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?

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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My First Post

I have never been a runner. I have had bad knees since I was a kid -- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis pretty much did them in, and skiing and soccer didn't help. I then settled into a decidedly non-sporty existence. In graduate school, I used exercise as a work-avoidance technique. Rather than go to the library or write papers, I went to the gym. But running? Nah.

Then I left grad school, started working, and got lazy. And fat.

A few years ago I decided to try and get healthy. I joined Weight Watchers and lost 45 pounds. The great thing about WW is that it isn't rocket science -- eat less, exercise more, be mindful. If you follow the program, it works. Simple.

But then I stopped following the program... and gained back 20 of the pounds.

In early 2007 my friend Rebecca asked if I wanted to do a triathlon. I laughed at her. She showed me a book she'd just ordered: "The Slow Fat Triathlete". Halfway in jest, I agreed to do one. 6 months later we and our beloveds all raced in the Chelanman Triathlon.

The whole time, I hated running. But I liked how I felt after running. And I liked the discipline of training. So in the heady, endorphin-filled moments after the triathlon, my husband Wil and I decided we would train for the 2008 Seattle Marathon.

Two days later, while riding his bike to work, Wil crashed, breaking his elbow and smashing his helmet into three pieces. (Quick PSA: Always wear your bike helmet, even when riding on a car-free trail.) So we put training on hold while he healed up, we bought our house, and got settled.

Now it's October 30 and we're getting started again. We've been running 3 times a week for the past two weeks using the "Couch to 5K" program we used to train for the triathlon run. It's been difficult -- but not as difficult as the first time. Today we ran 5 minutes and walked 3 minutes 3 times. We were slow, but I felt better this time than I did running the 3-minute stretches on Saturday.

Slow and steady.