Sunday, May 31, 2009


My son Eric left this note for me when he returned home last night. What a wonderful way to start my day. Meant a lot to me.

Today didn't bring what I was hoping for. 1:55:12. Age group: 18/111. Women: 243/1425. And a non-functional Garmin. Easily a minute per mile slower than what I was hoping to be able to run. At about 1/2 mile, I stepped in a bit of a hole with my left foot ... generally no big deal whatsoever. But with what's going on with my hip and hamstring, the awkward movement was enough to tweak my right side such that I had to run the rest of the "race" in pain. I hope to still be able to run Grandma's marathon in 3 weeks but only time, and rest, will tell. I so want to be a marathon finisher sometime this spring. This is getting really hard for me ... to be around so many marathon finishers, and to not be one of them. I was, and am, pretty bummed out. After talking on the phone for a bit, and crying a little, I fell asleep listening to the Twins on the radio (they won 3-2) still in my sweaty clothes. Finally took a shower and then put on my "Madistrong ... Team Madi" shirt and that got me thinking. Madi is now a first-grader and she is battling a malignant brain tumor. I have no reason to feel sorry for myself. I have much to be thankful for. An attitude adjustment was definitely in order.

It was still a fun day. Out on the course, I saw Judy Weller with her purple 50th birthday tiara. She had another great day running a 4:32 just a week after running Med-City. My camera was in the car when I saw her at the finish so I didn't get a photo. But she got a bag of my cookies to celebrate her day. :-)

Cathy Torgerson and I rode up together and we met up with the St. Cloud River Runners. Pictured below are: Cathy, Travis, George, Arvid, Rick, Buddy, Melissa, Cindy, Monty, me, Donnie. There are so many talented runners in this group, runners that can run multiple marathons per season and turn in great performances each time. Kudos.

After my finish I went back out on the course and ran (that's a s-t-r-e-t-c-h--it was very painful to run ... I could only manage a slow jog, dragging my right leg along behind me!) in with some of my running buddies who were running the full marathon. That was by far the best part of my day and I have similar memories from Med-City 2008. As was being able to share some cookies with them at the finish line. All's well that ends well as they say.

Just a couple miscellaneous things. I have cookies to bake for the Cookie Monsters tomorrow as it's the first Monday of the month.

There will be an open water swim--first of the season--at Foster Arends at 7:00 PM on Tuesday in preparation for the triathlon season. Speaking of triathlons ... registration for the Rochesterfest Triathlon closes Monday. As does Grandman's Marathon. Also, passes for swimming laps at Silver Lake pool are now available at the Y. You do not have to be a Y member to purchase one. And if you are a Y member, you need to purchase one to swim laps there.

Volunteers are needed for the Mac Attack 5K on June 14 (evening event). Contact Lin Gentling if you can help out. I'll be at registration and/or finish line I believe.

From Laura Lenz: NY Times Blog with a running/marathon article every day.

My son Eric has resurrected his Twins blog. Here's a link.

Here are some photos from Team RED on Thursday. From Tom O'Leary: " We had a small role in an Action for Axel Baseball for Bucks event to help raise money for this young man and his family. Team RED members did a baseball bat spin and run dizzy thing... As well as a loop circling the bases... Then it was off for an actual run, YES, we do run! haha... then we went back and ate concessions to support the fundraising... "

Quote for the day, as seen on a banner along the course today: "Don't be afraid to be amazing."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Hope I Didn't Overdo It

Spent the entire day working out in the yard. It looks great. But ... maybe I did too much the day before a half marathon. Time will tell. I don't plan to PR tomorrow at the Mpls. Half Marathon ...

just to get the distance in and hopefully feel good and even get some extra miles in by going back out on the course looking for my friends. Anyway ... today I weeded, trimmed dead branches from trees and bushes, took out 5 bushes, transplanted some bleeding hearts, ...

got mulch and spread it out, ...

and planted the last of my flowers,

switched out the (heavy!) glass for a screen on the storm door, ... and still have more projects I need to do (trim the hedge next to the garage, redo the landscaping on the corners of the back yard, paint the fence in my perennial bed). Everything is nice and green after getting a nice rain this week. Some of my Siberian irises are starting to bloom. They should be very pretty in a couple of days.

My big hostas are now fully open. They're in the shade on the east side of the house. You can see how big the leaves are in comparison to my shoe.

Presently, I'm baking cookies for tomorrow. Two kinds: white chocolate/macadamia nut (fabulous!) ...

and chocolate chip.

Yesterday, I went up to Mpls. and worked the expo for Running Room.

The expo was outdoors in the Shed at The Depot and was very small, ...

but we were VERY busy. I worked the register and didn't feel like I ever stopped ringing up purchases.

