Monday, March 30, 2009

Out and About

Happy Monday. :-)

It looks like we might be rescheduling the Self Defense for Women class from 4/19 to possibly 4/26 if we can find a room to hold it in. It will be $10 and taught by a female employee of Olmsted County corrections who's a black belt in two martial arts. If you're interested in the class, please contact me. Bring your friends, your daughters, your mom. I think it will be good information to have stored away in our memory banks should something happen while out running, walking, or even getting into a car in a dark parking lot.

I joined TriRochester the other day, now that I'm a triathlete "in training". I believe in supporting our local clubs. My tri training continues ... the Rochesterfest Sprint Triathlon on June 28 being my first real venture into the world of triathlon. I'm excited, but still a bit apprehensive about that open water swim. Once I get back onto that beach, I'll be a happy camper!

Also just joined the St. Cloud River Runners club and USATF so that I can compete as a member of the SCRR masters' race team. I'm excited!! It would be great if the RTC had enough interest to form a race team as well. Think about it, runners!!

I'll be filmed for a RahRahRochester! spot on their YouTube site on Thursday afternoon. We're tentatively planning on doing it at Bamber Valley School, where the Fetzer 20K and 2-Mile begins and ends, weather permitting. It sounds like we're going to get a little blast of undesirable weather in the next couple of days. BTW: I'm still taking race entries!! Thank you to my latest volunteer, Jim Li.

I was out and about this afternoon and found something fun at Fleet Farm--"Speedy Bunny" HERSHEY's chocolate bunnies. They're $2.49 (solid, not hollow). I'm sure there will be a "run" on them after this post. HA!! Anyway, I thought they'd make a cute little gift for running buddies. Or bunnies. :-)

My stop at Fleet Farm was on my way back from Stewartville. There were a couple places I've wanted to stop by but just haven't had the chance: All In Stitches quilt shop and the new Fareway Foods store. AIS owner Sandy Evans used to have a shop in Rochester, closed it several years ago and re-opened in Stewartville last year and I hadn't been down there yet. She has a very nice shop. I bought a piece of green fabric which will become the border and binding of a lap quilt I've wanted to make. Then I stopped at Fareway and was very impressed with the store. Very good prices! My favorite flour, King Arthur, is almost $2 less per 5 lb. bag there than at Hy-Vee in Rochester. I'll be back!!

I tried the Champagne Pear Vinaigrette salad dressing that I got at Trader Joe's on Friday. Yum.O. Very tasty. And only 45 calories for 2 Tbsp!! It will go back on my shopping list for my next visit.

I made some chili last night and it turned out quite well, actually. It's a modification of a recipe I found in a magazine. I'll call it Saxman's Sweet and Spicy Chili.

1/2 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can stewed tomatoes (I used the kind with onions and peppers added)
1 small can tomato paste
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. chipotle Tabasco sauce

Brown ground beef, onion, green pepper. Add garlic and saute another minute or so. Add beans, tomatoes, 1 1/2 c. water, tomato paste, honey, cpices. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours on medium-low heat. Stir occasionally. Serve topped with chopped green onions, and shredded cheese, if desired.

Quote for the day: "If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up." --Norman Vincent Peale

Well, that brings me to the close of yet another post. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hello!! Welcome back.

OK. Let's go back to yesterday and the trip up to Gear West in Long Lake. We had a really fun time. Shaun, who is a self-professed non-shopper, was such a good sport! Kevin at Gear West was a great help with wetsuit selection as well as their care and feeding. ;-) Shaun got a full wetsuit and a great deal was available on a sleeveless one for me so that's what I got. Gettinginto a wetsuit is a bit like trying to pull a balloon over a watermelon, I discovered! After the stop at Gear West we went down the street for a late lunch at Red Rooster. Very tasty. Then it was off to Trader Joe's for a few groceries. Such a fun place to shop. Thank you Judy and Shaun for indulging me!

