Monday, October 08, 2012

Twin Cities Marathon 2012

No pain, all gain!  That's the race in a nutshell for me.   It is everything. It is positive. It is splendid.

Last year I entered the 2011 Twin Cities Marathon but unfortunately with my herniated discs there was no way I was going to be able to run, much less volunteer or cheer anyone on. I could barely get through the day without Advil, traction and PT.

What a difference a year can make!

I've run races since I've recovered from my hysterectomy and herniated discs. I've run races longer than marathon distance but running Twin Cities Marathon really brought back the feelings I had last year at this time. 

As I ran along the course, taking in the beautiful sunshine, the awesome crowds of cheering spectators, the vibrant colored leaves, sparkling blue lakes...yes, it was that beautiful, I felt myself choking up. I was only a few miles into the race and I had this hyperventilating feeling, sobs caught in my throat. 

I was thinking about last year, about this year, about all that has happened to me. I thought about how I really felt during that dark time. I really believed that not running was ok. I truly felt that all I wanted was to be able to get through a day without pain. I had to believe that, to keep my mind. What other choice did I have? I remember telling the ER doctor at the Princeton Hospital that I didn't need to run, I just wanted to be pain free as he told me to take Aleve  and Oxycodone so that I could run, oh, and here is a Percocet to get through the hour. No thanks.

Last November I began to string days together without pain, I even began to run a bit. I realized how running had become a part of me. How 14 years of running had somehow created a runner out of me.

While running Twin Cities Marathon yesterday I realized how not being able to run broke my heart and tormented my soul. My heart and soul is now healed. My discs are healed. It's been a long haul, but I'm on the other side of it now. 

The race was fabulous.

I lined up in Corral 2 with two incredible women from my beginning running class. I"ve been coaching them since June.

Their goal was to 
1) finished the marathon 
2) finish in sub 5 hours
3) finish in 430
I always suggest a few goals, you just don't know how the day is going to turn out and a finish is always a good thing!

We began by lining up with the 430 pacer. There was a group of 20 or so of us. Our leader told us that as long as we could see her balloons at the finish we would be over the line prior to 430. She told us she would cross the finish line at 426 and everyone in her vicinity would finish sub 430.  She spoke the truth!

The course didn't seem crowded to me at any point. Maybe I'm just in a different place, holding a different perspective. I wasn't irritated by the spectators, by the 10000 runners and I normally am! I was just so damn thankful to be out there.

The sun was shining brightly, there was   a stiff wind, it was cold. I decided to wear, after much thought, my skirt sports pants with skirt. The extra layer of skirt would keep my butt warm. I had on gloves they were giving away at the expo and an ear band that was in our packet bag. I wore my Patagonia wind jacket and a long sleeved Psycho Wyco 50K finish shirt.  I hoped I wouldn't get too warm. That would really suck, but I didn't want to be cold either.

I knew that Bonnie would be at mile 10, Maria at mile 24 and Tom and Nancy at Summit and Victoria. I wanted to make sure to see my friends at these points. 

The day! It was so beautiful. The leaves in full color, the grand homes around Lake Calhoun, Harriet and Lake of the Isles. Fabulous!  The families out in their yards, cheering us on. The zillions of people lining the road with signs and encouragement. It really is amazing and I just soaked it all in.

I saw Bonnie at Cedar and 51st and gave her a huge hug and jumped up and down!  I love her so. We began this crazy running endeavor in 2002 when we first met and are still going strong. She was Course Marshall.  Filled with renewed happiness I continued along the route, about to hit Lake Nokomis. Sweet. FANS 24 Hour Home. I thought about my 116 mile race here, the couple 104s, a few 80s. Sweetness. 

I trotted along and soaked in the humanity. The positive vibes. What a great day. So thankful to be out running Twin Cities Marathon. My 10th TCM, my 45th marathon.

I didn't speak with anyone but Todd Rowe along the course. He noticed my Psycho Wyco shirt and gained my attention. He hadn't been looking forward to the race until the day before. He talked of his Superior 100 finish and I think he was just tired from all of the summer running. I know that feeling-Superior 100 in early September and TCM the following month. I remember.  I told him my perspective had changed. I was so grateful to be out on the course, running. I probably preached too much about my happiness but it was how I was feeling. He told me later that my positiveness reached him. That's awesome!

Running into St. Paul feels good. I was tired, but not in any pain, I knew that mile 20 was here and the next 6 are always tiring. Just knowing that I am near the end makes the feeling of being tired compound itself. Running along Summit is a blast. 

I caught Maria out of the corner of my eye as I was passing, but couldn't get her attention. I looked for Tom and Nancy at Victoria but didn't find them. Past the colleges, the Governor's Mansion, the beautiful trees, the awesome church and the incredible finish line. There it was!  I made it to the end..pain free. No Advil, no blisters, no chafing. Just right.

Blessed. Joyful. Gratitude. 


My clients came it at 4:45! Woop woop!

I believe Wild Duluth Ultramarathon is up next...October 20th.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Voyageur Trail Marathon

I'm second row in pink/black skirt with ponytail. Hard to find!

With the recent floods in Duluth nobody really thought that the Voyageur Trail Marathon would take place this summer. Much of the course no longer exists as raging water took it away. It's horrifying and amazing at the same time.

Last week we learned that the 1/2 Voyageur (Marathon) and Voyageur 50 Mile Ultramarathon would in fact take place. Our RD's, the City and many volunteers created a reroute. We are still unsure of the whole course route for the 50 Miler taking place in two weeks but we know that it will be taking place. This is nothing short of amazing!  Andy and Kris could have slated trail work days instead of races on these dates and we would have been understood and been ready to lend a hand. Instead they saved the race for the runners. Amazing.

