Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Want To Ride My Bicycle ...

"I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride it where I like."--Queen

(Photo on county 5 north of Byron)

Yup. I want to ride my bike. So that's just what I did. Early this morning. I left just before 6:00 AM and decided to ride west and north to begin the ride as the winds were already (actually, still) very strong. I rode SW out to Salem Corners. Beautiful cloud formations to the SW. I kept wanting to stop and take photos with my phone, but didn't. Just kept riding into the wind. Just west of Salem Corners I turned north on county 5 and headed into Byron. Continued north out of Byron and caught the "Treadman loop" and headed to Pine Island. Turned south on county 3 and headed back to Douglas then south on 4 to Valley High Drive then south on 104 to Country Club Rd/2nd St SW and then home.

42.65 hilly, windy, chilly miles. 24 miles into the wind. At about 30 miles I was out of fuel. Literally. I'd had an 80-calorie slice of cinnamon swirl bread and a couple spoon-size Shredded Wheat before I left and didn't take any calories with me. Not good. Lesson learned. I didn't bonk, but sure could have used some calories.

A couple items of note:

1) Dave Clements quote from the TriRochester picnic: "You aren't tri-psychotic until your bike is worth more than your car." :-)

2) Just after mile 24 today (I'd finally turned out of the headwind--Hallelujah!) I felt this scratching sound on my helmet. Not once, but twice. What the heck?? I looked up. Yup. You guessed it. A red-winged blackbird had swooped down on my helmet. Freak me out ...

3) Just after that I was riding toward Douglas and this guy in a pick-up comes by and hugs the white stripe on the side of the road right by the shoulder, right where I'm riding. As he goes by he guns the engine just about a foot from my bike. Yeah (jerk), you're a hero all right.

Tired when I got home, but a good tired. I made it to work by 9:00. : )

Just finished the RTC newsletter this evening. It should be posted online sometime tomorrow I'd guess. It'll be printed shortly and then I'll need help assembling it. If you're interested (can't give you details on when yet), please email me. Cookies shall be your reward.

All Comers' was fun, as usual, this evening. The kids are adorable.

I had a couple of first this evening. I was handing out blue ribbons. Two little boys (and one did it twice) immediately after finishing, turned around and raced back down the track to the start line where their parents were waiting (this was during the 100). So I had to chase them down and give them their ribbons. By the third time, the crowd was getting a big chuckle out of this ... Had to be there I guess, but it was pretty funny. :-) Slideshow tomorrow. Too tired tonight, and I still have to do my P.T. exercises (it's 9:54 PM).

Hi to Jen, who introduced herself at All Comers' this evening. She said she's a big fan of my blog. Thank you so much. :-) It's comments like that that keep me blogging. This has become a time-consuming habit (obsession?) and it's nice to get feedback.

From Dan Strain: The place where they pick strawberries in Simpson has a website. It's EasyPickingStrawberries.

Quote for the day: "A ship in the harbor is safe. But that's not what ships are built for." --Anonymous

Go ahead. Sail your ship out to sea ...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Triathlon, redux

The photos:

The video:

The results .

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I have fallen for triathlon. Hook, line and sinker. LOVE it!! It was a fabulous day. Here's the facts:

12th of 229 females
2nd of 24 in age division

66th overall, males and females, in sprint course
Overall time: 1:10:49
Swim: 8:51 (pretty good for me but overall, slow)
T1: 3:38 (UGHHHH!!)
Bike: 33:15 (18.2 mph avg) 6th woman, 2nd in age group
T2: 0:46 (Yippee!) 7th woman, 2nd in age group
Run: 24:21 (7:45 pace -- OK) 10th woman, 1st in age group

I have to confess that I am a numbers person. Have been for a l-o-o-o-o-n-g time. And there are lots of numbers associated with the results in this sport and you could analyze them to death. You can sort the results on most of the times listed and see where you fit overall, among females, among females in your age group, whatever. And then you can decide what you need to work on, or what improvement would give you the most bang for the buck (obviously T1 needs work for me, as does the swim). Not having to change shoes from bike to run saved me quite a bit of time. Did I lose much by not having on cleated shoes and pedals? Don't know. I feel good about 18.2 mph for an average speed given the 18th Ave NW hills. But I can go faster. Run: I can and will go faster when I'm healthy.