Probably 50 or so attended the morning long run at the RAC. It felt like winter again with the temp at the start at about 20 degrees and a NW wind. Brrrrrr. I'm so ready for spring to come and stay. Enough already! I ran 20.70, mostly with Dan and Trevor. Our pace for much of the run averaged 8:11 or so, but after I left Silver Lake to return to the RAC and Trevor and Dan made another loop around the lake, I know my pace slowed w-a-a-a-a-y down. The ole' legs were shot after my lift/swim/bike/run workout yesterday. I'm glad I got the miles in, but there will be NO running tomorrow, I can say that for sure!!

I had a couple of requests for the recipes from today (photos in yesterday's post). Both were new recipes and both were keepers. The bars (a Land O'Lakes recipe) ...

Chocolate Chunk Almond Blondies
1 1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chunk baking chips
1 cup English milk chocolate toffe bits (Heath)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 375. Combine brown sugar, butter and sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs, corn syrup and vanilla; continue beating, scraping bowl occasionally, until well mxied. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chunk baking chis and 1/2 cup toffee bits.

Spread batter in greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining toffee bits, pressing down slightly.

Bake for 23 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Here's the cookie recipe: Ghirardelli Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

After the run, I went down to Decorah, IA to visit my oldest son Eric who's a senior at Luther College. I stopped at a few places along the way. (Eric had called me back saying he wanted to sleep a little longer. It was already 11:30 AM. :-) We were going to have lunch, but we both decided we weren't very hungry so we went to the Whippy Dip instead. The Whippy Dip was already a longtime fixture in Decorah when I arrived at Luther in the fall of 1978. It was a cold day for ice cream, but that's OK. We drove an 8-mile (hilly) loop that Eric likes to run. It would be very pretty when there are leaves on the trees. I'd like to go down and run it with him some time. Very nice afternoon together.

The Rochester Family Y is in talks with the city to take over the Silver Lake Pool. Post-Bulletin article A couple of weeks ago, Ellen mentioned this to me and said that it would be available to the triathlete community for swim/bike/run workouts, which would be great because it's a long pool. Stay tuned.

Ed Maslowski has volunteered to be a regular writer for the RTC News. This is great! I am thrilled to have him on board. And he volunteered out of the blue ... no begging, pleading or cookie bribes were involved. :-)

Chris O'Brien stopped at Runners' Gate ...

in Lakeville yesterday and she reports: "Phil Hoffland ...

is the owner, very nice gentleman! The store is nice and clean and very well organized.

Lots of parking. They have running groups there during the week and Saturday mornings. He thought it would be great to have some runners from Rochester come up and do a saturday run with them. He will also give you a discount on everything bought if you tell him "your a RTC member". The store has been there 4 and half yrs and Phil just finished the re-model job about a month ago. Nice slection of clothes and shoes. I came out there with a new pair of shoes, a dry wicking shirt, and blinking safety! He has a treadmill so you can try out your shoes and a mirror there to so you can check out your running form..." Thanks for the scoop, Chris!

Fetzer update: 134 pounds of Gatorade concentrate arrived yesterday! 124 registered as of this writing. Thank you to Karla Behringer for volunteering, and Kyle Kircher for volunteering your daughters. :-)

I've had another very full day and I'm ready to put my feet up. So I think I will ... after I hang up my load of running clothes to dry. Weather looks much better for tomorrow, so enjoy!!


Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm Beat!!

Short post tonight. I need to collapse on the couch ... and SOON. Morning workout: lifted, then swim/bike/run. Then came home and made treats for the Saturday morning run. 15 miles on the schedule I think.

Then Shaun, Judy and I headed up to Long Lake to Gear West. We had a great time.

I found a great deal on a wetsuit (a men's size XS so I could get the length necessary ... the model from a couple years ago so it was cheap! Apparently there's not much of a market for men's XS.) and Shaun got one too. Full story tomorrow. ;-)

Just returned from my book club pizza party. It's been a very full day!

Talk at 'ya tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

50th Birthday, Redux

Well, I think I've recovered from Jean Murray's surprise party yesterday. 20-25 attended. It was soooo much fun! I was once again in my glory spending the day in the kitchen. On the menu: spinach dip, stuffed strawberries, smoked pork loin, harvest apple, pear, pecan salad, Mississippi Mud Cake and a very decadent chocolate cake. The cake recipes were new and they are definite keepers. Divine, actually. Oh, and cookies. Of course, cookies!

