Friday, November 30, 2007

Falling Behind in Blogland

It's been a really busy week, with dinners and events every night. Still, we did manage to get our exercise in!

On Tuesday I couldn't remember what we were supposed to run. I guessed an 8:2 x 3, which seemed too short, so decided we should run 9:1 x 3. But once we were at the noisy gym, separated by a woman watching Oprah, I couldn't hear the bell on my watch or really see Wil without staring at the woman... so I just ran.

Once I hit 15 minutes, I decided to run till the 19 minute mark. But then I again didn't hear my watch, and I felt fine anyway... so I ran the full 30. Whee!

It just confirms that treadmills are exponentially easier than running in the real world... I don't think I could run at 9-minute mile pace for 30 minutes anywhere but on a treadmill. Still, it's good cardio, which is where I think I need the most work.

Then last night we should have run 12:2 x 3... but it was the T-Mobile marketing party, so we went there and shook our groove things for a couple of hours instead.

Tomorrow we start running for distance rather than for time... we're meant to run 2-3 miles, which is what we're currently running, but to think of it in terms of the distance run. So I'm looking forward to that mental shift.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Seattle Marathon 2007

So today was the Seattle Marathon... given the vagaries of Thanksgiving, next year the event will be on November 30. We've got just over a year to prepare. Congratulations to all the participants in this year's event -- we'll see you next year.

15:1 x 2

Thinking back to the beginning of our training, and how tough it was to run for a minute, ten times, I should be feeling chuffed that we are now running 15 minutes straight.

But boy was that awful.

We went to Green Lake, walked briskly for 5 minutes, and then set off. I felt as if I was running super slowly, but my pace says differently. Still, it was hard going. I refused to look as my watch as time passed, thinking instead about songs and what would come next on the playlist, and how long it was. I barely made it through the first 15. Then during the minute walk, we stopped to try and use a drinking fountain while I discovered that I'd set my timer wrong. So that was a distraction. And suddenly it was time to run again.

The second fifteen... ick. I was aware that my timer would stop a minute before I was supposed to, which was unpleasantly distracting. I also started the 15 with a stitch in my side. But on I plodded. Wil was smooth and fast, and had to keep slowing down so he didn't lose me. At one point a woman passed me and came up behind Wil. He turned, expecting to see me, but was a little surprised when I had shrunk a foot and become a teenager.

Passed the swimming pool with 7 1/2 minutes to go... torture... and it was getting increasingly crowded at the lake, given the glorious sunshine. Wil says he almost stopped at one point. But we didn't. We made it!

So in the end, I think we're doing well. I'd like to get smoother, get a little faster, and feel better at the end of a run. But that will come, with time. Two weeks to the Jingle Bell Run!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tofurky Trot

We decided to take the holiday off... all the better to stuff more veggie food down our gullets... oh, and to give thanks... It's Wil's first proper Thanksgiving, and we're both feeling extra thankful this year. Thankful that we're together, thankful that we have a beautiful house, thankful that we have two adorable cats, and thankful that we have been running. (Really!)

But today was a day to catch up on our run. It was another 8:2 x 3 day, which is a nice fallback run. The weather was glorious, crisp and cold but sunny and clear. So we suited up and headed out.

Wil wanted to run the first 8 around the school track; so we did. Unfortunately, we were running a little too soon after eating, so Wil felt sick. But he's a brave boy, and he kept with it. Members of the Ballard High wrestling team appeared and started to run around the track, so we headed back out to the streets. I felt pretty good, but Wil felt terrible. Still, we kept running, and arranged to meet at the pet store if we got separated.

During my third run I decided to do a little "hill work"... oof. I thought I was going to have to stop at the top and catch my breath. But I just slowed way down and got through it. And then I did another one. Same result.

Didn't plan my route well with my time, so I had to walk quite a ways at the end to get to Bark. Still, a good run, even if I didn't go very fast. Nike+ says 2.75 miles today, with a decent pace.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Eastside Brick

Tried the new gym in Bellevue today -- it's small but has schmancy locker rooms, nice big fluffy towels, a working sauna, and a pool. OooooOOOOOoooo. We ran 14:2 x 2, which I found tiring... or maybe boring. I think treadmills are weird for me, because I can too easily change the length of my stride and keep the same pace... but change the "beat". Then we stretched a bit; which we hadn't done on Saturday, which is probably why we both felt a bit gimpy the last couple of days.

