Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cynthia Brochman memorial details

Kevin Brochman has posted details about Cindy's memorial service on her caringbridge site.

It will be at Eagle Brook Church in White Bear Lake, on Sunday, January 10, 2010. The visitation will be from 2-3:00 p.m. with the service to follow at 3:00 p.m.

Eagle Brook Church is located at 2401 E. Buffalo Street, just off Hwy 61.

Cindy was diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer just over one year ago. She died on Sunday, December 27, 2009, the sixth wedding anniversary of Cindy and Kevin.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NYT's "The Roving Runner" x5

I'm a little behind on re-posting "The Roving Runner" column by The New York Times writer Brian Fidelman.

So here are the most recent links.

In his September 11, 2009 column, Fidelman is sidelined by a pinched nerve in his neck which manifested itself as the result of a sneeze. He asks readers not to laugh when he reveals his injury but I wasn't laughing. As a life-long allergy sufferer I can relate to sneezing so mightily that you injure yourself. For me it usually affects my lower back.

By September 18, 2009, he's able to run again and files his first non-NYC-based report for The Running Rover. He travels to Chicago, for the first time ever, and writes about his runs along Lake Michigan.

On September 25, 2009, he's back in NYC and explores Staten Island.

This next one is great and very timely. One October 5, 2009, Fidelman invites Christopher McDougall, author of the best-selling book "Born to Run," to join him on a run. Fidelman somewhat reluctantly agrees to try barefoot running on this run. You'll laugh when you read about the 'special equipment' McDougall uses to watch out for things like rocks and broken glass.

And finally, in his latest column on October 16, 2009, Fidelman explores Brooklyn's Prospect Park.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Marathon legends to speak in NYC Oct. 29

A women's marathon dream team will be assembling in New York City later this month.

Marathon greats Grete Waitz, Joan Benoit-Samuelson & Deena Kastor will be the featured speakers at a "Legends of the Marathon" discussion moderated by NYT's columnist and runner Tara Parker-Pope. (The event is at TheTimesCenter in NYC. Tickets are $30.)

What an amazing opportunity for Parker-Pope, who is training to run her first marathon later this year.

Here is the announcement from The New York Times and here is a link to the TimesTalks web page. (Note they mention Waitz, Benoit-Samuelson, Parker-Pope and "special guests." They must not have had Kastor confirmed when they added this to their TimesTalks web site.)

If only I could travel to NYC for this amazing event!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Are you an F.O.C.?

Last month, I was interviewing local Minnesota running community standout Staci Bennett about her Run n Fun racing team teammate, Cindy Brochman, who is battling stomach cancer.

It was for an article called Rock for Broc, the latest installment of my 'Minnesota Running' column in Silent Sports magazine's September issue.

[FYI: 'Rock for Broc' is a phrase rumored to have been coined by Perry Bach of Run n Fun, that has taken on a life of its own for Cindy's fight.]

Bennett and I were discussing the Minnesota running community's reaction to Brochman's diagnosis. Neither of us were surprised at the vast outpouring of support people have shown Brochman since her diagnosis. We attributed it to at least two (of many possible) things: her longevity as a member of this running community and also the fact that everyone who meets Cindy quickly begins to feel they know her. (She loves to tell stories about her life!)

Bennett mentioned that some members of the running community had dubbed these people 'F.O.C.s.'

Excuse me? F.O.C.s? What, may I ask, is an F.O.C.?

Of course an F.O.C. is a ... Friend Of Cindy.

Run n Fun teammates Mercy Ray (left), Brochman & Kristi Larson (right) at Challenge Cancer 5K on June 6, 2009 - Brochman's 44th birthday. [Photo courtesy Gary Westlund, Charities Challenge.]

"We'd be on runs and Cindy would always be telling stories about a friend of hers. Or if someone else was telling a story, Cindy would know the person being mentioned and would note they were a friend of hers," laughed Bennett. "She just knows everybody. We joked about all the people that are 'Friends of Cindy.' 'F.O.C.' was shorter."

I was lucky enough to get the chance to talk to a number of F.O.C.s for the Rock for Broc article in Silent Sports. Everyone has stories to tell about Cindy. Hope you enjoy reading the ones in this article!

Rock for Broc
A Run n Fun team member debuting the 2009 team uniform with the "Rock for Broc" tagline as she climbs up to the Ford Parkway bridge in Saint Paul during the Get in Gear 10K in April 2009. [Photo courtesy Chris Fuller, The Sporting Life.]

