Monday, December 31, 2007


Today we swam at the pool in Bellevue -- we timed it perfectly, arriving just as the hydrofit class was ending, and hitting the pool as the two other lap swimmers also started. We had our new SportCount timers on, which made us feel a little geeky. That said, I liked knowing exactly which lap I was on, what my lap average was, etc. We swam for 25 minutes without stopping. Not really a lengthy swim, but a good little XT workout.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

4.5 miles

Just back from our 4.5 mile run... legs feel leaden. Wil's in the shower, so I'm sitting here in my sweaty clothes. Ew.

Wil didn't want to drive to Fred Meyer to start the run (admittedly, not the most eco-friendly way to do it), so we just started off walking. I fumbled with my iPod (must learn to set everything up before I put on my run gloves...) and didn't feel I had walked very briskly. But it was cold and Wil needed to get moving, so we did.

It was pretty satisfying to get to where we started the run last week and already have a mile under our shoes. We jogged through Fremont on the BGT, hitting the halfway point just before we got to the bridge. We did a loop around the Adobe campus, and then headed back, taking a minute walk break.

I felt as if we'd been running into a headwind most of the way out. Not sure if that's true, but I didn't notice any wind on the way back so it was probably behind us. Very happy to hear the half-mile mark, and of course ecstatic at 400 meters. Even the long, slow, gentle uphill at the end wasn't too bad, though I had been dreading it. I had to stop with about 50 meters to go while I waited to cross a street. Boo. But then we were happy and done.

Walked the rest of the way home, had a stretch, and am now off to the showers. Next week: 5 miles!

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Case of the Disappearing iPod

About 22 minutes in to our 35-minute run... I'm feeling okay, running at a 1.0 incline and a slow but steady 5.5 mph. I hear a funny noise next to me, and see Wil looking down at his feet, trying to stop his treadmill. He's dropped his iPod. I laugh and keep going, until I realize that his little Nano is nowhere to be seen. So I stop my machine, too.

We spend 15 minutes crawling around, trying to figure out where it's gone. There are people on nearby machines, looking at us as if we're crazy as we lie down next to them and look under their bike, treadmill, elliptical trainer. Since the thing is matte black, it's nearly impossible to see. And it simply isn't anywhere.

A woman finishes her bike ride and helps us look. By this point, I've expanded the search radius to 20 feet. I even run tests on the treadmill -- what happens to my iPod if I drop it when it's going 6.0 mph? Sadly, it just scoots off the end, landing a couple of feet behind the belt.

Where can it be? Wil says he thinks maybe it's in the machine itself. I can't imagine it. Either it would have had to cling to the belt and ride around under the machine, or he had to kick it into the tiny space between belt and frame.

Wil goes downstairs to get help. A man comes up with a flashlight, helping us look, telling us that the man who could actually take the machine apart isn't there today, but he can put an "out of order" sign on it. We're almost on the verge of saying to just forget it, but then the guy goes to get a screwdriver.

He works on taking the housing off... 6 or 8 screws, and we can open it up... and there, sitting near the motor, is the Nano.


It took 4 people, 25 minutes, and a philips-head screwdriver to recover the little guy... we profusely thanked the guy from the club, and, feeling foolish (and stiff and cold), we went downstairs, showered and left.

So not quite the 35-minute run we should have had (to make up for taking yesterday off...), but we did get at least a 20-minute run in. We didn't stretch though, and my shoulders feel stiff, so hopefully we'll still be up for our long run tomorrow or Sunday.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Xmas Eve XT

Did 27 minutes of sweaty riding in the basement after our walk to the zoo. Back feeling sore, as is my bottom... Taking tomorrow off for xmas... not sure when we could get a run in... too much tofurky to fix. :)

4 Miler!

Delayed our long run until Sunday... we're finding that, unless we just get right up and head out for our run, we don't do it. So Sunday morning, 8:15, we got up, got dressed, and drove to the Burke-Gilman trail. Given that the run was set as a 4-mile jaunt, I thought Green Lake would be a little depressing. ("Woo! We're around! Oh, we have to keep going?")

The BGT would give us a little change of pace, while still keeping us off the roads. We parked near the Fred Meyer, bundled up in our rain gear, and started our brisk walk. Wil had his new "hatphones" on, while I was still struggling with my headphones.

