Monday, March 30, 2009

Orienteering

While standing around yesterday waiting for the start of run Larry began to hand out trail maps of the area. I didn’t even think about taking a map. I have run the area a few times each year and have taken a map a few times. They have always ended up in a crumpled mess at the bottom of my pack or jacket. One time I became turned around while running Zumbro Bottoms in the deep spring snow. I was relying on snow prints as my map. Not a good idea. Everything began to melt and the snow prints were gone. I then pulled out the map. I had no idea what trail I was upon and I had absolutely no idea how to read the map. I was scared that I would never find my way back to the start. Needless to say when I saw Bonnie and Don I was so excited and relieved that I followed them the rest of the day.

Now that I think back on this experience I wonder why this wouldn’t have been enough to get me to want to learn how to read trail maps. Nope, that would have been too much work I suppose. Easier to just follow others. This was early in my trail running experience and I really didn’t run trail alone at the time. I figured I’d just always follow others. Easier to just decide that I can’t read maps and I won’t try. That’s usually my way; if it is too difficult just don’t do it. Well, in some matters.

As we ran away from the start area and began to head to the trails the others pulled out the maps and began to decipher where we were and where we should go. 3 hours out, then back to refuel, another 3 hours out, back for the finish. They looked at the scale of miles and figured out which trail to run upon. As they navigated us along they looked at the numerous intersections, then at the map and then figured out where we should go next. They did a great job. I was clueless. I had self diagnosed myself as a non map reader and didn’t even attempt to try.

While discussing navigation and the adventure racing that Molly and Mitch do I became intrigued. Among other things I decided that I wanted to learn how to read a detailed map while out in the woods.

I missed the REI Class: Basics of Orienteering. Looks like they were held in March. Instead of going into the Sand Dunes State Forest with my own map and deciphering my way through the woods off of the beaten path and maybe becoming lost and scared and fed up with my lack of map reading skills I decided to attend an Orienteering Event with an Adventure Race Tune-Up in the Sand Dune State Forest. Something organized with people who will help me to help myself! The Forest is a few blocks from my house. I didn’t realize that there were orienting skill clinics even held at this location; or even held at all, for that matter.

On Saturday April 18 I’ll be attending the orienteering event in the Sand Dunes State Forest. It will be a blast to watch the Adventure Race Tune-Up! Who knows where this could lead? There are a whole host of orienteering events on the event schedule. At least I’ll be able to build confidence in my map reading capability! I’m ready for a new challenge. I always need a new challenge.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

View from Above


Refuel


Navigation


Zumbro Recon Run

A few weeks ago Mitch Rossman sent out an email asking if there were any takers for a run out at the Zumbro River Bottoms. Larry is directing the inaugural Zumbro 100 out there in two weeks and Steve Grabowski and Mitch were planning a run out there.

I quickly jumped in and said I could make the trip; I wanted to get in a long run before McNaughton - scheduled the same day as Zumbro 100 - next year I'll be running Zumbro.

Steve Quick, who is also running Zumbro 100, John Taylor, who will be running McNaughton and Molly Cochrane all came along as well.

Mitch offered to drive us to Zumbro. We met at Steve G. home to begin our trek. As we arrived Zumbro Bottoms we met up with Larry for maps and hooked up with Wayne and his buddy whose name I unfortunately but so typically can not remember. Wayne hurt his ankle on the trail and still ran a good 3 hours with us.

As Molly returned from the bathroom and I went in to change I saw a dead rabbit in the corner. I saw skin and fur and bones and bugs. I couldn't go in. I changed outside. Molly never saw the bunny. I told Larry he had better remove the dead bunny before his race. Molly didn't notice the bunny there after our run either. I just changed outside again.

As Larry was handing out maps and I didn't accept his offer, as typical again, I realized that I decided that I can not read trail maps. At one point I had difficulty reading a trail map and have since, just refused to try. As Molly began to read and discuss the map I realized how foolish I have been. I can read maps to drive from Minneapolis to Pekin IL, to get from Phoenix to Fountain Hills; I have decided I will begin to read trail maps and to learn to navigate. I was very impressed with Molly's and the rest of the groups map reading skills. Molly knew when we were off of the map and found our way back to the trail.