Then over to the pool, which was empty when I got in, and then had a total of 5 people while we were there. Bliss. Swam two sets of 10 lengths each, and felt pretty good. Swimming does seem to make my back hurt, however... we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


November 15 was our 2nd anniversary, so we skipped our run that day... and in the interim we joined a gym. So today we went to the gym for the first time and ran our 9:1 x 3 on the treadmills. Wil was still feeling under the weather this morning but we both got through it just fine. It's amazing how much nicer it is to run in a warm room on a treadmill. I know it's not as good as running in the real world... but it's much easier on my knees. I think I set the pace too slowly on the treadmill -- next time I'll ramp it up a bit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

12:2 x 2

Well, that was certainly my longest run in months... I loaded up my Nano with some of my favorite tunes and we drove over to Green Lake for our 12-minute runs. I started off extra slowly, speeding up a little as we got warmer. I liked having music playing -- I could think about the songs, sing along in my head, and think "Well, only one more song...."

Had a sharp stitch in my side during the 2-minute walk break, so I think I was even slower to begin the second set. And I was REALLY TIRED by the 9th minute. I know this because I made the mistake of looking at my watch. Boo me.

But finally it was done. Still working out the kinks of this Nike+ thing. Just "stopping" my workout using the center button doesn't really stop it; it seems to just pause it until I use the menu to actually stop it. Oh well. It's only my second time.

Nike+ is very compelling. Today, including the 5-minute warm-up walk, we ran 2.93 miles. We averaged 10.55/mile pace... slow, until you factor in the 7 minutes of walking during the workout. So I'm pretty pleased.

After the run, the swim. Too crowded for my taste, and swim noodle was in our easy lane. So I'm not sure I ever swam more than one length at a time. Oh well. What I really wanted was the sauna, so that was still nice.

My right hamstring was feeling twingey after the run; I tried to be extra careful and attentive of it while stretching, but I still expect to be a bit gimpy tomorrow.

Feeling proud of our little 12-minute stretches. Silly, but proud. We're scheduled to run on Thursday, but it's our anniversary so we might give ourselves the night off...

Sunday, November 11, 2007


So we should have run an 8:2 x 3 today... but instead we had an adventure with a dead battery and AAA, and then had to drive the car for 45 minutes to get fully charged again. So by the time we were ready to run, it was midday and cold and we weren't dressed for the weather. Still, we drove to Ingraham and used their "certified" track to calibrate our Nike+ sensors. I still have a lot to learn about how to use the thing, but...

Consider us calibrated.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jingle ready

We were taking today off (having run yesterday) but the glorious weather lured us out of doors for a walk to Green Lake. It's surprising how close the lake is. I feel a bit silly driving there... but in this weather, I'd feel even more silly walking home with wet hair.

We went to Road Runner Sports and had a look around; Wil almost bought a pair of "almost new" Saucony Hurricanes, but they were too small. We then headed over to Super Jock n Jill, where Wil bought some running pants AND my Nike+ receiver. Hooray! Tomorrow we're going to Ingraham so that we can calibrate them.

We also got ourselves and Suz signed up for the Jingle Bell Run. The bright green shirts probably won't become a staple in our wardrobe, but... Now we're set for our first run of the training campaign. I hope it will keep us motivated!

Friday, November 9, 2007


We got invited to see Billy Joel last night -- we'll go almost anywhere we're invited, especially in a nice luxury box. As a result, we postponed yesterday's scheduled run until today. And let me say that Billy looks OLD, but sounds fantastic. I was really impressed by his voice, his musicality, and even his wry humor. I can't imagine going to see him again, but we were pleasantly surprised.

So today we had to make up for it. When Wil and I got home, we changed into running gear and drove over to Green Lake. We ran the first 8, with me huffing and puffing. The second 8 was even harder, and I got a nasty stitch in my side. The last 8 was very very slow -- or at least first 7 minutes were. I looked at my watch, saw that we had just 56 seconds to go, so I decided to pick up my pace. "Don't leave anything in the tank." Wil, who still seemed fresh and strong, easily matched it. At the end we were sprinting. I love the way my body feels when I run rather than just go my usual plodding jogging pace. My gait seems smoother and I feel like I'm really flowing. But my lungs just can't keep up. Still, it's very early days.

After our run we headed off to the pool. I swam for 15 minutes without stopping, and then did a couple of lengths with just a kickboard. I felt smooth and not too tired -- much better than the last swim. I swam two "fast" lengths to finish up. Then 10 or so minutes in the sauna, where my chest felt good, as did my hands.

We will probably delay tomorrow's run until Sunday to have a bit more rest. Of course, if the weather somehow brightens, we'll be out in it again.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

+ + +

Yesterday at the running store we saw little pouches designed to attach a Nike+ sensor to your shoelaces. It had never occurred to me that such things existed, or that they would work. The only thing standing between me and the Nike+ system had always been that I prefer a different shoe for my wide feet. Suddenly, it seemed possible.

Wil and I had talked about getting a GPS tracker that worked with a watch to keep track of our distances. But since the sensor and dongle are a mere $30, we thought we'd give it a try. Wil went out on his lunch hour and bought one, along with a pouch for the sensor. When he got home, he attached the pouch to his laces and set out to calibrate the thing. We don't know how long the track over at the high school is -- it's a little misshapen and not listed as a certified track -- but we're guessing it's approximately 400m. Tomorrow we'll go out to one of the certified tracks to recalibrate it.

