Knee is fine – The "A" Word

My knee has been so much better. Little pain, although funny thing it is still tender when I kneel on it. But other than that it is OK. The Doctor and I agreed that the best thing to do is to get the weight down before I run on the knee. He informed me that there is a small amount of arthritis (the “A” word). He stated that getting the weight down and slowly increase miles would bring the best success.

So I am happy, but a little nervous with the “A” word. Although, I know of many who fight the same thing and seem to be able to continue the running. Again, he said is was a small area and was not overly concerned, just said the weight will make it worse. I have the new countdown times with the date of April 1, 2010. That means I lose 1.7 pounds per week to make the goal!

I have been doing the treadmill, elliptical and bike. I can now do 30 minutes at 15% at a 22 minute mile carrying 3 pound barbells. A few weeks ago 15 minutes, holding onto the treadmill and no weights killed me. So things are going well, but I am going take the advice and hole of on the impact from running until I get the weight down. I am just happy it feels good, unless I kneel down. What an improvement.

Carry on!



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Saturday, November 14, 2009

This was a busy day. Considering this is the last weekend before I have four 25+ hour consecutive weekends of tennis officiating, I did some things to prepare for that busy time period (Like laundry). Mixed into the day would be the UMTR fest and a CD Release Party. One was great and one was disappointing…

The UMTR fest was fun. Great food, great people and great weather. It was a nice festivity with some surprises. It was not a surprise that Helen Lavin won several awards. Just check out her year and it would make any runner envy her success and get inspired. The best part, for me, was the recognition of Wayne Nelson. He won an award, I can not recall the real title, but I will call it Steward of the Year award. (Update – Steve Quick informs me it was The Larry Pederson’s Founder’s Award/ UMTR Trail Person of the Year — Also, forgot to mention my friend Steve got to award himself an award for the second year in a row… Never without an interesting event or thing to say…) The award goes to a person who, without thought, gives a great deal of time and effort to better the UMTR efforts and more. He got a one of a kind award like many awards at the UMTR Awards Night. I love these awards as unlike an award with nice professional print or manufactured, they make them. An award made from the heart using whatever we can find around the place… This type of award has a story… it is unique! For those who know Wayne, you know he will never boast about his great accomplishment. For those who don’t, he is a person we can all learn from and very deserving of the award.

Daryl Saari won the first Gnarly Bandit award. He finished five 100’s this year as well as many other races. Between races, you would see him at an aid station. He and his wife as great supporters on all sides of the sport. I worked an aid station with them once and it was a top quality station because of them… I bet they are just as great to run with… (if I were only fast enough).

There were so many deserving people who were recognized and it was a nice year end celebration. If you did not make it this year or last year, I suggest it for the future. The UMTR does a great job! If you are not a member, why not… $20 is minor fee for all they do…

After the UMTR fest, I went to Bunkers for a CD release party for Pamela McNeil. I had high expectations as her first three CD’s improved each time with Nightingale being one of my favorite CD’s (Right up there with my Springsteen). I really looked forward to the new CD. I was disappointed. Rather than the solid lyrics and music combination that I learned to love, it was more of a home grow in my living room with a keyboard while sulking in bed and writing lyrics CD. I compared it to the Movie Music and Lyrics, only this CD lost Drew Barrymore and something was missing. The night was not a total waste as she did do many of the old tunes with that fabulous voice of hers. If there are any old rockers like me out there, her husband is Dugan McNeill (Do you recall Chameleon from the 1980s’….) Chameleon was one of the first unsigned original bands to produce and manufacture their own albums. They even outsold the Rolling Stones one week, a feat written up in “Rolling Stone” magazine. He plays bass. He can make any concert enjoyable as to me, he is definitely in a class by himself in working the stage and being a top base player in the world! The CD was much less in quality and craftsmanship than I expected…

At the award fest, there was some foods and conversation which required additional thought. One such was homemade energy bars and juicing. I searched the web for an hour this AM and come across one recipe that I will try… (Not sure it is all that great, but sounds good to me!)

