Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Fresh Frasiers

Another month passes and another challenge with the Daring Bakers.

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

I had intended on using fresh strawberries but when I was ready to create this challenge the berries were not yet ready to pick. Summer in Minnesota was a month late. This put our berry season back as well so I purchased cherries instead.

On the day that I decided to make this it was 103 degrees with a dew point of 81. Although I had the air going the inside air was still heavy. This may be part of the reason that my gelatin didn't 'gel' and my cream is more of a wet whip. I'm not really sure why I had a flop. Sometimes it just happens.

Troy and Steve both enjoyed this dessert. I am not into fruit and whip. If I'm going to have a dessert it will be heavy, dense, moist and chocolate :)

Here is my photo:

I almost tried this a second time and thought I'd add cocoa to the light cake layers with the strawberries that were eventually ready. Before I knew it the strawberries were eaten and the challenge date arrived!

Be sure to head over to Jana's blog to see how beautiful some of the fraisers turned out. If you are looking for a light fruity dessert this could be the one for you!

Monday, July 25, 2011

RazzyRoo Headband Review and Giveaway!

Cheryl at RazzyRoo Headbands contacted me to see if I was interested in conducting a test, review and giveaway of her Razzy Roo headbands. Well, hell yeah! I wear headbands all summer long. I wear them with my hair loose and long and wear them while I also wear a pony tail-they keep the stray sweaty wet hairs from sticking to my eyes.

I don't think a day has passed this summer that I haven't had a headband on for some part of the day. The past few years they have become so pretty: I love pink.

I tried both the Pink Diva Glitter 7/8" band (of course) and the Funky Runner Shazam headband.

Pink Diva Glitter: Awesome! Not only is it pretty and glittery but it has a velvet black inside that helps to stay put. The velvet is soft and really keeps the band in place. I wore Pink Diva all day at the Minnesota Zoo and it didn't give me a headache as some of the other band do; they are just too tight. I wore Pink Diva multiple times to lift at the gym, then to run on the treadmill and I didn't have any stray wet sweaty hairs getting it my face. Perfect!

Shazam Funky Runner is a wider band, light and stretchy material with a tapered back where it is placed at the back of the neck. I found I used it to keep sweat off of my face, it caught my bug spray and sunscreen while running. Awesome! I washed it with my swimming suits on gentle in the machine and line dried it. It is just as bright as it was when I first received it.

I get compliments on these bands every single time that I wear them. The Funky Runner is only $5! You can't go wrong. The Glitter band is $12, a great buy for a perfect strip of glittery prettiness. Oh yeah, I like.

I will have TWO winners of TWO headbands. Here is how to become a winner:

Become a follower of my blog, if not already one + 1 entry
"LIKE" RazzyRoo Headbands on facebook HERE and let them know that Julie Berg Run On sent you + 1 entry
Leave comment here + 1 entry
Leave comment on my Facebook page +1 entry

Two winners will randomly be picked on 8/1/11. You will LOVE your RazzyRoo Headband! (i hope i did this correctly...)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Wow, another BETA post! I would have never believed that the wonderful BETA weekend would have taken such a hold. 6 years so far, awesome. Thank you Scott Wagner for starting this 6 years ago. You'll have to go back to the other BETA posts for a history of what BETA is.

We were a group of 10 this year, heading up to our BETA house in Tofte, along the North Shore.

Check in is at 4 PM, I wanted to pick up the keys and have the house opened for the first arrivals near 5 PM.

I decided to run from Caribou Highlands on Friday. Some friends of mine were spending a few nights at Caribou Highlands so I was able to visit and borrow a shower! Good planning.

I ran from Caribou Highlands, to Oberg and back, 14.8 miles per the GPS. This route is along the 50K/25K/50M/100M Superior races so I know it like the back of my hand. It didn't disappoint. Such a beautiful trail. I spotted huge mushrooms, blueberries and raspberries. While picking berries I heard a thrashing in the woods and was afraid I'd find myself sharing the bush with Mr. Bear. Nope, Mr. Bear was Mr. Chipmunk! Ha!

The day was very humid and hot, a rarity for the North Shore, even in July. I was dripping wet and was struggling while climbing Moose Mountain and Mystery Mountain. My body is not the same as pre hysterectomy. I'm hot and sweaty all of the time and my heart rate is elevated while climbing. It is what it is, nothing I can do to change it. Just enjoy the surroundings around me and WALK. That's what I did.

I covered nearly 15 miles in 4 hours, took a cold shower and headed to the house. Maria, Doug and Bill arrived after I unpacked my gear and settled in. Nancy, Tom, Alicia and Jeffrey arrived next, then Guy and Jenny later in the evening.

