Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Where there's a will, there's a long run

Wintry Mix
It's the last long run of this cycle and I need 16 miles. But I need 16 miles at certain paces that get progressively faster. On tired legs. At the end of a very sucessfull training cycle.

And I realized that I needed to find a race to help me get out and get this long run done.

Even though it was going to be the weekend after Christmas I was able to find the perfect local event.

Sporty Diva's Annual Last Run of the Year at Green Lake. The funny thing about this event is that it was a 2.8 mile loop course and you just picked how many loops you wanted to do. Did you want to run 1 loop? Great! Did you want to run 6 (for a 16.8 mile long run)? Great! Did you want a last marathon of the year? Fantastic! You make your race.

The weather was going to be frightful with increasing rain during the course of the event. It was breezy too and then at times a chunky rain was falling. That's the "wintery mix" we can get at this time of year which is mostly rain with some chunks of soggy snow. Fantatstic! Make your own race.

I talked K into running 2.5 loops with me. We'd keep it easy for 4 miles and then run a tempo pace for 4 miles (a bit slower than goal marathon pace for me).  He'd add on a couple more miles for a good long run and workout. Then I'd speed up to the next paces i needed to hit. It was great to have some company. And as I started off on the faster portion of the run I also had some friends out who live along the lake cheer. Fun! And that did keep me focused.

Those six laps went very fast and I had a great run successfully hitting goal paces and even a bit faster than expected. 

Rose who is the Sporty Diva and the race director is a ray of sunshine. She is full of energy and inspiration and support. Super fun way to get in a workout and I'd do this one again.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015


That is the only word for it. I am very focused on the upcoming marathon. It is a month away and i'm in the middle of peak training.


Every easy run has been getting slower and slower. "Don't chase the easy" is probably the best bit of wisdom I got this week. If you plug in a current race time to those calculators that will give you your recommended training paces, you get a range from +30 to + 90 seconds over your marathon pace for a recommended easy pace. This is the pace where you run most of your miles. The past few years, i have really slowed down my easy pace.  And as is typical for me during peak training, easy pace slows to a near crawl and i'm more like 2 minutes over my marathon pace.  I find it a bit demoralizing that each day i'm out running and just seem to be slower and slower.  It means that it takes longer for me to get a run in and during peak week with high mileage, this takes valuable time away from things like sleep.

Did I mention that I was tired? But honestly i feel good overall.

I'm not chasing the easy and then when it matters, i've been able to hit very solid workout times in the midst of a 60 mile run week. Sadly i thought that taper started this coming week and was disappointed to realize that i have one more week of high mileage. I can do it though. I am focused!

oh yeah. Holidays. Between craziness at work and the holidays, training has been a very good distraction. Focus.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

And knitting

This is leftover yarn from a throw blanket I made for a friend. It's fun bulky soft yarn (Bernat Blanket) so I thought it would be nice for some running accessories. Wouldn't you know that I am wearing this headband quite a bit because i lost my favored smartwool headband. Boo! that is the second one of those that i have lost.

Bulky Cable Headband

Provisional cast on with waste yarn 8 stitches.
Stockinette stitch until piece measures about 2.5 inches then K1 M1, K6, M1 K1 so you will have 10 stitches. Continue in stockinette stitch until piece measures 9-10 inches.
K1, slip 4 to cable needle and hold in front, K4 from left hand needle, knit 4 from cable needle, K1
Continue in stockinette stitch until piece measures around 16” and make corresponding decreases (one on each edge) so you have 8 stitches again. Continue in stockinette until piece measures 18-20” but I just hold it up to my head to see how it fits stretched which is how it will be worn as a running headband.
Join using kitchener stitch (knit, purl, purl knit!). Weave in ends.
I made one is for my mother-in-law for when she walks. My mom requested one and chose a smaller one. I made one for myself for winter running. This yarn is great for this. It’s very soft, warming and doesn’t weigh that much. If it gets wet, you don’t notice and it dries quickly.
One skein has made three headbands and one cowl and I could probably make another headband.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Too busily running.

Happy Thanksgiving and where did November go?

That's right. I've been too busily running.

Who thought that training for a winter marathon was a good idea?!

Oh, that's right. It was my idea. And I am happy to report that i still think it is a good idea.

1. Treadmill running is a useful training tool. When the weather is frightful, i've been taking easy runs and even workouts to the treadmill once a week. Except for that one week where i ran three times on a treadmill. Yes, that was a stormy week.  I am finding it helpful for a mental training perspective, a reminder about proper form (for me proper pawback and glute activation) and I definitely get my sweat on (ie I am trying to maintain some heat tolerance).

2. Solid tempo runs. I struggle with tempo runs in training. I've raced the best when i've been most successful at hitting those critical tempo runs. There's a trick there! It's been hard for me to set tempo paces but since i ran a solid 5k in early september i had a good starting point. I've been doing all my runs solo which is tough but also helps keep me honest. My training partner is a good deal faster than me and when i can't keep up, i makes excuses too easily. It gives me an out that I've been struggling against. The point of the tempo runs is to run them on tired legs and still stay focused. Check!

3. A 5k Turkey Trot Test! K and I signed up for a new turkey trot a couple of months ago. The Mukilteo Turkey Trot is just 30 minutes north of where we live and looked like a nice new event and course. There is also a 10k which drew very fast runners as there were cash prizes. For a first year event, this was well attended (500 in 5k, 160 in 10k) and very well organized. I've truthfully never been to Mukilteo besides driving through to and from the ferry. It was an easy drive there and we found parking easily as we were early as planned. I still only had time for just under a 2 mile warm up and as it was 28 degrees, i was cold and took a while to warm up!

they did a staggered start with "elite" 10k start, followed by an elite 5k start 1 minutes later and then the general gobblers 2 more minutes later. I had lined up far forward but was still by people who were obviously planning on walking. Shrug. I expect to be crowded at the front and I was but that was fine as i did not want to go out too fast. i was hoping to match the 5k that i'd run in September on a flat course with perfect conditions (23:20).  However this course had was just a bit rolling and I knew there was a hill in the first mile. I relaxed a bit too much though and came in at 7:39. But at least i was finally warming up. I'd opted for a light long-sleeved shirt, capri skirt, headband and gloves. If i had been overdressed, i'd have taken off my gloves and i never did in this race.

