Thursday, December 29, 2011


Usually by the end of December I have spent time on my trainer.  I have a beauty of a machine to place my steed on.  I figured that I would have had many rides on it. Heck, I fully expected to be on it today, Dec. 29th. However,  It's 60 degrees out.  The trainer is going to have to wait.

Build your beast

Heading out with a perma-grin
I had about 2 hours to work with, so I rode from home to Lake St. Louis.   The sun was shining brightly and the wind is blowing just enough to make it more of a workout.  What a beautiful day God gave me.

He wanted to go in, but settled for a picture

Obligatory holiday shot

I hope you were able to get out and enjoy some of this weather.  Living in MO, you never know from day to day what you will get.  The weekend looks good, low 40's at night and low 60's during the day.  A New Year's Eve hike is being planned...... Stay tuned

Monday, December 26, 2011


I have been around long enough to know that the " best things in life are free ".  Yesterday was Christmas and I opened several  gifts. There was one gift of surprise my husband and daughter had up their sleeve.  They had wanted me to go for a bike ride since I have been too busy all week.  The gift of riding my bike got even sweeter when I saw that my good friend Mary was going to be hitting some gravel about 1pm.  Perfect timing for me.  We have not had a ride together in a super long time.  Our rides together are at races.  And by together I mean we see each other at the beginning and I chase her to the finish.

Our last ride together was along the Katy starting at Research Park ending in St. Charles, about a year ago.  Great 30 mile ride with a beer in the middle.  We found a beer tasting and tried a new beer.  Funny thing was, we could accept samples but could not enjoy an open beer.  What?  We purchased two O Fallon Sticke It To The Man bottles with two brown paper bags.  We enjoyed them hiding behind a building, shielding ourselves from the wind and any possible lawmen.  On our ride back the alcohol took effect and we laughed a lot.  I will never forget that ride.

Last year for Christmas Mary bought me a four pack of Sticke It To The Man.  I have held on to them for a special occasion. That day came yesterday.  Christmas day 2011, I spent riding with an awesome friend.   We rode the Katy to Klondike.  We chatted, caught up on each others lives, rode 18 miles in 1:18, and parted ways by 3pm.  I handed Mary one of those four beers yesterday. I imagine she enjoyed it and reminisced about our ride too.

 O Fallon did not make this beer this year. There will be only two left by the end of this evening.  I will enjoy this beer and remember that day.  Priceless.  The last two we will drink together.  You can't buy that.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The pictures will speak for themselves.  If they don't you should mark your calendar in 2012 and join us.  Team Seagal does this non-ride of JERKS every year.  Check this blog in Dec.  and you will be provided with what we think you should know.  If you are in need of words in an R to X rated version, read this.  YOu have been warned.  Read a cleaner version here. Thanks SuperKate. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Look What some " Jerks " Did

Over the weekend a group of JERKS, actually a term of endearment, got together for a social ride.  It was a wonderful day to socialize, ride bikes, and collect canned goods.  I started collecting at last years ride, which went over very well. This year was also a very generous year and I am pleased to report that I am just shy of 200 items.  A generous soul donated $30 cash , that I will take to the store and purchase more.  Feel good, as many families will be touched by your kindness.  Pat yourself on the back.   You jerks rock, and  I love you all.

2011 Donation

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 

Friday, December 16, 2011

UltraFit 2000 Sports Headphone Review With A Sweet Deal

Last week I told you about the UltraFit 1000 Sports headphones.  This week I want to introduce you to the   UltraFit 2000 on ear headphones.  These are perfect for someone who does not care for ear-buds or in the ear headphones.   They will cover your ear and the headband goes behind your neck, instead on top of your head. Polk uses a 'SecureFit' system, which keeps them  in place and quite comfortably. I wore these for several walks and runs, as well as a couple bike rides.

1. Headphones
2. Protective Case
3. 1 pair of silicone ear pads
4. 2 pair foam ear pads
5. 1 pair cold weather Shearling pads
6. Connection adapter
7. Shirt clip

I was still aware of my surroundings, and could hear beyond the music.  This surprised me since the ear pads covered my ears. The sound quality was just as impressive as the 1000's.  The 2000's come with an attached,  flat 46" long, tangle free audio cable.  Also included is a 3.5mm connector cord that is designed to fit through the small opening of your carrying case.  These headphones come with the same stain-guard and moisture resistant properties as the 1000's.  Punish them.   They can take it.

The orange clips keep them in place

  Looking at these in a photo I thought they would be heavy and cumbersome.  They were neither.  They weigh approximately 2.5 oz.  I did not notice I had them on, even after a couple hours.  These can be used while wearing a helmet.  In fact, you could wrap the cord in the back of your helmet and hook them on to the helmet.  Thanks for the tip Mike.