For our run on Saturday, Nancy, Tom, Alicia and Jeffrey were headed to one end of the trail and the rest of us were headed for another. Doug was going to venture for a run on the trail with us instead of crewing which was a first. It was so great to have Doug running with us! When Doug mentioned he was going to run 11 miles instead of the 26 Maria, Bill, Guy and Jenny were going to tackle I quickly stated that I was in for 11 as well. I was feeling the Afton 50K two weeks prior and Friday's 4 hour run in my legs. 11 was perfect, I thought.

We dropped water and cars along the route and then began our run in Silver Bay. I love this section. Well, I guess I love all of the sections! Silver Bay to Tettegouche includes the Bean and Bear Lake overlook. So awesome and so many great memories of past races and past BETA's. We spoke of Pierre and John's crash here during BETA 1. Pierre stating "I'm Bonking!" John wishing for Red Bull! Good stuff.

By the time we reached 7 miles I was totally soaked and huffing and a puffing. My breathing was heavy, my heart rate was high and I was really having a hard time. I was sweating so heavily, as was everyone. It was hot and so so humid. Our bodies couldn't evaporate and cool in this humidity.

Bill lead the group and was quickly out of sight. Maria stopped to allow us to catch up atop a huge rock outcrop. I reached the top and just laid down flat on my back to catch my breath. Ugh. I stated that if we had a car right here I would stop and head back to the house. We were all going to be running out of water, it was so warm we were drinking more than planned.

I followed at the end of our train, winding up the trail. Eventually I told Doug to just keep on, I was going to take a walk break. I had to catch my breath. I couldn't run and breath correctly. I walked through a few shady areas, just taking in all of the beauty of the trail. I wasn't pissed off at all that I couldn't run through this, I was fine with walking along. This is just such a turn around for me. I have always loved running in the heat and humidity. My PR 100 Mile Race was at Lean Horse, at near 100 degrees. I found myself thinking deeply about many many things as I walked along. Eventually I began to zone out and wonder if I was on the correct route. I had better pay attention!

With the State Parks closed due to MN Government Budget disagreement, there weren't many people out on the trails near Tettegouche Park. I knew I was nearing the finish for me as signage posted the state park. Guy's car and water supply was at mile 11. I was so thankful to have made it this far! As I was coming down the end of the trail, Jenny was climbing back up to me, with a bottle of water in hand. Ahhh, I quickly drank the water she offered and called her my trail angel. As I came into the lot Doug poured me another bottle of water. Ah, refreshing! They had been resting 15 minutes before I arrived. Guy and Jenny decided to end the day at 11 miles too so we all took off and headed back to the house for more water and cold showers!

Doug, Guy and Jenny went back to pick up Bill and Maria. I believe Bill ran 18 and Maria 26. Lots of miles on a horrific humid day.

I hung out on the deck, reading, then walked along the rocks at our backyard, Lake Superior. It really was nice to be able to enjoy the house and landscape, not running all day into night. Nancy, Tom, Jeffrey and Alicia arrived with Tom and Alicia running 23 miles. Great work!

We had an incredible dinner, lots of fun conversation and made new friendships. Another BETA weekend, more memories and fun running. Next year: BETA VII!

*More photos posted on Facebook.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Graniteman Clearlake Triathlon

Well, I never imagined that this triathlon would be so much fun! It truly was. I really thought that all of the fussiness would take away from the fun in moving. It didn't.

I completed my first and only 'open swim' up at the cabin over the holiday earlier this week. My sister Laurie and I, along with a cabin neighbor who swims the bay every day, Gabbi, swam the bay together. It was quite nice. Gabbi's husband followed along in the pontoon incase we needed help. This took away any panic I might feel.

No panic was necessary. We glided across Wolf Bay on Lake Vermilion effortlessly. It was great fun.

I've felt a bit dehydrated from the Afton 50K I completed last Saturday. I felt like I was coming around just in time for this race. Good thing.

This morning I loaded up all of my gear-so much stuff: bike, helmet, gels, HEED, iPod, run shoes, flip flops, swim cap, goggles. Man alive. I decided to complete the whole tri in the same clothing: run shorts, run top. Easy peasy. I'd bike in my running shoes and run in them. Double duty.

My first impression was that I was impressed and that I was wrong with the stereotype I have of triathlon races. This was VERY laid back. The race was full so I thought it would be crowded. It wasn't.

I was directed to a perfect parking place under a tree, near the lake and then wandered up to the visitor center to check in. I learned that I was in Heat 1. This couldn't be! Heat 1 was for the Elites, I had read this online. OK, I went to get my shirt, bag, number, visor, towel, cap, all this stuff and to be marked. They marked me in Heat 1.

