Sunday, October 31, 2010

Monster Dash Half Marathon (Make mine a Double)

There couldn't have been more perfect weather than what was given yesterday by Mother Nature for the Monster Dash Half Marathon. Beautiful! We have had the best fall season in Minnesota ever. 80s, 70s, 60s and now 50s. It just can't be beat.

Yesterday was sunny and crisp, as it should be on October 30. Low 40s to begin the race and low 50 when I was done. Perfect. OK, so its not 80, but it is fall in MN.

It was cool to be back at Lake Nokomis. I have run FANS 24 Hour Run here for the past 8 years. It was neat to be back and 'only' running a marathon. I would be home in the same day that I began. What a concept.

I arrived to Lake Nokomis an hour before the start. I didn't realize that the 10 miles and 1/2 marathoners had different starting places so of course I picked the wrong start. It wasn't until I realized that my bib number wasn't the same color as the other people around me that it dawned on me. Oops. I needed to cross Cedar Avenue and begin over there. As I was walking toward the start I noticed the port a potties. The lines were really long. I figured I might as well hang out in a line and use the biffy until the start. Did I say the line was long? It took me until 2 minutes to start time to finally get into the biffy and the gun went off while I was peeing. No worry. Chip time. Didn't matter where I lined up.

I shuffled off to the start in the mass of people. Holy crap. Later to find out there were 9000 people on the course. That's nuts! This is a 10 miler and half marathon and that many people? Wow, this race has really caught on!

I was glad I wore shorts and a long sleeved top. I began to warm up quickly. I wore a belt around my waist so that I could carry my medal back to the start. I decided that instead of taking the shuttle bus from Harriet - the finish - back to Nokomis .. I would run, making a double Monster and getting in 26 miles. I hadn't run 26 in a while so wasn't sure how that idea would pan out..

The costumes were great! Some were very unique. I saw a man and woman running together, each with a huge single breast upon their back. The breast cancer awareness ribbon was in plain sight. Each had a big round breast complete with nipple. Amazing! It wasn't done in bad taste-they made it clear this was breast cancer awareness - not 'look, I'm a tit running down the road' . There is a difference. Really.

I saw a yellow and red person ahead of me. I truly figured they were ketchup and mustard. Then a child from the side of the road yelled out "oh, look at the crayons" guess I was wrong.

Many "Where's Waldo?" were seen, a few Tinkerbell's, Hulk's, a sexy black cat. Fun stuff!

I wore my Garmin 310XT. It was fun to check in with my pace every so often. I was running 9 or less minute miles for the most part. I always felt great, never out of breath or in any sort of pain. I was a bit surprised at how well I felt.

We ran around Nokomis, down Minnehaha Parkway, around Harriet to Calhoun and back to Harriet to finish. All the best parts of the Twin Cities Marathon. There were lots of spectators. I think we were a sort of Halloween Parade for many of the children. I heard on child yell out "What is that big green guy?" I looked around and there was Gumby! Wrong generation!

Many of the leaves were still on the trees down Minnehaha. I couldn't believe it! Beautiful yellow and red, even after the incredibly high winds earlier in the week. Just a beautiful course.

As I rounded around Calhoun I realized I could PR at half marathon distance. I could break two hours if I paid attention. I picked up the speed 845 to 830, 815 picked off the distance. Pretty soon we were back to Harriet and the finish line: 1:56:48. Whoot!

Crossed the finish line, collected my real cool Halloween medal, grabbed some water and headed off back to Nokomis. I felt like I was running slower but my Garmin told me I was keeping my previous pace.A few times I thought I may have been turned around but I had a trusty course map in my waist pack. Before I knew it I was back to my car in 1:58:45.

I was so happy! So thankful to be running again, so thankful for the beautiful day. I stretched and found a perfectly sunny grassy spot. Sat down and smiled to myself. Livin' The Dream.

