Monday, May 31, 2010

Coming Around

I apologize for the paucity of posts this weekend. Number one, it was busy and number two, I came down with a G.I. something-or-other last night that put me out of commission for a while. But ... I'm on the road back, have been able to keep down a little food and I have a feeling I'm going to feel better than ever. So ... let's post!

The Med-City events were held on a beautiful day yesterday. It was a beautiful sunrise.

Perfect weather. But NOT for a marathon. But I have to say that I witnessed one pretty special race yesterday, that being Paul Melby's half marathon PR (by about 7 minutes) only one short week after his marathon PR. I am so happy for him and proud of his race on a very warm day on a hilly course. You rocked it, Paul!!

(I"m going to apologize up front for the fuzzy photos ... I'm having "issues" with my camera. I think I've dropped it a few too many times.) I was Paul's pacer yesterday, complete with Melby P.R. Pace Team sign!,

 at least for the first 10 miles. At about 10, my legs started cramping. I knew they would in the heat and sure enough ... my splits tell the story: 7:01  7:22  7:19  7:11 7:13  7:07  7:26  7:24  7:10  7:34  8:23  8:38  8:46. I ended up running 1:39:32. I was fortunate enough to finish 6th overall (according to my friend Jeanne ... I haven't seen the results online yet) and got first in the F40-49 age group. One of the fun parts of the day was wearing my coral running skirt outfit. I got SO many comments on it. It's very fun, very girly and I feel good wearing it. :-) The back of the skirt has a ruffle on it, and the top has a lace inset on the back ... and that's what made me splurge on it. It's so much different than anything else I'd seen. I got it at Run N' Fun in Burnsville.

I met radio/newpaper personality Tracy McCray and her husband Joel Ott out in Byron at the bag drop table. That was very fun!!

But I think these guys had more fun than anyone else. What do you think??!!

Congrats to Kari Justin who ran her first marathon yesterday!!

And likewise to Cory Hamernik pictured with his dad, Ross.

After going back out on the course to look for friends, I ended up with 21.81 miles for the day. Given the heat, that was plenty. Then it was off to Ron Giles' post-marathon party for just a short time.

Talked with Joe and Ann Moyer ...

Kenny and Jerry ...

Steve ...

and winner of the marathon, Pete Gilman and his wife Carrie.

I couldn't stay long as my son Eric was leaving for Costa Rica. He gave himself a buzz, packed a back pack, and was off.

I am not good at goodbye's but this one seemed especially hard. His schedule and plans are pretty up-in-the-air. But I admire his adventurous spirit. If he wants to see the world, this is the time in his life to do it.

I've got oodles of pictures to post from yesterday, but will make a slideshow tomorrow. I need to get to bed. I'm still not 100% and need some rest.

Good night.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Med-City Musings

Lots and lots of Med-City goings on this weekend. Whew! Busy. And ... there's a footrace in the midst of it all. This evening I'll be attending a pre-Med-City potluck with a bunch of other runners. Some have run 20+ marathons and some will be participating in their first running event tomorrow. Best wishes to everyone that's running, thank you to everyone who is volunteering and/or cheering. Congrats to Cory Hamernik who is running his first marathon tomorrow. He's a nice kid. Here's Cory with his dad Ross last year.

My friend Georgia needed a last-minute replacement for a relay team so I'll be wearing a relay chip for the first 1/4 marathon and handing that off. Here are the shirts ... they're technical this year.

Tonight I'm bringing Strawberry Pulled Pork sandwiches (pulled pork cooked along with strawberries, rosemary, garlic, ...) So this morning bright and early, I made some buns.

The pork is smelling mighty good. I'm getting hungry. I've really been paying attention to my hydration today, even though I'm just running half, so I feel kind of like a bloated beached whale. Then I made LOTS of cookies ... 123 to be exact. Matt was a huge help.

I had to get all my cooking done today as there won't be time tomorrow. (I've got two potlucks tomorrow.) I also made some rhubarb crisp and another loaf of the Quick Cheese Bread that I made on Thursday.

Eric is making final preparations before leaving for Costa Rica. I'm going to really miss him, and I'll worry about him. I've stressed how important it is that he keeps in touch. For my sake. :-) He's re-reading Harry Potter in Spanish.

He's going to take my iTouch with him. He loaded Skype on it and I got him a mic/earphones so it's now a phone. Pretty cool. $3/month.

