Sunday, December 28, 2008

last long run 0f 2008

Meant to get up early to run today. The snow is finally gone, so no excuses not to get out and run in the real world. But when 7:00 rolled around it was still dark. Very, very dark. So we snuggled back down under the duvet and slept for another hour.

At 8:00 we got up, ate toast, and piled on the layers of clothing. Two long-sleeved shirts and a fleece for me, plus the winter tights. Earmuffs and gloves completed the look. (Very fetching.) I also wore the running belt that I plan on wearing to the race, plus my camelback.

Today was scheduled for a 10-miler; we decided to do the loop we did back on November 29 but in reverse because Wil still swore it was uphill nearly all the way. So down to Fremont, across the bridge and along Westlake to the S.L.U.T. tracks, then along Fairview to the big hill, across the University Bridge, back on to the BGT to Fred Meyer and then home.

I felt okay for the first half or so; then got a strange twinge in my left achilles. Since my right leg tends to be the one that hurts in various spots, pain on the left side was alarming. But I plodded on, feeling less and less happy. When we got to a break around the 8.6 mile mark, I decided to be careful rather than force my way through it. So I walked an interval, sending Wil on ahead. (He was running very strongly!)

At the next interval I decided to try running again, gently. Going around the Adobe campus, I finally glimpsed Wil far in the distance. Again I decided to walk, and Wil doubled back and passed me in the other direction. When he turned again and caught up with me, I started running to keep up with him. At that point we had .24 miles to go. So we ran, celebrating our achievement somewhere by the cement plant.

Walked home the rest of the way; left achilles still tender. So home, stretched a long time, and have been icing and elevating since my shower. Going to try and take it easy this week.

Because I failed to turn off my Nike+ the pace was off, and it captured all the walking on both ends of the run, but we covered 12.47 miles today. Wil had a strong run, and I... well, I am waiting for my new shoes to arrive.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas!

It's hard to believe that we're nearing the end of 2008 -- and hard to believe how far we've come. We went to schmancygym on Christmas Eve for another snow-day run and I was feeling blue that I only ran 5.7 miles. But looking back at my post for December 31, 2007, I was thrilled to be running 4.5 miles. So I need to remember that we've really come a long long way.

Now it's Christmas night and I'm feeling happy, semi-healthy, and very loved. Hope everyone feels the same!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

snow day

Given the recent weather, it was clear that we weren't going to get our 20-mile run in today. This had both of us feeling worried. But the 8 or so inches of snow... and that fact that crappy LA Fitness STILL hasn't opened in Ballard means that we would either have to drive to the one up in Shoreline or try and catch a bus to the one down on Westlake. Neither was very appealing.

Wil had the idea that we should try to buy a day pass -- or a week pass -- at one of the Ballard health clubs and just work out there. A little googling and I found a 15-day free pass to Olympic Health Club, which I have always shunned because their "joining fee" is really, really high. But with a free pass.... well, we couldn't resist. We bundled up and slowly walked to the gym.

Got there, had a tour of the crazy layout of this hotel-turned-gym, and then got in a run. I had to stop at the halfway point and slow down to a walk as my right foot was hurting, but after 5 minutes of walking I was able to speed back up. We decided not to shower at the gym -- not wanting to go out in the cold with wet hair -- so got changed and then went downstairs. The membership guy hadn't been there when we arrived (given the snow), but we spoke to him on the way out. He was everything the cheezy/sleazy guy from LA Fitness wasn't: professional, calm, open... honest. There wasn't a "hard sell", a "this deal runs out this weekend", etc. It was a "here's our December/January special, here's what it costs". Simple.

So, unexpectedly, we are now considering swapping gyms. Now we just have to figure out how to cancel our membership at LAFitness as quickly as possible.

Sigh.

Walked around the market after our workout, buying a couple of things from the vendors who had braved the trip. No, we didn't *need* potatoes, but if you drive from Colville to Ballard, I'm going to buy potatoes from you. Lovely blue potatoes. Purple mash, here I come!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

dreadmill

Very busy afternoon -- a trip to the post office (and then to the shipping center, no lines...), then to Reba's to pick up a wheelbarrow, then home to dig up a layer of sod.... and then to the gym.

Got there at the busiest time; I beat Wil up the stairs and jumped on a recently vacated treadmill; Wil spotted someone leaving as he came upstairs and got on the one at the very end of the line. Hot, smelly, boring treadmill run. 5 minutes of walking, then 50 minutes of running, and 5 minutes of walking to cool down. Yawn.

So it's clear that I won't make my mileage goal for December, what with missing two straight long runs. But better to stay healthy and focus on the real task at hand. The icy sidewalks (and more snow in the near future) make me worry about this weekend. We'll see as we get closer.

My right hip is bothering me again, so I'm really trying to stretch it. Otherwise felt okay on the run, though I wasn't very fast. Hoping the new kicks arrive soon for better cushioning. Funny that my sister Gretchen sent me a link to a story on Cool Running about "the next pair of shoes" -- which I didn't see until coming home from the store to buy new shoes. Thanks for the support! :)

Less than four weeks now -- it seems hard to believe we're almost there!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12 Ks of Christmas

...cancelled due to icy roads...