Five minutes of walking done, we started our run. Especially on cold mornings I always feel really sluggish at the start. But a few minutes in, I felt better. We ran a pretty steady pace, with a brief walk at the 2-mile turnaround so Wil could take off his gore-tex and tie it around his waist. 

I love the countdown at the end... it's so satisfying to be told "400 meters... 300 meters... 200 meters... 100 meters... workout complete." Wil had Lance Armstrong congratulating him for his longest run so far. Paula never seems to talk to me anymore. What have I done to annoy her? I mean, sure, she's busy with the new baby and all that, but still...

At the end of the run, I felt damp, tired, a bit footsore... but really pleased with myself. We averaged 9:58 per mile, ran 4 miles, and... and this is key... we were at Fred Meyer and finished our Christmas dinner shopping by 10:15. 

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sweaty Betty

Today we ran 35 minutes on the treadmills at the gym in Seattle. I am still ambivalent about treadmills. They simply must be easier than running in the real world.

We also keep trying different machines, which I think means we're going different speeds even though I try to keep a certain pace.

For example, today I started my run at 6.0 mph. After 15 minutes, however, I had to slow down -- even though I know I've run at 6.2 up to 6.5 for 35 minutes on other machines. So I slowed down to 4.5 for a minute, and then sped it back up to 5.0 for a while. Then up to 5.5. And then, for the last 5 minutes, sped up by .1 every minute to finish at 6.0.

I also started running with a heavy, long sleeved cotton top on over my workout shirt. When I slowed down after 15 minutes, I had to take the top off because I was getting so overheated. While it certainly helped cool me down, I was covered with sweat when I finished. Beads of sweat on my arms. Completely wet clothes. That gym is really warm inside, and doesn't have much in the way of air con. I'm sure people prefer the heat -- it's nice when you're lifting, and when you're stretching. But it's tiring when you're running.

Didn't feel particularly fit or speedy today, but I felt as if I finished strong. Tomorrow is a light day -- hooray!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Used my new armband to hold my Nano and Nike+ sensor while running on the treadmill at the DT gym. I set it up for a timed workout: 30 minutes. Being a bit uncoordinated, I wasn't really able to look at it while I was running. It kept telling me "Activity stopped.... please press the center button to continue your workout." So I'd press it, and it would restart. It was clearly keeping the normal time (or at least close to the time on the treadmill), and telling me when I was halfway done, when I had 10 minutes left, etc. But I had to keep pressing the center button.

At first I thought that maybe having the armband on my right arm and the sensor on my left foot was a problem. (Though I know that's meant to be the preferred set-up.) Then I moved the sensor to the tray on the treadmill. Nope, still stopped. Then I moved it to my left arm. Again, it stopped. 

Today I decided to do an interval workout -- which took a while for me to set up, because I kept putting in the paces incorrectly. Luckily, it was designed so that you could adjust the speed and elevation for both the fast and the slow sections, and it would remember the setting for the next interval. I didn't go particularly fast -- 4.5 mph "rests" and a 1.5% elevation and 6.5 mph "fasts" at a 1.0% elevation... raising my speed by .1 mph on each fast interval. Each interval was 2 minutes long, giving me a 30-minute workout + a 3-minute cooldown.

How fast was my average? How far does Nike+ think I've gone? Don't know. Clearly the sensor wasn't registering at all during my run. Boo. Must sort that out soon.

I don't feel tired; I have run a straight 30 minutes at a 6.5 mph pace before. So I think in the future I need to run faster "rests" and faster "fasts". 

Tomorrow is a rest day...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Milky Joe

Not much to say -- did 30 minutes of fast cycling in the trainer today. Feeling tired and stressed by work, the holidays, everything. Would really like to have a quiet day off to get some stuff done. I guess that's what xmas eve is for. Tomorrow we run and potentially go for a swim. Right shin is still sore, and my bum hurts from the saddle. Come springtime, however, I'll be laughing!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


This weekend's long run was set as a 3.5 - 4.0 miler... it was a very cold morning, that seemed to get colder rather than warmer. I had a sore shin from a long walk in inappropriate footwear. But we got ourselves up and dressed and over the Green Lake.

We did a brisk 5-minute walk, and then started our "workouts" on our iPods, setting the sensors for 3.5 miles. I felt very cold and brittle, like I wouldn't be able to run very far. I was slow, and kept trailing behind Wil. But on we plodded, taking three very short breaks as we felt we needed them.