I went back to my car and looked at my iPhone. Yup, Heat 1 is for the Elite. Not me. Back I went explaining that I am not Elite and that I think I should be in Heat 10. OK, back to marking and please add a ZERO to the ONE you marked upon my leg thank you very much :)

I packed two bags. 1 with bike stuff, 1 with run stuff. I hauled both bags, bike and helmet to the transition area. I saw a bunch of bikes and asked someone if I could just make any place my home. Sure thing. I put my bike upon the rack, laid out a towel to place my bags. Bike bag: run shoes, socks, bottle with 3xHeed, gel, helmet. Run bag: 2xHeed, gel, iPod, sunglasses.

OK, I'm ok with this. Feeling good, not rushed, not the cluster f+ck I imagined a triathlon would be. Yay!

I see my friend Susan! She is uber triathlete. It was cool to see her here. I wander down to the lake area in my flip flops. There is a good .5 mile walk to the beach where we start. I realize I am the only one with my race number pinned to my shorts. I realize I am the only one wearing running shorts. Oh well. I am a runner.

I ask someone near me if we should have numbers on at this point. Nope, it causes drag in the water. OK. I unpin myself and tuck my number into my gel alley of my cleavage in my top. Good storage area.

Continue walking on to the beach area. I removed my flip flops and place in Bin 10, for heat 10. So glad I have the correct heat number upon my engorged calf as I lifted calves and back yesterday.

OK, here is the deal: Heat 1 goes first in the water, they start, then we wait three minutes and Heat 2 goes. AWESOME! Plenty of spacing between us. I'm liking this.

I hear two women in back of me speaking of Brook who is training for IM WI. I have to ask "Brook Wheeler" OMG, yes! So cool. We chat for a while and become friends. They are in my heat 10, too. Heat 10 is women 40-49 I believe.

OK, so the heats are taking off and 10 is up. Into the water I go. It is warm!! GO! We are off swimming. I'm doing my tri, baby! I swim along, just as happy as a damn clam. Nobody is near me, I can clearly see the big pink banner on the other side of the lake .52 miles away that I am aiming for me. Piece of cake. Really.

18 minutes.

Pretty soon I am to the shore. Out of the water, run! To the bike area. Heats 1-9 are already out of here and there are only 11 heats. It's pretty empty. I go to my bike, wipe off my muddy feet, towel off, put on socks and run shoes, chug a LOT of my 3x Heed (3 scoops-super strong), eat a gel, place the helmet upon my head and walk my bike out to the OUT BIKE sign. I'm off to bike! This is really cool. I am just one big smile.

4 minutes.

I pedal along, it's windy. Real windy. I pass a few people, know that I have 15 miles so take it easy. I don't want to tire out. IT's really hilly. It is SUPER windy! Up some hills, an overpass over 94 in St Cloud, buzzing around, me and my bike. So fun. I love it, totally love it.

I chug off my HEED and see I'm at Mile 10 already. Wow. That was fun. A few more miles and it's time to run baby.

15 miles biking.

1 hour, 2 minutes.

I walk my bike back to it's home in the transition area and don't have to do too much. Take off the helmet, chug my HEED, eat a gel, feet are great, grab iPod. I'm outa here! Run baby run!

1 minute, 17 seconds

We run up a huge hill, past a few farms and guess what I see? A TOPAZ in horse form! A pinto with black ears, brown over the eye, white face and yes, merle eyes. I couldn't believe it! I went back to get a photo but Topaz Horsey was gone. Boo. Soo cool.

We run off the pavement and hit some gravel. Water at the turnaround and do it again. So awesome.

Alright, here is the finish line: "Julie Berg from Big Lake and she is smiling" darn right, that was a blast!

29 minutes.

I see the two women I met at the swim, they congratulate me and say they saw me on the course and comment that I was smiling the whole way. Oh yeah, that was great fun.

Final finish: 1:54

Julie Berg 239th/331entrants Group: 22/30 109/147 Swim: 18:07 T1: 4:03
Bike: 1:02:30 T2: 1:17 Run: 29:00 Final Time: 1:54:00

Yup, total blast. Graniteman Big Lake is August 6, then the Olympic distance at Lake Marian Oly Triathlon.

Next up is BETA VI!! It's BETA time again up on the Superior Hiking Trail :)

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Afton 50K Race Report: Reroute: BRUTAL

Oh man, what a day!

Because of the State of Minnesota shutdown (government couldn't pass a budget)the non essential areas of government are closed. This includes the State Parks. Afton State Park is the location of the Afton 50K.

John Storkamp, our incredible RD, could have just canceled the race. We would have expected it. Instead he chose to go through more planning and headache and was granted permission to hold the Afton 50K at the Afton Alps, just next door to the Afton State Park. SWEET!