It was only with the strongest of wills that we got ourselves bundled up and out the door to drive to Kirkland for the 12 Ks of Christmas. But we got there with little difficulty, and even got parking a block away from the start. (That should have been our first clue!)

Walking to the start line, we saw people carrying bags with drinks and shirts in them. Well, we thought, they're going to put their stuff in the car so they don't have to check a bag. Then, getting closer, we heard the announcer say something about a costume competition being judged at 9:30 so that they "can give out at least one award today". Uh-oh.

Sure enough, the race had been cancelled for ice-related safety issues. A little frustrating, given that we had seen the notice on the web site that, even with the snow, they had no plans to cancel the event. I even called the number on the site before we set out, figuring that they would have posted a message or something.

But they don't control the weather, of course, and it's better to be safe than sorry. I just kept thinking about what might happen if we were to slip and fall and injure ourself so that we couldn't run the WDW Marathon in a few weeks. It's just not worth it.

So instead we came home and decorated the tree. Neither of us could bring ourselves to go to the gym and churn out 9 miles on the "dreadmill". Oh, and we got new kicks at the running store. :)

If you're keeping track of my training goal, it's clear that I won't make my mileage for the month. Oh well. I've done the base training, and I'll get through it. One loooong run to go.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

news roundup

Extremely happy to be home and nestled in my own lovely bed. A few things...

- this morning's swim was my first time swimming since my bike crash, exactly 3 months prior. It seems a very long time ago! I decided to take it easy and swim for only 15 minutes. My shoulder seems to have held up okay, though it feels a little extra tender tonight.

- I somehow managed to leapfrog several runners in my Nike+ challenge to rank 5th overall. Apparently everyone else has stopped running. Sure, I'll never catch up with #4, but I may be able to fend off #6 and 7!

- We received our waivers and bib numbers for the marathon -- 8211 and 8212! Here's hoping they follow the same corral placements as in previous years and we go in the first big corral in the red start.

- On the way home from the airport we stopped in at AAA to pick up... our Disney World trip stuff! It's feeling more and more real every day!

Did I mention that I'm happy to be home?

Palace Hotel Pool, 6:45 a.m.

Blissfully empty and quiet for my morning swim. Somehow managed to miss the glass roof in this picture. The only problem with this pool is that the exercise room -- and all the bored people on treadmills, ellipticals, recumbent bikes and such are staring straight at you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

runless weekend

Woke up on Friday feeling terrible -- I'd been stuffed up and restless all night. I was getting up to go to work, when Wil pointed out that I sounded and looked terrible. Oh. So I decided to call in sick, and spent most of the day in bed dozing and snorgling with the cats.

Still felt terrible on Saturday, which meant we didn't do our long run. Nor did we do it on Sunday. Accepted wisdom is that you *can* run with a cold, as long as it's "above your chest". Since it was my head that was stuffed up, I could have run... except I felt weak and woozy.

Flew to San Francisco yesterday, still feeling a bit under the weather, but had a quiet night in the hotel room and plenty of sleep, so I woke up feeling okay. I love running in new places, so I laced up and headed out to run along the Embarcadero.

The worst part was actually getting to the Embarcadero -- the lights are timed to stop pedestrians after each block, which made for slow going. But once I reached the bay, I was good to go. The sun was just coming up behind the Bay Bridge, so I ran with the sun at my back, past the Alcatraz ferries, past the SF Zinzanni, past Pier 39, past Fishermen's Wharf, and out to the spot where the open-water swimmers train. Brrrrr! Two of them were out there, swimming away. Yes, they're my heroes.

Turned around there and ran back the other direction; this time into the sun and a growing headwind. But I felt pretty good and just plodded slowly along. Had to dodge commuters at the Ferry Building, which was fun. I remember how I used to feel when runners passed me -- sorta inspired, intrigued. I wonder if anyone had those thoughts about me? (Probably not -- ha!)

Then the long, slow trek back up Mission to my hotel, the fabulous Palace. I swear, I have 20-foot ceilings in my room. And it's blissfully quiet here.

Anyway, feeling nervous about having missed the 20-mile run at the weekend. We have a 12K scheduled for Sunday (the 12Ks of Christmas), so I don't really fancy adding that much mileage. Maybe we'll just hope that our base miles have us "fit enough", and run a 20 miler on the 21st. It's getting very, very close...

SF Morning Run Pix

The SF Bay Bridge from the Embarcadero, 7:15 a.m.

Fishermen's Wharf, 7:35 a.m.

Open-water swimmers and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, 7:42 a.m.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

38 days and some 100 miles to the start...

Ran at the gym this afternoon -- got there quite early (3:30) because Wil's biometrics appointment was over more quickly than we expected. Then again, how long does it take to snap a couple of pictures and scan a person's hands? So the gym was stinky, warm, and very empty.

We're now 38 days from the marathon, and we have about 100 miles of running to do before the race. I'm already starting to wonder if we should get some new shoes and start breaking them in... And speaking of shoes, Wil and I had both privately been wondering what shoes to bring to walk around the parks in. I'm thinking Keens...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Wrap-up

It's been quite a month -- our most miles so far, including an 18-miler! I officially crossed the 500-mile mark for total mileage on my Nike+ -- and completed my "500 in '08 Challenge". So far, touch wood, we've stayed pretty healthy, with just some achy feet and creaky knees to fret about. They always say that the training is harder than the marathon itself.