Big Sur Power Bar Recipe

If you can’t find the crisp brown rice cereal, no worries – just use regular rice cereal for ex: Rice Crispies – just stay clear of “puffed” rice cereal, it will throw the recipe off. Feel free to substitute other types of nuts, seeds, or whatever little goodies you can dream up.

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or regular butter)
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup (unsweetened) shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal
1 cup brown rice syrup

1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons ground espresso beans
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking pan with the coconut oil. If you like thick power bars, opt for an 8 by 8-inch pan; for thinner bars, use a 9 by 13-inch pan.

On a rimmed baking sheet toast the pecans, almonds, and coconut for about 7 minutes, or until the coconut is deeply golden. Toss once or twice along the way. Mix the oats, toasted nuts, coconut, and the cereal, together in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine the rice syrup, sugar, salt, espresso, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly as it comes to a boil and thickens just a bit, about 4 minutes. Pour the syrup over the oat mixture and stir until it is evenly incorporated.

Spread into the prepared pan and cool to room temperature before cutting into whatever size bars you desire.

Picture used without permission from

I think if i am not able to run a race early next year, I may be a domestic and try some ideas to test out on the runners at an aid station… Best test group in the word.

Carry on…


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Been a while… Random thoughts.

What has been going on? Well, I been busy with a few things. With so many people out of work and me in a very stable position, I almost hate to say I had a job interview in another state. It was a fluke opportunity when I took my son to school and met an old friend who told me about a position which would be a huge move up from where I am now. I am comfortable where I am, but maybe it is time to move on. I am not sure… I am one of 5 finalists so a ways to go.

Then today I read a post from Steve Quick who was upset about lamps. In his words, a rant about something minor. Although it may have been minor, it really brings much of what we have become as a society to a whole new light. (Steve often makes me think, which is not a bad thing.)

It made me think of how 40 years ago someone started working for a great company and spent the entire life at one job. Steve talked about how society is a disposable society with material goods. Made me think of my career. This is the longest I have ever been in one job, 14 years. In total I have had over 12 jobs in 35 years.. Now I am thinking of moving onward again. Nothing like my father or his father. Besides being a material goods disposable society, we really have become a transient society as well.

There was a website which I read often which addresses this issue as well. Patrick Deneen has a blog called what I saw in America. He also has a site called front porch republic. He has a post on the disposable society. Many of his comments make me think. But then again there the other side of the coin, Margaret and Helen...I digress.

But that lack of employee dedication is also caused on the other side. Companies no longer have loyalty to an employee. People have become a commodity dependent on stock performance as well. Is this all wrong? I do not know, just a thought I have had over the past weeks.

I was excited (and for you I-phone users) to find a diet and exercise software I like better than Fit-Day. It is called SparkPeople nutrition. It allows you to track what you eat and get all kinds of nutrition analysis. It is web based with a ap for the i-phone which works great. I can sit in the restaurant and add my food immediately upon eating rather than write it down and enter it later. Really is nice.

I was supposed to go to the Dr. yesterday for the knee but the out of state interview stopped that appointment. So I am hoping next week it all looks fine. I no longer have pain and feels pretty good. Although I think I will do little running until I get my weight down just to minimize impact on the knee. Might be a good idea as the cold is setting in and the days are getting shorter.

The UMTR fest is this Saturday. Looking forward to it but as I wrote in an earlier Blog post my favorite local artist is having a CD release party at Bunkers and I really want to go see her perform. So I will leave at 8 PM and will probably miss some great awards and presentations. These Ultra folks are all just happy and fun to be with!

Hope all is well with everyone. This is my last weekend free until I have four solid weekends of tennis followed by two weekends off then 5 weekends of tennis in a row to kick off the new year. I thought I was going to cut back? Well, tuition is expensive…

I want to close this post, the night before veterans day, to say thanks to all those who risk their lives and the loved ones who live on after the loss of a soldier. I went to Fort Snelling Cemetery and took a few pictures. This one just struck me and thought I would post it here. I could have spent the entire day there… It is much larger than I ever thought it was and really has many many stories to tell.