We had a great day of running. The morning began frosty. We were all cold and some were adding layers. Soon enough we were stripping off our added layers and enjoying the sun as the temperature rose out of the low 20's into the low 40's. I had never met Mitch R or Steve G before, and only Molly once, so it was really nice to get to know everyone while running the trail. Mitch and Molly are into adventure racing. I really enjoyed listening about their races, training and all that I don't know, which is everything, about adventure racing.

I thought it was pretty cool that I could jump in with a small group of people, run trail, have something in common with them all, trade stories, get to know one another all in a matter of 6 hours. Isn't that awesome?

What a great way to spend the day! The trail was pretty hard and frozen at the start, within a few hours it began to thaw and we even ran through some mud before the end of our day.

Zumbro 100 will be a great race. If I hadn't already received a comp entry to McNaughton I'd be running Zumbro instead. This will be Andy's last year as race director of McNaughton; you can bet Zumbro will have a much larger entry next year.

Friday, March 27, 2009

One Good Week (Out of Four)

Hormones. Frustration. Suckage. Whatever.

For one week out of the month everything is spot-on. I'm focused; nothing can bother me. My workouts are planned, structured and progressively more difficult each week. No problem, I enjoy it, I thrive on it. I have no cravings of sugar, no up and down hormonal battles waging inside of me, all is good. I can bake and not be tempted.

The next week my thoughts begin to waver. As I'm lifting heavy or running another yet interval at 12 MPH my brain begins to ask "why". Why are you running so hard, so fast..for what? I can tell myself to shut up and keep going. As I'm working out yet one more heavier rep and my brain is asking why I can partition off the question asking piece of my brain and continue with a smile and a chuckle to myself.

Week three and I begin to crumble inside. My weight fluctuates widely. As I sit at my desk I feel like a blow fish; I'm getting more and more bloated by the hour. Heavier heavier heavier. My feet hurt. My shoes are too tight-shoes that fit last week. As I run another interval the doubts are louder and more pronounced. You are 44. It's difficult to breathe. Who cares how fast you can run? Who cares if you finish McNaughton. This is stupid. Here we go again. The doubts. The questions. Each month it happens. Partition it off. The gym. Again? Why. Who needs strength? Who needs a muscular lean body? Why? The doubts and questions. The scale. Good grief. How can one let a scale dictate mood? So quickly I can begin to beat myself up. Don't bake. Don't fall victim to your own thrill of baking. Yes, I know it is PMS. Yes, I know this happens each month. So why give in and listen. Partition in off. Don't listen. Keep going. Stronger, faster, better.

Week four. Unravelling. Falling apart. Legs of steel become legs of lard. No speed. Bumbling through the woods, thank God for Topaz to get me out or I may be laying on the couch. Or baking a cake for only me to eat. Abs now covered with a layer of water that could be imagined to be a layer of fat. I won't speak too loudly; words are mixed up, inaccurate. Manage to speak without thinking. Hot flashes. I wrap myself into my own cocoon. Don't try to get too close. I'm an introvert. I don't want to talk. Let this be over.

One good week a month. It's better than none. I'm looking forward to week one. Imagine what I could do with four good weeks a month.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cappuccino Chiffon Cake

Cappuccino Chiffon Cake

I had a lia sophia jewelry party at my home on Sunday. After I invited my guests I put together a menu: Tequila Berry's Salad, Submarine Sandwiches, Oreo Crunch Brownies, Turbo-Charged Praline Brownies and Cappuccino Chiffon Cake. The menu seems a bit heavy on the sweets doesn’t it?

Yes, I love to bake treats.

I decided on the Cappuccino Chiffon because I wanted to go back and create all of the cakes that were baked since The Cake Slice’s inception in October. Cappuccino Chiffon was the cake they began with.