Helmet fit

  I liked the on ear three button remote and microphone, over the 1000's button being on the audio cable.  Just my preference. I also like the choice of ear pads.   The "cold weather Shearling pads" are a good option to have while braving Missouri winters.

The UltraFit 2000's cost $69.95 and come in black/red and orange/white.  You can still win a pair of these by signing up here .  If you are local, you can stop by Ballwin Cycles and drop your name in the hat. The drawing will be on Dec. 23rd.  Polk audio is also giving you 20% off starting today ( Dec. 16) until Dec. 31st.  Sweet deal at $55.96.

Stay tuned for the 3000's review.  Which are also 20% off.

I was not compensated for this review in any way.  This is my opinion.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pere Marquette Run

I had absolutely no business doing this race. Not that the thought would stop me.  I did not get in on the initial registration, limited to 650 people, since it sold out in under seven hours.  I was hoping the girl with the broken butt would give me hers.  No dice.  I did not utilize the 'wait list', which I should have.  My good friend Mary asked friends and scored an entry for me.  Unfortunately, it was after I did this. The girl with the entry contacted me and said her friend wanted it.  I was alright with that, since I really needed my ankle to heal.  On the last day of transfers, Nov. 30, the girl with the entry contacted me and said I could have it.  With minimal training, ankle still hurting, and never seen the venue, I grabbed the entry.  I knew it would be fun and painful.  Sign me up.

Rock Racing's Chuck and Robin 

Pre-race with the incredible Abby

 I was chauffeured by Mary Piper, with her daughter Abby, to Pere Marquette Lodge for packet pickup.  I received my race number, #522, and then received a vest.  I have so many t-shirts and was stoked to get a glow in the dark safety vest. That vest will keep me alive on the streets of MO.  Thanks Team Godzilla  .

Can you see me now??

I was able to visit with a few friends before the race.  I visited with SuperKate a little too long and missed my wave.  Oh well, I got in the first available, wave 24 of 25.  Don't feel bad for me.  Kate, I enjoyed our chat and don't blame you for anything.  But, next time you want to run with me, just say so.  I hoped I dressed properly for the 26 degree weather.  If I didn't, I was going to pay for it, in one way or another.

SuperKate always smiling ( Patrick Albert)
I had heard about the HILLS.  Not one person described them accurately. You have to experience them for yourself.  I was given a great piece of advice, " pace yourself up the hill, and bomb down it".  I did not get to use this advice since I could not breathe when I got to the top of the hill, which made it very hard to bomb down it.  There were some ridiculous rock stairs to climb, and just when you thought you were at the top of a hill, you realized it wasn't over yet.

Some of the stairs  ( Patrick Albert) 

I had my ankle wrapped and felt pretty confident that I would not re-injury it today.  However, that did not stop me from compensating.  I taxed the right side of my body heavily while dragging the left side through the trail. It was totally worth it. I can't come up with anything to compare this trail to, except when Jim and I bushwacked our way through Chubb  during the '10 Castlewood  8 race.  PM was as beautiful as it was ridiculously hard.   What's funny is.... I like riding hills, running them, not so much.

Says it all  ( Patrick Albert photog)

A funny thing happened at mile 5.  The volunteers had a huge box of chocolate candy, M & M's and my kryptonite.  I reached for the Reeses, popped it in my mouth, started to chew, it's semi-frozen.   I had just passed the last water hand-up and wouldn't get this chocolate down without water.  I bent over and spit it out, apparently a bit violently.  The guy behind me thinks I am throwing up and wants to help.?.  He grabs me around my middle, I freak, and he almost got punched. No worries though.  He wont ever do that again, hee hee.

FAF Laura and Abby with hardware

The amazing Emily

New category because of him.  80 and over

My hero, 71 and still going
I finally crossed the finish line at 1:36:50. Which may be off a bit since I missed my wave.?.   The picture below almost captured the pain.  I was able to breathe normally after a minute or two.  Wow, what a tough trail.  I will be back in 2012.  Who's with me?

Trying to breathe ( Mary Piper)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Recipe for Success

I was very impressed with this entree and wanted to pass it on.  I used the recipe below, minus the chicken. I  added another clove of garlic and more curry   This was my first time eating lentils.  Yum.   I have been missing out on these bad boys all my life.  This meal was both healthy and inexpensive.  The ingredients, minus the chicken, cost around $7.  Jim liked it too and made suggestions on ingredients we could add for next time. As a bonus, my house smelled delicious, and  I used a crock-pot, which means I filled it and forgot it.   If you make this, post your opinion.  Would you add anything? 