In December my goal is to run 85 miles -- which shouldn't be too much of a challenge, but as the days get shorter it gets more difficult to get the midweek runs in.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

10 Miler

Overslept a little this morning -- didn't get out of bed until 8 -- so much scurrying around to get ourselves out the door. Some waffling -- it was drizzling, and we're now paranoid about rain -- but we headed out with our Scaffel Pike waterproof tops on.

The 10-mile route was a truncated version of the 18-miler last week -- very truncated. Down to the BGT, along it to the University Bridge, Eastlake to Roanoke to Fairview, and then around the tracks to Westlake and home. Wil tells me that it was uphill the whole way, but I have not seen the Garmin evidence to prove it.

Both of us were feeling a little tired, so it wasn't the most energetic of runs. But we made it, and the good news is that it's still only Saturday and we have another day of rest.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Seattle Marathon Expo

Met Wil downtown for lunch today -- poor thing, had to work the day after Thanksgiving -- and then we went to the Seattle Marathon Expo. We were going back and forth over whether we should just register for and run the half marathon, and decided to let the tech shirt gods be our guide.

Well, the shirts were... white. Boring white shirts. And, given the "last gasp" registration fees, in a (strange) moment of fiscal prudence, we decided to skip it. Why pay $170 for two white shirts and a medal?

So I've mapped out our 10-mile course, and we shall run it on Saturday morning, weather permitting...

We did, however, register ourselves for the Seattle Rock and Roll Half in June, 2009. And Wil got to see, in person, the Coast to Coast Medal for the Disneyland Half. Guess we're on for that one, too. :)

Turkey Trot 2008

May blessings rain down on the fine folks who organized the Seattle Turkey Trot! Apparently they held one in 2007, with about 30 participants. Thanks to the wonder of Google, I found their site and got on the mailing list some time in October. As we were scheduled to run 60 minutes, I figured the hustle over to the start at 85th and 32nd, and the walk back from the finish line at Golden Gardens would be enough to cover us for the additional 30 minutes.

We signed up in early November -- which was lucky for us, as the organizers had to shut down registration early as too many people had signed up! See, STT was a very grass-roots sort of race. No bibs, no timing chips, no awards, no permits... And apparently they had reached a number larger than they felt they could responsibly send running down sidewalks.

We walked to the start line -- hustling we got there about minutes before the start. A couple of hundred people, perhaps, many wearing their bright orange STT08 shirts. One woman dressed as a turkey. Another dressed as Pocahontas. Lots of people with strollers or little kids in tow -- many of them having no idea that lining up in the front was a bad idea.

A nice little talk from the organizer -- we had raised over $2000 for the Ballard Food Bank, yay! -- and then we were off. Plenty of chalk markings on the sidewalk, plus super cute direction signs wherever we turned.



We plugged along at a pretty decent clip. The first half of the route was a nice steady downhill. We turned to cross the railway tracks, and then hit the BGT for the run out to Golden Gardens. We even had a gentle tailwind -- perfect run conditions! We took two short walking breaks but otherwise ran steadily. Had to pass a few people on the narrow path right before the finish, but otherwise had plenty of room throughout.

Held hands as we crossed the line, a bit of whooping, then cups of water and we collected our t-shirts. Sure, the walking to and from the course was longer than the course itself, but we had had a nice run and we had raised some money for the food bank. Already looking forward to STT 2009!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

18 Miles!!!

Wil got us up and moving at 7:05 today. He toasted bagels, I mixed Powerade for our packs. We were out the door at 7:30, loaded with bus passes, cash, and a fistful of chocolate Hammer Gels. Today was 18-mile day.

The sun was very low in the sky when we set out. We ran down to the Fred Meyer, then joined the Burke-Gilman. Steam was rising off the cut and the sky was turning from pink to blue. Gorgeous! We ran under the Fremont Bridge, then out past Gas Works and to the University Bridge. Found our way on to the stairs up to the bridge, and then the real routefinding began. I wasn't sure where exactly to turn down, or if there was a nicer road to run on that would go through. So we stayed on Eastlake all the way to the bottom of the lake. By this point I was already feeling a little tired, though I enjoyed running somewhere new.

Then along the S.L.U.T. tracks to Westlake, where we rejoined our usual route. Over to Dexter, across to 2nd, and then down to Jackson. As we got closer to the stadiums, we started seeing Seahawks jerseys and I was glad that we were down there early because running past crowds of fans wouldn't have been pleasant.

We turned on to the waterfront, and started the trip home. Part of me was thrilled that we were headed home; part of me was worried that we were still 8 miles from home. But on we went, through the sculpture park, running into a 5K/10K course along the way. (We ran on the grass past the finish chute and refrained from hitting the water stop.)