The one drawback is that there doesn't seem to be a way to set it up for an interval workout. Pity. Given that you can do that with a pretty simple watch, it's odd that this won't do it. Still, I'm jealous and looking forward to getting a set of my own.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

2 out of 3 ain't bad...

Worked from home today. Wil sent a text in the early afternoon asking if I wanted to run around Green Lake and then have a swim and a sauna at the pool. Perfect!

Once Wil got home we dug out the swim caps and goggles and then headed off to Green Lake. The sun had already gone down when we started our first 8-minute run, but we could still see. We're going to have to find our lights -- it's just too dark now. The first 8 minutes went okay, though it seemed to go on forever. Moreover, the 2-minute walk break seemed so short! During the second 8 I got a painful stitch in my side, but managed to finish it. We resolved to go much slower for the third 8, which went okay. The good news is that we're run/walking nearly 3 miles.

After our run, we headed back to the car and got our swimming stuff. At Wil's suggestion, we went ahead and bought the unlimited pass for November. The nice lady at the counter was having trouble with the new system, so told us to go ahead and swim -- she'd catch us on the way out.

I had a very slow, awkward swim. My right shoulder started bothering me almost immediately, and I found myself trapped between several people who were going VERY "easy". Wil moved up to the medium lane and after a few stops, mid lap, I moved over as well. That said, I was pretty tired and only got in about 10 laps. Then I was ready for the sauna.

The sauna was very crowded -- lots of overly chatty men. Both Wil and I got trapped on the upper bench with someone sitting right in front of us. What's worse, I couldn't see Wil's face so I couldn't tell if he wanted to leave. A few hand signals and we were out of there after 15 minutes.

After we dried off, we headed over the Super Jock and Jill to pick up some elastic laces for the new shoes. I ended up with pink ones, because they only had 1 pair of black. Oh well. I also picked up the Jingle Bell Run entry forms, so I can fill those out and turn them in later in the week. Yay!

Feeling a little sore in my back, and worried that I didn't stretch enough after the run. We'll see tomorrow.

Monday, November 5, 2007

calendar girl

Spent over an hour plotting out all of our workouts for the next 6 months. Phew! Of course, plotting them out is much easier than actually DOING all of them... Still, it's nice to see the structure of the next 6 months. For cross training, I'd like to start swimming again. Not sure when I'll be ready to ride my bike again... though I should start tooling around at some point in the not too distant future. (Or at least just sitting in the bike trainer for a short while most nights.)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

7:2 x 3

Just back from our 7-minute run. We should have run yesterday, but were waiting for delivery of our furniture. (It's lovely, thanks for asking...)

On Friday night we were out running errands and ended up buying new shoes - Saucony Grid Excursions. I don't think they'll be as good as our current Saucony Grids.... but I wanted to break in a new pair of shoes -- or at least to try running on fresh shoes.

So this morning Wil got us up and moving and out of the house reasonably early. (The time change certainly helped.) Over to the track, on a misty cool morning. I felt really sluggish at first -- my feet felt "heavy", for some reason. But a few minutes in to the first 7 I felt okay, and actually felt good at the end. The second 7 was good, though I felt as if I was running out of steam at the end. The final 7 was really hard for me -- I was tired and out of breath. But I just kept plodding until the end.

Now feeling an ache in my right knee and a tender spot on my achilles where I cut myself last week.

We didn't eat or drink anything before our run, which is probably why it was so hard. We're going to have to balance our morning run needs with morning food. We're also at the point where we need to have water with us.

Even though today's run was tough, I still think we're getting better. My legs feel stronger, and I feel like I can breathe more efficiently. Tuesday is our next run: 8:2 x 3.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

5:3 x 3

Ran today over at the high school track. Running on the softer, flat surface almost feels like cheating. We ran 5 minutes, then walked 3 minutes, three times over -- the same pattern we ran two days ago. The difference being that it was almost easy this time out. We ran faster and I managed to keep talking most of the time. I felt good -- even in the first set -- and still felt strong in the third set. Weather was perfect -- crisp but bright (at least until the sun started going down...)

These short days and early nights are going to make running challenging this winter.

Last night we watched an episode of Nova on PBS that was about marathoning. Being a complete sap, it easily had me in tears. Betsey was particularly inspiring -- going from having to stop her VO2 test because of an irregular heart beat to having a "superior" rating on a VO2 test in nine weeks is amazing to me. And, yes, Wil was right -- I am wondering where we can go to get VO2 tests...

I was just so impressed by watching these diverse, disparate individuals all come together and all finish the Boston Marathon after only 9 months of training. Completely inspiring. It just made me feel more committed.

Rest day tomorrow, then we go up to a 7-minute run and 2-minute walk on Saturday.