Monday, December 29, 2014



Happily, the ankle is feeling better. K and I did a longer run this weekend around Lake Union and got stopped by the Fremont Bridge. The new paint job looks good! 

I've been keeping to a run every other day schedule and biking on the off running days. It seems to be working! 

It's been a rather strange but successful year for running. 

1675 miles for the year. This is less than the last couple years but I was off of running almost 6 weeks because the of the kneecap issue early in the year. 

4 half marathons with a solid 1:50:XX race in June. 
3 or so short trail races during the summer 
Another successful Ragnar Relay
2 marathons and one of those just a couple minutes off of PR pace. 

That marathon race still makes me pretty damn happy almost two months later. yes, that was a good race!  

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

It's been a really low key holiday and I am loving it!  We slept in and went out for a run.  I'm going to do the running every other day because every day would not agree the ankle. I remembered that i had some K-tape and after a bit of googling, that pesky tendon is taped. And i think it helped. 

Merry Christmas to K! I made him do tempo running. The Posole is cooking now and the plum pudding with hard sauce is in progress. We'll be taking food and such over to my mom's place to celebrate Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2014

End of the Season

I rested and recovered after the marathon in early November. Thanksgiving was wonderful and I used the time off to try and get some training on trails. I'd signed up for a 50k mid-december. It was never a goal race but I'd hoped to finish the race and enjoy the wonderful trails. However, a touch of ankle tendonitis and trail shoe issues meant that I was going into the 50k race woefully undertrained on trails and unsure the ankle would hold up to the rigors of trail running. 

The ankle had felt fine on roads so the issue on trails was a bit of a surprise. I'd run longer on trails in shoes that hadn't worked and probably contributed to the ankle pain. I started some self care for the ankle and also added in some more days off than I planned. After frantically trying out different shoes, I had finally found a pair of trail shoes that would do well enough and prepared just go out there and have some fun.  

We went up to Whidbey for the Deception Pass 25k and 50k. These races are on separate days and we knew people running both days. A friend has a house on whidbey so we had easy and very relaxing accommodations. I'd had a very stressful week at work so really was looking forward to the weekend away. I'd been tapering again for the race and was dismayed to find the ankle really bothered after a couple easy midweek runs. I'd had a massage the monday before the race and I think possibly she went a bit deep on the tender areas. And then saturday i woke with teh beginnings of a cold. That decided it. I had thought I'd have a chance of finishing before the cut off for the 50k IF the ankle held up. Now with a developing cold, I knew I'd just have to plan for a nice and much shorter easy trail run. Maybe I could make it 10 miles but I would be happy with 7 or so which would give me the best views of the course.  
It's a great course for spectating and the weather was wonderful for the 25k. Runners did get rained on but they were brief showers and overall it was very comfortable temps for running. Coach Lesley was racing strong (despite her usual claim that she was just running for fun) and it was really fun getting to different areas to cheer.  
After the race, we headed back to the farm and got a grand tour of the property. I took a lovely nap and spent some quality time knitting and reading. Ah the joys of the occasional unplugging. There was no wifi! The R2D2 hat is ready! 
I prepared all my stuff to get ready to run the next morning. And barely slept because i had such a sore throat and felt so achy. Ok. No way. No running for this sickie.  That is a DNS (did not start) and no doubt in my mind that was the right decision. I felt awful later in the day and was working towards spiking a high fever. We still went out and cheered for the friend running in teh 50k. Turns out he was way undertrained as well and had a planned drop at mile 14.  
Nope, it's not quite the weekend i wanted running-wise but it was a really fun weekend overall with beautiful scenery. Meanwhile I guess the ankle is better. it's had a lot of rest!

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Four whole days! Dinner was delicious as it always is. It was great to have family over and chat and catch up.

Recovery is done for the marathon and now i'm focused on trying to finish my first 50k. What was I thinking? It's been difficult to motivate for training in the dark and the cold. And I haven't had a lot of trail runs this cycle. My ankle was quick to let me know about that so i have been battling some mild tendonitis made worse by a trail shoe dilemmas. Nothing I had was working for me and my feet have been unhappy on trails.

I ate well at Thanksgiving knowing i was planning on a last long run out on trails the next day. I'd arranged to run with a couple different friends. first I'd start with one set for a set amount of time. They'd stop and then another friend would join me.  Everything was all set but the weather was some of the worst I've run in before.  it was pouring when we started and during the time we were out running, the temps dropped by a lot. It was a tough three hour run made worse by the sloppy conditions. I got extremely cold once finished too and actually had to pull off the road (into a coffee shop) to warm up as I was not safe to drive.

We got over an inch of rain at home that day (probably more out where the trails are) and then overnight the temps dropped even more and we got snow!  Four whole days of wild weather.  I'd gotten out to the local running store to find another pair of trail shoes to try and went out this morning with RPD (again - round 2 for him too) and try these out. The ankle is sore, my legs were still tired but it was just beautiful out there. No rain! The new shoes will work so that is a relief.

The only goal is to finish the 50k and I'm rather doubtful about that. But i will have fun regardless and I am looking forward to the getaway weekend. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I ran a marathon and then the weather changed. I love it when resting and recovering coincides with horrible weather! It was great sleeping in, baking and relaxing. I took 4 days off of running and was very happy that I felt great overall.  

I planned on two very easy weeks hoping that I could resume more typical run schedule and higher mileage as now I'm one month from a 50k! I've not really run hills at all the past months as I tried to stick to flatter road courses to better match the goal marathon course and because very steep hills had still bothered my knee even a few months ago. It was back to the trails the past two weekends. I think it'll come back quickly but it has been a bit of a shock. Oh yeah! Quads needed for those downhills!              

Sunday, November 2, 2014

In Unity We Run Marathon - When it all comes together Part 2

In Unity We Run Marathon 2014. Why this race? Read here: link

Bib, Medal and custom made shirt (front and back) and coffee mug.
With all the excitement about everyone coming into town, logistics, our own vacation to Albuquerque, I came into this race very relaxed. I knew I could cover the distance as I had done just that five weeks before.

My training was solid. I knew that. I'd trained well and had no problems. I'd chosen to run a full marathon as a training run five weeks ago. That was challenging and mentally difficult as I really struggled the last 8 miles or so of the race even though i was taking it really easy. There were a lot of reasons why that race was going to be challenging (gravel course, heat etc) and I knew about those challenges but I still couldn't decide how to approach this goal marathon after those struggles. 

