Wednesday, April 30, 2014

6:30 AM

And the sun is well up as sunrise is 5:53 AM. And the mountain was OUT! Super slow run this am as i could feel the massage from yesterday and I am just still tired from the half marathon and allergy issues kicking up. The weather made the run much better as it was just so nice out and there were so many people out smiling.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

They are everywhere!

Stairs! These were just up the street from the massage therapist at Warren Ave N & Valley St at the base of Queen Anne. Next time!

Here comes the Sun!

A nice recovery run at lunch time today. I can feel the effort from yesterday but everything feels good. It's becoming tourist season along the Seattle Waterfront so the first and last mile of my run consists of dodging around all the construction detours and the ambling tourists. And that is just what I needed to loosen the legs up. 

I made it as far as the new pedestrian overpass in Myrtle Edwards Park and was happy to take in the view north towards the Grain Tower and Magnolia. And there are some interesting route notes/maps painted on the bridge deck and called the Lake to Bay Loop.  Well done!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Heroes Half Marathon 2014

So windy, the med tent blew over!

K finishing!
Heroes Half Marathon today. It just poured last night but it was dry this morning as we headed up to the race. This race is all along the Sound so I knew that it would be exposed. And sure enough there was a very strong wind out of the south. I still decided to stick to my run plan of 3 very easy (9:15ish), 5 at marathon pace (around 8:45) and then 3 at half marathon pace (around 8:15) and then whatever i could do. While this race is mostly flat on a closed highway (with great views and a good surface), there are some bridges including a pretty big exchange we'd climb back up at mile 8. I knew that would be tough plus the dang winds. 

Last year, the world record for a half marathon time pushing a stroller was set at this course! 1:13:50. The guy who did that was introduced (with his toddler girl) at the beginning of the race (and yes he won the race today 7 minutes faster and way out ahead of all the competition!). They'd just had their second child two weeks ago. This baby was in NICU having just undergone a pretty serious surgery.  The runner guy wanted to thank all the heroes who had saved his new baby. This set up a serious lump in my throat. Of course this just got me thinking about a bunch of friends who are going through some hard times right now. I vowed to stick to my plan when it got tough towards the end. It was a great motivator as was just happy to be out and able to run a half marathon again.

I had a hard time slowing down the first few miles as expected but stuck to the plan. It was a relief to be able to open up to the faster pace after mile 3. This mile was also downhill and I knew that the uphill back would be run just at effort level not a particular time.  The miles ticked along especially as i was passing loads of people. I could feel the wind pushing me along and had taken off gloves and headband. I was happy I'd worn half tights and long sleeves with singlet though. The temps were in the mid 40s and mostly cloudy. 

And as we turned to the little loop for the turn around, I got the first taste of the headwind. Oh boy. I immediately put back on headband and pulled down my sleeves. Cold! I saw K in here. He was really iffy about running this race and finally decided to do it just as a long run with walking through aid stations (every 2 miles). He looked good and happy to be out running! Ok, mile 8 ticked over and I picked it up to goal half marathon pace.  And passed more people.

Mile 9-11- 8:15, 8:35 (the hill and a water stop), 8:15. Ok I'd hit my goal even into the wind. Two more miles. The wind was even stronger to the point where i'd tend to duck my head and want to push. I latched on to another older male runner and complained to him about why HE wasn't much larger so he could block the wind for me. That got a laugh and we kept each other motivated the last couple miles through this add on section out on docks over the Everett Marina. Those two miles just seemed to go on forever. we'd get very short breaks from the direct wind but I could see the building where we were going to be finishing and didn't seem to get any closer!

Eventually I pulled away from the older runner and finished just a bit ahead. I was surprised to get a medal. And then made sure to thank and hug that runner. He was just as appreciative. This race had hot chile and half sandwiches of pbj! I immediately grabbed our checked bags and went to wait for K. I figured he'd be in about 15 minutes later and I figured exactly which is pretty good considering that i knew the winds would be tough.

