Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Shhhhhh, I am quietly waiting for my youngest to wake up and start the ruckus!  She promised my teens that she would let them sleep until 7:30.  I am savoring the peace until then.  Once that time arrives a busy day will be heralded in.  Opening Santa gifts, breakfast together, slip in a quick workout, and then off to the in-laws for the day.  AND I am hoping to see Les Miserables tonight!!!
I have some favorite pictures to share from the last week:
Winter Solstice Run with friends

A view on a recent morning run
For some reason, every pic I have of Errin she is making goofy faces!  Hope it is just a stage!

My very adorable nephew!
Macey - I am holding tight because I don't want her to leave me for college next year!!
Kellen, Errin, and my niece, Solveig.  We all wear our pjs for the celebration!
My beautiful sisters
My nephew and I strike a pose after "Just Dance."  Little did we know we were getting photo-bombed!
Kellen and Macey
"Snowlympics 2012"
Snowglobe Trotters
Winter Warriors

 Favorite moment but not recorded in photos - Christmas Eve service at church.  I cry every time! The music, the closeness, the family blessing.  My mind wanders to those who are in need, who have lost someone special, who have had hardship. I reflect on how fortunate I have been - healthy and happy children, a career I love, friends.  This year was good for my family, but much sadness surrounds this holiday.  I pray for peace for EVERYONE!

 Wishing you a very blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Hooray!!!  I recently found out that I have been invited to be a part of the 2013 Brooks Inspire Daily program!!!  I am so excited for many reasons!!  One - I love my Brooks shoes!!!!!  Two- I really do try to embody their slogan "Run Happy!"  And three - I am super excited to get to know many of the bloggers who are part of the program, too!!!  I can't wait to see what wonderful opportunities this brings!!

We had a little fun at our morning Body Pump Class!!  Tutu Tuesday!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Seventeen degrees, "real feel" temp- 6 degrees.  Icy roads, a new layer of snow.  Wind blowing in bitter gusts. Icicles on eyelashes. Frosty buns.
Trees glistening in the morning sun.  A deer bounding on the path ahead of me, a hawk gliding overhead.  Breaths suspended in frosty puffs.  Silence except for the shuffle of my shoes.
I have to admit (but not too loudly) that I love winter running.  I can't wait for the sun to come up so I can get out on the trails.  I love dressing in layers and shedding them as I warm up.  I love being the crazy one that the treadmill runners roll their eyes at, a winter warrior!  I love the clicks my screw shoes make when my path changes from snow to pavement. I love the bright colored clothes in contrast to the white and black landscape! I love the hot showers that follow. I love the way I sleep after a cold run.
Favorite winter gear?  My screw shoes!!  A must-have for safe running!
How to Make Screw Shoes

We have a "shoe limit" at our house - only one pair allowed at the door.  Clearly, this weekend's changing weather (rain, slush, snow) helped me to exceed MY limit!

One more thought on winter running - I need some help coming up with ideas for a winter solstice run that I want to organize for our running club.  I thought we could run at sunset with headlamps and end with a fire.  Any ideas on inexpensive ideas that would make it a fun event?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bonus Time!

Our school district declared a 2 hour late start due to the weekend's snowfall!!!!
Wahoo!!! Being a teacher, that means I have just gained extra time at home!!!  I was already dressed and ready to head out the door when my daughter texted me (from downstairs) asking me to take off my boots.  They were too loud.  Just to bug her a little I did a tap dance.  Then she texted me to say she was still sleeping because it was a late start.  OOPS!

One reading and eating a candy cane at 7a.m....

One watching TV...
And one in bed - never disturb a teenager who is sleeping!

So now what should I do?  I am tempted to do a workout but am already showered and dressed for school.  My house is already clean (mad cleaning day yesterday!!)  I could catch up on some correcting, but I am against doing anything school-related on snow days!!  :)  So, I think I will finally decorate the house, make some ornaments, and maybe watch a little morning TV.  Even as an adult I love snow days!
What do you do when you find yourself with a rare block of free time?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

     Sometimes I am an envious person.  I read so many blogs and look at all the great pics of places where you run - mountain trails, seaside boardwalks, canopied forests.  Absolutely beautiful!  I live in a part of MN where the greatest distinction of landscapes is where soybean fields turn to cornfields.  But just when I start to feel whiny something happens - a season changes and I remember how lucky I am to be a runner in the Midwest.  I get to experience the first growth of green in the spring, the oppressive heat of summer that soaks you in perspiration and celebration, the explosion of color when the leaves of autumn begin to fall.  And best of all, I get to run inside a snowglobe.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Perfect Night

Tonight I ran with a group of friends through this
and this
while it was doing thisLoved it!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I don't usually post two days in a row but I had to share this story!  I am still laughing about it.  Last night I went to the local grocery story wearing what I normally wear - running clothes.  (I run, shower, and put clean ones back on!!  Favorite clothes to wear!)  When I was in the checkout line the man behind me started up this conversation:

Man:  You a runner?
Me:  Uuuuh, yep!  (was the stocking cap and tights a dead give-away?)
Man:  I can tell.  You have that muscle in the back of your leg.
Me:  Oh.  (ummmmm, ok?)
Man:  I used to be a runner in Ethiopia.  You know Ethiopian runners?
Me:  Oh yeah?  Cool!
(uncomfortable pause)
Me:  What was your event?
Man: A very fast 1500.
Me:  Do you still run?
Man: (as he pats his large belly) Not any more.
(very uncomfortable pause)
Man: I would like to.  I need a very good coach. (and then he winked at me!!)
(very, VERY uncomfortable pause)
Me:  (stammering) Well, uh, there is a group that meets uh every Saturday at the Y.  You could uh run with them.
Man:  No, I wish to have just one coach. (another wink)
Me:  Well, I hope that you find one!
Then I started to push my cart away.
Man:  Excuse me, you forgot your groceries.
Man:  Thank you for your visit.

