Friday, May 25, 2012


Memorial Day.  A time to honor, reflect, think, and acknowledge those wonderful people who have helped us get where we are today.

Enjoy your weekend and be/play safe.

It will be my first weekend at home (Sat/Sun) in about five weekends. I'll be traveling Monday and will appreciate everyone being sober and awake behind the wheels with your rubber side down.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fabulous food, great hills in Harmony, MN

Saturday The Mike had a bike race with a start/finish in Spring Valley, MN.  For those of you who are Little House on the Prairie fans, you'll probably recognize the name.  I didI watched the show as a kid, but never read the books. I think I need to remedy that!  There are several races occurring this day, the Almanzo 100 named for Laura's hubby, and the Royal 162 (which was 150 miles this year).  In addition, they have added several endurance running events, too. I decided there will be other years to check out the happenings in Spring Valley including the museum (and I've driven around the town in years before) after I read the books, so I headed to Harmony, MN for my run.  

There's a fabulous paved trail from Preston to Harmony that includes several nice hills for a great workout. It's a good 4 feet across and has some coverage with trees and other areas wide open.  I came into town, parked at the Visitor's Center and the trail started just North of this location.  Had a nice chat with the woman at the VC who asked me to be careful out there and I put the VC's number in my phone for her. :-)  I went out for the run about noon--after I put on my sunscreen SPF30 and got all set with the hydration system.  I knew I'd be out for a couple hours at least with the mileage to run and the 20mph plus faster gusts of wind.  The trail is funded by the state. 

View from the Visitor's Center
Harmony, MN

The first part of the trail takes you past a few buildings of yesteryear and a fun little shack with giant hobos made from tree--to honor those of  history who use to "ride the rails" for free.  I'd post a picture, but it'll be so much more fun for you to see them in person the first time!  

FUNgi-s out in the woods. 

Sign near the gravel road before heading back to Harmony.

Then you get out in the open as you run along a gravel road, before it turns into the square mile system.  Nice on a hot summer day, bad on a day with strong wind gusts.  I was surprised with the turns on the trail and this is mainly as I figured the trail was created from a train track that no longer exists. Some turns were more curves, but most were closer to a 90ยบ angle.  I was headed to mile marker 12, to get in the distance.  Towards mile marker 15/14 the trail starts to get a little hilly with the map saying "relatively steep hills in this area".   I looked at this as excellent training for the upcoming Hospital Hill Run in KC, MO. I run on "flatlander" terrain and I'm always doubting my ability. While I did do some walking on the hills, I trudged further up each one than I thought I would when I started each--and that was saying a lot with the wind gusts. 

Plenty of signs to show who has set up the trail. 

When I finished with the run, I discovered my phone was DEAD, so I plugged it into the car, and left the car running while I was able to freshen up/change at the Visitor's Center and then I armed myself with the visitor brochure book and drove down town.  I decided to turn around and found this fabulous restaurant Quarter/quarter Restaurant and Wine Bar

I figured I'd have better luck at this restaurant for a Gluten Free meal than at the fabulous looking mom and pop place on the main street.  I know, I judged a book by its appearance--it's something you tend to do when food has issues with your body! 

The full menu paired with the allergen menu

My fabulous entree of the day, Salmon atop Yukon Gold mashed potatoes (very buttery/creamy naturally if you've never had), asparagus and topped with a glaze and some Tarragon..

It was VERY good. 

The only downside to the meal? They only had one GF dessert and I didn't feel like Gelato. I recommended they make their cheesecake without a crust in the future :-)  Don't know if they'll take me up on it, but the crust is just fat calories that I generally just do without.

The phone was still dead when I came out of the restaurant, so every place I stopped I left the car running to get a charge going.  I intended to stop at the angora goat farm, but it was closed. Instead I stopped at a great Amish farm and purchased a fabulous blue and brown tulip basket and an amazing fly swatter ($7) that I think will last my lifetime---All leather swatter with a metal rod inside the leather handle!!!!

I checked out the furniture store too on the edge of town.  R & J Wood Goods and they have some quite amazing stuff. I think I need to bring The Mike with me back to this neat town to check out all this place has to offer--coat racks and jewelry armoires to dining room tables, buffets, dressers and bed frames and deck furniture too (the latter made from the plastic deck material).  

As I headed out of town I sighted another buggy. It's amazing how people just buzz right past the horse. Sure there's a good paved shoulder there, but I can't believe other drivers don't give them a little more room. . .then again, no one seems to give bicyclists room so I should not be surprised. 

As I headed back into Spring Valley I spied The Mike's cycling kit and was surprised. . . I pulled over to take some pics and realized it was NOT The Mike, but rather another man, Rob.  At the finish, Rob asked how Mike was doing and I said I had no idea as the phone was still dead. Rob let me use his phone to Text The Mike and it was discovered that about the time I was out touring the Amish countryside looking at baskets and canned jelly that he had given up the ride and needed a ride.  EEEK.  The worst feeling in the world for a Cheerleader.  A quick "thank you" to Rob and I was running for the car and dashing to the town for The Mike. Thank goodness he was able to stop at a town with a nice park that included shelter, shade, and electricity. He had to journey to the truck stop for a phone charger as his phone had died too! Oooh, the FUN of technology.  . . . 

[edited to changed didn't to did! in first paragraph]

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Missing my running mojo. . . Running on Offutt

I've been trying to figure out where my running groove has gone. . . the calm and peacefullness I find when I'm out for a run.