Matt got a used trumpet in the mail yesterday. He gave me an intro lesson ... all I wanted to do was to be able to make a sound. I FINALLY did after some coaching from both boys.

From Tom O': Sunday Night Hike at Oxbow is on again this week. Meet at the 3rd Bridge at Oxbow Park at 6pm Sunday for a fun hike to the upper meadow. It's challenging, but wonderful out there!

That's it for today. Happy Weekend!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep ...

"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep." --Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

The woods were indeed lovely last night. And I sorely wanted to capture them on my camera, but it chose to not cooperate. : ( But I did get a few pix on my phone. There were about a dozen of us that gathered at Oxbow for a 5.35 mile run on the hilly trails on a spectacular evening. The sky was brilliant blue, just a slight breeze blowing through the trees, all the foliage was brilliant green and blooming, ... it was wonderful. Let's see if I can remember all the names: Paul M, Roger, Kris, Andy and Tracie, Adam, Andy, Paul C (late), Chelsea, Matt, Emily, K-P, me, ... I think I'm forgetting someone.

We had a little potluck supper. I brought a salad and some Quick Cheese Bread (recipe from Cook's Illustrated.)

It went over pretty well and there were a couple requests for the recipe. Here it is:

Makes one 9 by 5-inch loaf. Published May 1, 2004.

If using Asiago, choose a mild supermarket cheese that yields to pressure when pressed. Aged Asiago that is as firm as Parmesan is too sharp and piquant for this bread. If, when testing the bread for doneness, the toothpick comes out with what looks like uncooked batter clinging to it, try again in a different—but still central—spot; if the toothpick hits a pocket of cheese, it may give a false reading. The texture of the bread improves as it cools, so resist the urge to slice the loaf while it is piping hot. Leftover cheese bread is excellent toasted; toast slices in a toaster oven or on a baking sheet in a 425-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, not in a conventional toaster, where bits of cheese may melt, burn, and make a mess. Our cheese bread is best made with whole milk, but it will taste fine if you have only 2 percent milk on hand. Do not use skim milk.

3 ounces Parmesan cheese , shredded on large holes of box grater (about 1 cup)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese , cut into ½-inch cubes, or mild Asiago, crumbled into ¼- to ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
1 large egg beaten lightly
3/4 cup sour cream

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 5 by 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, then sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan evenly in bottom of pan.

2. In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper to combine. Using rubber spatula, mix in cheddar or Asiago, breaking up clumps, until cheese is coated with flour. In medium bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter, egg, and sour cream. Using rubber spatula, gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined (batter will be heavy and thick). Do not overmix. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan; spread to sides of pan and level surface with rubber spatula. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan evenly over surface.

3. Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick or skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes; invert loaf from pan and continue to cool until warm, about 45 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Freezing Instructions: Although the recipe title Quick Cheese Bread is no misnomer (the batter is in the pan in 15 minutes), when you add time for baking and cooling, the recipe does require a total of two hours. Luckily, like many of our other bread recipes, a baked loaf of cheese bread freezes beautifully, meaning a warm loaf need be only minutes away.

To freeze the bread, wrap the cooled loaf tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil and place in the freezer; it will keep for up to three months. When you’re ready to serve the bread, place the frozen, wrapped loaf on the middle rack of a preheated 375-degree oven and heat for eight to 10 minutes, until the loaf yields under gentle pressure. Remove the foil and return the unwrapped bread to the oven for five minutes to crisp the exterior. Take the bread out of the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes to make slicing easier. Enjoy.

Interested in a long Saturday run? And not running Med-City, but are volunteering? Meet at Brothers on S. Broadway at 5:30 AM. The max distance will be 23 miles. Run whatever distance suits your fancy ... and I'll join you for breakfast afterwards. Unfortunately, I will not have earned a Brothers Walnut Pancake (one entry on my My Favorite Things list). So it'll probably be oatmeal.

Med-City: The course for the full marathon has changed a bit. It utilizes Salem Road rather than Mayowood Road. Here's a map. Packet pick-up starts at 4 pm today at Running Room, where there is also a sidewalk sale going on. Andy said he picked up a new pair of shoes the other day at a great price and really likes them.