I was a bit apprehensive of this recipe as there is both espresso and rum. I wasn’t sure how the boys would like this because of the two more adult, very intense flavors. I figured my guests wouldn’t eat the whole cake, along with all of the other treats so knew that the boys would have to finish up the leftovers!

The make up of the cake recipe was very much like the lemon chiffon I baked last week as it was many egg whites beaten into peaks and then folded into he dry ingredients. I did make the mistake of not reading fully that this recipe was for three 8 inch cake pans, not 9 inch which is what I have. I decided to bake two 9 inch cakes and then cut them into half, making 4 little layers instead of three big full ones.

The cake baked up nicely-very light and airy. I used rum extract instead of rum and as I grind Mocha Java beans from Caribou each morning for my French Press, I saved some of this for the cake. It worked out great.

The whipping cream was perfect; not too stiff, dry or overworked this time. Nice, glossy and wet.

I was very nervous as my guests arrived and nobody had tested the cake yet. The boys were not home and I wanted the cake to be whole upon presentation. My nervousness was unnecessary.

The cake was fabulous. EVERYONE loved it. After my guests left and Tyler and Troy returned home I had them try the cake. They both enjoyed it very much! I was so surprised. They didn’t feel the rum or the coffee flavoring was too much, too adult or too strong. They thought the cake layers may be soggy as I poured the syrup into the layers and they were wet, but the cake was just wonderfully moist, not wet at all.

This cake recipe gets an A +. Tyler asked me to make it again.

Next Up: Sweet Potato Cake. I’m serious!

CAPPUCCINO CHIFFON CAKE
Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake

1/4 cup of neutral oil (ie. vegetable, canola, or soybean)
6 eggs separated
6 tablespoons of freshly brewed espresso cooled to room temperature
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 and 1/3 cups of cake flour*
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
Cocoa powder or cinnamon for dusting

(*The recipe calls for cake flour and if you only have all-purpose flour on hand, you can substitute 3/4 cup (105 grams) all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch.)

Espresso Syrup
1/3 cup hot freshly brewed espresso
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup dark rum, such as Meyers*

(*if you want to leave out the rum you can use molasses thinned with pineapple juice and flavored with almond extract to equal 1/3 cup. Or use 1 to 2 teaspoons of rum extract flavoring but you'll have less syrup.)

Vanilla Whipped Cream
3 cups of heavy cream
1/3 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line the bottom s of three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper but do not grease.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, espresso, and vanilla; whisk lightly to blend. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 1 cup of sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. Raise the mixer to medium high and gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Do not whip to stiff peaks or the cake will shrink upon cooling.

4. Add the espresso-egg mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together just until combined. Add one fourth of the egg whites and fold them gently into the batter. Fold in the remaining egg whites just until no streaks remain. Divide the batter among the pans.

5. Bake the cakes for 18 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans. Once cooled run a knife around the edge of the pans to release the cakes. Invert onto a wire rack and remove the parchment papers.

6. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer flat side up on a cake stand or platter. Soak the cake with 1/3 cup of the espresso syrup. Spread 1 and 1/3 cups of whipped cream evenly over the top of the cake. Repeat with the next layer the same steps. Finally top with the third layer. Soak with syrup and frost the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream.

7. To decorate the cake smooth out the whipped cream as much as possible on top. Lay a paper doily on top and sift cocoa powder or cinnamon over the doily to reveal a lacy detail.

Espresso Syrup
makes 1 cup

In a bowl, stir together the espresso and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the rum and let cool to room temperature.

Vanilla Whipped Cream
makes 6 cups

Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in large chilled mixing bowl with chilled beaters. With the whip attachment, beat the cream until stiff peaks form.

You really should try this one. Really.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Numbers Numbers Numbers

I don't know for how many years I have been weighing myself every day. At least 20. I don't think I really weighed myself in high school because I have absolutely not recollection of what I weighed. Just that I was plump, plump at my wedding - I don't think I dieted yet, I don't recall dieting down for my wedding.

