Friday, June 27, 2008

Grandma's Marathon : Bananas!

Part II
I puzzled over what energized us to go scurrying up Lemon Drop Hill .. until I read on someone's blog a mention of....

... Bananas at mile 20! Now I remember!
There was a row of unattended boxes, filled with banana peels.. and one box with left over cut banana halves. And we each grabbed one on the way by.

Today I received a wonderful package in the mail ... an age group award. .. Lovely curved piece of crystal, etched with the Grandma's Marathon logo, date, and award information. Our longest recorded marathon time .. but hurrah ... a treasured award.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Grandma's Marathon

Friday afternoon and we are parked at the DECC. Building at the right (below) is the Great Lakes Aquarium, well worth a visit.
After picking up our race numbers and bags, checking our chips, we toured the expo, stopping now and then to chat with friends and acquaintances. Spectacular clouds were an attraction of the weekend... and we hoped these clouds on Friday afternoon would shade the race course on Saturday. Our Caribou skim milk lattes had carried us through the expo, and then we stopped again at Caribou to fill out 16 ounce Thermoses with skim milk latte for 4am Saturday morning... Then a stop at the Duluth Co-op for a few more lunch things... and up the shore to Brighton Beach on Lake Superior to eat lunch.
Pre-race dinner... Much discussion these days about the best pre-race food. Good visiting with Don's folks in the afternoon, and then our gracious host prepared and cooked this wild-caught Alaska salmon on the grill. We had fresh cooked sweet potatoes and whole grain rice pasta (gluten free) with organic tomato sauce with fresh chopped basil. Marathon Day, and up at pre-dawn 4:00.
Below: dawn.. as we were boarding the North Shore Scenic Railroad train, destination: start line at Two Harbors. As the train pulled out, a sign flashed an ominous 62 degrees. We 2 ran our best marathon in NYC in 2006, when the temperature was mostly in the 50's. Through the reflections on the train window, see the white dome of the Veterans Amphitheater on the right, the Duluth aerial bridge.. just right of center.. and you can just make out the long brown ore ship (white on either end) going out heavy. Oh Joy!! Riding the train is the BEST! Happiness is. Fabulous transportation to the start line: a train ride, free coffee, restrooms until we got off half an hour before the race... at the start line! Getting lined up for the race... slopping on
VANICREAM SPF 35 Sunscreen Sport, Pharmaceutical Specialites, Rochester MN with active ingredients Zinc oxide 8%, Octinoxate 7.5%. (no PABA or oxybenzone)
That stuff really works.. wherever you actually apply it!!!! The North Shore Scenic train (in the shade, below) waits at the start and then slowly chuggs its way back to Duluth, stopping at strategic points to watch the elete runners, and for first class passengers there is full breakfast. A moment of silence for Wesly Ngetich,
winner of the marathon in 2007, murdered in his native Kenya.
The Star Spangled Banner.
And after the starting gun, "Chariots of Fire" ... Sorry folks, but I never tire of that melody, wishing I could say with Eric Liddell, "God made me fast."

And we're off.. runners as far as the eye can see! Clouds! Amazing in their number.. and their random ability to avoid being between us and the sun.
The first three miles were glorious of course... and then miles 4 through 7 were nice marathon pace, followed by a very fast porta potty stop (2 empty portas conveniently side-by-side), and three more pretty satisfactory miles.

Art and Helen have been amateur radio (HAM) communication volumteers for all the years of the marathon, most recently a fixture at mile 7, retired from duty this year. We missed them.

The "60% cloud cover" promised by the weather service never really materialized to our benefit.
We were grateful to a family member and friend who met us curb-side with a cooler of water.. some of which we poured over our heads and the rest we drank or carried with us.
Official water stops had adequate... but NOT cold water and Ultima (which we had tried earlier and didn't care for).
Early water stops had ice.. which we dumped down our backs and tucked in clothes.
Between miles 12 and 18 1/2 the road is bright white reflecting sunshine, hard rocks embedded in concrete, and fairly boring unless you really like trees.. too far from the road to provide shade. This picture does not do justice to the reflected bright heat. When we picked up water from our support people, we also picked up an umbrella, which we took turns using as a sun-parosol on that very bright stretch of road. Must mention the two women who came out with a tray of water cups and proclaimed their support of slower runners. That might have been somewhere around mile 20 .. on London Road.