In mile 2, i did start passing people including a woman in my AG who had passed me around the half mile mark. I'd marked her as someone to stay in contact with. It was nice to blow past her! I've been working on checking in on form monitoring as a way to stay focused and honestly I think "glutes" to make sure i am engaging a proper stride. It works for me! Did I mention that last week I hit a mileage high for the year at 57 miles? Yes, my legs were tired, I've not trained any specific 5k work and basically felt out of practice for a 5k effort but this was going better than i thought it would! 7:27

At mile 3 I was in contact with a male high school student. He obviously didn't want me to pass him so always just stayed out of reach even though I knew i was speeding up. He did little glances back too. Haha! It's nice to be that annoying runner sometimes! I did see a sub 7 pace on my watch at first on this mile. Honestly, that scared me.  I just stayed focused and reminding myself that i'd worked hard to be here and only needed to run just another 8 minutes or so and i'd be done! I turned the last corner and saw my watch say 21 minutes. I really wanted to be closer to 23 flat so just put my head down to finish. 7:10!

I jogged back out onto the course to cool down and cheer K coming in (he had a very good run and that showed!) and after a mile stopped by the car to grab our layers as it was still not even above freezing.  Turns out, I'd placed in my AG and to my delight, i won a pie! woohoo!  I was so focused on the pie (typical) that i'd not really looked at my time closely. I thought i ran 23:38 and was satisfied with that. Once we got home, I realized I'd run under 23 minutes at 22;38! woohoo! I've not been under 23 minutes in a couple years and that was with specific 5k training and well rested legs.

I'd do this one again. It was a really nice course with just enough minor rolling to keep you focused and excellent closed streets. There is a hair pin turn at about mile 2. And who doesn't love pie!?

And a 22:38 5k right in the middle of marathon training shows me that I'm right on track for marathon training. I'm excited. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

What's Up?

Granite pavers installed and ground regraded.
There has been a whole lot of yardwork. Finally after 15 years in our house, we are getting a handle on our feral backyard. I'd gotten a screaming deal on off cuts of granite pavers from work. A deal? Why yes, these were the off cuts of a floor that went into a high rise downtown. They sat in a bin on the loading dock for months until i asked building management, uh, what's happening with these and can I have them? They say, sure, why not? K and I brought our little truck and did a couple trips and it was totally worth it.

These pavers are beautiful and much nicer materials than i ever envisioned for our feral back yard. After much digging and re-grading, it is coming together. I'm ready to plant some northwest natives before the fall rains
New planting area ready to go.
come (please let hte fall rains come after our incredibly dry spring and summer) and we'll see how it looks for next year.

Training? of course! I ended up being a scratch in a goal half marathon. I felt ready but alas, it was just too warm on race day and started pouring about half way through the half marathon. I bailed and felt good about my decision.

And I've been guest blogging as well as occasionally teaching a core class for a friend. It's been fun. Life is definitely good.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Women of Wonder 5k

At the start.
Well for once I did this one right. I've done the 10k at this event for the past couple years. It's a fun event but the 10k is challenging for a lot of reasons. Its a big event and for the 10k, on the second loop of the course you hit a lot of walking traffic. If you are aiming for a good time, it's very hard to hit that while weaving through walkers and yelling "on your left!" the last mile of a 10k. And it tends to be fairly warm as the race starts late. I actually like that part though as it's nice to have a leisurely morning!

I was supposed to be racing the Ragnar Trail Cascades this weekend. But forest fires in the area cancelled the race 10 days ago. This was good as I was worried about smoke and race impact on a small community hard hit by the largest fire in Washington state history. We've had rain and moderating temperatures but the fire is not completely contained. So i needed another race. I didn't really want a longer one though as I am aiming for a half marathon in mid October. I needed a short race to get a better idea of where I am and to practice a hard race pace.

The 10k again at this race? Ugh. Mentally I just wasn't prepared so I signed up for the 5k thinking at least it would be over with quickly.

I wanted to go out aggressively but at a pace where I thought I could hit realistically. I didn't taper for this race at all and did get in my long run Thursday. I had speed work as usual on Tuesday too. I think i'm in about 7:15-7:20 5k shape and decided to go out at 7:15. I hit 7:17 for the first mile and just concentrated on dodging the few walkers who are typically on the inside path of Green Lake. It's not a closed course!

Of course this is a women's only race. I hadn't really thought about this as I've always been at a slower pace for the 10k which starts at the same time. There were so few other racers about and I had been expecting more competition. I was working very hard though and that was a goal. I battled and kept battling!

It's just Green lake and I run around Green Lake at least 2 to 3 times a week so as I tick along each landmark, it does help me stay focused. The course does go on the streets outside the lake and you can get a surprising amount of tangent running in. I'm always surprised when I don't see other runners doing this. Believe me i want to be done sooner rather than later and I figure every step counts!

I passed a gal with about a mile to go. At 3/4, i got passed by another woman. But then I couldn't make any headway on staying with her or with another gal within site. I do think i was slowing here but I kept battling.

My main hope was that I'd be under 23:30. As I hopped up the curb to the last grassy finish, i could see that I was going to make that! Hooray 23:20! I came though the finish and got a medal (for a 5k!) and heard the announcer say that was the top 10 finishers.

WHAT?! I was 7th overall. That was a surprise and no wonder there was no one else around! I did end up 1st in my AG. My friend and running partner was 2nd overall (and technically 1st in my AG).

the best part of this race was that it started pouring not too long after we finished running. Perfect timing. I haven't run too many 5ks lately and it was nice to get such a solid one in, feel good and work very hard. I have a couple weeks of peak training ahead of me and I'm feeling ready!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Catch Up!

Work Craziness.

Blog? I had grand intentions and then the Seattle Public Library's Book Bingo NW took over. Book bingo? Yes, the Seattle Public Library ran an adult summer reading program this year and I had to do it.  Six weeks and 25 books later, I am (almost) DONE! And ready to turn in my bingo card. What do I get? A chance for a nice prize and a chance to visit a lot of fun.
Graphic Novels? Yes, i'll be reading more of these.
Mysteries? I'm still not too interested in them.
Young Adult Fiction is even better than ever.
And try rereading a favorite from your childhood and see what you think. I was disappointed by the annoying female protagonist. I remember really enjoying the book because of the female protaganist but found her dated.