I don't think I began to weigh myself and diet until my sister was going to be married. I wanted to look beautiful in the pink dress I would be wearing as Matron of Honor and began to diet in earnest. I went down to 117-my lowest ever. I didn't eat anything. I drank a lot of beer instead. Great diet, hu? I looked fabulous on her wedding day and promptly gained back the weight. I guess from then on out the dieting and weighing began in earnest.

I joined Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, OptiFast, OptiSystems, Nutri Systems, my gosh, I can't even remember the names of all of the programs I have tried. Finally I began to sober up, run, lift weights and cut back on sugar. Everything changed.

I've been lifting 5 days a week under Tony's instruction for 14 weeks now since I decided on this Bodybuilding Comp in October. I've been eating lean protein and lots of veggies-which I have been doing for a few years now. I haven't let up on the running at all. I wasn't sure if I could run as much as I am and still put on muscle, while eating a rather restrictive diet, but somehow I knew that I could.

The numbers that I received today are confirmation to me that I have gained muscle, lost fat and haven't lost speed nor endurance in running. Amen!

My body fat is now 11.9%. I've dropped 6 pounds of fat and gained 1.20 lb of lean body mass. Gotta like that! Tony told me during our first discussion that he felt I could gain .40-.60 lb of muscle every 4-6 weeks. He was right on.

Tomorrow I send him evaluation pictures and my number data. I imagine I will continue building muscle and only dropping a few more pounds of fat. My show isn't until October and I really don't need to drop much more this early in the game. We'll see.

To switch topics here a bit..

The Biggest Loser

You know that I love to watch The Biggest Loser. It wasn't always that way. When I first caught an episode a few years ago I became very uncomfortable while watching the show. I saw the contestants taking part in a challenge and I thought the show was making fun of them. I didn't really know the contestants, nor did I understand the shows premise. I didn't watch it again until a few years later.

Now that I have watched a few seasons from start to finish I know that the show is not at all making fun of the contestants. The show is helping the contestants to push through their self made barriers and show them what they can really do when they really want to do and need to do in order to succeed.

Last week the contestants ran A HALF MARATHON! Yes, 13.1 miles! Can you believe it? All but one contestant FINISHED. Ron could only run 4 miles-he has one knee and one shoulder-the others all ran the 1/2! Now these people are all over 200+, some well over 200 and they stuck it out and finished it up. Only 1 contestant had even run 6 miles before..yet they all dug deep and ran a half. Isn't that amazing? Jillian and Bob weren't with them either-they were all at home running the 1/2 as a challenge. The fastest finisher would win $10000! Tara finished in 2:15 or so but was deducted 5 minutes because a contestant ate a cookie for her.. so Sione won the $10000 and finished in 2:16! Or was it 225 and 226. Numbers. Still, amazing and inspiring.

At work we are doing The Biggest Loser. We aren't doing fun challenges, such as running a 1/2 - wouldn't that be great-we are just getting on the scale each week. 20 of us pitched in $10 for the 10 weeks and The Biggest Loser will win the pot at the end of 10 weeks. Guess who was The Biggest Loser yesterday? Yup. Me. I was down 5.64%. My goal was 8 pounds and now I have reached it. I may go for another couple.

More numbers numbers numbers.

Got Shoulder?


A Foggy Fifty

Last night the boys let me know they had plans for today and Steve let me know he had a pool tournament today. I had planned on doing some cleaning for a lia sophia jewelry party I am hosting here tomorrow, but that could wait until after I hit the trail for a few hours..and a few hours more.

When I began driving to the trail I couldn't believe how foggy it was! Thick as could be, my car lights couldn't penetrate the fog at all. I was wondering what my flashlight would be like. After running the trail last night I knew that it wasn't all ice anymore; only 25% of the trail is now ice/snow covered. Pretty sweet.

My flashlight barely cut through the mist. I couldn't even make out Topaz up in front of me. Fun!

We kept on hearing things in the dark. You know how loud squirrels and birds sound rummaging around in the woods when it is dark outside!

