Friday, May 30, 2014

Morning in the Garden

Rest day. I did my yoga while hunting for snap peas before work. I've gotten a couple handfuls of peas off the vines already this year. I'm hoping for a bumper crop! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I hate waiting!

This is Max, our neighbor's cat. He was originally named Hunter and basically had to fend for himself in his original neighborhood.  The neighbors took him in and moved into the house next to ours (with Max and 6 other cats!) in 1998 just a year after we moved into our house. 

Max has always been a tough outdoor (mostly) cat. He's a sweetie but you can only pet him for a little bit or he will let you know that he has had enough.  He's always let me pick him up and snuggle. When I'm outside weeding, he is always around flopped onto the dirt, sometimes rolling onto newly planted lettuce or gnawing on the cat nip seedlings that come up in our yard. He does prefer cat mint however. 

we've been saying he's about 15 years old for about 5 years.  Truthfully, no one knows how old he is.  He's been our "outdoor cat "for 16 years and was at least a couple (few? 4-5?) years old when he moved in with the neighbors.  The other 6 cats have all passed on and a new generation is romping about inside the house just like in ours. 

He's shaky now and moves slowly unless another cat messes with his catnip AND he is awake to notice.  Just a few weeks ago he got into it with another neigbhor cat and went streaking off defending his turf just fine, thank you very much.  He sleeps very hard and has some thyroid issues so needs to eat every few hours. We keep a supply of his kibbles and feed him whenever he demands.  LIfe is simple for Max and I will really miss him when he passes on.  We are catsitting him this week as his people are on vacation. 

He lets us know when he wants food by a deep yowl.  He does not like to wait and his people report that they are getting up a couple times a night to feed him.  I hate waiting too Max!  Fun weekend coming up with a goal race with lots of good memories attached, I am ready for the weekend!

You do this too, right?

It's a taper sort of a week where i back off running so legs will feel fresh for the upcoming half marathon. Biking is a great way to get the legs moving and it is fun to get out at this time of year when I'd normally be running. It's light early and there is no traffic. It takes a standard 35 minutes (give or take a minute or two depending on how many traffic lights i hit going down the hill) to ride downhill to the lake, go around and come back home. This radar speed sign is on my route. I have to trigger it. There was no traffic at all so i got my phone out to take a photo. Yes! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Last for pace workout before the half this weekend. The early morning after a holiday weekend? The track was so peaceful. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An extra day

It was a quiet weekend and I enjoyed the extra weekend (holiday) day. Trail running, gardening, cooking, reading and relaxing.  It's taper time and I need to make sure i have those healthy snacks for work.  Hummus!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spring Sunday Rest

The foxgloves are in full bloom right now and I did spend some time weeding, of course.  It was nice having a relaxing long weekend. Next weekend is a goal half marathon. My goals had changed from the original goal earlier this year. I still think I'll pull out a solid half marathon time even with the 8 weeks off of running because of the broken kneecap.  Then marathon training (and vacation) come pretty soon.  

Taking this Sunday completely as a rest day was also a test of the marathon training plan I'm going to use.  And? I don't like it! Cross training is encouraged on the training plan and I would not mind having the time on a sunday to go cycling.  It completely limits when i could trail run.  I really like a short easy trail run after a long run. When training gets heavy though,  I really do need a complete rest day.  I will need to think about changing around the plan but won't get a good feel for that until i start it.  Meanwhile, York firmly believes in rest days preferably with sun. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Another Stair Challenge

Stairs in the Volunteer Park Water Tower
Finally. After lots of planning and running this course twice, I ran and marked this course which roams through various stairs and trails in the Montlake, Eastlake and Capitol Hill areas of Seattle.  It's a really challenging course and the full loop is 11 miles long. I, of course, did a really good barre class yesterday and was aware my legs and glutes and abs and and and were tired from that AND i have a goal race in a week.  I was prudent and stopped at 9 miles especially once i realized I had run out of water.  yes, it was humid.  
And yes gardens and the arboretum were just beautiful. Everything seemed to be blooming! I've not had a chance to run all that much through the Seattle Arboretum (aka Washington Park Arboretum) and this morning we were able to find some completely different trails (and stairs) with the help of the maps they have posted in the grounds.  This map is different than the map that is posted online and it has stairs marked! 