Category                                              Book
Checked out from the library               Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett
From an Independent Bookstore          Peak by Roland Smith
Set in the NW                                       Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
#WeNeedDiverseBooks                       Tankborn by Karen Sandler
*Translated from another language        A Hundred & One Days: A Baghdad Journal by Asme Sierestad
Collection of short stories                    Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi
Out of your comfort zone                    Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton
*Set somewhere you've always wanted to visit Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story by Christina Thompson
You own, but had never read               Travels in Alaska by John Muir
*Prizewinner                                          All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Banned                                                 Bless Me, Ultima
*Local Author                                        Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage by  Molly Wizenberg
*PASSIONATELY recommend a book to a friend   The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
Author under 30                                   Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
*Turned into a movie                             A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness/Siobhan Dowd
Graphic Novel                                      The Encyclopedia of Early Earth: A Graphic Novel by Isabel Greenberg
Collection of Poetry                              The Robot Scientist's Daughter Poems by Jeannine Hall Gailey
Young Adult Book                                Silvertongue (Stoneheart Trilogy #3) by Charlie Fletcher
Memoir                                                 If you Ask Me (and of course you won't) by Betty White
*Published the year you were born        Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
*Re-read                                                 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Recommended by a friend                    On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman
You've been meaning to read                The Cloud Road by Martha Wells
From Your Childhood                            A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'engle
You Finish reading in a day                  Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathon Fetter-Vorm

The asteriks denote favorite books on the list. I also enjoyed how you had to be strategic about picking a book for a particular category when they could count for multiple categories.  Three of the books were audio books. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How to train for an ultra relay

The 1st place bling plus Ultra Medal
This was a dilemma for me as when i first started training again with Ragnar in mind, i was limited to running every other day at best. The foot and #4%#$ plantar fascitis really limited what sort of running I could do. For a regular ragnar race, I've generally thought it's best to be trained to run a half marathon. For an ultra? Well, it makes sense to be trained to do a marathon.

I finally settled on trying the FIRST running plan which has just 3 run days per week and solid cross training. And? It worked to some extent but I quickly got annoyed by having to run 3 hard workouts and that was it. The three workouts were speed, tempo and a long run. The speed workout was much faster than I would ever run (based on a race pace), the tempo run was typically easier and the long run was much faster than i would run at that pace. I dunno. it just didn't quite work for me and I was getting slower and slower and more and more discouraged.

So, I bailed on that. Fortunately the foot was getting better and allowing more running so I cautiously was able to add in a fourth day of running. Don't get me wrong, I still got in solid long runs and usually an 8-9 mile medium long run mid-week. Pace work? Not so much. And then I was able to add in a fifth day of running. Instead of purely focusing on long runs, I did back to back longer runs. At peak week, i was able to hit 50 miles and ran 14 miles/13 miles on back to back days. Also key as i was worried about heat training, I ran home one day (7 miles) in temps in the high 80s and then ran a longer mid-week the next morning.

Just in time for the race, I felt like I was finally coming into the training groove and building fitness. And even better, the cortisone shot that I'd had 6 weeks prior had worked. No pain. At all. I've still been diligent about calf stretching/rolling out and some hip/glute exercises as well as wearing proper footwear at all times.  If I'd had another month, I feel like could've gotten a lot faster but going into
the relay, i was happy that I'd done what I needed to do.

As usual with captaining, I didn't really get a chance to look at what legs i'd assigned myself or think too much about what I needed to do as a runner! This always happens and I'm ok with it! It keeps me distracted and excited about the race without being too anxious about my running. Finally I got a chance to think about distances, the course, timing and fueling.  And I'd chosen my legs for a reason. 12.4 miles in the middle of the day with heat probable. 13.8 miles right at dusk with hopefully moderating temperatures. 7.6 miles right around dawn. Less than 8 miles for the last leg even though hilly would be key. I was most worried about a death march finish.

First leg: We stayed right even with Van 1 from the regular team as I'd expected. That was really fun but as I'd been worried about introduced an element of competition I didn't want. I really didn't care nor know who would come out first and it didn't matter. It was more important for runners to run what they needed to run to be smart. I'd also assigned myself (hey captain's prerogative) legs from the first van. I've been in Van 2 since captaining and was looking forward to some different scenery.  So I started running around noon. Do i ever run in the middle of the day? Never! So that's weird to begin with, it was bright and so sunny plus very warm in the sun.  I'd hoped to be overall around 9:30 pace and as I expected I set off running faster than that and really had to control my pace the first few miles. That is a good sign though! As a team, we were still a bit inexperienced supporting an ultra team and I'd only asked for water support around the half way mark. Big mistake! It was so warm that by mile 4, even though i was carrying a 10 ounce water bottle, i'd run out. This was where having the other van was really helpful. I was able to get water from them, twice!

Once through the exchange at 5.8, i started getting very warm and the course would make turns that would put me directly into what felt like a fierce hot wind. This was where my pace started to slow and I realized I needed to be smart to finish this well. I started getting shivery and my hamstrings started feeling oddly quivery. Now these are all very clear signs for me that I am too hot! I had planned ahead and taken electrolyte capsules as well as 2 gels plus the water meant I made it through in 9:47 pace. My conservative estimate for what I'd run was 9:45 so I was right where I'd hoped to be even with heat. As soon as I stopped running, i started guzzling water. It still took me a number of hours to hydrate enough to pee.

Interlude: And this was where we realized that as an ultra team, we really needed to be checking on runners more often. We also really didn't need to go into the exchanges when we weren't handing off runners so that gave us more flexibility in supporting. We'd managed to get a bigger rental van as well and could actually have someone stretch out in the very back row. I still didn't manage to actually sleep during the event but it was nice to lie down and not think a couple times. Others in our van really were able to sleep at least some so that was a bonus.

Second Leg: After running what I felt was a slow pace for my first leg, I was quite nervous going into my second leg. I figured I'd be as slow if not slower. However even though i was running my second half marathon (13.8 miles) i was starting at around 8:30 pm. Sunset is around 9 pm and it felt significantly cooler plus this leg was flat. Skagit Flats flat so I mean flat! And without even thinking about it I did a second mile in under 9 minutes (with a bit of downhill assist) and realized that teh heat had played a bit part in the first leg. I stayed very strong through most of the leg with a little bit of mind wandering towards the end. I still needed water, electrolyes and gels. By this time, we'd learned to support runners about every 4 miles so I had plenty of support. The last mile got very tough as it was through some busy traffic, annoying sidewalks with a lot of runners walking about. Still I was delighted and ran a strong 9:35 pace. Excellent!