I'm getting my racing legs back! Next race isn't until February 12 Psyco Wyco 50K. Edited to state: my next race is Tuscobia 50K December 19. Woot! I'd like to find a 50K before then. We'll see.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


If you are an ultrarunner you have no doubt viewed the VESPA advertisement in UltraRunning and/or witnessed other runners using VESPA at races.

I first noticed VESPA two years ago as the caption FAT IS YOUR FUEL caught my eye. I read the advertisement and then thought I’d do a bit of research at a later time.

During the past few months I’ve taken an in depth look at VESPA. I was first intrigued because I learned that VESPA works very well when following a paleo diet. I have been eating a paleo for athletes type diet for quiet some time.

Following are the two statements that caught my eye and caused me to look into the product more thoroughly.

“The key to sustaining athletic performance lies in optimizing the body’s ability to metabolize fat.‘

‘VESPA’s key ingredient is an all natural amino acid complex derived from the Asian Madarin wasp and works by shifting the muscles to metabolize a higher level of fat during physical activity thus stabilizing and conserving glycogen.’

At first glance I incorrectly thought that VESPA was a source of energy. It is not. It is not a fuel or an electrolyte. It works by optimizing your muscles’ ability to derive its energy from a readily available source: fat. One still needs to ingest energy and electrolytes when running long distance.

During the past few weeks I have had conversations with other athletes using VESPA as well as many conversations with Peter at VESPA.

There seems to be a huge synergy between VESPA and the OFM diet /training approach. OFM = Optimized Fat Metabolism. The more I read of Phil Maffetone the more I see this. As a ‘fat phobic’ it was difficult for me at first but I am seeing the light.

Peter has walked me through the beginning process and will be guiding me as I get further into my training program.

Because I don’t take part in the high carbohydrate fueling regimen that most athletes do I am not having difficulty transitioning to a solid paleo/primal nutritional program. On hard workout days I’m adding in fattier cuts of meat and a few additional egg yolks post run. I made sure to add fish oil with each meal. I begin hard days with cream and berries.

VESPA allows a jump start to the fat metabolism and since I am not in a heavy training cycle the required energy is not putting a high demand on my body. I’m in a building phase right now; a perfect time to transition to VESPA and a solid paleo program allowing optimized fat metabolism.

By eating in a paleo manner the basal blood insulin levels will go way down and insulin sensitivity way up. This has the effect of stabilizing blood sugar. For races and race training I would consume some carbs/sugars back into the diet so that glycogen stores are topped off but not so that they will cause a spike and a large insulin response such as digesting with fat/protein.

After transitioning the energy levels are much more even. By burning a higher percentage of fat recovery is quicker, with less soreness and muscle catabolism. This allows me to train harder.

My training, racing and nutrition pieces are coming together for 2011. Ready. Set. Go!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Javelina Jundred

Here's a fun little You Tube clip of Javelina Jundred 2009. I ran both the 2009 and 2008 race. An absolute party on the trail.

2010 race took place this weekend. I really missed being there.

Here's a taste of what you will find at a Javelina 100. See why I love it so? Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pederson Benefit Run

Please note the link on the sidebar for the Benefit Run for Larry and Colleen Pederson. Larry and Colleen sustained major flood damage to their home last month. Larry and Colleen give and give of themselves to the running community. They direct the Superior Fall Races, Larry began the Upper Midwest Trail Running Club, the list of what these two do just goes on and on.

Thank you for helping Larry and Colleen.


I have been running at Lake Maria State Park for the past 5 months or so. I thought I knew the park pretty well, but ah, yeah, I guess not.

Even though there are standing wooden signs all over the park with maps there are some areas of deer trail that are harder to navigate. At least for me.

With the long weekend, MEA-gotta love working for the public school system, I slept in and then thought Topaz and I would head out for a 10 mile run through the state park.

Cold this morning! 27F at 7 AM meant the first run in long pants of the season. Boo. Although the high for today is 72, this morning was cool.

I pulled into the lot, empty as usual, and began our run. Beautiful morning! Trumpeter swan, deer, fox, all of the usual animal sightings.