I didn't decide to run the Trail Marathon until after I ran 25K at Afton the week before. I really wasn't sure how my herniated discs would hold up. They were fine after 3.5 hours of trail running so I wanted to see how they would do in the 6 hour range.  I mailed in my entry and was set to go.

2 AM came quite quickly on race day. I wanted to be at Troy's Friday night baseball game so decided to leave dark and early from home by 3 AM.  I prepped a chicken breast to eat on the drive to Duluth the night before along with a post race fruit salad with another chicken breast.  I've found that grains really send the inflammation sky high and have been able to run without the usual oats, breads and pasta carbo load of the past.  Fruits and veggies, good clean  proteins are working just fine. Today I complete cycle 2 of TheWhole 30. It works for me.

I arrived to the Duluth Zoo, start and finish, by 515 so had plenty of time to check in and visit. I wasn't too apprehensive about this distance, I was more apprehensive as to making a decision about the 50 miler two weeks later on relatively the same course.  Today I'd have my answer.

We began running at 6, 100 some of us, I believe. I saw many old friends who I hadn't seen in quite some time. I hadn't run this race since 2003!  I was looking forward to it.

About a mile into the race we climbed Spirit Mountain-the ski area in Duluth. Straight up that sucker! It reminded me of all the days I've spent climbing the ski hills in preparation for Superior Sawtooth 100 miler. I will be having more of those days in the future. Up Up Up. I was looking forward to the way back, we'd be running right on down, into the finish!

After the ski hill we crossed an area that reminded me of the Superior Hiking Trail-which we actually followed once or twice. I did spy the telltale blue blazes here and there. Lots of roots, rocks - beautiful trail through pines. I stopped and hugged a huge white pine. It smelled SO wonderful and I was just SO happy to be out there.

We ran through Jarrows Beach which is a jumble of boulders. Well, more like walked and hopped through, rather than run!  I kept thinking I was so glad we weren't doing this in the rain or in the dark. It would have been so much more difficult. I didn't know if we were doing this section on the way back or not.

Here is a photo from Lisa Messerer of the section. You can see the pink flagging depicting the trail. Yeah, that's pretty rocky!

I was glad to get out of this section on onto a more level piece of trail!

The course took us along Skyline, I was able to recognize much of that area, past the Beck's Road aid station of the 50 Miler, into the grassy, rolling ski trails of Magney. When I hit the bike path, which is was washed away near Carlton, I knew I was approaching the Power Lines-the trademark of the Voyageur Races.  They were in great shape this race!  A little tacky for good grip, not muddy or dusty. Really seemed strange that they weren't the toughest section of the race. We didn't do all of them, maybe 3 or 4 is all. We didn't even go through them on the way back - we made a left turn and came back through Mission-bypassing all of them. Wow. Shocker.

The way back was much easier. I seemed to be running downhill most of the time. I wasn't tired, I felt in good shape. The aid stations were sparse on food. I needed to remember this was  a marathon, not an ultra, so ultra food (lots of fruit, potato, etc) wouldn't be around. I was able to find grapes and they were serving Ultima. I remembered that Ultima was not an energy supplement, it is an electrolyte. I used only one SCAP and ate bananas and grapes for fuel.

I just enjoyed the day. I looked at my watch at approximately 13 miles and was at 315 or so. I figured 630 would get me to the finish. With the earlier start time of the 50 miler, 6 vrs 7 am, I would have 7 hours to get to Mile 25. This was doable in my current state.

As I returned back toward the start, now the finish, I took time to ask how I was feeling. I felt good, had energy, feet were in good shape. I asked myself if I wanted to try 50 miles in two weeks. Am I ready? What if my discs hurt? Am I willing to DNF if they cause pain? Can my fragile egg shell brain take a DNF? I won't know if I can run 50 miles unless I try it. Am I willing NOT to try it because I'm afraid of a DNF?  Round and round my brain went, asking these questions.

As I neared the last few miles I began to have emotional outbursts. I KNEW I wanted to run 50 miles again. I KNEW I wanted to press down the fear and try it anyway. I KNEW I could do it. I began to sob. Yes, I'll try the 50 miler. It's been a long time. It will be uncomfortable, it will be difficult, but being able to complete it..will be worth it. I may not have any disc pain at all. If I do, I'll have to stop. I won't know unless I try.

At the next aid station I asked about Jarrow's Beach. I was told I wasn't going to be running through it again. Yay!  Happy day!  I was ready to run onto the finish.

Down the ski hill this time, letting the gravity take me down. I was enjoying the view of the lake and the feel of the finish coming before me.

I ran into the finish and heard a lot of clapping and one voice above all the rest. ICE BERG!  Yup, John Storkamp, cheering me on.  I finished in 607, felt strong and happy.

I couldn't pull myself away. I visited for a few hours with so many friends that I haven't seen in too long. It really was a great day. Thank you to the RDs for saving the race, all of the volunteers and my friends. To Lisa, who took these photos. What a fun time I had. I'm looking forward to the 50 in two weeks. Scared as hell, but looking forward to it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rum River 5K

Coach Ryan at CrossFit Beyond Sport challenged us to run the Rum River 5K. Many of our members hadn't yet run a race, some had run a 10K in the WOD a few weeks ago for the first time, others had only begun to run days prior.  Everyone was up for the challenge!  

Ryan volunteered to help out with the race and before he knew it he was setting up, tearing down, registration, timer, oh, and running the race, too!

I ran this one a few years ago with the women I coached in Big Lake. We picked this one out as their first race. I was excited to go back and run.

Troy had a baseball tournament at 1000 so I would be running.. and running off to the game. No time to chit chat afterward and I wouldn't be able to take part in the CrossFit for Hope workout. Maybe next time.

