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Preview: Julie Berg: Run On

Julie Berg: Run On





Updated: 2018-04-10T06:57:58.646-05:00

 



Wax Eloquent

2018-04-03T14:53:16.695-05:00






I don't know what it is about running that makes me wax eloquent, makes me feel vibrant and alive, creates great joy inside of me.  I truly don't know that I can pinpoint exactly what it is. It is so many things.

For years I thought those feelings were simply felt because running was something that was SO far off of my radar, that the act of becoming a runner, the act of becoming something that I wasn't, created those feelings. Instead of being hung over, feeling sick, smoking cigarettes.. I was running. I had changed the script. I was able to rise above that shame that I felt.  I thought that the deep change in me created those feelings that running brought to the surface. I no longer believe it is that simple.

After not running for months-which is  longest time for me to abstain from running since I began in 1997-I  believed that I probably wasn't going to be able to run again, I sought other ways to feel joy. I did feel joy through these other situations .. but not THAT joy.   Not that unabashed, all encompassing joy. Deep rooted joy-down into the bone joy.  Other runners know exactly what it is that I'm talking about. While not running I mourned the act, I mourned the feeling that I was no longer a runner but I was able to to put that away and be OK. Just OK. I was able to go on and no longer force recovery, pine away and sulk. I had made peace with no longer running. I had to.  I couldn't be gloom and doom all day.

In February while snowshoe running I stopped and realized what I was doing. I was snow shoe running! Running! I began to bawl. Whole heartedly whole bodily bawl. I fell to my knees and all of this emotion came to the surface. It is what I would envision would happen to me if I saw Topaz running down the trail to me. That. Exactly. I hadn't gone out to snowshoe run. I had gone out to hike upon snowshoes but the body knew what it was doing before the mind. I realized how much I missed running. How much I loved...how can one love an act, a movement, a thing such as running? The act of it, the feel of it, the blood pumping through my body, the heat, the sweat, the smiling, the focus, the not focusing on anything. Just being. Just being ME. After getting home that day I wondered if I dared try it again. Nothing hurt. My neuroma wasn't any worse that it had been. Not better but not worse. My knees didn't hurt. My hips felt fine.  I felt great. I stretched out, practiced yoga, ate many non inflammatory foods and slept well. I was going to make my recovery count. The next day I didn't hurt. I wanted to try it again. I tried it again, snowshoe running increased to an  hour. Nothing but joy.

Over the past few weeks and months  I've moved from snowshoes to treadmill, from treadmill to trail and increased my time and miles running. I'm not in pain. I feel like me. This past weekend I ran a twenty mile long run and it was superb. Everything has changed again. Those months of darkness have led to light. It feels good to dig out my GUs, my hydration pack, to think about daily running routes. Yeah, I've missed it. SO much. I'm letting myself feel it.  I am diligent in my recovery. I am keeping inflammation at bay with a diet rich in inflammatory foods and spices, icing my shins and knees just in case, practicing yoga to keep my tendons, ligaments and facia loose. I am placing recovery in the forefront of my training. Training. Yup, this girlz gotz goalz.




Morton's Neuroma Relief?

2018-03-01T07:54:33.983-06:00

Could it be? Last month I began to run a bit. I was outside on snowshoes and before I knew it I was running. I was apprehensive, nervous and giddy with excitement all at the same time once I realized I had been running, not walking!  Wow!I was still noticing neuroma pain-it just hasn’t gone away or lessened at all while taking time off. I didn’t feel any other pain.  I’ve been feeling great, have been running on my treadmill each day, completing an hour of 5 minutes walk at 4 mph @ 3 % incline x 5 minutes run at 5 mph @ 3 % incline. My body has been feeling  great my mind jubilant.  The neuroma zingers are as usual and it feels as though I have a giant walnut under my foot. I have been going to book surgery again with my prior neuroma surgeon but I’ve also been  looking  online for various ways of relief other than cortisone shots and the surgery route which I went through with my other foot and neuroma.I have tried cortisone, foot pads, orthotics, wide shoes, tape,  ice and a zillion other things. As I was searching online I found a Visco-Gel Top Spacer with Stay Put Loop which looked interesting and promising. As I was reading about it I read a comment online from my friend, Sheila, multiple IronMan finisher. She has been using them for years and they have been working for her so I ordered a package and have been using  them every day  since. I am wearing them in  my work shoes, my running shoes, my slippers, everything. I place it between my third and fourth toe, separating those metatarsals. Guess what? I don’t feel   my neuroma! I DON’T FEEL MY NEUROMA!  I can’t even believe it. It’s almost too good to be true.  But I believe.  I am getting a second chance.If you are suffering be sure to try one of these little guys. It just might work for you, too! I am really excited![...]



My Heart

2018-02-27T08:39:44.633-06:00

(image)




I still don't have a dog!  I can't really believe that I've gone almost THREE years without one. Topaz passed three years ago, in May. I certainly thought I'd have found a little fur ball to love by now. Toffee, our 19 year old cat, passed away one year ago next week. Steve is allergic to cats,  I won't have another. Well, he is allergic to dogs, too. We have been without an animal for the first time in our 34 year marriage. Crazy.

I almost picked up a pup in December. A beautiful little blue border collie. I just couldn't pull the trigger. I am not sure why. I know that I have room in my heart to love another dog. I know that the pain and loss I am going through in losing Topaz is well worth the love I gave and received. Obviously, I knew he wasn't going to live forever. I knew I would lose him eventually.

Perhaps I am afraid of loving that hard again? Perhaps I am protecting my heart? Perhaps I am not sure if I want to be chained down to a dog well into my 60s? I can't even think that far into the future, yet, it is only 7 years. Wow. WOW.

Maybe it is due to new flooring and furniture in my home. Nah,  I don't think so.

I don't think my heart can stand another break, I don't think my heart can love that hard again.

Time will tell.



Let It Snow!