Monday, August 31, 2009

Barefoot running?

The only times I've run barefoot (since childhood) have been a couple of sessions of strides on grass after hard workouts (in shoes).

But I've definitely seen people running, even road races (ouch!), sans footwear.

This article in The New York Times explores the increasingly heated debate between shoe manufacturers, physicians and barefoot or minimalist enthusiasts.

Chris has jumped on the minimalist bandwagon, purchasing Vibram FiveFingers and Nike Free shoes, at least as additions to his extensive running shoe collection. [see photo, courtesy of Chris Fuller of The Sporting Life, at left.]

Me? I tend to over cushion my runs, but I'm slowly learning I can step down to less cushion with no adverse reaction to my workouts, recoveries or lower limbs. However, I don't think I'd ever go all the way to bare feet for running on roads.

What do you think?

Friday, August 28, 2009

75 Marathons in 75 Days

In 1996, Terry Hitchcock ran from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. to Atlanta, Ga. to raise awareness about the struggles of single parents.

Before he started his journey, he had never run a day in his life.

That journey is now chronicled in a book, "A Father's Odyssey" and a documentary, "My Run."

This article: "Good in the long run" in the Minneapolis Star Tribune gives more information about Hitchcock, his life and his struggles.

Hitchcock's story is a fascinating one. I'm looking forward to reading the book and seeing the documentary.

You can become a fan of the documentary on facebook and/or follow updates on twitter.

Minnesota readers, note there is a book signing in Uptown Minneapolis at locally-owned, independent book retailer Magers & Quinn on Wednesday, September 2.

I'll be there, will you?

More of NYT's "Roving Runner"

Who wants to go to NYC with me to recreate the Roving Runner's running tours?

This first column is fun for me because writer Brian Fidelman's introduction reminds me of the stories my dad would tell me, when I was young, of how he would ride the bus to County Stadium (Milwaukee, WI) when he was young to watch the Milwaukee Braves.

The Roving Runner: Baseball Nostalgia in the Bronx
I like this second one because it illustrates what I have heard from many people who have lived in NYC. No matter how long you've lived there, there are always many places you've never been. It seems running may be a great way to explore New York City.

The Roving Runner: Roosevelt Island

And this one on running around the U.S. Open (tennis)complex. Fun!

The Roving Runner: A Tennis Tour on Foot

Kristin Armstrong on body image

This is a great article from Runner's World, written by Kristin Armstrong, about young girls, body image and self-esteem.

Read the article here: Runner's World "Mile Markers" column.

This is such an important subject and it was interesting to read the fun activities she led the girls through.

Armstrong was right on point when she contacted Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run for help planning this talk because building self-esteem and self-respect is the mission of Barker's organization.

Fastest 8 year old in Minnesota?

I love this story about J'ianna Cager, an eight-year-old girl from North Saint Paul, who is tearing up the track at local and Junior Olympics meets. Press

Interesting that people are so shocked that a girl from MN can run so fast! Huh?

And the best part is she's doing it because she loves to run (and win!) not because anyone is pushing her.

She'll be fun to watch in the coming years!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

RIP Diane Goulett

I'm sorry to say I didn't even know Diane Goulett was not well until I read this obituary.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

I remember her from some of the earliest Race for the Cure (Twin Cities) races. When I did a quick search of race results for her, I saw that she ran that race in 2003.

The obituary says she stopped running in 2003. RFTC could have been one of her final races.

RIP Diane.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Heather Van Norman takes asst. coaching job with Tennessee

Former Windom, MN high school sprinting standout Heather Van Norman, who won the Class A 100, 200 and 400m every year from 1985 through 1988, is moving her family to Tennessee. [photo courtesy of University of Tennessee.]

Van Norman, an LSU graduate who was a six-time All-American, ran for the Minnesota Gophers her freshman year before transferring to LSU.

She just announced she will be leaving her position as head men's and women's track and cross country coach at Tulane in New Orleans to become the assistant coach for women's sprints and hurdles at the University of Tennessee. (Read the announcement at

Van Norman was the first staff hire for J.J. Clark, Tennessee's Director of Track & Field and Cross Country.

Van Norman had been at Tulane since 2002. Previously she had coached at Georgia Tech and Rice University in Houston.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Track & Field World Championships Preview (plus TV schedule)

USATF released the following preview of the U.S. Team for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin August 15-23, 2009.

