Saturday, November 29, 2008

It Feels So Good to Sit Down!

Hallelujah. The storm door is now installed in its final resting place--the front of my house--and I couldn't be happier. The biggest frustration with this project was unpackaging the handle hardware from the molded plastic packaging. At one point, I threw off my coat and was ready to do battle big time with the darn thing ... anything to get it open. I consider myself pretty able-bodied, but this was just too much. I was about ready to fire up the table saw and have at it! The paint color on the new storm door has more blue in it than the one on the paneled door, but it's going to have to be good enough until spring. Anyway, after running this morning and working on this all afternoon, it feels wonderful to be sitting down and blogging. ;-)

News flash: There is 15% off shoes, clothing, accessories at Running Room through tomorrow (Sunday) and this also applies to clearance items. There are lots of bargains to be had.

There are now six of us that are going to be wearing the pink wigs at the Polar Plunge: Laura Lenz, Chris Kujath, Paula Patterson, myself, Todd Rowekamp and Mike Schmitt. Yup, that's right. Two guys are going to be donning these hot pink beauties, and who knows what else, for all the world to see. A hoot to be sure.

USA Master's Indoor Track & Field Championships:
Imagine running your best time ever for 3000 meters, one mile, 800 meters, 400 meters, 200 meters, or 60 meters, while watching athletes of all ages and abilities throwing the shotput and weight/superweight, running the 60m hurdles, pole-vaulting, long-jumping, triple-jumping, and high-jumping (include local world-record-holder Bruce McBarnette). That's what you can do at the USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships, Friday-Sunday, March 20-22, 2009, at Prince George's Sportplex in Landover MD. The events are open to all athletes of all levels of ability 30 & over. Registration is now open at Potomac Valley Track Club site , and you save $15 if you register before November 30.

Well, my latest poll is about to close. I'm glad the humble little sweet potato, or other side, got at least one vote. ;-) They're actually quite good if they're not overwhelmed by marshmallows.

So, now back to the Saxman Thanksgiving extravaganza. Tuesday afternoon, my dad and stepmom Ada arrived. They've been making their way around the midwest visiting the kids. It was wonderful to have them here. They don't usually venture out of the relative warmth of Florida at this time of year. Matt also arrived home from school that evening. My dad gave me an early Christmas present on Tuesday. He'd written down the story of his life, and made DVDs of photos, for us kids. It was the most wonderful gift I could have received. There is a lot of my dad's life that I knew nothing about. I think that some of the story was hard for him to write, but it meant an awful lot to me that he did. They're also going through the photos and giving us the ones that are of each of us. Here's me at age 4 1/2.

I was so inspired that I've now started doing the same for my kids. I started yesterday evening, and the memories are just pouring in. It's great fun but it's going to be time-consuming.

Wednesday, we went down to Festival of Trees at the Civic Center and had a wonderful time. The trees were beautiful.

They were also serving a free lunch, so we had chicken & wild rice soup from Canadian Honker, which was absolutely delicious, Great Harvest bread and fruit parfaits. It was a great way to spend an hour or two and got all of us in the Christmas spirit.

When I got home, I decided it would be fun for Ada and I to try the marshmallow recipe I'd found a couple of weeks back. It was an interesting process ... combining a hot brownish syrup and bloomed gelatin, then beating it for 17 minutes during which turned it pure white and thick. They turned out great. And they taste just like ... marshmallows! Go figure ...

My brother and family came for dinner on Wednesday, so there were 10 of us. After dinner, Matt and I taught Ada to play Yahtzee. She beat the pants off us. Of course, we were giving her pointers.

Thursday I got up early and made the side dishes, put the turkey in the oven, then ran a very pleasant 7.25 miles before heading off to church where Matt was playing the trumpet. Dinner was the standard Thanksgiving fare: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes (no marshmallows ... apples, maple syrup and pecans and a little cinnamon), a strawberry salad and Great Harvest rolls. And lefse ! Can't forget the lefse! After my brother's family went home, we decorated the house for Christmas. It was wonderful to have help. We were done in just a couple of hours.

(If these slideshows aren't displaying properly, just click on the 'view all images' button.) I finished my first little Christmas (gift) project yesterday afternoon. A little quilted wall hanging. Still have much work to do.

Well ... that's it on the home front.

Thought for the day: "Be cheerful! Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important."

Toodles. :-)

Gravy Train 2008

We had a great turnout today for the Gravy Train run. It was a perfect day for the run...pleasant temps, no wind, no snow, no ice. A great many of the runners did the 5K, but some of us went the distance and got at least 12 in. Yours truly wasn't paying attention when Jean was giving directions (I was talking ... my bad) and I didn't hear where the turnaround was. So I went to the very end of the trail. I was wondering where everyone went ... I think I got in more like 13.5 - 13.7 miles. Forgot my GPS ... was like a fish out of water. Argh. Thank you to Jean Murray for arranging the run and arranging for all the treats. To Julie Murray for the handcrafted "most colorful runner" award (congrats to Katie for winning the award ... and this was the first time she'd run 12 miles!).

Next year: Same bat time, same bat channel.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After

Hi, everyone. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We sure did. It was great having lots of family around. More on that and family stuff if I have time during this post. I'm going to try to assemble and install a storm door today while we have relatively warm temps. Then the interminable door project will be complete ...

First things first.

Tomorrow, Saturday, is the Gravy Train 12 at 8:00 AM at Running Room. If you run the whole course, it's about 12 miles. A 5K loop and then out and back on the Mayowood bike trail, which should be dry and clear. Run as much of it as you like. Please bring a non-perishable food item for Channel One Food Shelf if you are so inclined. Thank you Jean Murray for organizing this event.

While you're at Running Room, check out the sale. Select discontinued apparel 50% off. 20% Off All Nike Timewear and Nike Heart Rate Monitors. Friday and Saturday only: 15% all regular priced shoes, apparel and accessories. You can also bring in your used running shoes to the store at any time (still wearable, laces tied together). They get shipped over to Haiti, to be worn again. Thank you Vicki Martinson for taking care of this.

Route for Carol on the Run on Wednesday, December 3 at 6 pm. We'll begin at Running Room and head for Charter House (about 1.5 miles). Then Samaritan Bethany on 8th, Samaritan Bethany Heights (by Assissi Heights on 14th St NW), then to Ronald McDonald House and back to Running Room. Total distance: about 6 miles. Thank you Larry Pederson for once again being our routemeister. He's also going to print out some lyrics for us. :-) You are encouraged to wear festive garb, headwear and jingle bells.

Congratulations to Chris O'Brien for correctly identifying all of the "Who Is It?" photos in the December RTC News. She wins a dozen cookies. Way to go, Chris!

