Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year in Review

First a few words about the morning. I ran from Panera with the 6:30 crew. Up around the lake. 7.48 miles. I was feeling good after my 20.07-miler yesterday and decided to turn it into a tempo run after the first couple of miles. I finished in 1:02:07. I stopped twice to try to determine why speed was (and still is) displayed instead of pace. Don't remember dinging around with any buttons ... Then we had a little sparkling cider toast to 2011 in the parking lot.

Then I went to the Y to swim for an hour. I had the pool to myself save for about 10 minutes. I think I'll take a spin on my trainer later. I put it together last night. I still have to put a trainer tire on my back wheel though.

Then it was home for some Scottish oats.

It takes a while to cook and is a 3-1 water-oats ratio, so it will probably be a weekend/vacation deal. It's kind of a porridge consistency and it's like a quick cooking oats version of rolled oats (if that makes any sense).

Last night: finally found a toaster. A red one wasn't what I had in mind but I guess it adds a splash of color to the countertop.

A salad and a leftover piece of BB's BBQ chicken pizza for supper.


I ran my first marathon for the year, Zoom!Yah!Yah! Indoor marathon at St. Olaf in the fieldhouse. 150 laps around the suspended walking track. High point: I won the thing. :-) Low point: It took me 4:04:07 to do it. :-(

Me and my lap counter
Lace-Up Against Breast Cancer Half Marathon. Not super fast (1:44) but I was the first old lady to finish so I got a pink hammer. And I met my new blogging friend Julie from Maple Grove.

Disney Princess Half Marathon 3/7 at Disney World in Kissimmee, FL. It was quite chilly that morning and we had an hour wait at the start line. Brrrr. It was about 40 degrees ... perfect for distance running, but not for standing around in not too many clothes!! Lisa and Ellen and I all ran the race.

I had my lifetime half marathon PR: 1:35:32, 1st in my age group out of 974 (which subsequently got me a guaranteed spot at Grandma's half marathon ... lucky, since I didn't chosen in the lottery). One of my very proudest moments as a runner. Splits: 7:24 7:14 7:13 7:08 7:02 7:14 7:07 7:14 7:52 (bathroom break!) 7:18 7:17 7:16 7:09.

Human Race 8K in St. Paul. A PR for me of 33:05 (bettering last year's then-PR of 34:42). A very fast race (6:38 pace for me) so even though I ran pretty well, I didn't place. This is the first in the USATF circuit for the year and draws many talented runners.

Boston Marathon on April 19. A Boston PR for me and another BQ. 3:49:12. I was very excited to requalify at Boston. I'd not run well at Boston before so I felt like I conquered some demons that day. A fun trip including the chance to see Lionel and Carolyn and a side trip by myself up to Portland, ME.

<< I just filled the 1 GB of free storage that Google/Picasa web albums provides. I deleted lots of photos but still can't post any more photos. Drat. >>

Spring Classic 15K on May 1. A PR of 1:06:06. Don't remember too much about this race this year.

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon on May 8. A definite highlight for the year. Travelled to St. Cloud with Andy, Erin, Trevor and Roger. We all got BQs!!! And we're all running Boston. Three of us (and possibly four ... can't remember about Roger) also ran PRs. Mine was 3:33:43. Flat course, cold weather, NW wind. PERFECT.

Twin Cities 1 Mile on May 13, 5 days after my marathon PR. A one-mile PR of 5:56. Cold and windy that night. Another run that I am very proud of.

Med-City Half Marathon on May 30. 1:39:36  Not the time I was hoping for. Cramped about 8 miles. But still a pretty good day. Lots of friends in attendance either running or volunteering which is always fun.

Half marathon at Grandma's (technically the Gary Bjorklund Half) June 19 1:39:02  Again not what I was hoping for (a 1:35). I cramped again at 7 or 8 miles.

All Comers' Mile on June 22. 6:05. My fastest All Comers' Mile, but not a PR.
Women's Race (4 miles) on July 31 A P.R. of 27:11. Always a fun race ... such positive energy amongst all the participants. Always a gut-buster for me, too. Usually hot.

Douglas Trail 11 mile on August 7 1:19:55 which was a P.R. This one can be a scorcher too. I like that it's an out-and-back so we can cheer for each other. :-)

MDRA 15K on August 15. A tough 15K (3 loops of a hilly 5K course) and it was windy this year. Lots of very talented runners from the Twin Cities at this race as well. 1:06:35 which was a P.R. for this course, but not for 15K.