The release includes a detailed team roster. Minnesota will be represented by Matt Gabrielson (men's marathon) and Katie McGregor (women's 10,000m), both of Team USA Minnesota; as well as former University of Minnesota standout and 2008 Olympian Shani Marks (women's triple jump).

The TV broadcast schedule is included. Remember the times listed are Eastern time.

MDRA Cross Country Relays begin tonight with notable absences

When race director John Cramer's starter's gun goes off tonight signifying the start of the 36th season of the MDRA Cross Country Relays at Como Park in Saint Paul, there will be two runners notably absent.

As many of you know, Cindy Brochman is currently in Arizona at An Oasis of Healing seeking treatment for her stomach cancer, diagnosed in December 2008. Brochman has been a staple at the Relays for years and will be missed this year. But members of the running community will be thinking of her and will continue to send her their best positive thoughts for healing!

Also missing will be age-group leader Marien Bradsher who recently moved to North Carolina, where she's from orginally. Marien was at the Relays every year since moving here - running or volunteering - or usually both!

I recently interviewed Marien for A Few Words With... Marien Bradsher on the website of The Sporting Life. [Note the TSL editor's use of a winter running photo to remind Marien what she'll be missing!]

The MDRA Cross Country Relays run every Wednesday night throughout August. There is a youth run at 6:30 p.m. and the open race starts at 6:45 p.m. Two-person relays - bring a partner or find one there. Progressive increase in distances over four weeks. No pre-registration is necessary.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"The Roving Runner" from The NYT

I promised I would be watching for this feature and I have!

Below are links to the second and third installments of Brian Fidelman's feature "The Roving Runner" from The New York Times.

His descriptions are great. They make me want to travel to NYC and explore the places he's described. Anyone up for a little running trip?

The Roving Runner: Red Hook

The Roving Runner: A Trip to the Cloisters

Goucher has big plans for her marathon career

Not surprisingly, former Duluth high school running standout Kara Goucher has big hopes and dreams for where she wants her early marathon success to lead her.

One hint: she'd like to claim the American record in the half marathon (1:07:34 set by Deena Kastor in 2006.)

She talked about some of those goals with a reporter from the Chicago Tribune before competing in the inaugural Rock & Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday (August 2.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What to do with all those old shoes?

Funny timing on this one.

I spent last weekend going through a couple of items I had had in storage for awhile. One bag (my high school-branded duffel bag, by the way) contained some interesting items: old running shoes.

To be more specific, it contained my high school spikes and waffle racing flats and my college training flats and spikes.

You should cue Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" here while I explain how much the high school spikes mean to me. I had a lot of great victories in those shoes including state championship races. So I imagine I will keep them forever.

The college shoes are a different story. I was injured throughout my college 'career' and don't hold many fond running-related memories (although I had a blast helping officiate at U of MN meets!)

Perhaps more indicative of my college athletic days were the other items in that bag: the molds made from my feet when the team had orthotics made for me, along with a couple of different types of orthotics. Why the doctor gave me the molds escapes me. Why I kept them is perhaps the greater mystery.

So why do I keep these things? I don't know. But it seems as though I'm not the only one. In fact, I might be unusual in that I've only kept a few pairs of shoes.

Read this article from today's edition of The New York Times to hear about another runner's shoe collection. (It's a short written introduction and then audio - click on "Nicole Hunt, 39.")

I promise I'll post photos of my shoe collection ASAP. How many old pairs of shoes have you kept strictly for nostalgia purposes?

Northland Runner website

I just received a link to the Northland Runner website. Although it's been up since 2005, I had never heard of it before. (Thanks to Chris Fuller at The Sporting Life for letting me know about it.)

The site's developers are compiling information about running and racing in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.

There are some interesting blogs, detailed race information, results, photos and even a Runner of the Month feature.

It's definitely worth clicking on the link and checking out the website.

Healing injured tendons with your own blood or plasma?

Gina Kolata, a columnist for The New York Times, was torn (pun intended) between her dual roles as medical reporter and avid runner when she injured her hamstring on a run last March.

The medical reporter had doubts about a controversial new treatment for injured tendons in which doctors inject either your own blood, or a concentrated version of your own blood called protein-rich plasma (PRP), into your injured tendon to speed healing. (She had read about professional athletes' use of PRP in this article in The New York Times last February.)