I walked out of the store quietly giggling to myself- seriously!  I don't know if it was because I was so easily flustered by being "hit on" or that he recognized me as a runner because I LOOKED LIKE A RUNNER!!!!!!

I find that when I am wearing running clothes in public places I am often approached by people wanting to tell their stories or ask advice about running. I think that is pretty cool and I love to talk running!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Joy to the World!!!

I was very excited to read about the new Brooks Pure Flow models in brand new colors!  I am so excited because I love my Pure Flows and have worn them out!  I have been waiting to get some new ones, you know, add them to my Christmas list.  But now I am going to wait until the new colors are out!!!  Now which color to choose?

I can still find my favorite summer foods in the store and now they look like Christmas foods!!!

My new massage therapist.  I have been dealing with what I thought was a hamstring issue for about three months.  A friend of mine who does many endurance evens told me about this therapist.  Her technique is called "clinical massage."  It is NOT a fluffy feel- good massage at all.  She focuses just on the muscles that are giving me problems.  Ic an't really describe what it is that she does except that it feels like she is holding the muscles and then releasing it.  I am sure it is much more complex that that!!  All I know is that it is giving me relief.  All my runs have felt pretty good for the past two weeks -- up until today.  That's another story!

Online shopping - need I say more?  I do love going to the mall at this time of the year though! I love the feeling, the decorations, the music,

Time with my family!  This time of year magically opens up our schedules and we find more time to be together.  That is actually a pretty big feat!  I have kids in basketball, dance, dance team, and academic teams.  My husband and I both work two jobs.  So to find time together is nothing short of a miracle,  We love decorating the house together and BAKING!!!!!  Every weekend we try to make two or three different treats.  Here is the catch though - my kids would rather share the treats with neighbors than eat them!!!  (I stash a few in the freezer)

What is your joy?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Goofy Post

Here is my student, Jackson!  Isn't he the most awesome kid in the world???? We think so!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Can You Relate?

How many of you are good at multi-tasking?  Most, right??  Especially if you have others or other things that rely on you.  Here is my multi-tasking today and it making me laugh!!  House cleaning day cannot be ignored just because I rolled an ankle on a trail run today!!

I bandaged the frozen veggies to the ankle so I could keep moving around.

 And then I added a pretty pink leg warmer that I found in the bag of socks that have no matches!

What are your best strategies for multi-tasking!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Deal!!!!!!

I registered for the Chippewa Moraine 50K today and guess what??  There is a Black Friday- Cyber Monday sale going on!!!  50% off registration!  Best deal of the day!  Here is the link for anyone interested!!
Chippewa Moraine 50K and 10K Trail Race

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble Wobble on Turkey Day

My town rocks!  Throw a run together and they will come! Large and small, young and old.  This is the second year for the Gobble Wobble.  I started it last year as a gathering for the students in my class and their families, a way to get together and share something I love to do!  We also use this run as a way to bring donations for the local food shelf  Word spread and community members wanted in!  Last year our numbers were at around 80.  This year we had over 100 runners - keep in mind this event is untimed and there is no swag except for the bags of turkey poop for the kids.  People come because they want to have fun and if they burn a few calories before their big meal then that is an extra bonus!!

Highlights of the Gobble Wobble
* Marking the race course at sunrise.  Just me and the geese hanging at the pond.

*  Large crowd = HUGE donations!  My van is filled to the brim and $170 in cash!!!  This makes me HAPPY!  Thank you!!!!

*  Watching from about 50 yards behind as my son took first!!  YAY, Kellen!

*  Running with a 5th grade girl who is an amazing runner - it was so cool to have the opportunity to encourage and coach her!  Ha- she was probably wondering who is this crazy lady????

*  My family and friends pitching in to make sure things ran smoothly while I shmoozed with the crowd.

*  Watching the crowd as I handed out totally corny awards!

*  The friendly Samaritan who brought jumper cables for my dumb van's dead battery!  And then off he went to finish his run!  Thanks!

First place winner got this cool hat!!

Kellen and I after the race

First Place Awards!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ahhh, the Good Life

Days off from school equal a little added craziness to my life!  I refuse to clean my house because as anyone with kids knows the house just becomes a bigger pit when they are home from school!!!

Too early to start baking pumpkin pies and the sale flyers have not come out yet so I can't make a Black Friday Attack Plan.

So what have I been doing??  Well, yesterday I did Body Pump, then ran, took a nap (yay) and then ran trails right before sunset.  Today I swam, ran trails, had lunch with friends, got stuff ready for tomorrow's Gobble Wobble, going back out to trails for a shorty and then kettlebells with a friend. I kinda like this life!

Tomorrow is the Gobble Wobble.  I started this run as a gathering for my students and their families. However, this year it grew and grew and GREW!  I am expecting over 100 people to show up to wobble, walk, gallop or dash!  No timing, no swag, just families gathering before they eat the big meal!  Will post pics tomorrow!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

No Whinin' Allowed!