Then past the railyard, where we got stuck behind three people and a dog... none of whom appeared to have any spatial awareness. Luckily, we had just squeezed past them when the cyclist zoomed up the ramp. Yikes! At some point Wil raised his arms and said "wooo!" because we'd completed a half marathon. And weirdly enough be both felt okay.

We made our way up to Gilman (or is it Thorndike?) and kept heading towards the locks. I was really slowing down at this point, but another shot of Hammer Gel perked me up. (mmm, chocolate...). Wil stopped to refill his water bottles at the locks and was stopped by another runner, asking what he puts in the bottles, how long they last him, etc. He very happily told the woman that it was a "10K belt", but that we'd just run 16 miles and he was only now needing a refill. Yay for bragging about miles!

Then across the locks, where the big lock was empty and stinky. Past the Lockspot, and up on to Market. Truly the home stretch now, but I was dragging. To make sure we got the mileage in, we veered down Shilshole towards Fred Meyer. Plod plod plod. Then when we got to 11th we turned for home. Another few blocks up the hill, and we were done. EIGHTEEN MILES.

The last few blocks walking home were really, really rough. My knees, my feet, my calves, my right hip, my right achilles, everything hurt. After we got home and stretched, I could barely make it up the steps to the back door.

Now, a few hours later I am very stiff, very sore. Wil is napping. But did I mention that we ran 18 miles today?

Friday, November 21, 2008

wet wet wet, lazy lazy lazy

Wil's been very dedicated -- running home from work on Tuesday and Thursday. Me, not so much. I did run on Tuesday morning, but couldn't make myself run Thursday evening. Went into work a little early today to get some running in, but was only able to run for 40 minutes as I had an early meeting. Feeling a little twingey in both knees, for no apparent reason.

Weather forecast is very wet and blustery; we've decided to do our long run on Sunday morning in the hopes that it won't be so wet. New course this weekend...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

San Mateo

Nicer than expected run this morning. Playing with Map My Run last night, looking for runs in San Mateo, having a hard time finding the "right" run -- until I figured out that you can display results by distance. When I displayed the "run + 1-5 miles + longest first", then #1 result was "San Mateo Marriott Run". Result!

I hadn't been particularly impressed by my glimpse of strip mall San Mateo. But in the early morning light, under a pinky-orange sky, it looked much nicer. Sure, the first couple of blocks were a bit nasty -- the backside of a Kmart, the loading dock of a Michaels. But then the road narrowed and I was running past early 20th-century bungalows and palm trees. People walking dogs. Children dawdling to school. Gardeners, bundled up against the morning chill, waiting in small groups for their rides to work.

Running felt pretty easy -- though I did have lots of unplanned "breaks" when I had to wait to cross streets. My right achilles was still a little sore this morning, but not too bothersome.

Hit the first turn in the "lollipop", ran under the train tracks, and then ran back towards "downtown". Decided to deviate from the route and was pleased to see that there is still a nice little downtown, with cute shops and cafes.

Sun much higher in the sky (why didn't I wear my sunglasses???), squinting along the sidewalks and braving traffic. To avoid the less pretty roadway, I veered into a residential area, running past newer homes along well-maintained sidewalks. (Some bumps, but nothing like Ballard. Lack of sodden leaves helps too....)

Then the time was up and I walked the last few minutes back to the hotel. Not the longest run -- only about 5.4 miles, including the walking -- but I sorta made up for it by "briskly walking" the 1.9 miles each way between the hotel and the workshop location.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

steeeeeeep!

We got up bright and early on our anniversary to get our 8-mile run in. We had attempted to drive the route I plotted online on Friday... only to discover that it's just not possible to do. Unless you follow a service road. Or run down a hillside. Not sure which.

So we decided, instead, to run up to the top end of Moran State Park and then back. It's a stupdily hilly course, climbing from a few feet above sea level to... well... somewhere pretty high.

Of we went, immediately hitting the first hill. Wheezing. And a surprising amount of traffic for a rural 2-lane road, early on a Saturday. We figured that perhaps it was islanders rushing off to the ferry, or to work. Did I mention it was hilly? And curvy? And with no verge to leap onto when cars came screaming down the road?

We huffed and puffed. The road was really steeply cambered, making my already over-pronating right foot nearly fold itself under. More huffing, more puffing. And more and more hills. Horrible. After just over a mile and a half, feeling exhausted and stiff, and with an increasingly sore right achilles and foot, we decided to cut the run short. Very short.

We turned around and ran ran ran down the hills, motoring right along, thank you very much. Then back to the cabin, where we celebrated with champagne and a soak in the hot tub. Happy anniversary to us!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Full moon on the way to Orcas Island

Full moon from the ferry terminal at Anacortes... reminds me of our honeymoon at Loch Lomond. Saturday we run!

Oh, and I ran six miles on the treadmill at work this morning...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

500 Nike+ Miles

Today we ran on the treadmills at the gym... too dark, too wet to run outside now. Which is a pity. Hurried to the gym after work; getting on the last two open treadmills. Warmed up with a 5-minute walk, then ran for 50 minutes, gradually increasing the pace, and then cooled down for 5 minutes. Yeah, it's that boring when you are running on a treadmill.

