Wednesday, March 31, 2010

First Tri of the Season

Sort of. Just a quick post before I dash off to book club ...

I started the morning with a 5:15 AM run with Lisa and Bruce. What a beautiful morning. If I'd have grabbed my gloves, it would have been perfect. My hands were cold. And I felt feisty. After doing hills last night, I didn't think that would be the case. Maybe it was that bug I swallowed. (That will teach me to keep my mouth shut!) So this turned into one of the speedier Wednesday runs we've had in a long time. When we turned off Viola Road to return to the Y and Bruce was continuing on home, he said, "That was fun." :-) Yeah, I pushed it. On Elton Hills Drive by the river I heard my name. Shaun Palmer was running under the bridge. At Soldier's Field, we ran into Randy McKeeman who was finishing up a run with John and Jean. Back at the Y, I hopped into the pool for a swim before running home. Morning mileage: 13.51. A very good run.

This afternoon, I sat on the patio reading the paper while my pie crust was cooling. (I made a strawberry pie for book club.) I decided to lay down on the picnic table (I haven't gotten the furniture out yet) and I actually dozed off. On that hard table. Mid-afternoon I decided it was just too nice not to go for a bike ride. 77 degrees. Negligible wind. Hazy sunshine. Wonderful for 3/31. So I rode 30.39 miles (out to highway 30 through Salem Corners and Rock Dell). By far the best ride I've had yet this year. I tried to use the panoramic feature of my phone camera. Matt's quite good at it. I'm not.

This was supposed to be a view of the countryside from the intersection of highway 30 and county 3. Ha.

I'm feeling pretty fit. I just hope I can ride this wave right into "Baastin". But with the weather they've been having out there, we just might be riding a wave on marathon day ...

LaRee just stopped by. She bought a brand new tri suit for her first tri on 4/11 and blew out the zipper. So I'm going to fix it for her. I'm very excited for her! She's been training hard.

Time to dash off to book club. Later.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It was hills tonight rather than repeats on the track, and it was a nice change. What a treat to have temps in the 70s though it's a mighty brisk south wind we were dealing with. Paul, Tom, Jim and I gathered at 5:30 to get in a few early miles (about 3) before joining the rest of the crew at 6:00 pm. Then we headed over to the 10th St SW hill which is on the north side of the Plummer House hill. It's a good hill for doing repeats, similar to my Monday morning Lenwood Drive SW hill. The plan was for 8 repeats, starting waaaaaay down the hill by a triangle where 3 streets intersect. After my many miles yesterday, and a fast 5 on Sunday, I decided on a shorter recovery and do just the steep part of the hill rather than also including the long approach to the hill. I was not expecting much out of the workout after yesterday either. But I felt strong and did 12 1/2 repeats of the hill. A good workout. 8.67 miles. Then we ambled back to the memorial where chia seeds were distributed to those who had an interest.

Roger ...

Jim ...

Tom ...

and Renee.

And of course, I had a few cookies. Chocolate chip/pecan/toffee.

Interesting tidbit from Jim Li. He recently purchased 22 pairs of Asics 2140s!! Yes ... twenty-two pairs. They've been replaced by the 2150s, he really likes them, and said he found a few sources at about $69 and he must have bought everything they had!! That's a lot of shoes, Jim!! He's going to need a closet dedicated solely to storing those babies.

When I got home, I had a bowl of baked potato soup, some asparagus and some toast.

Way back to Sunday pm. LaRee and I met at DQ. She'd been craving DQ (she only lives a few houses away ... that would not be a good situation for me). She'd taken a rain check on a DQ run the last time I asked her, so this time she decided to cash it in and I celebrated my Human Race 8K. I had a vanilla cone and she had a Buster Bar. Puck, her dog, just had fun watching squirrels.

And now, back to yesterday. I stopped at Rochester Cycling & Fitness on the way to the Good Food Store. I looked around for that splashy orange Trek Madone. It wasn't there. I was crushed, but it was my own fault for not being on the ball and buying it when it was still there. It's now at a new home in Wabasha. So I have to start the search over again. Deb thinks I'd be happiest with WSD Trek (women's specific design), so she directed me to and the build your own bike section. I guess I build some bikes, save the specs, and then send them off to her for the real price. BTW: All SkirtSports clothing was 40% off. I have no long-sleeved jerseys, so I got this one for 40% off.