From Tom O'Leary: Team R.E.D. is holding a kick-off / informational meeting on Thursday, April 2nd at 7:30 PM the Bears Den in Byron... with the Bears Den providing some complimentary appetizers. Come learn and join Team R.E.D. Run. Eat. Drink. 2 out of 3 ain't bad! Mission Statement: Fitness & Fun! Team R.E.D is a dedicated group of Runners, Eaters & (occasional social) Drinkers. We meet at Byron’s Bears Den the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of every month for a group run or walk. As a reward for our dedication to fitness, we rendezvous at The Bears Den for some eats and treats! Contact Tom O'Leary for more info.

Segue into a link, also from Tom, regarding choosing your workout clothes!

Bill Nevala needs some coordinators for the Rochesterfest Triathlon. In particular, a volunteer coordinator and transition and run course coordinators. These individuals will receive a stipend for their efforts. Contact Bill for more information.

As always, I'm looking for newsletter articles for RTC News. I'd like to get some that are not marathon articles as well. If you have something to submit, please contact me.

Totally useless info: Spotted at Kwik Trip while buying eggs ... a 1-liter Diet Coke for $2.19 and a 2-liter Diet Coke for $1.79. Go figure. :-)

Today I had lunch with a couple of friends (celebrating Jeanne Block's birthday!). Poor Jeanne fell on the ice a couple weeks ago and broke her ankle and is on crutches for a couple of months. I feel so bad for her. It's not like her at all to be inactive. Jeanne is the race director for the Rochester Women's Race . The scoop: the awards this year are going to be hand-painted plates. Jeanne is so very talented and always does a wonderful job with the awards for her race. 5-year age groups as well, so she makes a lot of them! We wish Jeanne a very speedy recovery!!

Tomorrow is our (Judy Weller, Shaun Palmer and I) big trip to Gear West to scope out the wetsuit situation. Stay tuned. Tomorrow evening my book club gals are getting together for pizza, daiquiris and games. Should be fun. :-) What am I bringing? Cookies of course! Photos tomorrow.

Well, I believe that's it for today.

Thought for the day: "Nothing is better than the wind to your back, the sun in front of you, and your friends beside you." True. So very true.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy 50th Jean Murray!

Tom Woo's photos

We TOTALLY surprised her and it was a smashing success! More tomorrow. I'm pooped!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Back Down to Earth

Well, my bubble has burst, my runner's high has evaportated and things are all back to "normal" after my 8K on Sunday. Sure was fun while it lasted. ;-)

Maple Syrup

My maple syrup making project came to fruition last night. It's delish. Thank you Dan Strain for the 9 gallons of maple sap. I am now the very proud owner of about a quart of homemade maple syrup. I was so paranoid that I was going to drop it after all those hours of boiling. I didn't. Yet, anyway. This will surely be rationed in its use.

Fetzer News and Notes

I have about 100 pre-registered as of this writing. Price goes up $5 on Friday, so get those registrations in! Thank you to these additional volunteers: Larry Pederson, Tasia Shelly, Greg Hagen, Carol Nyaga, Michelle Jilek + 2, Theresa and Anne Backlund, Paul Anderson, Pete Schommer, Jeff Ihrke and scouts, Greg Heetland and Georgia Schulz. You guys rock! Thank you so much. Gatorade cups and banners arrived today.

Rochesterfest Triathlon Training

I wanted to see how far I could swim in exactly one hour. Answer? Exactly 1 1/4 miles. :-) OK, I'm slow ... but I'm steady. Tom Woo and I were talking on the way home from the 8K on Sunday and he asked whether I thought the swimming was helping my running. I replied in the affirmative as I thought it was helping to strengthen my cardiovascular system. This was confirmed by Shaun Palmer who said that the lungs are worked at a deeper level than I'm used to in my other training and it improves my breathing. Since I'm enjoying the swimming so much, I guess this is a bonus!

Adult Running Camp

There is an adult running camp held each summer at UW-Steven's Point in late July (July 23-26 this year). It's $210 for the 4 days and it's a LOT of fun. I attended it several years ago. I'm thinking of going again this year. More info here .