2018-03-01T08:30:53.575-06:00

This past weekend we were blessed with the first real snowfall of the season.  It seems that the past few snowstorms have just missed Big Lake, leaving me with a longing for snowshoe running. This weekend the snow arrived.   It was beautiful, wet and heavy.Saturday I had errands to run in Maple Grove so I swung by Elm Creek Singletrack  afterward. It was just as beautiful as I had hoped. The snow was deep and powdery. It shimmered like diamonds under the robin egg blue sky. The pine trees were heavy with piles of white snow, resembling heaps of icing.   It was magnificent.Tears began to stream down my cheeks.  What is it about running that makes me feel…feel everything so deeply. Feel what? Feel gratitude for my surroundings, for the peace and quiet, for time by myself, for movement, for fresh air. I’m not sure.   I don’t feel the same as I begin a hike. I strapped on my 17 year old snow shoes-how can they really be that old, I remember buying them shortly after I purchased Topaz. Crazy! I began to travel down the trail, scaring the squirrel and rabbits into the underbrush. I made the first tracks.  It was  magnificent.  I trudged along, sinking into soft snow, loving the moment where I was. My feet felt good, my knees were fine, I began to run. I smiled, I laughed and cried. I spilled over with joy, it was tangible. I hadn't run for almost a year; inconceivable,  I would have thought, yet I took the time off. I thought perhaps my second neuroma would heal, the ligaments in my knees would feel  strong again,  my ankles would not be so sore. I began to practice hot yoga, deep fascia tissue release, active release therapy,  walking instead of running,  prayer and release of control It all  helped.  My neuroma didn’t go away,  it’s there, talking to me. I’ll have to have it surgically removed as I did in my other foot. It’s been bothering me more and more as time goes on. Not running didn’t relieve the pain. The rest of my body feels good, healed.  Strong. I need to respect it and treat it well, while running.  I can do this. I should be able to do both. Health and running. They can coexist. My running doesn’t have to look like my alcoholism, does it?  Time will tell. Time off from running taught me a few things. I had allowed running to define me.  It defined who I was, it defined my relationships,  everything about me. It no longer does. I am so much more than a runner. I get that now. I can exist without running.  I can stay sober without running. I wasn’t always so sure. Running can be a part of my life; it doesn't have to be my life.I began a few new hobbies. I am painting, knitting,  practicing yoga, lifting. I am enjoying all of it.I didn’t miss the anxiety of  packing drop bags, of packet pickup,  all of the people, of group training runs, of others asking if they could stick by me during a race, all of those made larger  in my mind anxieties. I’m just taking one step at a time and smiling all the way. [...]



On The Other Side

2018-02-28T09:08:10.162-06:00

I just let out a big exhale as I begin to type the letters to this page.  I feel like I should update this blog. It’s been a long while since I have. It’s been a  year since I ran my last ultra, Voyageur 50 Mile Endurance Run.   Man, that one took a toll on me. My body finally got through to my brain. I had to stop ignoring and denying the pain I was going through; although feeling pain was better than feeling the emotion, the seriousness of what I was doing to myself. Why do I always have to hurt myself?? What am I trying to fill up? Run away from? Fill the hole..with booze, with running, with food. After healing from cellulitis, the fractures, another neuroma, and tendonitis after Voyaguer, I began to walk and was quite concerned when walking was still painful.   I was so inflamed. The nerve damage kept my feet numb, the walking spread the numbness to my ankles into my shins.  Wasn’t I even going to be able to hike? What had I done? Serious damage? I’d quickly stomp out that thought and go back into denial. I’ll be fine. I’ve been here before. Yes, I sure have, too many times. I can barely walk, I try to run through the pain, I ignore my body, breaking down further, gritting my teeth with every step and this becomes normal. Not really cool, Jul.  You have one body. ONE BODY! For the past five years I’ve been in pain while running but running in pain was better than not running at all. That was all that mattered. That I was running. In January, 6 months after Voyageur, still not able to run more than a few steps, I was  praying for healing, praying to run again. I was back in this too familiar space…praying for healing from injury once again so that I could run once more  and then what..do this all over again. The cycle continues. Eventually I ‘heard’ from God as I sat on a bench in the woods. ‘What if you prayed for release from this burden to run?”  “I can release this burden from you” What? No. No. No no no . It’s not a burden. I am a runner, I run. That’s who I am, what I am. Moving on…not giving that thought any more attention. Nope, no thanks. I’m good.  But I wasn’t.I couldn’t deny the fact months later, that I was still in pain: my ankles, my knees, my hips…everything ached, was inflamed, swollen, a mess.  I couldn’t bend down to my lower cabinets in the kitchen, I couldn’t walk down my steps without bowing my knees out and holding the rail. Most of the time I had to come down sideways. My family would follow me saying ‘slow moving traffic’.  I  had some pretty crazy frantic, manic thought processes as the thought of not running came to solidify in my brain, my heart, my prayer. The more I listened, the more I knew what I needed to do. I began to pray for release from the burden of ‘having’ to run. True release from that need. Not just lip service. I really had to run. I felt running made me whole. I defined myself as a runner.  I prayed.  I struggled. I went to a recovery group. I needed help with this one.  I am not one to ask for help. I can do it all myself.  Not this time. I needed others to help me. Something that was dear to me, that defined me, that was my life, I needed to let it go. I didn’t know if I could. I knew that it was hurting me, I knew that I could no longer control it. I had tried running 5 miles each day, telling myself I wasn’t going to race anymore. I would only run a good 5-7 each day . I had been saying that for years!  I would then run 10 and 20 and then enter a 50K, a 50 miler, a 100 miler and end up in the same fricken place. Injured, trying to get back to the other side. I was always crossing the line . Something that was so good for me had become so dark. My running was looking much like my alcoholism. Damn.  How the hell did this happen?Very easily.  I became obsessed, again. Obsessive compulsive, [...]



Happy New Year!