My friend, running partner, full time coach with her own business and sometimes my coach and always a cheerleader and I discussed that previous marathon. I'd had a really hard time laying out goals for that practice marathon because I just didn't feel like I had any faith that my body would behave. And my body rebelled as I'd dreaded even with all the positive self talk. Sure I'd wanted to maintain an easy long run pace throughout the 26 miles but after around 18 or 19 miles, my hips/back did something and I just felt like i had no power. I was running but barely able to maintain a 13 minute pace. That is a just above a walk to me and way off my normal 10:00 easy run pace let alone what marathon pace should be. I tried all sorts of things to restore function but nothing worked.  How could I set any goals for a goal race besides "just finish" when this was the likely outcome?

this has been an issue with almost all marathons for me. It was particularly telling the last three or four where all my notes say "hips shut down and i was just slogging along." I'd sometimes wondered if it was related to lung issues. Generally I'd feel lungs starting to tighten somewhere 13 - 16 miles. I'd do a rescue inhaler which would help some. I'd always felt it was somehow connected.

Coach/Friend wondered about electrolytes. I've done electrolyte supplements but generally focused more on calorie intake. AS the brain got marathon stupid and I didn't have a firm plan, I'd get haphazard about taking electrolytes on a regular schedule. I still remember my very first marathon where i dropped the packet of them the very first time I was getting them out. And yes, that very first marathon in 2006 featured an 8 mile slog from about mile 17 on as well.

So I went into this race with no goals except to finish. I still didn't know what would happen. Everything was aligning however for a good race. It was really fun having so many friends doing this race. Even just knowing everyone was waiting and that the two guys who were completing their 50 states quest kept me focused on just enjoying being there for this.

The weather? This is my other marathon nemesis.  We'd had a very warm early fall and then in the last couple weeks, it has been pouring. Magically, race day dawned cloudy, cooler and dry and with no winds. the temps were between 48 and 55 the whole time. I think I would still be better about five degrees cooler but this was better race conditions than I've ever had for a marathon.

Cycle? This has been a problem. I don't run well just before my period. Things are changing with that making life easier overall (mostly) and the timing ended up being just about perfect.  

Course? Flat! Really I can't think of a race course in this area that is as flat. There were very slight dips under the streets that let me change my gait up just enough which helped. There was also a very low bridge that we had to climb up to and around twice on the last half of the course. I know my Texan friends who were running said that those would be considered a hill but as a seattle runner, i'd just call it a slight incline! 

So I decided to do usual gels every 4 miles. I was carrying water and would have K switch out the 10 ounce container every 6.5 miles (at the turnarounds). I decided to take an electrolyte capsule every 5 miles adn I'd stick to this plan even when brain got fuzzy.  This was a goal race so I did decide to go out at goal marathon pace and just hope everything would align and i could actually keep running.

We all met up at the start. I ran into a couple other local friends who were running the half. It was a fun easy going start. And before we knew it, everyone started running. The race director had been saying things over a loudspeaker but I couldn't hear a word of it!

I kept the first two miles easier at 9 or slower pace deliberately to use this as a warm up. Then once warmed up I naturally sped up just a bit. I was hoping to run somewhere between 8:40-8:50 for goal marathon pace but I wasn't sure how it would feel. It felt like a good pace and I stuck to it very consistently.  I had a gel every 4 miles (about 35 minutes at goal marathon pace) and an electrolyte capsule every 5 miles. Since i was carrying water, I tried taking the gel in two "doses" which I think helped. I did half of it with a swig of water and carried teh gel opened until i had the rest of it almost a mile later.

All this figuring (plus messing with my phone which i was listening to music with) took a lot of work! I had to stay focused and patient. I didn't know if I was going to be able to race this marathon until 22 or 23 miles into it. Every mile after around 18, I kept thinking that things would fall apart and frankly, that was going to be fine because I'd been there before. However, I was going to stay focused on continuing to move and sticking to my plan.

Since this was a double out and back course, I saw friends running back towards me and of course that was really fun. The marathon felt very remote and for most of the run, I didn't really see anyone else ahead of me or behind me.  I saw a couple get off course just ahead of me and watched them come back just as I was approaching they area where the arrows were obscured. I was lucky to stay on course the entire time. It was vaguely familiar which helped. 

I did start getting marathon brain. I'd planned to carry 5 gels and have K give me a couple more on course. I miscounted when loading my pockets and only had 4. So at mile 18, I still had another mile and half to get a gel at the 19.6 mile turnaround. I didn't let it bother me but as always, plan to have more fuel on board than you think you'll need!

The electrolytes? I started to get the usual tight lung feeling around mile 13 or 14. Then I took a capsule at 15 and realized that tight lung feeling started to lessen. Ok, that was really interesting and made a note to keep up with the capsules. I think i did the next one early at 19.

Could the hip and lung issue be related but more a result of electrolytes? Honestly that is what my gut is telling me today.  There are a lot of things that go into proper muscle function. Electrolytes are one part of that. i've never had problems with cramping (typically associated with electrolyte issues) so have never been that strict with taking supplements during a race unless it was very warm where heat would cause it's own problems. 

It worked! I still had a fade but this is the very first marathon where I've managed to keep all miles under 10:00 pace. This is a huge deal! I still can't believe I did it. I knew at mile 23 that I was very close to coming in under 3:55.

This was the beyond dreams goal for me.  3:55 is my boston qualifying time for the marathon and while I knew technically that I should be trained for that pace (based on short distance races, general training etc), I had put it out of my mind. Remember, my goal was to finish (under 5 hours is typical) and if things went well i hoped to be under 4:15. If i was under 4, I was having a great day and would've met my goal to race a marathon.

I battled. I was all by myself these last miles. There was no runner visible ahead of me except far distant at times. The course had had a detour off the Green River Trail onto roads and I could not remember how many miles that detour was. I thought it was maybe 3 miles on roads and that would be bad because it was harder running as the course technically went on sidewalks and crossed mostly deserted streets. I started dropping things. AT two different times, I dropped electrolytes and my inhaler and stopped to pick them up.  Stopping and picking something up at mile 22 or 24 of a marathon is a not a quick or graceful process.  But i felt like i had to.  Remember the brain doesn't work well. 

The last two miles I told myself that if my two 50 states marathon friends could run a marathon in every state, i could fucking run for 2 more miles. It was all i could do to maintain but I was running. I didn't dare look at my watch because really, that would not help. I was moving as fast as i could and I had no idea what pace that was. 

Since the course had some reroutes too, I thought it was likely to be a bit long. At 25.8 miles I told myself that i still had at least a half mile.  GO!  i made a final turn and could see a couple of friends waiting for me. From a long way away, I could hear LML (running the half and lives in Norfolk VA) cheering for me. The race finish was actually a bit closer and in a parking lot which confused me. And then i was done!

The race director (remember small race) gave me my time of 3:55:22 and I stunningly realized I had just missed qualifying for Boston by 23 seconds yet I'd still come way under my dream goal of under 4:00. i could not believe it and just felt very emotional that I'd FINALLY had a successful marathon and done it in front of all the friends and family who've shared so many triumphs and struggles over the years. 