Here's a link from Mike Schmitt to a story on whether the mega-marathons (Chicago, New York, Berlin, ...) are getting too big. Myself, I like a much smaller marathon. I don't want thousands of people watching me in my distress. :-)

Segue to this morning's work-out. After Dad and Ada left, I went down to the Y. There were 3 people in the fitness center. (Everyone must have been out shopping or sleeping off their tryptophan overload from yesterday's turkey dinner. :-) I decided this would be a good time to get back on the Stepmill as my pain wouldn't be evident to many people. It's really a workout. So I did 30 minutes on the speed interval program. I survived. And I didn't even have to press the STOP button. Or fall off the back of the darn thing. But I sure was happy when the 30 minutes was up. :-)

A couple of comments on previous posts: The 5:51 pace I glimpsed on my GPS on Tuesday was just for a second. Literally. Mark was behind me and he'd yelled something about chasing me or catching me or something. So I sprinted down that little hill, got next to the lights in the Northbrook shopping center parking lot, looked down and saw "5" as the first number on my pace. Shocking. But again, it was just for a split second. Then I pretty much came to a halt at the stoplight. And tried to start breathing again. :-)

Also, for that Autumn Salad recipe earlier in the week: The original recipe called for 10 oz. salad greens. I usually have a big bag of mixed greens from Sam's Club and I never measure them. Just use a few handfuls. This time, I didn't have those and bought a 5 oz. bag at HyVee thinking I'd throw in some romaine if needed. The 5 oz. bag was plenty.

The group of us gals doing the Polar Plunge as a team are thinking of getting pink wigs in addition to wearing pink: Photo . I think it'd be a hoot.

Here's a photo of Super Plunger (and super nice guy and super funny guy and ...) Kevin Torgerson wearing his RTC jacket at Chichen Itza, near Guadalajara, Mexico where daughter Marissa was student teaching.

RTC member Steve DeBoer has an article in RunMinnesota about streak running. He's got the longest running streak of Minnesotans. He's run at least a mile every day since June 7, 1971.

Spotted running across the 6th St SW bridge yesterday morning: Mark Carey and Rob Mitchell. I rolled down my window and wished them a Happy Thanksgiving. They were cruising! Spotted this morning, Jerry Goodrich, Mr. All Comers'. He and Lucy and family have moved back from the LaCrosse area. We're happy to have them back.

Well, guess I'll have to save the news from the home front for the next post. Maybe yet today. Maybe tomorrow along with Gravy Train photos. Stay tuned.

I keep reading good quotes here and there. Here's a sentence or two from the lastest issue of RunMinnesota, from an article by Chad Austin: "I have long known what the most meaningful things in life are, and they have nothing to do with material acquisitions, status, etc. It is the friendships and relationships we develop along the road."

Happy trails.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

There's so much I'd like to write about today, but just don't have the time. It will have to wait for another day.

I just want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful, relaxing day surrounded by family and friends (and lots of good food). I'm thankful for so much this year, not the least of which are my friends. There was a very nice comment on yesterday's post (more on that in another post). It included lyrics from a song from the musical Wicked (great book and I'd love to see the play)...

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you:

We're all the products of our experiences and relationships. Thank you, friends, for making me who I am, for better or worse, for being a part of my life and for allowing me to be a part of yours.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Whoa ... remix

We'd decided to run today instead of tomorrow. Woke up with a bit of a sore throat. Temp outside was about 15 degrees. Put on a warmer coat and moved to glove liners and mittens instead of just gloves. Wasn't expecting much out of the run.

But again, it defied explanation. There's a slight hill about mile 2 that I always try to push and one of the guys always (ok, usually) joins me. Today, it was Mark. Then it's up the Assisi Heights hill and Bruce joined me on that one. Then around Elton Hills Dr. to the Rec Center. Today, I just took off. It felt great. Even running sub-7:00s, in the dark. I kept hoping I wouldn't catch a toe on something, crash to the pavement and break some bones. I didn't. ;-) Going south on Broadway (slight downhill) I glanced at my GPS and it said 5:51 pace. I'd NEVER seen that on my GPS before. EVER. I appear to be peaking for ... nothing. Lisa told me I should go find a December marathon somewhere and go qualify for Boston. I wish! :-)

Lisa and Mark headed back to the Y and I continued on with Bruce part way up Viola Road and then turned off and headed toward Mayo H.S. then back to the Y with a loop around Soldier's Field. 10.07 miles. (BTW: Thanks for bearing with me while I indulge myself. This kind of run doesn't happen very often. Pretty much never, actually. It sure does wonders for my psyche, though.)

Driving to S.A. for gas and then up to Great Harvest for bread, I only hit one red light. Things were going my way. I'll take it for what it is, a good day, and leave it at that.

Dad and Ada and Matt all arrive later in the day. I'm excited to see them all. Dinner tonight: beef and barley soup, salad and bread (dad's a big fan of Great Harvest bread ... but what's not to like?). Yum. It's definitely soup weather.

Here's my salad recipe:

Autumn Apple, Pear and Cheddar Salad with Pecans

1 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
5 oz. bag mixed salad greens
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 medium apple, cored and cut into 18 wedges
1 medium pear, cored and cut into 18 wedges
1/4 cup (1 oz) finely shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. chopped pecans, toasted

Place apple juice in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to about 3 Tbsp (about 10 minutes). Combine reduced apple juice, vinegar, oil, s/p, stirring with a whisk.

Combine greens and fruit in a large bowl. Drizzle with apple juice mixture; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and nuts.

Thought for the day: "A smile is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and an antidote for trouble."

Smile! And have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mostly, it's Monday

Congratulations to Wendy Nevala, who can now be called an Ironwoman. She completed Ironman Arizona yesterday. Super! We're very proud of you Wendy. She crossed the finish line in 15:41:32 and is now vacationing with her family. I hope they're pampering her today.

Oops. I posted an incorrect date in yesterday's post for the Gravy Train 12 (it's been corrected in that post). It's Saturday, November 29. No, you haven't missed it. Remember to bring those non-perishable food items.

Just a reminder that we will be holding the third annual Carol on the Run Wednesday, December 3 at 6 pm at Running Room. Festive headwear and jingle bells are encouraged. Probable stops include Charter House, Samaritan Bethany on 8th, Samaritan Bethany Heights and Ronald McDonald House. You don't have to include all the stops on your run. Let's bring some holiday cheer to those who could really use it.

The RTC newsletter went to the bulk mail facility today at noon. It should arrive in your homes either tomorrow or Wednesday. For information about voting on next year's board of directors, please read the letter from the president which is an insert. It's important that you vote this year as we have more people running for positions on the board than there are seats to fill.

Mike Schmitt is again looking to organize a car/van pool to the Securian Half Marathon (part of St. Paul Winter Carnival) on January 24. More info at RTC Forums.

The challenge to do the 3 WinterFest activities on the weekend of February 14/15 now has an official name (thank you Kevin Torgerson). The WinterFest Trifecta. I've now joined Laura Lenz and Chris Kujath on team Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer. We'll be wearing pink. Quote from Mark Wernstrom this morning regarding me signing up to plunge: "So is there a fee for you AND your ego?" Ha! Them's fightin' words, Mark!! (Don't worry ... this is all in fun.) We're running tomorrow at 5:15 AM at the Y should anyone want to join us.

Pictured below are Chris O'Brien, her friend Wylene, and Chris Kujath who particiated in the Turkey Run at Lake Como yesterday.

Just a little FYI: Y105 (104.9 and 105.3 FM) is already doing Christmas music 24x7. It will be all Christmas, all the time, until Christmas.