When I sat down to blog today I was pretty sure I knew what I was going to write about.  It has not been the best day - just one of those days when the mess of the house, the mountains of laundry, and empty cupboards stressed me out.  On top of all that, I made a trip to the mall (10 miles) to buy birthday presents for my soon-to-be adult daughter only to find that that daughter did not return the borrowed credit card to my purse!  AAAARGH!  I was going to whine to ya'll.  But then as I was reflecting on the day I realized those were just small bits of a really great day.  I got to do an early morning swim with my daughter, hit the trails for a quick run with a friend, eliminated the piles of laundry, and "motivated" my kids to get their rooms cleaned.  And to top it off - while grocery shopping I found Angie's Kettlecorn Hollidrizzle Dark Chocolatier Sea Salt popcorn!!!  You MUST try this tasty treat!!!!  I did! ~ Like half the bag in half an hour!!!  Oh yeah - I also went to the local DQ who just happens to be having an end-of the season blowout sale.  Thirty Dilly Bars and 5 Monkey Tails later, I know that I will have some very happy students!!!!  So, today had its moments, but all in all I had a good day!
Just being a dork showing you that I really did eat half the bag!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Switching It Up

I have been messing around with my blog a little bit lately, updating, adding pics, changing fonts, etc.  In this process, I noticed that my blog description said something about "finding out what it takes to be an ultrarunner."  It has been almost a year since I began my journey as an ultrarunner.  I remember waiting with excitement for the race to open up for registration. I loved the commitment to the training, the people I met along the way, and all the things I learned!  What a year it has been!  I am starting to think of ultra-goals for next year and I cannot wait!

Now, if you are reading this post maybe you have looked up at my blog description and have noticed that I have changed it.  Now I am on a journey to become a balanced runner.  I am not entirely sure what that means yet!  Right now I need to get balanced physically.  A year of ultras, a marathon, a couple of half marathons, and a smattering of 10ks have left me a little physically damaged (not saying injured, in denial still :))  So here is my plan for the winter months -

Running - no more than 8 miles 4 x a week
Swimming - 30-45 min 3 x a week
Body Pump - 60 min 3 x  a week

Even though that seems like pretty low mileage compared to last year, I have to believe the cross training is going to make me stronger, more efficient, and maybe even faster.  I am hoping to build upper body strength and balance the running muscles in the legs as well as build core strength.

Anybody else switching it up for the winter months?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Diva Dash

Yesterday I did a great race called the Diva Dash  - it was sponsored by the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA), a women only run!  Those are so much fun!  Great run for a great cause! Event management was Final Stretch - they know how to put on a fantastic race!!  The plan was to cap the race at 1,200 entries, but it was decided to let it go higher.  That was a bit of a concern for me because I hate bottlenecks. It all turned out great though!!  The course was beautiful - we ran mostly on a paved trail, but there were some gravel roads, a floating trail through a marsh, and a wood slat bridge over a lake inlet.  There were a few bummers - it was an out and back course which I usually love, but because of the high number of runners on a narrow path, many of us had to keep stepping off the trail into the mud.  Also, there was a point when the 10Kers converged paths with the 5Kers (many whom were walking) and we had to weave our way through the packs.  But like I said, for the most part it was a truly gorgeous race!
I forgot my watch so just ran by feel. That was ok, but I was really looking forward to a PR and that's hard to do when you don't know what your time is!  Missed a PR by 15 sec.  Oh well - next time!  I did place second in my age category (old) and 16/527 so yes- I am pleased!
After the race - the look on my face makes me wonder exactly what was in those bottles?
This race is known for the great door prizes - Coach purses, Athleta wear, headbands, etc.  I never win door prizes - EVER!  I really have never won!  What's with that? Anyway, it was fun to see the excited ladies.  The best was my sister who won a headband and acted like she won a trip to Hawaii!  Love that girl!
Favorite t-shirt quote "We moved our legs to save your eggs!"

Do you like women only races?
What is the best door prize you have ever won?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Big Woods Race Report

Very quick report - all bullets.  Why quick?  Cuz I am wiped and just wanna sleep!

  • Beautiful course - a little bit of pavement, the rest in the woods
  • Gorgeous weather at first
  • Rainy ending
  • Pushed myself hard and loved the feeling - that feeling of health
  • I was the first place woman finisher!!!
  • I won a....blanket?  I wanted a medal for what will probably be my only first place overall win.  The blanket is cozy and a pretty green!!  Hard to hang on a medal rack though!!
  • Best post-race celebration EVER!!  Soup, bread, and cookies served in a country church!

Friday, October 12, 2012

I am Giddy!

     I get to run in a trail race tomorrow and I am SO EXCITED!!!!!!!  Who cares that we are supposed to have drenching cold rains?  Who cares that my hammie and achilles tendonitis is still present? Who cares that pavement makes up half the distance?  I don't care cuz I get to run a trail race!!!!!  I have not run a trail race since the 50-mile back in May and I AM SO EXCITED!!!  I am going with a friend who discovered the joy of trail this summer.  We are planning on running it together, but I have a feeling I will get my butt kicked.  I get to feel the gravel and dirt under my feet and feel the cool fall air on my face.  I get to skip over rocks and bound over roots and I hope that I fall!  Yes, I hope that I fall because maybe I will get a bit beat up and I will have warrior wounds to show people that I ran a trail race!I AM SO EXCITED!!  Hot soup and cookies will be served after the race in the basement of the local country church and I AM SO EXCITED!!  Hey?  Did I mention that I am excited??

Friday, September 28, 2012

Flippin' Out!