My favorite segment today? Bike. Passed LOTS and LOTS of people. Felt very easy. Had more left in my legs than I should have had.
Most frustrating? I had a 1/4" stone in my sock and it was on the lateral side of the middle of my left foot. I debated stopping during the run (didn't bother me on the bike) and taking off my sock and shoe but didn't really want to stop so I just kept running. (Thank you Tom Woo for all the photos.)

That spot is still quite sore.
2nd most frustrating? The wind. Very strong. Very tough going west, but I flew going east. Was going 28 mph going east on 55th St NW up a slight incline. Gotta love that ...
3rd most frustrating? The gals on their mountain bikes riding in the middle of the bike lane on the way back after we switched back to the coned off lane. A fast long course guy passed me while I was trying to pass one of these gals. Could have been ugly had the guy or I swerved a bit.
4th most frustrating? My handlebars were crooked. About 10 degrees to the left.
Nuisance? I hadn't tried on my race belt before the race. Put it on and it was about 15" too big around my waist. So it was flopping around on the bike. During the run I managed to cinch it up a bit.
New experience? People swimming into me and I kept swimming into someone--I swear she would have bonked me over the head if she could. :-) Water temp was very nice.
How was the hip? Pretty good. Not 100%, but about 80%. I'll take that. Never felt like I needed to walk. Didn't push any harder because I didn't want the pain to kick in. I was happy to be able to run sub-8's.
Most different from a foot race? Not ever really knowing how you're doing. Our ages were written on our back left calf. Everyone had started in different waves and were even competing in two separate events so there were slower people in front, faster people coming from behind. You name it.
Funniest thing? When I brought out a big container of monster cookies at the end of the awards. Small crowd left, but they literally swarmed to those cookies. It was hilarious.
Nicest thing someone did for me today? My son Eric made a video of my event and posted it on YouTube. Here it is. Thank you, Eric!!
Nicest part of the day? Having my boys meet me at the finish line. :-) Love you guys.

Nothing like wet hair from the swim, putting a bike helmet and riding with a strong wind, then running to create a REALLY bad hair day!!

I'm very proud of my swim buddy at the Y, and newfound friend, Sue for her first triathlon. She did great!

And Trevor had a good day. He listed 4 things that "didn't" happen today so he felt good. He didn't flat, and I don't remember what the 3 other ones are! He's very funny. :-)

Very nice time at Mike Ewen's house this evening rehashing the day. Delicious food. Mario Minelli brought some veggie burgers made from black beans, salsa and seasonings. Delish. I brought cookies (no surprise there) and a salad (mixed greens, nectarines, blueberries, cherries, red onion, toasted pecans, Ken's Fat-Free Raspberry Pecan Vinaigrette). I'm always pleased to bring home empty dishes from a potluck.

Well, I better wrap this up for tonight. I've a newsletter to finish. ASAP.

Tomorrow ... back to training for my next tri!! Graniteman. July 12. :-) I CAN'T WAIT.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

On the eve of ...

... hopefully not destruction! I'm so full of mixed emotions for my first triathlon tomorrow ... nervous, excited, scared even. The weather sounds very nice ... low in the 60's, high of 82, and gone with the humidity. Well, my story is in the Post-Bulletin today. Pat Ruff did a great job. I'm honored to have been asked to be interviewed. Thank you to race director Bill Nevala for sending them my way. He's the one that got me into this!! And I'm ever so grateful. :-) Tomorrow, someone will be earning this cool trophy.

