Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I felt like I had gotten a lump of coal in the form of a bad cold but fortunately I was feeling better by Christmas Day.  I had a couple of extra holidays off from work and was glad 1. I wasn't at work when I was feeling poorly and 2. It was so gross outside might as well be sitting on the couch instead of running.

I looked it up and the last time I was sick with a bad cold was a year ago.  Ok, that puts it into perspective.  I'd rather just get the crud out of the way!  I'm still hacking up chunks of lung and expect that to linger on for another week but at least I feel much better.

I finished knitting a pair of reading mitts as a (late) Christmas present for a friend.  Fun and easy pattern which is very quick to knit.  Pair?  Why are there three mitts in the picture?  Evidently it is so easy that I wasn't paying attention and messed up the pattern so the two mitts didn't match!  I had to knit one more to match (late explained).  I'll keep the other and knit a matching pair for that altered pattern.  That'll teach me to pay attention!

As a different take on Christmas, we decided to do a Christmas Eve dinner with the family and wanted to make Posole.  Posole is a holiday tradition in New Mexico.  It's a stew made of maize (hominy - picture) and pork braised in red chile.  Delicious!  It takes some hours to prepare not because it is difficult but because it takes that long for the pork to become fork tender.  Serve this with a dollop of sour cream and avocado (blech) and it's a wonderful treat.  Both K and his brother were reminiscing about setting up luminarias on Christmas Eve and then coming in for a bowl of posole for dinner.  This was good and we'll do it again!   We have set up luminarias before in Seattle but the chances are they'll get washed out and this year that would've happened again.

I'd planned on getting out to trails on one of my days off from work but with the sickies that didn't happen.  Today, I was feeling better and RPD was feeling game so off we went to Cougar with his pup.  I am still hacking so thought it best to keep the run pretty short (3 miles).  It was enough to try out the new shoes and have some fun.  Mission accomplished.  Da pup came back muddy and tired.

the innov8 shoes were great!  usually for a first time wearing a new pair of shoes (especially a model I've never worn), I'm always aware of them feeling new or different.  This was not the case with these!  I wasn't even aware of them and enjoyed flying down the hills (gasping and hacking sure!) and reminded myself to be careful as I wasn't used to how they handled on mud and bumps.  I can't wait to take them out again. 

And then I got a chance to work on the one project I really wanted to do this weekend.  I need daylight and an un-achy head so today was the day.  I have a knit cardigan which needed to be seamed together.  It's not something I've done before and I was really nervous about it.  But all seems to be going well and I should be able to finish that now in the evenings. 

PuddleThumper's Posole

Makes 8-10 servings, serve with garnish of sour cream and avocado and a warmed tortilla.  I use frozen red chile which can be found even in Seattle at Whole Foods although they only carry mild and I prefer hot.  We bring back the corn (hominy) frozen from New Mexico but dried or canned could be used.  Dried would need to be soaked over night.

1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 pound pork shoulder butt, cut into stew sized pieces. remove fat as you can.
bay leaf
dried oregano
1 14 oz tub of frozen red chile (hot)
1 pound frozen posole (2-3 cups)
3 14 oz cans of chicken broth

Add onion and garlic to large dutch oven and saute over medium heat.  Once softened, add pork and brown.  Add spices, red chile, posole and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer partially covered for 3 hours or until pork is fork tender.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Recovery and change...

I've been feeling better towards the end of this week.  It's amazing.  They say three to four weeks for marathon recovery and yep, that's about right.  All of a sudden I was really wanting to run again and really looking forward to it.  Hip felt better and legs felt looser. 

AND I had a trail run planned.  Yippee!  It's been since the summer since I've been on a technical trail and I couldn't wait!  there was a wind event expected for saturday morning and it was a little crazy feeling going on one of the floating bridges over to Cougar Mountain.  As expected, it wasn't as windy once on cougar except at the top of the hills.  I've run in windier conditions but there was still some branches down and a fairly large tree to scramble over. 

Still it was doing a mix of ice pellets and snow and rain and I knew since this was my first trail run in forever that I'd better keep it to the shorter distance which was a 5 mile loop.  I started off and immediately felt so clunky.  Well, whatever.  it's an uphill start from Red Town Trailhead over rocky access road.  It leveled out and I still felt a bit clunky but maybe it's just taking a while to warm up.  At 1.5 mile begins the climb up Shy Bear Trail and I was feeling nicely strong powering up the hill with better form. 

And then I realized my trail shoes were driving me crazy!  They felt hugely big and my feet felt like they were landing oddly.  I stopped to tighten my shoes and that felt a bit better.  Soon after, hip started to bother me and my foot where I was getting lace bite.  Oh I was annoyed!  Well no reason to go back as I was halfway through the loop and there was no shortcut back.  Just continue on and enjoy the scenery.  It was surprisingly dry on the trails considering how much rain we've had.  But you could tell there was a lot of rain as all the streams and creeks were running much higher and louder than I've ever heard.  It was really peaceful out there and I did enjoy that. 

I hit Sky country Trailhead and then headed down Clay Pit Road to Military Trail.  The road is where I knew that the shoes were completely wrong for me.  I felt like I was landing on the outside of my feet and that the too much support was kicking my feet out strangely on the extension.  That clunky feeling was still very much there, feet and hip were killing me.  GAH! 

I'd struggled with these shoes a bit (see post here, scroll down) and hadn't planned on re-buying them but I didn't think they were that bad.  Now?  Wow.  Coach Lesley said my mechanics have changed.  Interesting that what was feeling just fine some months ago feels so completely wrong now. 

So?  Of course I had to go buy some new trail shoes.  Inov8 268.  Again they are slightly too wide for me in the forefoot but have a better capacity to tighten.  They are very, very comfy and fit like a glove and aren't as stiff as other trail shoes.  it's nice to see they are getting away from the brick clunkers they used to have.  I can't wait to try them and with some extra days off with the holiday, I plan on doing just that.  Orcas island 25k is right around the corner! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Nice Break!

Albuquerque in December is so nice!  It was sunny and 60 degrees during the day.  And actually, that was warmer than typical.  We soaked it up after the snow Seattle had the week before.

We went and did some touristy stuff even.  In all my years visiting Abq, I'd never been to the Petroglyph National Monument.  K had last been as a child.  With perfect weather, we had a great time hiking over the volcanic debris and looking for petroglyphs.  It's an amazing setting and if you get a chance, go! 

We had a really nice visit with K's parents and did a lot of good eating at favorite restaurants as usual.  Mmmm... Green Chile!  As is typical, I got a lot of sleep.  I read a lot and knit a lot.  Really, after a marathon is the perfect time to visit ABQ.

K's parents do belong to a local Y and they go three times a week for a strength/stretch class.  good for them in staying active!  K and I would tag along and it was nice to do a little rowing and biking and then some easy stretching/core work.  I did go for a run as usual and was hard pressed to figure out what hurt more.  Was it my legs from the marathon or lungs from the altitude!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the aftermath..

Yesterday was rough.  Mentally and physically, I was down and no wonder.  26.2 miles is rather far even for me to drive! 

I do know how important the immediate days after a big event are for recovery.  I could barely eat immediately after the marathon.  Those that know me understand how unusual this is!  The chicken bouillon was excellent at the marathon and the hot chocolate milk I had in my ice bath afterward was perfect.  I had a chance to comiserate with friends later that night at a local brew pub for the traditional post event moo and brew (hamburger and beer). 

But still.  There is just an incredible deficit the next day.  Possibly it would be better to take the day off from work but I really like that work forces a fair bit of walking around and interaction with people. 

