Straight on Through

Things in my head and now …. not

IRONMAN – Lakeville Minnesota

First bike event of the year and man, I was so ready for it! The Ironman brought in over 4,000 riders!  I had never done a 65 before and with the assistance of my cousin and the loan of his wives road bike (while I was still waiting to find one I liked) I was counting down the days….

My friend Cindy and I arrived In Lakeville on Saturday evening along with Tim and Kari Lake, also from Brainerd.  Tim was also doing the bike event.

The morning of the event we were on the go by 6:45 a.m. – ready to roll… literally.  It was a cool morning of 40 degrees and predicted thunderstorms awaited us as we took off.  The first 23 miles was rain free and a pretty sweet ride.  The area of Lakeville is quite beautiful to ride through; with rolling hills, properties and homes of all sizes and shapes… I enjoyed just taking it all in and was thankful for such a great opportunity to be part of this event.

At the 23 mile mark in Jordan Minnesota we had our first stop.  Riders were treated to fresh fruit such as oranges and bananas, Cliff bars and energy packets, Snickers bars, M & M’s, hot tamales, and trail mix, granola bars, as well as hot coffee and water.

Once back on the road, the rain started.  It came down heavy with thunder and lightening.  For a time, the rain felt like needles as it hit my face.  I started to sense my right shoe filling with water and found it odd that just the one shoe was doing this.  No worries – the left shoe soon followed.  Riding onward with my head down for this stretch (which turned out to be 22 miles) I started to think about all the things I was grateful for on this ride.

1.  The extra pair of winter gloves that I had brought along to cover up my biking gloves.

2.  The winter stocking cap that Justin had left in the Durango that at the last minute I grabbed and put on my head under my bike helmet.

3.  The loan of Farrah’s bike which really handled all the hills well and made me really anticipate purchasing my own road bike (which with the help of the knowledge of Jarrod and Farrah, we found in St Cloud at Erik’s Bike Shop on Monday!)

At this phase in the ride – I started to hum the tune “these are a few of my favorite things”… that list included:  hot chocolate, warm blankets, curling up by a fireplace with a good book, pretty much anything that had to do with warmth.

With my head down out of the wind and rain I had a good eye view of the road and watched as I passed things that riders were losing to the road…. I seen several bike gloves, a hat… and an unopened full size Snickers bar.  For a few delirious moments I considered stopping to get the candy bar.  This quickly led to me thinking that I did not have the energy in my now frozen hands to open the candy bar let alone pick it up.  Perhaps, I could just rip it open with my teeth and eat it off the ground or just lick the chocolate off it…. yeah…  I think my brain was freezing too…

We road through New Prague which was kind of a neat little town and it was fun to ride right through the middle of it.  For someone like me who has never been in this area of Minnesota before I really enjoyed seeing the different towns.

After a very cold and wet stint at mile 45, we stopped in Lonsdale.  All 4 layers that I was wearing were soaked through.  I carefully removed my hands that were now frozen in a grip shape from the bike.  Once inside, I tried to take my gloves off with me teeth with no luck.  I could not use my hands to grip anything and 2 women helped me get my gloves off.  This stop offered delicious hot pasta, however I could not hang on to the fork or stop shaking so eating it took a little time and a lot of energy.

At this point, as I looked around at a room full of people covered in blankets and paramedics were on hand to watch for hypothermia… I made the decision that this was the end of the road for me for the 2009 Ironman.  As much as I wanted to finish what I had come to do… I knew it was not worth the cold, rain, and wind, that awaited the last 20 miles.  Tim joked that we had completed the “Aluminum Man” instead of the Ironman…. and those who dropped off after the first 23 miles had completed the “Plastic Man”.  Kari came and picked us up at this point as the sag buses were full of people who also were stopping at this point.

I was able to capture just a few pictures.  I would have taken more but by mile 45 my camera must have became damp because it refused to take any more pictures.  I would have really liked to have captured how cold everyone was at that 45 mile stop.   (Later at home when my camera dried out – it worked fine).