A bunch of us are getting together for dinner tonight at Victoria's downtown for some "tri talk" including a couple gals from St. Cloud. Should be fun!! I've been in another cleaning and de-cluttering mood lately. Everyone who shows up at Victoria's will have the opportunity to bring home some TreadMan duathlon "stuff" leftover from my stint as co-RD: socks, cinch bags, towels. It's time to get rid of it. My friend Julie Murray is doing a triathlon pen & ink drawing for me. I can't wait to see it. Tomorrow at 5:00 PM at Mike Ewen's house is a TriRochester potluck. Can't go wrong with a potluck. Mike's requested that I bring cookies. Of course I'll bring cookies!! I think I'll bring a salad too.

I had my first P.T. appointment yesterday. Apparently this is the problem: my left hip is weaker than my right and is causing my right hip to work a lot harder, therefore the soreness. So I've got these really weird isometric type exercises to do twice a day for about 20 minutes. e.g. One of them involves going into a wall sit without using my arms to guide me back, engaging the left hip by moving it back into the wall and the right knee forward, squeezing a ball between my legs, extending my right arm across midline, and inhaling and then exhaling into a balloon 5 times without holding onto the balloon, keeping my tongue on the roof of my mouth between exhalations to keep the air in the balloon. I'm supposed to keep reaching farther with the right arm with each exhalation and am supposed to feel contraction in my left abdomen and a stretch across the right chest. There's so much to concentrate on that I have no idea what's contracted and what's not!! Oh, my. Anyway, I go back in two weeks. But overall, I'm feeling very good. No restrictions on activity from either the doc or the P.T.

Also in the P-B, a story about Lin Gentling coaching the women's 100K ultrarunning team to a gold medal.

Runner Carrie Tollefson from Dawson is again on the cover of the Minnesota Grown Directory this year. My relatives all live out that way ... Canby, Marshall, Montevideo.

I finally got my Medical Edge DVD in the mail yesterday along with a letter from Mayo Clinic. (I did a video story for them about my 2003 back surgery and running.) Apparently the story was/is playing on more than 100 TV stations in the states. I had no idea that it was so widely distributed. I thought it was web only until people started telling me they'd seen it when they were "up at the lake", etc.

Running Room this 'n that: Get a $50 rebate if you buy a Garmin 405 series GPS by June 30. It's also time to register for the FREE 20-minute Challenge which will take place on Wednesday, July 15. All you have to do is walk or run for 20 minutes. You get a FREE technical cap!

I picked some kohlrabi the other day and chopped it up to put in a salad. For those who haven't had it before, the taste and texture is quite similar to (peeled) broccoli stems.

Actually, I think the stem is the tastiest, sweetest part of the broccoli plant, truth be told. But do peel them ... the peel is WAY too tough to eat.

Yesterday I made blueberry jam.

Next up, when the berries are ready, will be either black or red raspberry, which are my favorite.

Today, my goal is to finish up the July issue of RTC News. Thank you to those that submitted articles. I'm always thankful for everything that gets sent my way.

Well, my next post will be post-triathlon. I wonder what I'll be writing tomorrow ... !! Time will tell.

Quote for today ~ "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... it's about learning to dance in the rain." As seen on St. Cloud River Runners site and posted by Ron Stock

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Well, I just returned from T.N.T. (Thursday Night Triathlon). Huge crowd tonight.

50 people. Beautiful evening. I forgot my wetsuit :-( so I had to swim in my tri suit, which turned out fine actually. The water was relatively warm. Swim went fine. It was the first time I'd swam with 50 people so it was good to find out what it felt like to swim into someone. :-) And I didn't stress about the lack of buoyancy that the wetsuit provides. Just did my swim and ran up to the bikes. Made T1 very quick. The evening went well and was lots of fun. I ran a mile at the end. :-) Poor Trevor ...

he was having a heck of a time pedaling that Quintana Roo without a back wheel. :-)

From Mike Schmitt: Triathlon race day info. Great information for those of us doing this for the first time.