Well, these are the friends that I know of that are running either the full or the half tomorrow: Judy Weller (happy 50th tomorrow, Judy!), Cathy Torgerson, Chris O'Brien, Dave Phillips, Suzanne LaPalm, Sherry Boutcher, and lots of St. Cloud River Runners. Cathy and I are riding up together and will have lunch with the River Runners after they finish the full marathon. Should be a really fun day. I'm looking forward to it.

Well, I've got a lot more to post, but I'll save that for tomorrow. It's almost 9:00 and my alarm is set for 3:45 AM. :-) Yikes!

Quote for the day: “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” --George S. Patton

Until tomorrow ... I am your ever faithful Ramblin' Renee.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Simply the best!!

The boys and I spent a wonderful evening at the Metrodome last night watching the Twins play (and beat) the Bo Sox. It was simply ... the best! A great game.

A great evening spent with my kids.

Great seats.

Kevin Slowey pitched ...

with Joe Nathan coming in for relief in the top of the ninth.

Unfortunately, it was the only win of the four game series. (Today's game was really ugly.) But we enjoyed watching the win. :-) I commented to Eric on what seemed to be an unusually high number of wild pitches by the Bo Sox. He left me a note this morning saying that "last night's 6 wild pitches by the Red Sox tied the modern era (while stats have been kept) MLB record."

I found the batting stance of Kevin Youkilis quite humorous--way back in the batters box, right hand way up on the bat, bat way up in the air, this bouncy thing going on, etc. I shot a video and then Eric did too and posted his on YouTube.

Land O'Lakes "Over the Moon" milk is the official milk of the Minnesota Twins. Decided to try some. Seems thicker than the regular skim milk.

Apparently the story that Mayo Clinic did on me and my back surgery for Medical Edge last year was on KAAL this week. Thank you Mike Schmitt for the heads up!! I had no idea.

Also, I have a correction regarding Chris Koch's Brookings Marathon. My bad, and I totally should have known this. Brookings was his first road marathon, but he ran a trail marathon in Indiana (and I knew this--there was even a story for RTC News) and ran two trail ultramarathons last summer, which I also knew. My memory is sooooo bad ...

From Dan Strain: "Yes I ran with the Rubik's cube and solved it every mile. It was definitely not the same 'ole marathon. The first two miles it took me a little bit to solve it (it felt strange running with so many people while working on it) but after that it went smoothly. I solved it 27 times (once for the .2 finish)."

Judy Weller is getting involved in forming a local chapter of Girls on the Run. If you are interested in getting involved as well, please contact Judy. Also, they will be looking for gently used women's shoes, particularly in smaller sizes. If you have some that fit this description, please contact Judy as well. Thank you!!
This morning I lifted and swam. I decided to swim for an hour without stopping for any breaks. I got 50 laps in. I was still a little sore/tired from the hard swim on Tuesday, but overall it was a good swim. Then this afternoon I decided to go for a run, my usual 7.20 mile loop around the hill. I couldn't resist any longer ... I decided to pick it up bit. 6:40 to 6:50 pace felt very comfortable for a mile or two, then I decided to put the pedal to the metal and see what I could do. I got it down to 5:52 pace for about 1/4 mile. It felt great to be running hard, if just for a little while. It was rumored that Matt was also out running (he was) so I decided to backtrack on his normal route and run with him for a little while. Didn't find him, but got in another 2 miles.

Seems I can't go anywhere without seeing someone I know. Last night at the game, Coach (Mark) Kieffer was spotted. He was the basketball coach at Mayo H.S. when Eric went there. Also spotted the track coach from Luther. Today at Hy-Vee, I heard "Hey, Renee" or something, from behind me. It was Tim and Brendan Sherman (runners--Brendan ran CC and track with Eric in H.S.) so I chatted with them for a while ...

TriRochester is having their monthly social get-together this evening at 8:00 at Glynner's Pub. Needless to say, I'm not there this month as it's presently 8:24 PM.

For supper tonight, I tried a new recipe. Whole wheat penne pasta with a "sauce" made of two cans of artichoke hearts, a jar of roasted red peppers, some basil, lemon juice, salt, pepper.

Different. Don't know that I'll make it again. Also had some more corn on the cob which was again very tasty.

And watermelon. Seedless, and very sweet. Delicious.

And garlic bread. Tastes good, but diet food it's not.

Just made Lemon Poppy Seed Bread. I think it's another keeper recipe.