Arboretum Map posted in the park. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Happy Anniversary Seattle Central Public Library!

10 years! I've been going to this library since it opened at least once a week.  It's always surprising and novel even though I see it every day. I love seeing tourists daily taking photos of this building.  Day 279.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Too early

It was too early for this! 
Day 278

Last Rhubarb Hurrah!

Rhubarb Almond Crumble Cake.  Really tasty and easily adaptable to other seasonal fruit. I'd cut sugar for anything else besides rhubarb though! Per comments, i doubled the crumb.

Serves 8 to 10
  • 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour (or all purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1 1/2 cup rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch, deep, fluted tart pan or an 8-inch round cake pan.
  2. For the crumb, combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Using a fork or your fingers, gently work in the butter until pea-sized lumps are formed.
  3. Combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and almond extract in a large bowl. Beat on high until the mixture triples in volume, about five minutes. Fold in the melted butter, flour, and rhubarb. Evenly spread the thick batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top.
  4. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the topping is deeply golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the pan when it’s completely cool.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Struggle

I was so tired today.  I didn't have any trouble getting up at my normal time to go run (4:50 am) adn i was ready to go but I just didn't feel like running. I was not sore from the race but yes, i could feel the effort and combined with a busy day at work plus monthly tired meant i was whiny about going to go run 5 miles very easily.

I promised myself I would only have to run three and then i could go home and stretch well and do some other exercises if I really didn't want to run 5 miles.  It was just a gorgeous morning and I got greeted by some friends out for a morning walk. I was deep into my audio book and towards the end and barely recognized them! I finished the 3 mile loop and realized i was close to finishing the audio book and it was still really early.  so i ran a half mile out and turned around and came back.  And i still had some minutes on the book and I was really feeling just fine. I'd needed to slow myself down actually so I kept to a true recovery pace.  OK. One more mile and before I knew it, I'd snuck in my 5 miles.

The reward? If I was still really tired during the day, I'd be able to sit on the couch instead of working in the yard. Dinner was leftovers although I needed to cook some potatoes. I compromised and cooked the potatoes while working in the yard.  Ahhhh.  That couch felt great as did getting in my workout one mile at a time. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A new trick

The magic voodoo PT guy found a new way to get at my perennially tight calves which have now been made tighter since i have ditched the over the counter orthotics.  Wiggle that lower leg back and forth and move the foam roller up and down the back of the lower leg. Oooh!  that gets the spot. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Beat the Bridge

It's one of those races I always curse but really enjoy doing.

curse worthy:
I think this course is flat for some reason. It is NOT! It very subtly rolls and mile 3 plus the last almost mile has a tough gradual uphill.
The start of this race is always ridiculous. I think I'm close enough to the start and I still always end up weaving around walkers.
There are 4000 finishers for the 8k plus there is a 5k walk and a 1 mile race. Trying to get into the area of this race could be a nightmare.

praise worthy:
I really like the course. The rolling that i curse is interesting and I like the neighborhoods we run through.
It is well supported and well organized even with so many people
It's a great cause and I love that it gets such a variety of non-runners out to run

K and I have figured out a good place to park that bypasses all the craziness. It's just over a mile run to the race start area and this year I remembered where some random portopotties were. The construction they are doing around the Burke-Gilman and the coming light rail station were very much in evidence.  I am looking forward to all of that being done although it is still some year(s) out.

We jogged over together (2.5 mile warm up) and randomly found people we knew and chatted while the shorter walking event started and then the 1 mile kids' race started.  It's a big event - just over 4000 finishers this year in the 8k.  They opened the corral area to the 8k runners and yet again I realized i was too far back. I squirmed my way towards the front and was really only 50 yards away from the start line. 

And we are off! And I started too far back! I weaved and hopped on the sidewalk and weaved some more.  We immediately go over a bridge with an unpleasant metal grating (I stayed on the sidewalk) and finally after about a half mile it opened up.  I feel I've managed to do pretty well to come back sensibly after the knee cap incident. If that hadn't had happened, I would hope to be similarly paced to last year's race which was 7:41 average. I managed a sub 38 finish last year but felt the course was a bit short because of some construction changes. I was hoping to stay in 38 minute range this year even with the time off I'd had which would have me running at a 7:45 - 7:50 pace. I wasn't sure I could go under 7:50 but that was the hope!