It was a warm morning, so nice to only drive 15 miles to the start!  We took photos, registered and tried to calm nerves. It was so much fun to see so many first timers ready to take their first race steps!!

I wore my watch as I find that when I don't my mind gives me trouble. I am running hard, breathing hard, and thinking I'm not running hard enough? Then I think I am running too hard. It's ridiculous. I began my watch as I crossed the start and paid attention. I didn't want to over run, I was going to run fast (for me) but not so fast that I bonked early.

As I looked down I saw 734 pace. Too fast, back off. Let's aim for 8s. I passed a large group of people and just ran steady. The route was an out and back, so I could see CBS members as they came back. Ryan was out front. As I came back I cheered on the runners that were in back of me. Everyone was giving it all they had.

Across the finish line and there was a PR for me!  The watch paid off, I kept it steady and was able to maintain my pace. I cheered in our runners and then had to head off to the game for Troy.

When I reached the field I saw that Susan had posted to FB a photo of Ryan with my 2nd Place Age Group winner medal!  Sweet!!  I didn't realize I had placed. The age group was 35-49. Cool.

Three of us placed from the gym. Here are some photos and details:

17 Beyond Sport CrossFitters ran the Rum River 5k on Saturday. Not only did we show up in force but as it turns out, CrossFit helps you become better than average at running without doing it all the time! (Despite what Trish might say about us). Our team took home 3 silver medals out of 8 divisions. We were also joined by our friends from CrossFit St. Cloud who turned out several athletes and threw down a workout after the race.
Rob Gutkaes 2nd, Men’s 50+ Division
Julie Berg 2nd, Women’s 35-49 Division
Coach Avery 2nd, Men’s 18-34 Division


I see that I have posted the last few blog posts to DRAFTS. I'll bring them back up and post into blog.

As you know, I began CrossFit March 1. After a few weeks of learning the ropes, our Coach offered up a challenge.  The challenge was to complete the workout 'FRAN' on Day 1. Fran consists of thrusters and pullups, in sequence of 21, 15, 9 for time. (21 thrusters-21 pull ups, 15 thrusters-15 pull ups, 9 thrusters-9 pull ups)  Here is the workout

We would then follow a Zone nutrition program for 28 days. on Day 28 we would again complete the Fran workout. The goal was to improve time and strength, improve body composition, record daily nutrition and workouts.

After completing TheWhole 30 and feeling excellent I was a bit apprehensive about changing the nutrition up a bit, but I was willing to try it. I had never tried zoning before and as long as I'm not eating sugar, splenda or processed crap I'm willing to try and learn.

I added back in .5 cup of oats each morning and learned immediately that it caused inflammation. I could feel the swelling immediately. After a few weeks I dropped the oats again as I could feel my discs  began to squeek. Not cool. The one thing that did puzzle me was that oats were on the preferred carb list but sweet potato on the non preferred carb list. Interesting. I don't have any inflammation from sweet potatoes. 

I did see some members 'bastardize' the zone. You know, zoning a snickers with a preferred carb, etc. "It's still zoned". Meh.  I just kept my opinions to myself.  

My workouts rocked, running was great, no problems. Except I was hungry. Coach had me add in a few blocks of fat near the end of the challenge and that helped immensely. I should have added in more fats much earlier!

Below is the synopsis from Coach Ryan, posted to his website.

"Performance Improvement Champion: Julie Berg 40% FASTER
Julie is an Ultra Marathoner but has only been doing CrossFit for a few months. While endurance is no problem for her, a high power output workout like Fran was a daunting task early on. Julie performed the workout with 55# for the thrusters and using our black (medium) band for the pullups at the start and end of the competition to compare time improvement. She took her time on this workout from 13:30 down to just 8:29 in just 28 Days. Julie was the runner-up in the points division with just 1 point shy of perfect on the logging, total blocks, balanced meals, and favorable carbs part of the contest. She might have lost just a few points for not following through on some of the recovery days but did an overall excellent job. All these numbers mean Julie finished the same amount of work in 60% of the time with just 28 days of high performance fuel and training. Wow."

Yah, so I took over 5 minutes off my time and lost 2.6 pounds of fat. I logged every bit of food for 28 days but I didn't take off the 4th day as a rest day. I'm OK with that. I imagine a zoned paleo challenge would work well for me, too.

I do prefer the squeaky clean of Whole30, however, so that is where I will stay. I am really looking forward to the release of It Starts With Food, by the authors of TheWhole 30, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I think I can talk Coach into a Whole30 challenge for the CrossFitters!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

CrossFit MURPH

1 Mile Run
100 Pullups
200 Pushups
300 Squats
1 Mile Run

I didn’t post an outcome for the CrossFit Murph workout last week!  It was just awesome!

You know, I wasn't sure if I could do it..then figured why not at least try, right?  Yay!

I had spent the weekend in Virginia so drove home early Monday so that I could be in St Cloud prior to 1:00. I wasn’t sure how the workout would go down. Would we all complete it at the same time-there were 50 some people taking part. I figured I would learn the details soon enough.

I had never visited another box so was curious as to how CrossFit Fast Factory would look. I drove along, looking for the building and sure enough, there was the long building. It was a warm day so it was very nice that there were big garage doors open, letting in lots of air.

As soon as I checked into the desk area I saw members of my box-CrossFit Beyond Sport- waving me order. I signed a waiver, was given a shirt and dropped off a tray of fruit and chicken wings to offer toward the paleo picnic after our workout.

There were many many pullup bars, all intermingled together, lots of bands for scaling the workout, boxes to help us up to the bars and tons of space for the push ups. It is a pretty large box. 

We watched a quick film on Murph-the soldier whom this workout is named after and then we were ready to get down to business.