The official high for the day was 73 at the airport... but we know that a residential thermometer registered
80 degrees .... just 3/4 of a mile from the race course at mile 20.

After mile 20, on London Road where we had shade... but also shelter from the cooling breezes, Sweet Pea started choosing sitting down in the grass and stretching instead of running. "I have to sit down," she said.
A pain in the arch of my foot, just behind the big toe joint, felt like a multiple fracture that would render me unable to walk for the rest of my life.
I have been working out with 10 pound free weights, but muscles across the back of my ribs and the front of my abdomen would not give up their aching.
Finally I said ... we have sat down enough times now...
And we charged up Lemon Drop Hill.
Across the street a motel sign flashed Marathon Runners... 3.9 miles to the finish.
As we were nearing the high point, I had been watching the darkest approaching cloud of the day... and on the down side of the hill.....
A windy 8 minute spotty shower furnished us with a cool drenching, another use for the umbrella (!) which I had intended to ditch, and an excuse to take shelter in a gas station for just a few minutes (in case there might be lightning).
This shot, taken when the rain was about over, does not quite do justice to the downpour. Energized by the thought of actually crossing the finish line, we charged on, met after mile 24 by Faithful Runner Don, who had finished the race. The last 2 miles were easy.
An iced Caribou latte was great post-race refreshment.
Back at Don's folks we put on a turkey curry crock pot, and after snacking for while, we began dinner with one of Runner Dude's Dad's fabulous salads.

Sunday morning at church we were among the marathon finishers who were introduced!

Due to unstable air caused by an approaching weather front from the Dakotas, we were entertained by a marvelous display of cloud formations on our drive home.

Grandma's Marathon: run and finished. See you next year.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Grandma's Marathon Finishers: All 3 of Us!

The day was hot.. but not quite as hot as it has been the last 2 years. Sweet Pea and I got caught in a windy rain downpour, but ducked into a gas station for a few minutes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Comments Welcome

Having some computer problems..
Will be reading, but probably not commenting until the first of next week.
Happy running, You All.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Run in the Forest 5K, etc.

Nice little Saturday 5K fun run on the Chisago County Sun Prairie Trail in Forest Lake, sponsored by Orthopaedic Sports Clinic.

In the afternoon we "doubled our pleasure" by doing 4K in the neighborhood.

Last evening we got some wind and lost a 24 foot spruce tree near the swing set.
You can see pictures of the major wind damage we had last August (a dozen large trees down), if you look at the posts between August 11 and August 20 in 2007.

This morning we all went out for a run in the neighborhood. Sweet Pea and I did a 5K. After we haul branches of the cut up spruce this afternoon, we hope to run another 2 miles in the neighborhood.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In Praise of Scouting

Our empathy and grief is great for the Iowa Scouts and Staff at Little Sioux Scout Ranch, and for Parents and Families... 4 Scouts (early reports say 13-14 year olds) were killed by a tornado yesterday.
(See various media reports.)

Scouting was an important part of our youth...
Don grew up in Duluth MN... scout camp Laury (sp?)
Below... Don's First Class badges and Order of the Arrow sash.. His patch for camp staff (chief scout in the kitchen one summer), etc.

My first class Girl Scout badges are in a box in the back of the attic. Note to self: resist temptation to crawl around in the attic on a hot summer day.
Below are some snaps from Prairie Gold Scout Camp on Lake Okoboji Iowa. Today I have been remembering those 3 years I was there for summer camp... scout camp ... in Iowa.
(You can click on pictures for enlargement.)