Jillian’s Mulligatawny with Shredded Curried Chicken

Serves 4

1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp grated peeled ginger
1 tbsp plus 1/4 tsp curry powder *
Salt and ground black pepper
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
8 oz dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1/4 cup chopped scallion greens for garnish


Place all ingredients into slow cooker on low for 6-7 hours or until vegetables and lentils
are tender and meat is cooked.

* For a less-spicy dish, reduce the amount of curry powder.

*** My crock pot on high took about 5 hours.  The longer it cooked the thicker the stew.  This would be an amazing filling for a burrito, you could add a sweet potato, length-wise on a tortilla and lay the filling on top.

Food doesn't have to be boring to be healthy.  This dish proves it.  Enjoy.

Another recipe I will try this week is here .

Friday, December 9, 2011

Too Good To Pass Up

I grew up in the seventies.  Not hippy -style either.  The sperm donor was in and out of jobs and we lived day to day. I wore second-hand clothing and stood in government "cheese lines", with my mom and Grandma, on the weekends.  I was fully aware, I resided on the wrong side of the tracks.  My parents had to work very hard to provide the essentials; which is shelter, food, and clothing. There were no extras. I received an education in life's harsh realities at a tender age. Being the oldest, I went everywhere to help, either carrying groceries or keeping my siblings in line, whatever was needed.  I knew what our financial status was.  We had none.  It was Christmas time.    There were many heated battles, always about money.  It was hard to remember it was " the most wonderful time of the year" with all the ruckus.

  The Christmas of 1980 was a rough one .  The sperm donor had refused to get a job months prior. There was a decision to sit in the dark and freeze or buy presents for 3 kids.  At age 11 I was forced to digest this and it shaped my life. That Christmas I asked for nothing. I wanted nothing.  I hated Christmas.  I went to bed listening to my mom cry. She was alone, He left after punching a wall.  I laid in my bed on Christmas Eve night, worried he would return and dreading Christmas.

Christmas breakfast was very quiet.  He was there, it was very uncomfortable.  My younger brother and sister were excited about opening their presents, oblivious to what had transpired the night before.  There was a knock at the door.  On our front porch was a HUGE box of presents.  We had no idea that  someone had put our names on the church giving tree.  Our presents bought by people who did not even know us.   That HUGE box changed the tone of the day and  forever changed  how I view Christmas.  I received a pair of Chic jeans { real big in the 80's } a long sleeve plaid shirt, nail polish, cool socks, and a writing pad and pen set.  I will never forget that Christmas.  It's been 30 years and I can recall it like it just happened.  That would explain the waterworks  while I wrote this.

As I said, this experience shaped my thinking about Christmas.  I think of people who have next to nothing, especially around this time of year. Since I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end, I do what I can . Just as my life changed 30 yrs ago, I have the power to keep it going. You can too.    While you are out shopping for your family and friends, grab an extra gift to give to any charity.  You have an opportunity that is too good to pass up.   An amazing feeling of goodness will follow , I guarantee it.

If an extra gift is not in your budget, you could donate the shoes and clothing you no longer wear. Most charities will pick it up right off your doorstep. Bag it up already. That extra coat in your closet, gathering dust, could be keeping a homeless person warm.  You get where I am going.  Times are tough for everyone. BUT, if each of us does one thing, anything, we can change a lot of people's lives at Christmas time.  Isn't that what it's all about anyway???  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

UltraFit 1000 Sports Headphone Review


This original post was written over 18 months ago.  I wanted to let you know these headphones are still going strong. They have been my go to headphones for running and biking.  I have used them in a few half marathons complete with torrential downpours and freezing temps and in extreme heat they should have melted in or at least shorted out from copious amounts of sweat.  Not once did they stutter, short out or struggle. I have been very impressed with them since day one.   Recently, I put them through the washer connected to my ipod. What an expensive accident, right?  When I pulled them from my jersey pocket I was also missing one of the ear pieces. Honestly, I wasn't feeling very lucky that either the heaphones nor the Ipod would be functional.  I crossed my fingers, put the headphones in and turned on the Ipod.  Damn! BOTH items worked! may or may not be as fortunate. I immediately contacted the Polk Audio Customer Service people and they offered to send me two sets of ear pieces, FREE.  Now that's service! ( I ended up finding the ear piece in the dryer the following day, good as new even though it had been through the dryer several times, it did not melt)

 I was forced to use a set of substandard headphones to cut the grass that day.  Never again!  Using those garbage headphones made me realize how good I have it and that I should probably order a backup pair. The sound quality sucked and after a while I yanked them out and listened to the mower, it sounded better than the music. I have never had a pair of headphones this long, especially a pair that has withstood some challenging uses. Life is too short to use crappy headphones. Stop settling. Here's the link if you would like a pair.  

