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!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Rest In Peace

Rest In Peace..My Dear Sweet Topaz..Rest In Peace.


12/9/01 to 5/7/15. We gave one another the best life we could. I'll miss you deeply.

Monday, May 04, 2015

My Dear Topaz

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I had an appointment for Topaz at the veterinarian on Tuesday for his yearly exam. He was scheduled for a blood test for his Deramaxx refill which he takes for his arthritis and his rabies vaccination.



As I drove to his appointment I was thinking how nice it was to be going to the vet without a fear in my heart regarding Lyme disease or his arthritis. He’s been doing very well.



We arrived and the tech asked Topaz to stand on the scale. 45 pounds, the same weight for 13 years, even though his running is now walking and only a few miles a day. He is wider through the rib cage than in his younger and leaner life but still weighs the same. I had to chuckle. Age will do that to dogs and women alike .



We sat in the vet’s office and waited. The tech came in and took the general info. Heartworm test and preventative? No thanks.  Lymes vaccination? No thanks, he has been vaccinated in the past and  ended up with Lymes anyway.  Lymes test? Nope. I’ve been applying preventative and he’s good, thanks. Deramaxx refill? Yes. Stool sample? No. Rabies? Yes.  Bordetella? No. Leptospirosis? No.



Really, we don’t need all of these things. He isn’t in a kennel, isn’t going to get kennel cough. He isn’t going to have a fight with a wild animal no Leptospirosis. His poop doesn’t show worms.



After the tech gave him his rabies shot the vet arrived. He checked his eyes.  Cataracts are still there, growing. Yes, his sight has diminished somewhat in the last year. Lungs sounded good, but breathing a bit labored. Yes, his breathing does seem more labored. When lying down he breathes quite heavily and snores more loudly more often.  His lump near the back of the front leg has grown quite a bit, highly probable that it is still a fatty deposit. Could aspirate it? No thanks. It’s good. The lump above the front leg is growing, although not too much. Aspirate? No thanks.



Vet continues his exam.  He palpates his abdomen. He is there too long. I think about his growing width in the rib cage. He weighs the same. This is  not a fatty deposit. I can tell by the look on his face.



He stands. He tells me that Topaz has a very large tumor upon his spleen, the  size of a cantaloupe. It could be cancerous. It might not be. Either way it is not good. He could perform surgery. Remove the tumor. If it is cancerous he would undergo chemotherapy. No no no.  He will not go through chemotherapy. At his age, almost 14, he could have difficulty recovering from any surgery.



He didn’t take a blood test for the Deramaxx. He told me not to order more than a month at a time. He refilled the prescription.



Topaz is comfortable. He is not in pain. He walks with me, is eating, drinking and relieving himself. He is his happy, older self.  I never would have guessed the outcome of our appointment.



The  tumor will outgrow its current location  and Topaz will show symptoms. I won’t allow him be in pain. I’ll give to him his last gift from me.  Relief. Love.



I love this dog so very much. You all know that. Even though we understand that when we bring animals into our life  they are not going to last forever, it doesn’t make it any easier when we lose them.  It hurts. It is horrible.



Topaz and I gave one another the best life we could. I know that God's grace will allow me to endure.







Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Friday Night Family Fun!

My nephew helped me cook up a storm this past Friday. It was So much fun sharing my joy of cooking with him.

On the menu:

Brown Rice

Guacamole - avocado, garlic, olive oil, sea salt in the Vitamix

Hummus - chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, sea salt in the Vitamix

Garlicky Kale and Roasted Chickpeas-
6 cups torn kale
30 oz can chickpeas
Olive Oil
3 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp paprika, 3 tsp ginger, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp cardamom. 
Dressing-1 head garlic - roasted
1/4 cup tahini
2 Tbsp olive oil + more for roasting garlic
2 lemons, juiced (~1/3 cup)
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
Tear the kale and place in large bowl. Roast chickpeas with olive oil and spices for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Roast garlic at same time. Prepare dressing. Pour chickpeas onto kale, top with dressing. Fabulous!


Burritos-beef, refried beans, seasoning, flour, wheat and corn tortillas and fixings: cheese, salsa, sour cream, hot sauce

Roasted brussel sprouts because we always have roasted brussel sprouts!

Blue Corn and Black Bean chips

Vegan donuts with lemon icing.  I was going to make with espresso icing but midstream we chose lemon, instead :)



  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (carton not canned)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or agave*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-4.5 cups flour (give or take)
  • ESPRESSO GLAZE-I made lemon glaze
  • 1 shot quality espresso or strong coffee (2-3 T)  I used lemon juice instead
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • STREUSEL TOPPING: (optional)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons butter (non-dairy for vegan)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons flour
  • I didn't use the streusel topping-we sprinkled with sprinkles :)
Instructions
  1. Bring soy milk, oil, maple syrup or agave, and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan.
  2. Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm or 110 F (30 minutes)
  3. Once cooled, stir in yeast and let set for 5-10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, add 4 cups of flour and salt, then add to wet mixture and stir, mixing well, then covering with a towel and letting rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  5. Once doubled in size, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, (or until the dough is no longer incredibly sticky). Mix well and then let the dough sit for about 10 minutes.
  6. On a floured surface make about 2-inch balls and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving room for expansion.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 and cover with light towel while warming.
  8. Once preheated, bake for 10-11 minutes, being careful not to over bake as you don't want the bottoms too brown.
  9. Prepare glaze and streusel while baking. Once donuts are done, let them cool slightly and then dunk in glaze and cover with streusel. I put the streusel on both top and bottom, and would recommend it for best flavor.
  10. Serve immediately for best result, or store in air-tight container for up to 2 days.
This made 12 large donuts that I baked in two 9 inch round cake pans. I had to bake them for 20 minutes, probably because they were larger than 2". 

These donuts were all gone within 24 hours! 



We also brewed a batch of KOMBUCHA. What a blast!



Getting our supplies together.






Checking the PH.


Time to brew for 3 weeks !







Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sunday Funday


Sunday Funday!

I take an hour each Sunday to prep meals for the week. First I attend service at New Life in Princeton, head over to the fresh produce section at Cobornes and then home to prep. One hour and I’m set for the week.

This week I roasted brussel sprouts, carrots, onion and sweet potato.  I chopped carrots and shredded cabbage.  I soaked chickpeas and prepared quinoa and brown rice. I blended hummus and was all set!



45 minutes later I was cleaning up. Easy peasy!

In the morning I grab some spinach, kale, prepped roasted veggies, chickpeas and quinoa-splash of balsamic, salt and pepper. I blend spinach, strawberries, scoop of protein powder and coconut milk. Pour into blender bottle and I'm ready for work.



For dinner I roll a few items into a wrap or create a bowl. A smashed up avocado, hummus and some blue corn chips...fabulous!!





 Just and idea to show how easy eating whole foods can be. Seriously!