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!