Today I swam for an hour. Yesterday I lifted and swam for an hour. I've swam 4 hours during the weekdays this week, which is a new record for me. No sore shoulders. Not even tired, actually. I just get bored after an hour. I'm saving my legs for Sunday, hoping to pace Mr. Melby to a 1:30-something half marathon. :-)

Make sure you cast your votes on the emotions displayed in the Melby/Woo photos on the Team R.E.D. blog. : )

Marilee emailed me this morning that one of my favorite Twin Cities haunts, Trader Joe's, is coming to the Apache Mall area yet in 2010. Whoo hoo!! That would be FAN.TAS.TIC. She heard it on the news and she said it was on the KTTC website as well. Sounding a little closer to official this time. I'm pumped!!

I put the screen on the front door the other day. It's wonderful to have a nice breeze and fresh air blowing through the house. Man ... that glass panel was HEAVY. Yesterday, Eric and I washed two of  the cars.

I did the Accord and he the Civic. I love a nice clean car. Inside and out.

Well, I'm off to get my hair cut and run some errands. Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Favorite Things

A couple of things prompted the title of this post. First, yesterday when I stopped into Great Harvest. I went in for some Honey Whole Wheat and ended up also getting a loaf of Blueberry Cheesecake bread ... delish! Anyway, there were 3 young guys working and I decided to ask them what their favorite breads were. They instantly became very animated ...  One: Cracked Pepper Parmesan. Two: Merry Berry (the other guys said this kid could eat a whole [warm] loaf in one sitting, and did so every day in December. :-) Three: Said he had no idea. (He must be new ... and needs to eat more bread. He was pretty skinny!) It was really fun.

The next thing was this morning when Lisa and I were running. We encountered a few raindrops. (I ran 12.20 miles starting at 5:15 AM when it was still really sticky out.) It made me think of the song My Favorite Things (Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things ...) which I then couldn't get out of my head. So I told Lisa that I thought that would be good subject matter for today's post. So here goes. Here are a few of my favorite things:
  • An evening walk during a gentle snowfall (no wind, several inches already on the ground)
  • Moving water (a creek or river, waves on a beach)
  • Berries--raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, ...
  • Flowers
  • Clean sheets, preferably dried outside on a clothesline in a nice breeze
  • New running socks
  • The sweet smell and soft warm skin of a new baby curled up on my shoulder
  • Music
  • Watching fire (campfire, fireplace)
  • Still-warm homemade bread with butter on it
  • An ice-cold Diet COKE after a summer long run
  • Brothers walnut pancake
  • Road trips
  • A beach at sunset
  • Running with my friends
So ... there you go. You'll notice cookies didn't even make the list. Feel free to send me some of yours.

I've got to do some serious hydrating before this weekend. BTW: Robin officially switched me from the full to the half marathon this weekend per my request today. Thank u Robin. :-) I've been cramping something awful in the last couple of days. Legs (while running and especially today in the pool ... I barely made it out of the deep end of the pool. It was torturous. I swear you could have fit a fist in the huge dent the cramp made in my calf.) Even my hands are cramping. So some heavy duty hydration is definitely in order. And regarding the Med-City half, Paul Melby and I talked yesterday and I am going to (try to!) pace him to a half marathon PR on Sunday. Actually, I think he will be the pace setter. He's running really well.

Chris Koch asked me to post this ... I think I'll squeeze into my wetsuit and join them. "On Tuesday, June 1st, I will be holding an open water swim clinic at Foster Arends beach from 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM. There will be one or more of the TriRochester swim experts there to help teach. Some of the topics that we will cover include mass starts (beach), mass starts (water), sighting, and exiting the water. The more people that show up, the more effective the practice will be. Swimmers of all abilities are welcome and you don't have to be a TriRochester member to participate. So grab a friend or two and come get your first open water workout of the season!" I did last year as well. Chris does a great job.

From Shaun Palmer: another female runner had an incident while running. Disturbing. And right on the beltline (though after dark).

From Mike Schmitt: A link to the Quarter quarter (restaurant) website. It looks like my friends and I will be checking it out on June 28. Fun little road trip.

I can't remember who all wanted the recipe for the berry bars that Dawn Beck made for the Saturday run and had at her water stop, but I requested the recipe from her and she just sent it. Here it is. They were fabulous. Dawn is the chef at Dunn Bros.

