Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Chippewa 50K


I just had the best time yesterday!  I went to WI to run the Chippewa 50K. I have only run the race one other time, in 2011. Wow, time flies!!

My Dad was coming through Big Lake from spending winter in TX so I was going to make a quick trip. Leave at 4 AM, arrive at 7 AM, Run 8-2, hang out for thirty minutes and head home. Quick.

As I was driving to WI the sun began to rise. Ah, all of the pinks, blues, purples. Truly beautiful!  My drive was uneventful…just long.

I pulled into the race site and was directed to a spot of grass straddling the parking lot. I felt odd parking there but was told in no uncertain terms that this is where I was to park. OK then. I placed a piece of paper on my dashboard stating “THEY TOLD ME TO PARK HERE”

As I picked up my race number I said hello to so many friends, it was like old home week. We were going to have a blast.

The race meanders through such beautiful country, it goes past lakes, ponds, over lakes via boardwalk and deep into the woods. Just gorgeous.


The day!  It was perfect. Sunny. We began at about 40F and I finished almost 7 hours later at 65F. Very sweet.



I finished 20 minutes faster than when I ran in 2011. 

The photos that were taken pretty much sum how I felt!  I don’t need words to describe. I smiled every step of the way. I felt fantastic. I am a lucky woman.




Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Herren Project








In October of last year I became a member of The Herren Project RUNS.  I learned of The Herren Project through a friend of mine, Pam Rickard.  Pam is the organizer of the fundraising and running campaign. She has also been sober for 10 years. 

(Please click on the link above for information regarding The Herren Project)

I have dedicated  my 2016 running season to raising funds for The Herren Project.

It’s interesting: through running, especially ultrarunning, I have met so many other addicts. We share more than one common bond.  We share joy in sobriety. Oh, such joy.

I have this strong nudging inside of me, drawing me toward this project where I can combine my sobriety, faith and running.  I want to help others who are struggling with addiction.  At times it is difficult when I am nudged out of my comfort zone. Talking about my faith, addiction and running doesn’t always come easy…stepping out isn’t something that comes naturally for me.  I know that when I am led out of my comfort zone the end result is always joy, gratitude and grace. Always.

A few days ago I realized that I will celebrate a number of milestones on September 9. I will have been sober for 20 years.  TWENTY YEARS!! I will be finishing my 4th Superior 100 finish and my 20th 100 mile finish. Great cause for celebration!

OK, The Herren Project. I’ll tell you about it.

  The Herren Project provides:

  • Treatment Navigation (for individuals and families...many of the families we've helped are actually running with us!)
  • Mentoring and Recovery Coaching after treatment is completed; scholarships to clinics and camps for kids
  • Preventative Education, and support of more than 400 student-led Project Purple sites across the country.
  • Scholarships when a need is demonstrated. assistance to many in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety through treatment navigation, educational programs and mentoring resources.

I created one post on  my FaceBook page  a few months ago about The Herren Project and received $420 in donations!! I thank you so very,  very much. YOU can donate to this project via my link, here:



We can make a difference together!  I just know it.Thank you.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Psycho Wyco 50K




Psycho Wyco is a fabulous race held in Kansas City, Kansas. Surprisingly, it is in the woods with  lots of roots, rocks, river crossings and hills. All hills. It’s awesome.  It is not what I think of when I think of Kansas!

I ran Psycho Wyco a few years ago, when it was a cold year, there was no reprieve from the Minnesota winter. This year was a whole different climate!

Maria and I were running a long run at Elm Creek a few weeks ago when I asked her if she’d like to go out to run PW again. She thought about it for a week and then let me know that she and Doug were up for it. Yippee!! I had travel companions!

We left Apple Valley around 8AM. Kansas is about 6 hours away. They decided Doug would drive the van so that we would have more room. I was very thankful; as we rode across Iowa, in 60 mile per hour winds, we saw 9 semi trucks that had blown over into the ditches. It was scary stuff. Doug drove us through to safety!

Maria had planned a few stops along the way. We took a detour into Kansas City Missouri for Christopher Elbow Chocolates. Oh man, it was fabulous. We each spent $80 on high end wonderful chocolate. I binged. It wasn’t pretty. It is all gone now. I even gave Troy the last pieces.




We traveled on to Kansas and stopped at Cupini’s Italian Deli, a counter that served up Italian staples.  Guy from DDD, FoodNetwork had visited and gave it a rave review. It was very good.

Before hitting the hotel we swung by the race start. Oh my gosh, green grass, some budding going on in the trees, the smell of spring. It was 70 degrees!  WOW.  As we were checking out the area we saw Minnesota friends: Ed and Andrew Sandor and Dan LaPlant with his girlfriend, Jamie, who WON the women’s race and broke the record. Yeah, way to run!