Running the Sahara movie

Lionel Cheng has purchased the movie Running the Sahara on DVD and has been gracious enough to offer to hold a public viewing of it. I am willing to host this at my house. If you're interested (it's 103 minutes long) please let me know and we'll chose a time that works for the majority.


We've postponed our visit to GEAR WEST until Friday. We're leaving at 11:15 AM. There's still room for one more in the car if you'd like to come along with us. We're stopping at Trader Joe's in St. Louis Park as well. It's one of my favorite places to stop in the cities. Thanks for indulging me, guys. ;-)

Chester Woods Trail Run

Jim Benike, ultra runner extraordinaire, will be the official starter at Chester Woods this year. They couldn't have picked a nicer guy!


It was a great day to bake, so I made some homemade buns. They just came out of the oven. Yum-o!!

Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer Mugs

If you were pre-registered and did not receive your mug at the Lace Up Against Breast Cancer Run on Feb. 15, please collect your mug at the Running Room in Rochester within the next two weeks if possible.

Seen and Heard on the Run

Seen and heard on my 7.14 mile run at noon today... Seen: Park & Rec has swept the 1/4" of sand off the bike path on West Circle Drive. Yahoo! Julie Stanton driving by on 2nd St SW. Heard: The red-winged blackbirds are back. Argghh. Those territorial winged creatures bug me to no end. I get so tired of them dive-bombing my head when they're protecting their nests!

One of My Many Idiosyncracies

OK, I confess. I probably have more of them than the average mortal. Here's one: When I'm lifting, and doing bench presses, it bugs me when the bar isn't square to (exactly perpendicular or parallel to) the ceiling tile grids at the Y. The bench I like is off square to the floor/ceiling tiles by about 1". I should just stop sweating it and square up the darn thing! OK. End of confession. :-)


I thought that Lionel did an excellent job of expressing why distance runners do what we do in his Saturday post (at the end, words in blue). I couldn't have said it any better myself. Well done.

Well, that brings me to the end of my "to be posted" list. Thought for the day: Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.

Bloom where you're planted. :-)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Where Did THAT Come From???

Human Race 8K

I sure wasn't expecting much from the 8K today. My legs were tired from yesterday's 20-miler and my right hamstring/hip was once again sore. So I went up to the race just planning to run it for fun ... a 40:00 finish time would have been just fine. I even considered not running and just watching and taking pictures.

Tom Woo and I left about 10:30 and headed up to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Beautiful day for running for March. We picked up our numbers and chips and then went to the finish of the 5K and were lucky enough to see Chris O'Brien finishing up her race. She and her friend were dressed in their festive shamrock wear. :-) Other Rochester area runners spotted at some point were Mike Schmitt, John Brown, Pat Brown (no relation!), Rosemary Harnly and Pete Gilman.

Tom headed out to warm up. I decided that I'd just stay in the field house until closer to the start as I didn't want to test the fates and put in any more miles than necessary lest I pull a hamie, or worse. :-) I kept stretching, dropped my stuff in the car and jogged over to the start line where I talked with Rosemary Harnly. All systems were go. The temp was low 50's with a strong E/SE wind. I'd worn a long-sleeved shirt and was ready to get going as the wind felt chilly. Finally the starter said 'go' and we were off over the chip timing mats heading east on Summit Avenue. The course is out and back and in general it's uphill (and today, into the wind) going out and downhill coming back, though mile 2 is a slight downhill and 4 an uphill.

So back to my plan. Run comfortable. Have fun. Don't get injured. Mile 1: 7:28. Felt fine. Comfy. But I was generating some heat, so the long-sleeved shirt came off (while running I might add!) at about 3/4 mile and I ran the rest in just a sports bra and shorts, which felt perfect. (There was everything from sports bras and shorts to double long-sleeves and tights out there. To each his own as they say. But I was dressed just right, for me, at this point.) Mile 2: 7:08. Feeling good! Approaching a left turn around the block for the turnaround. Mile 3: 7:05. OK. Now the wind is at my back. Yippee! Let's pick it up a little, despite the slight uphill. Mile 4: 6:49. Passing LOTS of people. This is pretty fun! Picking out runners and picking them off ... one by one. Really having some fun now. OK, one mile left. Let's let 'er rip! Put the hammer down! Get in "the zone"! Fast forward Mile 5 (actually .98 miles): 6:20. HOLY SMOKES!! I've run one 6:20 mile in my life and that was a timed mile several years ago at All Comers. And this wasn't painful. I'm totally psyched! Official finish time: 34:42. Blow. Me. Away. Where in the world did that run come from??? I was pleased as punch. Still am. :-) Next stop, Fool's Five April 5.

