Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Farmers Market!

The farmers markets are just bursting with spring numminess this time of the year. A few weeks ago two local markets opened up for the season but they are only open one day a week and there is no comparison to the Minneapolis Farmers Market on Lyndale.

I visited the Minneapolis Farmers Market last week and oh, man, spring o’ plenty veggies! I came home with leeks, ramps, numerous different lettuces, asparagus, spinach, parsnips, onions, rhubarb, herbs, ramps, and bean sprouts. Many vendors had flowers, meats and cheeses too.

I could not wait to get home to prepare a few things! One recipe I have wanted to try is from Amy Lyons; her Spring Allium Chevre Filo Rolls. I didn’t want to use the chevre or parmesan cheeses so skipped it, making it vegan, but used everything else.


Here is the recipe as Amy directs. They are super good without the dairy as I made them:

Spring Allium Chevre Filo Rolls
Makes 10

1 cup leeks, thinly sliced
1cup ramps, leaves and bottom part, thinly sliced
1cup shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp lemon zest
16 oz chevre (soft goat cheese)
2 oz shredded pecorino romano cheese
about 3/4 cup olive oil (for brushing
10 sheets filo dough
sea salt

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil, and add leeks, ramps, and shallots. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes, then add garlic and saute about a minute more until fragrant. Let cool slightly, then add to a bowl with sea salt, pepper, lemon zest, chevre and pecorino romano. Mix until well combined. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil. Lay out sheets of filo dough, and cover with plastic wrap (so it doesn't dry out, since you will be using a sheet at a time. Place olive oil in a bowl. Lay out one sheet of filo, and brush it with olive oil. fold in half like a book. Brush with olive oil and place 2 Tbsp filling about 1 inch from the bottom, in the shape of a log about 3 inches wide. Fold in each side over the filling, and brush the top with olive oil. Roll up egg roll style, and brush with olive oil. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 9 rolls. Sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and heated through. Keep a close eye because they brown quickly! Let cool slightly before serving.

I increased the leeks, ramps, shallots by 1 cup (using 2) and added 2 whole onions. I didn’t use the chevre or romano and was so thrilled with the result.

Troy even ate one! I will definitely make these again.

Almost every day I eat some sort of salad, maybe even two. Lately I’ve been roasting veggies to add to the mix. I really like the flavor. I’ve found that tossing a bit of maple syrup in a pile of pecans and roasting adds an awesome crunch to the salad. I usually add a bean or pea for protein. Here is one from yesterday:

Roasted beets
Roasted carrots
Roasted onion
Garbanzo beans
Olive oil/Dijon mustard blended for dressing


If you don’t have a garden of your own (or it isn’t growing yet, like mine) you really ought to visit your farmers market. You just can’t get better produce!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


For the past seven weeks I have been coaching the Beginning Women’s Running Program for the Minnesota Distance Running Association. We have a group of 31 women participate each week. I’ve been coaching with MDRA for 4 years now and I just love it!

Last night we had Margot Albensoeder-Madsen scheduled to speak to our group before our 40 minute run. I hadn’t met Margot before; I only knew that her presentation was entitled “Running Through the Years.” At the end of her presentation I felt like I had known Margot for many years and she had a place in my heart.

Margot was born in Germany and came to America in 1962 with her husband, Gunther. They had 4 children after they arrived to America and lived in Wayzata. Gunther passed away from a sudden heart attack in 1982, leaving his wife and 4 children behind.

When Margot spoke to us about her husband Gunther she began to cry softly. It was heart wrenching. After all of these years those feelings for him came right to the surface. She apologized and took a few seconds to herself, then stated “Gunther told me that he is here and to get it together”. I wasn’t the only one in the room crying along with her.

She went on to say that her co-workers put their money together to offer her a gift of money to show their sympathy as well as a membership to The Marsh. The Marsh is a Wellness Center in Minnetonka, still owned by Ruth Strickler as it was when Margot became a member.

Margot recalled to us how she first began to run. She was walking on the treadmill at The Marsh when Diane, a trainer who is still at The Marsh, came up to her and told her that she had a ‘runners physique’ and that she should try to run. Margot was intimidated and immediately said that she didn’t know how to run. Diane took her outside and they ran one block, then two, then three and over time she was running a mile. She loved it.

Margot began to run at 50 years of age. She then began to race, winning her age group at most races. She won the MDRA Grand Prix. She qualified for the Boston Marathon while running her first marathon at Twin Cities Marathon in 1990 with a time of 3:58, at age 52! Rockin’ hu?

Margot is now 73 years of age. 73! She continues to run, having finished 8 marathons, numerous half marathons and even triathlons. She now lives in Fairmont with her second husband of 17 years. She helps out with the Fairmont Triathlon and Fairmont 5 Mile Race. I am planning on entering one or both of these, just to meet with Margot again!