Interlude: Generally after about an hour after running their legs, a runner would need to take a rest break in the back of the van. Don't forget that the van as a whole is continuing on supporting their runner. I knew that it was going to get tough in the middle of the night as more of the van would want to sleep. We needed to have a driver and someone awake who could navigate. Ragnar requires that at least one other person in the van besides the driver be awake. There had been a course change this year which meant the runner who runs across Deception Pass had a very long leg of 10 miles. but for the ultra team, the leg coupled with this one also got lengthened so that runner 5 in our van was running 18.6 miles in the middle of the night. it's also very hard for the van to stay focused if one runner is out for a long time running. So I knew this would be a tough leg for runner support too. Fortunately LMA was having a great and much faster run than expected and I was able to manage staying awake to support. It helped that it was just a beautiful night with just a hint of chill. perfect for running and not too bad for not running either.

Third leg:7.7 miles at 6:40 am? Perfect! This is the usual time I am running. Just having it get light (sunrise 5:30) means you automatically get a bit of a boost. Under 8 miles and I'd be done. I can do this! It didn't seem like the legs were too sure of this but the only thing to do would be start running and see what happened. I felt like the first half mile (slightly uphill) was some sort of comical cartoon like look of the legs frantically moving yet not actually moving forward. Eventually, it got better. I'd never been along these roads and it was just beautiful which helped make up for the horrible "goat hill" bumps in the road. Straight up. Unfortuately the van had parked there to give me water so i felt like i had to run it. Ha.  This is the leg that runs into Coupeville High School and last year there had been a major course change which added on distance by taking runner off on a long detour away from the exchange. Even though I knew this added mileage was coming it was still brutally hard. At this point the sun was up and it was getting hot. My feet were complaining  (two toenails lost on this leg) and I just wanted to be done. The only thing was to endure and keep moving. 9:34 pace and that was much better than I expected.

Interlude: It got very warm. So warm that we did hear about emergency services responding to runners down. We took supporting our runners very seriously at this point and had no problems.  it had been very hard to predict what time we would finish. I set very conservative times for everyone and mostly those times got beaten. I could not believe it when we ended up finishing in just under 28 hours (just under a 9 flat pace). There were 42 finishing ultra teams (501 regular teams) and because we were a men's masters team, we finished first in our division. Yes, we were the only team in our division!

Would I do this again? As we were in teh middle of the race, I am not sure. As I've had some time to think about it, definitely yes. With some caveats! I'd like to be better trained. I feel like I just had the bare minimum miles to be able to complete this race. I'd really love to have a dedicated driver. One other person who could drive and be awake would take a lot of pressure off all runners. I'd rethink how i packed for an ultra too. As we never had any downtime, the van immediately got trashed and it got very difficult to find items.  I think using multiple smaller bags would be easier. I'd also skip having a cooler for everyone and bring a soft sided cooler with just my items. I think that would be easier to access. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay - the Ultra Version Part 1

I was nervous. Even though we were all experienced at relays, none of had done one as an ultra team (6 people instead of the standard 12 person team). It was a very different and challenging experience.

1. Less logistics! Instead of figuring out when to expect Van 1 to the major exchange at 6, I only needed to worry about getting 6 runners and their gear to the start. After that, we were a self-contained relay mission! There was no need to worry about contacting another van. Note that we were starting at the same time as the regular Orange Ogre team. That ended up being fantastic for moral support and in my case, i got water a couple of times from Van 1 on my first 12.8 mile leg. That really helped!

2. Relay roulette. Relay courses always have some changes from year to year. That was definitely the case this year and it really affected some of the distances our runners would run. Instead of a 15 mile second leg, suddenly because of a course change, that run became 18.6 miles! We kept legs as is figuring that was just part of the fun of a relay. Ultra teams have the option to run either two legs together for 3 runs total or can run 6 times. Frankly running 6 times just seems appalling to me so we chose to do the longer runs and only run the typical 3 times. We'd heard about other ultra (and even regular teams) switching up the distances a bit so everyone on the team ran about the same amount of miles. That doesn't seem right to me as the course is what the course is and that is part of the challenge. I also think the beauty of relays is that you can have a mix of runners from those who can run much longer and those who need shorter distances.

3.  More gear. I swear we had more stuff. I think the issue is that since there was no down time, we never got a chance to ever re-pack the van. We actually had a larger van than usual but from the very first moment the relay started, it was trashed beyond belief. Everyone was losing things and we by necessity became much more communal. Really, this meant having an easy going group who all got along well was crucial.

4.  Smart runners. If a runner has problems with injury in a regular team, it's not such a big deal for another runner to cover another leg. I've done that with no problems. It becomes an issue with the ultra team. I was slated for 34 total miles. That is the most miles that I have ever run in 24 hours. Could I do more if someone had an injury and could not run? yes, probably but I'd really rather not as that is at my limit. Our lead off runner had had a calf problem a couple weeks out from the start. And on his first leg, he aggravated the calf. And after the second leg, it was swollen and bruised which is a sign of a tear. We iced and wrapped the injury and had the option to sub in runners. He really wanted to finish his legs though so carefully and sensibly made it through doing just what was necessary to finish his runs. It's no big deal in a typical race if you do hurt something and need to drop out. It's a bigger deal in an ultra relay where the team is counting on you finishing your miles.

5. Smart runners repeat. It's easy to get caught up in the competition of the relay. I had a few women come up and pass me before an exchange and ask how i was doing so close to the end of the leg. Well, it wasn't the end of my leg and i was doing just fine thanks. I kept an honest pace and ran to my abilities paying attention to fueling and hydration. I didn't need to get into a pissing contest with anyone. I figured I'd be running at just over my marathon pace and that ended up being correct for me. I was too nervous to push any harder. That meant that at 9:30 pace, i got passed by quite a few guys and some women but also passed a lot of other men and women. I ran smart and really did enjoy the rock star feeling of running through an exchange. My second leg featured an 8.1 mile first leg and then a 5.6 mile second leg (13.7 miles total!). That 8.1 is a long distance in a typical relay! I came running into the exchange and handed my handheld to WC asking for a refill of water. the volunteers started calling my team number and i said that i was an ultra. "running through?" she asked and I said, "yes." At this time someone in the crowd exclaimed, "omg, she is running two legs!" and everyone started cheering. Yeah, that was awesome.