After leaving RC&F, I headed over to the Good Food Store for the promised chia seeds.

A little bit more from yesterday's evening run. Jim had a sweatshirt for me for "special volunteers" (very nice of him).

It was a large, so I'm going to switch it out for a small. He also had a hat for me, which is what you get when you register for the race. I really like the embroidered design.

Back to the AM today. I drove to the Y and swam for an hour. Talked to Kim and Cherie in the locker room for a bit. Just an average swim. The pool was very quiet. I was the only swimmer for most of the hour. After work, I met Judy and Betsy for lunch at Green Mill. It was good to catch up with them. Judy had a cute new haircut and they both have new vehicles!!

I had the Thai chicken salad. It was good, especially for 320 calories, but the dressing was very spicy. I'm glad it was on the side.

Betsy's daughter Laura is doing the 3-day breast cancer walk again in August. Here's the scoop:

Join us for an All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner! Also with Raffle and Auction, featuring Lia Sophia Jewelry! Monday, April 5th, 2010  6:00pm – 9:00pm  Edina Realty Building  1301 Salem Road SW, Rochester MN, 55902  $5 for All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti  Raffle tickets $5 each or 5 for $20  Auction starts at 7:30pm! Raffle to follow; need not be present to win! Auction items include over 15 pieces of Lia Sophia jewelry, as well as many other goods! Raffle items include over 25 gift certificates to local businesses!
All proceed to benefit Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure! For more information contact: Maria Gregerson at 507-259-8634 or , or Laura Baartman at 507-398-7708 or

My son Matt sent this pic from a bike ride he took today through Pleasant Valley near Winona. I love it.

It looks like he used the panaromic feature for the camera on his phone. We have the same phone, but Matt does a lot more experimenting than I do. And knows way more about it than I do. No surprise.

OK. Here are the much anticipated, eagerly awaited, videos of Brian Erwin doing his Tom Petty/Springsteen/Bob Dylan/animal in agony impressions.

Take two.

Take three.

Another lululemon quote: "That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least."

Until next time ...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wiped Out

There were so many choices for a title for this post: Trashed, Out of Gas, Uff Da!, Spent, Toast, ... you get the drift. But the lowdown is that I pretty much imploded on a 21.21 mile this afternoon/evening. Just nothing in reserve. I ran with Jim Mason ...

on a new trail which goes from County 9, just west of highway 42, north to Plainview.

It's brand new. It's paved, save for miles 2 and 3 which are hard-packed gravel. It very much reminded me of the Whistlestop and Rails to Trails marathon courses. Rural and scenic. I like being out in the wide open spaces. It will be prettier once things green up. I started running at 4:00 and got in 11.21 miles before meeting Jim at 5:30. Decent. There was a cyclist coming toward me at one point, and he yelled "Renee!" I wish I knew who it was. I swear I can't go ANYWHERE without seeing someone I know! I also ran down a gal on roller blades during that first out-and-back. Needlesstosay, she wasn't moving very fast. :-)

The wind was decidedly from the south, so when I got back to the car I grabbed my coat, filled my water bottle, and ditched my tunes before we headed out again. We went north, downhill and with the wind, for 5 miles before turning around. And that's when the wheels came off. Uphill, into the wind, with cramping legs and nothing in the tank. It was kinda ugly, pretty much like what happens in the final miles of my marathons. A few people have seen me "run", or actually slog through, some rather ugly miles and now Jim is a member of that little club. Bless his heart for staying with me. I told him to go on as we were barely moving. I was soooooo glad to see my car. My hands were cold and nonfunctional, I was absolutely starving, and I felt like my brain was in la-la land. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, as they say. This was an exercise in mental toughness if nothing else. Here's me at the "finish line"...

I got home and grabbed the first thing I could to eat. Leftover sqaush/chicken/pasta stuff, a hunk o'bread (cinnamon chip wheat from Great Harvest) and 1/2 a cookie. And then a really long, hot shower which was bliss. And now I'm bloggin; in my jammies. All good. :-)

OK. Back to the early AM. I drove down to the Y to lift and swim. It was Lisa P.'s birthday today, so I had a little something for her. Including cookies. Happy Birthday, princess!!