News on the home front: Eric is indeed going to Paris for 4 days after his school term ends. Lucky duck. He'll leave from Madrid to come back to the states on December 17.

Well, I'm finally reaching the conclusion of the home improvement that would not end. All started with wanting to paint the front door sometime back in early September. Spent the day before TCM with a 6'x7' hole in front of the house, freezing, wrapped up in blankets on the couch with stomach cramps ... Not a good day. Anyway, we now have a new front door and sidelights, 11' of new rim joist, a new row of brick on the stoop, reinstalled siding, new Fypon pilasters (actually two sets, one of which is useless--anyone need some brand new 7" pilasters??) and I'm a first name basis with Dave at Kruse Lumber. ;-) I just put the second coat of paint on the pilasters and a piece of rough-sawn cedar that will go under the door. The end is finally in sight and I'm soooooo glad.

Yesterday I was at Fleet Farm and was browsing the Christmas ornaments. Found a musical note for Matt but still hadn't found anything for Eric as nothing seemed quite right. He's done so much traveling this year. So I found a moose flying an airplane and decided on that. I brought it home and added a little banner out the back. I printed the words on the computer, cut them out (two the same size) and fused them together with Heat 'n Bond (used for quilting and crafts) and put two pieces of bead wire between the papers on the top and bottom so it would be stiff and could be bent. Then I hot glued it on the back of the plane.

They also had ornaments that say "marathon". The colors aren't Christmas-y but you don't see ornaments that are running-related very often. So I bought one. Sorry for the blurry picture.

The last poll I posted was "What's your favorite carb?" Pasta won. Here's a great pasta recipe. Very quick and easy but very tasty. It sounds like a lot of garlic, but the garlic ends up tasting sweet.

Pasta with Garlic, Olive Oil and Hot Pepper Flakes

For the pasta:
4 quarts water
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
1 pound dry spaghetti noodles (Barilla Spaghetti Rigati--spaghetti with ridges)

Directions: Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the salt, then add the noodles and cook at a medium boil while stirring often until al dente (about 6 to 8 minutes). Meanwhile, make the sauce.

For the sauce and to finish the dish:
6 Tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil--Rachel Ray-speak)
8 (yes, 8) large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed flat (with the side of a chef's knife)
One medium red bell pepper, cored and seeded and cut into short julienne
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. hot pepper flakes (use more or less to taste)
1/4 c. finely shredded Italian parsley
Cooked pasta from above
6 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Put a 12" skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, remove it from the heat and add the oil to the pan followed closely by the garlic. Let the garlic cook 1 minute until lightly golden in color. Add the bell peppers, salt and pepper flakes then return to high heat. Let cook 1 minute while stirring often, then remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. When the pasta is done, drain it well and toss with the sauce. Divide onto plates then top each with a sprinkling of Parmesan and serve.


Well, I have some meal planning and list-making to do for the rest of the week. I'd best get busy.

Thought for the day: "Whatever your talent, use it in every way possible ... Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke." --Brendan Francis

Until next time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An off day

Today was an off day for me. No running. No exercise. After yesterday's long run, didn't want to tempt fate lest the running gods decide to bestow some sort of injury on me. I've had quite enough of that, thank you very much.

Today in church, I sat in front of another gal who was diagnosed with breast cancer last week. Her husband mentioned it at the Y. Whew. Another name to put on my bib for Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer Half Marathon on February 15. I have 5 friends and one relative, who's only 9 years old, with cancer right now. I guess all of our days are numbered ... we just don't know what the number is.

The Gravy Train 12 is Saturday, November 29. (BTW: You don't have to run all 12 miles. It's just a fun run and an excuse to not be out shopping. Run as short or long as you like.) We'd like to ask that you bring non-perishable food items for Channel 1 food shelf. Running Room will be open at 7:15 AM. Thanks in advance.

It's been requested that I again provide cookies for the male and female winners of the Cabin Fever Stair Climb on February 14. I am very happy to oblige. There are possibly some much larger prizes in store (as in room and board, of sorts). Stay tuned.

There was a very nice article in the weekend Post-Bulletin about RTC member Michael Torchia. He's injury free and running very well (usually number 3 for the Gophers). Such a nice kid (or I guess I should say young man), as is the whole family. I talked to him at Douglas Trail this year. In addition to majors in biochemistry and history, I think he mentioned he was going to get a minor in Italian.

(Mike running for Lourdes at the All-City meet in 2003, Mike at Douglas Trail 2008, Tish and the kids at Douglas Trail 2008, Mike running track for the Gophers. BTW: If you mouseover on a photo in this blog and a URL appears at the bottom of the screen, you can click on it and get a larger version. I'm not sure why it's not true for all photos as I upload them all the same way.)

I'd emailed Mike earlier this year asking him to answer my "baker's dozen" questions, which he did in his typically humorous fashion. I'll reprint them here:

Family? I would say more of a tribe - Dad, Mom, Katy, Kelsey, Sarah, and Ian.
Hobbies? Epic games of monopoly, making stupid bets with roommates, and attempting to cook meals well beyond my ability level.
Languages you speak? English, broken Italian, swear words in Portuguese (complements of my mother)
How did you get started in running? The same way everyone else got involved- running away from girls in grade school.
Miles per week on average? 80
Your defacto, comfortable as a broken-in shoe training route? Its a toss-up: River Road to Lake Street or Ranger (Boom Island Park to Stone Arch Bridge)
How often do you run it? Around 4 times per week.
Favorite carbo loading food? Cake
Favorite indulgence food? Cake
Next race? 5000 meters at Arizona State
Running goals? School record in the 5000 meters (13:44) and 10,000 meters (28:24), All-American in cross country and track
Running dream? London, 2012, marathon.

I'd like to get these going again. I'll work on that. I'll probably mix up the questions a bit. If I email you asking for your replies, please consider it!

This Polar Plunge thing is starting to take on a life of it's own. Kevin Torgerson, Super Plunger and co-organizer with K.C. Reed for the Polar Plunge, said after I told him I'd registered: "We'll be sure to put you in the "Celebrity" Plunger zone!" (I do believe that's a joke.) John Dinusson said: "Cannonball!" Bruce Petz: "I will double the pledge - if you roll in the snow (2 times around), right after you get out of the water." Oh my oh my oh my ... I can hear it now, "Who is that whackadoodle nut case out there?" LOL. The visuals crack me up. I am glad that my friends have a sense of humor, though.

I finally stopped in to redeem my coupon for a free ice cream creation from Cold Stone Creamery. It expired today. You can register online for a e-coupon to be sent to you on your birthday. I put it in the freezer for Matt. ;-) He'll be home on Tuesday evening. Can't wait to have him home. He's looking forward to home cooking he says. He's living in a house with two other guys. I think there are only so many ways to prepare ramen noodles and canned chili. :-) This will be the first Thanksgiving without Eric, which will certainly be different. It will be his first year without a Thanksgiving celebration as well. I'm cooking. My dad and step-mom will be here from Florida and my brother and his family, and my dad's cousin, will be here for dinner so there will be 10 of us. I have a big 20-pound turkey thawing in the fridge.