I wouldn't have changed anything. I ran my race and I did it. I learned some valuable lessons and as always have marveled at what a community sport the lonely long distance runner is a part of. Of course, I could not have done it without K's unfailing support.  I know he was just as thrilled as i was! 

This is my first marathon where all mile splits are under 10 minutes. It is not a marathon PR but is only off that PR by 2 minutes and that PR was set in 2006, my first marathon. 


1 - 9:01
2 - 8:58
3 - 8:43
4 - 8:50
5 - 8:42
6 - 8:40
7 - 8:49
8 - 8:40
9 - 8:39
10 - 8:40
11 - 8:44
12 - 8:47
13 - 8:45(half time 1:55:XX)
14 - 8:40
15 - 8:50
16 - 8:45
17 - 8:48
18 - 8:48
19 - 8:57
20 - 9:09
21 - 9:01
22 - 9:57
23 - 9:17
24 - 9:55
25 - 9:43
26 - 9:57 

In Unity We Run Marathon - When it all comes together 1

All smiles post race with iconic Seattle backdrop.
There are so many parts to this story.

The first part is why run this particular marathon? The in Unity We Run Marathon and half Marathon is a very small, low-key race just south of Seattle in Kent. I'd never heard of it but decided to run it because two longtime online running friends had chosen it to as the race to complete their quest for running a marathon in each state. Yes, that's amazing isn't it? I have run now 8 marathons in 3 different states and I can't fathom attaining that feat. AND these guys are really strong runners so all of their marathons are fast.

Not only were these two guys coming into race but a fair number of other friends from all over the country flew in to celebrate this accomplishment and some to run as well. One other friend was also checking WA off as a state by doing the marathon.  The two guys were bringing a lot of family.

This marathon looked to be the best option for a lot of reasons. It's a completely flat marathon and temperatures would likely be good. It's easy to get to especially from the airport. It was later in this year which gave the guys time to knock off multiple other states. And even better, it's $10 day of race with no real concerns with it selling out.

My take: local, no hills and likely to be good temps for me. So this was my goal marathon this year too.

This is a really small no frills race. However since the guys were using this race to finish their quest, they decided to contact the race director and ask if they could design and supply a race finisher medal. The director agreed. One of the guys had shirts made up for our group and one of the women who was also running the full had bibs made up for us. It just made the race feel like family.

K came out to support me which was a huge help. I carried a small handheld and needed it changed out every 6 miles or so.This was great though for everyone else running because they got to see a familiar face and K ended up driving some visiting family members around. He got huge bonus husband points for this as well!

it is a small race with few runners and no volunteer/support beyond aid stations in two places at the turnarounds. Many got off course because it isn't necessarily obvious where the flat paved trail goes at times. There were course markings but some had been obscured by fallen leaves.

I've not been on this trail in probably 5 years or so. the Howard Hanson Dam is upriver from the Green River. in 2009 it was discovered that there were problems with the dam and the Green River trail was partially closed/obstructed in places with sandbags to protect against flooding should the dam breach. The issues with the dam have been resolved but as of this year, levee work along the trail commenced. This meant that there were trail detours in place for this race. It took me a bit to figure that the orange spray painted arrows were for the race but eventually i really started paying attention to them. Especially the last half of the race, i was all by myself when running and it was easy to lose focus with marathon brain.

One of the guys ended up winning the marathon! He got off course three times but that was still less than the two guys who had been ahead of him! Another local friend, unfortunately, could've won the marathon and qualified for Boston but got off course the last mile! D'oh!

50th State done! It really was an honor to be able to be there to witness their accomplishment. I was very happy with my race too. As a big group, I shepherded the family and friends downtown on the lightrail for post-race celebration at the Pike Brewery. What fun and what an accomplishment.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Canyon de Chelly

White House Ruins
Last long run done and we were off for the vacation part of our trip. We'd wanted to travel to this National Monument in northeastern Arizona last year but the long government shut down changed our plans.

Road Trip! It's a 3-4 hour drive from Albuquerque and I'm not sure it's any closer to any other larger city. This area is remote. K and I took turns driving and made numerous stops to other National areas to break up the drive. It was nice not to be in any hurry

Canyon de Chelly is entirely within the Navajo Nation and as such has very strict rules for access.  This felt right to me as there is a lot of nasty history in this area. Like in Ireland, it seemed like seemingly distant history was very much recent and a reminder. It was good to respect that.

Hiking down to canyon floor on White House Ruins Trail
We were there for two nights. Chinle, the small town adjacent to the attraction, is very small with limited tourist accommodations. Restaurants are limited too. We made do and stayed at the very clean but older lodge within the national monument which has an attached cafeteria. It made for easy access and it was nice to be off of the busy main road of the town. 

We drove the South Rim the first evening we were in and were dazzled by the canyon. The next morning, K and I went for a short easy run just on the main highway. There are no sidewalks but there is enough of a shoulder and drivers are well accustomed to foot activity it seemed. They gave us a wide berth. WE headed right off to the White House Ruin Trail which is the only trail tourists can access on their own.

Spectacular! It was a relatively easy hike down to the canyon floor and then back up. Yes, this is at altitude but we had perfect weather. It was sunny towards the end but not too hot. We made plenty of stops for photos and just marveled at it all.  The only other way to access the canyon is to hire a local guide for a jeep tour. And we did that in the afternoon.

Actually it makes perfect sense. There is no road into the canyon. Jeeps drive in on the canyon floor which at certain times of the year is a river and unpassable! The sand is deep and it was fun to be in the 4 wheel drive vehicle. JJ, our guide, had grown up in the canyon and had a lot on interesting observations and stories.  This was well worth it. Since we'd already hiked to the White House Ruin, he took us farther up into the Canyon del Muerto. It was beautiful, quiet and evocative. No airplanes or any other noises besides the wind in the trees and the occasional animal noise.
Mummy Cave Ruins

K and I had one last shorter am run and headed off to drive the north rim. We saw the most spectacular ruins perched on the canyon wall. HOW did they do that? How did they live there?

I'd love to go back.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Duke City Revisted

I needed one last long run with a chunk of miles at goal marathon pace. I could've gotten up very early before our flight to get this in. It would've been dark and possibly cold, by myself and a route I've been running a lot (too much). Instead, I was able to sign up for the Duke City Half Marathon. I'd last attempted the marathon in Albuquerque but a combo of altitude, heat and who knows what else meant I bailed at 14 miles.

This time I was set for whatever race day. If I ended up just running the half at an easy long run pace, that was going to be ok. In fact it was better than ok because I really did not want to push hard during my taper for the marathon in 3 weeks. K's parents live just a couple miles from the race start so I got up a bit early, had breakfast and cruised over to the start. I had just enough time to find a bathroom (indoor!) and drop my warm up shirt and gloves and line up.