These are the tri shirts ... they're technical. I attended the (700) packet stuffing party last night at the Nevala's.

That's a LOT of packets! After 2 hours, I left to go ride the sprint bike course. Yes, 18th Ave is a long, steep hill but actually Fox Valley Dr SW on the west side is worse. I can't make it up that one without getting out of the saddle at the top. 18th Ave, I could. Also, Pat Ruff from the Post-Bulletin called and interviewed me yesterday for a "newbie" triathlete story. Should run tomorrow (Friday). :-)

I'm organizing an informal pasta dinner on Saturday at Victoria's at 6 PM. You don't have to be doing the tri to join us. The more the merrier ... if you want to join us just for the sociability, please do! Just email me. They need final numbers Friday evening.

I got my Grandma's Marathon photo link yesterday. Actually, the photos are decent ... even though I felt like crap. (Sorry, but that's an appropriate word in this situation.)

Ah...finish line, sweet finish line. The 6/16 All Comers' Mile is available on YouTube.

CLIF has introduced a new product: CLIF Quench sport drink. No HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup).

I made turkey tenderloins on the grill, sweet corn and roasted fingerling potatoes for supper. The corn didn't need either butter or salt. It was delicious "naked". :-0 Hy-Vee 3-day special. Speaking of Hy-Vee, I saw Ranier cherries there for $8.99/lb. I. Don't. Think. So!!

I had lunch with a couple of friends yesterday at Panera. I had the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with chicken. It was very good. My friend Jeanne can do amazing things with a little cake and frosting.

Well, there's a little bit more on my list, but I think I'll wrap this up and read the newspaper. More tomorrow. After my P.T. appointment. I'm not expecting miracles from P.T., but I am hoping that it does some good for whatever ails me. :-)

Quote for the day: “It is one of the strangest things in this strange life that those who work the hardest, who subject themselves to the strictest discipline, who give up certainly pleasurable things in order to achieve a goal, are the happiest of men.” --Brutas Hamilton

Sleep well.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back to Real Life

Summer has arrived, not?? This was the sight on 55th St NW at noon today. But I'm loving it. We've waited a long time for summer temps and I'm not about to complain.

But I did get my workouts in early today. I went to the pool when I got up and swam for an hour. Then at 7:26 AM I hopped on the bike. It was already warm, but it was wonderful to be out in the country with the sun still low in the sky, checking on crop progress, feeling the wind on my skin. I had to be at work at 9:00 AM and wanted to get in 19 miles so I knew there'd be no time for dawdling. So I rode out to Salem Corners and continued west to the next hill and then turned around. To keep myself motivated, I decided to see how long I could ride (on the flats) at 24 mph. 1.31 miles. At 26 mph? Less than 1/2 a mile. I made it to work on time. :-)

Yesterday after work I went to pick strawberries at Sterling Fruit Farm. (East on county 9, north on county 11).

What a beautiful day! What beautiful berries!

In no time I had enough for jam, pie and eating out of hand. They're deliciously sweet. And bigger than the last couple of years.

I drove home with the windows on, even though it was 93 degrees, the berries filling the car with their sweet perfume, the radio cranked up a bit. It was a wonderful day. Then after supper (this was my supper, plus a piece of bread--I'm absolutely craving salads--used mixed greens from my garden) ...

I made a quick batch of jam before starting yesterday's post.

I use the low-sugar/no-sugar Sure Jell so it's not cloyingly sweet. Love it. I could live on salads, fruit, bread (and Diet Coke!) in the summer.

Harvested the first broccoli today.

Kohlrabi should also be ready very soon.

All Comers' was cancelled this evening due to the extreme heat. Be sure to check the RTC website if the weather is at all questionable. The triathlon class did get together for a mini-tri at Foster Arends this evening.

The temps took a nosedive into the upper 70's so it was very pleasant. I was very comfortable with the swim today. In fact, I was tempted to go around again. :-0 Chris Koch gave us instruction on USATriathlon rules and etiquette. Very worthwhile info. Thank you Chris for letting me crash the party! Actually several people did the same!