     Do any of you do flips?  A flip is something I learned from one of my really good friends a couple of years ago and it has changed my life!!!  I love flipping~ it keeps me going when things are bad, puts a positive spin on stuff, changes my attitude.  I can flip anywhere, anytime!  Here is the great part - I can teach you how to flip right now and I promise it will change your life, too!!!!  
     A flip is not really a flip in the physical sense, it is more of a mental maneuver.  So here goes - you know that old lady driving exactly 5 4miles per hour ahead of you.  She is making you so mad because you have places to be, people to see and you CAN NOT get around her.  You can feel your blood pressure escalate and expletives are ready to spew forth.  Time for a flip, a new story.  The little old lady has a backseat of freshly baked apples pies in the backseat of her car that she is dropping off at the church bakesale that benefits the pet shelter.  Seriously~ how can you be mad at a lady doing such a nice deed? *FLIP*
     Let's try another one.  That man at the laundrymat butted ahead of you for the next available dryer.  Your clothes need to be dried NOW and you waited your turn and there has to be a system for doing things and people need to STICK TO THE SYTEM!  Time for a flip, a new story.  The young man is proposing to his girlfriend tonight, the one who just got back from serving overseas, and needs his one dress shirt to look nice for the occasion.  Aaaaaaah, I love love! *FLIP*
    Kids who don't hand homework in time? They were spending the evening visiting residents in a nursing home.  *FLIP*
    Coworkers who don't do their share of the work?  They are storing their energy for busier days?  Maybe?  *FLIP*
     OK - I am not really a Pollyanna and don't flip everything. But an occasional flip?  Oh yeah!  Try it, you'll like it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Aaaaah- youth!

     On Wednesday, after a long day of teaching, I headed out for a run.  This was not going to be just any old run- on this day two of my students had decided to join me!  They had been talking it about it for days and they were both looking forward to it.  Secretly, I was a little afraid.  I knew these two boys were fast!!!!!!!!!  And I mean like 6:50 mile fast.  In my head I was preparing myself for a serious butt-kicking from these 5th graders.  It rained all day and I kept checking with the boys to see if they wanted to back out.  "Nope," they assured me.  "We like running in the rain."  "Better check with your moms. They won't want you to get sick."  "Mom says it is fine."
     So Stephen and I started off from school and made our way to the park at which we were to meet Brody.  The park was about 2 miles away, and the plan was to run the fastest mile we could when we got there.  I thought for sure my endurance training would come in handy and MAYBE I would stand a chance against these speedsters. Stephen totally cracked me up - not only did he keep a steady and amusing conversation going, he jumped through every mud puddle, bounded up and over boulders, and zoomed around with airplane arms!!!  He kept that up for the entire 2 miles!!  I kept checking with him to see if he was ok - yep, he was great!!!  The first mile was an 8:15 pace, the second was 7:30!!!!  I was working hard, he was not!
     Brody ran down the block to meet us whooping and hollering!  Aw man!  Boy energy!  I saw the spark in Stephen grow as he met his friend.  Well, there was no backing down.  I offered my watch to the boys because I was pretty sure they would finish the fast mile before me.  They declined, I am pretty sure they were just being polite.  And away we went!  The boys started out like wild banshees!!  laughing, skipping, yelling.  I trailed behind for a while and slowly started gaining ground.  At the half mile mark I told them our split "3:30!"  and then guess what?  I pulled away!!!  I heard one of them say "She blew right by us!"  I was beaming but felt like I should not be!  Should I let them win?  Should I do a faster mile and show them their teacher can really rock it when she needs to?  I kept on going and finished the mile in 6:54.  Whoo hoo!  I stood and cheered for them and secretly inside cheered for myself!!  I did it!  I beat the speediest!  And then I heard Stephen say "I walked with Brody a little bit.  He had a side ache." "Yeah,"  Brody said, "I have asthma."  Oh.  I had to laugh at my cockiness!  It was a great run with great company and I hope they join me again!  Next time they better bring their inhalers!  Ha ha!  And btw- Stephen completed SIX miles with me that day and he was not the least bit winded!  Cool!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Women Rock Marathon 2012

Yesterday I ran the Women Rock Marathon in St. Paul.  Promises of being fed grapes, a fast course, and hot firefighters got me into a race that I really had no business doing.  I signed up for the marathon in May- right after I completed the 50 mile ultra.  I was on a high and thought 26.2 would be fun to do. But a summer of being plagued by all kinds of muscle and tendon problems kept me from training my best. In July I went into what I called "survival mode"- training only every other day.  I had to do that or there was no way I was going to be able to do the run.  I threw out junk miles and only ran tempo runs and long runs.  Well, that plan and a huge amount of rehab got me to race day.  The Wed before the race I went out for a quick 4 miler.  EVERYTHING hurt.  Every ache and pain I had over the summer came back to haunt me.  I sat in the parking lot by myself and cried.  And then at that moment I got a text from a friend that pulled me back from the edge.  She texted "the race clock does not know your story.  Run without your watch."  That is so true.  We, as runners, have highs and lows, we have accomplishments and struggles.  We have things in our lives that we have no control over.  When we toe the starting line, the only person who knows your entire story is you.
Race day was beautiful!  The start of the race was cool with little humidity.  It was so inspirational to be at the race with all the other women runners!!! The course was a lot tougher than I thought it was going  to be.  The hills (and there were many of them) tired me out.  I started out doing really well and I was soooooo happy!  It didn't make sense to me that I was doing as well as I was but I was going with that. I knew I should not start out too fast, but my theory was that since I did not know if my hammie and Achilles would last the whole race that I would run fast while I could. For the first 13 miles I was in 7th place!!!!!!  What a great feeling!  By mile 17 I had been passed by a few runners and then. the. wheels. came. off.  But I don't want to dwell on that.  I did the best I could with what I had for that day and I am pretty proud of that!!!!  I finished with a 3:43 (14 minutes over my PR but so much better than I thought I would do!), 17th out of 237 and 2nd in my age group.  Yeah, that makes me feel proud, but seriously, the thing I am most proud of is that I DID IT!!!!!!  Now to rest...
PS - I did NOT wear a watch!!
After-race celebration with my ladies!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Great River Relay Ragnar 2013!!!!!!!!