Groups of 15 or so began to line up as heats for the 1 mile run. I decided to begin in heat 3. Three minutes after Heat 1 began, then Heat 2 would begin. We were given an outline of the mile we would run-cross streets-etc. I figured I’d just follow the group. 

Heat 3 began and off I went!  I didn’t go real fast, just steady. Needed to save my legs for 300 squats and another mile run at the end!

The end of the mile returned me to the CrossFit Fast Factory. 8:10. I ran to the pull up bars, one with a black band and began my pullups. My plan was to break up the workout in sets of 20 for a while. 20 pull ups, 20 pushups and 20 squats. Squats were easiest for me, they were a break from all of the upper body work. Back and forth I went, pull up, push up, squat, repeat 20 times!  It was quite the workout! I was a sweaty dripping mess and wishing that I had a head band on to keep the sweat out of my eyes!  I was looking forward to the mile run to finish this up. My arms were on FIRE! 

I looked around and everyone was just working incredibly hard!  The determination, the power and the focus. It really was cool to look around and take it all in.

Finally I counted off my last set and was ready to rock the run.  Out I went, feeling the sunshine and stiff breeze. I realized a storm was brewing!  About a half mile in to my run it began to rain, nice and cool, perfect!  My last mile was 9:16. Sweet. 
39:43 was my final time for the Murph.

I sat down on a box and tried to get the sweat to stop pouring off of my face!  I didn’t think about bringing anything to change into-I was soaked.  After cheering in my CrossFit Beyond Sport members I was ready to head home and shower.

Great workout-can’t wait to try it again without the scaling!  I used the medium band this version for pull ups.  I didn’t have to scale the push ups. I'd like to string together strict pull ups so I can try the Games next year-and complete Murph without any scaling.

My lats and shoulders were sore for three days!  Going into Minneapolis Marathon a few days later I could still feel the DOMS.

Minneapolis Marathon: 2012

Running the Minneapolis Marathon was a back up plan for me after I fell during a Zumbro 100 training run  upon the course in late March. While training in the months following that fall I learned that I was only able to run 30-40 miles before I felt the familiar disc pain.  Instead of sucking it up and then hurting myself further I scratched my 100s off of the summer schedule.

Really, I am just happy to be able to run each day. After the five month layoff this past year I am thrilled to be able to run  a marathon!

Without any speed training I wasn’t sure what I would be able to do for Minneapolis Marathon.  I had been logging long slow hours in training for the 100s.  I decided I’d run Minneapolis slow and easy and use it as a baseline of where I’m at marathon wise, then focus on marathon training during the next four months and take a stab at a faster Twin Cities Marathon.  I think I will look up my Boston Qualifier time and perhaps plan a little trip out East.

I enjoy Team Ortho races very much as the organization is impeccable, the volunteers are amazing, the swag is top notch and the races aren’t crowded. Yet. There were less than 1000 in the marathon, sweet!

Race start was 630 AM. I woke up before 4 as usual. I just don’t sleep well since my hysterectomy and wonderful menopause. Plenty of time to dress, eat and pack for the race. Instead of the oats that I normally ate in the past for races I opted for a hunk of chicken breast and half of a sweet potato along with coffee. 

I arrived to the race site by 530, a good hour before start time. Time to lube up my feet, attach my number, get my gear in order.

We were able to use The Depot Hotel for the bathrooms and such, very  nice. The start wasn’t even crowded. I wandered around the avenue, walking up to the start, checking out the different pace teams-with only 1000 people running the marathon it wasn’t crowded at all.  There were huge gaps of space.

It was going to be a warm day, a high of 80 was forecast. I was sure to wear Skinceutical’s SPF 50, hat and glasses and I carried my own water bottle and gels.

The course had been altered due to flooding at Pike Island. We ran past the Guthrie Theatre, around the Dome,  along the Mississippi, into Fort Snelling State Park, finishing at Bohemian Flats along the river. It really is a nice course-plenty of water and gels at the aid stations, tons of volunteers.

I just took it all in, checked out the relay runners-one group was dressed in full hockey attire. When I began to feel hot I thought of them. When I began to feel tired I thought about the fact that I had been going to run Kettle 100 this day, and my friends running FANS 24 Hour Run. I didn’t feel quite so tired anymore!

A few times I heard JULIE BERG yelled out.  I looked and saw Donna Rae waving at mile 4 and again at mile 18 as she was running the race, too.  There were a few out and back sections where we could see the other participants. At mile 14 Brook passed me up and I saw Marie riding along the course on her bike at mile 24 or so. Very cool!  Very fun!

I reached the halfway point at 2:11, figured I’d finish before 5:00 and I was fine with this. I wasn’t sure how 5 hours of pavement would feel to my discs but I hadn’t any pain yet so I just went with the flow.

By mile 20 I was feeling the heat and turned on my iPod. It felt good to listen to some music and turn my thoughts off.  The 430 pace group was just ahead so I decided to run into the finish with them. I plodded along, enjoying the sights, enjoying the downhill cruise into the finish.

As I crossed the finish line I was handed a bag of food:  chips, banana, salted nut roll, popcorn and a bottle of water. So convenient, instead of  walking all over the finish looking for water!  A medal was placed around my neck and I spotted the bus next. I walked up to the bus, waited about 2 minutes in line and rode the bus back to the start where my car was. That took a whole 7 minutes.  I didn’t feel the need to hang around the finish to eat burgers and drink beer, ha!  I was anxious to get home and spend the Sunday with my family. 

Great race, great day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


 Getting My STRONG on!!

The last day to enter the CrossFit Murph event was May 7. I went through a scaled back version in my garage and decided yup, I can do this!