So overall experience – I may be crazy – but I really enjoyed it.  The area was great, the roads were good and there was plenty to look at as you rode – even if your eyes were on the ground for part of it!  I am already marking it down for next year.

Comments from the Ironman website:

For those of you that joined us – a hearty congratulations and an even heartier THANK YOU for braving the elements and making the 2009 Ironman another successful event. We had over 4000 riders on the road. There were no serious accidents (perhaps a few cases of hypothermia). Despite the weather, riders were upbeat and up for the challenge. To all of you who rode: you earned your bragging rights for the year, whether or not you finished your chosen route. Young and old, 100 milers, 65 milers and 30 milers—we congratulate all of you.

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Insane Moments | 2 Comments

I am a Christian

I don’t care what church you go to (I am thrilled if you have found a Church that fits for you)christian

I believe that Jesus Christ died on that Cross for me

I believe Jesus is still with all of us today and yes, I believe that He speaks to us,and I pray that I for one, am listening for His Words

I believe it doesn’t matter what you wear to Church – its not about that.  Occasionally I will dress up, but that is a personal choice for me.  Seriously – come as you are.

I believe we are here to serve others and use the gifts that God has gave us.  I know we are not saved by deeds.

I believe that prayer is a conversation between you and God.  There is no right or wrong way to pray and there is no memorization…. just talk to Him.

I believe God speaks to us through the Bible as well as through this world.  I know I don’t read the Bible as often as I should.

I believe we are meant to do life together.  Build relationships.  Build each other up.

I believe we are not to judge.  This is not our role.  I try hard to live by that.

I believe it is about a relationship – not religion.

I believe we are put in certain places and in certain circumstances intentionally.  I am often in awe of how things play out in circumstances I would not have chosen for myself.

I don’t believe in falseness, or wearing masks, or acting the part.  I am what I am.  I thank God that I have so many people in my life that I can turn to and be real – always.

I am not perfect – not even close.  I screw up daily.  I don’t always work as hard as I should.  I don’t always help to the level I could.  I tend to like my alone time.  I don’t visit as often as I should.  When overloaded I just shut down and do nothing.

I am a Christian.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | Comments Off on I am a Christian

Monday Mind Dump

  • Last Monday biked the 32 miles to Nisswa and back by way of the Paul Bunyan Trail.  This was a great mileage builder for my April miles and a good practice run for the biking season to come!
  • Monday evening taught the first session of 5 of the Grace Class.  It was good to get back into this study and I love discussing this and love Philip Yancey’s take on Grace.
  • Tuesday busy day in office and then in the evening had book club and the review of The Book Thief.  What a great review!  We had such a great time.  I love Bookies!  Review book here
  • Wednesday another busy day and afternoon work out with Group Power and then helped at Soup Kitchen followed by our small group study.  Crazy crazy busy day.
  • Thursday took a bit of a breather but worked the day in our office prepping for a new hire.  Completed some projects and then went to Karen Downing’s Arbonne party in the evening.
  • Friday – FINALLY!  Al and I had a radio spot on 3WI in the a.m.  I was hoping to bike a bit afterward but really was kind of shot.  I think sinuses had hit a bit witht he weather changes and didn’t work out at all.  Went home and layed low for the day.  I think just too much – the constant commitments really wear me down.
  • Friday evening Al and I ordered pizza and watched Survivor.  My character was voted off.  😦
  • Saturday – working on getting back on track.  Worked out in the morning.  Worked on home projects and house cleaning.  Supported the Buffalo Wild Wings effort for Feed The Children by ordering in the evening.  Al and I watched 7 Pounds.  See review here
  • Sunday – Church.  Al wasn’t feeling well last night so he stayed home.  Afterward worked out a bit and then picked up a few groceries and home.  Shampooed carpets and made a new recipe for dinner (see recipe here) Watched Amazing Race – love that show.  Go Luke!!!
  • This morning got a work out in early and working on updating employee files.  The weather is doing a number on me.  Kind of groggy…
  • I have several books going now…. I have been so busy that I have been picking them up as I can…. I should have many book reviews coming soon – watch for them here

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Just me | Comments Off on Monday Mind Dump

Chcken Pasta with Spinach Sauce

When it comes to meals, our family has had unusual schedules for so many years I dont even remember.  Ever since the kids were able tow rok and drive their schedules went crazy and Al’s hours are usually 5 am to anywhere between 6 pm and 10 pm.