Only four more days until we pack up the vans and head east for the beginning of the Great River Relay Ragnar 2013!!!  This is the third year running with this great group of runners - Becky and the Jets!  Those of you who have done a relay race know all about this excitement.  Team uniforms, van decorating, tagging other vans, cheering at the side of the road, night runs, eating on the run, lack of sleep-induced hysteria, poor hygiene- doesn't it all sound wonderful??  IT IS!  CANNOT WAIT!!!!!
Love my team!!!

Have you seen these videos?  They make me laugh!!!  SO true!  "It will be fun!"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Great Alaskan Marathon Cruise!!

I really, really, REALLY want to do the Great Alaskan Marathon Cruise www.gammcruise.com in 2013!!!!  This would be the ideal vacation for me - seeing Alaska has been a goal of mine for a very long time, and I love to run trails.  Put those things together and you have the recipe for a dream come true!  Can you imagine how amazingly gorgeous the scenery would be as you run on the trails through Alaska?  And not only would that be terrific, but you also have the opportunity to run with John Bingham (talented runner and you read his articles in Runner's World) and Jenny Hadfield (accomplished athlete and motivational speaker.)  Running alongside the two of them, receiving tips, and exchanging banter would be "frickin fantastic!"  I can almost smell the salty ocean air, feel the crunch of the vast glaciers underfoot, hear the roar of a grizzly in the distance.....mmmmmmmm. Dreaming....
This scenery makes my heart race!

Why dream? Let's make this a reality!  So I have a couple of things to work out first.

How do I finance the trip?  I have a daughter heading to college that same year.  Spending that kind of money on myself at that time in our lives does not seem wise.  Maybe I should consider putting the cruise off until my kids are done with college which will be in about 13 YEARS!!!!  No, this is an opportunity I do not want to put off.  I want to "live in the moment."  You never know what tomorrow will bring.  So here are some options:
  • find a second job (actually it would be a THIRD job!)
  • ask all my friends, FB friends, blog followers, fellow runners, strangers on the street to send me $1- I might get close to what I need!
  • use a credit card to finance it or a little loan
  • Maybe the cruiseline will let me wash dishes or mop the deck to finance the trip????
Second item - who else wants to go???  I will share a room with you!  I don't need much.  You can have first pick of the side of the closet, I don't snore, and I think I am pretty fun to hang out with.  C'mon fellow bloggers- do you have the itch? Walkers, you don't have to be a runner to do this marathon.  Who is going to join me on this fun-filled adventure?

Have I planted a seed of excitement in your head???  You know you want to do it!!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Toe-tally Fooling People

I know - crazy!  Two posts in two days!  But today's post is related to yesterday's post about summer loves.  WARNING - this post is only for runners or people who have a fetish for ugly feet.  You know what I am talking about - nail-less toes and summer kicks absolutely do not mix!  AND I LOVE MY FLIP FLOPS!!! However,  I have found the perfect disguise for my toes that are deficient in the area of beauty! As a result of my training and running "The Great 50 Mile Run" I lost 5 toenails!  Not sure why- my shoes are plenty big!  I think it was just all the ups and downs of hill training.  I didn't mind it so much when the weather was still cool and I could hide my feet in socks.  But I am like any other summer freak - I like my toes free.  They spend long winters shoved into wool socks and heavy boots. They long to feel the summer sun upon their tips.  A bit poetic, huh?  Once I put on sandals I knew I was opening myself up to shame and ridicule.  My students got a good laugh at the ugliness and enjoyed poking fun at me.  They even made up a few jokes about them!  I tried the strategy of standing with one foot covering the other but that lead to all kinds of questions about balance training.  I needed something new and I am happy to say I came up with it and now am excited to share it with you!
Can you tell which toes are missing nails? Here is the trick - start with dark polish.  I even paint it on my skin to create the illusion of nails. I know many of you already do that.  I did that for a long time too, but I could still tell there was no nail there.  The best trick is to add really glittery nail polish as a top coat.  Mine belongs to my daughter and I think she got it for $1 and Claire's! They sparkle like diamonds!  My toes are so pretty now and I no longer feel the shame of ugly feet! OK- so I probably won't get a contract to be a foot model any time soon, but at least I can walk with the best of them!!
**Four toes on my right foot and one on my left are on their way to a full recovery!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Simplicity

I love summer and the fact that I am a teacher and have the summer off adds a certain sweetness to the steamy days and sultry nights. I have so much freedom and I really love that!  I LOVE. LOVE, LOVE being a teacher and look forward to going back to school - in August. Until then I will continue to do all the things that make me happy!

  • Getting up early to run
  • Or not - I have all day!!
  • Running twice a day if I feel like it
  • Running trails on hot, humid days
  • Hitting the gym for a 4 a.m. workout with a friend who is just as crazy as I am
  • Trying out a kick-ass conditioning class in the middle of the afternoon
  • Lunching with friends
  • Hanging out at the local swimming pool with my kids
  • Dropping the kids off at the pool and getting the afternoon to myself
  • The tanned skin and sun-kissed cheeks of my children in contrast to their sunny smiles
  • Reading, reading, reading - yes, Shades of Grey was first on the list of must-reads!!
  • Reading blogs - I have learned so many cool things from other bloggers!!!
  • Learning  - all kinds of new interests!
  • Coaching a kid's triathlon team
  • Kayaking at the lake
  • Really - everything at the lake!
  • Red sunsets
  • Hot parking lots, hot cars, working A/C
  • Baseball games
This list could keep going!!!  Hope that you are finding your happiness too!!
*FYI - this post does not mean that life is perfect!  Maybe I will reveal my cynical side in the next post!!