That really put everything into perspective.  Most inquired after holiday events.  Very few knew that I was running  a marathon.  And those that did aren't runners themselves so don't quite understand the whole mental and physical investment which goes into a marathon.  The typical reaction when they find out?  "You finished?  That's amazing!  congratulations!"  "how far is that?  Really?  I can't imagine!" And for a gal who has run a marathon who when I moaned a bit at how long it took me to finish?  "That's my PR!" 

I was sore yesterday but still could go up and down stairs with no problems.  I was moving a bit slower than usual and felt a bit achy in odd places.  I think I had at least 8 separate meals yesterday (plus dessert) and still went to bed slightly hungry. 

Today?  Much, much better.  Legs feel, well, not 100% but not nearly as sore.  My brain isn't foggy.  I do have a spot on a foot which got sorer and sorer yesterday while I was having to run all about at work.  That is requiring some TLC and it will appreciate some time off my feet in a few days. 

the race itself?  I'm still rather shocked how it all played out. it's something to ponder and think about but not obsess about.  yes, I'm glad I finished.  I'm happy to take a bit of time off from running now.  The rain and wind we are having now is only making sitting on the couch that much better! 

And to those who gave much needed words of encouragement yesterday?  thank you. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It Takes a Village….The 2010 Seattle Marathon.

I swore I’d never run the Seattle Marathon in November.  It’s in November.  In Seattle.  The course (like most of Seattle) is ridiculously hilly.  Did I mention the whole November thing? 

What does this marathon have going for it?  Location, location, location.  I can sleep in my own bed.  I know the course well and I am used to running hills.  It’s not too big and it’s not too small.  It’s well organized with good volunteer support in often perfect (for a northwesterner) temps.  After the DNF to the half distance in the Lincoln, Nebraska marathon in May, I came back hoping to run a late 2010 marathon.  I just wasn’t sure which one and gradually realized the weather was going to be a major issue if I tried for a marathon in the south.  Last week we had SnOMG in Seattle.  The city was paralyzed by inches of snow and sub-freezing temps.  Any temps above 50 would feel hot to me at this time of year so I’m glad Seattle won out. 

I’d had some ongoing hip issues which are rather complicated.  After taking some easy weeks  and finding a good PT, I was back to running well.  Reach the Beach was a success and I ran some good 5ks/10ks this summer.  Marathon training also went well although I played it conservatively knowing my hip would probably start acting up with too many miles too soon. I also didn’t feel the need to do a lot of long runs for this same reason.  So I finished training tired and with some seemingly minor tweaks but feeling good about the work I’d done.  Sure I’d had some tough runs but haven’t we all?

And then I tapered.  And everything felt worse and worse.  I’d had a little tweak on the back of my knee.  After some days off and the extra rest, that started to feel fine but my hamstring started to get really sore.  Really?  Then the SnOMG hit and I knew running on snow/ice was just stupid at that point so I ran even less. 

Having the race on the Sunday after Thanksgiving is actually really nice.  I got a lot of sleep and enjoyed the downtime.  There was lots going on too which kept me nicely distracted.  Of course, the day before hit and I was extremely nervous.   Eventually I decided I’d go ahead and go out at race pace and come what may, I’d finish as long as nothing felt like it was going to be injured.  Temps and weather ended up being great.  40 degrees and perfect. 

People were asking what pace I’d planned on going out and I kept it pretty close.  I really wasn’t too ready to discuss it.  But I let a few people know.  DH was dropping off and picking up only so I thought.   I carried a small handheld water bottle as I find it just easier to avoid water stops and those pesky paper cups.  Short sleeves with arm panties, half tights and calf panties (for warmth actually).  I was comfortable the whole race. 

The Race (you knew there was one here right?):

1st 5k – I hit the first three miles perfectly at 8:47, 8:33 (downhill), 9:00 (uphill) and felt good and looking forward to the rest of the race.

2nd 5k – I noticed heart rate was up.  Yes, I was going uphill but it still seemed higher than it should be.   8:47, 8:27 (big downhill and in a tunnel so no wind at all), 9:19. This is where I started thinking of all the people in my life who have helped me and persevered themselves.  This was Gramma’s 5k.  A tough as nails woman who married 3 times, went through Indian schools, the depression and wars.  She was my savior during my childhood.  She died when I was in college and would be really worried about women running, I’m sure.  But I kept thinking about how tough it must’ve been for her and smiled when running.

3rd 5k – This part is on a floating bridge and wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.  9:01, 9:47, 9:22.  Hmmm.  On the floating bridge, the road is canted.  Between the cant and the bit of a breeze, I was having trouble staying where I wanted to be.  I kept drifting off into the gutter (certifiable = :p).  Hamstring/hip were a bit tight but nothing was hurting.  Why can’t I control my leg? This 5k was for mom.  A single mom since I was born.  How did she do it?  Life was tough with her in many ways when I was growing up and now as an adult I appreciate what she did on so many levels.  She can be focused and relentless sometimes and I understand why and how I got some of those same characteristics from her.  I really wonder what type of runner she’d have been if given a chance?

4th 5k – well the legs just aren’t working very well.  I just can’t get any oomph in them and I’m already slogging.  Mile 11?  Really?  I’d hope if it came to this, it would come later.  And the surprise at mile 11ish, DH is there!  I didn’t expect to see him and he needs some work on cheering because I nearly didn’t hear him.  I was shocked!  And quickly handed him my empty water bottle to refill.  I said I’d see him on the back from Seward Park.  And then I started to walk and knew it was going to get tough.  I did debate getting a ride from DH at this point.  But my worries of a pulled hamstring or a serious limp hadn’t happened yet.  Onward.  My childhood friends?  I was thinking of you this 5k.  School was a tough experience in a lot of ways and we made it through and are still friends.  I’m a much better person because of you all and I always remember that when we are able to get together in person. 

5th 5k – I see DH here again and ask him to warn those waiting for me down the line that things are not going so well.  He’s his usual cheerful self in the face of obvious disappointment.  Team 3 from marathons running board, this 5k is for you.  I think of SuperRon a lot and even met him a few years ago.  Speedy Smurf, Golden_monkey (nee Hermit crab), davidk, Linda, Dusty, barkeep, foggydoggy, BobS, gonadsgo, rtodd (I know I’m leaving out people) all saw me through my first two marathons and the very new runner I was when I joined the boards in 2004.  I wouldn’t be the runner I am now without that support.

6th 5k – DH had let slip that JCB would be meeting me at some point to help run me in.  Last year at the seattle half marathon I paced JCB to a PR of under 2 half marathon.  I was so proud of her PR and the work she’d done this year to just get stronger and faster from there.  EO was also there cheering and joined us running.  It made the miles go much quicker.  I’d walk at times so the hip/hamstring/adductor would loosen and then run for a while all the while listening to JCB’s stories.  Marathon forum?  This is your 5k.  We’ve had those tough runs, great runs, tough moments in life and joyous moments in life and I treasure them all. 

7th 5k – The hills start along in here and really, at this point, it didn’t matter.  Downhill hurt so might as well go uphill.  CL joined us right at the Madison hill.  A numerous ironman finisher/kona qualifier and my coach, she knows what it’s like when it is tough out there.  The stories and subtle encouragement continued.  I do like this part of the course and know it pretty well.  My legs just ached.  There was no way around that but I might as well finish now. Can I come in under 5 hours?  Probably.  JCB peeled off to her car with much thanks.  Ya wanna do a marathon now, JCB?  Ha!  My local running group and now friends get this 5k shout out.  Wow.  What a great bunch of people who continually amaze me with the support that comes (in many forms!) to any who needs it.  I feel honored to be a part of it all.  Here’s to more good times in 2011!

