Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Legally Blonde

Friday evening brought a trip down to Caledonia, picking up my friend Amy in Chatfield on the way. We were off to see my son Matt direct the pit orchestra for the Caledonia H.S.'s production of Legally Blonde. It was a bit of a drive (1.5 hours), but worth every mile to see Matt in his element.

The orchestra was made up of both high school students and community members. And they had a lot of music to learn! Matt was cool as a cucumber and looked to be having a lot of fun. I was very proud. Matt had arranged to have 2 seats, front and center, saved for Amy and I. We were told that so-and-so would show us to our seats. Well, it turns out that the usher sure liked to stop and chat, and he said that our seats were worth an extra quarter. : ) So at the intermission, I told Amy I was going to give him that quarter and wanted a picture with him. He was so cute! And he was thrilled to have his picture taken.

I finally arrived home at midnight and was hoping I wouldn't be totally wiped out for Saturday morning's long run. well, it didn't go that well. I wasn't adequately hydrated, fed or rested. 20.08 miles and it took me 3:04. It was very humid, and windy if I remember right. but i'm glad to have gotten in the miles and it was fun to catch up afterwards with my friend Kay (getting ready for her oldest son's wedding, and her husband leaving for Mount Everest the next day!), Mark W, Amber (after her 5K and off to swim and bike), Reggie (who signed up for Lake Wobegon!). And I got rid of plenty of cookies.

Today I got on the Stairmaster for 2 hours. Just didn't feel like dealing with gale force winds. Yesterday, an hour on the Stairmaster. It was that or nothing. I just wasn't motivated to run, and I had a sore left ankle and needed to back off the mileage this week.

So far, it's been a quiet week. Hoping to make it to book club tomorrow night and Team R.E.D. on Thursday on a very rare Thursday night off. Just about finished reading Born to Run. Makes me want to again try chia seeds!

Go. Be. Do. Have a good night!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Newsworthy and noteworthy?

Let's see ... the best part of my week was a trip to the new Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery near Spring Valley, a short 30 minute drive south of Roch on highway 63. Very easy to get to and VERY much worth the trip. We arrived at 6:30 ...

and moved inside to begin our wonderful evening.

We were treated to appetizers and an explanation of how the wines are made, along with a glass of their yet-to-be-released Riesling, which was very good.

We then moved in to the private dining room where we were treated to a first-class meal. Delicious, and then some.

Roasted beet, orange, local green salad

Salmon with braised leeks

Amablu creme brulee
Hands down my favorite item on the menu was the braised leeks. I could have eaten just a plateful of those and walked away happy. Second in line for favorite was the salmon. I like something sweet to finish a meal so I'm not sold on the bleu cheese creme brulee. To save calories, I only ate about half of it. Lots o'heavy creme in that dish. It was a delightful evening and I'll be back. No doubt.

Yesterday's workout ... 7.0 mile run and lifted. Today, 10.something miles and 15 x 1/4 mile which were quite a bit faster than last week so I'm very happy about that.

This evening I brought supper to Becky and Charly whose little 5-month old daughter Seely is in the PICU at St. Mary's hospital. I made bread, salad, chicken, spring risotto (with asparagus and peas) and cookies. Seely is doing much  better, and looks great.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wondeful, Wacky Weather

I haven't been able to take advantage of the wonderful winter (? ... yes, still officially winter until Tuesday) weather this weekend other than to participate in a morning run. But it was wonderful to be able to run in the heat and humidity of a typical summer day this early in the season. We know that the weather in MN can and will change ... in a flash. Yesterday I ran with the RAC and had one of my best runs in a long time. By the time it was all said and done, I got in 21.46 miles. Ran the first several with Craig, then Kari joined us. Post-run cookies were enjoyed OUTSIDE!!

Erin, Andy, Trevor, Pete

Bri, Sonja, Erin, Andy, Trevor, Lin, Jeff, Dan

I can't remember what made Dan roll on the ground. :-/ After the run, and some chillin' time, and a nice long shower before work, I decided on something different than my usual bowl of oatmeal. A 2-egg omelet with red peppers, a banana, and a multivitamin. It hit the spot.

 Today I ran with OSS at Panera. I ran most of it with Jim Li. I continued until I had 8.54 so I could say that I had 30.00 for the weekend. When I encountered Gina and her sisters Lisa and Jane, I stopped and sang a solo Happy Birthday to Gina, who's got a milestone birthday today. Then gave her a little sweaty hug. :-) At Panera ... Sonja, Scott, Dave, Pam, Jean, Jim, me and Jean's sister Margaret joined us for coffee. It was good to see her again! I was contemplating going for a ride at 5:00 after work today, but decided against it. I've put my legs through 30 hours of running and 13 hours of standing since yesterday morning, so I gave them a break for the evening.