I found myself waiting for a distance update from the sensor -- it told us when we had done a mile, when we had done a mile and three quarters, and when we had a mile and a half to go. Then nothing. I was sure it would tell us when we were a mile off, but it didn't. And that made me feel worried, like I'd never make it. I just kept thinking that this half mile was the longest half mile in the world. I even asked Wil to look at his iPod -- had we gone a half mile? Were we really in the last mile? Or not yet?

But we were in the last mile. In fact, we were almost in the last half mile, which the sensor soon announced. I love the glorious countdown -- 400 meters... 300 meters... 200 meters... 100 meters... workout complete.

We also discovered that while our iPods are similarly calibrated when we run, they aren't synched when we walk. So Wil was told he had a little bit farther to go than I did. But soon we had both reached 3.5 miles, and I for one was thrilled to stop. My shin was screaming, my hands were freezing, and I was tired.

With our warmup and the 3.5 miles we had gone nearly 1.5 times around the lake, but we doubled back on ourselves for the cooldown and stretch.

This week we have a lot of training, including a 4-mile run at the weekend. I hope I can last that long!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Okay, so I didn't get in my 25-minute walk/run today. But here's something I can barely believe, something I haven't been able to bring myself to tell many people.

We've registered for the Over the Dam Run half marathon in May. We booked a room near the dam. And both of us suddenly feel like we'll be fine. Sure, we've got a LOT of work to do before we can run that far. But if the run was tomorrow, we'd be able to run a few miles, walk a few miles, and run a few miles. And finish. So that makes me happy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

tech support, paneer, bruised Apple, xt...

Went over to Mom's after work to clean up her old PC and play with her pretty MacBook. That sort of tech support comes pretty expensively, so Mom paid us off with Indian food from Pabla. (Yay for Pabla!) Then Wil finally wore me down and convinced me that, yes, an iMac would be a good addition to the living room, so we went off to the Apple store in University Village.

A strange hour later, three "experts" and one "genius" couldn't answer our question about networking and viewing photos from the other machines (using FrontRow), we decided to buy one anyway... only to be sold the wrong version. My spidey sense was tingling, so we went back into the store to ask. Additional hilarity ensued, with questions about "When did you buy it?" ("Two minutes ago.") "Did you change your mind?" ("No... .we asked for the wireless version and were given a wired version.") "Is it open? There's a restocking fee." ("No, you fool, we JUST BOUGHT IT."). And then they brought out ANOTHER wrong version. Finally, they found what we wanted in the back room, we paid the difference ($50), and we left.

At the "unboxing", we had our "Ooooh!" moment dampened a little when we realized that the machine was actually loaded with Tiger. I suppose the statement "Now shipping with Leopard!" is still true, as there was a Leopard install disc in the box... but it's not exactly "It just works", now, is it Steve?

Anyway, the lengthy install of Leopard gave me time to nip downstairs and get in 20 minutes of hard riding on the bike trainer, plus time to stretch and shower. Now I'm just hoping I can soothe this stomach ache (curry + riding = sad belly), shower, relax, and get to sleep in under an hour. Meanwhile, Wil is still waiting for Leopard. Bad kitty.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Jingle Bell Run

Took most of the week off of training -- Wednesday was our rest day, and then on Thursday I decided to do a 25-minute XT on the bike downstairs. We had early dinner plans on Friday, so gave ourselves another excuse, and then decided we should rest yesterday. So we haven't been particularly dedicated.

However, today was the Jingle Bell Run. Another chaotic mass run, full of people who have no business 'dashing' (sir, it's clear to me that you don't run an 8:00 - 9:40 mile...), confusion at the start, and a real bottleneck at the finish where we had to walk the last 100 feet or so.

But still -- we took the bus down, as did a lot of people, which is always humorous for other riders. Wil and I both wore red and white stripey tights, black shorts, black tops, black jackets, and furry Santa hats. LOTS of people in Santa hats. Lots of bright green race shirts. And lots of antler headbands. (None as majestic as mine from a few years ago...)

A little confusion at the start -- we couldn't get over to the road when the green wave started, but just got swept along towards the back of it. As usual, lots of white wave and a few red wave stragglers all around. We headed "up" 5th, which Suz felt was "down" because it's headed south. Still, it was a slow, steady uphill. We were so crowded, however, that we really could only walk. Fine by me -- it was our "brisk warm up". Then things loosened up a little, and we lost Suz and her cousin Steph. We were also finally able to "run".