It was perfect weather at 50 degrees and no wind. Of course it was going to be brilliantly sunny so i knew it would start to feel warm by the time i finished in a couple hours. I opted not to carry any water and was happy to see that out on course the race had replaced those itty bitty cups they'd had two years ago with regular sized water cups.

I'd lined up a fair bit back but soon i was right on the pace i wanted which was no faster than 9:30 for the first three miles (I'd run just over 2 miles slower over to the race start).  Then I sped up.

These races (5k, 10k, half and full marathon) did not sell out. Each race had a separate start time which was good. AS it was it was almost too crowded on the course in the half. It's a narrow paved pathway that the course gets onto after 2 miles on roads. Once I sped up to marathon pace, I was continually passing people and once the people ahead of me reached the turn around and headed back on this out and back course, I really had to monitor staying tucked in and not interfering with other runners.

It did give me something to focus on but this time marathon pace was enjoyable. The miles ticked off quickly. I walked through water stops but had no problems getting back on pace. The last two miles I just ran easily back to the finish. Done and I was happy to be under 2 hours too.

What a difference! I had a fabulous time running this race and was very pleased this worked out so well. They had a Blake Lottaburger breakfast burrito truck parked at the finish. I had come prepared hopeful that i could get my desired breakfast burrito. I came away with a fabulous bacon, egg and hashbrown burrito with green chile sauce. yes, this is New Mexico!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

And we are off...

One last sort of longish run (15 miles) and we are off on a short trip/vacation to visit K's parents. We'll be headed off for a couple day excursion in the SW too. I can't wait! We left Seattle on a wet albeit warm day. Here in Albuquerque it was a very warm feeling 70 and super sunny.

One last long run will be done as part of the Duke City Half Marathon. Why not? I'll keep it easy and enjoy the scenery. we went off to packet pick up directly after landing. I'm rather annoyed that packet pick up is not possible the morning of the race and they'd run out of small sized race shirts as I'd requested. Oh well. It's a smaller but very nicely done race and I'm looking forward to running somewhere different.

Oh and I've already been scouting out breakfast burrito (read: green chile) possibilities for after race noshing.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It all works out - Fall City Half Marathon

Snoqualmie Valley in the morning.
It's amazing what being a smart athlete can do! One week later even with full training, my foot feels so much better. A week ago I couldn't bear the thought of a long road run but with the next marathon looming in three weeks, I knew this was the weekend to get it done.  

I'd even had a course picked out for a year.  Last year, I raced the Fall City 10k but my original plan had been to race the half marathon distance. I woke with a mild cold the day before the race and pulled back my goals. I knew I'd wanted to come back to the event so a few days after last year's event, i signed up for the half marathon with a very good early registration price.

Fast forward a year and i'm in the middle of marathon training. yes, a half marathon will work as long as I actually run at a long run pace. But then we also got the good news that K's brother was getting married. It was a pretty quickly planned wedding for various reasons.  The wedding day after much schedule figuring with various friends and family members was going to the be the same day as the race.  Training is as training is. Gotta get it in.  

K was also signed up for the half and was also treating it as a long run. He cheerfully put up with my dragging us out there extra early so I could add on 5 miles before the race. I got back to the start with about 10 minutes to go which was enough time to jog around some more and find the super secret portapotty all to myself and say hello to some other friends running and we were off!

My only goal was to run the first few miles at no faster than 9:30 pace. I'd walk through water stops and just enjoy myself and I did. It's a great course with so much to look at.  The photo above was taken when i was out on course running the early 5 miles. There are flower and veggie farms, mini goats, mini horses, cows and many loud frogs. At various times i saw flocks of geese, possibly cranes and maybe some ravens. 

the course is overall as flat as you get here for races in this area and instead of being a straight road has enough turns to keep it interesting.  At the turn around I picked up the pace a bit and had fun picking off runners one by one all the way back to the finish. I'd not planned on it but the last mile even with the one short (sort of nasty) hill, I got below marathon pace. Oops.  I was feeling good.  I finished, picked up my medal and went right back out for a very slow and sloggy 2 more miles.  

20.4 miles done at a solid long run pace overall. 

We left quickly and got home to eat, shower and I took a bit of a nap. Then we were off to the wedding. It was a lovely sweet ceremony and it was a lot of fun.  I can have my training and some cake too! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Reminder: you ran a marathon

My foot has been bugging me this week. I thought it was the dreaded plantar fascitis but actually it was worse. It's bursitis in the heel. Why worse? The body has numerous bursae throughout the body. It's not something which you can massage or stretch. The only thing to do it give relative rest, keep the area pain free and do things like ice.  The problem? It doesn't hurt while running but it bothers me later in the day once I've been walking around and standing at work.  
What to do? I'm one month from the goal race. Wait a minute! I ran a marathon two weeks ago. I couple days off isn't going to interrupt training. So I got in a couple good workouts monday and tuesday and then took two days off from running. I did bike on teh trainer for a short bit and I did one day of anti-inflammatory.  Actually, I'm really wimpy with that. I take one 200 mg tablet of ibuprofen every 5 hours for half a day and call it good. That's enough. I hate the stuff. 
And I was more careful at work and stayed in my running shoes when I could. I did realize that my work shoes are many years old so I have a new pair now to try.  Two days later, my foot was feeling better and I wanted to try a long run.

the thought of a long run on pavement made me wince though. the foot would not enjoy that and neither would I.  So as a treat I took a day off from work and went and ran out at my new favorite trail system, Paradise Valley Conservation Area.  I hit every trail but only a couple short ones twice and got my 2 hour and 45 minutes long run in. The foot was just getting a bit tired towards the end but then everything was tired! 
A lot of this trail system has some features specifically for mountain bikes. It made me nervous even walking along some of the boardwalks. I liked that it was well signed. I also liked that it makes for an easy stop at a favorite fruit stand where I loaded up with apples, pears and sweet potatoes.  Fingers crossed that the foot continues to feel better. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Steep! NW 85th Ave @ 32nd Ave NW
It's been just over a week since the Beat the Blerch Marathon. I was pretty disappointed with how the marathon went overall for me. No, it wasn't a PW (personal worst) but it was pretty close. There was no way I could've maintained anywhere close to a race pace for the distance. That really was the whole point of doing the marathon as a training run so this was pretty discouraging.

However, I don't ever discount that I did run a marathon and that is something to celebrate. Even better? Recovery from the long run seems to have gone well. I took three full days off from running. I did bike on the roller trainer that third day. I had no trouble at work walking around or walking up and down stairs so that was encouraging. The big indicator that I had run long? I brought lots of extra snacks to work but still was ever so hungry. That finally settled down Thursday.