However, when push came to shove, the runner in her won out and, earlier this month, she had blood from her arm injected into her hamstring. Read about her experience and her recovery thus far in her NYT column, Personal Best.

Women will appreciate the fact that Kolata describes the procedure as feeling "like menstrual cramps, but in a different place."

Hey, whatever works to get you back out the door running, right?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Coolest running-related statue ever

This past March I took a 'spring training' and work-related trip to Savannah, GA, one of my favorite travel destinations.

In my 10 days there I had a couple of great long runs along the ocean at Tybee Island, ran a fun 5K in historic downtown Savannah (March of Dimes Shamrock Run) and I also tracked down a small lake (Lake Mayer) right in Savannah with a great pedestrian path all around it.

The evening after my race, I drove to Lake Mayer, ran four loops around the lake and was doing a short walking cool down when I first noticed a sign along the path. (Yes, I had run past it on each of my laps and no, I hadn't noticed it before. This keen attention to detail also might explain why I never pursued a career as a roving reporter.)

The sign said "Julie Backus Smith Trail." I made a mental note to try to find out who Julie is/was when I returned to my hotel room and my trusty laptop.

But it was just then I saw the other thing I had missed every lap around the lake.

The coolest running-related statue I have ever seen.

It was a sculpture of Julie, who, as I later ascertained, had died in December 2003. She is described as a community activist and marathoner.

Apparently Lake Mayer was one of her favorite training grounds.

What really struck me about this bronze statue is how life-like it is. The details in things like facial expression, muscles and clothing are just amazing. Plus it was placed on a ramp and it is meant to be approached from both sides by children and adults, according to the this article at

My mind immediately raced to how we should have this type of memorial in Minnesota. There's a long list of possible honorees, but my first thought was, Ron Daws. How cool would it be to have a great statue of the late 1968 Olympic Marathoner along a popular running path in Minnesota?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New 10K this Saturday in Wabasha

The Riverboat Days festival in Wabasha (Saturday, July 25, 2009) has added a 10K race to their schedule. The schedule already included a 5K run and a 5K fitness walk.

Part of the race course takes participants along the Mississippi River. Race day registration starts at 6:45 a.m.

For more information about Riverboat Days click on the calendar link on the home page of the Wabasha Chamber of Commerce website.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nine Team USA MN athletes competing this weekend

Team USA MN athletes will be competing at various events from here to London this weekend. Details on who will run where are available in this news release from Team USA Minnesota.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Two Gopher track & field athletes to be inducted into "M" Club Hall of Fame

This September two former Golden Gopher track & field standouts will be among a class of eight athletes inducted into the University of Minnesota Athletics Department "M" Club Hall of Fame. The following was excerpted from the U of M news release:

Lori (Townsend) Monaghan–Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field
A four-time track NCAA All-American, Lori (Townsend) Monaghan remains one of the best distance runners in Golden Gopher history.

Monaghan captured national acclaim three times in the 5,000 meters, twice at the NCAA Indoor Championships (1994, 1996) and once at the NCAA Outdoor Championships (1995). She added one All-America citation in the indoor 3,000 meters in 1995.

Monaghan finished her Gopher career with school records in all three events and still ranks third in each of those events today. She also competed in cross country, where she collected All-NCAA Region accolades four times.

Not only was Monaghan a star runner, she was also a star in the classroom, earning Academic All-Big Ten honors four times. Finishing her career at Minnesota, Monaghan was named Minnesota Senior Athlete of the Year in 1995-96.

After college she went on to work for a design firm for 13 years. She now lives in New Jersey with her husband, Bruce, and two daughters, Grace & Elizabeth.

Jack DeField–Men’s Track & Field
During the early 1940s no Golden Gopher pole vaulter was more dominant than Jack DeField.

Twice he captured NCAA titles for the pole vault, doing so in 1942 and 1943, making him one of two Gopher trackmen who have won two or more track and field NCAA titles. In fact, he and Bob Finch were the first Gopher track athletes to ever earn All-America honors, doing so in 1942. DeField was a three-time Big Ten outdoor champion in the pole vault and won the Big Ten indoor title in 1942.

With all his success, DeField became Minnesota’s captain in 1942, leading the team to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

After leaving Minnesota, DeField won the pole vault with a mark of 14-0 at the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships. In 2002, DeField was inducted into the Minnesota USATF Hall of Fame.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Japanese marathon pioneer retires at age 81

I really love this story from the BBC.