We headed over to check into the room where race packet pickup was. The sweatshirt is great, all of the bling was awesome. We received  a trucker hat and cool medal for finishing.

Saturday morning at 500 it was already 45 degrees. Fabulous!! I had on a skirt and a short sleeved top, really!  I had just purchased a pair of Altra trail and a pair of Altra road shoes from Kurt at Twin Cities Running Company . I was going to try out the trail shoes right from the box. I placed a pair of my tried and true Inov-8s in a drop bag in case they didn’t work out. They did work out!  I wore them for the whole race without a problem.

I ate breakfast and was ready to roll. We drove to the start, arriving about an hour beforehand. Of course I hadn’t pooped in two days due to the change in my schedule. Ugh. I tried not to worry about it because we were going to be in the woods anyway so it wasn’t like I was running Twin Cities Marathon and wouldn’t be able to find a bathroom upon the way. I stuffed some toilet paper into my pocket.

I was so excited. This was all about fun, no fast time, no out of breath business, I was going to keep my heart rate low-140 per MAF training. I’d walk when the rate increased too much. I was just happy to be out in the woods for the day. I was glad we were going to be driving home after the race, I’d have a whole day at home and wouldn’t miss out on church. Yeah!

The race is a 10Mile, beginning at 9 AM and the 50K and 20 Mile beginning at 8 AM. I started with a light Patagonia Hoodini which I had just purchased. I watched someone steal my last one at Superior 100 right after I finished in 2014. Yup. Nice, hu? I was too tired to run this person down and ask for it back.

I began in the back of the pack, running with a hand held. I didn’t need a pack, there was an aid station every 4 miles and back to the start/finish to my drop bag every 10 miles. After 1 mile I tied my jacket around my waist. It was going to be a delightful day!

The creek crossings weren’t very deep-the cool water felt good on my feet. The hills were as steep as I remembered but the footing was SO good!  The trails weren’t muddy, they weren’t frozen, they were soft and fabulous. All I did was smile.

My heart rate hovered between 140-145 most of the time. Climbing hills brought it up to 160 but it quickly recovered back to the 140 area. I felt like I could run forever. I had no pain, I didn’t want the race to end, I was enjoying every step.









I came into the first loop and refilled my bottle, grabbed some foot potion for chaffing. My chubby thighs were causing some friction.  I was good to go!

The second loop was awesome. I ran with Doug for a while. He was running the 20 miler. I fell into a line behind him. We just enjoyed the sun. I didn’t feel the need for music, I was thinking about how grateful I was for being able to do this. I really believed I was done running last year at this time. I just couldn’t recover from my foot surgery. It was a long recovery. I was just so pleased to be right where I was. I gave thanks to God and had conversations with Him during the whole race.

Eventually I passed Doug and took a detour for a potty break. Thank goodness!! I finally went. I was so excited, as I done I yelled out to Doug “I finally went”!  My poop looked like a crocodile poop. Seriously massive. My gut was relieved!

I ran along, finishing up the second loop. I felt so great. The sun was warm, I was in good health and high spirits. I didn’t stop smiling.

The third loop was my best. I was able to pick up KTIS from Minneapolis and just sang to the songs, worshiping the whole way. It was amazing. I wasn’t ready to stop.  I came upon the Sandor’s. They had been ahead of me the whole time. I didn’t want to sneak up and pass them in the final miles. I yelled out “you better move!  You don’t want me to pass you now”. They looked back and Andrew asked how it was that I was able to catch them. He said I came out of nowhere. I was on fire, I felt like I was flying. They hoofed it, I didn’t have to pass them. I wanted to run more. I came into the finish at 750, feeling blessed.  Maria was there to take a finish photo and an awesome medal was put around my neck, a hat in my hand. It was awesome.

We visited for a few minutes at the finish and then headed for home. We stopped at Chipotle to refuel, at Target for Starbucks and at every other rest area on the way home. Doug is a great driver. He doesn’t mind stopping a zillion times along the way for us. We walked around, stretched, peed, drank and ate. We had so much fun. I LOVE road tripping with Doug and Maria.  Can’t wait to plan the next one!

We rolled into Apple Valley about 1230, I then headed for home and arrived at 130. I unpacked and slept hard.

What a great trip and race! Oh, and I entered Superior 100 today . Oh yeah. My favorite 100.





Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Securian Winter Carnival Half Maraton


I’ve always enjoyed the winter carnival half marathon. It is normally very cold but this year it was very balmy!!  Saturday morning I woke up to 32F!  Wow!  I decided I’d wear light leggings with a skirt, one long sleeved top and a pair of light gloves and light buff. No screws in my shoes! No ice! Yay!