2017-01-04T09:56:52.621-06:00

Happy New Year!! 2017, I just can’t believe how quickly time goes. I look back at 2016 and feel … peace. I enjoyed speaking at the Upper Midwest Trail Runners banquet at year end. When I was invited to  speak at first I needed to say no. I just didn’t feel like I wanted to share. I'm in a different place.  I was given a few weeks to think about it.After meditating and praying on it, I decided to say yes. I realized I have plenty to offer and to speak about.  I thought back to the first UMTR banquet in 2008. Kim and Andy Holak were our speakers. I remember how Kim impressed me with her experience, the stories she shared and her willingness to answer my 101 questions.  I decided I wanted to do the same. I realized I did have something to offer and that this might be a good way to close this chapter.The banquet was a lot of fun. I and Jan O’Brien were the speakers, Bill introduced us and  then asked questions.  It was well organized and I spoke well. I wrapped up with a piece of advice ‘Don’t let running define you. You are so much more than a runner. There is so much more to life..than your next run’. Many didn’t get that last statement, but many of my true friends, the ones that have been doing this for years…looked right at me and nodded…’yes’.  We know. I felt like that Banquet brought me full circle.  I began running to lose weight and to stay sober 20 years ago. It morphed into something that became a daily habit…which I didn’t feel like myself it I didn’t get it in.  Running brought me great joy. Friends. It became a big part of ME.  Then it began to overshadow me, my health,  my relationships. I began to run more than I did anything else. I entered races to feed my habit. If I entered, I needed to train, I needed to run. People began to call me Bad Ass. Really, it was Dumb Ass. My body can no longer sustain the miles I have put upon it. I have run 80,000 miles. That’s  enough.I realized I was no longer creating goals and entering races. I was entering races to fill my need. When I wasn’t able to walk without pain, not able to drive without pain, I finally realized I needed to change. I didn't want another surgery.  I have been praying for a long time to lose this need to run long. I no longer want to ache, to need to run, to hurt after 10 miles, it’s just not worth it. As I said last post, I've lost that need, thank goodness. I can try to heal. As I’ve begun to cut back on my mileage my feet aren’t throbbing constantly, I'm not limping any more, I don't feel like my other foot needs surgery any longer, my knees don’t hurt as I walk down the steps. My ankles don’t turn and twist constantly. The swelling and redness is gone from my cellulitis . I’m getting better. I’m getting stronger. I am running a few miles daily, I am skiing, lifting, snowshoeing and I am finding peace. I am healing.I ran my 80,000 mile today. No wonder I'm feeling done with this. 80,000 miles. I am no longer running away from those demons that have chased me for so long.  I’m no longer running away. We had a wonderful Christmas break. Steve took two weeks off, I had 10 days off, Tyler took the week off and Troy is home until January 16. We spent days together-we ate together-we played together. I didn't leave for any races,  I didn't spend days away or hours away training. We were together and all that this brings. Peace. I feel Peace. [...]



Peace.

2016-10-05T11:40:01.873-05:00

[...]



VOYAGEUR 50 MILE TRAIL RUN RACE REPORT

2016-08-03T11:27:44.708-05:00

On Saturday I finished my 7th Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Run. Voyageur is really a special race. Even though the race grew by over 100 runners over last year, to 340 starters this year, it still has the small home-town feel as well as a family feel.  The first year I ran Voyageur in 2004, there were 85 starters!  Yes, 85. I know so many of the people who run Voyageur or who are volunteering , it is just like an ultra family reunion. I stayed with Jean and Jody. Jody would be running her first 50 mile race! Woot! We stayed at Black Bear Casino. It was clean, it wasn’t very noisy, but oh man, the smoke!  I hadn’t thought about the fact that Casino’s allow smoking. Ugh. Our room was ‘smoke free’ but the cigarette smoke penetrated the non smoking room.  I won’t stay there again. Race morning was beautiful, 48F with  a promise of mid 70s with clear skies. The promise didn’t disappoint!At the start there were so many friends!  Hugs, kisses, photos, it was like a family reunion.  I dropped a few Ziplocs off at the drop bag stations incase I might want to use gloves or spikes through the powerlines. I never did need them. Greg and I were going to run the first few hours together. He felt he went out too fast last year and wanted to hang with me as I don’t go out to fast. Ever. I just don’t go fast period.  We ended up running the first two hours together. It was so great to hear about his trip out West to crew/pace Bob while running and finishing HardRock!  The miles went by quickly. There were a few bunch ups along the first section out to Jay Cooke and the swinging bridge. I don’t recall this in the past. There was some mud, some water and a few rocky climbs. It was holding people up. We stood around and waited. No rush! After running over the swinging bridge we came into Aid Station 1. Woo!  It is so much fun to run along and see friends volunteering. With so many aid stations I really have to watch the clock to make sure I’m not spending too much time visiting! There were 9 aid stations, which you hit twice which means loads of time to spend hanging about talking. I just have so much fun though and love these people so much. I can’t help myself. Shelly was there with Greg’s bag, switching out bottles, asking what he needed. I had a full Nathan vest on so didn’t need anything. It was getting warm and humid. We moved on through and began the run toward the powerlines. When we ran into Aid Station 3, Peterson’s, I had a Ziploc bag there. I grabbed my gloves from the bag just incase I needed them for grabbing vegetation to hold onto while climbing the powerlines, if they were muddy and slick. Rick was  pouring water and was going to fill my pack while I still wore it upon my back. All was going well until he dropped the pitcher of water. BRRR!  Down my back/butt it went. It was freezing!  We had a good laugh and off we went! The miles were going by quickly. We were going to be heading into the powerlines soon. Guess who we run into, Andrew and Ed!  So funny. We have a little game going on this year, since Psycho Wyco.  They are in front of me, I catch them, they try to beat me to the finish. They succeeded at PW, not at Chippewa, and now at Voyageur. So much fun, really!!  I couldn’t contain my laughter and smiles. Aid Station 4 Grand Portage, entry to the powerlines. As I was running  toward the station I spied Jean on her bike!  It was so good to see her and get a hug. She was there to support Jody and thought she should be coming in soon. She took a few photos, I emptied my gels, mixed a bottle of UCAN as was on my way. The powerlines weren’t muddy! I didn’t need the spikes or the gloves. I was able to climb them just fine and pick my way down. Greg had some nifty poles, I might look i[...]



Capital Reef 50K

2016-07-22T10:46:15.813-05:00

[...]