Eighty-one-year-old Keizo Yamada of Japan, after completing three marathons already this year, has decided to retire from competive running.

Besides running the Tokyo marathon this year, he ran Boston for the 19th time. (He won that race in 1953.) Yamada competed in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.

But this just might be the best part. Although he's retiring from competition, he's going to continue to jog more than 12 miles per day "for fun to stay in shape."

Did I mention he's 81?

Go Yamada!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

New running blog series in NYT

First in a new series in The New York Times, "The Roving Runner" blog is an interesting concept. There's nice description in this article; I almost felt as though I was running with the author. I'm looking forward to subsequent offerings.

Rock for Broc II benefit

Cindy Brochman, a lifelong athlete and member of the Minnesota running (and cross country skiing, triathlon, snowshoe racing & volleyball) community for the past two decades, was diagnosed with stomach cancer 7 months ago. (I took the photo at left of Brochman at last month's Rock for Broc One Mile Fundraising Challenge.)

Brochman's co-workers at Best Buy and Accenture are hosting a fundraiser to help defray some of the cost for her treatment at An Oasis of Healing in Mesa, AZ. This treatment center combines alternative healing with some traditional treatments. Cindy arrived in Mesa on Wednesday, July 15 and plans to be there for six weeks.

The benefit will be Monday, July 27, 2009 from 6-10:00 p.m. at The View restaurant in the Calhoun Beach Club on the northwest side of Lake Calhoun in south Minneapolis.

There will be a $30 charge at the door. Raffle tickets will be available for sale with great prizes including:
– a guitar
– Sony Playstation
– massage gift certificate
– jewelry
– & much more!

Rock for Broc merchandise (pictured above) will be available for purchase:
–T-shirts for $15
–Wrist bands for $5
–Buttons for $3
–Key chains for $5

There will be live music by Eddy and Gnu plus drink and appetizer specials.

The event organizers are still looking for donations of prizes for the raffle drawings. If you can help, or know of someone who can, please contact Kelly Kosin at Best Buy:

To receive the latest updates from Cindy as she continues her fight, sign up to receive updates at her caringbridge site.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Increased protein intake = better training, recovery & energy

I've had a good week so far.

The New York Times has published two different articles this week supporting theories I've had regarding different aspects of my running and training. I'll have more on the second article in a later post but this one was a first-person account from NYT's food writer Mark Bittman.

He's training for the New York City Marathon and, as he increased his weekly mileage, he started experiencing lower energy during runs and general fatigue after. He consulted with a doctor, started keeping a food log and quickly saw great results by simply adding more protein to his diet.

I wrote about this same positive effect in my own running in a May 2007 TJ's Turf column. Again, just as Bittman says, individual results may vary. Only you can determine where your threshold is but for me, I probably doubled the amount of protein I had been getting and felt much better in very short order.

I'd love to hear your stories about protein and running. Comment here or email me:

Duluth-area couple injured in two different bicycling accidents

I seem to be out of the loop on news. I just read this story in the Duluth News-Tribune tonight (thanks to a link in the MiniSkinny newsletter) about Proctor residents and endurance athletes Jeanne & Greg Fleck.

I don't believe I've ever met Greg but Jeanne and I ran some races together for the now-defunct Runners' Edge team a few years ago. I had not heard about their bike accidents.

Yes, I said accidents. Sounds like they either have the worst luck or the best luck, depending on whether you're a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person.

I think many could understand Jeanne's first instinct not to want to get on her bike again after her accident. But good for her (and the encouragement of her husband) for getting back out there.

It seems they're both doing well now and, in fact, Jeanne has some big goals for the coming year.

Here's wishing them both the best of luck in their pursuits and, most importantly, smooth biking.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2007 Carleton grad is true cross-country runner

Quick - what were you doing when you were 24 years old?

If you can't remember, it may be that you weren't doing anything memorable. Or it may be that you were having too much fun and those brain cells are forever gone.

Either way, I'm betting you weren't doing what 2007 Carleton College grad Katie Visco is doing right now.

This young woman is attempting to become the youngest female ever to run across the U.S. (3,200 miles!) Although I just heard about Visco's journey today, she actually started in Boston on March 29 and, by running 18-20 miles per day for 6 days/week, hopes to finish in San Diego in December. Good grief.

Along the way she's trying to raise $32,000 for Girls on the Run, a nationwide program founded by Molly Barker to encourage young women to run and to build self-respect through the sport.