1 Mile Run
100 Pull Ups
200 Push Ups
300 Squats
1 Mile Run

I'm psyched!  No, not psycho! Psyched!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Sprint. Jump. Pull. Push. Press. Squat. Sprint. RUN.

That's CrossFit. Sprinting, jumping, pulling, pushing, pressing, squatting and more sprinting. I love it. I'm having such a great time!  I began with two sessions a week and then found myself attending three each week and last week I attended 4. Sweet progression.

I am PRing in everything. My strength amazes me. When I compare myself to others in the box, which I try not to do, I am pretty close to the bottom, but when I compare myself to where I began, I am certainly getting better. My disc damaged side is much weaker and I really struggle with that..but I'm doing the best I can. 

I find CrossFit much more fun than lifting for 45 minutes at the gym, by myself, same lifts, same thing. With CrossFit I am still lifting heavy but doing so much more!  The workouts are varied, fast, incredible moves that I have never completed before.

Steve and Troy built me a jump box!  Yes, a box which I jump onto. It's 20 inches tall, wood, portable. I haul it from the garage to the grass. When I first completed box jumps at CF I was afraid, I held Susan's hand because I was sure I was going to kill myself.  It was a 14" box!  I moved to 16" and now am not afraid of a 20". They will be building me a 24" box soon, I am sure!

We are running a competition right now. Last Saturday we completed "FRAN" which consists of thrusters and pull ups. I completed my workout in 13:30. We had our time recorded, our body weight, our weight lifted, measurements. In 4 weeks we'll see how we progressed. I love it!

On Memorial Day there is a "MURPH" workout contest at a box in St. Cloud. MURPH consists of this:

1 Mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

7 members of our box are entering and I think I'm going to as well. It will be difficult, but if it was easy I wouldn't be interested. I have to register by May 7 so I need to decide. Quickly.

I'm increasing my mileage on road for the next few weeks as I have the Minneapolis Marathon the first week of June.  I enjoyed it very much last year and since I'm out for Kettle 100, Minneapolis Marathon will do :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dreams Do Come True!

A few weeks ago I received  a text from Tyler "I am thinking about running the 5K Earthday at SCSU. Do you want to?"  Imagine the huge smile upon my face as I text back one word "YES!" Of course!  Then I became protective of my feelings, and told Troy I didn't want to get too excited just incase Tyler decided he didn't want to do this after all.

When Tyler came home at Easter he told me he had entered and he was still up for it. I was so excited. I let myself become excited all over again. I entered and just waited for the date to arrive.

Last night we ran Tyler's first event. It was so much fun!

Tyler is attending college at SCSU so he picked up our packets after classes at 3. I met him in St. Cloud at about 4. We were upgrading his phone, began that process, which was taking forever, so left the phone and everything there after an hour and half and went to the college for the race start.

It was a beautiful evening.  55F, sunny, perfect. As Tyler showed me around the campus we ran into two of his friends who were also running. These were guys he works with, I hadn't met them before. Very fun.  We walked around campus and then headed to the start line. We lined up way in the back, we were in no rush, just taking our time, going to run Tyler's longest run!

There were 2000 people in front of us, after the race began we jogged up the start line and headed out. I was just beaming!  Here I was, running with my SON. My son who cheered and watched me run MY first race, my FIRST marathon and so many more. I was so emotional, full of happiness.

Tyler was a champ!  He led the pace and gave me a narrative of the campus, of his friends who live in what dorms, what houses, where they hang out. It was just great. We clipped along the campus, dorms, river, lake and back to the start/finish area.  We waved at ourselves on the big screen TV . As we ran along I saw a man wearing a jacket I have: Superior Sawtooth 100!  Hey! Superior Sawtooth 100!!  I screamed. He looked at me and waved, I fist pumped and continued this blessed run onto the SCSU football field. We held hands, put our other arms into the air and celebrated running across the finish line.  Together.

A dream come true.

I had always dreamed that one day I would run with my boys. They have both run for football and baseball but they have never run just to run. I'm so glad that Tyler is now doing just that.  He even said the M word. Marathon.  Crazy hu? Nope, not at all. During our race he said "who is this guy, running a race, Mom?  Who knows, one day I could do a marathon".

After the race we went to pick up his finally upgraded phone and then to CherryBerry for yogurt. I had such a great time. We both did.

Thank you, Tyler.

Friday, April 06, 2012

40 Does Not 100 Make

Can you just hear that in my sing song voice? Well, 40 Does Not 100 Make!  I know you can.

Yeah. This disc thing. I hadn't had any pain December to March 17, when I fell. Since then I've slowly been getting better. The good:  I took time off, I knew what the pain was, where it was coming from, where it was radiating too. I learned my lesson. I didn't continue running through it-although give me a break-I didn't know what the pain was about the first time through so continued to run.  Until I couldn't. 

I am able to get through the day without Advil, Oxycodone, I'm finished with the steroids. I'm on the mend.

I can CrossFit-I continue to attend at least two classes a week. I still suck at snatches (I better not get spam for that word!!) and burpees but I don't hurt. Last night the WOD was a 5K run. Sweet :)

I can lift heavy. I am at Gold's 3-4 times a week. I have made amazing strength gains. I can't even believe it sometimes. I am strong.

I can run. I can run. I can run. I can run 6-7 hours and then I feel pain. At about 40 miles, the discs let me hear them. I can feel the whole nerve scenario, the hand numbing, etc. Now, when I felt this last summer I continued to run until I couldn't. When I couldn't - I couldn't. No run, no weight training, no grocery shopping, no sleeping, no walking. I don't want to go there again.