1) Me fishing 2) Me in near end of canoe 3) camp grounds
4) Tents 5) Me, second in line of archers 6)Me doing crafts

Be sure to see our previous post (below) about our "double your pleasure" 2-run day!

Taper: 7.3 miles on Gateway...Plus

A couple of mallards on a log:
Don with friend, Randy, came running toward us... fun to meet on the trail.
Two inches of rain overnight.. and the trail was still quite wet.

Daisies are blooming!!!
Sweet Pea spotted this tiny turtle at the edge of the trail. With 2 inches of rain last evening and overnight ... the worms were out!! Breakfast for the robins... or "road kill" under bike tires or running shoes. But we only photographed them.
We are doing pretty well with negative splits; our last mile was the swiftest!

Other trail tallies:
2 dogs being walked
2 children biking with dad
1 very small girl biking with mom or sitter
1 Dear Old Man sweeping the trail with his lawn broom ... Lots of debris on the trail from recent wind and rain.

PS ... July/August "Running Times," page 18 "Double Your Pleasure: Two-A-Days Could Be Your Marathon Secret Weapon" suggests 30-45 minutes for a second run of the day.

YO!! we did another 40 minutes in the neighborhood this afternoon! Toasty 75 degrees and bright blazing sun.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another 8.6 miles on Gateway Trail

Sweet Runner Dude was out there to meet us a couple of times.
I had the creepy feeling the bicycle riders had read my blog! Everyone was so polite today. Nearly everyone warned of their approach.
Not that we really need a warning, I guess, because I never have so much as an elbow over the center line (No yellow line in this picture, but on much of the trail)
But it is unsettling to have bicyles race by, sometimes riding side-by-side.
Some of the cyclists seemed to be here for the big bike race, but many just seemed to be the usual folks.
We saw a young mother roller blading her 2 small tots along in a double stoller.
We saw and heard several loons fly over: a sight I have never seen in the sky.

Sweet Pea and I are so slow that I hate to mention this ... but
we did negative splits again.
About 60 degrees and a light breeze ... a joy to run!!

PS Another blogger who has written to the 5 runner questions:

Monday, June 9, 2008

5 Runner Questions

These are some of the runners who have blogged recently about these questions:

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?

A. I weighed 20 pounds more and had never run.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?

A. BEST: I loved the (12)marathons and (6)half marathons ... wouldn't trade the memory of a single one.
WORST: Even the worst races were good for a story or a joke, and none has been fatal.

3. Why do you run?

A. Because I can ... To prove I'm alive ... To eat the healthy food I want to ... To be with my family runners ... To get medals ... To keep my body strong and my brain working ... To have something to blog about ... To stay alive.

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?

A. I read Runner's World, Running Times and runner's blogs ... lots of good stuff there. Nobody bothers slow old women much with advice. :-)

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.

A. My cell phone ring tone (in my running shorts pocket) is a piano concerto.

If you would like to write about these questions, consider yourself tagged.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

8.6 Miles on Gateway

(Little Elk Creek Church 150th Anniversary was posted last Monday... see below.)

Sweet Pea and I had a great run today on Gateway Trail ... in spite of maybe 60 bicycle riders getting tuned up for the Great River Energy Bicycle Festival that starts Wednesday and finishes in Stillwater MN on next Sunday. . . . . Bicycle Festival

Most of those self-important amateur athletes were oblivious of the safety benefit of giving an "on your left" as they went speeding by.
We stayed particularly alert.

An added delight today was the presence of so many (16-18) children between the ages of 5 and 12 on bicycles ... having a Sunday ride with their parents and friends. We cheered them all as we met them.

July "Runner's World", p.33: "Fast Forward ... Progression runs fine-tune your pacing, boost your fitness, and ramp up your speed."
We ran 4 miles out and 4 miles back. Each mile back was faster than that mile had been on the way out. Our speediest mile was the final one. OK!

