the mandatory poses ( Double Biceps, Front Lateral, Side Chest, back Double Bicep, Rear Lat Spread, Side Tricep, Front Abs and Thigh) in front of the judges and then completes a 30 second pose-a-thon to the music of judges choice. For the evening show the woman can but doesn't have to wear a crystal suit, makeup, bling, jewels, and performs her 60 second routine to music of her choice and a routine with mandatory and non mandatory poses. This is the night show that is more exciting and loud than the pre juding of the morning.

For those of you that live this world, please feel free to comment and set me straight. I only have a glimmer of this side and can use all of the help I can get! Any links or books or CD's you could recommend would be appreciated.

Intimidating and scary? Oh yes, yes; but what an accomplishment! To get a body into that shape, to be strong enough to follow through with this .. the diet, the workouts, the music, and to be confident, super confident with one's body to be able to get on stage and do this..amazing.

I learned so much. I learned the poses, a good pose and a bad pose. Apparently posing is everything. A bad poser can lose the comp to a good poser even if bad poser had a better body. She has to know how to pose.

Christine Bongiovanni, Minnesota's FIRST IFBB (International Federation BodyBuilders), put on this seminar. She puts on a few shows each year through the NPC. She had the bodybuilders on stage showing us the poses, then showing us a 'bad' pose versus a 'correct' pose. It was amazing.

Amy, the woman bodybuilder on stage was 16 weeks out from her show in June. She looked to me like she could go on stage with a few weeks of dieting down. Her muscles. Good grief, made my quads look non existant. She is still feminine, definately, but has lots of muscle. When I feel like eating off plan I'll think of her.

Sadly, there aren't very many women that take part in bodybuilding. Most of the women, 23 of them, at this seminar, were for Figure. Get this: 2 of the women, and one was I, were there for the bodybuilding. Lots of men were there for bodybuilding. I don't get it. I really don't. Why wouldn't more women try this? Stretch yourselves, see what you can do.

When I was driving home I was talking with Tyler. I told him I had learned quite a bit, but was shocked that so few women were involved with bodybuilding. He said "well, mom, just like your ultra running".. isn't that the truth.

I'm going to buy a few posing sessions with Christine between now and October. I'll need all of the help I can get!

I love to learn something new. I'm going to enjoy this very very much!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Arrowhead 135 Ultramarathon

I know that many of you who read this blog feel that by running a 100 mile race or a marathon on snowshoes at below zero temperatures, or running 100 miles a week for weeks upon weeks is hard to imagine or hard to wrap your head around. I know, I used to think the same of others that completed these same activities. I no longer feel that way; now this is just normal.

You know, there is always someone else out there doing something more..something that I have a hard time wrapping my head around.

The Arrowhead 135 Ultramarathon. Not only is this race held in the dead of winter in northern Minnesota but there is barely any aid! Each participant can choose to ski, run on foot or bike. Each participant has to PULL a SLED with all of the nutrition, clothing and survival gear necessary. Yeah. Really.

The race began yesterday in International Falls at a balmy -10F and is still in process as of now. There is a 60 hour time limit. They will finish in Tower, MN.

John Storkamp has won the foot division the past two years and is running the race again. Along with my buddy John are my friends John Taylor, Matt Long, Kevin Martin and yes , Pierre Ostor who is the race director, along with his wife Cheryl.

John S and Pierre O have both finished before..John T, Matt and Kevin are first timers.

If I didn’t know these guys so well I wouldn’t even be able to imagine such a feat. It is amazing what a body can do; mentally as well as physically. Running/walking 135 miles is something I can actually wrap my head around. By running 116 miles at FANS, I know it can be done without having to be an uber athlete ..but at below zero, in the snow, in northern Minnesota, pulling a sled of goods .. this is difficult so very difficult mentally. I can’t grasp it. I don’t think I want to grasp it. Damn.


Check out Arrowhead 135 Ultra to see updates, rules, results, etc. Cheryl is keeping us all updated!