See, it's been lost for a while. I was in my groove, did my DC Marathon and then it was like I had bonked and I went for runs and bike rides, but not because I wanted to or needed to,  but because I had to do keep going. Then enter a few weeks ago, I had little sleep each night,  little to no REM sleep and I didn't get any runs in, I barely got yoga in that week.  Okay, I only got one day of yoga in.  It was the same week as my conference, where I was getting organized for that, it was the same week of the Super Moon and full moons knock my sleep pattern off, so I'm sure having a super full moon did the same, only to the nth degree.  I emailed the coach midweek and said, 'this is not happening this week. I need to try to take care of my body as it is, how about we do the same workout next week" and he said, 'okay'.

Enter last week. I did the program but didn't feel all with it.  Friday I went out for a run and felt like I was back in the groove of things.   Drove to the parents' Friday after work, Saturday I didn't get my small run in, though I should have. I got up, dad said he was going to need help moving some farm machinery (i.e. he'd be driving the tractor, but would need someone to move the pickup), and we needed to tidy up the house for my sister and her family (a small child and another young one) so that they wouldn't get things they shouldn't.  Picked up mom from the nursing home and went to the city to pick up my "race packet" for Sunday's event.  [Mom had a heart attack, bypass surgery and then a stroke last year--life has definitely changed! Outings with mom require a lot more planning than before for us].  We met up with my sister in the big city, who flew in from the bigger city. I can't even tell you what we did on Saturday afternoon!  We missed out on an invite to  fire pit fun due to being sooo tired from the day though, so whatever we did it was fun and/or taxing. HA.

No map of the race course. . . which meant hubby wouldn't be able to ride his bike on the course. Turns out, he really wouldn't have anyway.  Only the first and last mile were on city /public property, the other five miles were on the Offutt Air Force Base, Bellvue, Nebraska --public, but not, property.  We had to fork over our ID #s for background checks and have our bib numbers visible at all times while on the base.  

Sunday  we got up just about pre-dawn to drive to the city.  Saw several deer, thankfully none in the immediate path of our vehicle.  Our first thought as we pulled into the parking lot. . . "where are all the cars?"   The parking lot could easily have accommodated about five times the cars parked in it.  Turns out there was LOW entry.  I don't know if I've been to a race with such a low entry in a large metro area. Highest bib number seen by my race friend:  119.  O__O  Say what?    We knew it was Mother's Day, but were still shocked. The race had a cap of 300 on it, but there wasn't even near that many people there, Plus, it was 7 miles and maybe it seemed too much for those who normally run 5Ks?  However, there was a race time limit of 2.5 hours.  [the race story in the link below has bib numbers up to 142 and the says almost 200 people registered].

We started out jogging, and being left in the dust by everyone, that was okay, we jogged the first mile, then walked up and around the hills and next mile or so, then ran/walked on the RUNWAY of a USA Air Force base. . . how cool?!?!?!  Then through /around the shops and the historic old brick homes.  military personnel everywhere, saluting us, getting to run past the huge RECON planes [RC-135] and NO, we were not allowed to get too close. Well, I suppose you could have tried, but the man with the weapon in his hands at the ready pretty much deterred us from getting away from the orange cones we were to follow.

Story link

Having never done a race quite like this, and having not seen my friend in a long time, we decided to just enjoy ourselves for a 'Sunday stroll' and we walked /jogged for a little bit and then about mile 4 we started jogging /slow running constantly. I think the dude in the pickup behind us was quite happy with that ;0)   Then we finished up on base, had our numbers checked off the list and we finished strong, just a few seconds behind the women in front of us who we'd had in our sights for most of the event.   Yup, we were last, but we had fun, we knew that we wouldn't have been last had there been more people there (yeah, I know, we could be full of it too).

At the finish my husband was waiting for us, and apparently so were all the previous finishers.  We're not sure if they were waiting to do the awards until everyone finished, or because the two ladies in front of us were winners in their age group bracket. Either way, we appreciated that things weren't all torn down when we finished, and that there were people waiting at the finish line for the last four finishers!

The rest of the family soon arrived and after cleaning up at the fine facilities available to us, we headed to the 11Worth Cafe on Leavenworth. Great diner, lots of parking, lots of waiting room inside --just not quite enough on Mother's Day, even at 10am!   Fabulous staff made it easy to get mom in her wheelchair to the table and with two little ones in tow.  We attempted to finish the day with a trip to the world famous zoo, but it was packed and we decided we had more fun things than spend it in a place packed.

My four egg All American omelet with hashbrowns--no bread of any sort.
We headed off for Custard/ice cream and then back to the parents' place.  A few minutes to relax and then a drive back to our house for us.  

From El Portal (fabulous local Mexican restaurant --small chain)   pineapple, shrimp, chicken, veggies.

I can say that today, Tuesday, my Running Mojo is back. I felt so fabulous out, even if I was a little sluggish.

Having your [left] foot run over by a metal piece on an electric wheelchair is bound to do that to a person ;-)

Need to find laughter where one can, otherwise anger just weighs down the body and spirit.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


With Tue parents for Mothers day weekend. A much better one than last year, no hospital so far!

Helped tidy the house and then made the pumpkin pie beauty. Who doesn't love a good pie?

7mile fun run Bellevue: we start/end @ the library and run on OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE. How cool..I will be doing it with my sister too.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Soroptimist spring conference.

Today is the first day of my women's group spring conference! Breakfast at the hotel was a made to order omelettes made with butter instead of the normal oil. Then our board meeting. It is my last year as district director! Sad for the position to end, but look forward to attending conference with no pressure, Haha.

Shopping at the mall (Lady's)! And now lunch at Red Lobster. The manager printed out an apprehend menu for us and lunch is blackened cat fish, bake potato and salad. I'm debating on that cheesecake!

The menu is only good for a month as things change. I was disappointed that the nachoa have contaminants via the fryer for the shrimp nachos 'cause those looked awesome!