6. No down time. This was the biggest change from teh regular team. We'd originally asked a friend to drive for this team but that friend ended up getting conscripted onto the regular team. A driver would be a really excellent thing on an ultra team. Think about this. There is always one runner. One person needs to drive and one person needs to be awake to navigate and act as "safety officer" as well as support the runner. That leaves 3 people in the van trying to get ready for their next run, recover from their last run, sleep, dig through the van, eat etc. Some people do better with less sleep etc (I'm one of those) and that meant that i did do more driving, navigating and generally monitoring for runner support. It would've been great to have one other person to drive/navigate/runner support. No down time also meant that it was hard to get into the van and dig out food, or clothing or whatever.  Typically in the regular team when the other van is running is a good time to get everythign out of the van so people can grab what they need, repack a a bit and get ready for the next round of running. An ultra team doesn't have that time.

Would I do it again? Of course! Would I have said this during the relay? No! Ha! I'm really proud of how well everyone did including me. I wish i could've been better prepared but I was as prepared as I could be given the limits of training I've had in the first part of this year. I ended up running pretty much exactly what I predicted. I suffered through my first leg because of heat and wind and lucked out with better timing and thus better temps for my two other runs.

With 4 men and 2 women who were all older, we ended up being a men's masters team and we were about 45 minutes faster than I expected. Why so much faster? When I put together the spreadsheet, i really did not want to pressure anyone and kept my timing very easy. I was pretty sure we'd be faster than expected but we'd subbed in one runner who was significantly faster. Also one runner who is notoriously hard to predict ended up running way faster than predicted.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Captain Ogre on steroids

Captain's Hat
Done! How does it feel captaining two Ragnar Northwest Passage teams with 18 runners total, 3 vans and a humongous pile of Orange? Fantastic!

I'll admit it. I was a little stressed the last couple weeks. There are a few things you can count on when captaining a Ragnar team:

The aftermath. Relay gear disgorged from the vans.
1. Inevitably, you will have to replace a runner last minute. In this case, I had to replace a runner on both the regular and the ultra team. Now we did have a back up runner in place for the ultra team because those were the bigger shoes to fill. So five days before the race, this runner was registered onto the team.  And fortunately we were able to grab an excellent replacement runner for the regular team too. That meant though that i was dealing with a lot of new to the team runner questions while i was still figuring pace charts, confirming runner order and setting our drive times. Yes, this changed because all of a sudden on the regular team, we had a replacement runner who was much faster than the runner she was replacing. Mentally I was prepared to shuffle the vans around so the regular team could run with 11 runners instead of 12 but fortunately it didn't need to happen.

2. Difficulties while picking up van rentals. I was lucky. I'd had my van rental agreements in place for at least six months prior with a known company and a good (corporate backed) rate in place. I was actually a little more confident that we would have no problems getting our vans this time even though we picked them up late Thursday. I was hearing reports of teams not having vans available through their rental company even though they'd had reservations. It always makes me so nervous.  Really, what are you going to do at that point? How many people plus gear can you fit into our Toytota Corolla? It still seemed to take forever to pick up the vans but at least we had them!

3.  Oh yeah, the running. As captain, I never ever get a chance to think about what I'm going to be running. I don't really look at my legs or even think about food. And I realized the last couple days that since i was running on the ultra team and was going to be what would considered Van 1, it was completely different timing than what i was used to.  I really think this is a good thing. I was nervous in general about running this relay as an ultra but not nervous about my legs in particular. I knew I'd complete the distance, end of story.  I hoped to at least maintain close to marathon pace but was prepared to be a lot slower and that was ok.

It all went smoothly overall. Race day ended up being hotter than expected and we all suffered for it.  Some suffered more than other and felt some pretty severe effects of dehydration. Fortunately we had a couple of nurses in our vans and they were able to give some very good, professional advice which helped our runners out.

I felt brain dead and just annoyed with the continual neediness at work on Monday (so two days post race). And I realized that after handling 17 other runners with a lot of needs that I was done with neediness. Haha! And then I got another very good night's sleep and felt a whole lot better. Physically, I was less sore than I expected. I'm taking it easy this week though for sure.

Next Up: The Ultra Experience.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Heat Wave

June. That was a hot one. it was record breaking hot for a sustained amount of time. I feel like we've already had summer and then some.  Fortunately we'd given our house a 90th birthday present last year (it was built in 1924) and that was a fancy new ceiling fan.  And wow has that made a difference. Yes, it's hot but with that new, extremely quiet and super controllable fan, we've been sleeping well even when it's been close to 90 in the house.  The raspberries were coming up all over and we were picking off a quart every few days. It was too hot to be out there picking though! I did try making raspberry jam and it was a great success. I cannot wait to do this again next year. I only have one small half pint left because i gave it all away.

We finished the month off with a fun trail race. Yes it was still hot but that was the first day it was below 80 (just) and it felt relatively cool. I got into a pissing contest with another woman on the hills in the first lap of this two lap race. That was dumb and I paid for it the second loop.  But that didn't matter because that woman was only doing the 1 loop course. Ha!  K even came out to run again as well. This was him finishing looking good even though he said he was "gassed."  Those trail races are pretty sneakily hard!

It'll pay off though. Ragnar relay is this week. Two team, 18 runners and a whole lot of stories. I cannot wait. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015


These are the views of the glorious sunset we had on the train ride home from Vancouver. It was a stunning end to a great trip. I spent a lot of the train ride studying.  I had been interested in a personal trainer certification for some years and this year, the timing was right.  I took my test on Tuesday and passed! I found the process of studying again overall enjoyable. I was really out of practice but the materials were naturally quite interesting to me1 

Just call me PuddleThumper, CPT (Certified Personal Trainer).  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Women's World Cup

We took a train ride up to Vancouver mid-week to go to the US v Nigeria Women's World cup game held at BC Place. it was a short but super fun trip and we hope to take more train rides to Vancouver to enjoy that city.  The game itself was fun plus the US won! I really enjoyed watching the players warm-up and watching the bits and pieces you don't get to see when watching the game on TV. Even better was the very attentive and knowledgeable US favored crowd with lots of kids.