Well, it was quite a late night (12:30 AM by the time I got to bed) and an early morning (5:30 AM I was awake) and I have some things to get done before working the Minneapolis Marathon expo tomorrow. So ... I'll close this post now.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Really a River Runner

Hello! Well, now I'm really an official St. Cloud River Runner as I received my tank for the women's USATF race team today. I'm very proud!! (and suburned ... and frizzy-haired ... and ...)

Chris Koch ran a 2:52:47 at Brookings on May 16 for his first marathon finish. (I believe some of you remember his story for the RTC News after last year's race ...) Whoo hoo!! I'd say he's a natural. :-)

Lionel Cheng ran a half marathon P.R. at Med-City (1:39). Way to go, Lionel! You are in fantastic shape. Check out his wonderful blog.

Off-Season Striders

From John Shonyo: Due to Independence Day falling on a Saturday this year, the Marathon Training Class is starting a week earlier than normal--June 27th. That means we will have a super short OSS season, ending June 20th.

There will be two start times this Saturday (5/30/09): 6:30 AM for those wanting to do a 20 mile training run for a June marathon, and 7:30 AM for those wanting to do a 10 miler (or less). Both groups will be meeting at Dunn Bro's (north). It is a 10 mile "cloverleaf", so we will be passing Dunn's two times if folks want to leave water in their cars. (Obviously, those doing 20, will do the route twice).

Byron Team RED

From Tom O'Leary: The Team RED (Run/Eat/Drink) has a new blog. Check it out. There's an opportunity on 5/28 for socialization as well as help a 16-year old battle cancer.

RTC All-Comers' Track Meets

From Laura Lenz: The 39th season of the Hal Martin All Comer's Track Meets at Soldier's Field will begin soon! David Sletten and I are the new co-directors and we are working hard to get ready. We need volunteers on each of the Tuesday nights to make the event run smoothly. Meets start at 6:00 pm and last a few hours. You can show up at 5:45 to check in. Not everyone needs to stay to the very end. Volunteer positions include handing out ribbons and working the long jump. The dates for the All Comers' Meets this year are these 6 Tuesdays: June 9, 16, 23, 30, July 7 and 14. Please e-mail me at if you are interested in helping out. Let me know which nights work for you. Also, if you like to do a certain job, let me know. If you can help 1 night, 6 nights, or anything in between, we would be so grateful! It is really a fun volunteer gig! Thanks so much! I look forward to hearing from you. (p.s. Look for an interview by Lindy Lange with Laura in an upcoming Family Times column in the P-B.)

Med-City Kids' Marathon

(counter clockwise from lower left: Abby Rowekamp, Sam Rowekamp, Todd Rowekamp, Laura Lenz)

From Laura: The sprinkler systems suddenly turned on in the middle of registration getting a lot of people wet and causing organizers to quickly move tables out of the way. Of course, all the kids loved it, including my daughter and niece who chose to play in it rather than avoid it.

Lesson: No matter how well-prepared you are as a race director, there will always be some surprises!

Hormel/Hy-Vee Kids' Triathlon

From Bill Nevala: Tthe Kids Tri is coming this Saturday and we need some additional volunteers. We now have 151 registrants for the tri (up from 113 last year)! We expect another 50 or so by race day. We have a need for additional people to assist us on Saturday morning. The event does not take very long and is a great to see the little kids swimming, biking and running. If you can help, please contact us as soon as possible. Thank You, Bill and Wendy Nevala WIN Multisports 507-269-3591

This morning I lifted and swam. The pool was crowded. I decided not to count laps and instead do some "speed work" in the pool. Tiring, but good for me no doubt.

I'm having lunch with a couple of friends tomorrow. We get together for each others birthdays. I was going to make a purse for the birthday girl this afternoon, but the instructions weren't making much sense to me. I'm going to have to email the gal who designed the pattern to figure out the parts I'm not understanding. So instead, she's getting this embroidered pillow ...

and cookies, of course. :-)

The boys and I are going to the TWINS vs. Bo Sox game tomorrow night. Section 127, row 19 behind home plate. I am PSYCHED!! Kevin Slowey is pitching I believe. Eric is resurrecting his Twins blog. I'll post a link tomorrow.

Pam King's mustard-based BBQ Sauce Recipe

The BBQ sauce is from Paul Kirk's book "Championship Barbecue" It is my all time favorite bbq book. --P.K. (p.s. this is really delicious. It was extra-special delicious with the pork which Pam and Gerry smoked on their Big Green Egg smoker.)

Golden Gourmet Mustard Barbecue Sauce (Goes good with all kinds of pork)

2 cups prepared yellow mustard
1 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup ginger ale
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 Tbls crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients blend with wire wisk. Makes a little over 5 cups.