Even now with Brad moved out and Justin busy with work, college, and friends… it is still hard to put a good meal on the table with Al still coming in at anytime – and with my schedule…. we do a lot of simple meals, fast and shelf life friendly.  This weekend for instance, we ordered pizza on Friday and went to Buffalo Wild Wings on Saturday.  Tonight – I wanted to do something healthy and delicious.  Here it is:

1 package of whole wheat pasta

2 to 3 pounds of chicken breast strips (non breaded)

fresh mushrooms

fresh spinach (large bunch)

2 garlic cloves

Olive Oil

Grill the chicken with the mushrooms in a pan on stove.  While grilling, cook the pasta in boiling water with plenty of salt in the water.

While everything is cooking – tear up spinach into little pieces, peel the garlic cloves and add both to a food processor with 4 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.  (I used my Magic Bullet) Puree all.

When pasta is done and rinsed, add to the chicken and mushrooms and then add the purees spinach sauce over the pasta combo and mix.  This is a delicious healthy recipe that we loved!

I served it with fresh steamed broccoli and a side dish of cottage cheese with pears.

April 19, 2009 Posted by | Food Talk | 1 Comment

What is in a week….

Monday up at 6 amshower and go to gymGroup Power at 8:15 ambiked 32 miles on bike trail (Nisswa and back)update my schedule bookwork in Church office early afternoon to get things prepped for Tuesdayfind a book waiting for me in my to do box (Thanks Mark!) – clean up church office and make sure Grace video is ready to go – run errands for Al and work in home officelate afternoon grab lunchprep for Grace Classsweep all floors in houseclean our bathroom6:00 pm teach Grace Class until 8:30 pmhome to watch a little tv with Al before he goes to bedtime to wind down with computer and a little Gilmore Girls , up until 11:30 pmTuesday up at 6:30 amin office by 8 and prep for Staff Meetingbe in staff meeting until 11:30 am work in office and meet with Mark at 1 pmleave office at 3 pmtake a 10 mile bike ride on trailcheck in with Brad to see how things are goingstop at grocery store for a few supplies –  Fold up the laundry and put away – start new load of laundry –home at 4:30 to prep supper for Al and talk to Al – 6:30 Book Club at Matty’shome at 8:30 pmsend out book club email of book for May and where we will meetClean up kitchen – stay up to late reading friends blog posts and catching up on their livesget to bed at midnightWednesday up at 7  am (LATE!)prep a lunch for the office and get in around 8:30 amget the phone call that our book selection is only available in hard cover (we avoid hard covers due to pricing)Call the “Queen of Bookies” (yes, we have one and she’s wonderful!) and ask her what she wants to do about the book – send out a new email with the new book selection info – make arrangements to be in home office most of Thursday to help with new hire set upwork until 2 pmstop in and see Wendy Lane (who is doing well!) and tan at her place 3 pm – hit the gym and take the 4:15 Group Power Class even though I dont want to run home at 5:30 and grab my study book and a quick bite to eatwalk into my bike rack on the back of the Durango and almost give myself a black eyecuss out the bike rack and remove it from the Durango because apparently it is dangerous to even those of us who know it is there –make Al dinner and go to the Soup Kitchen to help out with serving but find I missed it, our small group has already completed it small window of time to refresh for the study7 pm is small group studystop at grocery store after group (9 pm) for cottage cheese and appleshome by 9:30 – wind down with computer and a little reading and cocoa with coffee in itmake a conscious effort to be in bed by 11 pm and actually do itThursday – up at 6 and see that no one is planning to go to coffee group so I dont eitherread devotion while I am getting ready for dayprep to go weigh in and happy with the result home at 9 am and have breakfast and check emailstoaster literally catches fire when I make my fat free crumpet (couldn’t believe it) take toaster to dumpster and make note to pick up a new one –make a plan with Justin to watch Slumdog Millionairre when he gets home from workchat with my cousin on Facebookanswer emailswork in office prepping for new hire and checking employee files for start up of seasonlisten to Pandora Radio and wonder where they come up with some of these songs they think I will like Give a job reference to a friend – Make a plan to visit the Grand Parents on Saturday hopefully – invite Deb to the Dance fundraiser at Renada’s next Friday – clean the office – confirm a hotel for next weekends bike event –late afternoon grab lunch and make a plan to read a little bit as time has been short lately and I have three book reviews due by the first week of May for a companytalk to new employee starting tomorrow –throw in a load of laundry3:30 hit the gym  thanks to a little prodding by my friend Heidi who guessed I was home and into the mint chocolate chip ice cream (how does she know these things?) home at 4:45 to wind down and clean up6:30 Karen’s Spa party at her home so off and running home by 9:30 to watch Survivor with Al, but realize it is too late so it will wait until Friday plan for movie yet tonight with JustinFridayup way early to do the 5:45 am Group Power Class  -as Al and I have a radio conference at 8:30 to 9 am for 3wi radiobike a little afterward to relaxrun errands for Al and pick up a few office needswork in office in afternoon – later afternoon lunch and plan something good for dinnerhoping to have a little reading timejewelry party at Paula’s at 6:30 pm (actually cancel this because I am too much on overdrive to even think straight – so tired out!)where does the week go?Stay home with Al and actually relax a bitSaturday early morning workout at gym and possibly belly dancing class decided it was too cool to bike and had house projects to work on anywaycleaned bathrooms, dishwasher, vacced and shamppoed carpets – dinner with Al at Buffalo Wild Wings to support the Feed the Children effortspossibly a move (Fast and Furious) still on my list to seehome to relax with my hubby after a long weekSunday up early helping at church with the pledge cards – at church at 8 am and probably staying for all 3 services to help outafternoon hang with Chance a bitmaybe the bike trail or wii challengesmake a nice dinner for Al and I and enjoy our evening together catching up and watching Amazing Race together