August 21 brought a pulled hamstring and lots of down town, at least non-running time. Started putting in lots of miles on the bike that I bought this year and lots of miles in the pool. Racing season came to a screeching halt.

September 4, rode 100.34 miles (unsupported) on my bike. First century ride in quite a few years.

TC10 on October 3. A very embarrassing time of 1:27:26. I didn't think I'd be able to run 10 miles by this time, and I must say it hurt the whole way. But I'm glad I got my finisher's shirt. Fun to see my running buddies run some really amazing times.

Outer Banks Marathon (NC) with 4 dozen St. Cloud River Runner friends. A very, very fun getaway. Beautiful weather (starting on Sunday!). Great friends. Lots of laughs. A very memorable road trip. I ran a 3:55:50. Not my fastest, but not my slowest either. Considering my hamstring situation, it was good enough. Pretty ugly the last few miles, though. A BQ so I couldn't complain about that.

That brings to a close my 2010 running season.

The last half of the year has been difficult for me on many fronts. 2011 will be a year of changes for me. For the first time in 25 years, I will be a single person. I will have lots of adjustments to make and I don't know exactly what, or when, or where, 2011 and beyond has in store for me. But I will be OK. If I've seemed out of sorts the last couple of months, you now know why.

As I look back over the years, what has meant so much to me are my friendships, old and new. I treasure each and every one of them. More so now than ever. There are contracts that go with other relationships ... business relationships, even marriages. But people are friends only because they choose to be friends. What a wonderful thing.

Be safe tonight, whatever you choose to do. And blessings on your 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Short ... Yet Long

Just feeling like doing a short, to-the-point post tonight.

20.07 mile run this morning. I decided to take advantage of the warm temps (35'ish), strong winds, and rain/slush/puddles :-) and get my long run out of the way before the ice (Friday) and bitter cold (Saturday) move in. It took a while, but I'm glad I got it done. I wore my heavy Icebugs and I'm glad I did. There was a layer of water on the ice and it was quite slippery. Also got some practice climbing over snowbanks rather than trudge through 2" of standing water.

Reconnected with a high school friend through Facebook in the last 24 hours. All good.

Undecorating the house. Feels good.

Baked banana chocolate chip walnut bread. Tastes good.

Time to revisit and reinstate New Year's Resolutions soon. Stay tuned.

Good night.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday ... Food, Food, and More Food

The morning kicked off with lifting and an hour swim at the Y. It's been on the quiet side at the pool this week which has been nice. No lane sharing required. And my goggle eyes weren't as bad as usual. Monday they were horrendous. Really bad. Huge rings around my eyes for several hours.

At noon we had a little pizza party at the office. Alex Morgan from Soft Rock Y105.3 delivered two BB's Pizzeria pizzas.

Bad pic ... I look very puffy :-(

Meat Lovers and BBQ Chicken
I'd thought I'd probably getting a veggie pizza as the second one as Alex didn't know if they had BBQ chicken on the menu, but she came through. It's my fave. Same thing at Nick 'n Willy's ... my fave is Lil' Nell's BBQ Chicken. Alex's daughter Brooklyn was her delivery assistant and was happy to pick out a cookie for the road.

Tom O' joined me for a little 'za. I kept it to one piece of BBQ chicken.

Jeff joined us for a few minutes 'til the phone pulled him away.

Then it was off to Sam's Club for some healthy food. And a cookbook.

Mid-afternoon I went for a nice 7.02 mile run. There's even a little bare pavement here and there! Very pleasant temps in the low 30's but a pretty stiff south wind. When I got home I scraped most of the ice off the driveway since it had softened a little. My shoulders were tired after the lifting and swimming and really tired after scraping the driveway. All good though.

Finally, I decided to make Asparagus Red Pepper Soup for supper. Starts with leek, asparagus, potato and red pepper.

Add some vegetable stock.

Add s/p, Balsamic vinegar and fat-free half and half. Then puree with an immersion blender.

 And of course, a salad.

Very tasty supper.