My goal was to be under 1:55 (following the plan) and I ended up with 1:54:24. This was good for 5th in age group which seems very surprising but this is a small race. I am very happy to get in 13 miles as I've not run over 10 since the trail race in mid-december. No knee pain! But my feet were killing me. I wore the lighter racing shoes which fit me the best but might need to think about adding some more cushioning.

Yellow Ribbon Highway - closed to traffic for this event!

Main Tool

I'm looking forward to a half marathon tomorrow. It's gorgeous weather and finally, we've not had rain for a couple days so I can weed. The main goal is to not do too much weeding in deference to the back and the half marathon.  This is the best weeding tool ever: a Korean Hand Hoe. We have had a couple of these over the years. No they don't break but I do sometimes lose them in the garden. Two hours later and the yard waste bin is half full and I should be able to walk tomorrow. All goals accomplished!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cloud Rider

A bus ride and short walk to get to a new location for my hairdresser. A lovely spring day and a surprising and fun bit of public art.
Cloud Rider - Chief Sealth Trail

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Talking yourself into the workout

Really, it's almost always worth it.  I was so tired after a busy day and some fun celebration at an event after work.  I still wanted to get my workout in early the next morning. I debated bailing on the workout but an easy recovery 3 mile run (or an easy 40 minutes on the bike trainer if that was going to be better for my knee) is certainly doable. I'm already awake and debating it.  And the sometimes you get the reward for following through with your plan.  view from Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. Downtown Seattle just lit by sunrise with stormy skies south. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

7.8 Miles

Where you work out the troubles of the world and get this as commentary.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Favorite Vegetable

And a sure sign of spring: Asparagus! My favorite is just brushed with a bit of olive oil and roasted under a broiler for a few minutes. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Another sure sign of spring? Cold pelting rain that changes in minutes to sun.  It made the short run this morning much faster. I wanted to be done! Ok, i was also late for a barre class. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boston Marathon

It's a dream for me. Maybe someday. Meanwhile, I was enjoying tracking friends who are running it just like I was doing last year. It's a community. I found that out last year too and it is just a confirmation of that today. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Still Laughing out Loud

Hidden Stairs
The next stair run is planned and today was the day to figure out the course. and it was even more fun that I was expecting! yes, i did chortle to myself at times as I just could not believe some of the cool hidden areas in Seattle.  Of course i got lost a bit, had to back track a bit and now have found some maps for some of the more confusing areas. That only means that i cannot wait to go back!

Interlaken Trail
My legs were pretty tired after a faster trail run late last week, an OUTSIDE bike ride with hills and plenty of gardening/yardwork. The first few miles of this course are really tough and I doubted I'd be able to finish the loop in time to get back home to shower and to head off to Easter Brunch.  The running got easier though and once through the more confusing parks, I made better time. 
The last couple miles follow the well known Seattle marathon course and so inspired, I picked up the last mile to half marathon pace just to prove i could.  That Easter Brunch hit the spot! 

Water Tower

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weather win!

Fantastic ride outside where 1. Found my lost sunglasses tucked into my helmet from outside ride eons ago, 2. Enjoyed the fantastic improvements to the Linden protected bike path including improvements to Fremont Ave N which encourage safety for cyclist and 3. Learned that in-city riding can still trigger some knee pain. 2 outta 3 are great!

The debate

This often happens. it's nice on Friday. Dry and lovely weather. But what will it do on Saturday or Sunday? It's a weekend where I am not joining any group runs so I can pick the better day to go OUTSIDE and ride my bike. Which day will that be?
Space Needle lurking

Friday, April 18, 2014

Trail escape

new shoes in their element
A day off! I talked a friend into trying to add a mid-week trail run into our schedule. Today I had the day off from work to deal with some other items but we decided to try getting in the trail run. We were driving to the trail head at 6:00 am and running by 6:40.  7 miles later, I felt like I'd had a little mid-week vacation. I can't wait to try this again!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Post 4/15

And dreaming of trails... It's a rest/recovery day today and not just from the race this weekend.  It was nice to sleep in after the end of busy season party at work. I"m taking the day off tomorrow and looking forward to a trail run in new shoes, rain or shine!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


It's slightly warmer in the mornings and lighter when we are walking to catch the bus. Slushy, slightly frozen drinks do not appeal when it is dark and 40 degrees.  With the change in season, a smoothie has appeal again.  This one: rice milk (calcium fortified), fage plain green yogurt, frozen strawberries and raspberries from last summer, some frozen cherries and mango (store bought) and some fresh spinach. I now have a counter quick blender (Magic Bullet) which works like a charm.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cute shoes!