This meant yes, that the race would be held upon the ski hills and mountain bike trails. Would it be more difficult that Afton 50K or easier. I knew it would be more difficult. In the past I have spent many a day getting in ski hill repeats-ouch, but never along with a 50K run. Lordy.

Parking was fabulous. When Bill P guided me into a spot I had to ask "Bill, is this a Team Ortho race?" It was awesome!

Afton Alps gave the race the chalet and all of the fixings for the day. Amazing.

I looked at the beginning of the course and saw the flags going right up the frickin' first ski hill. Really?

Yeah, really.

After mingling a short while we were ready to get this party started. I walked to the back of the line-yup, dead last. I didn't care if I was DFL today (deaf effing last) it was better than a DNF (did not finish) and that was my mantra going into and while running the race.

It was hot. I was already sweating buckets. I reminded myself to take SCaps today at the aid stations, which I normally don't do. My body is different after the hysterectomy a few months back. It sweats more among other things!

I found myself with Les Martisko, a runner in his 60s who I began my ultrarunning with. I always used to run with Les in my early races, then I moved toward the front, now I was enjoying company with him upon the trail again. We had great conversations during the first half of the first loop.

Pretty soon I was running with Tom Andrews and Pat Gorman. We finished out the loop together, I really enjoyed running with them. I was quite worried about the race after finishing this first loop in 156. Climbing the ski hills at the end was crazy bad. It was hot-at 830 in the morning-I was sweating and gasping for air. Shitpie.

Into the start finish to crazy loud cheering "JULIE" it was so awesome! All of my friends, what a great experience! My bottle was filled, I grabbed Scaps and Hammergels and was out of there. I needed to keep this pace. I had heard 9 hours was the cut off so off I went.

Pretty soon Tom caught up to me. He explained we should run the flats and downhills, walk the ups of course and that way we would get in under 9. He was right on. I climbed the switchbacks, ski hills and ran the flats-which were few-as was shade-and ran the downhills. Hot hot hot. Wet wet wet. I don't know if I've ever sweat so much.

2nd loop was 200 again. OK, good deal. I can do this. I was happy to be 1/2 through. Again a chorus of "ICE BERG" "GO JULIE" it was fabulous fun. I took a bow and made everyone laugh. Or was that the 3rd loop? Who knows.

3rd loop I was on my own. I didn't really see anyone but sure was happy to get into the aid stations! Doug Barton was at AS1 and I was so happy to tell him "next time I see you I'll be on my 4th loop"! He filled my bottle and gave me ice and I was off. I was really enjoying this.

During the 3rd loop Duke Rembleski came upon me! I love Duke! I hadn't seen him in forever and was thankful that this was a 4 loop course so that I could walk and talk with him. He was on his 4th loop. It was so great to visit.

At 4.4 miles Helen Lavin and Maria Barton and crew were manning the station. It was great to come in each time and chat with happy smiling people! After a cooling off of ice water and sponges I felt revitalized! Off to get loop 3 finished.

At about 1 mile to the start/finish I heard JULIE! Oh my goodness, Eve Rembleski! Yahhoo I love Eve too! She was running strong in back of me, I waited for her to catch up and pass so I could run after her a yell out a few words! Eve took 1st woman/7th overall. So great to see you!

The 3rd loop came to an end, another loud chorus of HERE COMES JULIE and I could only laugh! I had the worse chaffing ever. My shorts and top were so soaked and rubbing on me, completely rubbed me raw. Cheri brought me over a big canister of Vaseline that really helped. Nancy washed me off with ice water oh, so wonderful. Holly filled my hat with ice, I grabbed watermelon and proceeded to drop it upon Eves toes! Nancy did the bending down for me to pick it up.

3rd lap was 2:11 OK, let's get this party moving.

The 4th lap I was just so darn grateful that I was going to finish this beast! It was truly a beast. I had chafing from hell but that was the only complaint. My legs weren't tired (why??), no blisters-Foot Potion-and I was truly happy to be out on the course.

As the 4th lap came to an end I surprised myself by tearing up. Pretty soon I was sobbing. On one hand I tend to think I should be able to run as fast and as hard as pre hysterectomy and on the other, more sane hand, I am just so grateful to be running again. I was crying because I am so thankful to be able run again. This felt like my McNaughton 100 wins. Really.

I finished the race in 830, in good form. I was able to run my fastest as I ran over the finish line.

Thank you so much to all of the volunteers, Cheri and John, all of you out there. It was an incredible day and I'm just so thankful that I was able to experience it.

Now I must pack up my food and head up to the Lake. Happy 4th of July :)