I tried a new recipe this afternoon ... (as you can see, it's already been quite popular :-)

Double-Rhubarb Strawberry Bread

2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb (I'd use more next time)
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup stewed rhubarb and strawberry, cooled (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a medum-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the chopped rhubarb.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and melted butter. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring gently until almost all of the flour is mixed in. Add the stewed rhubarb/strawberry, and swirl it into the batter.

Pour into the pan.

Bake the bread for 50 to 60 minutes, until it's golden brown and the top stprings back when lightly touched. Remove it from theoven, and let it cool for 10 minutes before turning the bread out of the pan onto a rack. Allow it to cool completely before slicing.

Stewed Rhubarb and Strawberries

1 cup chopped or thinly sliced rhubarb
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, to taste

Place the rhubarb and strawberries in a medium-sized saucepan. Sprinkle with the sugar to get the juices flowing. Let the mixture sit until you can see some juice, then cook over low to medium heat, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb is very soft and is losing its shape. Remove from the heat, and sweeten to taste. cool. (It's supposed to make 1/2 cups, but I got barely 1 cup.)

Changing the world, one cookie at a time. Or at least I'm trying ...

Ramblin' Renee

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Happy Memorial Day! What a beautiful weekend. We haven't had 3 nice weather days on Memorial Day weekend in recent memory. Hope you were all able to enjoy it.

More Med-City Marathon stuff: Here's a link to a Post-Bulletin story and video, including runner Eric Woodford singing the Star Spangled Banner. Henry Biar, who was profiled in the Post-Bulletin on Saturday, ran a 26-minute PR yesterday. :-) Lionel reported via a comment on yesterday's post that Dan Strain was in fact at the start line with his Rubik's Cube in hand. Still haven't heard back from Dan as to whether he solved it 26 times en route from Byron to the finish line. ;-) Tom Woo took 800+ photos.

2009 Med City Marathon

My whole family was here today. That just doesn't happen much any more. We're living far apart (MN, IL, FL) and all so busy. But it was great to be together to celebrate a graduation and a birthday. Pictured below, Matt, my sister Alison and her sons Scott and Tom and her husband Craig. We enjoyed being able to be outside as well.

Foodie Stuff: For breakfast today, a delicious new egg bake recipe from Panera.

Kitchen Sink Brunch Casserole I used the whole grain baguette and fat-free half and half. I also put the green onions in the bake instead of putting them on top raw after baking. Also used a little more spinach than called for. Very good recipe. A keeper for sure. The rest of the menu included fresh fruit ...

and "french toast" scones.

Noon meal: With four "growing teen-aged" boys (9th grade through college grad), I was sure hoping I had enough food. I did, but barely. Virtually EVERYTHING got eaten.

Calico beans, potato salad, Harvest Apple/Pear/Cheddar Salad with pecans, Pulled Pork with Strawberry BBQ sauce, fruit salad.

The cherry pie Eric requested. Yum-O.

And Dora the Explorer birthday cake. :-)

I feel full again just looking at all this food. To burn some more calories, Matt and I are going to start playing a little tennis. There's a court over at Younge park, just a half mile walk from home. I think it'll be fun.

For the quote for the day, I've chosen one for Memorial Day, some of the lyrics from a Lee Greenwood song, God Bless the U.S.A.: "And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me."

God Bless the U.S.A.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Simply Sensational.

There's just no other word for it. Sensational. Beautiful weather day. Everything went right with the day. The only downside was I wish I could have been two places at once. OK. Let's start at the beginning ...

I had my alarm set for 4:15 AM. Never heard it go off. I woke up at 4:40 AM. Not so bad, really. Got on the Stairmaster for an hour and a half. Then got ready to leave for Decorah for Eric's graduation from Luther College. The day looked to be fabulous for an outdoor ceremony. Indeed. Couldn't have been better. (Didn't dawn on me to put on sunscreen so I got a bit of a sunburn, though.) He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Business Management and minors in Psychology and Spanish. I'm very proud.

Earlier in the week he asked if it was OK if he buzzed his hair again. Sure. No problem. It was (is) really short!! 1/8". He said he'd had a 1/2" mohawk for the last 3 days. Funny. That's a first. Harmless, though. ;-)

When we got home, I bolted out the door for the 3 post-Med-City Marathon parties, starting with Ron Giles'. I'd called Ron from the parking lot at Luther. Just couldn't wait any longer! Got the first piece of great news for the day. He ran a 2-minute P.R.--a 2:44 marathon, good enough for third place. He was very satisfied and I was very happy for him!!!