K had always wanted to run around Stanley Park. As our train home did not leave until 5:30 the following afternoon we had time for a 10 mile run fun plus breakfast. It was just a perfect morning all around. When are we going back?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

And summer is here...Tuesday Trail races

Photo from NW Trail Runs by Michael Lake
I did a few of these races last summer. They were great fun, a great way to get in an excellent and challenging mid-week pace work and featured a relaxed cheerful atmosphere with grilled hot dogs. Of course I planned on a doing a few more this summer. Evidently i had so much fun that they ended up putting a picture of me on their advertisement!
Hey, i know that runner!

Fortunately the races I'd planned to run are not real technical trails which is good because I've only just started back to testing out the foot and ankle with shorter trail runs. Three weeks post cortisone shot and my foot is feeling normal. It's a strange feeling and I don't trust it at all! I am still making sure to do the necessary physical therapy exercises/stretches plus I'm also making sure to keep my tight calves properly rolled out with the foam roller. I'm cautiously optimistic that everything is settling down and I can tell that i'm feeling more solid when running. Solid? That means that things (namely glute muscles) are working as they should so no undo stress is put where it cannot handle it.  
I think i was in better shape for last year's 12k at Ravenna Park. This year i was signed up for the 8k. I looked at what i'd done in the runs coming up to last year's race and I was pretty well rested with a shorter long run. Plus it was only in the low 60s on race afternoon. This year, I did a very hilly and hard 20 miler and it was going to be 80. Yeah, those legs weren't going to be fresh.  

So the main goals were to try and keep under last years overall pace for the 12k (9:15), keep the 4k laps even and run hard.  It worked out that K ended up coming to race as well. he'd been well aware of me gushing about how fun these races were last year.  We got there in time for him to register and do a mile warm up while i pointed out how the race markings on the course worked.  

It's a fast start and we were off and immediately I was feeling pretty good. I reeled in my pace and was happy to see a couple women i'd been chasing pull off after the first lap as they were only doing 1 loop. I did stop for a quick water stop but got a surprisignly sweet drink instead. I thought it was water. I continued on the second loop with one gal ahead to keep in my sights. 
Of course I had one of those stupid moments. The course is open to general users and a couple people who were out for their afternoon runs got onto the trail just ahead of me. I knew this yet I still ended up following them off course up a hill for just a bit. D'oh! Fortunately I realized this fairly quickly but it did cost me some time.  That gal was now a little farther away.  We turned to the section where there is a gradual downhill before the final last mile rolling uphills. I'd planned to run harder here and I was happy to be able to do that and stay strong on those uphills. I passed the gal! 
Overall pace? 9:13. Woohoo! And I did keep those laps even. K called it "hard" and enjoyed his hot dog and watermelon just as much as I did. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Runner Friends / Brooks Trailhead 15k

They are a funny bunch. You can go years without seeing them but when you do, it's like all years melt away as you chat and chat, hopefully while running. That's when you realize, hey, they are just friends!

A longtime online runner friend was in town. I'd been on a relay team with him many years ago. He's been in town before and done a trail race. Yet again, he was headed towards Seattle. Strangely enough, we were signed up for a race! Even though he hadn't been running much because of some knee pain, he signed up and we were off! Yep, that's a runner for you.

The Brooks Trailhead 15k is the latest iteration of this race.  It's been owned by a few different groups and keeps changing hands. I've never done it before but it's an well known course and fairly flat for around here. For someone visiting from out of town, it's a great tour of the city with great views. I really had no idea what to expect for this race. It's been a little rocky for training for the past few weeks because of illness and then downtime required post cortisone shot. The foot has been feeling great by the way.

I've never run a 15k so this was going to be an automatic PR. I'd had plans of doing this as a progression run where I'd start out easily and speed up through the race. However this course is not the best for that plan. We'd gotten some warnings about course congestion as in the first mile, we had to cross the Fremont Bridge on the sidewalk. It's a narrow walkway. The out and back portion then on the South Ship Canal Trail (miles 2-4.5) would also be on a fairly narrow trail.  I expected it to be pretty crowded. Then in the last few miles, the course goes onto some very short but steep ups and downs along East Lake. These mean little hills are my nemesis and I don't tend to run them hard very well.

We picked BG at his downtown hotel and were over to Gasworks Park with time to spare. Of course BG was quite impressed with the views of the park plus the pretty cool remnants of gas works as he is an engineer. we ran into other friends who were also doing the 10k and 15k and happily chatted. K and I went off to do a warm up mile and nearly missed the start of the race. It wasn't all that clear when the main 15k field were off.

It was a fast start. After seeing sub 7:30 on my watch at first, i slowed down managed a still pretty fast 8:33 first mile. Considering I wasn't excpecting much faster than 9 flat overall, I really felt I needed to slow way down. However, that was with some downhill and the crowded first mile. It wasn't crowded really at all and a lot of people were passing me but I figured I'd be passing them back if I sensibly kept the pace sane. I'd expected BG to be ahead of me but when i didn't see him at the turnaround, I yelled at him to catch up so we could run together. I kept the pace a very steady 8:40 and sure enough around mile 4, BG had caught up.

I'd not realized he'd been having some knee issues and hadn't run any longer distances. Still we were comfortably matched for pace. Working but still able to chat. And chat we did for the next 6 miles even up and down the hills. He probably kept me more evenly paced up and down those than I would've been by myself. The last mile, i was ready to be done and it was getting warmer. K and the other friends came in and we checked out post-race offerings.

BG had requested eating at the internationallly knowd Din Tai Fung which just opened up a second Puget Sound location in UVillage last year. It turns out that dumpings are a fantastic post race nosh! Delicious and I'd have that again at any time.

8:35 pace overall. I was going to be happy with anything under 9. I felt good. Foot didn't bother me. There were friends and dumplings AND I placed 3rd in my AG. What a fun morning! 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ogre Ready

It's two months away and as we'll be requesting team start times this week, Ragnar has been on my mind. And two more Ogre hats are ready to go to happy Ogres. 

Meanwhile I've had a cortisone shot in my heel for plantar fasciitis. I debated this. The foot has been feeling better but the course of ibuprofen recommended by teh podiatrist was telling. He 
recommended two weeks at a higher dosage and I made it 9 days only because i just hate taking it and not because it bothers me. But those 9 days, it was really, really nice not thinking about my foot much at all. It felt normal.  Two days after coming off the ibuprofen and i was right back to the normal annoyance especially at work. 