This post is getting to long. If you hung on this long, I need to add to the post a story… As after I left the cemetery where many people had a life cut short, I thought of and read a favorite story of mine. It is about how we cherish so many things, but we often forget time with friends and loved ones is the most precious. The story goes:

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.”

Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”

“Oh sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said.

“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.

“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said.

“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important… Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time.

The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture… Jack stopped suddenly.

“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.

“The box is gone,” he said.

“What box?” Mom asked.

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,'” Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.

“Mr. Harold Belser” it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.

“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

“Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser.”

“The thing he valued most…was…my time.”

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. “Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.

“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said. “Oh, by the way, Janet… thanks for your time!”

Thanks much for your time my friends… Carry on.


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Surf the Murph aid station report

I did not run surf the murph (with the great weather course, I wish I would have) but I had a blast at the horse aid station. Twelve hours went very quickly with the great smiles and successes I was able to see many friends complete their goals! (Where are the reports guys and gals?)

The day started a little rough to say the least. Les had issues with the trailer which resulted in getting me supplies until after 7 AM. Duke had reached the station before we even started unloading the equipment. Luckily, these lead runners have great support crews and rely little on an aid station so it was not a major issue. That just proves, even the absolute best planning and preparation can throw you a curve.

Then came another surprise. With this flu abound, my two aid station volunteers did not make it. (There were three of us assigned for this location which are actually two stops for the runners.) That in itself (being two aid stations in one place) was funny as when many were on the second (50K) or third loop (50 mile) at the first horse trailer aid station and I said “I will see you one more time” and many freaked out. They did not realize that the other side of the tree was the station they had visited earlier in the day… The expression was priceless… but I did not get a picture. The two volunteers who were unable to make it in the AM did stop by later in the day (husband and wife) and she looked like she needed to be home… I commend her dedication to try but at that time the station was slow (all the marathon and 25 K runner had been through) and I encouraged them to go home an rest and he take care of the wife. I hope she feels better soon!

I can not thank Kurt Neuburger and Caitlin enough who were there to see Carrie Neuburger in the 25K. Kurt was supposed to run but will have surgery soon and was unable to do so. They were a gift from God. Especially Caitlin who is a veteran aid station expert at a young age (Early teens at best). Very mature and deserves many kudo’s. It was also great to see Caitlin do the last 4 miles with Carrie! I bet this was rewarding for both…

Kurt was able to start a very nice fire we kept going all day! It was so welcomes early in the cool hours and later as the sun started to set! I am not a boy scout and would have never got the fire going. I was told he used Vaseline to start the fire? That is a new one…

Mary Knutson ran the 25 K in fine fashion. As the workhorse she came immediately to the Aid Station to help me out. Her stomach did a nasty turn on her and for over an hour she was practically paralyzed in pain. I was so happy she worked through it as the afternoon would have been real long without another person at the station to keep me sane! I forgot to tell her how much I appreciated the company!

Cindy was nice enough to deliver a pizza to us mid-day. It was large and we actually had a few runner who loved the idea of Pizza at the aid station… Not sure I would have survived it but I know they finished strong…

The costumes were cool. A few below but I missed one of the best (the outhouse!). Could only get the camera out when it was slow enough at the station.

A slide show of all pictures I took is below… The link to download is: Sorry I did not get photos of more of the runners! Running an aid station is demanding and I now you understand!

Carry on…


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Sports officiating?

This is a post about my upbringing and sports. My upbringing has really burned some bridges in my life and caused people to be angry with me…. What does that mean?

We are all taught certain values, beliefs and habits by our parents, teachers, friends, employers, and government… In the end, no matter what the influences, we manage to become who we are when all that information is formed together.

There is one hard taught lesson my father emphasized that has really come to light recently. That being my father held a strong belief that if you are going to criticize someone you better have walked I their shoes and if you have anything bad to say about someone, if you can not (and do not) say it to their face, do not say it.