Her journey thus far is captured in today's Chicago Tribune.

Follow Visco's journey on her web site

Monday, July 13, 2009

MDRA unveils updated website

The Minnesota Distance Running Association unveiled a newly-updated website last week filled with tons of information about the Minnesota running community.

USATF-MN summer track meets

USATF-MN has posted the schedule for a series of four track meets to be held throughout the metro this summer. Each meet includes a variety of events (both track and field) and is open to all. Entry forms, dates and locations are available on the USATF-MN website.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Strength in numbers

I had the privilege of taking part in an amazing event last week, the Rock for Broc One Mile Fundraising Challenge. The event was a series of one-mile races on the track at Macalester College. It was organized by Mercy Ray & Pam Weier, Run n Fun women's racing team teammates of the event's honoroee, Cindy Brochman.

Ray & Weier did an amazing job, start to finish. They recruited an astonishing number of volunteers, secured a timing crew and announcing crew, solicited countless items for raffles and drawings and were genial hosts throughout the evening.

But the most remarkable part of the event last week was not the incredible show of community support through volunteers, donations, participants and spectators (although those were all out of this world.)

The most remarkable thing was Brochman herself.

The event was a fundraiser for local standout athlete Brochman (runner, cross country skier, triathlete, volleyball player, snowshoe racer - I know I always forget something).

Since December 2008 she has been locked in a fierce battle against stomach cancer. While conventional medicine has deemed Brochman 'terminal,' no one, especially not Brochman and her family, are taking that lying down.

She has been seeking guidance in her fight from a number of sources - beyond even the loving support of untold numbers of family, friends and even some strangers! She's very eloquently sharing her journey and all the ups and downs of this awful disease through her caringbridge journal.

In some of her dealings with alternative medicine practitioners she has mentioned that they told her she had a very strong body. Many of us know of people who have overcome incredible odds in life based on three factors: positive attitude, fighting spirit and the fact that they are athletes. (Lance Armstrong anyone?)

I had a couple of different people come up to me (I was the bossy woman down on the track) to ask me to point out Brochman to them. At least two people said, are you sure? She doesn't look sick. Look at her legs!

And yes, she did look amazing. Her legs are the strong legs of a lifelong athlete. She just looked great. But it wasn't until the last participant had crossed the finish line, we had cleaned up our finish chute and many of the people had gone home, that I finally had a chance to talk to Brochman.

She had mentioned a few times in her journal over the months that she wanted and needed hugs. I was eager to comply but had to patiently wait my turn all evening as there were always groups of people around Brochman. Ray & Weier should have sold tickets for hugs. Now that would have been a huge fundraiser!

After we hugged she grabbed onto my wrist while we talked. I was struck by the strength of that simple gesture. She didn't let go and I was just thinking, 'This woman is sick? She feels stronger than I do!'

It's that strength that is going to get her through this awful fight. She'll also continue to be cheered on with the strength of her amazing family, friends and entire support network. We're all sending her positive vibes and healing thoughts.

The strengh at the track last week was palpable. And, thankfully, the biggest part of it was coming from Brochman herself.

Where you at Rock for Broc? Did you feel the strength?

Tri for Life

There was a bittersweet story in the Minneapolis StarTribune today. Three surviving brothers of a 20-year-old heart donor are going to be competing with three of the children of the 50-year-old heart transplant recipient in tomorrow's Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minnesota.

The description of the first meeting between the two families was poignant. The visual of the donor's mother coming up to the recipient, hugging him and then putting her head to his chest to feel and hear her son's heart beating, brought me to tears. Amazing story.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gopher runner candidate for prestigious national award

Ladia Albertson-Junkans, a University of Minnesota cross country and track athlete, is the Big Ten Conference’s nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

According to a University of Minnesota Athletics Department news release, "Each Big Ten institution names a nominee for the award to the Big Ten, which then determines the student-athlete who is the most deserving candidate for the Conference to support as the Award moves to the national level to compete against the nominees from the various divisions of the NCAA."

Read all the details in this release.

Epilepsy, lobectomy = elite world ultra-runner?

Diane Van Deren's story is nothing short of amazing. In this well-written article in The New York Times, Van Deren tells her story of overcoming epilepsy by having a small part of her brain removed. The epilepsy is gone, but many side effects of the surgery have left her with new challenges she is learning to overcome.