Metabolic Assessment

2016-06-30T11:29:04.429-05:00

I wanted to share the results / process of the metabolic assessment that I had today. As I eluded to earlier, last February I began to enter races for this year. I had a long time off from running after neuroma surgery and it just really took a long time for me to be able to run again. 8 months or something dumb like that. Anyhow, that is a long time.  When I was able to finally run again, I wanted to run again withOUT pain, withOUT beating myself up. I am also so done with restriction and being hungry all of the time. For years. I just want to run, to feel great, to eat!I began to research different training methods when I again came across Maffetone low heart rate training. I remembered that my Dad used Phil Maffetone methods as he trained for Grandma's Marathon in 2000. We ran together and it was so awesome!   I then saw that  my friend, Tracy Hoeg, was training clients using Phil's methods. In February I reached out to her and she was willing to take me on.  At first, in order to keep my heart rate at 140 or under, I had to WALK. I'd run a few steps, and walk. It was disheartening, going so slowly, but it wasn't beating me up, either. Every 3-4 weeks  Tracy had me run a 10 mile MAF test. At first my MAF miles were in the 12-13 minute mile area. I was discouraged. I had to walk some of each mile to keep my heart rate down.  As time went one, I would see great improvement. Pretty soon I was taking off 1:30 each mile, no walk breaks and feeling really good. I couldn't believe that I could run 10 miles, on track, without any ankle pain, without any joint soreness. I had also at this time, added in fats, due to Tracy's and Phil's recommendation. I'm excited to preform another 10 mile MAF test next Thursday.  So today I had an Active and Rest Metabolic Assessment at LifeTime Fitness, Chanhassen. A friend of mine, Heather, is a trainer there and preforms this test. I was so curious to see how my fat burning has increased. I knew that I was doing pretty well, because at Grandma's last Saturday I ran the whole race at 140 HR, had NO issues, it was hot, I did it on one bottle of UCAN. Incredible. I'm the one who needed one gel every 30 minutes. I had to go into the test fasted. No breakfast, no coffee!  I did fine without the breakfast but the coffee was tough! I stopped at Caribou on the way back from the test. Heather hooked me up to a machine, attached a mask and the computer would read the data from my breathing. First was a rested assessment. I sat in a chair, closed my eyes and relaxed for 20 minutes. I learned that I now burn a lot of fat at rest. 96% of my burn is   from fat while at rest.We then went to the treadmill. After a warm up she had me run at 5.5 mph, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5 to watch my fat/sugar burn and define my heart rate zones. I burn most of my fat at below 147 HR. I learned that I should eat more calories. My body burns 2180 just breathing. I burn 2834 going through life, without my workout.I learned that my VO2 score is 48.7My heart rate zones/burnIt was very informative and I'm glad that I completed the testing. Heather was very thorough and gave me so much data. There is more information that I still have to wade through. Heather really impressed upon me  that I need to eat more food. I have restricted for so many years that this is kind of scary to me but I have made progress. I know that science shows I need to eat more. I'll have another assessment in a few months. It will be fun to compare the data.In other news, Steve and I are heading out for a drive vacation out west next month. We'll hit Glacier National Park to camp and hike for a few days and then south to Utah, where I've entered Capital Reef 50K. It begins at 7000feet elevation and much of the race is at 11000feet elevation. It ought to[...]



Grandma's Marathon

2016-06-22T14:33:03.078-05:00

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Chippewa 50K

2016-05-11T11:37:39.203-05:00

I just had the best time yesterday!  I went to WI to run the Chippewa 50K. I have only run the race one other time, in 2011. Wow, time flies!!My Dad was coming through Big Lake from spending winter in TX so I was going to make a quick trip. Leave at 4 AM, arrive at 7 AM, Run 8-2, hang out for thirty minutes and head home. Quick.As I was driving to WI the sun began to rise. Ah, all of the pinks, blues, purples. Truly beautiful!  My drive was uneventful…just long.I pulled into the race site and was directed to a spot of grass straddling the parking lot. I felt odd parking there but was told in no uncertain terms that this is where I was to park. OK then. I placed a piece of paper on my dashboard stating “THEY TOLD ME TO PARK HERE”As I picked up my race number I said hello to so many friends, it was like old home week. We were going to have a blast.The race meanders through such beautiful country, it goes past lakes, ponds, over lakes via boardwalk and deep into the woods. Just gorgeous.The day!  It was perfect. Sunny. We began at about 40F and I finished almost 7 hours later at 65F. Very sweet.I finished 20 minutes faster than when I ran in 2011.  The photos that were taken pretty much sum how I felt!  I don’t need words to describe. I smiled every step of the way. I felt fantastic. I am a lucky woman.[...]



The Herren Project

2016-03-22T13:25:57.901-05:00

In October of last year I became a member of The Herren Project RUNS.  I learned of The Herren Project through a friend of mine, Pam Rickard.  Pam is the organizer of the fundraising and running campaign. She has also been sober for 10 years. (Please click on the link above for information regarding The Herren Project)I have dedicated  my 2016 running season to raising funds for The Herren Project. It’s interesting: through running, especially ultrarunning, I have met so many other addicts. We share more than one common bond.  We share joy in sobriety. Oh, such joy.I have this strong nudging inside of me, drawing me toward this project where I can combine my sobriety, faith and running.  I want to help others who are struggling with addiction.  At times it is difficult when I am nudged out of my comfort zone. Talking about my faith, addiction and running doesn’t always come easy…stepping out isn’t something that comes naturally for me.  I know that when I am led out of my comfort zone the end result is always joy, gratitude and grace. Always. A few days ago I realized that I will celebrate a number of milestones on September 9. I will have been sober for 20 years.  TWENTY YEARS!! I will be finishing my 4th Superior 100 finish and my 20th 100 mile finish. Great cause for celebration!OK, The Herren Project. I’ll tell you about it.  The Herren Project provides:Treatment Navigation (for individuals and families...many of the families we've helped are actually running with us!)Mentoring and Recovery Coaching after treatment is completed; scholarships to clinics and camps for kidsPreventative Education, and support of more than 400 student-led Project Purple sites across the country.Scholarships when a need is demonstrated. assistance to many in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety through treatment navigation, educational programs and mentoring resources.I created one post on  my FaceBook page  a few months ago about The Herren Project and received $420 in donations!! I thank you so very,  very much. YOU can donate to this project via my link, here:Julie Berg The Herren Project RUNS We can make a difference together!  I just know it.Thank you.[...]