I have to be happy with a 50K, a 40 mile run, a daily run with my Topaz. I have to be happy being able to get through the day without pain, lift heavy, attend

I have to be happy not running  Zumbro 100. Well, I don't have to be happy about it, but I should at least feel smart about it. Instead of feeling like a pussy. Maria told me I am not a sissy! I can volunteer. I can run 50K, 40 miles, while out at the race. I can have fun. I will have fun. Cheers!

No More Spam!

As many of you noticed I closed my blog for a few weeks. I have been receiving SO much spam, links to sites with viruses, a zillion offers to read this book, try this lotion, post a review on your blog. Ugh. No.

I have tried out a few other hosting options but they are too busy with too many bells and whistles and I just don't have any need for all that jazz.

Instead of making all kinds of changes I simply won't allow just anyone to comment. I'll have to OK each comment before it is posted. I didn't want to bother with that but I guess I will.

Thanks for all of the FB messages, emails and texts. Wow. I had no idea. Really. Thank you.

Zumbro Fat Ass: 2012 Edition

For quite a few years we've had awesome fun Zumbro Fat Ass runs. We would  have a group of 20 or so head down to Zumbro River Bottoms where Larry would mark out a crazy course of running for for us. 2 hours, 8 hours, pick your poison. Lots of fun.

A few years ago Larry created Zumbro 100 upon our Fat Ass course. I have never had the chance to run it as of yet. The race takes place in early April and I was usually running McNaughton 100.

This year I tried a few times to get a group to head down Zumbro way. It was like pulling teeth!  After posting on FB a few times I finally had a bit of interest. I set the date for last Saturday. If no one showed, oh well, I would show.  I wanted to get 40 or so miles to feel ready for the race.

John Storkamp, present RD for Zumbro 100 chimed in and stated that he and Joe would join in.  That sparked interest in a few other guys. Pretty soon we had a group of 8 or so.

I woke up at 2 AM so that I could be in Hastings bright and early, well, not follow John and Joe to Zumbrota.  I didn't think I'd be able to find it in the dark. That's an understatement!  I'm so glad I followed!

We arrived to FA headquarters a bit before 6. Met up with Edward, Jeremy and Tony, a group I hadn't met before, Jason and I'm forgetting a guy. Damn.  Kelly was going to be out around 10 AM, whom I hadn't met before either. It was really cool meeting these people for a long run.

We started in the dark, using headlamps. I believe Joe forgot one, but he didn't seem to have any difficulty navigating the trails. I brought up the rear, enjoying the conversation around me. I was trying to pay attention to where we were are I was going to run another loop, probably solo, and really didn't want to become lost.

Eventually the sun rose, it was a beautiful day. No bugs, the snow was gone, not muddy, just nice running. Really. We stopped for a refill of water that we had stashed earlier, refilled on gels and ran along.

My god, the hills!  I kind of forgot how hilly it is at Zumbro. Since I've healed from herniated discs, I've been building mileage, I've gone from 0 miles to a 40 mile long run in a few months. Distance is all I've concentrated on. No speed, no hills. I certainly was feeling it!

As we were running along, Jason and I became separated from the rest. I was SO much slower than these guys. Duh. The speedsters and yeah, then me. It was not like the old days, you know, Larry, Don, Bob, Bonnie, Maria and I would chat and run. Walk. Eat. Pee. Run. Walk. Climb a hill. Take a break. This felt like all out running  for me. I couldn't keep up. I think Jason took pity upon me and hung back so I wouldn't become lost. Poor guy!  I felt bad but I felt more relieved that he stayed.

We came upon Tony at one intersection and he told us he broke  his frickin' arch of his foot!  He was limping along, in pain. I couldn't believe he was still out there, moving. He figured it wasn't going to get any worse so he just tolerated it. Wow.

The guys waited at a grassy open area so we all caught up again. I caught my air, had some water and we were off. Dang. I forgot to pee.

We climbed climbed climbed, Tony was in back of me and before I knew it he was no longer there. I swear we climbed a mile or more, straight fucking up. I couldn't see. Sweat was rolling into my eyes with nice sunblock. Yum.

I finally made it to the top and looked Tony. Luckily he seemed to find his way good enough, unlike me, so we weren't too worried about him.

After about 5 hours I couldn't keep up. I walked up a hill and saw the last of the guys. I figured if they took a turn or something from the main trail they would draw an arrow in the dirt or throw a branch over the trail that I shouldn't take.  I ran along for a while, enjoying the views, the birds, just enjoying the run.

I came upon Ant Hill, going down. Edward had stated 'its all downhill from here' a while back, so I figured I should go down. But then I thought I should continue forward because there were no tracks that I could see here and there was nothing that made me think I should go down-marker or otherwise so I continued on and on and on, a mile, two miles..then I decided I better turn back. I kept thinking about Edward and the downhill statement.  Back I went, down down down Ant Hill. I yelled out a few times and sure enough, 30 minutes or so later I came up to them waiting for me. Thank goodness!

We ran along, heading back to the start. I knew I could never run another 5 hour loop with them. I'd have to go on my own.

We came into the start area and there were Lynn and Darrel. Lynn had just returned from running on her own and wasn't going to be going back out. The guys were going to eat and rest a bit before going out again. I refilled my bottles and had John walk me back to the trail. I took a bunch of wrong turns, but decided to run the well marked signed areas.

After 10 more miles or so I was coming down a hill, I tripped over a rock and boom!  Down I went, hard, right on my butt. I could feel my spine jar. Fuck. Double Fuck.

Immediately I felt the nerve pain zing from my spine through my shoulder, down my arm into my hand and fingers. I got up, shook myself off and began to walk back toward the start. I was only a few miles out. I help my arm across my front, just like I had been doing only months prior.