8th 5k – Another good friend RPD and Dh are waiting at mile 22.  Yippee!  This part of the course is my favorite and very pretty and it was a boost seeing them.  I’ve been on relay teams with RPD and have cheered at other races and mocked him for his lack of cheering abilities.  I am pleased to report, he shouted loud enough for me to hear him from far away!  Woohoo!  Cheering is hard work as we all know and he’s got it down.  Glad I could help.  This 5k?  DH, of course.  I am certain he cannot quite figure out what happened when he offered to go running with me when I first thought about running a 5k.  There is just too much to say here so I won’t. 

To the finish – well I’m really struggling.  The leg just doesn’t work very well and my foot really slaps down at times.  Both feet are killing me anyway.  I usually then have to walk a bit when that happens as I just don’t think it’s a good thing as it just gets worse and worse unless I let things rest a bit.   CL is her usual encouraging self and the miles pass quickly enough.  I can’t quite believe I’m going to set a PW by an hour but there it is. 

4:56 chip time. 

I did put the finish-another-marathon demon to rest.  I’m happy about that.  Physically this was much harder than mentally and that is a switch for me.  I’ve always struggled more mentally.  Is this good or bad?  I cannot tell.  I don’t feel injured so hopefully this is just another one of those odd hip/leg things which will settle down now with some rest. It’s back to the PT for sure.  

And of course, I am disappointed and not a little teary about things.  It is what it is.  I’m not sure what is next except the crazy trail 25k I’m signed up for in February.  The marathon demon is alive and well but I’m not sure when that one will be addressed. 

Thanks for reading and thanks for all the support.  I couldn’t have done it without everyone and that is for certain. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving!  

 It's snowing right now in Seattle and all week we've had unseasonable low temps.  How low?  We saw 19 on our thermometer.  The temps dropped on Monday, we got dumped on in blizzard-like conditions and the temps have stayed below freezing since.  Today the snow will transition to rain and that is just fine.  Our street on top of a hill becomes a snow-packed skating rink.  We can walk down the hill to get to buses and still get to work but driving is out (for me at least). With the hills and inexperienced drivers (I include myself in that), it can be bumper cars out on the streets. 

It really is a forced taper!  There is no way I'd go run in this unless I could easily get to the path around Green Lake.  Snow running (in screw shoes) is great fun as long as you don't have to watch for hidden curbs/potholes and the disturbingly stupid SUV drivers.  So there has been lots of sitting on the couch with cats and they are very thankful for this weather!  Do you see how smug and content Keswick looks? 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh Taper, how I love thee. Let me count the ways.

My legs are tight and stiff and I feel blah.

How can I run a marathon on these legs?

It was SNOWING today and the forecast is for the high not to be above FREEZING the next couple of days.

Why am I running a marathon in Seattle in late November?

Every ache I've had over this training cycle seems to be amplified right now.  26.2 miles?  Really? 

It's time to get outta my head and not worry about it.  Time to trust the training AND the taper. 

The most telling item for me is that I took a spill on my run tuesday morning.  I was trying to hurry to get out of the way of a car which wasn't going to see me and misjudged a curb and splat.  down I went.  I was afraid I'd broken my wrist at first but i just have a nice big bruise.  I didn't land all too hard on my hip/outside of knee as it was on grass.  Still I have a very colorful bruise on the outside of my knee.  It's a mild fall.  I was sore from it for a couple days but not bad.

before each of my previous two marathons, I have also taken a fall in the week before the marathon.  Before Eugene, the fall was bad enough for my knee to swell up and I couldn't run for a few days as it was so sore and swollen.  Hey!  Things are better now.  I fell over a week before the marathon and it wasn't too bad.

Why do I fall at this point?  I've had to think about it a bit.  Training is done.  I have to cut back miles and take the time to rest.  I relax.  It's that feeling of relaxing and training is done which prompts the inattention.  And boom.  Down I go.   

Everyone has been asking me what pace I'm aiming for and I'm am not even willing to discuss it.  Nope.  it's too early.  I'll know the day off the race.  Meanwhile, I'll relax and not fall and I won't be doing anymore runs in the dark because of the days off coming with the Thanksgiving holiday.  I know not to worry about how my legs feel before a race.  Feeling blah doesn't predict anything. 

I am very excited about the marathon and it's time to just focus on that.  So I will. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Seattle Marathon random musings.

Even with the threat of a winter storm in the Cascades pending, I'm realizing that training, taper and marathon recovery fits well for me with the Seattle Marathon in late November.

It was a bit tough to get up for those early morning runs once it got so dark but it did stay warmer this fall.  Yeah, it's been wet but I never find the rain all that bad.  And here it doesn't typically rain that hard or for that long.  Now as I approach the marathon (less than two weeks!), it is a pleasure not getting up in the dark to go for a run.  Ha! And I'm sure after the marathon, I'll happily take it easy with all the holiday fuss and weather issues.

I've tested out what I want to wear for the marathon and I'm prepared for it all.  The worst possible weather I could have would be temps over 50 degrees.  fortunately, that is pretty unlikely here at this time!  I feel like I should go light some candles to the running gods with that statement however.  No heat wave in November, please!  

I looked back at what I've done for taper for the past two marathons and realized it was probably way too much.  I can see that now with some experience.  After a bit of discussion with my coach, I'm planning on about 25 miles this week (60% of weekly mileage) with some shorter and faster stuff (800s at half marathon pace with full recoveries).  I got a massage and really need to focus on staying loose.  next week, I'll just run 10-12 miles in the week before with a couple at just below marathon pace 3-4 days out from the marathon.

It's tough to go from running so much to barely running at all.  I get really stiff and that can pull hips/back out of alignment for me. I've got a slightly annoyed hamstring/adductor which should settle down with rest and some TLC.   I'll continue to do some easy core/weights on a regular basis and my daily yoga.  Keswick as you can see above really enjoys these sessions! 

I really hope it just pours this coming week.  I'll be inside knitting. 

No sign of Taper Madness.  yet.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Giving Thanks!

I made it to taper!  Oh it was getting close there.  I've been consistently hitting workouts although it's been tough the past 10 days as I was definitely getting tired.  I opted for a two week taper knowing with my overall lower mileage, taking too much of a cut was going to leave my legs feeling a bit lost.  I am definitely looking forward to some rest.  Two weeks tomorrow, I'll be lining up at Seattle Center for marathon number three.  I can't wait!  I already have the pub picked out where I want a hamburger and beer (race tradition!). 

Between getting in the miles (thankful I'm healthy enough to have gotten through all workouts), busy work (thankful for a well-paying job I enjoy) and various house projects, it's been very full weeks lately.  

K's parents are in town visiting and we will host Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow evening.  I'm really looking forward to them visiting and having everyone (my mom and K's brother included) over for a nice afternoon.  Last year we ended up doing this as well.  K's parents ended up staying with us as his brother was sick with a bad flu at the time and they didn't want to be exposed.  it worked out well as we were just back from England and dealing with a terminally ill Dexter the Cat.  While we were at work, they were able to hang out with him at home and made this very social cat content.

I still really miss Dexter and Legos.  Looking at photos of Dex still causes a tearing up though of course we have new felines who are near and dear to our hearts now.  Keswick (black) and York (orange) are a year and a half old and goofy, affectionate, friendly, active... Basically they are just wonderful.  Keswick is already a lap cat and just requires a look. He'll then fall over and let you scritch his belly.  York is orange cat cool.  He's busy and into his toys yet affectionate and sweet.  It's not uncommon to have both cats on your lap snoozing. 