Psycho Wyco 50K

2016-03-01T09:52:57.750-06:00

Psycho Wyco is a fabulous race held in Kansas City, Kansas. Surprisingly, it is in the woods with  lots of roots, rocks, river crossings and hills. All hills. It’s awesome.  It is not what I think of when I think of Kansas! I ran Psycho Wyco a few years ago, when it was a cold year, there was no reprieve from the Minnesota winter. This year was a whole different climate! Maria and I were running a long run at Elm Creek a few weeks ago when I asked her if she’d like to go out to run PW again. She thought about it for a week and then let me know that she and Doug were up for it. Yippee!! I had travel companions! We left Apple Valley around 8AM. Kansas is about 6 hours away. They decided Doug would drive the van so that we would have more room. I was very thankful; as we rode across Iowa, in 60 mile per hour winds, we saw 9 semi trucks that had blown over into the ditches. It was scary stuff. Doug drove us through to safety! Maria had planned a few stops along the way. We took a detour into Kansas City Missouri for Christopher Elbow Chocolates. Oh man, it was fabulous. We each spent $80 on high end wonderful chocolate. I binged. It wasn’t pretty. It is all gone now. I even gave Troy the last pieces. We traveled on to Kansas and stopped at Cupini’s Italian Deli, a counter that served up Italian staples.  Guy from DDD, FoodNetwork had visited and gave it a rave review. It was very good. Before hitting the hotel we swung by the race start. Oh my gosh, green grass, some budding going on in the trees, the smell of spring. It was 70 degrees!  WOW.  As we were checking out the area we saw Minnesota friends: Ed and Andrew Sandor and Dan LaPlant with his girlfriend, Jamie, who WON the women’s race and broke the record. Yeah, way to run! We headed over to check into the room where race packet pickup was. The sweatshirt is great, all of the bling was awesome. We received  a trucker hat and cool medal for finishing. Saturday morning at 500 it was already 45 degrees. Fabulous!! I had on a skirt and a short sleeved top, really!  I had just purchased a pair of Altra trail and a pair of Altra road shoes from Kurt at Twin Cities Running Company . I was going to try out the trail shoes right from the box. I placed a pair of my tried and true Inov-8s in a drop bag in case they didn’t work out. They did work out!  I wore them for the whole race without a problem. I ate breakfast and was ready to roll. We drove to the start, arriving about an hour beforehand. Of course I hadn’t pooped in two days due to the change in my schedule. Ugh. I tried not to worry about it because we were going to be in the woods anyway so it wasn’t like I was running Twin Cities Marathon and wouldn’t be able to find a bathroom upon the way. I stuffed some toilet paper into my pocket. I was so excited. This was all about fun, no fast time, no out of breath business, I was going to keep my heart rate low-140 per MAF training. I’d walk when the rate increased too much. I was just happy to be out in the woods for the day. I was glad we were going to be driving home after the race, I’d have a whole day at home and wouldn’t miss out on church. Yeah! The race is a 10Mile, beginning at 9 AM and the 50K and 20 Mile beginning at 8 AM. I started with a light Patagonia Hoodini which I had just purchased. I watched someone steal my last one at Superior 100 right after I finished in 2014. Yup. Nice, hu? I was too tired to run this person down and ask for it back. I began in the back of the pack, running with a hand held. I didn’t need a pack, there was an aid station every 4 miles and back to the start/finish to my drop bag every 10 miles[...]



Securian Winter Carnival Half Maraton

2016-02-10T10:05:09.152-06:00

I’ve always enjoyed the winter carnival half marathon. It is normally very cold but this year it was very balmy!!  Saturday morning I woke up to 32F!  Wow!  I decided I’d wear light leggings with a skirt, one long sleeved top and a pair of light gloves and light buff. No screws in my shoes! No ice! Yay! Last year, due to foot surgery, I wasn’t able to run the race. I was very excited to sign up this year. I arrived to the race an hour before start time. I always like to leave plenty of time to find parking and find the race start.  For road races the biggest stressor for me is to find a bathroom as soon as I park. I always have an hour drive or more. Luckily for me, there was a bathroom in the parking ramp. Yes! With only a short walk to the pre race festivities, I had plenty of time to pick up my number, shirt and mug. I couldn’t believe all of the people that I knew at the race. With a race of over 1000 people it always shocks me that I can pick out friends whom I have no idea are in attendance.  As I was walking through the skywalk I ran into John,  then Amy and Shawn, then Jeff. Pretty soon it was Dan and Karen. Amazing!  Kate and Brian. Quick fun chats with everyone.  With just a few minutes to go before the start, I mosied outside to find a spot among the runners. I decided I’d run between the 200 and 210 pace groups. I was in no rush, this was just a training run to get in some miles on my feet. I wanted to see how my feet would stand up to the asphalt. I’ve entered Grandmas Marathon in June and haven’t really run any asphalt yet since my surgery.  I figured a 915-930 pace would be just great. The first few miles were new to the course. We  circled around downtown before we headed out onto Shepard Road to run along the river. There has been a lot of reconstruction of the road and the area surrounding it since I’ve last run this race. The road is heavily slanted and I kept moving around the road, trying to find the place where my feet were on stable ground.  At times this was in the middle of the road and at times it was on the shoulder. Very strange.  I could feel the slant of the road in my ankles and in my knees. The sky was blue with bright sun and just a hint of breeze. It really was a beautiful morning. I could hear the jingle of dog tags following me so I turned to look, sure enough, a large poodle was prancing along with a woman. The dog was as happy as could be as I watched the women feed her a cliff bar. They stopped often as the women let her dog drink from her water bottle. So awesome to see.I had 4 gels and filled my water bottle once during the race.  I was running 915s most of the race, this was  a comfortable pace for me. I was surprised that my heart rate was quite high-my average HR during the run was 162. Too high, really. My highest HR was 182, as I climbed the final hill to the finish line. The route is an out and back so I was able to high five and holler out to each of my friends, whom I mentioned earlier. I also saw Kate while we were running.  I did not see her at the start. What a blast of a day!  I felt great, I finished in 201 and nothing hurt. Woot!!!  The pavement was OK on my foot so I am feeling good about Grandmas. After I arrived home Troy and I went suit shopping for the first time. He has a Career Fair at the U of M, where he attends the College of Science and Engineering. I asked John at the race for a recommendation as to where we should shop. He suggested Men’s Wearhouse so that is where Troy and I went. We were blown away by the high level of customer service and the e[...]