The only amusing things are that, with this run, I clicked over the 500 mile point for my Nike+, which allows me to print a certificate. This makes me laugh. I still have 47 miles to log on my "500 in 2008" challenge. I'm currently in 8th position, which isn't nearly as impressive as it might seem, given that there are only 25 participants. Still, happy to be in the top half. The top six runners have already hit the 500 mark, so it's not as if I'll "catch up" to them. But it's good to have that milestone so close in my sights -- especially since I have so often been let down by Nike+ (or my own ineptitude!).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wet Run

Today was supposed to be a 16-mile run. Wil got us up early, made bagels for breakfast, and had us out the door by 7:30. But about 45 minutes into the run it started to rain. Not too hard, at first... just a steady drizzle. But as we continued, it got worse and worse. By the time we got to the stadium, we were drenched. The 2-minute wait for the light to cross at Royal Brougham was misery. But on we plodded, reaching the viaduct and turning to run underneath it.

The rain kept pelting down. When we reached the end of the viaduct -- the point where we would have to go back out into the rain -- we stopped to think. We knew we still had just over 6 miles before we were home, and none of it was under cover. Neither of us had brought any cash, cards, or bus passes. No identification whatsoever. I proposed getting on a bus and begging the driver for mercy. Wil suggested we try going in to one of the WaMu locations and asking the teller to let us withdraw $5 for bus fare from Wil's account. So we climbed up the hill from the waterfront (ouch! my quads!) and ran through the market, past wide-eyed tourists and sleepy-eyed locals. We tried two branches -- shut at 9:15 on a Saturday morning -- and then found an open one. Dripping wet, a bit snivelly, and completely underdressed for the weather, we ran in.

The teller was very friendly, very helpful, and chatted with Wil about the new branches, the model branch, and so on. He gave us $5 (4 ones and 4 quarters, for bus fare), and pretended to be impressed that we had run 10 miles already. Which was nice.

Then we ran to the bus stop (notice how we kept running? When we walked we got too cold...), saw that the 28 was a 20-minute wait, and then ran to the stop for the 15.... which was there when we arrived. Hooray!

A shivery bus ride home, followed by a very stiff and cold last half mile run from the bus stop to the house, and then we were home. Wil and I are both feeling a little disappointed in ourselves for not running our scheduled 16 miles. But I think we made the right decision, given the weather. We both laughed at the fact that, not too long ago, 10 or 11 miles really felt like an accomplishment!

Now that it's later, I'm showered and warm, the sun has come out again. Boo. But it's still blustery and very changeable weather.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

another indoor run

The stormy weather and the early darkness conspired again to send me to the gym for another treadmill run. At least tonight I could watch college football and the local news -- without negative advertising. Ran a bit different than the usual: 5 minute walking warmup, 45 minutes of gradually increasing running, then 3 sets of 1-minute "sprints" (7.0 mph) with 1-minute running cooldowns (6.0 mph), and then a 6-minute walking cooldown. Felt pretty loose and relaxed.

Felt some pain in my left knee, which went away after a few minutes. Now feeling a bit of pain on the outer edge of my left foot and the bottom of my right foot. But nothing major. Looking forward to a quiet evening at home tomorrow -- this has been too social a week!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

treadmill... and victory

Ran at the gym on the treadmill, watching the election returns roll in. Surreal moment when NBC was showing people watching the returns roll in while running on treadmills... and again when CNN showed their "hologram" interview. Such a gimmick, but a delightful one.

Anyway, this is meant to be about running... and run I did. 6.07 miles over 60 minutes -- 5 minutes warm up, 50 minutes running, 5 minutes cool down. Didn't stretch -- too eager to get home -- and I'm sure I'll pay for it tomorrow. But for tonight, happiness and relief.

Wil ran home from downtown Ballard, following the reverse of our route from Sunday, walking up the hills. Good boy! Tomorrow is Bonfire Night, so we will celebrate again.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"our short runs used to be our long runs"

I'd admit it, it wasn't the best of weeks. Now, whether my lack of energy was due to conditions at work which means I didn't make myself run -- OR -- whether my lack of running gave me a lack of energy which meant I felt extra bummed at work all week... it's difficult to know. But with absolutely no excuses, I didn't run at all this week. I suppose I could pretend that I decided to take a week to recover from back-to-back weekends of half-marathon runs, but, really, no.

So anyway, today we had a nice 6-mile run on our schedule. I mapped out a new route that we hadn't run before (I love Map My Run!) -- up and over the Sunset Hill Park, then down the steep stairs to Golden Gardens, then following the Burke-Gilman Trail back to the Fred Meyer and then home. We could have run it in either direction, but I decided that I didn't want to get lost looking for the trailhead at the bottom of the hill, so we ran counter-clockwise. Of course, this had the effect of making the vast majority of the run uphill -- with the steep trail and stairs being the only downhill. Maybe next time we have a 6-miler we'll go the other direction.

We didn't get an early start -- I was really sleepy and, despite Wil bringing me a bagel at 7:30, I wouldn't get up. (I did eat my bagel, however). So he got up and went to play Little Big Planet, and I went back to sleep. I finally got up around 10, joined him for a few rounds of LBP, and then we got dressed and headed out.