So many thoughts going through my brain. What business do I have running so much when only a few months ago I couldn't run at all. Well, so should I never try...and never know..just because I 'might' get hurt. I could have fallen on a five mile run and hurt myself. I don't back and forth I went.

As I came into Tony's campsite, John, Lynn, Edward, Darryl and Joe were hanging out. "Why are you holding your arm, Julie" "Why are you back, Julie" "what's wrong"  I told the story and just took it easy. My hand went numb again, I popped a few Advil, changed clothes and just enjoyed visiting with my friends for a while.

Kelly finished up her run, I introduced myself. She went off on her own as she arrived at 10 and we didn't get back to the start until 11. She is running the 50 at Zumbro. 

We'll see how this ends. For now, I'm just happy that I'm not in the constant horrendous pain that I was in a few months ago. At least I know now what the pain is from-I'm not going to just continue running through it, wondering what it is, as I did last time. Thankfully I've learned something from that hell.

It was uncomfortable driving home, but not intolerable. I'll take it easy for a while and we'll see where I go from here :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Getting Closer to the Race

A few months ago I registered for The Land Between Lakes 50 Mile Race. I was pretty excited about it as I was going to travel to KY with a fun group of friends AND I would be running on warm nice trails that would not be covered with snow. Perfect training for Zumbro 100 which is coming up pretty darn quickly.

As the week arrived Tyler let me know that he was planning on spending his spring break at home. Well, I certainly didn’t want to be away while my son would be spending the week at home. 

A quick switch of plans and I decided I’d run out at Zumbro for a 40 mile training run. Pretty soon that didn’t pan out either. 

I decided to run it solo and keep it near home without any driving time or packing or anything else.  Poor Topaz would have to stay behind as I would try to run a few miles on trail but knowing that they were ice covered I brought along my road shoes for the road option.

Sure enough, I began on Blue Hill Trail, slipping and sliding in the darkness. It was horrible.  I ran 10 miles before I finally decided to change into road shoes and hit the County roads of Sherburne County.

I texted my sister to let  her know I was out running. I decided to run the 4 miles to her house to say hello, hoping I could get her to run a few miles with me. They were all going to church so she told me to come back at about 1230.  I filled my water bottle and headed back for the road.

The hours went by quite quickly as I ran here and there. After about three hours I headed back to Laurie’s house. They weren’t back from church yet so I ran another mile or two, turning back. Sure enough, they were driving up the road to her home as they passed me.

I was getting tired now, 31 miles into my run. Hoping to run another 7 or so. Laurie and started out and I was S L O W.  She jogged along side of me, staying at my pace. We ran for a few miles and I stated I was ready to head back to her place She ran me to her home, I was now at 34 and was going to head back to my car at the Blue Hill Trail.

A bit of walking shuffled in with running brought me back to the car. Woohoo!  I finished up 38 miles and was feeling pretty damn fine about it.

On Saturday I’m planning to heading out to Zumbro for another stab at a longer training run. I’d like to get over 40. 

Getting closer to that 100!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Tuesday Recipe: Taco Salad: Whole30 Style

After work, after my run, after baseball registration I whipped up this salad for my tomorrow lunch and dinner. Oh my gosh. It is SO good that I ended up eating it tonight for dinner along with Troy!  He wasn't sure about the purple cabbage but at least gave it a try.  His response "not bad" as he shoveled the last forkful into his mouth!

 I made a ton so I am going to drop off a tupperware for my sister at CrossFit-she brings my nephew to the same building for Taekwondo after my CF class, which is going well. Although last Thursday I learned that i have no skill in learning snatch , clean and clean and press. I suck miserably but practiced all weekend with a piece of PCV pipe because my form is horrible. Hopefully at class tomorrow it isn't as horrible as it was last Thursday.

This is REALLY good:

Brown 2 pounds grass fed beef
Season with 2 T chili powder, 2T garlic powder, 1/2 salsa, 2T cumin, 1 T ground  pepper, 1 T red chili pepper flakes

1 head purple cabbage
1 clump green onions
2 mangoes oh my gosh how I love mango
2 cucumber
1 avocado
3 T olive oil
2T balsamic vinegar

Place greens onto plate, pile on beef. Oh yeah!  The cool crisp vegetables and fruit with the warm spicy beef is just wonderful.

Speaking of beef..I found another grass fed beef producer in the area that will DELIVER to me free of charge any Thursday!  Awesome.

My first batch will arrive this Thursday. He also invited me out to his farm to check out the operation. Gotta like that. I don't imagine I will see cows knee high in manure, being fed corn and being dosed with antibiotics because their stomachs can't digest corn.  OK, that's another tangent.

So enjoy the Taco Salad above. You will like.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Base Building: Wrapped Up?

I keep having this thought course through my brain:  I'm starting all over OR I'm experienced, it isn't like I'm starting over.  Two very different thoughts aren't they.  The thought I have depends on my level of confidence at any given time.

My last 100 mile race was Javelina Jundred I believe, in October of 2009.  OK, I had to go to ultrasignup to find out for sure. Yes, Javelina Jundred was my 14th 100 + mile race finish, so it has been quite some time!

Not only has it been a few years since I ran 100 miles but I was totally off any workouts from end of July to end of November this past year. 5 months is a long time. Longest time I've gone without running since I first began this wonderful sport 14 years ago.

Since November I have slowly been building up mileage. During the past 12 weeks I've gone from 0 mile weeks to 65 mile weeks. Today is the first time I hit the 60s. Three weeks ago I hit the first 50. I really had hoped to hit the 50s post Triple D but my feet were totally chewed up from those damn spikes I purchased. Bad bad idea. Man, I remember reading in Marathon! by Galloway when I first began this running adventure: NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.  He speaks the truth. The spikes were a strong reminder!  