(I just wanted to see what a week looked like…)

April 16, 2009 Posted by | Insane Moments | 3 Comments

Monday Mind Dump

As glorious weeks go…. this is truly a “good feeling” week.  I must be sensing Spring.

  • Last Monday was a great day to get back on track from my girls weekend in Fargo (and lots of food!).  It was good to get a chance to workout after the weekend.
  • Wednesday became one of those days where you get so overwhelmed and stressed with everything on your plate that in the midst of everything I finally had to say “whoa”… reorganize, prioritize and drop a couple things off my to do list to maintain sanity.  I love that I am aware of my limits and know enough to call them out.
  • Thursday was my weigh in and I was thrilled to be able to weigh in after the “food fest” weekend.  I thought I may need an additional week to recover but weighed in right where I was at the week before.
  • Friday – busy busy day but ended it nicely with dinner out with Al at China Buffet.  YUM!
  • Saturday – took my third belly dancing class.  I am certain I am not learning a thing.  Had supper with Dan and Key and that was fun to hang with them.  Al and I went to the movie Knowing.  See review here…
  • Sunday – EASTER!  AL and I were able to spend time with both of the kids.  We had a wonderful Easter Brunch and in the late afternoon as everyone was busy with their own things, I took my bike out for its maiden 2009 voyage on the bike trail.  See the pics and the story here.  Helped Justin made deviled eggs for his work potluck and Al and I enjoyed a quiet dinner with a game or cribbage and then watched Amazing Race.  (GO LUKE!!!)
  • Monday – bike went out again and this time biked the 32 mile voyage to Nisswa and back on the trail in preparation of the soon to come Ironman event (now less than 2 weeks out!)
  • Tonight I start teaching the 5 week class on Grace.  I am excited to get back into this study.

April 13, 2009 Posted by | Just me | 1 Comment

There’s Something about Biking…..

Easter Sunday and I finally (FINALLY!) pull my bike out of the garage, load it on to the back of the Durango and head for the trail.  I had a small window to work with this afternoon while everyone else had their own agendas… I slipped away to one of my favorite passtimes.