I've got more on my 'to be blogged' list, but I think I'll break here for today. That'll bring y'all back tomorrow. ;-)

Thought for the day: "If you have accomlished all that you planned for you life, you have not planned enough!"


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Whoa ... some things just can't be explained

I swear I could have run a marathon today. And it just makes no sense.

I'd intended to run with the Off-Season Striders (20+ showed up again today--great!) at 7:30 and take the long route, and round it up to 10 miles. Or so. Maybe a bit more. Well, I did that ... and then some. The early miles with the group were OK. The strong south wind was starting to get to me around the lake after we'd been running south for several miles. But after I got back to Dunn Bros again and started back out out on my own, I just kept feeling better and better. And that's what makes no sense. I hadn't eaten anything since supper last night. I drank probably a total of 20 oz. of fluids during the whole run. The big hill at mile 18 didn't phase me. So I just kept running. Why? I'm not sure. Just because I could, I guess. Because it was there. Because I missed my long runs and the tired feeling in my legs afterward. Because I felt great. Because I felt like I could run all day.

I quit at 20.61 miles. I love the running life.

Thank you to: Jennifer Meyer, Tom and Shane O'Leary, Mike Schmitt, Judy Weller, Lin Gentling, Larry Pederson, John Shonyo and Chris Kujath for helping to assemble the newsletter today. We put together 340 newsletters in 25 minutes. You guys are hired!

From the Rochester Active Sports Club (RASC):

I'm delighted to announce that RASC now has a new hiking / trekking group. This will be lead by Kelly Classic and Norm Meeks. They are interested in leading hiking, backpacking, trekking and whatever trips. Local or long distance. They will be putting trips on the web site for all who are interested to join in the fun ( Local trips will generally be "Okay, Kelly and/or Norm are going to a local day hike to, say Forestville State Park on December 6th. They are going to leave from the parking lot at Crossroads Center at 9AM. If you want to join them, show up and be ready to go".

Longer trips such as this pipe dream of Norm's to do Gannett Peak in Wyoming next summer will be a bit more organized and formal. Reservations, carpooling, etc. will need to be done well before hand for some trips. Some trips will require good conditioning. Numbers will generally be limited to first come first served! So come on out and join them! First trip will be to Forestville State Park on the 6th of December leaving from Crossroads Shopping Center at 9 AM.

Any questions email Kelly Classic ( or Norm Meeks ( Hope to see you out there!

Rather than auction off the cookies of the month this year, I just sold them to the highest bidders from last year at last year ... and the year before that ... and the year before that ... (The 8 dozen Christmas cookies are still up for auction beginning December 1.) The winning bid last year was $221. These guys outbid everyone else every year for 5 years, so it just seemed easier for everyone to just re-up them again for another year. Proceeds go to Fetzer 20K prize money. (It's an Equalizer race ... women start 12 minutes and the first one to the finish is the winner. This year I'm splitting the money into masters and open categories.) Thank you to: Group 1--Jim Benike, Jim Martinson, Mark Wernstrom, Jean Murray, K.C. Reed, Don Gabrielson and Ross Hamernik. Group 2--Shaun Palmer. Yes, Shaun gets the whole batch. Every month. But he gets an A+ on his report card for sharing. He goes all around the Y giving away cookies on cookie delivery day. Everyone loves him. On cookie day, anyway. :-) (No, really, super-smiley Shaun is a great guy every day.)

The Triple Event Challenge is a go for WinterFest. And I'm in. Today I registered for the Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer half marathon . I'm the first one to register. I asked John Shonyo if he was therefore going to give me bib # 1. He said he'll see what he can do. (A couple of times Peg Arnold gave me number 1 for Med-City or the Rochester Half -- people would like at me like who are you?!) Then I registered for the Polar Plunge. This is the event that has me the most nervous, even though it'll be over in a matter of seconds ... jumping into 32 degree water, running out and right into a hot tub ... I just don't know about this. But now I'm committed (or maybe I should be!). Laura Lenz said she'd plunge with me. I just might make her hold my hand ... If you would like to support Special Olympics Minnesota by sponsoring me, that would be wonderful. Here's the link. Last year they had 436 plungers. This year, they hope for 500+. We're Freezin' for a Reason!

Thank you to those of you who send, or tell me in person, feedback on my blog. I really appreciate it. Makes this all worthwhile. I especially like this one. "I read your blog religiously." Thank you so very much for reading.

I almost never run with my iPod. For some reason, today I threw it in the trunk and put it on when I headed out on my own. One thing I listened to was Nickelback (my musical tastes are quite eclectic). The lyrics to this song are pretty powerful, speaking of the need to make this planet a better place for all inhabitants. They will be my "thought for the day". The photo below is from a runner friend who has traveled to Uganda and seen firsthand the needs of those much less fortunate.

And as we lie beneath the stars
We realize how small we are
If they could love like you and me
Imagine what the world could be

If everyone cared and nobody cried
If everyone loved and nobody lied
If everyone shared and swallowed their pride
Then we'd see the day when nobody died
When nobody died...

Singing Amen, I, I'm alive
Singing Amen, I, I'm alive ...
---If Everyone Cared, by Nickelback

Complete lyrics Play video

I've rambled quite enough for today. Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Therefore, I will run

I was shocked. Stunned, actually. Sad. Scared. Sleepless. I found out last night that a runner friend was diagnosed with breast cancer just days ago and had a mastectomy yesterday. I am so angry at this terrible disease. What can I do? First and foremost I will become a prayer warrior for my friend. Offer meals. Transportation. Sew something for her. What can all of us do? One easy thing, is to view the breast cancer fundraising video by Brooks . It's a cute little cartoon type video about a girl envisioning her ideal run and just takes a minute or two. For each viewing until December 21, 5 cents will be donated to breast cancer research. On a larger scale, you can participate in the Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer 5K and Half Marathon on February 15. I will run. And I will run to honor my friend.

I heard from a friend who read my blog post from the other day and she said she's busy knitting Christmas gifts for this year. I've already started sewing. I'll post my projects as I get them completed. I'm having fun. ;-)

Mario Minelli let me know that I posted the wrong link yesterday for the Running Room eMagazine (I posted the link for the regular magazine). Oops! So sorry about that. Here's the correct link. Mario is also going to try my pumpkin bread recipe in the eMag ... with chocolate chips of course. ;-)

Just a note about Off-Season Striders ... just because we hang a name on the group doesn't mean it's a club or formal group of any sort. We run and talk and talk and run. Then eat. It's as much a social opportunity as it is an opportunity to run. We have all paces and all are welcome. It's off-season so we're all kind of in maintenance mode. Please consider joining us!

USATF is in the middle of a massive stretching study. They are looking for volunteers for the study, who will stretch (or not stretch) as directed for three months, and report back about their results. As long as you are older than 13 and running more than 10 miles per week you are eligible to take part in the study. Go to Stretch Study to learn more and to enroll.

Thank you to the following people who have already volunteered to help with newsletter assembly tomorrow afternoon: Judy Weller, Jennifer Meyer, Lin Gentling, Tom O'Leary and Shane (who needs service hours for confirmation, I believe!), Chris Kujath, Larry Pederson, David Sletten, John Shonyo. We should be done in no time at all. I noticed as I was going to the printer that gas is $1.77 at Kwik Trip today. The price of gas is falling as fast as the Dow Jones Industrial Average it seems.