I felt wheezy from the beginning, and it took me a while before my legs felt loose. But I enjoyed the run for the most part, and I'm glad that -- despite the annoying headwind between miles 2 and 4 -- we stuck with the course and finished the run.

It's been a very strange day, weather-wise. Dark and rainy and stormy early in the morning, becoming brighter again when we set out. At the very end of our run, it started getting very dark again... and we got pelted with rain a few blocks from home. Having had our showers, the sun is out again. Blustery day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

musings on the long run

So last night it suddenly occurred to me just how far we had run on Saturday. When we were running in Portland last weekend, every step was a bit of a mystery, a surprise, so we didn't really have any sense of the distance. But running the very familiar route to downtown -- a route that, to be honest, feels a bit long on the bike! -- and then running home via the Locks... well. I'm still sorta astounded by it. I mean, just looking at it on the map ... it seems an absurd distance to have travelled.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fourteen Miles!

Today we broke into uncharted territory -- a 14-mile run! We ran from the house the same way we ride into work: down to the Fred Meyer, out along the Burke-Gilman to Fremont, across the Fremont bridge, along the newly paved path along Westlake, past the houseboats and boat shops, across the S.L.U.T. tracks, right on Harrison, left on Dexter, then right on Bell, and then left on 2nd all the way down to Yesler. Whee!

At Yesler we turned and ran down to the waterfront -- very few tourists at this time of day -- and all the way down past the Sculpture Park, past the grain silos, through the train yard, and past the boathouses to the Locks, where we were reminded of how little spatial awareness most people have. Then the short run home through the Ballard backstreets, and we hit mile 14. Hooray!

I had a rough start -- my right foot and calf were really bothering me, felt very stiff. But I loosened up after a couple of miles and then I was okay until about mile 12, when I was tired and ready to be done. We went at a slower pace than we did in the half marathon last weekend -- probably the lack of others to pace ourselves with.

My iPod shut itself off after 9.96 miles, but I'm still giving myself credit for 14. Wil's iPod recorded 14.02 miles, 2:37, pace 11:14, 2108 calories.

We got ourselves up and out the door early -- by 7:40, I think -- which certainly helped our moods. I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend. And a pint of cider.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday is treadmill day, too...

Skipped out of work a wee bit early -- what? No meetings? Well then! Then picked up Wil and we went straight to the gym. Yes, it did seem like a waste of another glorious autumn day, but Wil's foot is still tender so he decided to swim instead of run.

The gym was pretty empty, which gave me my choice of treadmills. I chose one where I wouldn't have to stare at a television for an hour. I warmed up for 5 minutes, then ran for 50, and the cooled down for 5. I started at a 5.5 mph pace for ten minutes, then sped up by .1 mph every 5 minutes. I feel as if I need to give my knees and feet plenty of time to get warmed up before I run on them... but I think I could speed up a little.

In other running news, our dear friend Lindsay got a gold star yesterday for running three miles straight. Brava girl! We're so proud of you!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday is treadmill day

So my good intentions on the green front mean that I don't get home until 5:00ish -- I mean, I can either stay at work until 4 and be home at 5, or I can leave T-Mobile at 2:45 and be home around 4:30. And given the early nights and, well, how much I dislike running in twilight, I spent tonight at the gym in north Seattle. Wil is nursing his tender foot, so I ventured out alone. Pretty crowded when I got there at 6:45 -- only one empty treadmill! And I should point out that the spin class AND the step class looked full as well. Oh, and don't get me started on how many people were in the pool for water aerobics!

I walked for 5 minutes at a 4mph pace to warm up, and then sped up to a 5.5 mph pace, where I stayed for a good 30 minutes, zoning out listening to the Go-Go's and watching the World Series of Poker. (At least it wasn't full of political attack ads!) As the clock ticked down, I sped up a bit -- but only cranked it up to 6.0 for the last five minutes. Then a 5-minute cooldown, a quick awkward stretch (where was I supposed to go?), and then home.

Still feeling on a bit of a high thanks to Sunday's half marathon!

Tomorrow is a rest day... ahhh.

Monday, October 20, 2008

36 hours later...


So it's been about 36 hours since we ran our second half marathon -- and we both *still* feel great! Wil's got a pain in his foot -- the same pain he had before the race -- and I'm a little stiff in my right leg, which I think I'll attribute to the driving back from Portland today. Otherwise, still feeling stupidly pleased with ourselves. We must have told 20 strangers yesterday that we did a half marathon in the morning!

Wil and I were both saying before the race that of course we would be able to finish, but we weren't sure how we would finish -- strong or just barely. We decided that it would either be an affirmation that our training was going well... or a wake-up call that we needed to get more serious. Afterwards we confessed to each other that we were both worried that it would be a huge wake-up call! So we are thrilled, tickled, overjoyed at how well it went. Now, it's not as if we were fast... not by a long shot. But we did finish, we finished pretty strong, and we felt great at the end. So hooray!!!

Of course, it may have been the post-race pints that helped... I mean, some carbs for energy, some alcohol to help us relax, a bit of dancing around, then showers, a nap, and a long walk around Portland. Might be the perfect recovery recipe!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our second half of the year, and surprisingly fast...

