Sunday, August 23, 2009


Busy week and weekend here at the PuddleThumper homestead. We are desperately trying to get exterior window trim scraped and cleared of paint and old glazing. This requires working around 85 year old leaded single-pane windows. Fun stuff! Gotta love lead dust.

It's been a busy running week too. I finally hit 40 miles per week again after a long absence (May). I've been keeping mileage around 30-35 per week in deference to The Foot. The Foot has been behaving itself since I am consistent about daily self-care (calf/hamstring stretching, foot massage and ice). Dare I say it? It actually does feel better now. And this past week has been all about recovery from both Spider Meadow run and the cold I got. It was Thursday until my quads felt normal and I'm still hacking and snotty. I hate summer colds.

Yesterday was an eye opening run. It was the Rattlesnake Ledge run. It's a 10 mile jaunt straight up for 4 miles and then straight down for 6. It's a nice trail and it has some really nice views of Mount Si and the Snoqualmie Valley. It's a run I first did in 2005 and have not been back since because of injury or vacation.

In my mind, I was really building it up because it is a tough run. What did I do with it? I hiked. :-p Ok, I'm a fast hiker and run when I can but for some reason this summer I tend to hike much faster than ever. I don't even pretend to run. Some of this yesterday may have been a result of still recovering from last week. And the downhill wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I did take a tumble yesterday and I"m pleased to report I did NOT break my wrist. Phew! The way I fell, I could have done that pretty easily. I only got a few scrapes, bruises and some mildly sore muscles from the fall. It's a 10 mile run and compared to some of the runs I now have done, it's well...mundane as RPD described it. And it just wasn't a big deal. I kept it easy but didn't at all feel stressed or worked from the run. This is a big change from when I did it last.

So, what did I do today? I had come across the inaugural Lake Union 10k and was intrigued. It's a nice course, mostly flat and i know it well because I bike it quite often. Could I run this? YES!

It was a really nice morning and I got out to south Lake Union early enough to get a good parking spot and a leisurely 2.5 mile warm up. Considering the 40 miles this week, the cold, the fall and the run yesterday and general fitness (little speedwork), I know I'm not in PR shape but I want to run well and work on the mental aspects of a hard run. I figure a 7:50 pace would be good to achieve this and I'd feel pleased about the hard workout.

The race was close to sell out (750) and I am always surprised to see the number of people who turn out for these things. I got a good spot pretty close to the front and we were off!

Mile 1: 7:39
I did a pretty good job on controlling speed on this mile. It's completely flat heading north along the west side of Lake Union. I'm amused by all the people who seem to be going out way too fast and are already breathing too hard at half a mile.

Mile 2: 7:36
I did deliberately speed up here. It's the only other completely flat mile besides the last one. I was feeling quite good here. Only had to blow my nose once!

Mile 3: 8:01
This has the climb toward Fremont Bridge. I did not want to go too hard here so deliberately kept effort the same. My brain helpfully lets me know that if I was doing a 5k, I'd almost be done.

Mile 4: 7:47
Keep in the game. My fear was that I'd settle here and really slow as there is a steady climb along the Burke-Gilman towards the University Bridge plus the short climb to the bridge itself. In fact, I started to see the people who'd gone out too fast walking in here. I'm pleased with this mile. A friend around Gasworks happened to spot me here and shouted encouragement. That was nice. :-)

Mile 5: 8:14
This was the mile I was worried about. The route along the east side of the lake has a section where you have to climb a very short but steep hill and then back down. I was dreading this as I've been a fairly sucky steep hill climber. I get totally bogged down. Today, I managed to keep it a good pace. I didn't blow a gasket yet I certainly didn't set a record. The downhill is too steep to use unfortunately. And more importantly, my mind was still in the game. I was really having to battle the demons but I didn't really slow and kept at it.

Mile 6: 7:47
This was getting tough and where I was feeling both the remnants of my cold (SNOT!) and the miles. I didn't have any extra here but I am very happy about keeping the pace. I really felt like I was slowing but I think others were picking up the pace the last half mile and I didn't have any extra gas.

.2 (.3 according to garmin): 2:03

Watch/chip time: 49:10 for 7:55 pace.

I immediately went to get water. I had skipped both water stations and was really thirsty. I picked up my race shirt and went off for a short jog to loosen everything up after the run. The race had a very nice post-event spread although it was a tight area with a lot of people.

I realize then that they have posted the first batch of times on five sheets of paper. I look for my name on the third sheet. Hunh. Nothing. Oh wait, I'm on the second sheet. Ha ha! I'm 110th overall (men and women), 49:10 chip time and there is a 3 next to the F 40-44 by my name. Does this mean I've placed in my age group? Yes it does! I start laughing! I cannot believe it.

I waited around for the awards then and actually end up with 2nd in my age group because of medalling up. I get my ribbon and my photo taken and can help but giggle to myself. 2nd in my AG! Me? :-D

I've reached a point of fitness that I have a hard time comprehending. I can go for a strenuous run/hike, get a cold, recover, be on my feet all day and still come out with a good 10k workout and a ribbon and feel good. Mentally this day was even more valuable to me. I was tired and battled back even when I wanted to stop and walk and go directly to my car.

And I've found the perfect 10k course if I ever want to test myself. It really is a nice course and follows the named Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop. If you ever visit Seattle and need a nice run, come here first.

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