There was a story in the Post-Bulletin last night about a new extension to our already wonderful trail system. It will extend from Rochester to Chester Woods, a wonderful spot for trail running. Construction is set to begin in the spring.

Today was the day for the photo shoot for the Post-Bulletin cookie contest. I had to be there with my cookies at 7:30 AM. Went to the Y, hopped in the shower, dressed and went down to the P-B. I thought I'd drop off the cookies to be photographed and take off. Well, I got there with my wet hair and in running clothes and find out that it's me that's going to be photographed. Wonderful. Not only do I not like having my picture taken, but I looked like I just jumped out of the shower. (Well that makes sense as I did just jump out of the shower. :-) I had an 8:00 dr. appt. so there was no going home to remedy how I looked. So I plunked down on the stool, smiled and let Jerry Olson snap the photos. I should have at least pinched my cheeks for a little color. Oh, well. There are certainly worse things to worry about than not being photogenic. I got an email from sports writer Paul Christian mid-afternoon that he'd voted for my cookies. (Thank you, Paul!) Holly Ebel called a bit ago and I got second place. I am very pleased with that as hundreds of recipes were submitted. She said a "little old lady" (her words) won with her chocolate-frosted cherry pecan cookies. I think that's great!! I won a $50 Hy-Vee gift card. That offsets the 8 lbs. of Land O'Lakes unsalted butter I bought the other day. That website has lots and lots of good sounding recipes on it, by the way. I've added several to my recipe box already.

When I got home, I decided to clean. I was a veritable unstoppable cleaning force. Cabinets, wooden blinds (what a pain), dusting, even did the glass on the french doors.

I don't get in this mood often, so had to take advantage of it while it lasted. I've been in a de-cluttering mood so did some of that as well. One thing that I might as well toss ...

my unused TCM number. ;-(

Well, I guess I'll save the rest of my list of posting material for tomorrow along with morning run and newsletter assembly photos.

Thought for the day: "Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget."

Well said.

Just a quickie post ... more later

We'll assemble the newsletter tomorrow, Saturday, at my house at 1:00 pm. 2026 Kal Lane SW, Rochester. 282-5079 if you need directions. Thanks!

Your faithful editor

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fun Dunn Run!

Blow me's windy out there!! At least the sun is finally shining.

The Off-Season Striders will meet at Dunn Bros. Coffee on Elton Hills Dr. NW on Saturday morning at 7:30 AM. Any and all of you are welcome to join us. It would be great if we had a turnout like last week. John's route: Head out on West River Parkway, over to East River Parkway, then to Broadway south, for a scenic loop around Silver Lake (so close to Great Harvest, but yet so far…). Return via Zumbro bike trail to Dunn’s (~7miles) or keep going to head west up Elton Hills Dr. for an additional loop around Assisi Hts & return via Zumbro bike trail across from International Buffet on 11th/Civic Center Drive (9+ miles). Picture that??? Then it's back to Dunn Bros. for coffee, juice, blue corn pancakes (yum!), french toast or whatever suits your gastronomic fancy. ;-)

There will be no OSS run on Saturday, November 29. Instead, we encourage you to participate in the Gravy Train 12 at Running Room beginning at 8:00 AM. It's free! It's a 5K loop followed by an out-and-back on the Mayowood bike trail, which will hopefully still be snow free. Some year's is not ...

There are still 10 days to use the 20% off coupon in the Running Room eMagazine. Also on that page is a link to subscribe. There are always lots of good articles ... and a recipe from me! I just heard from Charlene at Running Room and I've been re-up'd for 2009.

My friend Lisa sent this video. It's pretty funny, even though it's a spoof (a Midas commercial).

Thought for the day: "We are not at our best when we are perched at the summit; we are at our best climbing--even when the way is steep."

Go. Be. Do.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This isn't my typical post. Has nothing whatsoever to do with running. But I want to share it anyway.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Mostly, it stems from the approaching holidays, Christmas to be specific. Things I’ve read, emails I’ve received and encounters I’ve made have recently have caused me to do a lot of reflecting, mostly at night when I should be asleep. I’ll try to sort it all out.

I love Christmastime…the general feeling in the air of “peace on earth, good will toward men” no matter what your religious traditions, the music, candlelight services at church, the snow, the lights, the connecting and reconnecting with family and friends, holiday meals, baking Christmas cookies. Though it’s not the most important holiday on the Christian calendar, it is indeed a most wonderful time of year. I look forward to pulling out the decorations for the house. The annual lunch with a dozen or so moms all of whom had kids that went to Rochester Central Lutheran School. None of us have kids there any more, but each year in December we get together at one home for lunch, go around the table and tell what the past year has brought: job changes, kids getting married, becoming grandparents, losing parents, losing spouses. But more and more each year, and this year in particular, I just don’t look forward to all the commercialism, the trying to out-gift others, when I’m not sure we even know why we’re buying all this stuff. The economy is in rough shape, it’s a tough job market, the stock market is in the tank. There are so many people in need, lacking the basic necessities of life. I just don’t feel like wandering the crowded malls looking for “stuff” to buy that none of us needs, feeling like I have to keep going until I find something, anything, for everyone on “the list”. I just can’t do it one more year. This year, I’m going to do things differently. I’ll back up…

Community Food Response is a local organization that gathers up leftover food from restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals, etc. that is close to the sell by date or is extra, re-packages it and then gives it out to people in need. On Monday when I was volunteering, there was someone I knew in line. We did not make eye contact. I’ll call her M. She used to come to the Y and she struggles with mental illness. (She’d been interviewed by a local TV station, so that is public knowledge.) She would walk on the treadmill with her big radio headset on and was always very quiet. But I knew her name and would always greet her and exchange pleasantries. I still see her out walking outside with her headset on when I’m running and always stop and say hi. She always has a big “Hi, Renee!” for me. I always feel better for having stopped, for even a brief moment. People in need, in food lines, are not always anonymous faces. There but by the grace of God go I. I am so blessed. I want for nothing.

My son Eric is studying abroad this semester. I’d encouraged him to keep a journal of his time in Spain. When you’re young, and your memory is still good, you think the memories will live forever. Well, they don’t. I received an email from Eric recently. He’s started journaling and now wishes he’d started a lot earlier. While composing one entry, he started writing about his happiest childhood memories with me and decided he’d share them with me as well. “Going to the library on your days off, and going to the special desk for videos to be put in their cases. I loved this.” “Filling up that old plastic swimming pool, and waiting for the water to get warm in the summer sun.” “I remember licking chocolate off of the cooking beaters when you would cook something.” “Multiple Timberwolves games.” (My memory: I remember how steeply the seating rises in the Target Center, sitting in the nosebleed section and feeling like if we stumbled, we’d never stop rolling. And Eric being so proud of his free (cheap-o) KG jersey that was a giveaway one game.) “However, the best memory was the first Twins game I ever went to, and you brought me.” He remembers who they played, seeing Kirby run out on the field, where we sat, what he ate. Just made me tear up to read this stuff. Simple things, but memories that stayed with him. Little happenings do make an impact it seems. I was so glad he shared with me. And I noted that it wasn’t “material things” or “objects” that had the biggest impact on him.