Yesterday evening at the Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer meeting, Lin Gentling had just hours before returned from Belgium where she coached the U.S. women's 100K team to a gold medal. You go, girls! Kudos on running your hearts out.

Just a few more Grandma's marathon tidbits. Rochester/RTC runner Pete Gilman was featured on the cover of Northern Fitness Magazine which was in our marathon packets. Pete won the Fargo Marathon in May.

Being this was my inaugural Grandma's I didn't know about Tobie's ...

and their world famous caramel rolls.

Judy agreed that a stop was definitely in order.

Apparently, lots of other people thought the same, including ...

Dalene Kitslaar and Joy Larson, ...

and Pete and Heidi Martin. So ... how am I doing? Well, I'm not going to run until Sunday during the tri. We'll see how that feels. I'll walk the 5K if I have to. I AM going to finish! I have a P.T. appt. on Friday for core strengthening and flexibility. I'm hopeful that will help. Time and patience are always helpful as well. ;-)

Thought for the day which is from the lyrics for "If Today Was Your Last Day" by Nickelback:

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day ...

Live. Love. Laugh.

The Guts of the Story

Just a little segue here before I finish up my marathon story ... 219 hits yesterday! Wow! I'm blown away. I better make this interesting. :-)

The day dawned on the warm side. (That would later prove to be a huge understatement.) When I stepped outside at 4:40 AM I quickly discovered that there would be no need for a throwaway shirt at the start line. Without a cloud in the sky, sunscreen was a given. We made our way over to Fitger's Hotel to catch a shuttle bus out to Two Harbors.

When I stepped off the bus, Joan Benoit Samuelson was standing right there. Judy and I each got a photo with her. What a wonderful surprise. She's very tiny. :-)

The bus ride out to the start was uneventful. Spotted out at the start area: Joy Larson, Nacho Escobedo (he had a big hug ready for me! Thanks, Nacho), Ron Giles, Roger Heil, Jon Heil, LaRee Etter (she ran an awesome marathon!). Standing there, we were commenting on how warm the sun felt on the backs of our necks. My skin already felt like it was beginning to fry. Not good. After a moving rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and the jet flyover (that got me choked up) we were soon heading south on highway 61 toward Duluth and the finish line in Canal Park.

The early miles were uneventful, though we noticed that by 3 miles or so everyone seemed to be dripping in sweat. Already. Yikes. Seen on the course at various points ... Kit Hawkins, Laura Lenz, Steve Coerner, Randy Quint (ran with him for a while), Norm Purrington (spectating for his brother Brian), Pete Martin, Kyle Kircher, Kevin and Marissa Torgerson, Ben Madden, Andy Hemenway, Margo Fitzgerald, Dick Daymont, Joe Ryan, Julie Reiland. All was going relatively well until about 8 or 9 miles when the pains kicked in on my right side, but I knew that I could walk to mile 13.3 for a sag wagon if necessary. So I kept running. At some point in the middle miles I started getting twinges of leg cramps and then full blown leg cramps in addition to the right leg/hip pain. Oh, bother. This was going to be a long day. I got one about mile 19.5 in my adductor (inside of upper leg) that was just excruciating. I thought Ok, this is it, this would be a DNF (did not finish) ... but I managed to work it out and keep going. Somehow.

Needless to say, by this time it was REALLY hot. There is precious little shade on this course and there was no cooling breeze. There were sponges and cups of ice cubes at the water stops and they were most welcome. I took both every time they were offered in an effort to cool off. What I most wanted was relief from the sun, but that wasn't to be. There were sprinklers now and again, although the cold water from one of them sent my legs into spasms (seems like all systems were mis-firing at some point) so I avoided them after that. To try to combat the leg cramps I decided to start taking in LOTS of fluids--5 or 6 cups of water and/or Ultima at the later stops. In all I took in 3 GUs, a pack of Sport Beans, a piece of licorice, a Jolly Rancher, a couple potato chips, a piece of orange and 4 electrolyte capsules. Ugh. Lots of junk, but I was trying to keep myself fueled and hydrated because I felt like death warmed over.