I hit the first mile in 7:46 even with all that wasted energy. I always think the course is flat but in reality there are rolls as we go up and down around bridges and neighborhoods surrounding a waterway.  Last year, I started too fast, died on the harder 3rd and last mile. I really wanted to run more even splits. I really wanted to focus on staying relaxed and working on form when it got tough.  Mile 2 was 7:42. After the bridge, there is a gradual climb and then some turns until another gradual climb. I just stay focused on form and using my glutes properly and keeping my arms moving. Mile 3 was 7:45. I honestly did not monitor pace while racing. I just stayed focused on working the tangents, keeping form and not letting the pain scare me. I can handle this. Just two more miles and I'd be done.  Mile 4 is hurting at 7:42. And then we come to the last less than a mile to go and this part always sucks. There are a lot of turns and the last half mile is uphill with even more turns. And construction is going on still in the area so I wasn't sure quite where they'd direct us.  Last .98 mile is 7:43 (7:55 pace per garmin). And done!

The finish line clock read just over 39 minutes and I was a bit disappointed but realized they'd made the course just a bit longer and it was an honest 8k. And then I looked at my time on my watch (and then once at home in results) and realized I'd run very even splits and had run 38:39. Hooray!  I really thought I'd slowed way down on those tough miles and was delighted to run 7:47 overall pace.

This was a tune up for a half marathon in 2 weeks. That half marathon was a goal race and it still is but I've needed to revise my goals because of the knee issue. My goals were also to work on the mental side of racing and I think I accomplished that this race.  I'm in a new age group too so this was 6th in AG which is excellent for such a large and generally competitive race.

K finishing!

Saturday, May 17, 2014


After days of really warm weather (80!), the temps moderated today. it was so dark this morning and the only bright spot were the flowering (invasive) yellow water irises along Green Lake. I find the warmer weather helpful as I do have a race in a couple weeks and i want some warm weather running to acclimate.  However, I had friends out doing some fun races this weekend so the cooling trend was welcome.  

Keep Running FUN!

And I certainly do. that's why I enjoy trail running, run commuting, workouts where I am trying to hit certain paces and challenge me and general training with goal races.  It is fun. I've been doing a  lot of weeding in the yard each evening after work. This guy makes me crazy. What is he doing?

I think he is warming up and doing some general aerobic running before doing some training for some other specific sport (boxing, i think). And how does he do this running? Back and forth along our street for about 20-30 minute each evening.  AAAAAAHHHHH! 

It's the antithesis of fun. I want to tell him, why don't you run the 1 mile to the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park, do one lap and enjoy all the neighborhood and community activity and come back. It'll be the same distance and be so much more enjoyable.  I guess that is not the objective.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Run Commute Crazies

Bikes everywhere! Yes it is Bike to Work Month and the weather has been really conducive to bike riding. I don't think i have seen so many bike commuters in my years of bike commuting and run commuting. In fact it was 80 degrees and very humid and I'd run an easy 3 in the morning. I just need the miles. 

Why was it crazy? Cyclists everywhere salmoning and shoaling and distracted pedestrians everywhere. Don't know what salmoning and shoaling are in this context? Read here: Link 

I watched and saw quite a bit of this including cyclists on very crowded sidewalks.  Really?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The handoff

Friends are off to do a fun trail race this weekend. Hmm.  Why yes, I had just made a batch of Feed Zone banana rice muffins (flavored with additions of salt, garam masala and added sweet potato) and had stuck them in the freezer.  They will go to a good home this weekend! Trail fuel for friends. Good Luck! I'm envious. I've always wanted to do this race.  Ahh, trail dreaming. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Finally shorts weather!