As the air around us lightened I imagined that the sun must be rising. There was no sun to see; only a heavy fog that was lighter than prior. As we came back around to the car I dropped off my light and filled my bottle. I couldn't even see the County Road from the trail head. Still crazy foggy.

As the sun must have been rising the birds began to sing. The warmer temperatures and rain yesterday afternoon must have reminded the birds that Spring has Sprung.

Trumpeter Swans, Canadian Geese, Sandhill Crane, Pileated Woodpecker; I could hear them all but could not see a one. Too foggy.

As morning turned into afternoon the fog began to break and the sun began to warm. Lovely! I removed my ear band, gloves and jacket. How wonderful to run in single layers.

Topaz and I were muddy messes as we returned home. A bath for him and a shower for me; then off to the gym to lift shoulders and the rest of the afternoon washing windows and cleaning bathrooms. Joy. Not.

Instead of heading out to Zumbro solo today I was happy to learn that a group of us will be heading out to Zumbro Bottoms next Sunday for a final long - my final long run prior to McNaughton. McNaughton 100 is only three weeks out.

Next Saturday I'm having lunch with my co-coaches with MDRA near Lake Harriet. I can get a good long run in there around the lakes before lunch with and do a back to back at Zumbro on Sunday. Then I guess I'm ready.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Cake Slice: March


Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake


The Cake Slice

I've joined a new baking group and couldn't be more thrilled. As I was taking part in one of my favorite activities-combing through the shelves of the baking section at Barnes and Noble-I came across Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wyness. The cookbook is big and beautiful with full color pictures of over half of the cakes, yes, only cakes and triple layer no less. I had to purchase it.

When I came home and googled some of the recipes I couldn't believe my good fortune: The Cake Slice. Gigi and Katie decided to use the cookbooks they actually have upon their own shelves and came up with this premise: bake from the book one recipe each month. The group votes upon the cake to bake, eventually baking 12 of the cakes. I love it!

Not only do I love to bake, but cakes are my favorite item to bake..bread is a second and brownies a third. I have baked every cake in Dorie Greenspan's My Kitchen to Yours and every cake in Williams Sonoma Cakes. I am ready to move onto Sky High!

Today's cake is the Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake. Triple as in triple layer and in triple lemon. The cake consists of three lemon chiffon layers-9" with a rich lemon curd filling and then a lemon cream frosting. Amazingly lemony!

I am by no means an expert on cake baking; after all of the cakes I have baked I have never made a lemon chiffon nor have I made lemon curd. The words lemon curd remind me of curdled milk. They reminded Tyler of bean curd and Troy of cheese curd. We weren't too excited about lemon curd, but let me tell you, the lemon curd was wonderful!

The cake went together easily-only baking for 16 minutes. Tyler and Troy both like the cake-this rarely happens that they both agree on a flavor. Tyler doesn't have a sweet tooth and usually stays away from chocolates so I did think he would like this. Troy likes chocolate, but also likes sour flavorings. Both boys rated this cake as superb!

I now need to learn how to photograph as well as decorate :)

You may check Gigi's blog for the recipe The Cake Slice for other bloggers/pictures (bloggers who take better pictures and who decorate cakes better than I)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Red Velvet Whoopie Pie


Red Velvet Whoopie Pie

I have wanted to make this recipe since January when I first saw while I was waiting for my Dr. appt. in the December 08 Better Home and Gardens. I took a picture of the recipe on my iPhone. I suppose I should have gone to the magazine rack and purchased it, but all I wanted was the recipe!

For two whole weeks I didn't bake a thing. I had the flu, then went to Texas. I was going to bake these for my Mom and Dad while we were staying with them in Weslaco, but a woman across the street kept on bringing treats over for everyone! One day she brought M&M cookies, then a lemon pound cake, bran muffins and caramel rolls. I couldn't believe it. I told my sister 'well, I guess I'll make the Red Velvet Whoopie Pies when I get home'. She said 'oh great, all we'll get is a picture!'. Sorry!!