I love the trail.  As I bike I breathe in the fresh air and when I am alone it gives me time to reflect, relax, and even pray.  Some of my best prayer time is when I am biking or rollerblading on the trail.

Todays ride revealed a few things to me….

1.  Doesn’t matter that I have ellipticaled, tread milled, and strength trained myself through the winter months… biking apparently works a whole different set of muscles.

2.  It takes me a little under an hour to casually ride 10 miles at this point.

3.  The trail as of this date, April 12th, 2009… is not entirely clear of snow and ice in some areas making for a few crazy moments throughout today’s ride.

I love it.  I enjoyed the ride and look forward to hopefully many many more miles through the rest of this year and beyond…

April 12, 2009 Posted by | Quest for fitness | 3 Comments

Bike Season Here I Come!


We are here!  My favorite seasons have begun – Spring, Summer, and fall.  And with the outdoors finally turning to a warmer temp, I am excited to get going on biking and rollerblading!   We are currently two weeks out from the first bike tour on my list for 2009, The Minnesota Ironman.  With this knowledge I have to admit that I have yet to take the bike out of the garage yet in 2009.

Today while at the YMCA, I was reading a biking magazine that geared me up for the seasons upon us.  There was an interesting article on smart snacking – which is something I am trying to achieve but still am battling to wrap my head around the fact that what I put in me for food should be good for me and work for the betterment of me.

  • Don’t be so disciplined in what you eat during the day that it backfired at night and you end up stuffing your face with anything within reach.
  • Keep low cal snacks at hand that fill you up:  fresh fruit, vegies, oatmeal, and popcorn.
  • Eating wholegrain cereal with skim milk at night is a combo of fiber ad carbs that will stick with you until breakfast.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep.
  • Pre event nights you should have plenty of low fat or fat free carbs to energize you for the first part of your bike ride.  Items would include – fat free yogurt, low fat milk shakes, 100% fruit juices.
  • Limit consuming fried foods and ice cream – these foods have far more calories than your body needs to meet short term energy goals.  The excess calories are stored in your body as fat.
  • Get your carbs from vegetables and whole grain.  These carbs are slowly released into your bloodstream for longer lasting energy.  Carbs from sweets are rapidly absorbed.
  • Drink or eat a recovery snack within an hour after working out.  Have a protein bar, or yogurt to replenish.
  • Eat smaller meals (4 to 6) rather than 2 or 3.  Eating smaller amounts of food several times a day minimizes excess calories being stored.
  • Get enough omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega 3 boosts a healthy heart.  You can find this in wild salmon (a fav of mine!) flaxseed, and mackeral.  Omega 3 also increases metabolic rate.

I have spent some time with my cousin Jarrod this past week looking at a bike upgrade from my current bike.  While I love my current bike, he is trying to assist me in getting set up for a bike that will handle these longer treks better.  While I love my current bike – it is kind of exciting to explore these new bikes.

I am looking forward to the upcoming Ironman Ride.  Its not to late if anyone wants to sign up and ride along!  We will head up the night before and stay over – ride – and return.


April 11, 2009 Posted by | Quest for fitness | Comments Off on Bike Season Here I Come!

a Honduras Perspective

I love conversing back and forth with my friend Adrienne Cahoon.  She and her husband Dick own Whitely Creek Bed and Breakfast out by the Brainerd Airport.  Dick and Adrienne run a whitely-creek1great business where they go above and beyond with treating their guests to an incredible experience.  They have a fantastic atmosphere, incredible home cooked breakfasts and the guests return again and again.

Adrienne recently sent me an email she had received from a guest she had at the Bed and Breakfast who had recently returned from Honduras.  Adrienne had Annie’s permission for me to share this with all of you and I am glad to do it.