The hope is that this shot will be the last bit needed to bring the issue under control. I'll continue to do what has been working: daily massage of foot, foam rolling of my calves and the PT for getting that hip to function properly. it is a given that I will be wearing proper foot wear with my chosen OTC arch (with a podiatrist modification to make it a higher arch). I chose not to go any custom orthotic because all of them have a hard arch and often a too much pronation control.  

Of course the cortisone shot required some time off of running. Again. After at least a week of limited running because I was sick. This coupled with the slower than expected race last week means I a rethinking goals for ragnar and how to train for it. It's going to be a blast regardless of how fast or slow I am running though so that's just fine.

It's been a nice long holiday weekend with no running. that is always a bummer but it was great to get a lot of time in the garden and a lot of time knitting!

Arugula flower in the garden.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Balk, The Redemption & The Race

It's been quite a week.

The Balk. It's not often that I have a workout which I completely bail on in the middle of the run. That happened this tuesday. I was attempting speedwork at an aggressive pace. And? I did one repeat and made it through half of the next repeat and realized I was done. I jogged it in. I was still coughing a bit and just didn't feel ready for the workout mentally and physically.  I really do not get too bothered by this sort of thing. Move on and realize that another day brings another day.

The Redemption. The last run commute I did was way back earlier in the year when I realized that the foot would just not stand for any goals this spring. I had a short race scheduled for the weekend but still really wanted a long run in for the week. So I figured a nice course to run in and ended up with 14.4 miles. I was only 10 minutes late for work. A long run typically can take 2-3 hours and anything over 2.5 hours gets very hard to fit into a full work day. I was delighted to get this in.

The Race. Beat the Bridge! This 8k is always a fun race. I like the course and it has a nice energy as so many teams are involved for a great cause. The start is always a mess and this year was worse than usual. I really hope they can control the start better because even though I was towards the front, I passed so many people who were really should not have been at the front of the race. Dangerous! The race itself was tough. I had hoped to use this race to gauge where i am and the results were disappointing but not surprising. It's time to re-think pace goals and training plans. The good news is that the foot is definitely doing better and it was a fun time with friends!
Post-race: Beat the Bridge

Monday, May 11, 2015


I still have a bit of a cough and still all snotty but was ready to get in a long run. It got tough but I got it done. The temperatures warmed up and i figure that is great training for Ragnar. And? Even though it was a tough run and i was stiff and a bit sore the next day, I was able to get in a very short trail run. And I found a new set of stairs which i climbed at a pace faster than a walk but much slower than a run.  Ah, I am dreaming of continuing to develop fitness as I dream about Ragnar and beyond. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What are the odds?

It's not too often now that I DNS a race. But this illness hit at a time when I happened to be signed up for two races! I started to feel much better but knew I could not run a half marathon. The lungs would not allow that. So I planned to cheer for K who was also signed up for the half marathon and then meet him on course to run him in the last few miles. 

Well, the odds were pretty good that he'd get my crud and race day, he woke up not feeling great. So we both dropped down to the 8k distance at the Cinqo de Mayo Half and 8k in Snoqualmie. Quite a few other friends were running various distances and we'd heard good things about this race. We've done other events by this race director and they are really nice. We hope eventually that the race director will realize a portopotty or two at teh start besides just relying on the (admittedly nice) school restrooms would be a good thing! 

So 5 glorious miles later, we were both happy.  I ended up placing 3rd in my AG even at the nice easy pace which felt rather hard for being sick! It's a nice event and I hope to do it again when I am feeling at my best!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Best Laid Plans

I take training seriously. I like training for both the enjoyment of running events and for the mental and health benefits of staying active. I put in events for fun and for a good workout. Sometimes to get in that event (a 5k in this instance), i need to rearrange my schedule so i can still get in quality workouts.

That happened this week. I wanted to race a 5k. It would've been a good workout and given me a good indicator of where i am right now. I ran my long run mid-week in preparation for this.

And? Race morning, my temp was 101.7 degrees.  Sick! Yes, best laid plans. I stayed on the couch most of the day. Walking up the half flight of stairs from the basement was enough of a workout for me! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A New Trail!

Actually, the new Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail is much more than a new trail. It's a new connecting link that is a great new addition to the local trail scene. Right now, it's not that long at 6 miles but it's covering a section on the Eastside which will only see great growth and I believe there are plans for extending it.  What a great addition!  

As it's  a gravel trail, it's not my favorite and my feet were complaining about that gravel towards the end of my long run. I tend towards multiple hot spots now when running on gravel but I was still really happy to get out to explore on such a beautiful day. 

Depending on where you access the trail, you can expect a very steep hill to get to and from the trail. But then you are rewarded with a great view!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cherry Trees

Cherry Tree at Seward Park

Spring is here for sure. We've been getting quick blasting storms but then bright and sunny skies. 

I'm holding at 3 days of higher intensity running with solid cardio cross training and I'm enjoying it. With only 3 runs per week, I really look forward to those runs. biking usually on my roller trainer is the preferred cardio but I have also been rowing. 

The foot continues to do ok and I will take that. I ran 13 miles this morning and felt great. I will take it! 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A fun knit

This is a hat to wear when out running and I was inspired to knit it when I saw a friend of a friend wearing one when yes, you guessed it, out running. It is bright and cheerful and can be changed to accommodate any color scheme. Each stripe of color for the rainbow palette only takes a portion of each skein so multiple hats are encouraged. I’ve been thinking of fingerless gloves too.

The hat was cast on and knit to achieve the rolled brim in single strand of the worsted weight yarn. After 4 rounds to allow the rolled brim to develop, the yarn was doubled to give a thicker weave and denser fabric. Yarn was double-stranded for the rest of the hat.

Cast on 77. Join round and knit 4 rows in single strand. Join in second strand of same color and knit approximately 2” (7 rows of double stranded knitting for me). With next row, knit in new color (double-stranded). The following row, purl the entire row. Continue knitting 6 more rows (the band of color will be approximately 1”). Continue this pattern with the next 2 colors (4 rows of color total).
Start crown decreases after approximately 6” of length depending on head size. You may have already started the next color band before starting the decreases.
To decrease:
Row 1: Knit 9 sts, K2Tog (repeat to the end of round)
Row 2: Knit one row even

Repeat these two rows, decreasing by one before the K2Tog for each repeat. Knit 8 will be next, etc.
Continue until you have 6 stitches left. Break yarn and draw through remaining stitches. Weave in the many, many ends.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Plans

Life does go on. We'll be paying our respects to our friend this coming week. Meanwhile plans are in place for training (a post for later) and the garden.