Ya just never know what the day is going to bring.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A VERY Full Day Indeed!!

Oh, my. I'm BEAT!! And I've got an 8K race tomorrow up in the cities (Human Race). I think it'll just be for fun the way I'm feeling now. Not much left in the tank, and tired legs. But what a wonderful day it was for a long run. (Hence the 60+ people ready to rumble at the RAC!) The course as layed out was 18.65 miles. I was THRILLED when we got back tot he parking lot and Trevor said our average pace was 8:08. He, Lionel and I scorched the last mile in just over 7 minutes. I felt GREAT. I was psyched! So after stopping for some Cherry Almond Blonde Brownies (great recipe, link posted yesterday--a keeper) and fluids, we topped it off making it a 20-miler.

It was fun listening to some of the on-the-run chatter today. Shortly after leaving the RAC, Jen Bradt, a physical therapist at Mayo, was doing a gait analysis on all of us. She said my stride was very efficient (thanks to my rigid orthotics!). And later we listened to some "guy talk" -- as in man-boobs and leg chafing issues!! Ha!

After getting home, I had my usual bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, blueberries and a banana. Yum, yum. I never tire of that breakfast. Then I brought Pam King two pork loins. She's going to put a rub on them and smoke them on her Big Green Egg for me. She's a dear! In exchange, I brought her a loaf of homemade steel cut oat/whole wheat bread and a couple jars of jam. I still owe her cookies. :-) Then it was off to the mall for a couple things. Then out to Mill End Textiles to look for some fabric for a quilt. They didn't have what I wanted. On the way out, I passed the Dairy Queen on the beltline. It's open! I really wanted a cone, but I resisted. I knew I was most likely going to be overdoing the sweets today (more below) so I thought I better pass on the ice cream. Then up to Great Harvest for a loaf of bread and a free scone ... and a sample of sunflower wheat bread. Then over to Quilting Cupboard for their 20% off sale. They were closed .. and it was only 2:40 PM. I was bummed. Then back home to walk over to Kathryn Moe's home for her annual Vernal Equinox Party (really a misnomer--it's an all-you-can-eat cookie fest!).

I had four cookies, but they weren't that big. But they were delicious, every single one of them. Kathryn really put out the spread. The decision as to how to spend my calories was difficult!

Also in attendance was the Wernstrom family--Mary, Kyle and Mark.

During the morning run, Dan Strain mentioned that he'd tappped his maple trees and was wondering whether I wanted some sap as he couldn't keep up with it. Well, sure I did! However, it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup so a LOT of boiling is involved in attaining the final product.

The sap is perfectly clear ... looks like water.

But it will be turned into gold ... syrup, that is.

So now I'm home, finally sitting down, with a couple of gallons of sap boiling on the stove.

Well, I'm more than ready to put my feet up on the couch and read the newspaper. More tomorrow after the Human Race.


Friday, March 20, 2009

So ... it's spring by the calendar and we're experiencing above normal temps. Can't go wrong with that program!!

I decided to make a loaf of the Maple Oat Walnut bread recipe that I posted in the last post. It's as good as I remember. I can't seem to keep away from it, however!

My little nephew Andrew (or A.J.) turned one this week and they were over for dinner yesterday. Anyone who's a parent might remember some of these type photos...

Rochester Track Club members in the news: Wendy Nevala (in Jennifer Koski's column--coach and cheerleader for some first-time triathletes) and Allison Benike (who did the Heimlich maneuver for a student chocking on a jaw breaker).

Treats for Saturday, post-run: Cherry Almond Blonde Brownies another new recipe. They smell VERY good. ;-) 17 miles is the scheduled distance for the run at the R.A.C.