Last year, due to foot surgery, I wasn’t able to run the race. I was very excited to sign up this year.

I arrived to the race an hour before start time. I always like to leave plenty of time to find parking and find the race start.  For road races the biggest stressor for me is to find a bathroom as soon as I park. I always have an hour drive or more. Luckily for me, there was a bathroom in the parking ramp. Yes!

With only a short walk to the pre race festivities, I had plenty of time to pick up my number, shirt and mug. I couldn’t believe all of the people that I knew at the race. With a race of over 1000 people it always shocks me that I can pick out friends whom I have no idea are in attendance.  As I was walking through the skywalk I ran into John,  then Amy and Shawn, then Jeff. Pretty soon it was Dan and Karen. Amazing!  Kate and Brian. Quick fun chats with everyone. 

With just a few minutes to go before the start, I mosied outside to find a spot among the runners. I decided I’d run between the 200 and 210 pace groups. I was in no rush, this was just a training run to get in some miles on my feet. I wanted to see how my feet would stand up to the asphalt. I’ve entered Grandmas Marathon in June and haven’t really run any asphalt yet since my surgery.  I figured a 915-930 pace would be just great.

The first few miles were new to the course. We  circled around downtown before we headed out onto Shepard Road to run along the river. There has been a lot of reconstruction of the road and the area surrounding it since I’ve last run this race. The road is heavily slanted and I kept moving around the road, trying to find the place where my feet were on stable ground.  At times this was in the middle of the road and at times it was on the shoulder. Very strange.  I could feel the slant of the road in my ankles and in my knees.

The sky was blue with bright sun and just a hint of breeze. It really was a beautiful morning. I could hear the jingle of dog tags following me so I turned to look, sure enough, a large poodle was prancing along with a woman. The dog was as happy as could be as I watched the women feed her a cliff bar. They stopped often as the women let her dog drink from her water bottle. So awesome to see.

I had 4 gels and filled my water bottle once during the race. 

I was running 915s most of the race, this was  a comfortable pace for me. I was surprised that my heart rate was quite high-my average HR during the run was 162. Too high, really. My highest HR was 182, as I climbed the final hill to the finish line.

The route is an out and back so I was able to high five and holler out to each of my friends, whom I mentioned earlier. I also saw Kate while we were running.  I did not see her at the start.

What a blast of a day!  I felt great, I finished in 201 and nothing hurt. Woot!!!  The pavement was OK on my foot so I am feeling good about Grandmas.

After I arrived home Troy and I went suit shopping for the first time. He has a Career Fair at the U of M, where he attends the College of Science and Engineering. I asked John at the race for a recommendation as to where we should shop. He suggested Men’s Wearhouse so that is where Troy and I went. We were blown away by the high level of customer service and the ease of  purchasing his  suit. We will certainly go back.

Next up is Psycho Wyco 50K on February 20. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to this one. Looking forward to it!!



Friday, January 08, 2016

51K Birthday Run for 51 Years!!






 I watched the border collies play for a long time. I miss Topaz so much.


I know!  51!  How in the world did that happen? Time truly does go by way too quickly. I haven't yet realized that I turned 50 last  year. Crazy!

Last year at this time I was having foot surgery. I am so glad that is in the past!  My foot feels great. I have begun to feel little twitches of neuroma in my other foot, but it is very very minimal.

A fat ass run was scheduled for January 2 so I thought I'd run my birthday run at that time. The course was awesome. We ran at Elm Creek Singletrack in Maple Grove at the Elm Creek Park. What a fabulous trail. If you recall, I ran the Grizzle Run r there a while back during the summer which was a blast..the trails in the winter are just awesome!  The fat bikes come through and totally smooth out the snow, making the surface fabulous. I'll be back this next weekend to put in a few long runs.


A little frosty!

We began at 6 AM at the trailhead. Many were running the 11 mile route, a few were running the 50K, I was making up my 51K.

I ran the first few miles with Therese. We caught up with one another and then I had to make a pit stop. I didn't run with anyone else the remainder of the 7 hours!  We were pretty spread apart and I never really saw anyone else.  

The weather was perfect. 10F, sunny, nice snow packed trails. Lovely. After the first 11 mile loop my water hose was becoming solid. I stopped off at my car and heated it up until the water flowed through. I hopped out of my car and there was Shelley!  What a coincidence. She was out running 7 miles and we just happened to be in the lot at the same time. Fun!