I ran wednesday and thursday and importantly, I was looking forward to these run and enjoyed them. Saturday I figured out a new running course which incorporated some interesting stairs and short easy trails on a run course I've run for years. I've never been on those stairs or trails so that was really fun. The loop itself ended up being just a little long for what my tired legs wanted. At mile 9, i was having to make sure to pick my feet up carefully when running as I was afraid of tripping! I was able to cut it a bit shorter and enjoyed 10.5 miles. I'm having just a touch of heel pain (bursitis) and plan on working hard to manage that.

This coming week will still be a careful week. I plan on trying an easier workout and increasing miles. The last few miles of the marathon I grumbled to myself about pulling out of the longer distance events I'm planning on but recovery has put things sensibly into perspective. I'm still aiming for those goals that I have and I'm ready to engage in training again. I love the lifestyle and the feeling of working towards the distances.

New growth on the dead looking stalk.
Rejuvenation? Certainly. The recovery weeks are important. It's important to remind myself of why I do this. This weekend was also a chance to get back out into the garden. There are limited gardening hours left now. It's getting dark quickly after work and we've had some good preview Fall storms. Soon, it'll be too wet and cold to work in the yard.

I have some volunteer plants that have come up in the front yard which will be perfect for the backyard.  three weeks ago, we moved a flowering current that was a volunteer plant in the front yard. I had the perfect place for it in the back yard. Unfortunately when moving it, the main root got severed plus it had been hot. I figured it would die but kept it watered. And amazingly, it has come back and put out new growth!

You just never know how things will turn out. I keep reminding myself about this with races too. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Beat the Blerch Marathon Part 2

The full cake shirt and medal.

So I ran a marathon. This was number 8. I knew I'd run this race as a training run but I followed the training plan (Runner Academy Advanced Marathon Plan) like this was my goal race. I did do that 10k two weeks before (off plan) but have otherwise been tapering for this after a solid 9 weeks of higher mileage and feeling great.

Taper sucked. Of course. As usual the week before the marathon, I was super stiff verging on sore, quite grumpy and those easy short runs where I should've been needing to really slow myself
down? I could barely get any faster than a recovery pace. I tried not to worry about that because after all, that's how i always feel before a marathon. I kept the same foam roller routine in and did some easy yoga here and there which did help. I ate well but mindfully bring a broader range of snacks to work which had higher protein and fat (nuts, pb) and days before the marathon I started adding in more carbs (juice, milk - less fiber...).  I felt lean and strong really.

I finally decided on my goals for this event. I would focus on staying relaxed and practicing positive mental talk. I knew my feet would hurt on that gravel trail and that was going to be ok. Typically i feel sort of awful somewhere around mile 12 -15 and that would be ok too. I'd run at an easy pace 9:45-10:00 paying strict attention to nutrition. A gel every 4 miles or about 40 minutes should work. Nutella sandwiches were featured as aid station fodder and I thought that would be an excellent supplement. I did bring an electrolyte capsules and had one at 1 hour. overall I had 7 gels and 3/4 of a nutella sandwich plus lots of water.

I would walk through the aid stations from the beginning but otherwise would not walk. The aid stations were well spaced at 1.5, 4.3, 7.5, 10.3, 12, 15, 18, 20, 23 and because this was an out and back course, I'd see my friends manning the aid station C at 10.3 and mile 20. K was coming out to support and I saw him first at mile 6 then he went onto the aid station and ended up helping out there when it got really busy.

My last goal was to speed up my pace for 90 seconds at the start of each mile starting at mile 17. I'd aim for goal marathon pace (around 8:40-8:45) figuring that if I planned to actually run a marathon at that pace i should be able to do this for just a minute towards the end. 

I hitched a ride with some friends to the start and ended up getting a great parking spot very close to the start. Here we could also spot other friends running. It was fun to chat and before I knew it, it was time to strip off my extra layer and head to the start. It was foggy and pleasant out. It felt cooler but not really that cool as it was 55-60 degrees. it was pleasant for running but I knew I'd be happier if it was colder and the sun stayed away. 

RPD out on course.
Mr Oatmeal spoke a few worlds before the race. It really was amazing that all that craziness was a direct result of a comic! He'd been doing his own endurance event at packet pick up the day before (10 am to 7 pm signing books and chatting with fans) and then would run an event each day as well as stay to sign books again after each race. Phew! Good thing he is a distance runner!

Splits: 9:45, 9:36, 9:42, 9:48, 10:07, 9:53
We were off right on time and I was excited to finally be running. The miles ticked off pretty quickly. The marathon course had two shorter out and back sections before starting the main out and back section. It was nice to get these shorter sections out of the way early. I did well at keeping pace to goal for the first 10k even with teh slight downhill in mile 2 and 3. I did walk briefly for those first two aid stations and saw K for the first time at 5.75. He could switch out my small handheld water bottle and he'd brought a different pair of shoes for me as a "just in case." I chose to wear my normal trainer shoes but if the gravel really bothered me I could switch to my trail shoes if needed. It was a very nice pick me up to see him.

Splits 9:48, 10:23, 9:52, 9:53, 10:34, 9:55
Motivational signs.
At mile 6, the trail following the old railroad line begins a very gradual grade. It's just enough that maybe you'll feel it if running hard. I expected to slow just a bit through here but I kept it even and enjoyed steadily passing the slower run/walkers of the half event which had started 30 minutes later. The first large aid station at 7.5 had a couch and people dressed up as Blerches. I was shocked and delighted to realize I knew the gal who was dressed up so stood in line just a bit to take a photo! I also saw LMA and RPD running towards me as they were running the half. Of course I stopped to take a photo! It was great to see them.  K was at the 10 mile water stop and very busy along with all the other volunteers. I knew it would be quieter as I came back through the second time at mile 20.

Splits 10:27, 10:07, 10:01, 10:38
Just past this busy section of the trail, the half marathoners turned around and suddenly it was very peaceful with just a few other marathoners around. Sometimes this can be challenging but I enjoyed the quiet on a very pretty day with foggy views every once in a while. It was peaceful for only a short bit though as we pass what seems like very close to a shooting range. It was startling how loud and how frequent gun fire was. As I expected, I started to feel pretty awful around mile 12 or 13. At this point I did take a gel early instead of waiting until 12. My feet were really hurting in through here. I think the incline was subtly more here plus it was a little deeper gravel which required stricter attention to avoid landing on larger chunks. I was delighted to see the turn around point at mile 16 and refilled my water bottle and looked forward to heading back down to the finish.

splits: 9:59, 9:43, 9:53, 9:47, 10:45
The first short 90 second burst of speed at mile 17 went well and I was encouraged. I have done a couple long runs like this before and knew that just this short bit of speeding up would drop my overall pace just a bit. I wanted to maintain this all the way through to the finish but felt it was more important to take that promised mental break at aid stations if the aid stations showed up during the pick up. Before I knew it I was back at the 20 mile aid station where i knew a few other runners who were volunteering and of cousre K was there. I'd taken a gel early again around mile 17 and enjoyed a quarter of a nutella sandwich plus water at the aid station. K grabbed my inhaler for me which I used. I felt like my lungs were getting tight although I think some of that is just muscles surrounding my chest and lungs feeling tired. Anyway the inhaler helped. I handed off my water bottle as I was tired of carrying it at that point. I knew I could get enough water at the aid stations. The trail was mostly shaded but it was getting warmer.
Finisher with banana and nutella prize.