I did spend many weekends and evening working on painting trim, walls and ceiling of our new room off the kitchen.  We are calling it the Blue Room 'cause of the blue painted walls. This room was formally known as the Awkward Addition off the Kitchen (AAK) because it was just awful looking and this former garage had been converted to a room long ago.   It's amazing to have the last room of the house renovated.  Finally!  Once I'd painted that room, I realized the kitchen needed a new coat of paint as it's been over 10 years since we remodeled.

That meant painting over one last very visible reminder of Dexter.  He'd walked through paint and left his very clear pawprint on the corner of the windowsill in the kitchen (white paw print) York, continuing Orange Cat Tradition, could not stay out of the windowsill while paint dried.  yep, he too managed to track paint over counter and floor.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Long Run

Three weeks from the Seattle Marathon.

I've had some very good workouts lately and have been feeling very strong.  The half marathon (done in the middle of 17 miles) with 6 at goal marathon pace (8:45) and three at go for it pace (8:15) confirm for me that I'm stronger than ever.

I had one of those workouts that I was nervous about this past week.  10 miles with 6 @ 8:20.  it was a little tough to get to sleep the night before. I was that keyed up about it.  Why?  I'd done 5 at 8:19 the week before while recovering from the above mentioned half marathon/long run the week before.  That one had been so tough.  I'd done it and I knew I could do it again.

And I did.  And I even ran that last mile uphill and was only 10 seconds off pace (for an overall pace of 8:12 for those miles).  It had felt easier than last week and heart rate was lower.

So 20 miles on the schedule this week.  This is the longest I'll go and it more of a mental check than anything.  I'd done a very thorough core/glute workout thursday evening and was sore the next day at work.  Then my low back tightened up at work too.  I was careful with lifting at work and made it through the day with no damage.  I quick and gentle yoga session helped.  I woke saturday morning and back was better but still a bit touchy.

20 miles.  I don't even drive 20 miles in a week.  The first 11 were at a very easy pace helping mark a running course for a group run for the Coach Lesley group.  I like marking courses.  It forces an easy pace as you have to stop and pretend you have no idea where you are going and then draw chalk arrows on the ground.  run, run, run and chalk again.  I happened to be running with a couple gals so the chatter helped.  They'd keep running while I chalked and I'd slowly catch back up. 

11 miles over some pretty good hills and I was not feeling great.  Everything felt tight and even a bit achy but nothing was hurting.  I talked myself out of 20 miles again and again but finally decided I NEEDED this run mentally more than anything.  So at 11, I filled my water bottle again and set off this time on my own.  The other gals weren't doing any thing as silly as training for a marathon (at this point).

9 miles.  It really helped to break it up.  I only had 9 miles.  heck, I'd run 10 mid-week.  Again everything was achy and tight but nothing really hurt so onward.  I stopped for another gel and more water and to turn on some music and just continued on.  The miles ticked off quickly enough.  I started to have some math/thinking problems as I figured out how long I had to go out and back to arrange to end at a particular place where K would meet me and we'd have breakfast.

I felt like I was totally slogging on but pace was just typical long run pace if not a touch faster.  Mentally though, it took every ounce of control to keep running.  I have no idea why this was so tough but it was.

20 miles done.  Physically I feel fine the next day and had a great 4 miler where I actively had to slow myself down.  Mentally?  That was EXACTLY the workout I needed.  And I'm grateful for it.

3 weeks.  One more pretty serious workout this friday with a long run to follow.  Taper begins in earnest then.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Push 2010

Pumpkin Push 5k number 5 for me I believe.  I've not done another race for so many years.  The first time I ran a 5k here in 2004, I set a 5-minute 5k PR (personal record) so this race has some fond memories.  usually it's freezing.  Sometimes, it rains. No, there is no pumpkin pushing and i always try to wear a costume. 

Good times!  The Wicked Witch of the East was a great costume.  You remember, right?  Dorothy's house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East and Glenda the Good Witch puts the ruby shoes onto Dorothy's feet?  I got a lot of laughs.  It was fun listening to people working out what the costume as I ran past.  It would usually elicit a snort of laughter.

And it wasn't too bad running with the box on my head.  it was a little hard to see and I was worried about the start which is a little crowded.  No troubles though as I lined up in the right area and I had two other gals with me who ran ahead of me for the first quarter mile.  They ran interference and I could just follow.  That was helpful. 

The last mile, I could feel my neck and shoulders getting tense from holding the box but then i was done.  There was even a costume contest and I was cheered to one of three winners.  Nice! 

And I got a solid workout in and still was able to get my long run in the next day. 

If you've never done it, I highly recommend running a race in costume.  The smiles and the laughter are good for everyone! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lake Sammamish Half Marathon

Recovery went well after the relay much to my delight.  So that opened up the possibility of still running a marathon in 2010.  I debated and dithered and fretted some more about it and finally decided that I'd register for the Seattle Marathon which is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

I know.  I think I'd mentioned before i'd never run the full at Seattle but there were a lot of reasons to go ahead and do this race.  Location, Location, Location.  No hotel, no airport, no driving for hours which means no chance for travel to take a toll.  The weather is what it is.  I'm used to running in cooler temps.  If it's 35 degrees and raining.  Well, I do know how to dress.  If it's a perfect crisp 38 then that is still better than any temps over 60 degrees.

Training has been going well.  I decided to get a bit of help with figuring out a training plan and asked Coach Lesley for that help.  I really don't think long runs over 18 miles are of much help for me.  They just break me down so I'm not planning on doing one.  I really like back to back longer runs so I am planning for that.  We shall see what happens.  I'm excited.

Meanwhile, back in the summer I'd heard about this new event which was both a full and half marathon along the East Lake Sammamish Trail.  This event was going to be capped and sure enough it sold out (400 total) but not before I got a spot.  The weather was predicted to be wet and it did rain at the very beginning of the race but then it stopped and cleared.  And it was gorgeous!  the lake was still and the fall colors were glowing.

I'd debated racing versus using this event as a long run.  the long run won out for various reasons.  We got bused to the start of the race in Issaquah and then had a long wait for the start.  I got very cold waiting and just decided to do a longer warm-up.  After 2.5 miles, I got to the start on Tibbets Beach with 300 other people and off we went.

It was a very narrow and crowded start.  I was glad I was not concerned with pace at this point as it would've been very frustrating trying to dodge through the crowd.  After an easy mile, I settled a bit quicker than I wanted for longer run pace but wasn't too concerned.  I was feeling pretty good and enjoying myself and enjoyed listening to the runners about me.  it seemed like there were quite a few who were doing their very first half.

At mile 4 in the race, I sped up to goal marathon pace.  It was great to stride out and start passing people. I'd forgotten to bring any water figuring there would be a water fountain at the start (wrong) so by mile 4 of the race (mile 6.5 for me) I was really thirsty.  I managed to suck down the small cup of water and a gel without slowing down at all.  Hey!  I am getting better at that.

The miles ticked off but around mile 7of the race (mile 9.5 for me) I started to feel really awful.  My breathing felt off, my hip was bugging me and the pace felt hard.   I slowed a bit (5 seconds) and debated just slowing back to long run pace.  I kept it up though and focused on form and once at the next water stop (at 8.5) walked to take in two cups of water and another gel.  That was it!  I immediately felt better and had no troubles. I even kept the same goal marathon pace even with the walking. 

I was always gradually catching up and passing people and had my eye on a gal who'd passed me very early but had a nice strong stride, a distinctive colored shirt and a long braid.  I very gradually caught up to her and then realized she must've slowed a bit as we were now going the same pace.  I was all set to just tuck in behind her when all of a sudden she just pulled up and was walking.  I checked to see where she finished and it was 10 minutes behind me which was a surprise considering how she'd been running so strongly.  Oh well.  Blow ups happen.  I've been there as well. 