She gave a cookie to Eric. This is his quote, "These cookies were amazing. By the way, you should open your own shop."

Love that guy! :-) And then I asked Brian Erwin for a quote. Zip. Nadda. As Kevin said, "Brian said nothing of any value. Again" I just had to laugh.

As you can tell, lots and lots of teasing goes on at the Y. I'll have more from Brian in my next post (his Tom Petty/Bob Dylan/Springsteen/animain in agony imitation).

My post from yesterday was posted on the MDRA blog as "Renee Rambles Runs a PR", which was nice of Rocco/Michael or whoever posted it! I guess I will be the featured blog in MDRA's "Blognation" next week. Cool! I happened upon this post on MDRA: another manskirt!

Tuesday track work is going to be SW Rochester hills. Unless you choose to run at the track, which you certainly can do. Meet at the Soldier's Field memorial at 6 pm. Thursday's Byron Team R.E.D. will be running from Brothers in Rochester at 6 pm.

I'm having lunch with Betsy and Judy tomorrow, which I definitely look forward to. We haven't caught up much in the last couple of months. Kathryn said to wear old clothes to work. We're going to be doing some painting.

Well, I need to wrap this up and get to bed. And so it goes ...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Human Race 8K, 2010 Edition

Me, Deb, Val, Anita

Well, another race is in the books. This was the opener for both the MDRA Grand Prix and the USATF race series. It's a fast race. Pretty fast course (just a few small hills and inclines) and very fast runners. It totally intimidates me. Tom and Alex Woo and I carpooled up to St. Thomas where the race is headquartered. The old field house has been torn down and is being replaced so packet pick-up was outside. I was fortunate to get a parking spot less than 100 yards away. Parking up there is a challenge. Then I waited for my River Runners team members to arrive. We saw Chris O'Brien and hubby Tom and Chris Kujath.

I got a photo of most of our team. Welcome, Tom Woo who is now running for the River Runners as well.

Top: Tom, Paul, Anita, Rick, Cindy, Me, Kate, Deb
Bottom: Adam, Mollie, Shannon, Val, Wanda, Judy, Linda

Then I dropped my sweats in the car and headed out for a short warm-up. The temp was very good for racing (I like it cool), but it was pretty windy from the north. So we had a stiff crosswind for pretty much the whole course. I'd decided to wear my new ds trainers despite having just 6 miles on them. They do feel light, but I can tell there is a lot less "beef" to the midsole and the heel is definitely lower.

I was nervous, as is usually the case, at the start and was anxious to get going. The gun fired (sort of ... pretty lame "gun" and there were lots of comments to that effect!) and we were off, heading east up Summit Avenue. The course is an out-and-back, with a loop around the block at the far end. My first mile was 6:21. Too fast. I didn't think I could hold that pace for 5 miles, so I eased off a bit. 6:31 for mile 2. 6:42 for mile 3. Tom Woo had told me again that mile 4 is slow. It was true last year and was true again this year. 6:54. Yikes. Ouch. Mile 5 was 6:35. All 3 of us had EXACTLY 5.00 miles on our Garmins. A P.R. 33:05 (My previous PR was last year's 34:42.) My average pace was 6:38.  I'll take it.  :-)

On the course, I heard a cheer from someone. Wayne Nelson. Thank you Wayne! He also snapped a photo. I asked him to send it to me. It was toward the end of the race, so it could be ugly. At the finish, I spotted John Brown, Pat Brown, Andy Shulha, Mark Cary,

Carrie Gilman (didn't see Pete, though he ran it), Andrew Petz. Of course, I had cookies to share. :-) Always cookies ...

On the way back to the car, I heard my name. It was a blast from my past ... Brian Hecht!! I went to college with him and he was one of my very best friends. It was great to see him again. Gave him a big hug! His wife Janie had run the race.

So I spend a couple minutes catching up with him, and then Tom and Alex indulged me in a little errand ... we walked down Grand Avenue to Whole Foods. I am totally out of Callebaut bittersweet chocolate, which I use for making those killer chocolate cookies with chocolate chunks.