These were real easy to make. This is not the frosting I use on my Red Velvet Cake. It is the frosting I use on my Carrot Cake. It's easy to make. The whoopie pies are simple to make as well. The batter is pretty thick, easy to scoop onto wax paper. I baked 9 minutes.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Makes 30 sandwiches-**If you make 1" Pies. I made big ones and got SIX!

Cake:2 cups unbleached flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup (7 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 egg, preferably room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, preferably room temperature
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) red food coloring

Filling:4 ounces cream cheese, softened4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, softened
2 cups (8 ounces) powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
2. In large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed for 30 seconds, until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With mixer at medium speed, add egg and beat until thoroughly combined, then beat in vanilla. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk and food color mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour.
3. Spoon (or pipe) batter in 1-inch diameter rounds about ½-inch high on prepared baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between each round.
4. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until tops are set. Cool cookies on cookie sheets.
5. To make filling: Add cream cheese and butter to mixer bowl and beat until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, alternating with vanilla. Beat until smooth.
6. To fill, dollop (or pipe) cream cheese filling on flat sides of half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down.
To store: Refrigerate in airtight container up to 4 days. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

Home Sweet Home

In just a few hours I went from running along the sandy surf in shorts and a sports bra to running in snowshoes along the trail dressed in long pants, gloves and hat. Amazing!

Troy and I had a fabulous vacation in Texas. Lots of sun, swimming in the ocean, reading while lounging poolside, taking it easy. Wonderful.

Fortunately we had sunny weather in the high 80's to low 90's during our stay but when we flew out the high was only going to be 50F and it was raining. I felt bad for those who were just arriving TX. They are in for a week of cool drizzly weather.

Here in MN we are having a burst of spring. 50F yesterday and 60F tomorrow. Sweet.

Yesterday was a 15 mile snowshoe run along the trail that Topaz and I had missed for a week. Today, because of the melt yesterday and over night freeze, instead of snowshoes I screwed screws into my shoes and they worked just fine. 20 miles without too much slipping and sliding.

I didn't get very many weight workouts in while on vacation so I hit the gym yesterday and will be on my way today. I actually missed lifting. I had a 10 week streak going until I was hit with the flu, then was able to complete a few workouts before I left for TX. I'm anxious to get back into my regular schedule of training.

For the past few weeks I had been focused on my speaking engagement and my vacation. Now that both these events have passed I will begin to think about McNaughton 100 Mile Trail Run. It's only a few weeks out; thankfully I'm pretty much always trained for a 100 mile finish these days. I always wanted it to be this way and wasn't sure if it was possible for me. I don't mean to say that I'm always trained for a stellar PR performance; just a finish. I remember wondering if I could be marathon trained year long. I didn't know if that was possible. It is amazing that our bodies can adopt so well to the training we put them through.

I've decided to run Lean Horse 100 in August instead of Leadville 100. My friend, Alicia, is going to be running it and Tom and Nancy are going to pace/crew. We had such a great time at Vermont 100 I just couldn't pass it up! The four of us will road trip together. Good times!

I did not enter Badwater. I have always had a self-imposed rule that I would save $ for my races the year prior. I didn't even have Badwater on the 2009 radar until December and the entry of $800 was due in February. In addition I would have needed $4000 to fly/crew/van/hotel. I was just not ready for those expenses. It would have been the only race I could do this year. That isn't what I wanted. Ideally I'd like to crew or pace someone out there, then save for the following year. We'll see.

My racing calendar is begining to come together. Confirmed are McNaughton 100, FANS 24 Hour, Lean Horse 100. Depending on how I am feeling with the bodybuilding endeavor I'd also like to run Superior Sawtooth 100 and Javelina 100. I'm not sure what my body will feel like so those are still uncomfirmed but a probabaly. Of course I'll run Superior 50K, Afton 50K, Voyageur 50 Mile. The rest of the year is still coming together.

OK, off to the gym.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Another First: Fabulous

Tonight I did something that I wasn't sure that I could do. It's not the first time I have had those thoughts, that is for sure.