Elite athlete without a coach

Interesting Q&A from The New York Times about elite marathoner Hendrick Ramaala of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Grandma's Marathon 2010 registration

Although it feels like the 2009 Grandma's just happened - wait, it did - registration opens for 2010 on July 13. For the first time ever the event is offering an early-bird discount ($10 off if you register by Sept. 7). The race is Saturday, June 19, 2010.

More information is available on the Grandma's Marathon website.

My guess is that this is in response to the fact that Grandma's did not fill this year. We'll see if getting a super-early start on registration helps their 2010 numbers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rock for Broc

I'm very excited about this coming Tuesday evening (June 30). Mercy Ray and some other members of the Minnesota running community are hosting the Rock for Broc Fundraising Challenge. It's a series of one-mile track races (plus some shorter distances for the kids).

I'd love to run a race, but I've decided I'm in better shape to volunteer. It should be great fun for all participants, spectators and volunteers!

Proceeds from the race entries, raffle tickets (with some great prizes!), bracelets and buttons will go towards supporting local runner (and snowshoe racer/cross-country skiier/triathlete/volleyball player...what else am I forgetting?) Cindy Brochman as she battles cancer.

Details about the mile events are available in a printable pdf here: Rock for Broc entry form & schedule. More details about some of the other actvities are here: A Few Words With... Mercy Ray.

Be sure to bring extra money to buy raffle tickets, bracelets and buttons. See you out there!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sidewalk sprinkling season in Saint Paul

Ahh.. spring in Minnesota. The lilacs have come and (almost) gone, I wake up to lovely chirping songbirds every morning, there are more puppies and bunnies running around than I can count on a run, and.... it's time to start tripping, dodging and generally avoiding the lawn sprinklers.

I don't mind them quite as much in the heat of July and August. But starting mid-May - when the weather still swings widely between late winter and early summer temps and conditons - I really am in no mood to get doused.

I'll say it again: when you live in a city you don't own the sidewalk in front of your house. Even if you really whine. And there are now really fancy sprinklers that are directional. You don't have to water your entire front lawn at once.

But the absolute worst offenders are the ones who put the sprinkler right smack dab in the middle of the aforementioned sidewalk. It's even better when it's a house on a corner lot and you turn the corner as a poor, unsuspecting pedestrian and run right into not only an unwelcome stream of water but a deliberate impediment to your progression. One of these days I'm going to break an ankle.

Please be aware of the world around you. Be kind when you water your lawns, knowing that people still want and need to use the sidewalk while you're watering.

Friday, May 22, 2009

How did I get this far?

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would have not only completed 6 half marathons by now but that I would actually look forward to runs over 10 miles, I probably would have told you you were crazy.

A decade ago, I considered 10 miles a really, really long run. The longest race I had run was a 4 mile race, but that was only once. Mostly I considered myself a 5K runner (and that was a stretch in 1992 when I ran my first one, but that's a story for another day.)

However, once I actually started to train for longer distances I was shocked by how quickly my body adapted. (I ran my first half marathon in January 2001. I didn't run my first 10K until that April.)

I knew something had changed in me the day I was on a long run, completed 1 hour of the run and thought, "Great! Only one hour to go!" Whaaaaat?

And again today, as I was updating my status on facebook (again, a sequence of words I didn't think I'd ever type) I wrote two phrases "Looking forward to my long run." "Only 10 miles."

How times change. All for the better.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Weather or not...

I'm generally fascinated by people's obsession with weather. On a positive note, as long as you have changes in weather, you've always got something to talk about with strangers. However, over my many decades living in the midwest I've often been annoyed by people complaining about the weather. If you hate snow and cold - why do you live in the midwest? However, this spring I've found myself obsessing about the weather more than usual.

First the wind. Strange thing to complain about - but it's been really windy! And given that I've had a mysterious case of overly dry eyes for almost a year now, running, walking, inline skating or biking out in the wind is even less fun than usual because if the slightest particle gets in my eye, it's seriously painful. But it's been really windy - not just breezy. Running across our many great bridges I've often felt as though I might be blown right into the river. Or into traffic.

Then there have been the weather fluctuations. Thunderstorms one day, unseasonably cold the next. This past Saturday I was alternating between freezing and overheating on my long run. I usually dress fairly appropriately and don't complain about being too cold or too hot. But for this spring weather, it's been difficult to get it right. But then wait two days - literally - and it's 80 degrees. It's just a little difficult to keep up.

But I'll adjust. We all will.

Hey, hot enough for you?