I have lived with this in-bread advice for over 4 decades. It has caused many problems and saved me many times. After I walked in someone shoes, I am far more forgiving of the issues they face. That is why I have done so many times. I had the urge to highly criticize someone but before I did, I “walked in their shoes”. Like organizing a large running event, organizing a tennis tournament, being the director of a youth sports group, coached softball, baseball, tennis, hockey, football, basketball, soccer, and more. I have done so many things as I wanted to walk in their shoes and found when I had, I did not have much to say anymore.

There are so many criticisms I hear… The Doctor makes way to much for what he does, those overpaid government workers have it easy, salesmen are overpaid people who can charm the right person, teachers get overpaid for working 9 months a year, and so on. I recalled a friend complaining how his sister in pharmaceutical made $200,000 in one year and almost flunked out of collage. He said “she must have slept her way there” and I said he really needs to understand that industry before he says things like that! I do not believe all these statements to be true just like many other comments you hear about so many professions. This is because I have not been in their shoes so how would I have any idea?

Why does this come up now? Recently I have had some heated e-mails about baseball umpires and mistakes they made recently. I am not arguing they were not mistakes. What I argue is to criticize so harshly that which has never been experienced by most did cause me to get on the offensive. If you watch ESPN, even John Kroch said there were clear errors, but did not call for them to be fired. So many are calling them idiots and saying they should be fired. Now this is a subject dear to heart and in my dad’s own words, if you have not been in their shoes, do not judge them.

I get offensive, as I have been there. For 7 years I worked hard as a baseball umpire. Actually thought of making it a profession. Then I learned that most umpires are actually business owners, wealthy in some other way or retired from some other profession. You cannot raise a family at that profession. Well, truthful a select few do. Since that time I have become a Tennis Official. I have seen the same thing in this sport as well. I have worked professional events where after travel and other costs, I earned $300 a week for working 10-hour days.

A good friend of mine is a top tennis official. He has done the US Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon and is one of the top officials I know. I recently asked him about incomes. He said he nets about $1000 a month when all is said and done. He has other means of support.

But what hurts me most is the fact the society really does not understand what it is like in that position. No matter what you do you will be hated? Imagine if every aspect of your jobs was played over and over again by the press? You cannot back out of a gig late or risk loss of the nest assignment. Have a sick day and have consequences…

The really good officials (like many old friends and myself who were very highly rated) left baseball to get a job where we have health coverage and a wage we could raise a family. As I said, sure there are those who may make it, just like players. Like in “The Rookie”, the movie about Jimmy Morris and his quest to make it. Almost broke his family. And two years later, he was out of the majors. Point is, in officiating, very few hang on long enough to make it to the golden spot, unless they have another form of income.

So very few solid officials continue, as it is not a stable and thankful job. That makes the pool to select from thin. Just like a few years ago I commented the retail sector really hurt with solid customer service skilled employees. What I heard this is the best applicants they can get… Like I said earlier, have your job, every minute, on film and I bet there would be reasons to be fired if you hold them to that standard for a bonehead mistake, a mistated word to other little issue that is on tape…

So in this life when I look at someone and think they are just idiots. I look in the mirror and think, aren’t we all at times? We just do not have ESPN showing if 20 times a day, place it in the newspapers or debate their job status at the water cooler…

Like I said, been there, done that… whole new perspective…

Carry on.

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Same old complaints….

You have heard this before. My weight is always been an issue for me. I can gain and lose 10 pounds a week. Lately more gains than losses! I have been working out and tracking everything I eat. I have been working out (Cardio) 30-45 minutes a day. I feel so much stronger and the knee hurts very little. I even went 3.1 MPH at a 15% incline for 40 minutes on the hamster wheel… I have been eating 2,200 to 2,700 calories daily. Nutrition has been very balanced. I lift weights in a full routine 2 or 3 times a week.