At the conclusion of Margot’s presentation I felt like she was a best friend of mine. I don’t know that I have ever been so moved by another woman before at a first meeting. I could feel the warmth and compassion come from her and felt her love for running. I tell you, she really inspired me.

We were fortunate to have Margot stay with us to take part in our running after her presentation. I led the group for a 40 minute run, then finished up with stretching.

Margot had a few more stories to tell us before we called it a night. I was just thrilled to hear her stories, I stood next to her, just beaming. I suggested to her that she write her stories down. Her stories were not only about running and racing but also about her life in Germany and her move to America.

I feel very fortunate that I was able to meet Margot Albensoeder-Madsen .

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ice Age 50 Mile Ultramarathon

I just spent an awesome weekend in Hustisford Wisconsin for the Ice Age Trail Races. I have run the Ice Age 50 Miler 4 different times, the last time in 2007, and decided it was time to run upon the trail again. This year the race offered a half marathon, 50K and 50 Mile option. I was in for the 50.

We were a group of four traveling to Hustisford Wisconsin. Bill offered to drive us, we had a ‘cabin’ for the weekend on Lake Sinissippi for free. Our weekend cost was going to be minimal. We were able to fit all of our gear into the back of Bill’s Toyota Prius, I had my cooler between Alicia and I.

Our drive down was fun, joking and telling stories on the way. While Matt and Bill navigated the way to our destination Alicia and I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. We almost stopped to visit an establishment called Cruisin’ Chubbies. We decided against it.

As we approached the cabin we all had our mouths wide open as we took in the view. Our ‘cabin’ was a beautiful home set upon the lake. A sweeping deck around the outside, fireplace, Jacuzzi, drive through garages, it was crazy beautiful. We felt like royalty entering the front door. Wow.

We visited and made preparations for the morning. I retired to my huge bedroom and big bed. Read for an hour and called it a day.

At 340 we woke up to ready ourselves for the day. Matt brought Peet’s coffee along as well as traveler cups so we were super spoiled. A quick breakfast of oats for me and we were off to Ice Age.

We arrived the start by 515, a good 45 minutes before the race start. Plenty of time for collecting number, chip, visiting and photos. About this time I noticed that my GPS wasn’t working. I had charged it on Friday but must have left it on. I like to use it, at minimum, to direct me as to when to take gels. Ugh. Matt had mentioned earlier that he wasn’t going to wear his watch so let me wear his instead. It wasn’t a GPS but did have a running time, I was thankful!

Before the race our RD told us that Tom Bunk was running his 26th in a row and that as a finisher Lorraine would be solo in her age group of 70+. They both finished! I ran with them for a few miles during the race and am just in awe of the two of them.

It rained and the wind was blowing like crazy all night long but amazingly the course was in pretty good shape on Saturday. I have seen it much, much worse. I enjoyed myself so much, running along the trail, saying hello and catching up to others that I haven’t seen in some time.

I drank Hammer Heed from the stations and was able to pick up Hammer gels. I just love that so many races are now sponsored by Hammer Nutrition. I haven’t had to haul along powder in baggies to mix my drink along the trail in quite some time. I always carry Hammergel along just in case, but took them back home with me. I was able to refill on gel at every aid station. I even tried a new flavor: Colorado Mulberry or Huckleberry. It was quite good but not as good as my favorite Espresso.

I was feeling good, running along the course at mile 13 when I felt a cramping of some sort. I had never felt it before so thought maybe it was due to nerves, breakfast, or who knows what. I continued to run along and these cramps were starting to come every 5 minutes or so. I stopped to stretch out my core, massaged my lower abs. I noticed that when I walked I didn’t have cramps. By mile 15 I was starting to have some spotting. I hadn’t spotted at all during my hysterectomy recovery, this was very alarming to me. I told myself I’d just run to the next aid station and drop if I was still spotting.

I walked for a while, the cramping and spotting stopped so I began to run along, feeling pretty good. At 20 miles I told Vicky and Wayne what was going on. They reassured me by letting me know they would be at the aid stations for the duration of the day. This really helped me mentally, knowing they would be there. They were crewing for Rick, who was ahead of me, as was Alicia and Matt. I figured I might as well go to the next aid station, 23.

By mile 23 the spotting was heavier and the cramping felt like contractions. What the hell? I wasn’t going to chance this and end up with a big problem. There wasn’t crew access at 23 so I decided at 26 I’d call it a day. A marathon is a good distance to call it a day I told myself. But 50K is better.

Well, eventually the spotting had turned to bleeding and contraction like cramps were causing a lot of pain. I told Vicky and Wayne I was finished because of this. It was the pits. I felt fine otherwise. They let me know that Bill had dropped a while back and was in the car. I collected my drop bag and did the same.