I can't buy it in Rochester. Then it was time to head back to Roch (with a stop for a Diet Coke on the way). LaRee and I are going to DQ tonight. She's been craving DQ and I'm going to celebrate my PR today. :-)

It's been a good day. :-) Toodles.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Today was an off day. No exercise. Zip. Nadda. Nothin'. And it was torture. I staffed a water stop for the run from the RAC instead. It's so hard standing by, watching, while everyone else is doing a long run. I would have loved to have been out there putting in my miles. But I was a good girl and rested my legs for the Human Race 8K tomorrow. (Tom Woo, who is also racing, showed up at the RAC saying he was only running 14 miles! Way to taper, Tom. :-) Anyway, I was also glad to be able to help out on the other side of the water cups for a change. I threw a couple of extra hats and a headband in the car for some reason. Good thing. Andy came in after his front-loaded miles saying his ears were frozen. I had just the solution for him ... :-)

I don't know whether the application of petroleum jelly was in my job description though! That's Dan Strain who was having "issues".

The route today included Merrihills, which is part of my regular Monday hill route. I do my repeats on Lenwood Drive. If anyone would like to join me, let me know. I usually leave about 6:00 or 6:30, but would sure be willing to switch it up if someone would want to run it with me. Hills make you strong ... Randy M. sounded mildly interested. I hope. I saw a few friends in the RAC entryway while I was waiting. Deb, Wayne, and I can't remember the other two. Then it was off to Brothers for breakfast. Sorry to those that didn't get a cookie. There were a few disappointed runners in the parking lot.

I certainly hadn't earned a walnut pancake, or even a plain pancake. So it was oatmeal with raisins for me.

Here's a little funny for ya: Roger ordered a Brothers' Omelet which is pretty loaded. Ham, bacon, veggies, hash browns all included in the omelet. He gave me a little piece of it which you can see to the left. Anyways, it's a pretty good-sized meal and he didn't finish it. Not too long before we all left, his wife Joyce called to ask when he was coming home. Why? She wanted to go out for lunch. It was pretty funny ... :-)

On the way home I stopped at Hy-Vee. They were having a Saturday sale. Red sweet peppers were 88 cents which is a bargain. They were nice and big, too. I've tried the store brands of lots of things. Some I buy again, some I don't.

Two of my favorites at Hy-Vee are their oyster crackers (I don't know what it is about them, but they're my fave .. great flavor and they're thin) and their brand of Honey Bunches of Oats. I like them better than the "real thing" actually.

I made some oatmeal raisin cookies for tomorrow. River Runners Paul and Rick say that that's their favorite cookie. And I want them to be happy. :-) And well fed.

The race starts at 1:20 PM. Please send positive, fast-running, vibes my way. I get really nervous before I race. Weather sounds perfect. 50's and plenty o'sunshine. So at least I won't be fretting about that.

This afternoon, I made some updates for Sharon on the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon website. I talked to her yesterday and she's going to come down from St. Cloud to volunteer for me at the Fetzer. What a sweetie!! Also, Roger Heil is going to run Wobegon. So it's 4 of us for sure now ... Andy, Roger, Trevor, and me. It's going to be flat, fast and super FUN!!

My Boston Marathon race packet arrived today. 3 weeks from Monday is the big day. It's going to be here before I know it.

I had an unusually large number of hits on my little blog yesterday. Must have been the Team R.E.D. adventure on Thursday evening. Here's a little sneak peak at what might be up next for the Girls of Team R.E.D. That's all you're going to get before the premiere.

I made pasta for supper. It was DELISH. New concoction. Whole wheat fettucine ...

sauteed butternut squash (using the fond from the chicken) ...

a bunch of garlic (6 cloves I think--I love garlic), green onions, chicken, reduced-fat feta cheese and a little of the pasta water to loosen it up.

That and a salad, and I'm stuffed.