Last week a news station out of the Twin Cities did a little segment on trail running. They came to Mankato and interviewed me and a friend.  Really cool!  Here is the link!Trail Running Interview

Friday, June 29, 2012

I'm Back

This post is dedicated to On the Right Track  - thanks for checking up on me!!!

Wow!  I have been gone from the blogging world for a long time!  Just kinda checked out.  I think that after I ran the 50 mile run, I felt a little lost and unfocused and UNINTERESTING!!  I accomplished my goal and then what?  Any of you ever feel that "post-race depression?"  I know all of the things I am supposed to do to kick myself back into gear.  I hooked up with friends, ran new trails, and even decided to train for a marathon.  So why was I still so lost?  Had I trained so long with a goal in mind that I forgot my main purpose for running - ENJOYMENT??  Without a training plan laid out in front of me did I no longer feel like a runner??  WHOA!  I didn't like that feeling!  I have loved running all my life - I needed to find my way back to that.  I loaded some new music onto my i-pod and just took off. I have been running (gasp) without a plan!  My friends ask me to run- sure!  I will do whatever they have planned!  I run hills two days in a row if I want to.  I run speedwork or not.  I kind of like this!  No, actually, I LOVE this!!!  I have been lacing up my running shoes to chase sunsets again.  I have added strength training and other classes into my schedule and not worried how it will affect my running.  And the funny thing is that it is actually made my running better!!!  This is what I have needed!  The joy is back!

A couple of randoms
** I, along with some other trail runners) started a trail race series for the summer.  We call it the Muddy Shoes and Brews Trail Series.  VERY low key, VERY fun!  The local newspaper did a nice article on it.  My kids were impressed "Mom. you made the front page of the sports page!"

**  A news station out of the Twin Cities picked up the story and called to do an interview.  The focus of the news segment is trail running and why the growth in interest. It has not aired yet.  I am little worried how I will sound, but oh well!  All still very cool!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Am A Lucky Duck!

I am so fortunate!
  • I came away from the 50 mile ultra relatively pain free!  My it band is a little tight, but that is ALL!!!! I was walking normally by Tuesday!
  • I have a wonderful family who let me enjoy Mother's Day just laying on the couch.
  • I have fantastic siblings and parents who know how weird I can be and still like to be with me!
  • I have friends who understand me and love me - the good, the bad, and the ugly!!
  • I get to start every school day with my students cheering and applauding for me. It is something they started in Sept. and have continues every day!  Feeding the ego!  :)
  • I have my health, plain and simple and very thankful for that! 
Yup, I am a lucky duck!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ice Age Race Recap

It was a perfect day for a run  The temps at the starting line were in the low 50s and expected to reach mid 70s.  It was a cloudy day, so sunglasses were not needed.  This added to my already growing excitement as I waited for the start to begin. I love the starting lines of trail races - it is usually a very narrow opening that the runners pass through and a man on a ladder with a blow horn of some type. After the starting signal, all 300 some runners need to pass through this area. I think it is so cool that there never seems to be a congestion problem. Ultra runners tend to be so friendly - to get all those people thru the tiny opening takes patience and kindness.  Nobody seems to be in a rush to be the first person out!

Section 1 was on a cross country trail so it was groomed nicely and was very runnable.  I had some moments when I felt like I was running very smoothly and didn't have to worry about footing. I ran with a pretty big crowd at this time and that was fun.  People were happy to give advice and share their stories.  The scenery was amazing - towering pines, flower-filled meadows, and grassy prairies. After about five miles, the crowd thinned.  People were finding their paces.  I ran in a group of about 4.  I really enjoyed this part of the race - everything felt good and I was in a great state mentally.  The Nordic Ski trail continued on for 10 miles.  At one point I was "in the flow" when the trail gods decided to remind me that I needed to pay attention.  They sent up a root and sent my flying into a full somersault!  That hurt!  But I shook myself off, got up, and laughed out loud.  I fall, I always do!  This part of the course was nice, but lots and lots and lots of rolling hills.  I just followed everyone else's lead and walked some of the hills. Very supportive aid stations here.  And of course, it was always fun to come out of the woods and see my sister, the best crewperson ever!  She was always there with a first aid kit and my duffel bag and a smile!!

Section 2 started with a turn onto Confusion Corner and then the Ice Age Trail.  WOW!  What a shift in terrain. It was crazy. Here is how the website describes it "For those of you who like a change in the scenery, trail direction, elevation and grade along with vegetation, the Ice Age Trail delivers.  Expect rocks and roots on steep climbs and descents as you scramble up and over eskers.  Enjoy very runnable stretches through pine forested areas, meadows and by wetlands." There were so many hills, one after another.  It took a lot of mental energy to keep going.  This route was an out and back course. It was so much fun to see the really fast runners coming back as I was going out, and even more fun to cheer on the runners going out when I was coming back.  At this point in the race I was running well and was 8th among the women.  My it bands started hurting a bit at mile 15, but the changing terrain and ibuprofen kept them in check!  I came to halfway point feeling pretty good.  I tried eating, but nothing tasted right.  I made sure that I drank a lot at every aid station - Heed and water and sometimes a "defizzed" pop.  I also started with S-caps at about this point.