At mile 10 of the race, I sped up to half marathon pace.  This was it and I was ready to be done.  I felt strong and enjoyed myself as we went on some trails into Marymoor Park which I'd not been on before.  I passed another gal I'd been gradually catching up to around mile 11.  she must've stuck right behind me though as at 12.5 or so she passed me.  D'oh!  I could not keep up but was happy to finish with a very strong last mile.  Done! 

this was a low key sort of race.  No chip timing and no medals.  There was a person sitting at the finish line with a clipboard writing down numbers and clock times.  They had a really nice spread of food at the finish including pizza!  That would've been great but I still wanted to finish my long run.  So I went and ran another 1.5 miles very slowly for 17 miles total.  That was a good run. 

Good event with a really nice friendly feel.  I think the half was a bit short but I'd do it again or even the full.  The course was completely flat on a graveled trail for 2/3 of the course.  Flat in the Seattle area is amazing.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

alright, enough already...

One last post about WA DC.  Didn't I tell you that J was the host extraordinaire?  I'd not heard we could get into the Senate and House of Rep chambers if we asked at our senator's offices for tickets.  J calls these the Willy Wonka Gold Tickets and I have to agree. 

There were numerous other places we'd not have known to visit without J's knowledge.  The Alexander Calder Room in the Smithsonian Hirshorn Museum didn't appear on any maps.  We knew about it and could find it because J drew a map for us so we knew to go to the lower level and into the corner.  What a hidden treasure.  No thanks to the museum that we found it or even knew to look for it. 

It's been almost a month since we got back from DC and I'm still fondly thinking of the experiences.  I'd totally go back to that Korean restaurant or have some of those tacos from that hole in the wall around the corner (sorry still don't want to try the beef tongues however) and look forward to another run taking in the sites and the history.  Now THAT was a vacation!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Of course there was running.

While in DC, I was post-relay and definitely recovering from that effort.  Add in lots and lots of walking, museum shuffling, a different bed than I'm used to and running was just low on the list of priorities.

However, everyone on the Reach the Beach teams (most live on the East Coast and some even in the DC area) said I had to get out and run as there was such a nice running there.

And they were so right. 

Our hosts live within a mile of the Rock Creek Park.  It's a wonderful paved trail running alongside Rock Creek.  I didn't explore too far but even found a trail which required scrambling up rocks and roots.  I took a little detour to see if I could check out an interesting old cemetery and saw some deer in the stream one morning.

The weather was perfect when we first arrived in DC but by the end of the week, temps had risen to highs in the mid-90s with high humidity.  Of course by our last day in DC (when the temps were supposed to be highest) I really wanted to go on a longer run.  M was game and a good sport and took me down Rock Creek trail to the trail which runs along the Potomac.  We left early before sunrise but temps were still 70 degrees with 85% humidity.  Perfect for an easy, site seeing run.

We crossed the Arlington Bridge and stopped to take in the sunrise over the Mall.  I was loving it!  There were quite a few other runners out and about.  We crossed back to DC and into Georgetown and M took me along the historic C&O Towpath.  It starts here at Rock Creek in Georgetown and continues 184 miles north along the Potomac.  Amazing.

Thanks M!  That was a yet another highlight of the trip for me.   

Saturday, October 23, 2010

No really...

It was the first time visiting "the other Washington" for both of us.  It was more beautiful and more stirring than I expected.  So much to see and do and we did it all plus ate and drank very well. 
The Supreme Court tour gave us both chills.  I hadn't really thought of how many ways my life has been touched by Supreme Court rulings.  Often through many tours, I felt a sense of the underlying power of the US government for right or wrong.  That power is there and it is chilling and inspiring and awing.

This building of the Smithsonian American Art Museum recently underwent renovation and enclosed their old and dated courtyard with a lovely enclosed and soaring space reminiscent of the my favorite the British Museums' enclosed Great Courtyard.  We enjoyed roaming through the various spaces of this museum and saw the enjoyable exhibit of Norman Rockwell paintings and drawings.

Since being home I've had to read about the history of how Washington DC became our capital.  Slave labor and epidemics and wishful thinking all played their part in placing The Capitol on the banks of unnavigable river (George was wishful) and yet, here we are today. 

We saw all the highlights and still missed some things we wanted to see.  And to be able to take the time to go through some exhibits would be delightful.  Next time!  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Washington DC

Great place to visit! I felt like we did it all.  Day 1 was recovery from way too much fun with H & P.  Does the monument look like it might be swaying a bit?  No matter. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reach the Beach Year 2 - 2010

I really consider myself lucky in a lot of ways.  That came clear to me yet again as I packed my bags to get ready for Reach the Beach Year 2.  I was healthy, i had the means and the support to fly across the country to New Hampshire and run a crazy race with 11 other people I've met online.

Really.  Try explaining this to non-running folks.  Oh yes, I'm going on vacation and first I'm heading to New Hampshire and running this race through the state.  it's 12 people with 6 people in each van and everyone takes a turn running and then you do it again and then one more time.  yes.  you run at night on dark deserted roads in NH.  You are tired and stinky and hungry and uncomfortable and don't think that you'll be able to run that last leg.  but then you do it and your face hurts from smiling so much and things get very silly at 2:00 am in the middle of New Hampshire. 

On the flight from Chicago to Manchester, I generally spent the whole time knitting and reading a magazine.  Towards the end, I took out the Reach the Beach handbook for this year to peruse the changes and got all emotionally sappy reading about the support that the local communities give to this race.  A portion of the race fees are donated to the local groups as well as the NH state parks.   A young guy in the seat across the aisle asked if I was running in the race as he was too. He was heading in from NH from Phoenix and was just as excited as I was to be returning to such a great event.

I got picked up at the airport by my vanmates of Team WIMP (Weird Internet Marathon People) and we headed up towards the start of the race.  It had been quite pleasant in Manchester but as we headed north it got rainy.  Dang. I so didn't want to be running in a lot of rain. After a delicious dinner with the team (they have half plates at the restaurant!) we went back to the hotel and I could not believe how hard it started raining.  I had originally planned on a short run to shake off the travel blahs but never mind. 

The next morning was pretty nice fortunately.  We loaded up the vans after presenting Alison with her team gift and had our picture taken by the german new balance team.  Nice group.  We bought yet more food and went up to the start at Cannon Mountain.  The ground was a soggy mess after all the rain we'd had but I still managed to do some RTB gear shopping and was thankful the rain was done.  Another team where we know all of the vanmates showed up and all was good.

Race on! 

As a van two-er that meant we got to go to lunch and relax.  Lunch was pretty good and made better by other Van 2 joining us.  It was great to chat but soon enough we headed off to the Attitash Ski area where I'd be the first of van 2 to run.  The weather had cleared and it was gorgeous.

Leg 1
I was runner #7 last year and this leg was the same.  After dealing with a cranky hip early in the summer, I have not had a lot of longer runs but recently felt like I was getting stronger and faster.  I'd originally expected to run around 8:30 pace but knew I'd be faster.  Last year I ran this in 8 flat.  Could I do it again?  SK (runner #6) got into a dead sprint with a  guy at the end of his leg :awesome: and while I waited in fear for my life as two guys were hauling ass directly at me, I took off like a shot but then immediately reigned it in.  It's a rolling course with a pretty good hill midway through but net downhill.  The roads were immediately so canted that my bad hip was complaining.  I ignored it and as the road leveled felt better and was happily maintaining a good pace which felt comfortable.  I did get passed by quite a few people including 3 women which was a bit demoralizing.  I did pass a few people back and kept my focus.  Surprisingly I remembered basically nothing about this leg from last year so finally as I hit close to 7 miles, I could see the transition area ahead and started to hear my name being called. 

