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.