Just got back to the hotel after finishing our second half marathon of the year...

and we finished in 2.21  which is amazing for us..  10.40 miles (including a line for a potty stop halfway through!!)  The weather was perfect, as we stayed the right temperature all the way through, and the course had a last minute change due to a landslide.  So it turned into an out and back, but as from 6 to 9.5 miles was a gentle uphill (boo) it meant that 9.5 to finish was a gentle downhill all the way (yayyyyy).

We're psyched, which I am sure is helped along by the fact that the finisher's beverage was beer.  Sadly the finisher's food was chicken wings;  but we turned that into a positive by asking the beer man for a second pint for our food token, as there was no veggie alternative he thought that was a fine idea.   (then walking away with a couple of pints prompted another nice couple to give us the beer tokens they didn't want too...)


So all in all our fastest half marathon followed by 3 pints all before 10.30 means we're having a lovely Sunday in Portland..

Wil

Run Like Hell Half Marathon!

Today was our second ever half marathon -- the Run Like Hell Half Marathon in Portland. We started pretty much right on time (though it seemed to take forever to get to the "start" line...) but started along with the 10K runners. This was a little chaotic. I mean, why not just send the half marathoners first? But we headed off along the big street that faces the river, running through the Pearl district and then through some more actual warehousey/industrial area. Then we looped back (having lost the 5Kers along the way) and ran the other direction along the riverfront. At some point the 10K folks turned off, and we half marathoners were sent out and back along a long, slow, curving uphill. Oof!

Was thrilled to see the 7 mile marker -- at that point, I wasn't really sure where we were and wasn't sure if we'd even passed the 6 mile point! Up, up, up we went, keeping a pretty steady pace. Then we got to a water stop -- seemingly the first for miles -- and ended up staying there for 4 minutes or so in the Portaloo line. But we had chocolate Hammer gels (YUM!!!!!) and some water and then continued on up.

I know it's bad to say, but I was THRILLED to see how many people were behind us at that point. :)

Another mile went by, and then another, and then we heard a volunteer tell us that the turnaround was "just around the corner" and then it would be downhill all the way. Of course, the corner lasted forever, but suddenly, there it was. A friendly water stop (which had sadly run out of cups, but they were putting out their own coffee cups, bless them!) and then we were headed down.

We kept on with the same, steady 5:1 intervals that had gotten us to that point -- and both felt pretty good. Wil was faster on the downhills than I was, but we stayed together and suddenly we were at the 12 mile marker. Hooray! At some point Wil had told me what time it was and I was surprised that it was still that early. I mean, my goal was just to go a bit faster than the last half marathon (where we finished at 2:45:17), and, as a stretch goal, to finish under 2:30.

We turned the corner, saw the "6 mile" marker, and knew we only had .2 miles left. Unfortunately, it was the tiniest of uphills, and I was pretty much toast. So I did another minute of walking, and then was ready to go. There was the 13 mile marker! Only .1 of a mile left! And then we held hands and ran down the hill, across the mats, and done. Yay! I looked at the clock as we approached -- could that say 2:24? Knowing that it took us a couple of minutes to cross the start line? Really? Of course, the announcer couldn't see my number, and called out the wrong name for me, but who cares! We were done!!! I can't remember the details, but we finished in 2:21:16 -- smashing our PR.

We got a cheesy little medal, but then we got what we really wanted -- BEER! Hooray for the Red Hook beer tent, and for the nice man who allowed us to swap our food token for an extra beer because we're vegetarian.

We did a little dancing to the band, ate some bananas, drank some beer, and headed back to the Hotel Modera, which is gorgeous and lovely and has great front desk staff -- who welcomed us like conquering heroes.

Now we're showered and warm and ready to face the rest of our day. Hooray for Portland!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

PDX

Got to Portland after an uneventful drive -- until we tried to get close to the running store where we were picking up our packets for the Run Like Hell tomorrow. Chaos! Clearly a very nice neighborhood that has outgrown its roads... but we found parking on a residential street only a block away.

A bit of chaos in the shop -- luckily it was a nice day so they had moved the packet pickup and registration outdoors -- where we joined a very long line (and almost jumped it because there were so many people milling about!). We also picked up a revised course map -- apparently a mudslide has closed one of the roads we were supposed to run on, so now the course is an out and back. Boo.

After 7 or 8 minutes, however, we were at the front of the line, where we picked up our packets from the very friendly woman. Then we had to join another line to pick up our tech shirts. There was a bit of confusion there, too -- some people were told they didn't have the shirts in their size, but apparently that was for people who hadn't pre-registered? Not sure. Then we got to the front, and were given two very different shirts. Wil was given a cotton t-shirt and I was given a strangely heavy cotton/poly blend. Made by Port Authority. Not the "tech shirts" we were promised. We stood there for a minute, trying to figure out what was going on. Wil noticed that pushed off to the side in the shirt box was a small pile of nice shirts -- he quickly swapped his out for a proper New Balance shirt.

That left me with a heavy shirt that might be suitable for golfing, but certainly not for running. We went in to the store to confer, and Wil suggested I go back out and ask to trade because this wasn't a tech shirt. The "shirt guy" -- who had clearly been dealing with handing out the poor-quality shirts all day and was perhaps saving the nicer shirts for his friends -- got really arsey with me, told my not to look in "his boxes" and to take it up with the race director. Nice.