I have to admit that I am a bit behind in my correspondence.  I did return home safe and sound this past Saturday evening (late!) …yikes, it has already been a week? …trust me, I was barely cognizant of my surroundings.
Additionally, my heart has been as weary as my body and I have this heaviness that won’t escape me.  I miss my new friends I left behind.  My thoughts seem to fixate on the whereabouts of my amigas/amigos.  I can’t help but wonder if the spigots are now installed in the village (we were so close!!!!) …I can’t help but wonder what this now means?  How life will change in the village….
My heart is also hurting as I recall the absence of the children’s laughter on the morning we said our good-byes…a village once vibrant with giggles and laughter, was eerily subdued.  Even the men and women of the village did their best to stifle their tears, but I could hear the sadness spread as hugs were passed out and “ya me despido” (I’ve got to say good bye) were whispered.
Please let me take this moment to thank you all.  I am so grateful for your prayers and words of encouragement.
I am still processing, but do have notes I’m willing to share with anyone who is interested…just email me and let me know what you have questions about.
I’ll close with this… just a few thoughts/words I jotted down the other day:
Is God enough for me?
The most favorite part of my day, must be awarded to the breakfast hour.  I love the quiet, still morning air that is only interrupted by the melodic chirping of the robin’s visiting our yard.
Today, I found myself fumbling to make a simple slice of toast.  I needed to provide some nourishment for these weak and weary bones. In doing so, I swore I felt Martina’s warm, gentle hands over mine, making sure I spread to each edge of the slice, the hot apple sauce… her touch was direct, thoughtful, …loving…just as I remembered.
As I slowly navigated to the dining room table, I found a chair and nestled into position.  What usually was a comfortable place for me to ponder the day, returned me to an oddly familiar sit…the wobbly wooden chair barely large enough to hold my weight.  I could smell the dirt from the floor which I slept; dust floating about and under my nose (I can’t breathe!)
…the dusky wooden planked table could be felt under my fingertips.  Lupe’s home.  My mind returned to revisit the breakfast break…reflection, giggles, conversation, FOOD!  “…oh, what will today bring?”
Las Chilcas remains on my skin. I am unable to shake from my thoughts how simple life can be lived.
Though the living conditions are harsh and it’s residence clearly surrounded by nothing, I sit here mentally inventorying the villager’s possessions: an undeniable warmth marked every embrace, seemingly endless joy had no alternative but to escape from their voice, unconditional love and compassion towards each other…and guests.  Impressive.  Peace and contentment was evident with every step taken, with each conversation shared.
Relentlessly grateful to God and generous in their praises and outreach towards one another. I can’t remember a time feeling more humbled or privileged….
(sigh) …sitting here in the comfort of my own home, I am left to ponder the thought: Is God enough for me?

I read Annies thoughts and she takes me back to Honduras… the sights the smells, the feelings of new friendships.  The relationships we build there are bound tightly to me.  Jorge, Marta, Juan Carlos, Jeremy, Antonio, Rita, Maricela, Maribel, Eva, Bryon… the list goes on and on – they are like family.  I can pull them back into my memory by a site or a sound and I miss them when I am away.
Thank you Annie for sharing your thoughts.dsc094622

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | Comments Off on a Honduras Perspective

Striving towards the “good food” day…

In my current interest in not only eating healthy but researching foods that are good for you as well and actually work for you, I have attempted to work towards putting only good foods in my body – at least on the days that I am home and not eating out.egg-white

Today is my first success story since I have worked towards this.

I started out the morning with lowfat oatmeal – 140 calories and with oats and fiber a good choice.

For lunch I had made an egg white omelet with fresh baby spinach and a slice of fat free cheese.  I made it in the morning and took it to the office with me.  I had an apple with it.

Afternoon snack was a banana

Later afternoon snack carrots w/ fat free dip

When I got home for dinner I had a fat free refried bean wrap (low fat high taste and high fiber in the wrap), with salsa, a slice of fat free cheese.  1/2 cup of fiber one cottage cheese and a fiber one vanilla yogurt.  And 6 spears of asparagus (exciting for me as I have not eaten asparagas in abour 25 years and discovered it is really good!)

Late night snack – apple.

I covered grains (oatmeal), dairy (cheese slices and cottage cheese), protein (refried beans), Vegies (asparagus, carrots, spinach) and fruit (apples, banana)

Good day – I think tomorrow I will add my extra asparagas to the egg white omelet and have that again for lunch.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Food Talk | 4 Comments