If you are one of those who like to take your music with you while you train or enjoy the outdoors, you will want to check this out.  Nice, huh?  I've had a set of those headphones for three weeks now. No need to be jealous, relax, I will tell you about them and how you can score a pair.   I've used  them running and riding, in good weather and in bad.  I was not bribed or promised anything to review  these headphones. This is my opinion.


 I think the folks at POLK have thought of  nearly everything when it comes to manufacturing headphones.  They were built for the fella that might be a little hard on his stuff, the weekend warrior, the endurance athlete that needs motivation at 3am, for those who sweat,  run in the rain, and those who just play long and hard.  These headphones are fully adjustable, and will fit even the funkiest shaped ear.  The ear wraps are totally flexible and mold to the shape of your ear to give a comfy superior fit.  Polk includes one small, medium, and large silicone ear tip, since all ears are not created equal.

My first test run...  I found my ear tip size, plugged into my Ipod,  clipped my Ipod on the back of my shirt collar, no cables, and was off.  After pounding the pavement for thirty minutes, I found that the 1000's stayed exactly where I put them.  I did not have to readjust, tighten, or loosen them.   Not having any cables bouncing around was cool.  The fit, inside my ear, did not close off the world entirely.  I was able to hear traffic and if someone spoke to me. That point is very important from a safety aspect.

The 1000's promise an " ultra high performance digital sound", and they delivered. The sound quality was like nothing I had ever heard.  I have bought a lot of cheap headphones since my birth.  I am now getting the big picture....  You get what you pay for.  The fit was so comfortable, I forgot they were in my ears on a nine hour journey by bike I took last week.   I have sweated in these and used them in the rain.  The moisture shield did its job.  Plus, they did not fall out. You don't have to worry about your ear tips stinking either. They are odor resistant and washable.

These headphones come with three cable cable lengths, depending on your preference.  I used the short, 14" cable for a run, once.  I did not use the shirt clip, also included, but barely noticed the cable swinging.  It was very light and did not tangle.  I tried the 41" cable, with three-button remote control and microphone while talking on my phone.  Honestly, it's highly possible I will not use these cables again.  I like it Simple. I will store them in the protective zippered bag Polk provided, in case I change my mind.

UltraFit1000 Simple
The UltraFit 1000's run $69.95 but.....
You could WIN a pair for yourself if you go here. There will be three winners in Dec..  If you 'like' Polk Audio on Facebook, you can follow monthly giveaways and learn more about their products.  OR, if you are near Ballwin Cycles, located at 15340 Manchester Rd, stop in to see Mark  and put your name in the hat to win a pair.  Drawing to be held Dec. 23rd.  Hell, do all three and goood luck.

Stay tuned for  the UltraFit 2000 review.  I have a pair of UltraFit 3000 to try, if I can steal them back from my son.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

This past Monday, I was finishing up a blog, minding my own business.  Then, out of nowhere, I am on the floor.  Literally, laying on the floor and clutching the right side of my abdomen.  Not at all how I envisioned starting this week. I decide to ride the roller coaster of pain for a while and see if it works its way out.  By " it " I mean, I have no idea what the heck is bringing me to my knees.  Wave after wave of pain.  Two hours later, Jim comes home for lunch and sees the peril I am in.  He calls my primary Dr., who says "get her to the ER".  I do not want to go, after all, it will be the second time this month.  As the pain increases, I decide to go.

After being scanned, it is confirmed...... Kidney stone.  OK, it could have been worse.  Now, I get an education on kidney stones.  Basically, anyone can get a stone, even kids.  Some people will have them and never know it.  The only time these stones are a problem is when they decide to move out of the bladder.  They travel down a narrow tube, slicing their way through.  As you can see from the picture below, kidney stones can be sharp.

Kidney Stone

My ER Dr. informed me that I have one stone travelling right now.  It may be as painful as child birth as it comes out.  I have named him Kenny.  Kenny the kidney stone.  The Dr. also told me that Kenny has nine siblings.  Yes, you read right, nine.  I feel like a ticking time bomb, but at least I know what is going on now.  I have to catch Kenny and put him in a jar to be tested. At only 3mm small I hope I can see him.

Kenny needs to move out soon.  The medication I am on says no alcohol and I have some holiday parties to attend this weekend. Plus, after this ordeal, I could really use a drink.   I guess I could be a designated driver if he doesn't.

******  Edit******

At approximately 2:02 pm this afternoon, Kenny made his way out of my temple.  He is not as cute as the above picture, but he's mine.  It was painful but quick. When Kenny is ready to speak I will ask him when his siblings will be arriving. I believe calling him out in public did the trick. Now, I am ready for that drink.