That's all the news for today. Tomorrow will certainly be a bloggable day. And I look forward to it. Wish me luck!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

I Laughed So Long and Hard, It Hurt

It all started last Saturday, when I was far, far away in St. Cloud. Well, apparently it started even before that ... when some of us gals started wearing our running skirts. Anyway, the talk last Saturday somehow morphed into the possibility of "man-skirts" making an appearance at one of the upcoming Team R.E.D. runs. I got wind of it, thought it sounded like a hoot, and before you know it I was taking a pair of scissors to some leftover fabric (I'd made running tights out of this stuff!) and a short time later ... man-skirts!

I thought the Melby version (pink) would be way too short, and way too tight, but you know what? It was a perfect fit! The O'Leary model ... well, I thought the waist might be a bit too loose, and it was, but didn't have time to re-work it so we just had to go with it. Randy created his own version of the man-skirt using a pair of his shorts--he cut the crotch out of them, sewed them back together, and put a nice little pink ribbon stripe down the side. Stylin'!!

I think they wore them well, truth be told. : ) But they did get some strange looks at the Bears' Den! When we were sitting at the Den, I no sooner started asking Roger whether he wanted one, and he was shaking his head 'no'. I showed the pix to a couple guys at the Y this morning and Mike said, "That's disturbing on so many levels." I'm still laughing out loud. The man-skirts even led us in a little pre-run stretching exercise:

Soon, we were hitting the streets of Byron, and I was still laughing. Tom O' was a sight to behold!

I am now working on a little surprise from the Girls of Team R.E.D. I believe the debut of our little secret may be in two weeks. In Byron. I think we're running in Roch next week. Let's have a little contest ... Name Those Legs.

And the correct answers are ...

Melby, Saxman, O'Leary, Quint. :-) Here's the whole evening, in pictures. What a hoot. Yeah, it's a little disturbing, but a hoot nevertheless.

Oh. We did run 6.25 miles. I wore my new ds trainers. They were fine. Light. No issues. They sounded kind of noisy (stiff), though. I may wear them on Sunday. We played Rock/Paper/Scissors for prizes. Which turned out to be a hoot, too. I totally muffed it up at one point. I somehow threw a karate chop in the mix. (I'm laughing out loud again.) But I did make it to the final three. (Tom O' had 2 gift cards.) Somehow ... I lost. Go figure. And ... I left without paying my bill. AGAIN. Something is amiss here. I never get a bill from the server. Either: 1) Someone is covering for me week after week, or 2) Every server somehow forgets to give me my bill, or 3) It's not worth their bother charging me for just a Diet Pepsi. OK. It's really time to move on. And I'll back up. The morning started with a little surprise birthday party for Jean Murray at the DAHLC.

I was awake at 4:09 am, so I got up and made another batch of scones. The ones I'd made the night before didn't turn out right and I wasn't happy about it. These were fine.

It was a fun way to start the morning. Kristin, Randy and I ran a couple of miles first.

After work, I met with Joey Keillor ...

at Running Room to talk about a summer high school running program he's proposing. I think it sounds like a good idea, and I'm going to pass the info along to the RTC board. He will need volunteers to make it a go, so stay tuned.

Then I baked a couple batches of cookies.

The ones on the left went to Byron last night. I resisted until the bitter end. Didn't eat any until after done running when I broke off about 1" off a half cookie. : ) The ones on the right went to the Y this morning and the rest will go to the run at the RAC tomorrow. Dark chocolate m&ms, dark chocolate wafers and semi-sweet chips. I'll have them at the water stop and somewhere afterwards. Either the RAC and/or Brothers. You're all welcome to join us there. For coffee. Or for breakfast. (There's a story that goes with that, too, right Melby? But this post is getting waaaay too long already.)

This morning, I actually drove to the Y. No running. I am tapering. Really. (It's really hard seeing these emails flying around today about a 22-miler in the morning. And I'll be doing absolutely nothing. Except pouring water and Gatorade at a waterstop. I already feel like a slug.) Today I lifted, then swam. A nice thing happened at the pool. I was in lane 4 and a guy was in lane 5. He sounded like he had a Jamaican accent. Anyway, when we were both at the end of our respective lanes, he said "I hope I can swim like you some day." Blow. Me. Away. What a nice thing to hear. About super-slow swimmer me. Anyway, he had some questions about breathing and kicking and I gave him what assistance I could, not being an expert by any means. But I was more than happy to help.