Oh, get this. I purchased (another) Garmin 310 XT (will post about that later) and learned last week that my 5 mile water stop is really 3.5 miles! Egads!

So we are running about, enjoying the beautiful scenery, the sunrise, mother nature at her finest when we come to back to the lot and are only at 8 miles when I would have said pre Garmin we were at 10. Back out on a different path only to end up..confused..lost? Yeah, I guess so. Around the lake, down another path, nothing is looking familiar..another lake..a campsite..a, a whole new section of the park that I didn't know existed!

Another 5 miles before I found the path back to the car. Amazing how turned around I became..but now I have a perfect trail to bring Mom and Dad down when they are here next week. I can show them the swans, the camper cabins..there is even running water along the way. I grabbed the state park trail map before leaving. I might glance at it before I head out for a long one on Sunday :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I have never had an interview or highlighed on of my clients here before. I want to tell you about Heidi. I'm so proud of her!

Heidi was a member of my first Beginning Women’s Running Class which met in 2008. Our goal was to run the Granite City 5K at the end of 8 weeks. Heidi was non runner. By the end the class Heidi ran the 5K in fine form and didn’t stop there.

I offered an Intermediate Run Class that focused on building strength and speed with hill work and track repeats. Heidi then participated in this class and became stronger and faster.

Soon Heidi was setting her sights on races of longer distance. 8Ks, 10Ks and then half – marathons became the norm. Heidi was interested in my online coaching service and soon became a client with the 2010 Twin Cities Marathon as her goal. I was so excited to train Heidi to the finish of her first marathon!

We began 5 months out. Within this 5 month period Heidi trained and ran as part of the Ragnar Relay. This was a great experience and an awesome run for Heidi. She worked hard during the 5 month period as she trained for the marathon.

Heidi states her s goals for the marathon were as follows:

“1. Finish the marathon in under 6 hours, so that I am not picked up by the bus. I did it!! I finished in 5:15. Could I have run faster? Sure, but it wasn't about the time...this was about the experience and it was such a beautiful day and it was fun to walk and talk with Katie. We felt fabulous running the final .2! I just kept saying to myself...this is real....I am really running a marathon!! I LOVED the feeling of accomplishment!

2. Finish with a smile, feeling good and wanting to run another marathon: I did it!! I felt really good at the end and will be running Grandma's in June. I never hit the wall - which I attribute to Julie and her training plan for me!”

I love that! Heidi finished Twin Cities Marathon, never hit the wall and is excited to run Grandmas Marathon!

Here is what Heidi writes about her race day:

“I was really nervous on Saturday and I made the mistake of not eating enough. This taught me a lesson. I had no reason to be nervous, because you had once again trained me well!! Twin Cities is a really well run race from packet pick-up to drop bag at the Metrodome to picking the bag back up a the finish - great volunteers and so many people cheering:-) What an exciting environment to run in! A lot of people, but it really didn't bother me....I was not worried about my time, I just wanted to enjoy:-) I loved running through downtown and how everyone would cheer underneath the bridges....I also loved running down the middle of the road and not having to worry about cars!! :-)

Beautiful morning:-) Cool with the smell of fall. Unfortunately early on I started to deal with feeling sick, which was an entirely new experience for me! :-( I just kept going and broke the race into smaller water stop at a time. I had water and powerade at every stop and started eating the jelly beans early on, I finally started to feel better towards the end. People also handed out fruit, which I took and that helped. I didn't train 5 months to not finish!! I tried to focus on all of the volunteers and people cheering and the beautiful fall day. I love the mental game of running! I actually found the hills to be a nice diversion. About mile 22 I met Katie and we mainly walked the next 4 miles....and I really liked walking. It was a change and it gave me a chance to fully take in the race environment. I loved running down to the finish line at the state capitol with my new "best" running friend, Katie from WI.