Berry Bars

3 c flour
2 c brown sugar
2 1/2 c oats
1 1/2 teas salt
1 1/2 teas baking powder
1 teas baking soda
1 teas cinnamon
12 oz cold butter, cubed
Frozen blueberries and raspberries, or fresh if you have them

Mix the dry ingredients together in a mixer. Cut in the butter on low. When the dough starts to come together pat enough in the bottom of the pan to form a crust, save the rest for the topping. Bake the crust at 350 about 15 minutes until it is starting to firm and looks golden. Let the crust cool a bit and then add a layer of the mixed berries. Crumble the rest of the topping on the berries and bake until the top is set and golden... I think it was about 30 minutes but I cannot remember. I let the bars set up overnight before cutting. Once cut store in the frig or freezer.

I used 2 8x8 pans, sprayed. I had crumb mixture left so this is enough for a bigger pan or scale the recipe back.

Speaking of recipes, my friend Georgia asked me if I wanted to help her and a few other friends who are creating a cookbook to raise money for ALS. Our friend Troy Reinke died of this disease a few years ago. It sounds like a fun project. Stay tuned. If nothing else, I have lots of recipes that they can use. :-)

Time for some pix. Here's a bloom report from the yard. I spent the afternoon working outside. Mowed the lawn, weeded, trimmed the sucker branches from the Japanese Tree lilac, watered everything. It was a beautiful day. Just opened were the Siberian irises.

The first Shasta daisy.

This errant little violet.

For the first time ever, I have a decent crop of sour cherries. I hope the birds don't get them all before I get a chance to make a pie or a batch of jam.

Astilbe will be in bloom soon

The hostas on the east are even bigger I think ...

Eric is home for a few days before he leaves for Costa Rica. It's good to have him here. I made some asparagus and pea risotto. You start by sauteing an onion ...

and then sauteeing the arborio rice until translucent.

Add hot stock a cup at a time, stirring constantly.

At the end of cooking, stir in asparagus and peas, parmesan and s/p. Delighful.

Now it's time to ponder what to bring to the four potlucks I have from Thursday thru Sunday. :-) All good.

Quote for the day: "If you want happiness for an hour -- take a nap. If you want happiness for a day -- go fishing. If you want happiness for a month -- get married. If you want happiness for a year -- inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime -- help someone else." --Chinese Proverb

Buenos noches.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

To the Point

Short and to the point post this evening.

Med-City Marathon still needs some volunteers on the course. If you can help out, please contact Brenda at the Y. I'm running the half ... and looking forward to it! Hope the weather cooperates. It's fun to see so many familiar faces on the course, either running, volunteering or cheering/spectating. :-)

Good turnout on the hills this evening, despite the warm temps. I think there were 11 all told. Good luck to Bri as she runs Mad-City (Madision, WI) marathon this weekend!!

Here are some running options for the next couple of days:
Wednesday 5/26: 6:00pm Chester Woods Run - distance TBD... lots of flexibility on distance, mostly checking out the new route (or some portion of it) for the Chester Woods 10 Mile trail run to be held 6/5.
Thursday 5/27: Team RED Summer Schedule Kickoff... 6pm at the 1st Bridge of Oxbow park.. routes will include Road routes as well as trail routes... pick your poison (but not the poison ivy). Consider bringing a lawn chair, as we'll have a camp fire post run..... Bring your own Beverage and if you wish a dish to share. Should be a fun way to kick off the summer schedule... if you haven't connected with the group in awhile, this might be a great opportunity to meet some of the newest members! Plates, napkins, silverware and firewood provided by O'Leary's and Melby's.

I'll for sure to the Thursday Oxbow gig. Sounds like fun. I'll bring something to pass ... and cookies of course!

Some friends are looking to get together to go to Quarter 1/4 in Harmony in the upcoming weeks. Chef Larson opened the restaurant earlier this year. We'd been to his farm a couple of times for a cooking lesson/dinner and really enjoyed that. I'm sure we will enjoy this as well.

Time for bed, as I'm running at 5:15 with Lisa, Bruce and Mark.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Success Breeds Success

More success at the Fargo Marathon ... Shaun Palmer ran 35 minutes faster than he did at Med-City last year, running a super speedy 3:31:04 and got a BQ at that!! Whoo hoo!! Shaun, you rock! I'm so proud. He's trained very hard, been racing strong this spring, so he was READY. :-)

Here's the link to the YouTube video that was shot for the Rochester Convention & Visitor's Bureau last Thursday at the Bear's Den. Bri and I are the ones that took the questions. We're at about 1:40 into the video.