(I'll post more photos from the parties tomorrow. The day has been very full. ;-) And it's already my bedtime.) A little bit about the guy that won the marathon ... he'd flown into MN to run Stillwater, previewed the course and decided uh-uh. Way to hilly. So he came to Rochester instead, ran it and won in 2:39. Another bit of marathon news. At 2 PM, Matt turned on the TV and the EAS alert was on. They announced that the missing Med-City Marathon runner had been located. What was that about?? Haven't really heard other than it was a 27-year old female. Maybe more info will be forthcoming. One more thing ... as I was out running tonight (more on that later), I was reading all the chalk message on the 52 frontage road bike path. One of them was something like "Dan Strain Rubik's Cube Man" or something like that. I'd forgotten all about that! Dan was going to solve the rubik's cube once per mile on the marathon. I'll check into that and get back to you!!

Then it was on to P.K.'s house. Pam, Julie and Peggy ran their first, and according to all 3 of them, their last, marathon. I am so proud of them! I gave them each 6 big chocolate chip pecan cookies to celebrate their accomplishments. A masseuse was at Pam's house. Someone had hired her to give each of them a 30-minute post-marathon massage. How nice is that?? Peggy is on the table in the photo below.

Pam and Gerry had made pork on their Big Green Egg (smoker). Fabulous. Pam had a mustard BBQ sauce that was absolutely delicious. I'll have to get the recipe and post it.

Then it was over to Peg and Wally Arnold's house for the third and last party of the day. Food and fun were plentiful there as well.

Then it was home to clean bathrooms and get egg bake mixed up in anticipation of my sister and family arriving late tonight. Tomorrow we'll celebrate Eric's graduation and my niece Kaleigh's third birthday.

After all that was done, I decided that I couldn't hold off any longer. After all the running talk of the day, and the sensational weather, I just had to try going out for a run. (And I had a desire to burn off some, or hopefully all, the calories I'd consumed this afternoon grazing at these parties!) So I went out about 7:30 PM for a loop around the hill. I was soooooo pleased. I ran 7.20 miles with NO PAIN. I just ran easy, but my pace turned out to be just over 8:00 minute pace so I was happy about that too. What a way to end a sensational day. And you know what? Just as I was turning off county 22 to head up the nice long Fox Valley Drive hill, I looked up and saw an eagle. I'd seen an eagle on county 22 three other times in the last year. Wow.

Eric wanted a cherry pie for tomorrow, so about 9:00 PM I started that. Just took it out of the oven. BTW: It's great to have the boys at home. :-) Once a mom, always a mom. And I know these days are numbered. One of these days, Eric WILL find a job and move out. Then I'll be sad.

Well, it's time to wind down this day and prepare for the next. Happy Memorial Day to all of you. Take a minute or two tomorrow and to think about, and give thanks for, all those that have died in service to this country that we are so privileged to live in and call home.

Good night.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Med-City Memories

Well, it's soon time for another Med-City Marathon. I have so many memories of this race. Memories of pouring rain ... scorching heat ... my first Boston Qualifier (5/28/00) ... my last Boston Qualifier (5/27/07). It's fun to run it as I can visualize every single mile and twist and turn in the course. But it's also fun to spectate as I know SO many of the runners. I so wish I could be there, but my son Eric definitely wins out tomorrow (college graduation). Good luck, runners. Have fun! It's all about the journey. And I really look forward to hearing your stories. :-)

For my friends running your first marathon tomorrow ... these shall be yours!!

I read in the Post-Bulletin Post-Bulletin that Foster-Arend beach opened today for swimming which means that we can now practice our open water swimming there.

There's a movie called Run for Your Life about Fred Lebow, the "creator, director and spiritual essence of the New York City Marathon". More info on screening, purchasing the DVD, etc. at Fred Lebow--The Movie.

There's a website called YouBars where you can create your own energy bars: the base ingredients, the add-ins and even the name. Might be a fun gift idea for your favorite athlete.

I've heard quite a lot about the novel Once A Runner which for many years was nearly impossible to find, and was quite expensive, as it was out of print. It has been reprinted and is now available for purchase.

A few snapshots from today at Running Room. Joyce and Roger Heil ...

AmyAnshus ...

LaRee Etter ...

Jean Murray, Julie Murray, LaRee...

Ross and Cory Hamernik.
Cory is a student at Mankato State University. He flew his dad down to Nashville a couple of weeks ago to run the Rock 'n Roll marathon there. Ross is going to write a story for me for the next issue of RTC News. They ended up spending the night in Springfield, IL due to a thunderstorm. Cory had to land the plane with sheer winds at the end of the runway, never having had to do that before. Obviously, they survived. :-)

Well, it's been a full day and tomorrow will be equally so. So I'll end this with ...

Good night. ;-)