I'm now a Facebook friend with Carrie Tollefson. I think that's pretty cool. :-)

Running options for the rest of the week: Joe Ryan is running from the Y at 9:15 Thursday. Byron Team R.E.D. is running from the Bear's Den in Byron at 6 PM Thursday. Liz has organized a 6:30 AM run from Panera on Friday. And OSS is running from Brothers at 8 AM Saturday. And  ... the Resolution Run 5K is 11 AM Saturday. Only a few XL or XXL jackets left however. No race day registration. I hope I haven't forgotten anything ...

Have a wonderful tomorrow, whenever it is that you read this. Good night ...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Finally ... A Good Day

The last 3 days have really not been good days. (Eric didn't make it home for Christmas. Nothing under the tree for me. Can't find a 2 slice toaster that I want after going to numerous stores ... they are obviously a popular Christmas gift. The 2 songs I bought on iTunes Saturday night--Snow Patrol and Gordon Lightfoot--won't load on my iPod.) Today ... good. Finally. I really needed a good day. 2 hours on the Stairmaster before work. Then I got a call from Alex at Y105 radio station. I won a pizza lunch for the office tomorrow! Enter online. Two large pizzas and only three of us in the office tomorrow! But Tom O' is going to crash our little party ... sweet!! Bloggable for sure. I made cookies for dessert, of course. :-) Then at noon today, an hour on the snowshoes.

Tom Claymon, Jim Benike, Lorraine Benike, Dan Edward, K.C.
It was just a beautiful winter day. We strapped on a wide variety of snowshoes and headed for the golf course. We discovered that it's a lot easier shoeing on an existing track than it is tromping through the virgin powder!
Lorraine, Dan, K.C.

Jim Benike

Gaiters would be a very nice accessory!


Quite the assortment of gear
 Late afternoon, I decided to go for a run. I was thinking 3 miles, but it was so nice and I felt great so it ended up being 5.04 miles. No spikes on. My feet felt so light. My Icebugs (heavy, water resistant shoes with built-in carbide spikes) weigh 16.7 ounces each!

It was a very, very pleasant run. Then Jean had invited me to a movie (the latest Narnia flick, but I don't know the story and haven't seen the previous films, so I declined) followed by pizza. I accepted the pizza invitation. We went to Broadway Pizza.

Three of Jean's sisters, a niece, a nephew, her parents and husband were there as well.

George and me
It was crowded when we got there, and the service was v-e-r-y slow. It took close to an hour to get the 'zas. I was ready to eat my fist AGAIN. I was absolutely starving. It was almost 7:00 and I'd burned a lot of calories today and lunch was a long time ago. The pizza was good, though.

BBQ chicken --- I ate TWO pieces!

Meat Lovers -- I ate NONE
As I sit here blogging, I was craving an apple and Diet Coke. ?? So I ate that too. Delish Honeycrisp apple. Very crunchy. And a dark chocolate Hershey's kiss. I think I'm done eating for the day now. :-)

My Kurt Kinetic Road Machine (bike trainer) arrived today. Hurrah!! Now I can pedal too. I need to get a trainer tire though.

Someone created some little JibJab videos and posted links on the River Runners website I'm in numbers 3 and 5. Cute. Speaking of River Runners ... these are the Roch area folks I know of that are running Lake Wobegon on May 14): Millie, Andy, Trevor, liz, Mike, Meredith, Joe, Jen, Corinne, Dan, me. Fun, fun, fun!

Well, I'm going to floss and brush and then call it a day. Good night ...

Monday, December 27, 2010

5 Habits of Highly Effective Cookie Bakers

A busy day today, but not much going on that's of interest in blogsphere. Morning workout: lift and swim for an hour. Evening workout: an hour on the Stairmaster.