51K Birthday Run for 51 Years!!

2016-01-08T14:26:33.124-06:00

 I watched the border collies play for a long time. I miss Topaz so much.I know!  51!  How in the world did that happen? Time truly does go by way too quickly. I haven't yet realized that I turned 50 last  year. Crazy!Last year at this time I was having foot surgery. I am so glad that is in the past!  My foot feels great. I have begun to feel little twitches of neuroma in my other foot, but it is very very minimal.A fat ass run was scheduled for January 2 so I thought I'd run my birthday run at that time. The course was awesome. We ran at Elm Creek Singletrack in Maple Grove at the Elm Creek Park. What a fabulous trail. If you recall, I ran the Grizzle Run r there a while back during the summer which was a blast..the trails in the winter are just awesome!  The fat bikes come through and totally smooth out the snow, making the surface fabulous. I'll be back this next weekend to put in a few long runs.A little frosty!We began at 6 AM at the trailhead. Many were running the 11 mile route, a few were running the 50K, I was making up my 51K.I ran the first few miles with Therese. We caught up with one another and then I had to make a pit stop. I didn't run with anyone else the remainder of the 7 hours!  We were pretty spread apart and I never really saw anyone else.  The weather was perfect. 10F, sunny, nice snow packed trails. Lovely. After the first 11 mile loop my water hose was becoming solid. I stopped off at my car and heated it up until the water flowed through. I hopped out of my car and there was Shelley!  What a coincidence. She was out running 7 miles and we just happened to be in the lot at the same time. Fun!I headed out for loop 2. I came across a pile of gels. There were unopen, 8 of them strewn about the trail. I kind of nudged them off of the trail and placed them all in a neat circle. I hoped that someone would claim them as their own as they came through again. I didn't see them on loop 3. As I was running along I could hear dogs barking. It was the sound of dogs barking while having fun, not in distress. I took a detour and ran toward the barking. Sure enough, I came up on Elm Creek Dog Park!  It was great. Border Collies playing frisbee, Goldens' playing fetch. I just stood there with tears in my eyes, thinking of how much I missed Topaz.I jogged back to the trail and finished up loop 3. I just felt so grateful to be able to run again. To be able to enjoy the woods, the snow, to be pain free. It was really a great 33 miles. My feet didn't hurt me, I  just had a real blast. What a magical day.[...]



ICEBOX 480

2015-12-15T13:33:36.243-06:00

Icebox 480.  I hadn’t run the Icebox 480 before.  A timed race, of 480 minutes (8 hours). 2  years ago I had a broken ankle and last year I had an evil morton’s neuroma removal.  I was so glad to give it a try this year!The course is a single- track mountain biking trail – lots of hills – in the woods of Western Wisconsin on the Whitetail Ridge which consists of a  loop of 7 or so miles-which is run as many times as possible, until  the 8 hour limit expires. I love loops. I love a drop bag at the start/finish. Easy peasy fun o rama!Saturday was a beautiful sunny day!  I arrived to the course about 45 minutes before race time. I wasn’t sure who was going to be running as  there wasn’t a list of entrants on the website. I was so happy to see Robyn and her mother as I pulled up in  back of them.I walked a few steps and saw Kevin, a few more steps to the start and there was Jim, Matt and Zach!  It was so good to see them again. It was going to be a party on the trail! We kidded around about ‘way back in the day’  and that we were ‘old school ultra runners.’ I guess so.As I was waiting in the line for the bathroom I saw Duke!! No way! I haven’t seen him in years. When he told me that Eve was here, too, I was so excited!! Eve had an ice house set up near the start/finish to help crew for Duke. We squeeled in delight and hugged and laughed!! Man I’ve missed these two!I placed my drop bag on the tarp and packed up some gels, music and a water bottle to carry. We were about to begin so I lined up near the back. Off we went!The course was really great. Woods, lots of hills-constant up and down. There were two aid stations set up plus the start / finish. Awesome. I ran a comfortable pace, no goal other than to stay healthy and to have FUN!  That was the order of the day.I had an absolute blast.  The first loop I ran alone, just taking in the sights. I was warming up so made a mental note to drop my long sleeved shirt at the start / finish. I removed my gloves,  ate a gel every 30 minutes and just moved along, enjoying the woods. At the start/ finish I dropped off some clothing and noticed that Jenny brought her new puppy, Jasper!  OMG, I kissed him and held him and let him chew on me and let him lick my happy tears!  He is just a little ball of love fuzz. As I ran out of the start/finish I had Topaz on my mind and just began to gasp and bawl. I just miss him so much. I know that I am lucky to have had him in my life for 14 years and I know that those years were well worth the feelings of sadness I have now..but I still miss him and cry and am mourning him.  Somewhere during this loop I ran into Janet. Janet finished the Gnarly Bandit last year so our conversations during the next loop centered around that. She was now training for HURT and looking to run without becoming dehydrated. It was fun to run a loop with her.Back into the start/finish. More hugs and kisses to Jasper. I carried him around a bit and just loved on him. I just really had a lot of fun. I spent the next 20 miles alone, just reveling in my thoughts, prayers and meditations. I never felt tired or grumpy or like I wanted the race to end. I just ran and ran, happy in my surroundings and thoughts. I never even played any music.Before I knew it 7.50 hours had passed. I came into the start finish and was instructed to run the out and back mile for the duration until 8 hours had passed.  As I was running back and forth I saw John and Bill cheering us on. What a great time!  At the end of 8 hours I had ru[...]