Kind of on a whim, and because so many River Runner friends were going, and because it was half price ($40) until Tuesday, I signed up for the inaugural Wausau Marathon on August 25. Yup. A marathon in WI in August. Could be hot ... but will be fun regardless.

Today at work a couple came in that had been in on Friday. They were returning a few things and buying a few more, but she said to me, "If nothing else, I wanted to come back in to see what you were wearing!" I told her she TOTALLY made my day. We had such a fun interchange. What was I wearing on Friday? Jeans with my hot pink belt and pink Doc Martens boots. Today? My red flower shoes.

Well, I think my sheets are dry by now. Better get busy. Have a great week.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lovin' It

This weather ... spectacular. But it makes it hard to get anything done indoors. I've had Mon-Wed afternoons off and thoroughly enjoyed them. I'll be working afternoons/evenings Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun, my typical schedule so I've made the most of my afternoons off. Today I contemplated going for another bike ride, but my legs were tired after yesterday so I opted to sit outside and read my book (The Thirteenth Tale). Then hauled my trash to the OWEF ($5 for the last month vs. paying $77.83 to have it hauled. : ) and on the way home stopped to lift at the Y. It was really hot in the fitness center so after I was done decided to go see how busy the pool was at 5:30 PM. Not a soul in there, so I swam 2500 yards and had the pool to myself for the first half hour. Kept my own the lane the whole time. Sweet. So I had a very enjoyable day.

Backing up ... last Friday when I went to lift, I stopped and signed up for the 6 pm shift to run with Jim Parry on the treadmill in the lobby. He was raising money for the Y Strong Kids Campaign by running for 16 hours (5 AM to 9 PM). There's no WAY I could that. I applaud his physical and mental tenacity. So that was a fun way to spend a half an hour.

He raised more than $3500. WTG Jim!!

Saturday morning I ran just over 15. I was going to turn around at the first water stop and go back, but after hanging out there for 7 or 8 minutes, decided to press on. I didn't run the out-and-back to Willow Creek but added another loop around the lake so got virtually the same mileage in. After running 7.3 on Sunday morning my legs were shot. Monday morning brought a nice gentle rain and I ran 8.03 miles in that. Nice and easy. Afternoons/evenings spent working.

Monday evening was our monthly Cooking Light get together. Always an enjoyable evening. Our menu:

Bread: Renee
Bruschetta: Mary
Grapefruit Pound Cake (p. 16): Kathryn (we had Texas Sheet Cake instead)
Chicken with Pepperoni Marinara Sauce (p. 32): Diane
Wine: Pam
Leafy Green Salad: Margo
Avgolemono (soup) (p. 116): Barbara

Fave .... the Red Zinfandel wine. : ) Then the Texas Sheet Cake. : ) Here are some photos ...

I decided to wear my new "pink stuff" that I bought to go with my old pink belt. : ) So fun. I love pink. Especially hot pink.

Well ... that's about all I know. Just finished making a pot of butternut squash soup since I won't be home during the dinner hour until next week.

Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Full Day

It's been go-go-go since I got up this morning, but it's been a great day. I started out with a 10 mile run early, before work. What a beautiful morning. Perfect for running ... shorts, l/s shirt, hat, gloves. I ran 6 tempo miles in the middle of the run. I still am lacking some speed, but I felt good. Hoping to get back in decent shape this year and maybe do a few races on the circuit. I renewed my USATF license yesterday. After work, I got my hair cut. It's sooooo relaxing to have someone else shampoo my hair.

It was such a beautiful warm day (I love it when the overnight low in March is the average high temp for the day!) that I decided to get my bike off the trainer and go ride outside. Thank you Travis for the tire change at RC&F. While waiting, I spotted a sweet pink Cruiser.

It'd be tough on the hills though. : ) But she sure is sweet!! I rode 35.19 miles. Through Salem Corner, Rock Dell and just past MN 30 then turned around and came back. Windy from the south so it was great to turn around. Saw 8 cyclists out there, including John Dinusson.

Heading toward Salem Corners

Cruising north!

My wheels

Then I cashed in my Christmas present ... a one hour leg massage with Deb Canon at the Y. Boy, she found trigger points I didn't even know I had (and all the ones I knew I had too!). But hopefully I'll be all the better for it. She got rid of lots of little lumps, bumps and as she called it "crackly stuff".  Then I met some friends at O'Neill's.