There's still room for a rider or two for the Human Race 8K on Sunday. We're leaving about 10:30. If you'd like to ride along, let me know.

Thought for the day: It's nice to be important, but its important to be nice.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Short and Sweet

Not a big news day, but I always have a few things to share.

Sorry for the poor quality photos! I forgot my camera and had to use my phone.

Today was the first track pick up day for 2009 for the RTC's adopted "park" -- the bike trail around Soldier's Field Golf Course. Obviously the sun was shining in everyone's faces. There was mucho trash out there. Probably 12+ bags full. It looks so much better! Thank you to: George Huston, Shane O'Leary, Tom O'Leary, Jean Murray, Sam Rowekamp, John Shonyo, Abby Rowekamp and Laura Lenz for your efforts to keep our city clean! Or at least our little corner of it. :-)

Local runner, and soon-to-be first time marathoner Julie Maxwell received this plaque for being the third place runner for most miles in one year ... 1,634. Julie also holds the record for female running streaks at 30+ years. See Streak Runners website for more info.

That's Julie on the right, along with Pam King (left) and Peggy Morgan.

Self-defense class: We've got an Olmsted county employee (jailer?) who's a 3rd degree black belt in karate and a 1st degree black belt in hapkido who's willing to teach us runners a thing or two about self defense. Many of us run alone, at early and/or late hours, and it worries me. The class would be about 2 hours and would cost $10. We're looking at the afternoon of Sunday, April 19. If you'd be interested in such a class, please email me.

Fetzer 20K price goes up $5 on 3/27. Get those registrations in and save a few bucks. :-)

Judy Weller, Shaun Palmer and I are going up to Gear West Tuesday afternoon. I've got one more spot open in the car if you'd like to go along! We're also stopping at Trader Joe's in St. Louis Park. Way fun store ...

Know some kids that like to, or might want to, run? Here's a great resource.

Guess I'll post a recipe. I don't have a photo as I haven't made it in a while. Enjoy!

Maple-Walnut Oat Bread (Note: I didn't use the maple flavor or the glaze.)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons (1 3/8 ounces) maple syrup
4 tablespoons( 1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 1/2 cups (5 1/4 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats, ground for 30 seconds in a food processor
3/4 cup (3 ounces) traditional whole wheat flour
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (1 ounce) maple sugar or brown sugar (1 3/8 ounces)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon maple flavor, to taste (optional)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted

Combine all the dough ingredients, and mix and knead them--by hand, mixer or bread machine--until you have a soft, smooth dough. Cover and allow the dough to rise until it's puffy and nearly doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a 9-inch log. Place it in the prepared pan. Cover it gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow it to rise till it's crowned about 1 1/2 inches over the rim of the pan, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Near the end of the bread's rising time, preheat the oven to 350.

Uncover and bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it with foil after 15 minutes. The bread is dome when it's golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 190. To make the glaze, stir together the maple syrup and melted butter. Remove the bread from the oven, and after a minute or so turn it out onto a rack. Brush it with the maple glaze. Cool the bread for 30 minutes before cutting it.

Quote for the day: "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." Mark Twain


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Pat's Day!

Another beautiful day!

5 "runners" showed up for St. Pat's Day green M&M cookies at the Y at noon. 2 were obviously not running at noon! But that was just fine with me. I'm happy they made their way down from Mayo just for a couple of my cookies. ;-) Pictured are John Shonyo, Ross Hamernik, Jim Martinson, K.C. Reed and Jim Benike.

Jim Martinson turned around early and Jim B., K.C. and I ran the Mayowood trail out to the 2 1/2 mile nail in the tree. There are various markers along the trail that most of you probably never knew were there ... like a metal '2' house number impaled into a tree by the community gardens. :-)

The trail was not without it's wet and muddy spots. But it's much better than ice!

Another sign of spring ... the greenhouse going up in the parking lot at Hy-Vee. We'll be gardening before you know it. Can't believe March is already more than half over, actually.

This is why we're going to be picking up trash at 5:30 PM on Wednesday. This is the worst I've ever seen it. If you'd like to help out, bring your own gloves and meet at the parking area across Broadway from Snappy Stop. Bags provided. Sometimes we even go out for some food afterwards ...