My 11th Twin Cities Marathon

2015-12-15T13:29:58.622-06:00

When the Twin Cities Marathon opened for entries last March I was still recovering from my foot surgery. I had no intention of entering.Fast forward 6 months and I was feeling good!  I hadn’t run anything longer than 10 miles, but, oh well. I couldn’t believe it when I heard on the local news channel that TCM was STILL open and that I could purchase an entry at the expo on Friday before the Sunday race. Incredible!!  Sure enough, I paid for an entry and bought a CHICKED down skirt from the expo. I had no idea how the race would go; I just knew that I really yearned to run my 11th TCM. I really enjoy the race.Sunday morning I drove into Minneapolis. I always park at the Jerry Haaf ramp because it  is close to the start which used to be the Metrodome- which was torn down and is now being replaced with the IceCube, the US Bank Stadium. It’s looking fabulous!It was amazing to me that 10,000 people were milling around the start area and I was able to run into personal friends whom I had no idea were going to be there!  I saw Dan and John. Incredible!  The race is divided into chutes with start times staggered every three minutes so that the congestion is at a minimum- which works very well. I mosied over to the bag drop off to leave my after run clothes and headed over to the start. I was so excited to be right where I was! I felt blessed. I am blessed.The course is really pretty .. for a road marathon. Of course I prefer trail but TCM has a place in my heart. My plan was to run easy, take in the changing color of the trees, enjoy the run, give thanks that I was able to run. I felt great the whole way. At mile 20 I  noticed that I was running behind the 415 group and hadn’t yet noticed the 430 group pass. This was a comfortable easy pace for me. I stopped to hug a few friends that I noticed among the 300,000 spectators-again, crazy!  When I saw Bonnie and Marie at mile 21 we hugged and I cried. I started running with these two in 2002. They don’t run very much any more, but there they were, cheering and looking out for me. What a treat. My heart felt full and blessed. Those hugs carried me into the finish line. I finished my 11th Twin Cities Marathon. I would have never believed  it,  way back when it was only my 2ndmarathon. I would have never believed that I could love to run, so much.  I never would have believed that I would have hit 17 years of sobriety, either. Time. A person can change. Thank God.[...]



Eugene Curnow - Half Voyaguer

2015-12-15T13:19:19.515-06:00

One of my first memories with my ultra running friends is the Half Voyaguer. It’s now named after the past race director: Eugene Curnow. The race is the baby of the Voyaguer 50 mile, a favorite of mine, which is run 2 weeks later.Because I’ve been rehabbing my foot/knee and whatever other body parts which are angry at me there is no chance I’ll be run running Voyaguer 50 this year but I’m good to run the Half.Maria and I went out for a 6 hour run two weeks ago-my first run of any sort of this distance since Superior 100 last September!  I really did a number on myself there. Ugh. Anyhow, our run at Afton  was such a wonderful experience!  She’s rehabbing her hamstring, I’m rehabbing foot/knee. We walked, jogged, and ran.  My rehab schedule had 11 minute jog/4 minute walk on the plan which we stuck to pretty well. At the end of our 6 hours I was jubilant. I didn’t hurt. I felt good. Eugene Curnow may be a reality. Why not try it?We spent the first week of July up at the lake. Had great weather and a great time. I came back into town to deliver Troy so that he could work and then decided to go back up to the cabin to spend a few more days with Steve. I left the lake, spent the night at my Dad’s house and then left for Carlton to the race in the morning.It was a beautiful warm morning and was going to be a great day. I hadn’t looked online to see who may be running the race so wasn’t sure whom I might see.I arrived in plenty of time to fill my pack, figure out music, lube my feet, etc. I didn’t recognize anyone so I just climbed onto the bus that would take me to the start.As I climbed off of the bus I saw Alicia right away. Yay!!  Alicia and I have run a zillion miles together and I just love her. She was one of the those that first ran with me at that first Half Voyaguer so many years ago.We began the race together and ran together up until the last few miles where she went ahead and finished a few minutes in front of me. What a great 6 hours of fun! We reminisced, we talked of the present, the future, of how much things in ultrarunning had changed and how much we had changed. It was such a great time. Neither my foot nor my knee hurt, I was able to climb through the powerlines without a problem. Such a blessing.Janet ran with Alicia and I most of the race, too. She wanted to run a PR and said that by hanging with us she would do just that. She did! She ran a great race and finished inbetween Alicia and I. As we were running along Scott came up on us. Scott!  Scott was also along on that first Half Voyageur so many years ago. I hadn’t seen him in a few years. We caught up a bit and then he left us to bomb on down the hills. As I came across the finish all I could think about is how blessed I was. Sharing the trail with amazing people, such good friends to me. I hung around the finish line and cheered the rest of the runners in. Drank a non alcoholic beer and headed for home, with a big smile on my face! What a fabulous day.[...]



It's Time

2015-11-05T10:39:58.740-06:00

It's time to get back to blogging. It's been a long time. I'm getting there, I'm getting ready.

Icebox 480 on Saturday. That'll be fun!



Rest In Peace

2015-05-11T10:37:40.449-05:00

Rest In Peace..My Dear Sweet Topaz..Rest In Peace.


12/9/01 to 5/7/15. We gave one another the best life we could. I'll miss you deeply.



My Dear Topaz

2015-05-04T15:28:09.865-05:00

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Friday Night Family Fun!