After work, I was at Sam's again.

I got some asparagus (among other things :-) to make some asparagus soup for supper.

This batch tasted especially good for some reason. I don't know what I did different. I did add a dash of fresh nutmeg, but I thing I usually do that. I used fat-free half & half instead of 1% milk, but that shouldn't matter. I don't know ... but it hit the spot. And of course, I had a salad. Tonight I used a fat-free balsamic vinaigrette from Trader Joe's for a dressing.

I don't cut up veggies every day for my daily salads. I cut up a bowl full; eat it 'til it's gone; repeat. I do add berries, if I'm using them, at the last minute though. They're too fragile.

Monday, Jim Mason and I are going to run on a new paved trail NE of town. It runs from county 9 to Plainview. I'm meeting him at 5:30 pm for 10 miles or so, but will get some early miles in beforehand so I get my long in for the week. Here's a map. Feel free to join us.

Let's play 20 Questions (Or So) From Renee. Tonight we'll meet the Hardyman's. First up, Marilee.

What's the last movie you saw? Old Dogs
Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket? No
What was your first car? White Chevy Chevette
Do you play a musical instrument? Used to play flute and guitar
Have you ever gone skydiving? No
Ketchup or mustard on a hotdog? Mustard
Favorite running shoe? Brooks or Saucony
Do you weigh more or less than what's on your driver's license? Less
Eye color? Brown
Any tattoos or piercings? Yes. Multiple ear piercings. Tattooed eyeliner. A tattoo that's always hidden by a bikini.
Favorite cookie? Sugar cookie
Favorite race? Boston Marathon
White or dark meat (poultry)? White
Beef: rare, medium or well-done? Well-done
Ever worn braces? No
Where were you born? Wells, MN (Also graduated H.S. there)
Have you ever broken a bone? Yes. Finger. (At a H.S. party picking up a tailgate on a pick-up truck while unloading a keg of beer. Tough one to explain to parents.)
AM or FM on the car radio? Always FM
Middle name? Jane
Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi. (She's the first one with that answer.)
Favorite indulgence food? Chips and salsa
Favorite color? Orange
Favorite fruit? Mango
Favorite veggie? Tomato
Favorite pizza topping? Black olives
Favorite movie? The Parent Trap (the new one)
Favorite book? Anything by Janet Evonovich
Favorite TV show? Grey's Anatomy
Favorite Rochester restaurant? Chester's
Favorite nut? Cashew
How many siblings? 4
Hobbies? Watching kids' sports, golf, reading
Favorite grocery store? HyVee Barlows Plaza
Sleep on your back, stomach or side? Stomach

And now, let's meet her hubbie Tim.

What's the last movie you saw? Old Dogs (ha ... same answer as Marilee!)
Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket? No. But he has been arrested. There must be more to that answer ... !
What was your first car? Chevy Cavalier
Do you play a musical instrument? Used to play guitar
Have you ever gone skydiving? Yes
Ketchup or mustard on a hotdog? Both
Favorite running shoe? asics
Do you weigh more or less than what's on your driver's license? Less
Eye color? Hazel
Any tattoos or piercings? No
Favorite cookie? Chocolate chip
White or dark meat (poultry)? White
Beef: rare, medium or well-done? Medium
Ever worn braces? No
Where were you born? Darlington, WI (and he's a Packer fan)
Have you ever broken a bone? Yes. Hand.
AM or FM on the car radio? FM unless he's listening to sports
Middle name? John
Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi. (He's the seocnd one with that answer. :-)
Favorite indulgence food? Ice cream
Favorite color? Red
Favorite fruit? Pears
Favorite veggie? Carrots
Favorite pizza topping? Sausage
Favorite movie? One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Favorite TV show? Monday Night Football
Favorite Rochester restaurant? Chester's
Favorite nut? Walnuts
How many siblings? 4
Hobbies? Basketball, running
Sleep on your back, stomach or side? Side
Did you play high school sports? Baseball, football, track, golf, basketball (whew!)

Enough! I'll close with another lululemon quote: "Do one thing a day that scares you." Interesting.