Splits 11:28, 12:01, 13:04, 13:58, 13:20
And then I was done. My running devolved to the dreaded shuffling slog and there was nothing I could do to speed up. I tried changing my gait but didn't have any success. I wasn't alone. I was seeing people walking quite a bit in here. I did keep my goals and kept running just very slowly except for one demoralizing straight and hot section which looked uphill right around mile 23.5. I got tired of the pity party though and started running again. As I crossed the road around mile 24, a runner who'd run the 10k (different colored bib) said "you are almost there!" I tried not to snarl too much as I scoffed at him "I am NOT!" He seemed surprised by my response but if you've run a marathon you know you are almost done when you can see the finish and not anytime sooner!

I did make sure to jump and try to make interesting photo opportunities with the last photographers on course. I hope they turn out!

Finish Time: 4:38 - 10:37 overall pace
4th in AG in 10 year increments
70th of 190 finishers, 20th female of 88. 

So much for maintaining a long run pace or being able to run any part of a marathon at a goal marathon pace. I'm disappointed and a bit befuddled about what I could do differently. I certainly could not have raced a marathon this weekend. The day after, I'm overall stiff and sore as expected but nothing is hurting. I'm sure if I tried running, I'd really notice my hip flexors and hamstrings plus my feet would yell about pounding. I'll take the recovery and then build to the next event in early November as planned.

I did execute my race plan including keeping up the mental spirits during the last miles when I was not feeling so hot. I really enjoyed the marathon plan I was using. It was challenging yet doable and did give me confidence that I can handle a more aggressive training plan in general. These are valuable lessons! And this was really a fantastic event overall and I'm pleased to say that yes, I did beat the Blerch!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Beat the Blerch Marathon part 1

At the Start
What is a Blerch you ask? Read this online comic about the Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances and you'll know that the blerch is that little voice in your head which lets you sit on the couch eating junk food. you know you'll feel better if you get up and are active and eat better but sitting on that couch is so much easier.

The Oatmeal (Matt Inman) released this comic in late 2013 and it took the running world by storm. Every runner I knew was telling  me about this comic and could relate to something in it. As a friend of a friend, I knew that Mr. Oatmeal wanted to put on his own trail race and when this comic was so popular, I knew he was looking for the Blerch themed race.

And he did it and announced the innaugural Beat the Blerch race here in the Seattle area featuring 3 distances of 10k, half marathon and full marathon. This was a very popular event. The race sign up closed in 30 minutes and crashed the sign up servers. I was one of the lucky few (capped at 2000) who got in. with such popularity, they announced that there would be second day of events on the same weekend. So I had signed up for the sunday race but there would also be races on saturday. I really wanted to sign up for the inaugural marathon and was able to switch my registration.

I had quite a few friends who were signed up for various distances and the group that I run with was also hosting a volunteer aid station so I knew it would be a fun event not only because the Oatmeal was promising cake, nutella, magical grape drink, running blerches and other fun stuff (read the comic!).
Motivational (?) signs.

However, I signed up for this race in late March and at that point had no idea what my running goals were. I'd hoped to aim for racing (as opposed to finishing) a marathon but this particular race would not be conducive to that goal. So I always had it in my head that this would just be a race to run for fun as a training run.  

Fast forward to this summer and this race perfectly fit into my race goals for the end of the year. For me, it was not ever going to be anything but a fun run.

Late September can be warm or cool here. This race had a rather late 9 am race start which was very nice for getting out to the area from Seattle. Given that late start and how long it takes to run a marathon, the chances of it being very warm were high. This race course was all on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail which is a 31 mile long gravel trail. It's a fantastic training trail for both cycling and running but that gravel starts to bother me after a while.

This race also promised a lot of other fun distractions. There were supposed to be couches out on course with people dressed up as blerches. Aid stations featured cake and nutella. There were a lot of on course photographers and photos were supposed to be free so i did make sure to take advantage of that. And it was a great atmosphere with lots of people dressed up and everyone in a great mood.

For an inaugular race, this was very well done. I know people were concerned about parking in the area but overall I think it was not a problem. There was plenty of parking in various lots all fairly close to the main park which had limited parking to volunteers and those who bought a parking pass.

I would guess that for the 10k and the half that it might have been a bit crowded on the race course the first mile as it is a fairly narrow paved trail for the first half mile and then onto a rocky trail. The marathon had 190 finishers but the 10k and half both had about 700 finishers each. Each race had their own start which was good. I was running and coming up on the last run/walkers of the half and there was enough traffic to have to pay attention but nothing too crowded.

I did hear some complaints about limited portopotties on the course. Note that there seemed to be plenty at the race start but this trail has limited access points plus it is narrow so there are not a lot of options for many portopotties at the aid stations. I'd even heard that the aid station at mile 6/7 for half and 10/20 for full marathoners was supposed to have a portopotty but some local challenged the delivery of the portopotty the day before and it was thus not delivered.

My only complaint, between nutella sandwhiches, cake and grape electrolyte drink to the usual bananas and gels at the aid stations and back at the finish there was nothing that was salty to have. I did bring my own electrolyte tablets but would've been super happy with some potato chips at the finish. I guess there had been some but they ran out by the time I finished.

Congrats Mr. Oatmeal! You did good!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Women of Wonder 10k

Last year, i did this race as a tempo run and I'd had it in my mind that I wanted to race it the following year. It's a really fun all women's race with some nice perks and one big negative.

Once I'd plotted out my training schedule though I realized that this 10k was just two weeks before Beat the Blerch marathon. That seemed too close until I decided to use the Blerch run as a training run. Game on!

The perks:

with mimosa
Women only. It's different racing with only women. The announcers at the start (both male) kept trying to talk to some young competitors lined up at the front. And the announcer was making it a competition as in, you'll beat her right? Uh. That girl was a bit hesitant. Sure, everyone is out to run their best but the competition among women is less stated. I find it refreshing not to have to worry about passing a guy and having him pass me right back because he is getting "chicked." Yes, that's the term. There are less distractions.

Location! This race is just a couple miles from my house and it's easy to deal with parking. I got the event about 90 minutes before the start so i could do a 3 mile run around the lake.

9:30 am start. It's rather nice not to have to get up when it is dark.