Quite a few months ago I received an email from Kim Maxwell, founder of Moving Soles Running Club. She asked me if I would speak to her women running club. She felt I'd be motivational to her group and that I could share my experiences with them.

I opened her email at work and immediately said to myself "oh my gosh, I couldn't do that" "why would anyone want to listen to what I have to say" "what would I say" "too scary, I can't speak in front of a group" etc. On and on the all too familiar tape played on in my head. You can't. You are not good enough. Negative negative negative negative.

Stop it. Start the tape over. I am an experienced runner, I do have stories, some people say I motivate and inspire them. I have wished many times that I had someone to listen to about their running, their experiences, someone to learn from.

So accept the invitation.

I did. I emailed back to Kim that I would speak to her group. We sent the date for March 5. It was so far in the future, but I thought about it every day. I worried about it. What would I say?

Yesterday I typed out an outline. I began with an introduction of myself, the drinking, the eating, getting sober, Oprah, running, races, the friends I have met, coaching.

Today I had a stomach ache all day. I was nervous about the speaking engagement and excited about leaving for TX tomorrow morning.

I arrived at the Concordia Academy 30 minutes before my meeting with Kim. Enough time to sit down and take deep breaths.

Kim and the group were fantastic. I met the runners as they arrived, I was a nervous wreck.

Kim introduced me..I began to talk..and talk..and laugh..and talk some more.

I spoke for 45 minutes without stopping! I had a great time! I acknowledged my nervousness right at the beginning and then it went away. I had stories and experiences to share.

After I finished speaking the members of the club asked questions; I was so relieved that they had listened and were truly interested.

Another lesson learned: Step out of the comfort zone. Inspire, motivate..share. This was a learning experience for me, too. I enjoyed it greatly.

Thank you to Kim and the Moving Soles. I enjoyed tonight, very much.

My flight leaves at 730 AM. I better double check my packing. Fun in the Sun; Here I Come!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Swappin' Snow for Sand

Woohoo! I am all packed and ready to head into warmer climates. I can not tell you how sick and tired I am of snowshoe running every day. SICK. AND. TIRED. My feet are sore across the tops again from the straps, I am bundled up in multiple layers, I am putting booties on Topaz each day. SICK. AND. TIRED.

I’m looking forward to the Farmers Market, full of fresh veggies and fruit. The fresh shrimp, lobster and crab legs. Laying in the sun on the beach, the surf pounding in my ears, the smell of salt heavy in the air. Laying at the pool while reading my many books, sitting in the hot tub in the hot bright sunshine. RUNNING in shorts and a jog bra without snowshoes each morning and again in the evening because I can not get enough of running in the 90F wonderfully humid air.

Oh, yeah, Padre Island..here I come :)

Monday, March 02, 2009

100 %

Finally. I'm feeling 100% recovered from the flu that had me flat on my back for days. Blech. I didn't run, didn't lift, didn't do anything but sleep for days.

Friday I made a brave attempt to go to work. I ended up staying until 1230 until I had to go home to sleep off the exhaustion just from sitting at my desk all morning. Incredible. Totally exhausted.

Friday night Troy became ill.

Saturday I was able to muster the energy to drive over to Afton State Park to visit with my friends after their snowshoe run. I drove home to sleep off another afternoon. Exhausted.

Sunday my sister and I actually walked the Blue Hill Trail for an hour and a half. The most exercise I had participated in all week. I came home and took a nap.

Steve became ill.

Today I woke up and felt fantastic! On my treadmill for 4 miles of intervals, first time in 7 days! A 10 mile snowshoe run with Topaz after work. Topaz had miles stored up inside of him. He ran hard and fast; was as joyful as I to be out in the snow running again. An hour of chest at the gym tonight. I am 100% and it feels awesome. I'm grateful, so very grateful for feeling well again.

Today I had to drive Tyler home from school. He became ill.

Our house is one big flu germ. Hopefully everyone is healthy tomorrow.