7.3 miles - (gain 208, loss 325) - 58:25 - 8:00 pace.  Woohoo!  This really surprises me as 7 miles hard like this is about my limit based on my mileage of late.  I'm delighted! Roadkill 3, killed by 7.

Interlude:  I managed to NOT lose my wallet this year at transition 9.  The same volunteers were there at the transition and I thanked them profusely.  We finished in good time and zoomed to the next van transition area where all I could think of was lying down somewhere.  I didn't want to go into the college as it was too loud and the floor was just too hard.  I'd brought something waterproof, put on all my warm clothing and grabbed my blanket and just went to lie down in the grass.  I didn't expect to sleep but it sure was relaxing.  Just when I was getting cold and really needed a bathroom, I rolled over and saw a shooting star. 

Leg 2 (#19) - This was the same leg as last year.  Same pitch black and some hills with a screaming downhill.  I'd run this very well last year and didn't really expect to hit that same pace.  I just knew I wanted to be solidly under 8.  After the first half mile of cursing my legs, I got in a groove and felt pretty good.  Not real speedy but solidly and evenly paced even up the hill which made me happy. 

4.4 miles - gain 181/loss 268 - 34:30 - 7:49 pace - Roadkill 11/killed 3

Interlude: Sunrise was gorgeous.  There were some tough legs in this set for the van and I was very glad mine had not been one of them. Ha! We had a fair bit of time hanging out at some of the transition areas once the sun was up.  I managed to find a van which had a foam roller and put that to good use.  I'm not ashamed to beg.  Soon enough AR (runner 12) came in and we were done.  All of us were desperate to get to the next van transition area but got stuck in the worst traffic ever.  It was agonizing since I'd needed a bathroom before we got in the van. At least the new van transition area was nice and there was a lot of space to find a quiet area.  Just about as soon as I was drifting off, I got a text not from Captain A (who would let me know when we had about an hour out), but from my husband who was traveling to DC that day.  His flight had a mechanical and was delayed and he'd forgotten to program the DC friends' numbers into his phone.  He asked me to send the phone numbers.  My brain was so fried that I could not even remember the first 3 numbers of a telephone number long enough to type it!  he eventually got on an airplane though as the texting stopped.  That was good 'cause I wanted to doze but ended up just chatting with everyone.  It was sunny and gorgeous out and everyone was in a good mood.   

Leg 3 (#33) - This was a new leg this year and much, much shorter.  Before the race I had really been looking forward to ripping through this run but as the run approached I knew my hamstrings were not gonna be capable of a 5k pace.  I honestly wasn't sure I'd be able to do much more than a jog at first but as I warmed up, I felt a bit better.  SK came in looking delighted that he was DONE and I was off.  After more than half a mile, I finally felt warmed up.  I got passed by three guys almost immediately but they really never pulled away and I managed to stay in sight contact.  It did mean that I sped up which was nice to see.

2.43 - gain 13/loss 33 - 18:34 - 7:38 - Roadkilled 8?/killed 3

I was so glad to be done and enjoyed watching everyone else finish their last legs.  The traffic as we approach the beach was so bad that we knew there was a good chance our runner would beat us.  Even though we left as soon as our last runner started, we missed her finish and it was very disappointing. I realized that I never got into the water this year but I did have some very tasty food they had set up at the end.  We went back to our hotel, i had the best shower ever and we went out for more food.  WE all got to compare running and other stories and it was great to hear how well everyone had run.  Van 1 had even had a flat tire during one of their set of legs but had managed to get the tire changed and back to the transition area in time!  Back to the hotel and i think I slept 9 hours uninterrupted and woke confused as to where I was.  

Once again, I feel so lucky that I can do these types of events and got to hang out with some amazing people.  I'm not planning on running this event again next year as it is just too far and rather at an inconvenient time.  I'll not forget the friendly communities, the gorgeous scenery and most of all those crazy fun with a bunch of like-minded people.  Ragnar anyone? 


Monday, September 13, 2010

Iron Girl 5k

Reach the Beach Relay is days away and Iron Girl 5k is 5 days before the relay.  Should I do it?  This race has some nice memories for me.  In 2008, I was dealing with a lot of injury problems and that whole undiagnosed stress fracture (I guess stress fractures are supposed to normally hurt a lot more) and ran this race pacing someone to a 5k PR.  I love pacing so that was fun.  Last year, I walked this race with my mom who tore up the 75-79 female age group!  Mom has a knee issue right now so wasn't up to the walk again.  It's a race just a couple miles from my house on a course I run practically every day and I had a group discount. 

Hmmm.  Well the general consensus was go ahead and race, recovery should be quick.  And yes, I've been hitting speedwork well lately and recovering fast from it.  Why not race and get my legs moving quicker in preparation for the relay?

I arrived close to the start early to pick up my bib and deliver some kale seedlings to a friend.  It was a nice morning at mid-50's, cloudy with a bit of a breeze.  I jogged over to a group photo opportunity at Coach Lesley's house with other friends.  it was a cheerful bunch and fun to hang out for a bit before an easy jog back to the start.  last year, it was so crowded I was worried about lining up.  It took a bit of weaving through the crowd but I got up to the front with some running buds.

Female only race note:  It's different lining up for a race that has women only.  No one wants to get in front!  Generally I'd seed myself behind the chunk of men at the front.  With no men to reference, it was different being so close to the front.

The race got off to a late start after some inspiring announcements.  It starts over a grassy area and with the start gets a little crazy even if I was toward the front.  I was worried about tripping as the grassy area is very uneven.  We were on the road very quickly and heading off.  The start was pretty slow so I started working to get to my goal first mile pace (7:30), my running buds were right with me I believe at this point.

At about half a mile, I saw some Coach Lesley friends cheering for us.  it was great to see them turning out even if they weren't running.  I started to feel warmed up and better in here and gradually pulled away from those running buds I'd started with.  I really hoped they wouldn't pass me later.

Mile 1 - 7:27

Nice!  And I'm feeling good.  So at this point in a short race, I generally start looking around at the people around me.  I saw a woman ahead of me with a nice stride and a brightly colored shirt and thought, well, I'll just stay even and hopefully manage to finish around her.  I kept running and gradually would catch up.  So then what?  I guess I have to pass her.  And then I did this again, and again.  Mile 2 just flew by which is very unusual for me for a 5k.  I'm usually having to argue with myself to keep running!

Mile 2 - 7:20

I'll admit that I saw mile 2 had a garmin-measured 7:15 pace attached to it at first and it freaked me out.  I slowed down deliberately because I was afraid that I'd not be able to hold the pace.  This is where the core and strength work I've been doing is paying off I think.  I"m stronger and better able to hold the pace.

female only race point:  Generally I'm surrounded by men in a race with a few women here and there.  I generally expect that the men are going to be faster than me.  Running this race with only women helped me focus on seeing who was ahead of me and passing her.  I listened to how they were breathing and generally thought, hunh, she's working harder than I am and would pass. 

The last mile was on the road and it was wide open.  There were women scattered about and I continued to pass here and there.  I just worked on maintaining  my running form and moving my arms and not looking at my watch.  I didn't want to see what pace I was running and certainly didn't want to see a lot more distance to go.  We came around the last turn and the stretch towards where I normally start my daily runs was in view.  This is it!

Mile 3: 7:20

i shouted out to my previous running coach who was standing here and caught his startled glance and a shout out to "go get 'em."  That made me snort a bit and made others around him laugh.  It was funny.  A turn and onto the grass and try not to fall and I was done!