I love being able to wear shorts and short sleeved shirts for runs at 5:30 am for a run.  It's a short window that I can do that partly because I'm wimpy about being cold! All windows are open in the evening and the cats love that.  I've watched a bald eagle being chased by crows numerous times over the past week.  Blurry shot of eagle on the wing... (squint at it)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mmm Lentils

A friend told me she had tried a lentil recipe that she thought I would like and she was right. Haha!  I'm a Known Lentil Lover! Super easy and super tasty with just a lovely hint of coconut milk and spice with a nice richness which is filling. It's a little bit on the low end of calories for me for lunch when training heavily so I'll probably supplement it served over some brown rice. I cooked the batch and ended up with about 5 servings for me at lunch time served over spinach which wilts when stirred into the hot lentil stew. I had mine with orange and some dark chocolate. 

Recipe was found here: coconut green curry lentils
It freezes well. To reheat, I added water so it would be less sludgy. 
  • 1 cup uncooked lentils, rinsed - i used red lentils because i thought that the softer texture would be nice.
  • ½ cup bulgur
  • 2½ cups water or vegetable broth - ha, i used chicken broth.
  • ¼ cup green curry paste - the variety of this I got was super spicy even for me. I used just 1/8 of a cup and that was good flavor and heat.
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced (I just added this when cooking instead of to finished dish)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed
  • Greek yogurt for topping (I skipped this)
  1. Place lentils, bulgur, 2 cups water, curry paste, and turmeric in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are mostly cooked. Add the remaining ½ cup water during cook time if lentils and bulgur have absorbed all the water. You want to cook it until there is no liquid remaining. Turn the heat to medium or low, if it's not already.
  2. Keeping the saucepan on the heat, stir in the tomato paste. Mixture should thicken slightly. Add butter, garlic, and garam masala; stir to combine until butter is melted. Add coconut milk and simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until thick and creamy.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in ginger and spinach until barely wilted. You can also serve this with fresh spinach, adding it just before serving.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mom's Day

Double workout with solid pacing and a 3+ hour opera meant i was squirming around in my seat. Oy, the legs! Good times though and very enjoyable performance.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Feeling Un-blerch-like

10 Miles at the group run. 5 easy chatting with someone I'd not seen for quite a while. It didn't feel all that easy but I blame hills. My goal was to speed up then and work on half marathon pace for 5 miles.  It was work but felt very doable and I was pretty happy with how this workout felt.  Then? Then the creator of the comic The Oatmeal is having the occasional random training runs around Green Lake for his upcoming Beat the Blerch race. A 2:00 pm run time? Um. Ok. Why not!

I went and met the Oatmeal and ran a not so easy 3 miles. Oops. Nice guy. Not so blerch like, but then I didn't expect that. It was great to see the total mix of new to experience runners. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Playing Hooky Day 2!

This was a true day off from work. Why? I had a physical therapy appointment in the morning but north of where we live. By the time I was going to get into work, it would've been late morning. It's been a busy week, i have a lot of vacation time saved up and I'd done a great job getting things done at work.  Woohoo! Day off!

So a nice morning run after sleeping in a bit. These Golden Chain Trees are in full bloom around here. There were a number of them blooming in the Arboretum and they really are a spectacularly beautiful tree.  However, I did not know this but parts of the tree including the seeds (which develop from these flowers) are poisonous. 

The PT appointment was excellent. I've been having some residual issues from the broken knee cap. PT guy was able to do his magic and convince various body parts they could really relax now as the knee is working just fine, thanks! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Playing hooky!

Well not really. The goal this summer is to get some trail runs in mid-week. I run best early morning and it is light very early now in the morning. I have a willing friend so we went off very early to get in a longer mid-week run. She then drops me off at work on the way home and i can shower in the new gym at work. I am a little late to work but that works just fine for summer and I clear it with my coworkers (it is also easier for me to be a little late than to leave early).

This mid-week trail break is like a mini-vacation and super fun. Trails today? Yes and no! We were finalizing the next stair run which also loops through trails in Interurban Park, Volunteer Park and the Arboretum. I'd wanted to add on a new little loop (to add miles) and we did find a closed stairway! Surprise!
E McGraw St Stairs at 19th Ave E - one big step!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


This is outside my building at my work in Downtown Seattle. There are some very nice larger trees that line the street.  The crows were making a racket as I was waiting for a bus to take me to the Pike Street Market on my lunch hour to buy some veggies for dinner.  Such a racket that went on and on as I was in a lull between buses. 