Here's a link to a story about Madi Couser, a 7 year old girl who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in Jan '08. The family are all such nice people, runners and are RTC members. She's doing well, and there is a 5K fundraiser on June 13 for the support organization Brighter Tomorrows. Marianne is helping with the planning for the race.

We will be running hills tomorrow, Tuesday, at 5:00 or 5:30 as the case may be. But with this oppressive heat and humidity, I'm sure the effort/quantity will be scaled back some. Meet at the S.F. Memorial if you'd like to join us.

Today's workout: 9.01 mile run (it was rather unpleasant ... way too hot and sticky for my liking) and then a swim later in the day. Turned into just a 1/2 hour swim rather than an hour as my legs were cramping so bad. Tomorrow, lift and swim. And then hills.

I've gone back to bike shopping. There are some bikes at Roch Cycling & Fitness that I'll go back and test ride. I wasn't dressed for riding today when I stopped in. I just wanted to see what they had in inventory, and talk to Deb (who's on vacation...)

No pix today. Kind of a slow news day, too. That's the way it is some days.

Sleep well. Stay cool. Toodles.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wiped Out

Today I am really dragging, in a sleepy-tired kind of way. I don't know if it's the sudden heat and humidity sapping everything out of me or what, but I feel like I just can't stay awake. And the forecast for tomorrow is for more of the same, only warmer. And windier. Just returned from Winona and a hilly roughly 18 mile ride in the WI side of the river with Matt. Very pretty route, and like I said ... hilly! ... All good except the section on gravel. Going downhill on a gravel on a road bike does not equal fun for this blogger. :-) But I survived. We came upon some riders on WI highway 35. I went by them saying "on your left". I guess they later said they'd been on a casual ride until I went by them. :-) Then I shifted into the large chain ring and my chain came off. Again. Oh, well. Got it back on quickly and took off again.

This morning I ran for 6 miles. KC spotted me, and I saw Barb Hunt and her hubby out walking the dog. The run was just junk miles, which is what I was planning for. When I got over by TJMaxx Plaza, I saw some guys from Velo Rochester finishing up their ride. So I ran over to Dunn Bros. just to chat with them for a second. What pace do they ride on Sundays? 18 to 19 mph. (I could do that). How far? Today, 45 miles. Yesterday, 70 miles. (I could do 45 for sure). What time do they start? 8:00 am. But check the VeloRochester Google group. Can anyone ride with them? Yes, if you can keep up. (I think I could do that). So ... maybe I'll give it a try some time.

I've gotten everything planted that I'm going to plant this year. And compared to other years, it's not much. My hostas on the east side of the house are looking good. The leaves are HUGE.

I got the lawn mowed and edged the other day, lifted some pavers that had sunk quite a bit ...

did lots of weeding,

trimmed a bunch of dead branches out of one of the hydrangeas, clipped the hedge on the side of the garage, put diazanon on some ant hills on the front walk (and got rid of what was left ... their now-empty hills), lots of run-of-the-mill stuff that just needs doing. I planted a bunch of impatiens in front of the house. I'm dreading the day when the deer/rabbits munch them down to the ground.

Last Sunday I helped out the O'Leary family at the JDRF Roll & Stroll. It was a beautiful day and they had a great turnout and raised lots of money for an important cause. I was in charge of the Bozo Circus game, which involved tossing golf balls into buckets. I was at liberty to determine how many tickets to give away and Tom O' encouraged me to be generous. :-)

Andy and Erin Hemenway were there ...

Tom Woo, Heidi and Pete Martin ...

the Nepstad family...

and lots and lots of other people!

Congratulations O'Learys on a job very well done. :-)

Friday evening I helped out at the Stay Out of the Sun Run 10K water stop along with Cathy.

Here are the leaders coming by the water stop the second time (Patrick, Peter and Steve):

Peter won in a time of 37:44, with Patrick a close second at 37:48. Steve was third in 38:41. Cindy Blendermann was the first female with a time of 42:09.

I think I'm finally caught up on blogging. I think I'm going to disconnect from electronics for the evening and relax. Life is good. :-)