I am so proud of Heidi. Enjoying the full race, smiling, that is what a first marathon is all about. Taking it all in, focusing on the surroundings, the smells, the feel of your first marathon. You only get one first! I say you should totally enjoy it ☺

Heidi closes with “what stands out most to me is the 5 months of training leading up to the marathon. How good it felt mentally to be out on the course and well trained! My time spent running has been such a blessing....time for myself, time with friends, time to enjoy nature, time to challenge myself physically and mentally....what a great journey!
Know that you are fabulous and I am thankful every day that I am out on the trail because of the email you sent spring of '08 to any women interested in giving running a try:-) I went outside my comfort zone and look at me now:-)”

Thank you Heidi. I’m just so thrilled that I was able to show you how wonderful running can be. It brings me tears of joy to know that you are out there, loving the run. Loving the challenge, loving the progress, loving nature. That’s it. Feeling the moment, living in the moment, feeling the joy, Heidi, feeling the joy…

Run On!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back In the Saddle

I've enjoyed my time at home, my break from running long distance. I don't know that I was 'burnt out' on running ultras, but I did want to spend a lot of time at home this summer. Maybe if I hadn't been burnt out I wouldn't have felt it necessary to stay home whenever the boys were home. Because it was Tyler's last summer at home I just didn't want to miss a weekend of it!

After being away from races for 9 months, without any specificity of workouts of the running nature and away from long distance .. well, I'm ready to get back at it.

This past month I've been thinking about what I want to do for the 2011 year. I went back and forth but now I have a rough outline. I have outcomes listed, goal races and the specific training necessary to get me to where I want to go down on paper.

The adrenaline is pumping.

I love to create an goal, a desirable outcome to that goal and then to begin creating the workouts that will allow me to attain that goal. I've been missing this lately.

I have my races, workouts and goals outlined from today to October 2011.

Measured progress, specificity of workouts, results .. and FUN! All of this because yes, it is FUN and if it wasn't fun, I wouldn't be doing it.

Ready. Set. Go!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Team Ortho Monster Dash Half Marathon

I have been having race withdrawals! It is no wonder as I haven’t raced since The Securian Half Marathon in January! That’s crazy. I haven’t gone this long without racing since I began to run 12 years ago. I have been running nice mileage, however. Just running it with Topaz instead of racing and traveling.

I loved the Team Ortho Polar Dash race. The organization, the bling, the atmosphere was just awesome. As I was looking for an October race today and saw the Team Ortho Monster Dash I knew I was going to enter this one.

Half-Marathon is a nice morning run distance. The race takes place around the prettiest areas of Minneapolis to run-the lakes and parkways. I’m looking forward to it! I have to be back home for the afternoon so I'll have plenty of time to run, visit and head on home.

Saturday, October 30; the day promises to be sunny, crisp, beautiful ☺

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Buon Giorno!

I had my first Italian language class on Thursday evening. I have a lot to learn:)

My teacher is a professor at the Univerity of Minnesota. She hold the class at a school in Eden Prairie. There are not many students in our class but ALL of them have traveled to Italy more than once. Except me.

I am planning on go to Italy with the Umbrian Table from Broders-the marvelous Italian restaurant in South Minneapolis-in October or November of 2011. They have two tours - one in October and one in November. Many of the participants are repeats and speak very highly of the tour. There is a dinner 'meet and greet' that I will attend soon.

Troy has taken a great interest in my Italian worksheets and books. He is taking Spanish in 9th grade and the languages are similar. He is tutoring me!

On another note, this morning Topaz and I headed out to Lake Maria State Park. I couldn't imagine why there were a zillion vehicles folowing me into the park. Then I noticed the TimberRun sign. Oh no. There was a 5K race taking place.

I asked the course marshall what route they were taking - learned they were on the Bjorkland trail. Topaz and I just made sure we stayed off that trail and meandered through on our own. It was an absolutely perfect morning. Sunny, cool at 38F, brilliant foliage. A dream come true morning!

Troy and I are heading out for a hike, then I'm off to Broders and then heading to the NPC NorthStar to specate.

I'm kind of moving in the direction of competing in the April 2 Gopher State. We'll see...

Arrivederci a tutti!