Section 3 came along and I started to fall apart.  I fell a second time and this one was just ugly!  A face plant in the dirt, no arms breaking the fall.  Luckily, no blood!  My right hip flexor and hamstring just were not firing.  I felt like I had no pull for getting up hills and going downhill was not any better.  I started getting down during this time, too.  No, a better word would be "crabby!" (or insert a better non - G-rated word!)  I was whiny about the hills, I was tired of picking over rocks, I was hot, and I was feeling a bit exhausted.  A couple of times I even considered taking a DNF.  But then I thought about all the people I would let down (mostly me!) and would keep going.  I decided at that point that when I got into the next aid station at mile 37 I was going to change my shoes, my shirt, and my attitude!  Well, the first two were easy. Changing the attitude was hard.  My heart was still racing and I couldn't get it to calm down.  I spent 10 minutes at this aid station drinking and resting and whining. I told my sister I just could not go back out there.  She kept cheering me on and lying about how great I was doing.  I knew I would go back out, I just really needed extra encouragement.  Well, I slowly walked out of the aid station and began the next out and back - 7 miles!  BEST 7 miles of the whole race.  I felt so strong - my legs were working, my arms were pumping, my breathing was great!!!!  I came into the next aid station and told the volunteers how fun that was.  Only three aid stations to go and I would be done!  6 miles!!!!  At that station I met three men who invited me to finish with them.  They were nice and kept up a great conversation.  Those miles flew by.  At the last aid station I forced myself to answer the call of nature - which I had not done all day. And the guys even waited for me!  (BTW - male ultrarunners are very lucky - they just walk to the edge of the trail to pee, we females have to face the risk of poison ivy and wild animals as we look for a place out of view!)  The last .8 miles was open meadow so we picked up the pace.  The guys encouraged me to go ahead and finish before them.  We all finished within seconds of each other. I owe them a huge thank you for what they did for me the last 6 miles of the run!

  As I came across the finish line I saw my sister.  I ran to her and hugged her and cried. There were so many emotions at that time and crying released them all!!!  She brought me a chair and bags of ice and we watched the other runners. It was such a cool event - all the runners and families milling about, visiting, sharing a beer and a story.  Loved it!
     This was not an easy race by all means and I am very sore today. My quads are tender and my it bands are trashed. Mentally it was even tougher.  That is a long time to stay focused!  One of my friends asked me what I thought of all that time.  You would think I could solve some pretty big problems with all that time to myself.  But here is what I am thinking "Rock, rock, root, hill, rock, root, rock, rock, rock, hill." Will I do it again?  You betcha!  I learned so much about myself and also found out I have a lot to learn.  I will be back!  Oh yeah - thank you to the race director and volunteers that made this race happen!

Well wishes from friends and all the fun FB messages
Pre-race video- I am a dork
Hanging with Rachel and the Piggly Wiggly stop
Getting even with the trash-talking man
Meeting so many wonderfully interesting people
Receiving the belt buckle for completing the race in less than 12 hrs
Coming home to my family and all three kids telling me that they are proud of me!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Eating It All Up!

Today I was telling my students my "fueling plan" for the 50 miles on Saturday.  I think the idea of well-stocked aid stations has convinced a few of them to try out ultras!!  Gummy bears??  Pop??  Pringles??  "Mrs. Brudwick - this is not a day of strenuous running.  This is a PAAAARTAAAAY!" 

Regardless of what my students say I will be eating smart that day!  I plan to start the day at 5 am with a big ole peanut butter sandwich and a granola bar.  I am always very hungry in the morning - and things should settle by the 6 a.m. start.  The rest of the day I plan to eat like a regularly scheduled day - 9 o'clock snack, 11:30 lunch, midafternoon snack, and then I HOPE TO GOD that I am done by suppertime!!  I also plan to eat my sport beans and Honey Stinger Waffles and drink plenty of water.  This should keep me going.  I know that at my last ultra I was very excited about the food at the aid stations, but when I got there I felt like I was stuffing myself just because I could. This time I will listen to my body.  It will be important for me to stay on top of my nutritional needs.  I really don't want to bonk!

Ok- so I LOVE food.  Just think of all the good stuff I will get to eat AFTER I finish!!!  Cookies, Frosty, peanut butter M & Ms, hamburger, potatoes, chicken sandwich, french fries, I am still eating!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012


One week from today I will be packing up my bag and starting my 5 hour drive to Madison< WI for the ICE AGE TRAIL 50!!!!!!!!!!  I have butterflies in my stomach!!!!!

That is not a bad thing - but every time someone asks me the date of the "race" I get a nervous feeling.  When I signed up for this race over 130 days ago I knew this day would eventually come.  I have had 130 days of fun with it. When people ask me about my next race and I tell them it has been fun to watch their reactions as they exclaim "You are going to do WHAT?"  I have loved possessing that little bit of craziness!  But now that the day is almost here I am saying to myself "You are going to do WHAT?????"  I know now that I am crazy!!! 

All is good though - I feel complete peace about the run.  If everything goes well, then fantastic!  If not, if everything falls apart, well then, at least I have beautiful scenery for 50 miles!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Inspired by the Young

Dear 5th Grade Students,

I am watching you take your MCAs right now.  Your pencils are moving, your brows are furrowed, you are thinking so hard.  I am so proud of you- I feel a little emotional.  You have worked very hard this year to continue to be the best that you can be.  You have experienced triumphs and celebrated together. You have had setbacks and helped each other recover.  And now here you are all together on this day proving what you know. I want you to know that whatever score you get on this test that I believe it is only a measure of how you performed on THIS day.  I know how much you have all grown academically - I see it every day.  I see it in your work and I hear it in your conversation.  You make me want to be a better teacher, a better runner, a better person.  I think learning is a lot like preparing for a race.  You have to discover your strengths and work with those. You have to uncover your weaknesses and train harder to overcome those.  You have to feed your brain like a runner feeds her body.  There are days when you just don't feel like giving your best, but you know what?  EVERY day you put forth your best effort because YOU CARE!!!!!!  When I run my 50 miles I will think of each and every one of you and how you worked so hard to achieve.  You inspire me!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Taper Time!!!!!