The very small dark spot in the upper left quarter of the tree is a raccoon!  I saw it pop it's head up and seemed to peer around sleepily as in a "what is that racket?" It then tucked it's head back down and went back to sleep. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Track companions

Back to the track this morning. I was surprised to find another female runner using the track when I got there. She was doing longer repeats at a slower pace though. The only other track mates were busy with other tasks.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Running Shoe Obsession

No, not me! It's my cat! Kez spends a lot of time licking the laces on my running shoes lately.  He goes for any shoe but prefers the pictured Nike shoes which right now are my main go-to easy run shoe.  He doesn't chew on them but carefully snags one with a claw and licks.  What an odd duck.
Keswick: I see no problem here.

Newcastle Trails revisited

 I'm pretty happy to feel ready for more substantial amounts of running. The knee can be twingy at times but I hardly notice it. The half marathon is now a month away and I feel like i can actually put in some training. The half marathon last week reminded me that I just need miles.  So 12 miles yesterday and 6 on trails today. It is pouring, of course.

Since the knee is just twingy, I really wanted to avoid long climbs and descents.  I realized it has been over a year since I've been out to the Newcastle Trail system centered around Lake Boren. 

I'll admit. It was hard to get out of the car but once I was among the trees on the Cemetery Trail, it was fine. The Cross Town Trail has had some big equipment on it although the trail was actually not disturbed. I wonder what they are doing there?  I couldn't tell. I remembered where the turns were and found one section very overgrown. The Power Line (Horse) Trail has always managed to slightly confuse me and I have to remember to run past the crown of the hill to get the connector that will take me down to the road and May Creek Trail.

New trail with May Creek on left.
I headed west on May Creek Trail just to add on some distance and it is is just really pleasant running. I was really surprised to reach the end of the trail and realize that there was a new trail kiosk and a new trail! The kiosk explained that this was the point on the Seattle Walla Walla Railroad (really just a spur) where the May Creek Trestle Bridge was located.

The Trestle Bridge - built 1888
It was a huge wooden structure and the largest wooden structure west of the mississippi when built.  The new trail was very wide and went down to the May Creek and seemed to devolve into little trails. There is no bridge and no easy way to ford across the river that I could see (it's bigger than what I would expect a creek to be!) and I didn't want to take too long to explore that at this time.  It is very exciting though as according to information on the kiosk, Newcastle and Renton are exploring options for seeking funding to cross that river and extend and connect the trail.

I turned back east to go explore the rest of may Creek Trail and was happy to see that some of the very dodgy sections past teh Waterline Trail have been expertly fixed. The forest is just beautiful along the creek and I did dawdle to take photos and take it all in. What rain?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Do I have to?

South Fork Snoqualmie River @ Snoqualmie Valley Trail
After such a gloriously sunny and warm week, the rains returned this weekend. And then some. The group run was out on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail which over the years has become my least favorite trail. Sure it's beautiful. Sure it's fully protected from cars except for some street crossing. But it is fairly dull and really straight in some places plus has a packed gravel surface. That surface has been bothersome for my hip in the past and i've just avoided it.  Well silly me has signed up for a race on that surface and so, i need to get back on it.  

And I had a great run and felt good after the half marathon of last week. It helped that as soon as we got in the car to drive back home, it started pouring. We'd managed to avoid all the rain. I'd hoped to get back out into the garden this weekend. Nope. Too wet!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Yard Fingers

It's the gardening equivalent to trail toes. Since I've been working in the yard every evening, i can't keep my fingernails clean. I had a suggestion to put bar soap under the nails and then put on gloves. That seemed a bit better. I tried latex gloves under the gardening gloves. That works well but I often need to take a glove off for some reason or another and that arrangement is hard to get back on. 

I'm planning on real trails again this weekend. I can't wait!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lost in Lilacs

It feels like summer today as Seattle hits mid-80s! I mostly notice the spring lilacs blooming everywhere. They are very fragrant for morning runs and the walk home from the bus. why yes, I do stop to smell the lilacs.