2015-04-28T08:35:35.195-05:00

My nephew helped me cook up a storm this past Friday. It was So much fun sharing my joy of cooking with him.On the menu:Brown RiceGuacamole - avocado, garlic, olive oil, sea salt in the VitamixHummus - chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, sea salt in the VitamixGarlicky Kale and Roasted Chickpeas-6 cups torn kale 30 oz can chickpeasOlive Oil3 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp paprika, 3 tsp ginger, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp cardamom. Dressing-1 head garlic - roasted1/4 cup tahini2 Tbsp olive oil + more for roasting garlic2 lemons, juiced (~1/3 cup)1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)Tear the kale and place in large bowl. Roast chickpeas with olive oil and spices for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Roast garlic at same time. Prepare dressing. Pour chickpeas onto kale, top with dressing. Fabulous!Burritos-beef, refried beans, seasoning, flour, wheat and corn tortillas and fixings: cheese, salsa, sour cream, hot sauceRoasted brussel sprouts because we always have roasted brussel sprouts!Blue Corn and Black Bean chipsVegan donuts with lemon icing.  I was going to make with espresso icing but midstream we chose lemon, instead :)2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (carton not canned)1/3 cup oil1/3 cup maple syrup or agave*1/2 cup sugar1 package active dry yeast1 teaspoon salt4-4.5 cups flour (give or take)ESPRESSO GLAZE-I made lemon glaze1 shot quality espresso or strong coffee (2-3 T)  I used lemon juice instead4 cups powdered sugarSTREUSEL TOPPING: (optional)3-4 Tablespoons butter (non-dairy for vegan)1/2 cup brown sugar2-3 Tablespoons flourI didn't use the streusel topping-we sprinkled with sprinkles :) InstructionsBring soy milk, oil, maple syrup or agave, and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan.Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm or 110 F (30 minutes)Once cooled, stir in yeast and let set for 5-10 minutes.In a large bowl, add 4 cups of flour and salt, then add to wet mixture and stir, mixing well, then covering with a towel and letting rise in a warm place for 1 hour.Once doubled in size, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, (or until the dough is no longer incredibly sticky). Mix well and then let the dough sit for about 10 minutes.On a floured surface make about 2-inch balls and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving room for expansion.Preheat oven to 350 and cover with light towel while warming.Once preheated, bake for 10-11 minutes, being careful not to over bake as you don't want the bottoms too brown.Prepare glaze and streusel while baking. Once donuts are done, let them cool slightly and then dunk in glaze and cover with streusel. I put the streusel on both top and bottom, and would recommend it for best flavor.Serve immediately for best result, or store in air-tight container for up to 2 days.This made 12 large donuts that I baked in two 9 inch round cake pans. I had to bake them for 20 minutes, probably because they were larger than 2". These donuts were all gone within 24 hours! We also brewed a batch of KOMBUCHA. What a blast!Getting our supplies together.Checking the PH.Time to brew for 3 weeks ![...]



Sunday Funday

2015-04-21T10:37:05.911-05:00

Sunday Funday! I take an hour each Sunday to prep meals for the week. First I attend service at New Life in Princeton, head over to the fresh produce section at Cobornes and then home to prep. One hour and I’m set for the week. This week I roasted brussel sprouts, carrots, onion and sweet potato.  I chopped carrots and shredded cabbage.  I soaked chickpeas and prepared quinoa and brown rice. I blended hummus and was all set! 45 minutes later I was cleaning up. Easy peasy!In the morning I grab some spinach, kale, prepped roasted veggies, chickpeas and quinoa-splash of balsamic, salt and pepper. I blend spinach, strawberries, scoop of protein powder and coconut milk. Pour into blender bottle and I'm ready for work.For dinner I roll a few items into a wrap or create a bowl. A smashed up avocado, hummus and some blue corn chips...fabulous!! Just and idea to show how easy eating whole foods can be. Seriously! [...]



My Authentic Self

2015-04-15T15:10:59.697-05:00

Sometimes I really surprise myself.  I don’t know how this all happened, in the realm of two days..but it has happened and I like it. I feel liberated...from myself? I have been coloring my hair for 25  years. I first began with foil highlights added in to my strawberry blonde hair. The darker blonde would grow in and back to my colorist I would run.  After a few pregnancies my hair grew in darker. I’ve gone brunette, blonde, red…all colors of the rainbow. The past 10 years I’ve been coloring and foiling to keep up with the gray. Or the darks. I'm not sure what color my hair is any more.  I hadn’t even thought of the alternative: my authentic self.  My gray self. I’ve heard others say “I’m not ready to be old” and I’ve just nodded my head in agreement. Gray and old are no longer synonymous in my world. One might begin to gray at 25, or 45 or 65. Age is how I live. Not how I look. Age is how I feel. Now how I look. I have a couple of fantastic  friends who sport their gray beautifully.  I’ve always looked at them with longing as I wished I could do the same but that's where my thought would end. I’d then make the call for an appointment and I’d go to my stylist.   $150 every 6-8 weeks for color, foil, cut, style, wax and tip. As I was driving into work yesterday I saw the grays and darks coming through my roots and thought to myself that  my last appointment was February 15, it’s about time to call for an appointment-I came into work and thought about my hair. Why do I continue to color it? Why do I continue to change who I am. I haven’t had botox-my skin is who I am. I haven’t had liposuction. My body is who I am. I realized I no longer wanted to color my hair. I want to be my authentic self. My authentic self. That’s who I want to be. Who I am. Gray hair and all. During the course of one day I realized I no longer want those chemicals placed upon my head. My hair is dry and processed. My head itches. I live a pretty healthy life. I consume a plant based diet, we grow food in our garden, I move my body daily, I do what I can to battle the genes I was dealt. Why would I continue to place chemicals upon my scalp? It was the normal. I sometimes make the mistake of thinking that what I look like is more important than who I am. No longer.  Granted, I’m only 7 weeks from my last foil. I’m only 2 days into this way of thinking. I’m thinking of beautiful Nancy, Karen, Simona, Bonnie, Denise, Twyla and Lynette, with their beautiful silver hair. They are their authentic selves. Women with gray hair strike me as being high priestesses of sorts. They are  beyond societal beauty norms so much so that they've created their own niche where they are alluring without the battle of aging. We  are beautiful as gray or blonde or brown. These  women are also beautiful because they aren't slaves to narcissism. They have the moxie to take their vanity in moderation, which gives them an air of wisdom and strength. Gray. Silver. Authentic. Me. I’m going with it. Are you rockin' your gray? Are you coloring? I'll keep you posted. I'll let you know if I continue to feel this way.  Who knows? I could change my mind.For now, it feels right.[...]