This brings me back to Christmas, and wanting to do things differently this year. And not spend a ton of money. None of us needs anything. What type of memory does some random video game or piece of clothing, or whatever, leave with us after a couple of years? Virtually none. So, what will I do differently? Here are my ideas. (Don’t worry, my kids don’t read this.)

For the boys: Each year since they’ve been born, I’ve bought them each an ornament for the tree so that when they are out on their own, they’ll at least have a few things for their own tree. That tradition will continue. But for something special, I’ve decided I’m going to make them each a book or file of favorite family recipes and notes about each recipe. Eric graduates college this year and Matt lives off-campus and theoretically cooks for himself. ;-) I made them each a scrapbook of their childhood for high school graduation, and this will be similar but will be recipes and memories. (I still remember Matt sitting on the kitchen counter watching the beaters whirl through cake batter, decorating cookies, …) I hope they like it.

For my dad and step-mom: This one is going to be tough. Emotional. Norwegian Lutherans don’t have the best reputation for sharing feelings and that holds true in our family as well. I lost my mom in a car accident when I was age 11. I am the oldest child of 3. Very tough time. Eight years later my dad married a wonderful woman, my step-mom. I love them both dearly. And I should tell them both how much, and how much they mean to me and my family. I should share as Eric has done with me. I’m going to do that in letters to each of them. (I wrote letters to my family members before having my pancreas surgery and they were only to be opened should I not survive the surgery. They’re still here at home. I think memories, hopes and dreams, and love should be shared while we’re alive. I’m getting teary just writing this.)

For some “angels among us”: There are so many people around who do so many good deeds, unselfishly, for others. I know of a few. I will make them each something, probably a little wall quilt, as my small way of saying “you are appreciated and thank you for all you do”. They will be totally unexpected gifts. Those can be the very best kind to give.

Well, that’s what I’ve worked out thus far. And I’m excited to get busy. I had these ideas formulated late Monday night, when I should have been sleeping, and then I was too excited to sleep. The money that I otherwise would have spent on more expensive gifts will go to charity where it has the potential to really make a difference in someone's life.

I was recently reminded in something I read of a song from the 70’s called Pass It On. Here are the first few bars:

It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.

I have the spark. I’m anxious to get going.

What's up Wednesday

Well, I did get up at 4:45 AM today to run. I felt like a zombie. Slept better last night than I had in days, though. All four of us were there once again. I don't think we'd all run together on Wed. morning since before TCM. Pictured below are Bruce, Mark, myself and Lisa. Looks like we're ready to 'glow' ... :-)

The four of us ran together for 4.91 miles then Lisa and Mark headed back to the Y. They're still getting over injuries. I ran another mile or so with Bruce towards his home and then headed back to the Y and around the golf course for a total of 10.15 miles. I felt good. BTW: There's lots of trash around the golf course, our adopted park location. More than I've seen there all year. If you're running by and heading running the loop counter-clockwise, it would be great if you could pick up a couple of pieces and drop them in the dumpster at the parking lot. Every litter bit helps.

The newsletter went to the printer on Monday. I'm hoping it's ready yet this week. I'll post both here and on the RTC website as to when it will be assembled. Hopefully this weekend before the busyness of next week. This one shouldn't take long.

My friend Mary makes wonderful pies. She used to bake the pies for the cafe at The Mouse and Marketplace. She made me a cherry pie yesterday. It was still warm when she gave it to me. She makes the best crust. Flaky, tender, yum. The three of us (including Jeanne, the cake baker, see yesterday's post) at one time thought of opening a bakery (just for a nanosecond or so). One does pie, one does cake, one does cookies. But we knew how much work it would be, how bad the hours would be, and nixed the idea. So now we bake and just give it away.

I'll take a piece of pie, a piece of cake, ... with a side of Lipitor, please. ;-)

I really enjoy sewing ... making quilts in particular. These are some of my favorites:

I have decided that I'm going to make a concerted effort to finish some of my UFOs (unfinished objects) and get back to sewing on a more regular basis. I have more quilting fabric than I will probably be able to use in my lifetime and it's time to make a dent in it. In fact, last night I finished up a little pillow that I'd embroidered a few years ago. A very stylized version of a turkey. I'll post a picture in my next post. It will fit with theme of that post.

I have another post that's been forumulating in my head for a few days. I'm going to work on that today. After I call StudentUniverse for Eric. It's some organization through which students are able to get airline fares at a reduced price. He and some friends have decided that when their Spanish school term ends in December they want to go to France for a few days. He said the ticket from Madrid to Paris would be 1 Euro (??). That's only about $1.50. Hmmm... Anyway, his Spanish cell phone does not allow him to call the states. I have to see whether they have any open seats for him to return to the States a few days later than originally scheduled.

Time to wrap this up.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quotable Quote

Mark Wernstrom called to harrass me. We harrass each other pretty much on a daily basis at the Y. I think we both enjoy it. :-) OK, so he also had a legitimate reason to call. Anyway, at some point during the conversation, the following was uttered, "It must be something being you." Now that's profound. (see post below) ;-) --Mark Wernstrom, 4:12 PM, 11/18/08

Seen (Scene?) & Heard

I have lots that I want to post today, but on two completely unrelated subjects. I will start with what's running-related, mostly. The rest will have to wait until either this evening or tomorrow morning as I know it's going to be lengthy. I have the day off tomorrow and the regulars are running at 5:15 AM, which means a 4:45 alarm for me. As much as I am a morning person, I'm really tired today and there will be temptation to stay in bed until at least 5:30 AM, I just know it ...

I went to lunch with a couple girlfriends today. My friend Jeanne is an amazing decorator of cakes. This was this year's version. She didn't know it, but guess what color my iPod is? Green!
She even included Hershey's Kiss earbuds. ;-)

I've had my camera at the Y hoping to get a photo of a couple people, but they haven't been there yet this week. So I decided to have some fun with my running friends. As I'm on my favorite Stairmaster, #5, I asked Mark Wernstrom (upper left) if he wanted to be in my blog. "Sure," he said. So I said, "Say something profound." "Nice skirt." Well, I guess maybe that was the most profound thing I'd heard by 6:15 AM. Blogged he is. (I've run probably thousands of miles with Mark. Good guy. Even though he is Swedish, and a St. Olaf grad. Go Norse! :-) Then Ellen Hamernik walks up. "You're way to matchy-matchy for this early morning." (My shoes are pink and white.) Blogged she is. After taking a short break to get a kleenex, I walk by Mike Holmes. He said he's doing the "full Renee Saxman" workout today (multiple machines including the Stairmaster). Blogged he is. There 'ya go.

Also seen at the Y, Iron(wo)man to be, Wendy Nevala who makes her Ironman Triathlon debut in Arizona this weekend. She's both nervous and excited, and you can't blame her for that. The whole family is going down to cheer her on and they're making a vacation out of it. What an accomplishment that will be.