A very good day.

Go. Be. Do.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Napa Valley Marathon

Yikes. It's been more than two weeks since I've blogged. Guess it's time for some catch-up!
Last week at this time I was running through vineyard country in northern CA, running my 25th marathon, the Napa Valley marathon.
The trip west brought us first to a four hour layover in Salt Lake City ...

and then over the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range.

A stop on Friday at one of my west coast faves, even though I am not at all a fan of chain restaurants or fast food. But this is totally different, as In-and-Out Burger fans can attest to. : )

Napa Valley marathon. What a first class event. It's a runner's race, directed by an old school runner (Rich Benyo, who writes for Marathon & Beyond) ... just a marathon (no half, relays, 10K, 5K), no pace teams, no charity groups. Just a point-to-point foot race. My left hamstring has been bothering me again the last month or two, my training has not been quality training, so my goal was just to finish. There would be no PR, no BQ and I was OK with that. Just wanted that finisher's medal! There was chatter of wine being available at the water stops, but that wasn't the case. There was one vineyard sampling wines at the expo though. It was a relatively small race as marathons go (field limited to 2500). A nice size, actually. A small expo, but nicely done.

After picking up our numbers, duffle bags and shirts ...

we lounged poolside enjoying the beautiful 70-degree sunshine and planning our race strageties for the morning. The consensus ... finish!! Me, injuired. The rest? Illness. And I was a germophobe!!

Pre-race carbs were enjoyed at Mary's Pizza Shack (they also have pasta) with Mike and Rita, Yvonne and Gil and Gil's cousins, who own a vineyard. Sadly, I didn't get a group photo there. I wish I had. I was feeling like I was taking too many photos, but looking back I wish I'd taken more.

Race morning dawned bright and early (4 AM) as the race started 26.2 miles up the road and the shuttle buses left between 5:15 and 5:30. So we loaded up the truck and were headed up the valley. (There's a slight reference to the Beverly Hillbillies theme song in there somewhere! Humor me!) I didn't bring my camera or phone to the race, so sadly I have no photos. The grapevines were dormant but the countryside was still beautiful. The course is hilly and the roads, especially in the first half, very steeply pitched side to side. And there are lots of tangents to run. The dilema ... running the tangents and the steep side-to-side slopes or stay to the middle of the road? I did a little of each. I looked at my Garmin when I first felt my hammie and it said .64 miles. I knew it would be a haul to the finish and I was just hoping to not be injured any further at the finish other than the usual marathon fatigue. At 1.5 miles an older gentleman let loose some explitives and pulled to the side with a pulled hamstring, furthering my resolve to take it easy and enjoy the ride so to speak. I stopped 2 or 3 times to use "the facilities" (running off into the fields behind some bushes as there weren't many porta potties that I noticed anyway) and stopped once to take a stone out of my right shoe. Had the usual cramping issues but I was jogging slow enough that I was able to run through them. It was sunny and warm, and I got a sunburn. I would have loved to have run faster, but I was OK with my 4:12:06 finish all things considered. I've been diligently stretching, strengthening and now icing the hammie and it's feeling pretty good again. Hoping to get into shape this year and get in more quality miles.

After cleaning up, it was off to San Francisco where we spent a wonderful afternoon walking (4.5 more miles!) the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge.

And then eating our way through Chestnut Street!! Sliders and fries at Mel's Drive-In. (We were craving french fries.)

My first falafel at Marina & Kebab.

And then a donut at Donuts by All Star.

Oh my ... I think I carried my I-can-eat-what-I-want-for-the-rest-of-the-day-after-a-marathon rule to the extreme!! Not to worry ... I'm back to eating lots o'veggies again. : ) And there are no cookies in the house. : )

Monday morning, Jay, Brad and I went for a 10K run down to Fisherman's Wharf to shake out our legs. Needless to say, they were doing better than I was and they'd run 3:13 and 3:10 respectively. (They ROCKED it!)

We checked out the sea lions off Pier 39.

And then got coffee and sourdough bread at Boudin's.

Then it was off to Haight Ashbury to check out the sights.

Jay bought some slip-on Doc Marten's and I got some pink boots. Pink boots ROCK. : )

Then I got a Ghiradelli ice cream sundae. A total indulgence requiring many, many miles to run off, but worth every calorie and every mile.

Jay scored some chicken tacos at a roadside stand on the loooonnnng drive back to the Valley. Authentically Mexican, quite tasty, with a bit of a kick.

And that pretty much brought our little adventure to a close. A wonderful road trip!!