Atmosphere. This is the Women of Wonder so there are a lot of costumes and everyone is in a great mood. For a lot of the athletes this is their goal race and they've been training for it. There is a lot of excitement and energy surrounding this that I really enjoy.

Mimosas! Instead of a beer garden, this race had a mimosa and wine garden at the end. I had to partake. It was a nice change from the usually bad beer served.

There are few cons. That late start which is nice for sleeping in means that it can get warm. And sure enough, by the race start it was probably 65 degrees and blazingly sunny. I was overheating the second loop of the 10k as the temperatures were definitely climbing.

The biggest con is the course for the 10k. It's a two loop course so the faster 10k runners end up dodging through the ranks of the 5k walkers/slower runners. I thought i was probably capable of around 7:35 pace although I didn't take into account the heat and probably started too fast for that. I ran the first 5k in 23:19 (7:31 pace) and felt great. I'd been around a few other runners but as expected, they pulled off to the finish and suddenly i was totally alone on the course. I expected this and just concentrated on maintaining the momentum.  I did with a 7:35 mile 4. And then I realized I was so hot and thirsty.  Thirsty? I don't typically need to take water for a 10k but I did for this one and used a cup of water to splash on my face/chest. I was that hot all of a sudden.

Now i had just two miles left but I was hot and I would have to dodge through all the traffic. Let's just say that I did my best and held on better than I thought I would.  The course itself was marked for the street (I know because I've seen them using a measuring wheel for other races around this lake) and takes the shortest line which is called running the tangents. On this race, the course is marked on the road but there is a gravel path which runs inside the road. I chose to run on this path because it was easier than dodging all the walkers. Of course, I hate gravel and I did have to dodge the occasional stroller and it felt like I was cheating by taking an inside line. 

I got passed by two 10k runners towards the end but I'd really seen no other runner except one probably a quarter mile ahead. I had been hoping to run the 10k closer to 47 minutes flat. However this course seems pretty long because even with the cutting and taking the inside line, it still measured longer than I expected at 6.28. My next goal with the race was to come under 48 minutes. I missed that by 6 seconds (48:07) but that is still the fastest 10k time i've had in a couple years. More importantly, I battled through and held on even with the heat.

I can't discount accumulated training fatigue either. This was the first taper week but I ran 11 miles midweek and had some interesting workouts. I took it easy the few days before the race but training has been good for the marathon and that is definitely the main focus.

I was delighted to place 2nd in my age group and 10th female overall.  And I really enjoyed that mimosa! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Taper! it's getting real now

Last weekend I had my last long run for this cycle before I start tapering for the Beat the Blerch Marathon. Yes, the marathon plan called for a 22 mile or 3 hour run whichever came first.  After a long run on the flat gravel that will be the race course in 3 weeks, i really was not looking forward to a flat road run in the city. Fortunately  this plan is flexible enough that I could join a group run and get some trails in instead! 

The Paradise Valley Conservation Area is a new trail system for me about a 30 minute drive northeast. It's easy to get to from here. It is comparable to my favorite trail area Soaring Eagle out in Sammamish in that the trails are never steep. These trails are perhaps less technical than out at Soaring Eagle but there is plenty of forested goodness to keep me happy. I really enjoyed just being able to run continuously and since I wasn't marking a group run course, i also didn't have to think and plan out a course.

My only goal was to keep this a true easy run and these trails were perfect for that. I ran with TR (pictured above) who was marking the course and it ended up being a really nice relaxed long run. I still managed nutrition (3 gels) and made sure to keep the effort even. We did a 5 mile loop three times. The first loop was 1:04, the second loop was 1:04. You can't get any more even than that! Would I switch out all my road long runs for trail runs like this? No. This is definitely a harder run in that it requires more strength overall but using the different muscles require for trail running really helped keeping everything feeling good. 

I can't wait to go back to this trail area! It's easier to get to than Soaring Eagle and will be a great resource during winter for longer trail runs. Meanwhile, last long run is done. It was great to sleep in for two days in a row because of the Labor Day Holiday. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

The last summer trail race

Photo from NW Trail Runs
Summer is certainly winding down. It's been warm this week but since there is much less daylight with the noticeably shorter daylight hours, it doesn't seem quite so hot.  The last midweek trail race series of the summer was Tuesday. Of course I had to do it even though my legs are tired and I'm looking forward to tapering. 

I wanted to see this course in action because i was having a hard time wrapping my head around a 4 loop course for a 10k. Interlaken Trails which are directly adjacent to one of the most beautiful sections of the Seattle Marathon/Half course really appealed to me too. It did not disappoint and I think ended up being a harder course than either of the other 3 venues I raced at this summer.  

Of course, it may have felt harder because my legs are tired, it was hot (85 was the high for the day), I was stuck in traffic for an hour on my way to the race and thus did not get any sort of easy run warm up to loosen the tired legs which got stiff and sore sitting in traffic for an hour.  

I parked at 6:28 pm. The race was scheduled to start at 6:30 but I knew they'd be doing their pre-race briefing.  I'd parked in a super sneaky area less than a quarter mile from the start/finish because i knew a STAIRCASE that would take me right to the area. Ha! Easy parking because those stair runs are teaching me some sneaky tricks of my city.  I got there in time to grab my bib, swing my legs around a bit pretending to loosen up and was ready to go. The race started as usual about 10 minutes late.  

As a result of all the drama getting to the race and my tired legs, I really just wanted a good tempo workout as usual for this event. We started on E Interlaken Blvd which is a paved road which is closed to traffic. It's a main pathway for the Seattle Marathon/Half and a well loved access road for runners, cyclists and neighborhood walkers.  Gradually hilly with some nice turns it was a good way to warm up into the race. I tried to keep this at marathon pace as an easier warm up knowing the heat, training fatigue and trails would make me regret a too fast start. After the turn around and heading back down Interlaken we hopped onto some stairs and onto the trails. And oof! 

There was even a scramble steep and painful straight up. I would've been happier with a ladder it was so steep. I kept trying to grab onto the plants on either side of the trail for more leverage but ferns are not so sturdy.  Up and up we went until gradually we hit some more stairs and came to the high point of the course. Turn around and back down another set of stairs back to a nice gradual downhill and to the road for a short bit to the turnaround. Brutal.  This was a tough loop! Only 3 more to go.  

I just worked on settling into pace such as I could. I saw a friend out running and gave her smack for not doing a trail race that was in her own neighborhood. She claimed she didn't know about it. Too bad! Each loop was 1.55 miles and seemed to go pretty quickly. After 2, i started passing the slower 5k runners and after 3 i was lapping 10k runners. I knew from teh out and back on the road that I was 4th female overall as usual and I was feeling good. 