According to the newspaper, and my friends, the black flags started flying at some point on the course, but I never saw them. (Black flags mean "extreme danger--continue at your own risk" or something like that. Dangerous running conditions). There's a story in the Duluth News page 3 entitled Officials considered calling off race because of weather. "They (medical director and executive director) discussed the option of stopping the marathon and having runners brought in off the course by bus, and Harrington (medical director) said it very nearly happened." 577 runners were treated in the finish-line medical tent. A hot day for a marathon. Indeed.

Well, the picture just does not get any prettier for me. I/we pretty much walked the whole way in from about mile 18 or so. (I haven't even looked at the splits on my GPS. It's too depressing.) It was just too painful to run. Every step sent pain into my right leg or caused cramps. It was not pretty. By far, the most painful, intense, ugly marathon I've ever run. And where was this finish line? The Northshore Inline, which I'd done several times many years ago, goes behind the DECC and finishes right next to the boat. But there was no finish line in sight yet. Arghh! By mile 26 I was feeling woozy and feeling like I might pass out (this was a first, but in keeping with the day for me). I had to walk keeping my eyes straight ahead. If I looked around I felt worse. I couldn't even run across the finish line. I willed myself forward, crossed the line 4 hours 54 minutes and 35 seconds after leaving Two Harbors and thought to myself "Hallelujah. I'm finished." After big hugs for Judy and Arvid, all I wanted was a porta-potty and shade. Mostly shade. I would've given someone a 100-spot for an umbrella. I was s-o-o-o-o-o-o hot. (The car thermometer said 92 degrees when we got there.) I certainly didn't want anything more to drink, but the turkey sandwiches looked good so I grabbed one of those. Then we went into the beer tent. A beer didn't sound good at that point, but the shade and a chair sure did. :-) We joined the other River Runners who had long since cooled down and cleaned up. (Arvid, Bob and George)

Well, eventually I came around and started feeling human again. I was very emotional for the rest of the day. I did it. I finished. With about zero confidence in my ability to finish at the start of the day, the fact that I got myself down to Canal Park under my own power was a pretty big deal. Every now and then I'd get all teary just thinking about it. My second slowest time, the worst pain, but my proudest marathon accomplishment. And I will never forget it. Sunburn and all.

After getting cleaned up it was off to Sir Benedict's Tavern for lunch ...where unbeknownst to me I happened to sit down next to the winner of the marathon, Chris Raabe (pronounced "robbie"). Pretty cool. He's very thin. :-) I had a half turkey sandwich on seven grain bread. Then it was off to the Portland Malt Shoppe for malts.

Yum. They're delicious. At 7 pm we joined Laura Lenz and Todd Rowekamp and Mike and Kit Hawkins for more food. I had a small salad and a baked sweet potato. I was really craving a plate full of waffle fries, but I resisted. I do believe that I might not have had a calorie deficeit for the day!! Oh well, you don't "run" a marathon every day. :-)

Then the 3 of us "girls" (Denise, Judy and I) went down to Canal Park ...

where things were really hopping.

Definitely the place to be on Saturday night.

At 11:30 PM we finally called it a day and collapsed. I slept well ... until 5 AM when the sun came up. I was on the living room couch and there was no window covering on the east-facing window so at 5 bells, I was up and at 'em. I decided to walk down to the lake.

It was a beautiful, peaceful morning.

A man was walking his dog and asked me if I'd run yesterday. He didn't need to know how disappointing, painful and ugly yesterday had been. So I was so happy to be able to simply answer "Yes. I ran yesterday". I'm so happy to be able to say that I will forever be a finisher of the 2009 Grandma's Marathon. And I will be back. Grandma and I have some unfinished business ...
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.