Fifth Ave peaks around Marion, and then it was a downhill to Cherry, where we got on the I-5 express lanes. Lots of whooping at the tunnel entrance. We were running steadily if still pretty slowly, given the crowds. Someone started singing Jingle Bells, which was nice, but we were moving faster than that group so we lost them after two choruses.

We ran along the express lanes for quite a ways, passing the 2-mile marker before the turnaround. I heard a woman say "It's all downhill from here!" -- which was funny because we were actually going uphill. A short while after we'd made the turn, we saw S & S and we cheered each other on. Then there was an offramp with a hill, then a dip, and then another hill, all of which we ran.

Then around the corner, and then one last left turn and we could see the finish. I said to Wil "Shall we do our sprint to the finish -- you know, leave nothing in the tank." He laughed, mock protested, and then we took off. Whee! We were fast! We were gazelles! We were... stopped in the finish line bottleneck.

But we were done. I stopped my watch and then the iPod -- 35:26. For all of the forced walking, we were still 7 minutes faster than our St. Paddy's Day Dash time. Also, we felt really tired after St. Paddy's Day... and today we both feel really good.

We got water and bagels and then headed back up the street so we could cheer S & S -- running in to the delicious and delightful Lori Vos and her husband, funny that -- and then got to whoop and holler for them.

All in all a good run. Lori told us that the third place runner came in at 16 minutes. Sheesh. I'm still pleased with our effort, and super proud of Suz for running today. Also looking forward to our next events -- the "resolution run" 5K on January 1.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Today we slowed things down a little -- we were scheduled for 20-25 minutes of walk/run. Rather than bother with having Wil come across the bridge to Bellevue, I picked him up downtown and we went to the gym there. (And, yes, the validation at the parking garage actually works...)

It was really hot in the gym, and we were somehow out of the path of any fans, so we were both drenched in sweat at the end of our runs. I ran at a gradually increasing pace for 25 minutes (6.o, then 6.2, then 6.4, and finally 6.5 mph) but, of course, my Nike+ sensor shows a widely varied pace. I suspect that the "slower" times would actually be faster in the real world because I've lengthened my stride. Or maybe I'm just imagining that.

Anyway, tomorrow is a day of rest before another walk/run session on Thursday. Then an "easy" walk run on Friday, and then rest on Saturday before the Jingle Bell Run on Sunday. Though I am dreading the crowds, I'm looking forward to the run itself. What a change that is!

PS: My bum is sore from the bike. That's funny.

Monday, December 3, 2007

XT, day one

Just finished my 18-minute cross-training bike ride. 18 minutes seems like a weird time, but that's what was assigned, so that's what I did. Wil and I set up the bike trainer in the basement and (after a little head scratching, as it's been a while), we got my bike secured and off I went.

I have not so much as sat on my bike since the triathlon. How scary is that? My helmet still has the number on it, as does my bike. But I felt good on the bike -- and glad I wasn't out in the weather. I'd like to do some more riding -- indoors -- over the winter to keep those muscles going.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


It snowed on Saturday -- big fluffy flakes that fell for a couple of hours. We were preparing for Sunday's party and going over to Kory's for dinner, so we decided to postpone our run until today... and that neither rain nor sleet nor snow would keep us from completing our distance goal: 2-3 miles.

This morning's weather was pretty nasty -- rain, sleet, and snow. But we'd made a promise to ourselves, so we set off at 8:30 this morning. The good thing about the bad weather was that Green Lake was pretty quiet -- we even got to park in the lot by the pool.

It was so wet that we couldn't see very well, and so cold that our fingers were numb when we set out. We ran pretty slowly, but steadily. I set the Nike+ for 3 miles, and off we went. The first mile went well, and we were running at a reasonable pace. Then the second mile was slower. And then the third mile was torture. For me, anyway. Wil was doing fine. Poor thing, he always has to slow down for me.

I did like the way that it counted down the distance -- half a mile to go, 400 meters to go, 300 meters to go, 200 meters to go, 100 meters to go... then congratulations! What a relief.

It was frustrating how my keys kept knocking against the iPod, changing the music, but at least they didn't affect the workout.

So we ran nearly 3 miles today (it took me a little while of walking to get my iPod connected). My knees are aching -- it was so cold! -- but otherwise I feel okay. Tomorrow we're meant to do 18 minutes of cross training. I'm thinking about setting up the bike trainer in the basement and having a ride. Or maybe a swim?