Definitely NOT these.What are these shoes? These are the shoes I wore at work for a number of years. They have a rocker sole which helped ease pressure when I was having a lot of problems with plantar fasciitis and bursitis in my feet. Hideous aren't they? But they worked to ease foot pain at work and I've not been able to quite get rid of them. they do live at work. I've been in a basic black oxford type shoe with an added arch filler for some years now. Boring!

I'm finally to the point where i think i can wear cute shoes at work and found the perfect pair which have a slight heel, and cushioned with the all important lace up. It was pretty exciting to put on cute shoes once i got to work and i did add the higher arched cushion insert to one shoe. Yes one shoe. I got distracted halfway through changing shoes. And halfway through the work day i started to think the left and right felt differently and then my low back on side started to bug me.  Once I realized what was wrong, i added insert to the right shoe and low back pain magically disappeared. Yes, something that mild can make a difference! It's always good to realize what day to day things can affect running. (Day 240)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Seahawks 5k

A glorious spring day for a first race after a quarter of knee woes. K has always wanted to do this 12k race and finally we were able to put it on the schedule. I really had wanted to run the 12k but the knee woes of the quarter meant it would be smarter to just race the 5k distance. I could say that I would run the 12k distance easily but i would be lying and I'm not ready to race anything longer. 

We met up with some Ragnar Relay friends and enjoyed all the high energy. The Seahawks did win that football thingy this year, ya know. 

I just wanted to race and get an idea of where I am right now. I've run a couple weeks at almost 30 miles and just started adding in a bit of faster running this past week. Knee is doing well when I'm not abusing it in the garden. 

I did run in the wig and skirt and got a lot of laughs. I also think i was probably one of the frist runners dressed in a costume across the line.  I have my priorities after all.

My main hope was to run under 24 minutes. I was hoping i was going to run somewhere between 7:20-7:30 pace and settled into the first mile (after fighting to get to the front of the lined up racers) at 7:28. This felt good. Second mile i started passing people and felt very much all by myself. 7:33. I could see another woman ahead and gradually pulled up and passed her. And I could really feel that i just didn't have a lot of oomph towards the end. I haven't been running any faster paces and that lack of strength showed. The final turn to the long stretch before the finish was much longer than i expected since I misjudged where we were on course. That woman passed me back but i tried to keep in reach. 

Finally, we hit the final turn to the last 100 yards and I was happy to be done and well under 24 minutes.  Good enough for 2nd in Age Group and everything felt good. I even came home and weeded for a couple hours.  

Very fun event with a flat 5k and enjoyable 12k course. I saw three bald eagles this morning as well! There were something like 8,000 finishers between the two events so be prepared for lots of people all trying to get into a relatively small area albeit with lots of available parking. 

3 hours

And I am pleased with the completed results. That was three hours of shoveling, squatting, moving paving stones etc. I was trying to take it easy because of a short race tomorrow but it was really nice to get this first section in the neighbor's yard done!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cross Training Projects

Also known as yard work! Woohoo! 'Tis the season and I've been wanting to redo this area of our yard and the neighbor's yard for years. It's the strangest space and hard to control weeds and water run off.  My plan involves pulling up the pavers the neighbors had put in, bringing down the grade under the pavers and all along our house, lay landscaping fabric to control weeds and then lay a layer of gravel. Our yard is past the other bit of chainlink fence (in the sun) and I'll probably put in some biggish rocks we have around as well. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Not my fault

Seattle is typically frost free after April 15th. I took the frost protection off of an outside faucet today. I hope i didn't jinx the weather! It was 70 degrees and perfect for working in short sleeves in the garden after work along with almost all of the neighbors. Snap peas, here I come!