Can't believe I went off today without my camera.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

20 Miles on Gateway

Temp in the mid-sixties all day long with a variable breeze 7-10 mph. Heavy overcast: storms were coming. Don was at home watching the radar move in from Sioux Falls.. to Mankato... to the western suburbs, and keeping in touch by cell phone.
We made our long 20 miles before a drop of rain.

These lovely pink wildflowers decked out the hillsides and pond banks. Geese and goslings Sweet Pea especially appreciates the dogs being walked. We could hardly believe this picture when we got home. On the trail, we didn't realize the prize the cat had in its mouth!
This was near a horse stable .... where cats help keep the mouse population down.
I am extremely sensitized to poison ivy ... so I was on the lookout for it: find the shiny 3-leaf plants. poison ivy Honey suckle is lovely this time of year; not so lovely when it's branches are spreading to choke out other plants. There will be a new crop of dandelions!

This is one of those great kid-strollers that can be pulled by a bicycle. It is fun to see the infants and toddlers out.

Several states are having tornado watches, warnings ... and tornados.
We have had at least an inch and a half since 5pm.
It is good to have a long run in.
It is good to be home before the storms.
Week total: 38.3 miles

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


10 mile race on Saturday
8.3 miles on Gateway on Tuesday

For most of the run on Tuesday, it was just a bit misty, cloudy, not unpleasant.
At around mile 6 the trail and the trees ahead of us looked white: it was a wall of pouring rain. We ran into the rain and ran in it for about half a mile.
We wanted to run longer but we were soaked, so we finished our 8.6 and went home for hot popcorn instead.

All sorts of thunderstorms tomorrow. We will try to get a run in, but we aren't optimistic about a long one. We don't run in lightning.

Has anybody else noticed that there are tornado watch boxes somewhere every single day?

Monday, June 2, 2008

150 Year Anniversary

Overarching the chancel are the words, "Let God Be Magnified."
In this place I stood in that traditional Norwegian pulpit and preached the Gospel. At this altar I officiated at Holy Communion, blessed the children and lovingly served the folks who knelt at this railing. I made an unusual number of hospital calls in Eau Claire, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Menomonie. One sweet woman remarked that I ought to have a helicopter! Eighteen years later one man remembered my funeral sermon for his friend. Young people and children witnessed that a woman could be a pastor. For the few short months in 1990 we did ministry together, and I was the interim pastor. This was my fifth of thirteen interims.
Yesterday at the anniversary Sunday morning worship, Pastor Steve Carlson recognized former pastors, lay officers and leaders, Sunday school teachers, a descendant of the founding pastor, and many others in attendance. They invited even the interim pastors back.
Pastor Carlson wrote an amazing compilation of all the past congregational history stories, which was printed and offered free .. with the request of a donation.
The Sunday school children sang an excellent arrangement of "This Little Light of Mine". The combined choir of Little Elk Creek and its sister congregation and also a male quartet sang.
Bishop Duane Pederson brought greetings and assisted with communion.
Pastor Carlson's sermon was a gracious recounting of the history, and a call to continue the ministry.
The organ has been refurbished. The retired organist, whom I had worked with, assisted on this special day.
Catered lunch was served and the crowd flowed out onto the yard... with celebrating people everywhere. At the left side of the picture you can see the keg of root beer, popular with kids of all ages. Delicious home-made yummy bars for dessert.. and in the center of the table... the "white food" for which Scandinavians in the midwest are so famous. When I was there in 1990, I brought Holy Communion at home to the folks who couldn't climb the many stairs to the sanctuary. The artfully designed addition in the forground, making the entire church handicap-accessible, was built and paid for recently. The people in this rural area of Wisconsin are not wealthy, but they take seriously the call, "Let God Be Magnified." They are beneficiaries of those settlers a hundred and fifty years ago who humbly "prayed a church into being."

The benediction I usually used in my interim ministry: "May God bless you. May the peace of God which passes understanding keep your heart and mind in Jesus, the Risen Christ. Amen.