I went around the golf course one additional time (to get this last photo, actually) for a total of 7.22 miles. It was wonderful to be running in shorts and a short-sleeved top. Love. It.

John Shonyo asked me if I'd be Secretary for the Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer committee. I agreed. :-)

Andy Brownell KROC-AM NEWS
A John Adams Middle School teacher will be honored at the start of this evening's meeting of the Rochester School Board for coming to the rescue of a student. Representatives of the Rochester Fire Department will present a Citizen Life Saver Award to Allison Benike. The sixth grade Social Studies teacher sprang into action when the student began choking on a jawbreaker on February 27th and performed the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the piece of candy. (Note: Allison is an RTC member and a very nice person!)

From Jim Mason: He found this very nice blog entry about the Chester Woods Trail Run (June 6 this year--I'll be there again, for sure!) and this as part of the post: "Another lady in the parking lot offered me a fantastic homemade M&M cookie. Mmmmmm!" :-)

Also from Jim, a before/after thread on the Runners' World forums, complete with photos. Some amazing transformations, for sure. Thanks for sharing, Jim!

At the recommendation of Kyle Kircher, I got a couple of Triathlon Training books from the library today: Triathlon 101 and Triathlete Magazine's Guide to Finishing Your First Triathlon. I can use all the help I can get. Finishing is the name of the game!

I made a new "springtime" recipe for dinner tonight. Yummy. Totally yummy. It's a risotto. The deal with risotto is you have to be able to dedicate about 45 solid minutes to continuous stirring. Turn on the radio or TV while doing this one! It's totally worth the time.

Creamy Risotto with Asparagus and Peas

2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced onion
8 cups chicken stock
1 pound asparagus (cut into 2' pieces, bottoms discarded)
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a deep pan set over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Remove the onion (leaving the oil), and add the rice, and saute for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice is translucent. Att hes ame time bring the chicken stock to a boil in a separate pan.

Add the hot broth to the rice about 1 cup at a time, stirring until it's absorbed by the rice each time. After 6 cups of the broth has beena dded, check the rice's texture; it should be soft, but still firm in the middle.

Stir in the remaining broth until the rice is creamy but still firm. Add the peas and asparagus along with the last cup of broth, cover the pan, and cook gently for 4 minutes. (It didn't say what to do with the onions ... I added them here.) Turn off the heat, uncover the pan, and stir in the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

All for now. Toodles!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Miscellaneous Monday

Well, as promised, I saved all the miscellaneous musings for Monday. Here goes...

Want cookies? Anyone who runs at the Y tomorrow noon is entitled to them. Green M&Ms and chocolate chips in honor of St. Patrick's Day of course. We can all be Irish for a day, can't we?

Here are the photos from the Lucky Green 5K on Saturday.

Larry (Superior Trail ultras, Moose Mountain marathon, In Yan Teopa 10-mile) Pederson (busy guy!) has added another event to the arsenal of ultra trail races that he directs. The Zumbro 100 are 100K and 100 mile races at Zumbro Bottoms on April 10-11. Here's the website.

Trash pick-up around Soldier's Field is scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 PM. There's a LOT out there and I'm sure the strong south winds today didn't help matters any. Meet at the small parking area across from Snappy Stop. Trash bags provided. Bring your own gloves.

My March issue of RTC News arrived in the mail today. Yours should have as well! :-)

A couple of us are going up to the Human Race 8K on Sunday (race time is 1:20 PM). If you'd like to carpool, let me know.

Fetzer news and notes: Melissa Gacek is running the 20K again this year after taking last year off to run the Olympic Trials in Boston in 2008. I'm happy to have her back! She's an excellent runner from the Twin Cities.And I can still use more volunteers. Let me know if you can help out. Also, if you register by 3/23 your name will be used (repeatedly) in the background of the screen print on the front of the shirt. The RRCA regional championshp plaques have arrived and they're very nice. Open, masters and grandmasters.

Interested in a road trip up to Gear West in Long Lake? One is in the works. Again, let me know if you're interested! There's a Bike & Triathlon store and and a Ski, Run & Soccer store. I'm going to be checking out their wetsuits. I discovered a So You Wanna Do A Triathlon page on their website.