I really think I have a decent base now; sure it is only 13 weeks long, but mind and muscle do have memory. I'm hopeful that my body is now strong enough to hit 2 a days, speed and hills. Only time will tell. I feel strong, I haven't had any disc pain at all, no nerve pain. I'm running at least 5 days, usually 6 days a week with 2 CrossFit workouts a week which I have only recently added. 

Today many of my good friends were heading to Welch to run rolling gravel roads -the trails are a mess with the new (only) snow we received mid week. I didn't take part in the fun as it is over 2 hours away, I had a MDRA Coaches Meeting at 100 and I wanted to make breakfast for Tyler, Amanda and Troy before Tyler left to take Amanda to the airport. Priorities, right!  Much to Topaz's disappointment I decided to run on the treadmill. I decided 6-10 AM would work well, everyone would then wake up and I could fry eggs and bacon and whip out some french toast.  For some reason I woke at 4 and had bundles of energy so instead of going back to sleep I chose to start an early run time. After a quick 4 miles through the neighborhood with Topaz at my side I changed clothing and headed downstairs. I downloaded a few movies onto my Kindle yesterday for the event-first time. I had My Run and Spirit of the Marathon all set to occupy me during a long run. 

I had great energy while running, I really enjoyed My Run. A story about a 56 year old man who loses his wife to breast cancer, leaving behind 3 young children. He's not a runner but decides to gain awareness for single parents he is going to run a marathon a day and will run from St Paul to the start of the Olympic games in Atlanta, Georgia. It's amazing and he succeeds. After this movie was done I came up for a refill of water and 1/2 sweet potato, checked to see that everyone was still sleeping, and began to run again. I watched Spirit of the Marathon next. A movie about a group of people training to run Chicago Marathon. Some have never run a marathon, some have, some are elite such as Deena Kastor.  It was very good to watch as well.  When I came back upstairs to eat the other 1/2 sweet potato the kids were awake and moving around. I had 26 miles in so far so paused the movie and the treadmill and made breakfast for them, grabbing a sweatshirt to put on as I was beginning to chill. After everyone ate and I cleaned up I went back down to finish the remaining miles. Somewhere along the line I decided to run 50K as long as I had begun so much earlier than anticipated. As I began to run on my treadmill again I noticed my legs had become tight, my side was aching, my foot was sore. Good grief, suck it up. 5 more miles. I got off and stretched, felt better and finished up the movie and my run.  

I'm so glad I ran a 50K today!  It makes me feel as though I'm ready for the next phase of training. I'll add in hill workouts and speed now and see how I hold up.  If it is too much I'll go back to only endurance building workouts. After Zumbro 100 on April 13 I have 8 weeks before Kettle 100. Plenty of time for a preparation phase.

When I first began running it hurt to get to mile 13, it hurt a great amount as I was training for my first marathon. The past few 50Ks haven't hurt like that first 13 miler. It isn't like I'm starting over :)

I'm now on Day 4 of the kill the sugar plan!  So far so good. I did have headaches Day 1 and 2 but as I was running the other night it went away and hasn't come back.  Good riddance!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Troy's 16th Birthday: Leap Year Day!

February 29th!  Troy finally gets to celebrate a birthday on a birthday and what a birthday it is!  Mother Nature did for Troy what I could not: cancel school!

We received 4-6 heavy wet inches of snow last night. You can imagine the happy dance I did when I came down to run on my treadmill this morning before work, I thought. I turned on the news at saw we had a cancellation. Hurray!

Troy came thundering down the stairs a while later ... no school Mom? Really?  Really Troy!  What a smile!  An amazing Happy Birthday for Troy!

We just finished spending a few hours outside having a snowball  making contest. Somehow everything turns into a competition!  His snowballs are huge, as big as me, and much heavier. Mine as smaller, I ended up making a snowball fort. The snow is heavy and wet, perfect for building.

Topaz even ended up with snowballs!  What an awesome day..and it's only mid day.

I baked Troy a  Chocolate Malt birthday cake with Chocolate Malt Buttercream Frosting. It looked rather plain, but will taste incredible.  I had purchased a bakery cookie yesterday for Troy's "Birthday Eve" treat and placed it upon his cake for some added interest.

On the menu is a first. I'm roasting beef ribs. They have been in the oven since  8 AM, at 200 degrees with a rub and salt, wrapped in foil. I just added sweet potato, brussels and squash to roast as well. Delightful.

I may enjoy a piece of cake today as tomorrow I'm again cutting out the sugar. It has crept back into my diet, I've allowed it and it just takes over.  I find sugar for me is much like alcohol is. All or none.  I held it at bay for a few years but it has totally become out of hand once again. I feel as though I am mourning it already and I recall having the same feelings about booze.

I found that I was giving 101 excuses as to why I wasn't ready to stop eating sugar.  Just as I did when I wanted to quit drinking .. but didn't want to go through the withdrawal detox. It's the same frickin' thing. Sugar is a drug to me now as alcohol and tobacco once was. The problem is, it is more accepted that the later. People tend to think  you are even more of a freak when you give up sugar, wheat, corn syrup, etc.

My love for baking isn't surpassed by my love for sugar. The two go hand in hand. I am no longer going to participate in the Daring Bakers, the Tuesday's with Dorie, the Cake Bakers. It would be like belonging to Wine Club or a Home Brewery Club. Yeah, I don't think so.

This blog has been a great tool to hold myself accountable, I may use it as such again. I'm just not sure how  much I am comfortable sharing here. So many people I know in real life read this now, not just my running friends who I shared with before and am comfortable sharing with again, too many others may make me feel too uncomfortable, at first, maybe not.  Time will tell.

OK and this font is crazy. It is either so tiny I can barely read it or huge like this. What's up with this.