And I have gained all I lost in the past two weeks (5 pounds) and 3 pounds in addition to where I was 3 weeks ago. WTF is all I can say in a kind way. I am at 268. That is 30 pounds over last October and 65 pounds over my 2006 50 mile weight. I am only 34 pounds before I get to where I peaked in 2005.

Now many may get tired of all this complaining I seem to continue doing. But I am using this blog right now just to vent. It pisses me off… Makes me mad!

I want to go get a great big pail of ice cream I have been avoiding for weeks and eat what makes me happy. But instead I am heading to the gym for the second time today, I will ride the bike for an hour, then go home, eat a 500-700 calorie well balanced dinner (not enjoyable) and pout.

I can only hope that the big increase this AM was caused by water gain from my heavy lifting workout yesterday and tomorrow morning (I weight each AM) I will see a decrease. If not, I will just keep on this same path as I know from experience, losing weight, getting healthy and successfully running an ultra are never always fun! The reward comes from the success that only comes after all the pain, frustration and agony! I need to Carry on!!!! Not let the scale bother me as long as I feel stronger and I am not junking it out!

As I close, I just found out Pamela McNeill is having her CD release party on the same night as the UMTR party (November 14). The party starts at 9 PM at Bunkers so I can attend both, I just will leave UTMR at 8 PM. For those who do not know Pamela McNeill she is quite a accomplished signer/songwriter in the Metro area. I have an old post about her (All you quiet dreamers carry on) and close with her typical closing “Carry on”. If you read that post you know the special meaning that her music has for me as well as the phrase “carry on”. (Just writing this brings a lump to my throat and a tear to the eye. I wonder if I will ever not feel immense pain and sorrow from unexpected deaths?)

Anyway, I also support local musicians when I have a chance. (As long as I like the music.) If anyone likes the music, it should be a great night.

Maybe tomorrow I will break my foot drop kicking the scale? Either way, I need to keep pushing onward and remember to be happy!

Carry on!


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Movin on up…

I really liked the Jefferson’s: the show and the theme song. Recall..

Well we’re movin’ on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin’ on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;
Beans don’t burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin’,
Just to get up that hill.
Now we’re up in the big leagues,
Gettin’ our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it’s you and me baby,
There ain’t nothin wrong with that.

Who does not love this theme song? That theme song has been a favorite of mine as I climb hills in the past and now as I walk the treadmill at 15% inclines. Stupid in a way, but it does increase my spirit. Maybe I can get Carl to write new lyrics for a Superior Trail theme song? He is great with words!

The past few weeks I have been doing at least a mile or 20-30 minutes on the 15% incline of the treadmill. Picking up the pace a little. Did 1.75 in 30 minutes the other day. Just walking, huffing and puffing! It is really a great workout, as long as you do not hold on to the treadmill. Knee has a little stiffness, but I think it is just part of the process and things are getting better.

I recall the first day I tried the 15% incline, it was a little hard as it took 23 minutes to get in the mile. Today I am starting to feel like I could do an hour. I may try that next week. An hour at 15%. Not the animal workouts Adam has been putting in, but I am still happy with them. I ma getting a better understanding of how Diane did most (or all) of her training on the treadmill and walked the ST 100 to finish. I still recall her and I yo-yoing between miles 30-35 with her passing me on the uphills with her awesome walking strength and me passing her on the down hills with my heavy weight being hard to stop on the downhills.

Been reading about many people looking forward to Surf… I am looking forward to seeing them finish a 50. Should be a hoot to volunteer.

I found out my tennis event on the weekend of the UMTR event was cancelled. YIPEE, I GET TO GO. It was nice last year and look forward to it again. Hope many plan to make it out there. Yes that means you Kurt and Carrie… It would be nice to hear Carrie’s half success. Saw she finished, congrats!

Anyway, after not being able to workout and kept movin’ on up the scale (pounds), I have two weeks of regular workouts and am down 5 pounds. Yep, I moving on up… But I hope it leads to the North Side (Superior Trail!)

Carry on!


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