23:14!  Yippee!  And I felt great.  25th overall and 5th in my age group.  I waited around to cheer those coming in and generally was just delighted.  I felt so strong and I've never had a 5k go so quickly.  No this isn't a PR (but it's pretty close) but mentally this just felt so much easier.

I learned something about some of the limits I'm imposing on myself too.  I assumed I'd not be able to hold a particular pace.  I assumed I'd not be able to pass those ahead of me.  Interesting and something to remember.  Check those assumptions and race, dammit!  Reach the Beach is going to be good and more importantly, i'm feeling very good about where I am right now.  It's a GREAT place to be.

Friday, September 10, 2010

But wait there's more...

Instead of groussing with Seattle about the first big storm with rain at the end of August (!), I snuck off to San Diego for fun in the sun at the Mason Boys Summer Resort.  And it really was a wonderful vacation with a trip to the San Diego Wild Animal Park or was that the Escondido Safari Experience?  No matter.  I saw a lion and a giraffe and wild boys playing in water and it was a idyllic, relaxing day.  If you go, pay the three bucks for the lorikeet nectar.  You won't regret it. 

I went to the beach, had In-n-Out, got a pedicure and had fun with my favorite kindergartener and preschooler.  The pork belly tacos at El Take it Easy are worth going for at any time but especially on the 30th on 30th

I even tried my first hill repeat workout on Upas Street by Morely Field Sports Complex the morning after having many margaritas.  ah.  that's living.

There are definitely things which remind me of Southern California and make me wistful. 
  • The sound of crickets in the evening.
  • The smell of eucalyptus trees especially when they area is being watered.
  • Flowering bougainvilleas and oleanders. 
I can't wait to go back but it is never soon enough to see those Mason boys.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lake Union 10k revisted

This time I was ready for this race.  I had enjoyed last year's race and was looking forward to seeing what some more consistent strength work was doing.  Last year I still felt speedy and strong.  This year, I've struggled with finding my groove and have lost speed and strength. After readjusting my training (thanks Coach Lesley), I was curious how this race would go.

Coach Lesley signed up for this race herself.  I picked her up and we carpooled down to the start.  After finally hitting some summer weather, this day was rainy!  It hadn't been rainy at my house but it was farther south and I was a bit dismayed by this.  I'd not brought a hat.  Oh well, at least it was a warm rain.  We did a warm-up and seeded ourselves into the very crowded and confusing start.  This year, they tried a wave start but without warning everyone of this before hand, well, people were confused.

And we were off.  It was pretty crowded.  I knew I was going faster than I wanted (I'd started in the first group but towards the back) but I wasn't too concerned.  We had a tailwind and it is flat here.  After about a quarter mile, I was starting to look at my garmin for pace information and was surprised to see I'd not started it correctly.  Oh well.  I started it and saw that yes I was fast but was settling into a good pace and I was not concerned.  They had kilometer markings so I started hitting those for reference.  But now I wish I'd left the mile markers as is as I think the kilometer marks were a bit off.

Soon we were climbing towards the Fremont bridge.  I'd been pretty quick for the first section (7:40) and expected to slow a bit here but didn't.  I very gradually passed people here and there and got passed occasionally as all.  At the 5k mark I thought that a 10k seemed excessively far and it would be really nice to be done.  This race is about as flat as you get here but that means you still get some hills that frighten a lot of runners in the rest of the country.  The first one wasn't too bad by the University Bridge.  I just tried to power up it as i knew I'd like the downhill to the bridge.  Last year some of the steep downhill sections bothered me and felt tough.  This year I could use them better.

Last wicked hill and I can't say I was fast up it but I didn't completely bog down.  I did feel stronger.  There were not too many runners around me at this point.  i could see a guy ahead and assumed I'd have a few people behind.  I just tried to stay in contact with this guy ahead and not let him pull away.  This worked and then at about mile 5, I realized my shoe was coming loose and was untied.  Dangit!  I've never had this happen in a race before.  It got looser and looser and then I could feel the ends slapping at my other leg.  I debated stopping to tie it but knew I'd not get started running well again.

the challenge then became trying not to let the loose shoe change my running gait.  And it was hard!  I really wanted to favor that leg and not let the laces whip me.  I was also afraid of stepping on them but was pretty certain that was impossible at the pace I was going.  I do fear that I lost time here.  I was also tiring.  as we came to the finish, I got passed by three women (grrr..they were all younger though) and was shocked to see the time on the clock as 47:XX.  My goal was to beat the June 10k time of 49:2X and last year's 49:1X and try and come in under 49.

Done!  Coach Lesley herself had run this race and was at the finished.  She laughed with me about the silly shoe lace issue.  Oh well.  Like last year the finish area was very crowded.  The new South Lake Union Park should be finished this year and that will alleviate this problem.  I waited around for results to be posted and found another friend who'd raced and has gotten so fast.  I'm so happy for her as things have turned around after some injury frustrations.  We waited and waited and they tried to announce overall winners but then realized there were some serious scoring issues.

I had some pancakes with whipped cream and berries provided by a Portage Bay Cafe, a sponsor.  They were delicious and since I normally have pancakes after weekend runs, i was in heaven.  I waited some more and gave up.

47?  Maybe?  But really?  I know I'd run well and hard and felt stronger and felt great about that.  Finally results were posted the next day.  chip time was listed as 48:52 and I was third master female overall.

Hahaha!  After some hints of timing and scoring issues, I contacted the timing company and confirmed that clock time at the finish was off by a minute (how?) and posted race results were correct.  Not under 48 but solidly under 49 and 30 seconds faster than the 10k in May.  Things are starting to go the way I want and I'm happy about that.

And summer is done...

August always is over in a blur.  Between work (covering vacation time from coworkers), house projects, running and my own vacation plans it gets a little busy around here. 

First up.  Happy Birthday to the Puddlethumper household.  Both K and I celebrate August birthdays.  On the tail end of the hottest days of the year, we grilled some salmon and celebrated in style out on the deck.  Mom came over and it was ever so pleasant out on the deck in the evening.  We opened a bottle we'd gotten from our trip out to Lake Chelan.

I was driven to finish putting up siding on the new porch and paint.  I wanted it done before the end of the month.  Fortunately it went quick and after siding the whole house I do consider myself pretty good at this task.  I was able to get a coat of finish paint up before some of the rains came.  The area up around the soffit still requires some work but will need some tricky cutting of boards to get them to fit.  And we'll need ironwork for railing and the front section of the porch to complete this project.  Plantings are probably going to wait as I think about how I want to approach the changes to the pathways around the house and the new access via the stairs to the side yard.  I'm really pleased with how it looks now though.   

And if that wasn't enough, a very good friend of a very good friend was recently diagnosed with cancer and started chemotherapy immediately.  What I found knitting this chemo cap is that it really focuses your attention on the person's battle.  Good thoughts to her!  And F You, Cancer! 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The "5k"

Things are ticking along here in PuddleThumper land.  The porch is looking great.  More on that later.  Lots to do in the garden and the house and physical therapy for the recalcitrant hip seems to be going well too.  I'm been averaging 30 miles per week running and feeling good.  The hip really is fine for shorter stuff, even shorter faster stuff.  I've run up to 10 and felt good.

A breakthrough of sorts at the PT's office the other day.  He found an exquisitely sore spot right on the ischial tuberosity (that's the sit bone and also called sitz bone oddly enough).  Once he had me move through a bit and pinning that spot, magically everything on that side up through my low back relaxed.  It was very strange.  And discussing day-to-day activities as running doesn't seem to bother it, he helped me see that my positioning when sitting at work probably wasn't helping thing.  I have a good chair and sit upright but i sit on the edge of my seat leaning forward.  Evidently that is bad!  I've been constantly reminding myself at work to use the lumbar support of my chair at work and amazingly enough, things seem to feel better. 