I didn’t feel to bummed about dropping, I was more concerned. Once I was off of my feet and sitting the cramping began to go away. The bleeding was back to spotting. Thank goodness.

We drove to the start/finish, they dropped off Bill and I. We changed into dry warm clothing and headed off to find Alicia and Matt along the course. I really enjoyed watching the runners come through the aid station. I don’t often see this side of the race. We set up at outbound mile 37/inbound mile 43. I watched many of the people that I had been running with come in and run out. Matt was coming back and looked good even though he said he was tired and felt crabby. He looked strong and fast to me. Drank a few mouthfuls of coffee and we told him we’d see him at the finish.

The clock was close to the cut off time. Rick came in only a few minutes after the cut off and Alicia a bit after that. She had been suffering a sick stomach for many miles and continued to stick it out on the trail. Amazing.

We drove back to the finish for Alicia to change and for all of us to eat. We mingled and watched the finishers come in. It was so much fun to cheer and whoop it up for them. Matt came in just after 10 hours, our single finisher in our traveling group. Way to go, Matt!

I was freezing. Even with three shirts, a sweatshirt, two jackets I was still cold. It was raining and blowing. Alicia and I went to wait in the car and just hung out, drinking the Peet’s coffee that Matt brought along 12 hours ago. It was still warm. Yum!

Eventually we headed off to our house of beauty for rest and relaxation. What a nice place. We totally enjoyed ourselves before turning in for the night.

I’m feeling just fine today. No cramping or spotting. I called my surgeon and he told me that this normally takes place when one does too much too soon. He stated that he doesn’t have any other ultra runners as patients, that normally too much is an aggressive walk at 6 weeks. He thought I would have felt these after effects of hysterectomy earlier, during my 1/2 marathon or 50K. He commended me for actually listening to my body and stopping when I did. I’m sure thankful that I did!

He advised me against running Bighorn but stated the Minneapolis Marathon June 5 should be fine.

Monday, May 02, 2011

It's a Wrap

I ran the last of my long runs yesterday, as preparation for the Ice Age 50 Mile Ultra. Ice Age is in two weeks. I'll probably run 10/10 Saturday and Sunday of this week and 5's on the weekdays.

Saturday was a total rain event. We received 1.5 inches of rain. I ran only 8 miles in the deluge and then headed over to TC Running Company looking for trail shoes.

I've worn Inov-8 for as long as I've been running ultras. After my first finish at McNaughton 100 I was offered a sponsorship from Inov-8 and have been the thankful recipient of 36 pair of shoes since then. I had never been fitted for a running shoe, I don't have any glaring problems that would need a corrective shoe so have done very well running in the Inov-8. Lately, however, it seems that I want more cushion, more substance on the bottom of my foot while running trail. I figured it was time to check out the market.

Kurt at TC Running Company brought out a dozen different pair of trail running shoes. I tried Adidas, Brooks, Asics, Montrail, Solomon and more. After running in all of the models I chose the third shoe I tried on: Brooks Cascadia. As soon as I slid my foot into the shoe I said "ahhh, nice and cushy" it had a great feeling. I ran in the shoe and loved the way it allowed my foot to toe off effortlessly. It almost felt as though the toe was curved upward.

Yesterday the rain had stopped but snow was in its place. Ugh. 28F, 45 mph winds and snowflakes with a 25 mile run on tap. It seems crazy, but the brand new shoes took the edge off of running in those elements! I was just amazed at how good they felt. My feet didn't have that running on flatness feeling, my legs didn't feel dead and my ankles felt great. I don't know if new shoes really make that much of a difference but in my mind they did.

Topaz rooted out grouse, turkey and deer from their hiding places. He was having as much fun as I. I brought along gels and heed, stopping at the car at 15 miles to refuel and refill. I never removed my winter running gloves or fleece ear band! Yeah, it was that cold, here. Instead of Happy May Day it was May Day! May Day! Topaz only soaked in the lake 2x, he was comfortable during our run.

After the run Troy and I headed off to the Science Museum to see the Omni film exhibit for King Tut. It was amazing. I enjoy the Science Museum so much, the exhibits never fail to amaze me. There were more than 100 authentic artifacts illuminating the lives of great rulers buried in the Valley of the Kings, including the most famous of them all—King Tut. We learned about Tut's ancestors who defined the 18th Dynasty and the pharaohs' function in Egyptian society and religion.

This training session has allowed no time for speed training, it's been all about endurance. This week I'll run a speed session at the track - first time in two years and try a hill workout at the ski hill. I'm anxious to add the two workouts into my weekly training regularly after Ice Age.