Well, I guess that's it for today. Enjoy the beautiful weather that's again forecast for tomorrow. But I'm sure it won't last. This is Minnesota after all ...

Quote for the day: "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." --Nelson Mandela

Until next time.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Telltale Signs

Wow. What a beautiful day we enjoyed today. The telltale signs of spring were everywhere. The "plink!" of an aluminum bat making contact with a ball, strollers being pushed down the sidewalks, the confluence of rivers of melted snow at the end of the driveways, the return of songbirds. And tomorrow sounds even better!

I have had a VERY full weekend. I guess there's no better place to start than ... in the beginning.

Marathon Training at the RAC

Numbers were down a bit from last week, but there were still about 45 runners in attendance for the 15 mile jaunt in and around Rochester.

We left the RAC and headed toward Soldier's Field for the first water stop, then around the golf course to 16th St SW where we headed east to Mayo High School for water stop #2. The rest of the group headed south to Willow Creek middle school for a little out-and-back to add a little mileage. I'd decided by then that I was going to run the Lucky Green 5K so I needed to head back to the RAC in order to make it down to Running Room to register for the race before the 10:00 AM start. Somewhere north of Mayo I met up with Andy and Pete (in the photo below, along with water stop volunteer Tim Geise--thank you, Tim!) and we ran together for a bit.

I had 13.74 miles in by the time I got back to the car, and about 1:58 for time. A decent training run thus far. I quickly brought the morning treats to the RAC front desk for the rest of the runners when they returned (Tom O'., I need to get my Tupperware from you sometime), then dashed off to Running Room for the Lucky Green 5K.

Also participating in the event were 'Da Boyz: Ron Giles (3rd place), Mark Carey (4th place) and Chris Koch (2nd place). 117 runners ran the race, which is a great turnout for an early season race. I ran a 23:12 (7:28 pace) which was good enough for first female. What a fluke. Not my best 5K, but I was running on tired legs. So I came away with a $25 Running Room gift card. Can't beat that, especially since Wally comp'd my entry for baking him 8 dozen cookies. ;-) Complete results

Also running, in festive attire complete with blinking shamrocks on their necklaces were Peggy Morgan and Pam King ...

and John Brown and Rosemary Harnly.

When I got home, I started a loaf of whole wheat steel cut oat bread and a batch of cookies for the Distad's. Segue into ...


On a cold, windy, snowy training run a couple of weeks ago, talk had turned to chocolate. Trevor mentioned that his wife Helen had been in the chocolate making and cake decorating business a few years ago. I'd inquired as to whether she might be interested in a little chocolate making "class" in exchange for some homemade cookies and bread (and jam!) and indeed she was agreeable! So a few of us gathered at my house Saturday afternoon, after torching a fair number of calories that morning during our runs, for a lesson in tempering chocolate and preparing chocolate creations.

Helen is largely self-taught in the art of handling chocolate, and was very knowledgable and at ease in sharing her knowledge with her eager students (Lionel Cheng, Pam Kin, Dan and Heidi Strain, myself ... and husband Trevor and daughter Maleah, which I probably did not spell correctly!). We tempered chocolate (which makes it suitable for coating) and then prepared passion fruit truffles (very rich and very delicious--gave them all away), chocolate sauce (for ice cream--gave it all away--too dangerous to have in the house!), and chocolate clay, a tootsie roll type product, which we formed into roses.

We learned a lot and laughed a lot. It was a fun and memorable afternoon. Thank you again Distad family!

After a quick change of clothes it was off to the NE part of town for the final event on my calendar for the day. Segue to ...

Tom Woo's Surprise 50th Birthday Party

We met at Kingdom Buffet to celebrate Tom's 50th with Tom's family and friends. Several runners, co-workers and Tom's family were in attendance. We had LOTS of delicious Chinese food and a yummy DQ cake. A good time was had by one and all. Thank you Shirley Woo for a wonderful evening!

Well, that brought an end to my Saturday. I'm going to continue with Sunday in another post so that I can wrap this one up. 128 hits on Friday. :-) Thank you for reading!