From Mike Schmitt: The proposed Stillwater marathon is going to be presented to the city council this evening. It's in direct conflict with the Med-City marathon, which is unfortunate. It sounds like the course will be quite hilly.

Also from Mike, Ryan Hall will run Boston 2009. "To win in Boston would show the world that American distance running is indeed back to the days of Salazar, Beardsley, and Rodgers. I hope that I can contribute to bringing American marathoning back to the forefront. There is no better place to do that than Boston. What is done in Boston lives on for all time." --Ryan Hall

From Chris O'Brien: Research on marathon runners using both pre- and post-race data.

Heard this on the radio and had to find a link: NASA to Turn Astronauts' Urine, Sweat Into Space-Station Water. As in drinking water.

Indoor running at UCR: The Field house is open every morning from 6 - 8 a.m. and evenings 5 - 10 p.m. Monday through Friday for your walking/jogging pleasure. Weekends are on a hit and miss system depending on what is scheduled in the field house (see Sports Center Schedule). The city has priority use and there is no charge for jogging/walking.

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." --John Burroughs

Until next time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm in!!

Received a call from Holly Ebel at the Post-Bulletin as I was leaving to do Community Food Response ... my Holiday BonBon recipe made it to the cookie contest finals! Hooray!! I have to have a plate of them at the P-B office at 7:30 AM on Friday for a photo shoot and taste tasting. Send those positive baking vibes my way!

It's not a great photo, but yesterday's Walnut Boule turned out pretty well. I was hoping it would have more of a crackly, artisanal crust but that's OK. It's good with the black raspberry jam. My favorite part? The heel of a loaf. Especially if it's still warm, with butter on it ... Land O'Lakes unsalted, of course. Nothing but the best.

This looks like a rather interesting mode of transportation. With the apparent direct drive and no brakes, I'm not sure I'd want to go screaming down Northern Heights Drive on this thing (very steep hill with a stop light at US Highway 63 at the bottom)!!

With the latest model (2140s) now available in my very favorite series of shoes (asics 2100 series), the 2130s are now on sale at Running Room for $69.99. That's a great price. Sizes are limited. Get them before they're gone!

From Judy Weller: The Optimist Club will again be holding the Frozen Goose 5K (fun run/walk) and 10K (timed) as part of Winterfest. It will be February 7 at the University Center. Look for an entry form in the December RTC News.

From Mike Schmitt: Trek is sponsoring a new Women's Triathlon Series. If I wasn't so swimsuit-phobic I might actually try a tri!

The Fetzer 20K is still 5 months away, but I'm starting to try to line up sponsorships and some advertising. I have an idea for a T-shirt design. We'll see if they can work it up for me. As always, they'll be long-sleeved, good quality Ts. Hope to see lots of you there to kick off the RTC racing season come April.

I've been a 2 day/week runner for the most part since my 2003 back surgery (herniated disc). I really need to run a good race sometime in the not to distant future so I get some self-confidence back, so I'm going to try running 3 or 4 days per week and see how it goes. I know I need to get back to doing hills, speedwork, etc. come spring time in order for my times to improve. I'm going to put the Securian/Winter Carnival Half Marathon on my race card and hope to have a better performance there than I've had lately.

Well, that's all I know for today. Time to curl up with my book.

Thought for the day (from a birthday card): "It's the friends we meet along life's path who help us appreciate the journey."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Loaf

Looks good. Smells good. ;-)

Remembering ... My Favorite Things

WARNING: This could be a very long post. Enter at your own risk. :-) There's a reason I call myself Ramblin' Renee after all.

48 years ago today (it's hard to hide your age when you are a runner and participate in running events ... your age gets posted all over the place.), little Renee Kristin was born in Hinsdale, IL. I've not been little since. ;-) I thought I'd take time today, the time that's mine to play with, do some of my favorite things, and reminisce about my favorite running-related memories of the past year. I will capture my day and my thoughts in words and pictures, two of my favorite things. Blogging has also become one of my favorite things. Music is another favorite thing. So as I post, I'm listening to Christmas music, Jim Brickman (The Gift) presently. I just love the holidays. Sit back ... relax ... here goes ...

When I woke up this morning, I looked out the window and could see that there was a dusting of fresh snow and it was still snowing a bit. I had to go for a run. (Normally I run Wed. and Sat.) Beautiful conditions, and after all, I wanted to do my favorite things today. So at 6:15 or so I left for a 5.5 mile run before 8:00 church. It was great. Peaceful. Quiet. Still. In a perfect world, there would have been about 2" of fresh snow so the snow would make that nice crunchy sound, no tire tracks, and it would have been snowing a little harder. But it was perfect enough for today.

Then there was time for a quick breakfast. My favorite -- oatmeal with brown sugar, walnuts, blueberries. Yum.
Then off to church (Redeemer Lutheran ).

Today is the 75th anniversary of our church, so a little later it was back to church at noon for a celebration lunch. (I'm doing my best with the timer on my camera. ;-) The menu? Meatballs, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, corn, red jello with bananas (ha!) and pumpkin pie. I didn't spot anything that appeared to contain Cream of Mushroom Soup. Hmmm... Typical Lutheran gathering: lots of food, fellowship, kind words and helping hands. Even some Church Basement Ladies (and at least church basement guy!). They even managed to scrounge up enough aprons for all the ladies to wear. It was a good morning.

A day of favorites wouldn't be compete without some quality time in the kitchen baking something. I decided against cake or cookies as I wouldn't eat them anyway. So bread it is! I'm trying a new recipe for a Walnut Boule from Cooking Light. No mixer for kneading today. Just me. It'll be a while before it's done, so I'll post that photo later. Nothing like kneading bread for stress relief. ;-)

So, those are some of my favorite things. Now I'll do a little remembering about my running life this past year and touch on some highlights. The one family-related running highlight I just have to post again. It just struck me so funny. My son Eric came back from a run, one of those where everything just clicks and you feel invincible, and promptly announced to me, "Mom, I'm half Kenyan." Oh, really, I said. Which half? You had to be there. It was just so funny.

Things that really stick out in my mind were the Ragnar Relay, spending about 30 straight hours with 5 running buddies, and a couple of marathons where I ran a half and then went back out on the course to run in with friends who were running through a proverbial rough patch and talking them into the finish. I was fortunate to be able to travel to the RRCA convention and Flying Pig events in May to collect the RRCA small/medium newsletter award. THANK YOU to all of you who contribute to our newsletter. I am pictured below (sans hair gel and skin the color of Elmer's glue!!) with Dick Beardsley and Henry Rono and giving my little acceptance speech.

Highlights pictured below include traveling to the Route 66 marathon in Tulsa, OK last year on my birthday with Judy Weller and being there when Tom Williamson qualified for Boston for the first time by ... 2 seconds; traveling to Boston to watch the women's Olympic marathon trials and being able to meet up with so many Rochester runners at the pasta feed; traveling to the Wild Goose Chase 30K with Betsy and Judy; and the Rails to Trails races, again being in the company of many friends.

The highlights this year were on the road, just not running on the road. It's not been a good year for running. But I've covered that pretty much all year long in this forum ...