Snap peas and sugar peas are ready to go and planted in between the spring showers we had this weekend.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


A friend passed away last week unexpectedly. We'd traveled together in 2012 to Scotland and last year to Ireland. This seemed fitting as he was buried today. RIP PSW. To those grand memories we made. You will be missed.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The sun is torturing me.

Oh sure, the weather is beautiful. And i'm not running. Boo! And the garden is about a month ahead of schedule so I have to be out there weeding and thinking I'm late to be planting some veggies. It is still early march though so we can still have frost so don't get too crazy out in the garden. It's still too cold for me and my easily frozen toes to be out on the bike for longer than about 40 minutes. 

This works though as I ride inside on my trainer for 1 hour, 90 minutes and then do the last 30 or so outside in the sun. Lovely. But no, it's not running. 

A good physical therapy appointment this week. That cranky heel? Well I can understand why it is cranky as it is having to do the work of the entire hip/glute. Silly butt. It stopped working. Again. Why yes, I had noticed that i was weaker and unsteady on that side which I attributed to the broken knee cap from last january. I'd done what I could to build strength on that side and had held on through marathon training and even the marathon.
I'm taking another week off of running to restart that hip. Fortunately there was lots of good distractions. I've been catching up on my foreign films (reading subtitles is the perfect focus for staying on teh trainer) and taking my mom out for a birthday cruise. yes, the perfect weather made the day!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Taking a chance

I was taking a chance starting marathon training with my foot rather iffy. However it did seem to be doing fine with better attention to proper footwear massage, icing and keeping the calf looser. Slower easy runs (even long runs) were fine but adding any faster running I figured would be challenging. And last week, it said enough.

I bailed on the plan long run during the marathon paced section of running. I could feel the foot getting sorer and sorer. Done. And then went to work and hobbled about the rest of the day. Fortunately ibuprofen did the trick and helped quite a bit. The next day it was fine to wander all about downtown.

Fortunately I did have a really nice distraction last weekend in the form of a long time friend staying with us and visiting Seattle. Here she is with my mom before we went out to breakfast. What a wonderful visit and the weather cooperated by staying strangely warm and even sunny. 

The good? I hadn't actually signed up for any spring events so none of that annoying DNS (did not start).  I've been maintaining biking ever since i finished that marathon last November so it's not a big deal to be hopping onto the bike. I took one week off of running and tried a 3 mile run. The heel felt fine during the run but was really bugging me at work. So another week and I'm recommitting to cross training. Today while K was off running 12 instead of being consumed by jealousy (only a little bit), i rowed for 30 minutes and cleared out one area of our extra room so I can leave the roller trainer in place and set up a better area to have my laptop to watch movies. the main goal now is to heal up this heel!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Run Commute perk!

And quickly, mid-week runs reach longer distances.

To run 11 miles at a proper easy pace takes time. I've often been able to break up these mid-week runs to doubles when I run in the morning and the evening. This time I'd rather not subject the foot to a double.

So? I've run commuted home many times before but I really prefer running in the morning. It took some planning to bring all my work clothing and food to work the day before. And I planned the route out and was able to join a friend for a few miles in the middle.

This was really nice. I feel like it's cheating at bit as most of the route is downhill except for the last couple miles downtown which heads gradually uphill. And I did have to start dodging pedestrians as is typical in a busy pedestrian area. It was still great to get the miles in and be done for the day. 

I did plan my route to end right where I could get a big plate of huevos rancheros. YUM!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar taping.
Ah two words dreaded by the runner or anyone else who's had a bout with this difficult to live with and difficult to heal issue.

In my case, it was a relief to hear these words however. Why? it meant I didn't have anything else going on! woohoo!

I've been having ongoing ankle tendonitis and heel pain. I'd been doing some of the usual things that have worked for me when i've had a bout of PF/tendonitis in the past (on the other foot!) but this was still lingering. And I didn't quite have the same symptoms as last time. No, my foot/heel was not really sore when i first got out of bed. Running, in general, didn't particularly bother me as long as I wasn't running trails where the constant turns stressed the ankle.  I knew something was up though as suddenly my usual running shoe just did not feel right. My foot would get sore at work towards the end of the day and I have been getting some swelling along the ankle tendontiis.

Off to the podiatrist to figure out what is going on.  I know my calves are tight and I'd switched out an orthotic insert from my day to day shoes. After adding that back in, my foot did feel better but what about that swelling?

At least, the assistant was quick to remark as she was taking my history, that everything seems to have been going well. i'd last been to the podiatrist's office in 2009!

The doc (a runner himself) was quick to run me through some checks and quickly confirmed plantar fasciits (even without the typical symptoms) and nothing more than tendontis both caused by tight calves.  Of course I have tight calves because the way my foot/ankle joint is built inherently limits the ability to stretch. I've used a foam roller and a stick for years because of this. Time to up the game and massage the tight calves plus add in daily eccentric calf excercies. He showed me a way to tape my arch and basically laughed at me and my super high arches. Yeah, I know. I need something in my shoes to support my arches which will take the pressure off and let things settle down.

26th Ave E Stairs
Ah, such relief though. I know what I'm dealing with and as a runner he was in no way advocating stopping running which I'd been worried about. So cautious marathon training resumes. I'll switch some easy short run days to cycling and be agressive about countermeasures.

Such relief! Meanwhile it's been great to run knowing that the issue is just plantar fascitis. Since I still need to limit trails (boo!), the occasional stair is a great way to add in some strength.We ran on a usual run course and I was really surprised to see these stairs. I've never noticed them before and this is along one of my popular biking routes too. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Seal Beach
The other purpose to returning to Disneyland and Orange County was visiting where I grew up. Our condo was on the edge of Cypress and just over 5 miles from Disneyland and I went quite often to the park. I've not been back to the area since we left Pasadena to move to Seattle in 1997.
Oil Pump in a parking lot in Long Beach/Signal Hill

My mom was traveling with us and she had not been in the area since even before we left. She's almost 82 and needs some help getting around so it worked out. We were done with our races early and then still had time to go do other stuff.

Mmm.. pasty kitchen!
The weather, of course, was perfect. We went to Seal Beach which was our preferred beach amongst all my teenage friends, drove by my old house, my old high school and even ventured into Long Beach to drive by my gramma's (My mom's mom) old house. It was odd being back for sure but it seemed just the same and completely familiar.