I made it a point not to get passed by the guy who was behind me and just worked on running strong all the way to the finish. I wasn't running fast that was sure but I was running strong. I had good form and was enjoying the effort.  
1:03:21 that was the slowest 10k I've done! 4th overall female and just 8 minutes off of the first female. Typically I've been around 55-57 minutes for these trail 10ks so yes this was a tough one! I ran pretty even splits too. I had one final hot dog to celebrate. I hope this series comes back next summer. It has been wonderful!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The best summer day

I'm signed up for the Beat the Blerch marathon which is a month away now. This race all takes place on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. It's an old railroad line which has been converted to a miles long gravel trail. I used to do a lot of runs out on this trail but gradually realized that the gravel trail would bother my hip and I hated the flat trail.  Why did I sign up for this race again? 

It will be fun but i really wanted a long run out on that surface again. I needed to figure out which shoes would work on the gravel and decide if I need to carry water for the race.  Only 17.5 miles later and I figured out the trail shoes I have will work well enough and yes, i will need to carry water. Trail shoes? It's not what I'd consider a "real" trail but my normal road shoes are light and I can feel every rock through them.  My trail shoes are also lighter but they have a rock place which gives a bit of protection. I'd forgotten that the gravel could bother my hip and as I suspected, I've managed to settle that whole hip issue and I didn't have any trouble on the long run at a my long run pace. (knock on wood!)

It was a good run overall even if it got tough and I was happy to get it done. I'd had a really good 12 mile run with 7 (7!) at tempo pace on Thursday. I wasn't exactly expecting my legs to feel peppy and they did not. Still, it wasn't any trouble ticking off the miles at an easy pace. K and I ran together for about 5 miles which was fun and it was quite pretty as the fog in the valley was burning off. 
Since we were already out in the Snoqualmie Valley (about a 30 minute drive from Seattle), we thought we'd combine long run and summer blueberry picking. WE usually go once during the summer and this was a good weekend for it. 

First off, we had breakfast at a small place out in the valley. We don't go out to breakfast too often and this was a treat! And by about mile 14, I was getting really hungry. Why yes, corned beef hash with potatoes and eggs with coffee will hit the spot.  

We headed off toward the blueberry farm and found a a roadside peach stand. Oooh! I'd been debating getting a case of peaches at the local farmer's markets. This roadside stand was even more direct as Yakima area farmers just set up by the side of the road.  And one case was half the price as at the farmer's market. SCORE! 
Teh blueberry farm was busy as expected but it's a big area. We got our buckets and headed off into the field. I set a timer on my phone for 30 minutes and GO! Thirty minutes later, I was hot and my legs were tired and I'd eaten my fill of blueberries. We'd picked 7 pounds and were happy.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Birthday Present to Myself

That's right. I gave myself a day off and arranged to go trail running with a friend. Really, it doesn't have to be complicated. It was a gorgeous summer morning and we got an early start to avoid the rush hour traffic. LMA ran ahead as her dog runs better if she is first on trails. That meant I got an added birthday present as LMA cleared all the spider webs on the trail for me as first runner. Ha!  

We were running for time (2 hours) and keeping it very easy. I figured that would be around 9 miles and that's about what it was. I was scheduled for a 12 mile medium long midweek run. On roads that would take around 2 hours. This was definitely more tiring but we did keep it easy and I was happy that everything felt good. It's been a while since I've been on a longer trail run as I thought it was best to stay off a bit to keep the knee happy. We were surprised to see some serious trail work on one section of Shy Bear. The stairs were really nice and then led down to a new footbridge across a creek. Next year will probably be a summer of trails for various reasons (yes planning begins early!) and I also hope to get out for a trail work volunteer session next year. It's something I've always wanted to do. Next year will be a good year to do it. 
And this is it. I gave myself the goal of posting a photo a day for a year last year. This is photo 367. It's been an interesting thing to always have in the back of my head, what should today's photo be? A good exercise in focusing on simple things which deserve appreciation.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Bright Idea

Do not do this at home.
My trail shoes currently are Solomon Sense Pro. I stopped running trails for a while because the steep uphills were bugging my knee. I was ready to start adding them in now as an easy run here and there. I've done a couple shorter trail races but those trails are such that I've just been using my lighter road shoes. The trails are dry at this time of year and those particular trails are not really rocky so I haven't needed the protection of a real trail shoe.

BUT, I'm going trail running tomorrow for longer (2 hours) on a trail system which tends to be rockier and I need trail shoes. the Solomon Sense Pro are a nice combo of protection and lighter shoe with a good tread. However there is a quick lace system on the shoe. I've tried it a few times and finally decided last time that I need to replace those laces with more traditional athletic shoe laces. The quick lace system gives even distribution of the laces over the entire lacing section of the shoe but I actually need the laces to be tighter closer to the toe. My feet have been slipping inside the shoe and I cannot get it tight enough with the existing system. 

So I snipped off the quick lace system and tried to relace the shoes with an extra pair of shoelaces from another pair of running shoes. A couple hours later, I cannot get anything but the shoe laces that came with the shoe back into the shoe. ARRGH! So annoying!

Actually I had to google the solomon quick lace to see how even to relace the shoe with the originial laces. Yes, it does involve fire. 

Major design flaw.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Watch out for that word. It was only 14 miles. A "short" long run and only 14. It went quick as I ran 10 with a group of people on an old standby course which nonetheless is quite beautiful in sections.
Along Ravenna Trail

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back to Barre3 & the Zoo

No, they are not related but it has been a while since I've been to either. 

Either the legs were still a bit tired from the trail race or I need to remember to continue leg strength work. Or both. I was pleased to find the return to a barre class not that bad. Oh it was a great workout and I can feel it but I felt strong throughout except the legs were a bit tired. 

My work held a summer picnic for employees at the Woodland Park Zoo just a few miles from us. It was a lot of fun and we had a nice dinner with drinks included and then a chance to have 3 "animal encounters" plus we could wander through the zoo. 
One of the animal encounters involved a spectacled owl. He was stunning to look at and the handler/zoo keeper was great to talk to. I've seen an owl before while running early in the morning. yes they can be territorial at times but nothing to fear generally. We then wandered through the trails and saw the wolves. It was a very peaceful evening and quite enjoyable.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Winter is Coming

Well yes it is but not immediately. We so seldom get rain in August that it has been a cool(ing) surprise. I've already noticed it is almost dark when starting to run in the morning.  Summer has gone so quick!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Recovery Week Help

After three solid heavy weeks of training, I thought it would be prudent to take a cut back or recovery week. There are some signs too. One hip is feeling a bit tight and I'm having slight foot tightness on that side too. The problem with cut back weeks is that the reduction of running makes me feel stiff. It's always a problem enough that i know i still have to run (reduced amounts) AND make sure i get in some easy yoga and use various things to help loosen tight muscles. It amazes me that it is harder to NOT run than it is to run.  

The cats like to help too.