Today my ticker says 11 days until Ice Age 50!  SO this means I am heading into my taper. I am feeling so good right now!! 

Physically, everything is as it should be and for that I am so grateful!  My left knee has been bothering me off and on for the last month.  It is a weird pain - it will not hurt during a run but will keep me from running the next day.  But guess what?  That is gone!  I am wondering if it is because I am wearing and loving Brooks Pure Flow shoes and/or that I am running more on trails and less on pavement.  I had a great massage on Saturday and Shannon worked out a huge knot in my hamstring.  I made an appt to have it worked on three days before my race.  Can't hurt.  So, I am heading into taper in good condition.

Mentally, I am where I want to be.  I know I can run 50 miles.  I know that I may have to walk. I have visualized every possible thing that can and will happen - best and worst case scenario.  I am mentally tough which is good because I think this distance will be harder in that capacity.

I don't mind taper time.  I don't get worried that I will lose what I have gained (strength) or that I will gain what I have lost (weight.)  My mind does play some tricks on my body though and this happens in every taper.  I get ghost pains.  Anybody else experience that?  All of a sudden my calf will develop cramps or a quad will be tender.  I think it is because I am ultra aware of my body at this time.  Anyway, I am excited to run less this week and next and take the time to get more out of the rest of my life!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name

I think I want a new name.  Many trail runners acquire a nickname as they traverse the wild mud and rocky paths that we love.  I know the name needs to be earned, but I am offering a list of suggestions in case you want to start calling me one.  What about Metta World Peace?  That is a pretty cool moniker!  I like the world.  I like peace!  What?  It is already taken?  Yeah, and didn't he just get fined like a kabillion dollars for elbowing some other tall dude in the head?  C'mon, Mr. Peace- seriously?  Ok, back to the name quest.  I fall every time I am on the trail - never fails!  Day Tripper? Slip? Tumbler?  I have lost four toenails - Hamster Toes? (if you have lost a toenail then you know that is what your toes look like sans nails!)  I am not a fast trail runner, so maybe Slug?  I am always getting lost - I truly think that without my friend who is a great navigator I would still be in a casino in Vegas (and that trip was SIX  years ago!!!)  Maybe the Wanderer? Confusion?  I am poking fun at myself - but I really do like some of the trail names that I have heard out there.  It is so interesting to read the stories behind the names.  Any suggestions?

Oh, by the way - 13 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lucky Me!

I spoil myself rotten~ peanut butter M & Ms, a night with friends with lots of laughter and too much wine, and brand new Brooks Pure Flow running shoes!!  It's been a good week!  We all deserve this, right?
Can't wait to try out my new Brooks PureFlow shoes!

My mileage will go up a bit this week, but still down from my peak weeks.  I have 22 days left until Ice Age. I am not sure if I am ready for this taper yet and am really surprised that according to my plan, the mileage goes down pretty quickly.  Now my longest run is 2 hrs!  I am not ready for that!  I will follow the plan this week because it still calls for a back to back this weekend.  But I think that next weekend I will do a four hour run on Sat.  This will be good for my confidence without overdoing it.  This may be cheating a bit, but that's ok, right?

Friday, April 13, 2012


April 13 - that means that one month from today I will be finished with my very first 50 mile ultramarathon.  That thought gives me a little  panic, a bit of anxiety, and a  whole lotta excitement!!!!!!  I cannot believe that day is so close!  I feel like I have so much more to do to prepare, but at the same time I feel like I have done what I needed to do.  Before I began training for this run, I set some goals.  My biggest goal was to get to race day in a healthy state. The road to that goal has not been easily traveled.  When I think back to all the injuries (and luckily they have been minor) I am surprised I have made it to this point.  Taken down twice by the it band, once by a minor sprain, and the ever present ab mystery.  There were a couple of times when I almost, ALMOST gave up. But I did not and for that I am very proud!  It just proves to me that I can overcome these little setbacks and move forward. I need to remember that on May 12 because if there is one thing I know for sure is that 50 miles is a long way and plenty of time in which muscles can act up, blisters can erupt, and cramps can attack!
Ice Age Trail - Madison, WI  -looks so friendly, doesn't it?

Another goal that I set was to learn how to fuel well.  Um, yeah - I think I learned this lesson very well.  You would think with the big miles I have been running that I would have lost weight. Not so in my case.  I eat so much now and all the time.  But here is the thing with that- I want to make sure that my muscles are well fed, so I think sometimes I go overboard.  Oh well!  So, I have figured out what works for me - Nuun throughout the race, no gels, real food sits best - Granola Thins, pb sandwiches, and Honey Stinger waffles are my tried and trues.  AND the food at aid stations is soooooo good- I can't wait for the gummy bears, Pringles, and flat Mt Dew!!!
**This past week my mileage was 35.  What a wonderful scale back week and just in time!  My muscles and other soft tissues are getting a little crabby.  My long run is tomorrow= 10 miles as a pacer for the MN Pacers Team.  I LOVE pacing!  Always meet so many really cool people!
**No luck wished for the Boston-bound - because luck doesn't play any part in YOUR performance!  You have worked hard and trained well for this race.  No luck, all skill and talent, baby!!