As some of my faithful readers know, I on occasion post lyrics from songs as a way of expressing my thoughts. I could have posted something dorky like "Happy Birthday to You" but that didn't feel right. So above are the Golden Girls (old TV show) and the theme song for the show ... Thank You For Being A Friend. I just can't say enough about the wonderful friends I've made in the 10 years I've been running. I count many of you among my closest friends and I'm grateful for each and every one of you: young or more blessed in years, new friends and old, near or far. Thank you for being a part of my life, and allowing me to be a part of yours. I am blessed.

Thank you for your birthday greetings, Brian and Kay Erwin for singing happy birthday on the phone, to my friend Ann who now lives in OH who's been my friend really my whole life for the phone call, Kelly for your kind words about my influence on your running life before leaving Rochester to now do your running along the Hudson river, the mystery person at the Y who left me a dozen roses ... You're all the best. I think I better close. I'm getting emotional. Again.

It's been a challenging couple of months, at best. I'm hoping the year of being 48 is better than the year of being 47. :-)

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Run 'n Fun

Wow. Fantastic turnout today at Panera. Must have been the promise of cookies. ;-) It was great to see so many of you. I count 27 of us (the photographer, Karla, and myself, just off the left side of the photo). Hope you all come back next week. It was a very pleasant morning. Big, fluffy snowflakes at times. Congrats to Peter Maves, far right in the photo, who did Ironman Florida a couple of weeks ago in 9:53. Outstanding. Unfathomable, in my book. Rumor has it that Judy Weller will be participating in Ironman Louisville in 2009. You go, girl!

Speaking of triathlons ... sort of. Well, a different flavor anyway. Laura Lenz and I have been talking about a great idea she had. There are three athletic events during the second weekend of WinterFest 2009--Broadway Residence & Suites Stair Climb, Saturday AM, 2/14, Law Enforcement Polar Plunge, Saturday PM, 2/14 and Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer Half Marathon on Sunday AM, 2/15. A triple crown of sorts. We'd like to challenge you to participate in all three, and we'll be offering up some sort of prizes to the male and female with lowest overall time (and with the two of us, you can bet it will involve some food. Laura is thinking a pie for one winner, I'm thinking 2 dozen cinnamon rolls for the other.) . I'm in! At it will be my first 'in' at Foster Arends Beach. I'm just hoping I don't go into v-fib when I exit the water. ;-) Stay tuned both here and the RTC website for further details.

It's time once again for Carol on the Run, planned for 12/3 this year. We'll meet at 6 pm (hopefully at Running Room again) and make a tour of close-to-downtown nursing homes to sing a few carols for the residents at each stop. If you can only carry a tune in a bucket, that's OK! This is meant to spread holiday cheer--it's not a singing contest. If you have a santa hat, or some other fun headwear and/or some jingle bells, bring them along. I have a few extras. Treats will be provided afterwards. Route will be 3-10 miles, depending on how many stops you choose to include. Please consider joining us!

I was notified this week that my 20K race will again be a MN RRCA state championship race, which is a great deal. It means free Gatorade, Fuel Belts to give away and very nice award plaques for open, masters (40+) and grandmasters (50+) winners. We're hoping the weather of 2007 does not repeat. Most years, the weather is perfect for running.

Last year I auctioned off cookies to raise funds for the RTC--prize money for the Fetzer 20K. 8 dozen holiday cookies will be auctioned off on the RTC website forum. The funds will go either to the 20K again, or possibly toward the purchase of a mascot for the RTC. Bidding will commence on Monday, December 1. Bidding will close at 8 pm on Friday, December 5. Bid high, bid often!

Speaking of cookies, Land 'O Lakes butter is on sale this week at Hy-Vee. ;-) I'm stocking up.

We need nominations for 2008 Runner of the Year. The winner does not by any means need to be one of the fastest runners in town! Excellence can be either absolute or relative. The runner may have achieved a longstanding goal, dealt with adversity. Is a great cheerleader and supporter of fellow runners. We need nomations! Please send them to

This is one of my favorite shows on TV: Ace of Cakes with Duff Goldman. These people are amazing. They can make and shape cake and fondant into anything.

Thought for the day: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." --Dr. Seuss

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oh where, oh where has the sunshine gone, oh where, oh where can it be?

(photo is from yesterday) I don't think I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder), but I do miss the sunshine after a few days without. These days of thick cloudcover, fog and cold ran do tend to drag one down. At least this one. :-) I ran at 6:30 AM today and it really was pleasant, save for the stiff south wind. But the temps were very nice. Did the 7.5 mile "loop around the hill". I'm feeling much better today. ;-) Especially since I just got my hair cut and highlighted. I saw the following in a Maxine book at the hairdressers (it's for women turning 50 ... I'm dangerously close): "Gray hair is a neutral color that goes with anything." You gotta love Maxine .
Looking at my poll on presidential voting from last week, it looks like Obama and McCain would have had to have a run-off. HA! 27-27 tie.

The speaker for the RTC Annual Banquet is our own Dr. Ed Creagan from the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Creagan will be on Healthline on KROC AM 1340 this Saturday at 9:05 AM speaking about stress. Tune in! And it's not too early to RSVP for the banquet, which will take place at Willow Creek Clubhouse on January 10. RSVPs and payment due by 12/29.

Spotted on Mario's blog, a link to CLIF bar family wineries. Hmmm ... I wonder if they taste like electrolytes ...

Jean Knaack, RRCA Executive Director, further expounded on Road Rage Management on the RRCA website. It's worth reading. Anyone who's run on the roads, along with cars, has to have had an encouter with a vehicle (or it's driver actually) at some point.

Track Club board meeting this evening at 6:00 PM. Lots to discuss, including the ballot for next year, website outages, Youth Grand Prix, directorship for Rochester Half Marathon, eNewsletter, Carol on the Run, 2009 membership give-aways, ... Lots and lots to discuss.

My son who's studying in Spain is off to Norway in a week or so. I'm jealous. It's such a beautiful country. I told him he better take LOTS of pictures. Then he's off to Barcelona the next weekend. This guy is getting around, for sure! But he's had a great experience. I'm glad he was able to go.

Well, Judy Weller was kind enough to send me a knitting pattern for a kitchen dish cloth last week. I actually sat down and knit one last night. You knit it in a square, but on point (i.e. you start at a corner and increase to maximum width and then decrease back down to the opposite corner). It's certainly not perfect. I had a little goof, but at a consistent goof, on what makes the border on the bottom half. But it'll still wash dishes. I'll try again, this time hoping it looks a little more presentable, and possibly post a photo. What the heck ... here's a photo (of the better half ;-)

Here's the directions should anyone care to knit one! I found recipes for homemade marshmallows (vanilla, raspberry or cinnamon-cocoa) and grapefruit jelly bells (those sugar-coated candies that totally stick to your teeth, "orange slices" are popular) in Woman's Day magazine. Sounds like something new and fun to try ... and they'd make great gifts. Stay tuned. They also sound like they have the potential to be sticky messes!!

Don't forget -- cookies at Off-Season Striders on Saturday (7:30 AM, Panera South)!!

Thought for the day: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." --Eleanor Roosevelt

Carry on.