So ... I thoughti I'd share 5 cookie-baking tips that I've gathered through my cookie-baking experiences.
  1. Use good butter. I always use unsalted (unless the recipe calls for salted). My favorite is Land O'Lakes. I stock up when it goes on sale (it's spendy). It freezes well. If you MUST use margarine, use one that's got 100 calories per Tablespoon. If it's less, it's got too much water in it and your cookies won't be as good. The texture won't be right. And the flavor won't be as good. Also, let the butter soften before creaming. It should be slightly bendable. Be very careful if attempting to soften it in the microwave. It can go from solid to liquid quickly!
  2. Use good vanilla. Don't use imitation vanilla. Use the real deal. It's worth it.
  3. Use good chocolate. Again, don't use chocolate-flavored chips. Use real chocolate. I really like Ghirardelli bittersweet. They're available in most grocery stores and at Sam's Club.
  4. If you're using nuts, toast them first. 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or until they smell fragrant. Let them cool before adding to your batter! If you're using chocolate chips, they'll melt when coming in contact with warm nuts. (Trust me ... it's happened to me ... once. :-)
  5. Oven tips: Let your cookie sheets cool off between batches. I bake them on the center rack in the oven, one sheet at a time, unless the recipe specifies otherwise. (Some Cooks' Illustrated recipes call for 2 sheets, in the upper- and lower-middle of the oven, rotated and swapped halfway through baking).
Sounds like we're in for another interesting weather weekend. Just in time for more travel nightmares.  And difficult running. Bummer ...

Going to sign off for today. Good night.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Å Gå På Ski

I'll just get this over with quickly: not a good Christmas. At all. Eric woke up sick on Friday morning so didn't make it down. Christmas was really a non-event this year, other than Matt opening a couple of gifts and having my brother Mark and family over for dinner.

I spent the afternoon and evening dinking around with Faceook and my iPod and really enjoyed listening to Matt sing and pick on his new guitar.

Time to move on.

The morning began with a running workout: a run from Panera. Just over 3 miles before meeting the others at 7:30. I think there were 11 that showed up. We went on the roads to the south and east and then made our way up to the lake. I slipped into Silver Lake Foods for a drink and then another loop around the lake. It was then that Trevor called out to me. I decided to join them (he, Jeff and Andy), but was hesitant about being able to keep up with these 3, 3:10 marathoners. After the 1.8 mile loop, I was about 50 yards back and decided not to try to keep up, or catch up. Wasn't going to happen! They're really quick. So I headed out toward the prison to get the extra mileage in on (somewhat) cleared trails rather than the uncleared trails near Panera. When I got back I had in 16.07 miles. It was 12 degrees, but actually quite pleasant. We haven't had much wind this week which has been a blessing. I'm getting tired of wearing two or three pairs of pants, multiple shirts, gloves AND mittens, neck gaiter and hat, etc. when running. I feel like the Michelin tire guy. I stopped in to Panera for a quick howdie before heading out.

Dave and Adam

Liz, Tom, Roger, Millie

I'd promised pancakes for Matt, so when I got home I got right to it. From scratch buttermilk 'cakes.

They were delicious. It was almost 11:00 and I was famished. I had a 90 calorie granola bar after the run, then stopped at HyVee for grapes and carrots and by the time I got home I was ready to eat my fist. So I had oatmeal AND 1.5 pancakes and I wasn't stuffed. Those miles really made me ravenous!

I spent a little time this afternoon working on my little sewing project ...

I'm getting there. it's just taking a while. I discovered I was 4 legs short, so had to whip those up before proceeding. Stay tuned.

Then I needed to get out, so decided to head down to Soldier's Field for a quick ski. Very peaceful. (Note to dog owners: PLEASE do not take your dogs down there on the ski track. When I got there there was this huge dog, looked close to 100 pounds, out there with two skiers. Totally trashed it in spots.)

Really deep snow

It's only a classical track down there, and wasn't groomed with equipment, but it's OK. I skied for 75 minutes then when daylight was waning, put on John's snowshoes for a quick romp in the snow.

It was my first time using snowshoes. I'm not sure if I was doing something wrong, but on the virgin snow, they were sinking and my ski boots were filling with snow, so that didn't last long. But I'd had enough for the day. My ski boots were pressing on yet ANOTHER toenail on my right foot, so I was ready to ditch them and get some food. It was about 5:00 and I was starving again. Ready to eat my other fist!! As I was skiing, I was (kind of) using my math major thinking about workouts and permutations: 6 things (run, ski, snowshoe, swim, bike, Stairmaster) taken two at a time. 6!/(6-2)! That's 30 options for two-a-day workouts (run/ski, ski/run, run/bike, bike/run, run/swim, Stairmaster/swim, ... you get the idea).

Totally useless info: I'm now Facebook friends with 3 rather well-known runners ... Dick Beardsley, John "The Penguin" Bingham, and Bart Yasso. :-)

Spent a little more time with my snowmen ...

before eating yet another salad and a piece of lefse.

Enough for today. Good night.