Reach the Beach is around the corner so this is all very good news.  I decided purely based on the not three bazillion degree temps we had on Saturday to jump in and do the Seafair Torchlight 5k run.  I've never done this one and have wanted to do it for years as it has an afternoon race time. I heard nighmares about traffic as the downtown seafiar parade goes right after the race.  but I knew I could take the bus, keep everything simple and race. 

this year they changed the course and were starting over in belltown.  There was both an 8k and 5k and i was downtown (after a very good nap on the bus!) in good time to walk over, register and get ready.  I ran into a R2R buddy who was volunteering so that was nice to see a friendly face!  And I was amazed at how large an event this was.  Who knew?
  • Tough to get everyone lined up and then still had to make room for the elites/invited runners in the front.  The announcer had everyone" take a step back and then another." 
  • I have never been so crowded at the start and no pace markers. 
  • The course starts uphill and then gets onto the parade route.  I set a new course record for number of kids' hands hi-fived in a race. 
  • I thought I was in 7:20 - 7:30 shape but with uphill start was aiming for 7:40 first mile.  With much dodging of very slow people the first half mile (!) and a fairly steep uphill section, i hit exactly 7:40 and felt like crap. 
  • The turnaround point on the course came really early (ha!) and there was not much room for the 5k'ers going back along the same route.  I felt great in here though and got in a very pleasant 7:09 mile.
  • One of the elite finishers was jogging back along the course the last couple of blocks cheering for the runners.
  • I'd seen somebody's t-shirt with teh quote something like "ask yourself if you can dig deeper and the answer is usually yes" (no idea who now) at mile 2, i asked myself this and the answer was yes. 
  • Turned the corner to the finish and saw the clock at 19:XX.  And realized the course must be way short.
  • I got passed by a lot of the guys in the final sprint but did manage to pass and stay ahead of a gal my age the last quarter mile. 
  • Got a very nice technical shirt from this race plus the finish line had small bags of pirate booty (mmm salt) and half pints of blueberries they were giving out. 
  • There was nobody ready to take chips from this race at the finish.
2.65 garmin miles @ 19:13 chip time for 7:17 pace.

Woohoo!  I raced. it has been a heckuva long time since I've felt that I have raced and I am delighted.  for 3.2 actual miles, I probably would've been 7:20-7:25 but who knows.  I felt very strong in the middle mile and even strong on the uphill section.  The consistent core/agility class I've been doing is definitely helping.

After grabbing some snacks, i did a half mile jog back to the bus and was home within 30 minutes.  It was a perfect way to do this race.

And then the dilemma.  On course, I turned around when I saw a sign indicating 8k straight and 5k u-turn.  Evidently there might have been a first sign which said "ahead" and then the actual turn came later.  I never saw a sign which said the turn was ahead.  I was racing and you just don't notice things so well when running hard.  I just turned at the first sign I could see and followed other runners doing the same.  I came in first in my age group (and the course is still listed as a 5k with subsequent pace) but really feel uncomfortable about this.  I emailed the chip company about the question in results and they forwarded this to the race company but I've not heard anything yet.

At this point, I'd prefer the (first ever) DQ and knowing that I raced well.  It was the workout I needed both physically and mentally regardless of what my place was in the race.  And the shirt with a stylized pirate logo is a hoot!  I'll wear that one a lot 'cause it does actually fit!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The new porch...

It has begun!  We moved into our house in 1997 and have been going non-stop with the home renovation projects ever since.  New bathroom, new kitchen, new doors, new garden, new sheathing and siding, new deck, new plumbing and new wiring...the list can go on.  We've had to hire out some things like chimney work and the roof but we've managed to do the majority of all other work by ourselves or with K's Dad's help.  It's really remarkable to think back at what this solid yet neglected house looked like 13 years ago. 

And now we've hired a local contractor, Scott Bookwalter of Maple Leaf Construction to rebuild our porch.  What was wrong with it?  The foundation was cracked, it sloped towards the house, the posts were rotted, the stairs were the wrong ratio and it was looking bad, bad, bad.  This was a small yet big job because it was going to involve rebuilding the foundation and taking out the old brick and cement work and pouring a lot of cement.  The roof part above the porch was just fine and that would need to be supported. 

This is what it looked like before:  click link

And here is what is going on now.  It is so exciting to come home from work to see what has happened during the day.  It's like having house elves working hard! 

The portion above the porch is supported and the walls and posts are down.  Max the neighbor cat is visiting. 

All the cement is gone. 

The form for cement work is built.  This will be the first cement pour. 

Stay tuned! 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A getaway weekend with extra bonus summer!

We finally made it over the pass and into Eastern Washington.  Ok, we didn't go too far but it was still far enough to see the dramatic difference in weather and landscape.  Dry and warm and perfect for growing apricots, cherries, applies and wine grapes!

Chelanman is a multi-sport event with many options for triathletes and runners to do a very fine event.  We went over with a group of coach Lesley athletes and had such a great time.  We set out from Seattle and it was cold and almost drizzly.  As soon as we hit Snoqualmie Pass, the clouds parted and it was sunny.  Soon it got pretty hot.  what a change.

Chelan is about a three hour drive from Seattle over the cascades.  Lake Chelan (Chelan is the town sitting at the south end) is a 55 mile narrow lake.  The southern end is accessible by roads but the north end is only reached by a ferry.  It reminds me a lot of Albuquerque but with a huge lake!  Dry and warm and windy.

I'd originally planned on doing the half marathon run portion of a half iron as a relay.  But at the last minute, we could not switch the registration from an individual bib to a relay.  No worries.  I'm in physical therapy for the hip and not supposed to run longer distances right now.  And Chelan was going to be hot so I was happy to switch to the 10k run only.

Coach lesley and group had a number of condos rented and we had a group dinner before turning in early for bed.  Those triathletes had a very long day ahead of them!  It was pretty interesting to see all the prep work which has to go into doing a triathlon.  Bike check, body marking, setting up fueling, bib, etc, etc.  Truthfully, it just confirmed that I'm not all that interested in doing a triathlon for a lot of different reasons.

That does NOT mean I wasn't so impressed and inspired by what I saw this weekend.  There were a lot of people who were doing their first time at the distance.  It was a huge deal to see their accomplishments and I'm really glad I got to see that.

My run?  Did I mention it was hot?  The course is an out and back on a rather rolling course.  Exposed and it was into a strong breeze on the way out.  With the heat, I planned on a slower pace but the heat still got to me even with that.  It was pretty brutal for me and I have no idea how people in most of the rest of the country (slomo!) deal with it.  Typically for a 10k, I wouldn't take any water.  By mile 2, I was ready for some and on the way back was asking for a spray down from the water guns they had along the course.  I felt shivery and ill and did a mix of run/walk the last couple of miles.  Tough run!

Surprisingly I still ended up 3rd in my age group and got a very cute little mug.  I ran well enough evidently!  K and I hung out at the event to cheer for everyone.  And then went off for a little wine tasting.  yes, this is wine country!  We happened to pick a winery which had it's tasting cafe within view of mile 10 of the half marathon.  So I'd sip and then spot another coach lesley athelete coming along and dash down to the road to cheer. It was great!

K tired an open water swim in the lake the next day even though it was even windier (white caps) on the lake and I went for an easy jog around the town.  Chelan is a nice place to visit.  We really look forward to going back with our bikes!  I'd love to do some trail running in the area and we only hit two wineries so lots of options there.

And we stocked up on cherries and apricots on the drive home!