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Oh yeah. Those stairs left a mark! Haha! Oh my legs were a bit tired, calves are tight as are hips but overall I feel remarkably good. I've been figuring out training plans for upcoming summer events but meanwhile spring is in full force. This means I am trying to train, clean the house, work in the yard, cook, bake AND try and relax on the weekend. Yeah. It's busy.  And that is just fine.

First harvest of rhubarb from the garden. Rhubarb curd is delicious! 
Rhubarb flower stalk

Queen Anne Stairs!

Bhy Kracke Park overlook
Yay! I'd planned for this run way back in January but knee woes had to delay this group run until April. Stairs! JH and I were marking the course for the group run. I was a little nervous about the distance as i really wanted to do the entire loop (11 miles) but considering this is a hard 11 miles with all those stairs, i wasn't sure how the knee would hold up. 
Warren St - build 1904
I should not have worried! As I was also counting how many stairs there were with a counter, I could not run up the stairs without getting off count. Careful stair climbing combined with the nature of marking a course with a lot of turns (ie lots of starting and stopping) meant that this felt like a pretty easy run and i had no troubles. The only trouble was some steep downhill that did not have stairs. I didn't feel comfortable running those and chose to walk which felt better on my knee.  Still, I had to slow us down the last couple flat miles back to the car. This was a fun one and the group who had been well prepared for a "urban adventure run" had a blast which was great.
Finally I was able to detour the group to check out the oldest stair in the city.  I'd kept missing it when scouting and planning this run. These were build according to city records in 1904. Only 100 years young!  These are at Warren Ave N & Ward St. 

And just how many stairs were on this run? Keep in mind that i did count curbs as there are plenty of streets in these neighborhoods which do not have curb cutouts. Considering that there are approximately 25 stairs in one floor in most buildings and this number counts up and down stairs in this loop, that's a lot!  Take half the total and divide by 25 gives you 45 floors of stairs up and down.  OOF! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Max the neighbor's cat.
It's that time of year. We are close to the end of busy season (ie no days off from work for what seems like forever) and when I look outside, it is beautiful. Sure, it's spring, so wait 5 minutes and it might be raining or even hailing. Not today however. It's torture as I want to be working out in the yard or even better, trail running. Fortunately there is now time and light to work in the yard a bit after work.  I have a helper too. 

Let the group do the work

5:30 am. Gulp. Here is preparation the night before to be ready to get out the door early for a run with a group. It's worth it! Running with a group of people gets me out of bed on time, helps me run more miles and often makes it a faster run. 6 miles at 8:35 pace chatting the whole time? I'll take it! I am honest with myself about running faster. And if I should not be running faster, I make sure to stick to my run plan or I run by myself. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sure sign of Spring

Yes, yes, the newly greening trees are certainly a sign. Cleaning the sculpture at the library is another! This is the George Tsutakawa fountain known as the "Fountain of Knowledge."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


This is the week to try resuming a more typical (for me) running schedule. That means a workout and running consecutive days.  To the track for quick laps at 10k-half marathon pace. It was fun to run faster but just a little bit.  And then this is what was waiting in the elevator at work.  Hmm. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kale and cabbage chop salad

This is my new favorite easy recipe using all those healthy things you'd love to incorporate into your diet more. The best part of this recipe is that it is endlessly variable depending on the salad ingredients and the dressing. Oh wait, there is another best part. Preparing the veggies this way means they keep in the fridge for a couple days and the dressing keeps for a week or two. 
I also usually having all these ingredients in the house or garden. I keep cabbage around for another favorite recipe and we usually have kale growing in the yard. Brussels sprouts are towards the end of their season here (mostly from CA) but that is ok as i think i prefer the cabbage and kale in this recipe more. I add some fresh chopped (non massaged - read the recipe) celery and red sweet pepper as favorite additional veggies and top with whatever nuts i have around. Or I skip the nuts if i am having this as a side salad to something with adequate protein and fat.  Tasty!