I headed out for loop 2. I came across a pile of gels. There were unopen, 8 of them strewn about the trail. I kind of nudged them off of the trail and placed them all in a neat circle. I hoped that someone would claim them as their own as they came through again. I didn't see them on loop 3. As I was running along I could hear dogs barking. It was the sound of dogs barking while having fun, not in distress. I took a detour and ran toward the barking. Sure enough, I came up on Elm Creek Dog Park!  It was great. Border Collies playing frisbee, Goldens' playing fetch. I just stood there with tears in my eyes, thinking of how much I missed Topaz.

I jogged back to the trail and finished up loop 3. I just felt so grateful to be able to run again. To be able to enjoy the woods, the snow, to be pain free. It was really a great 33 miles. My feet didn't hurt me, I  just had a real blast. What a magical day.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ICEBOX 480


Icebox 480.  I hadn’t run the Icebox 480 before.  A timed race, of 480 minutes (8 hours). 2  years ago I had a broken ankle and last year I had an evil morton’s neuroma removal.  I was so glad to give it a try this year!

The course is a single- track mountain biking trail – lots of hills – in the woods of Western Wisconsin on the Whitetail Ridge which consists of a  loop of 7 or so miles-which is run as many times as possible, until  the 8 hour limit expires. I love loops. I love a drop bag at the start/finish. Easy peasy fun o rama!

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day!  I arrived to the course about 45 minutes before race time. I wasn’t sure who was going to be running as  there wasn’t a list of entrants on the website. I was so happy to see Robyn and her mother as I pulled up in  back of them.

I walked a few steps and saw Kevin, a few more steps to the start and there was Jim, Matt and Zach!  It was so good to see them again. It was going to be a party on the trail! We kidded around about ‘way back in the day’  and that we were ‘old school ultra runners.’ I guess so.

As I was waiting in the line for the bathroom I saw Duke!! No way! I haven’t seen him in years. When he told me that Eve was here, too, I was so excited!! Eve had an ice house set up near the start/finish to help crew for Duke. We squeeled in delight and hugged and laughed!! Man I’ve missed these two!

I placed my drop bag on the tarp and packed up some gels, music and a water bottle to carry. We were about to begin so I lined up near the back. Off we went!

The course was really great. Woods, lots of hills-constant up and down. There were two aid stations set up plus the start / finish. Awesome. I ran a comfortable pace, no goal other than to stay healthy and to have FUN!  That was the order of the day.

I had an absolute blast.  The first loop I ran alone, just taking in the sights. I was warming up so made a mental note to drop my long sleeved shirt at the start / finish. I removed my gloves,  ate a gel every 30 minutes and just moved along, enjoying the woods.

At the start/ finish I dropped off some clothing and noticed that Jenny brought her new puppy, Jasper!  OMG, I kissed him and held him and let him chew on me and let him lick my happy tears!  He is just a little ball of love fuzz. As I ran out of the start/finish I had Topaz on my mind and just began to gasp and bawl. I just miss him so much. I know that I am lucky to have had him in my life for 14 years and I know that those years were well worth the feelings of sadness I have now..but I still miss him and cry and am mourning him.  





Somewhere during this loop I ran into Janet. Janet finished the Gnarly Bandit last year so our conversations during the next loop centered around that. She was now training for HURT and looking to run without becoming dehydrated. It was fun to run a loop with her.

Back into the start/finish. More hugs and kisses to Jasper. I carried him around a bit and just loved on him. 



I just really had a lot of fun. I spent the next 20 miles alone, just reveling in my thoughts, prayers and meditations. I never felt tired or grumpy or like I wanted the race to end. I just ran and ran, happy in my surroundings and thoughts. I never even played any music.




Before I knew it 7.50 hours had passed. I came into the start finish and was instructed to run the out and back mile for the duration until 8 hours had passed.  As I was running back and forth I saw John and Bill cheering us on. What a great time!  At the end of 8 hours I had run 36 miles. I was thrilled.

Wow, I didn’t want to leave the party. I helped to clean up and tear down the tents.  I cuddled up and carried Jasper around for a long time, played with him and had him follow me around. He helped to hear my heart a little bit. What a love bug.  After visiting  with Duke and Eve, Bill, John, Jim, Matt and Zac for a very long time, I watched them all leave and decided I’d better do the same.

I will certainly run this again next year. I drove home with a big fat smile on my face!




My 11th Twin Cities Marathon












When the Twin Cities Marathon opened for entries last March I was still recovering from my foot surgery. I had no intention of entering.

Fast forward 6 months and I was feeling good!  I hadn’t run anything longer than 10 miles, but, oh well.

I couldn’t believe it when I heard on the local news channel that TCM was STILL open and that I could purchase an entry at the expo on Friday before the Sunday race. Incredible!! 

Sure enough, I paid for an entry and bought a CHICKED down skirt from the expo. I had no idea how the race would go; I just knew that I really yearned to run my 11th TCM. I really enjoy the race.

Sunday morning I drove into Minneapolis. I always park at the Jerry Haaf ramp because it  is close to the start which used to be the Metrodome- which was torn down and is now being replaced with the IceCube, the US Bank Stadium. It’s looking fabulous!



It was amazing to me that 10,000 people were milling around the start area and I was able to run into personal friends whom I had no idea were going to be there!  I saw Dan and John. Incredible! 

The race is divided into chutes with start times staggered every three minutes so that the congestion is at a minimum- which works very well. I mosied over to the bag drop off to leave my after run clothes and headed over to the start. I was so excited to be right where I was! I felt blessed. I am blessed.

The course is really pretty .. for a road marathon. Of course I prefer trail but TCM has a place in my heart. My plan was to run easy, take in the changing color of the trees, enjoy the run, give thanks that I was able to run.

I felt great the whole way. At mile 20 I  noticed that I was running behind the 415 group and hadn’t yet noticed the 430 group pass. This was a comfortable easy pace for me. I stopped to hug a few friends that I noticed among the 300,000 spectators-again, crazy!  When I saw Bonnie and Marie at mile 21 we hugged and I cried. I started running with these two in 2002. They don’t run very much any more, but there they were, cheering and looking out for me. What a treat. My heart felt full and blessed. Those hugs carried me into the finish line. 



I finished my 11th Twin Cities Marathon. I would have never believed  it,  way back when it was only my 2nd marathon. I would have never believed that I could love to run, so much.  I never would have believed that I would have hit 17 years of sobriety, either. Time. A person can change. Thank God.

Eugene Curnow - Half Voyaguer


One of my first memories with my ultra running friends is the Half Voyaguer. It’s now named after the past race director: Eugene Curnow. The race is the baby of the Voyaguer 50 mile, a favorite of mine, which is run 2 weeks later.

Because I’ve been rehabbing my foot/knee and whatever other body parts which are angry at me there is no chance I’ll be run running Voyaguer 50 this year but I’m good to run the Half.

Maria and I went out for a 6 hour run two weeks ago-my first run of any sort of this distance since Superior 100 last September!  I really did a number on myself there. Ugh. Anyhow, our run at Afton  was such a wonderful experience!  She’s rehabbing her hamstring, I’m rehabbing foot/knee. We walked, jogged, and ran.  My rehab schedule had 11 minute jog/4 minute walk on the plan which we stuck to pretty well. At the end of our 6 hours I was jubilant. I didn’t hurt. I felt good. Eugene Curnow may be a reality. Why not try it?

We spent the first week of July up at the lake. Had great weather and a great time. I came back into town to deliver Troy so that he could work and then decided to go back up to the cabin to spend a few more days with Steve. I left the lake, spent the night at my Dad’s house and then left for Carlton to the race in the morning.

It was a beautiful warm morning and was going to be a great day. I hadn’t looked online to see who may be running the race so wasn’t sure whom I might see.

I arrived in plenty of time to fill my pack, figure out music, lube my feet, etc. I didn’t recognize anyone so I just climbed onto the bus that would take me to the start.

As I climbed off of the bus I saw Alicia right away. Yay!!  Alicia and I have run a zillion miles together and I just love her. She was one of the those that first ran with me at that first Half Voyaguer so many years ago.

We began the race together and ran together up until the last few miles where she went ahead and finished a few minutes in front of me. What a great 6 hours of fun! We reminisced, we talked of the present, the future, of how much things in ultrarunning had changed and how much we had changed. It was such a great time. Neither my foot nor my knee hurt, I was able to climb through the powerlines without a problem. Such a blessing.

Janet ran with Alicia and I most of the race, too. She wanted to run a PR and said that by hanging with us she would do just that. She did! She ran a great race and finished inbetween Alicia and I.

As we were running along Scott came up on us. Scott!  Scott was also along on that first Half Voyageur so many years ago. I hadn’t seen him in a few years. We caught up a bit and then he left us to bomb on down the hills.

As I came across the finish all I could think about is how blessed I was. Sharing the trail with amazing people, such good friends to me.

I hung around the finish line and cheered the rest of the runners in. Drank a non alcoholic beer and headed for home, with a big smile on my face! What a fabulous day.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

It's Time

It's time to get back to blogging. It's been a long time. I'm getting there, I'm getting ready.

Icebox 480 on Saturday. That'll be fun!