I guess I'm accustomed to getting decent quality shirts when you pay extra for them. I did a little research on the Port Authority site. They do offer a 100% polyester, lightweight tech shirt. Unfortunately, it costs $2 more per shirt than the 60% cotton, heavy-weight "active" shirt. So they went with a shirt described as "perfect for an active workday, hot weather and travel". Poor form. I think I'd rather have my $10 back and just get a cotton t-shirt. At least I wouldn't feel as if I was cheated.

Friday, October 17, 2008

a day late, and 5 minutes short...

I got home late on Thursday so we decided to postpone our run until today. Neither of us felt particularly sprightly; Wil is stressed because of work, and I somehow managed to only eat a bagel all day so I was hungry. A handful of Sport Beans and a bit of false enthusiasm managed to get us out the door...

We kept telling each other we were doing a slow run -- just get a few miles in and take it easy so we are fresh for the half on Sunday. But somehow, even though I felt like we were sluggish and slow, we managed to go faster than usual -- 30 seconds per mile faster. We went so fast that we had finished our standard "loop" 5 minutes early. Rather than force things, we just retired early and did a bit of extra stretching.

Now, a few hours later, my ankles feel a bit tender -- not sure why. Tomorrow we'll get up early-ish, throw way too much stuff in the weekend bag, and then head down to PDX. Looking forward to our trip!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

goodbye old gym, hello new gym

On Saturday, before our trip to the pumpkin patch, we stopped at Safeway to fill up with gas. Wil noticed that the LA Fitness membership guys were out recruiting. So he went over to see what the deal was. It was the usual "this offer is only good until tomorrow" sort of spiel, but we talked it over (while getting a bagel and cash inside) and decided that it was a deal we could live with. A $249 joining fee for the two of us, and then $49.98/month for the two of us. They did have a "month-to-month" rate with no joining fee, but that would have been something like $87.98/month. So we paid up.

The club won't open until November (really? that empty shell? Ummm...) but until then we can use the other area clubs -- Bellevue, Mill Creek, and North Seattle. On Sunday after the Dawg Dash we went in and had a look, but as we didn't have locks we decided against doing anything more time consuming than showering. So tonight was our first workout in the North Seattle facility.

We found two treadmills next to each other, which overlooked the weight machine floor and faced large televisions. I'd never heard of the brand before, and they took a little getting used to, but I did like the little built-in fans. Of course, I forgot to use them as I worked up a sweat doing a 5-minute warm-up walk, 50 minutes of running at a gradually increasing pace, and then 5 or 7 minutes of cool down.

Wil and I both got really really bored. Maybe if we'd listened to music or been able to follow the tv programming it would have been better. But I was able to run steadily for 50 minutes, which I can no longer do in the real world.

After the run, we went to check out the pool. I did two very tentative lengths of breaststroke, but it made my shoulder twinge so I stopped. So then I put on my ultra dorky pool running shoes and did a few laps of that. Yes, I know I look like a dork, okay? The hardest ones were the sideways laps -- really challening. Luckily Wil was also ready to stop so we hit the strangely shallow hot tub. Not exactly relaxing, but still nice to be really really warm.

So for a first visit, things were a-ok.

Oh, and I also stopped off at the gym downtown to cancel my membership. They were totally cool about it and there was no drama whatsoever. And, of course, since we paid first and last month dues, our memberships are good there through November. So many gyms, so little time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ninety Days!!!!

Looked at the countdown on the blog here... 90 days until the marathon. Gulp.

It seems like so little time left -- like it won't be possible to get all of the runs in plus get through all of the rest of our lives. But we will, somehow.

Strange randomness this evening -- Wil and I wandered over to the Goodwill and I found a copy of Jim Fixx's book, The Complete Book of Running. On a whim I decided to buy it (what's $1.99?). Flipping through it shortly after buying it, I noticed a pamphlet tucked inside... "Some People Would Rather Die Than Admit They're Having a Heart Attack."

Oops.

That aside, the book is a treasure trove of 1970s pencil drawings, inspirational quotes, and of course those famous Fixx legs.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dawg Dash results...

Despite feeling like we were having a slow day out, our pace was actually pretty speedy for us -- without either of us feeling as if we were "racing" at all. We ended up coming in at 1:03:44, or a 10:17 pace. Not bad for a "long slow distance" training run.

Dawg Dash

Today we ran the Dawg Dash, a 10K run around the University of Washington campus to raise money for student scholarships. We were scheduled to run 6 miles anyway, so why not run to support a good cause -- and get a t-shirt...

Today was a gorgeous day, perfect running weather with a bright blue sky but briskly cool temperatures. I was a little nervous, looking at the other runners -- and worrying because the 5K was described as a "run/walk" while the 10K was a "run" -- and I knew I'd need to intersperse a bit of running with my walking. We took pix before the race in the bright bright sun (apparently I chose not to put my face on this morning?):


Also the infield before the race:


We watched the 5K runners start (much to my dismay; I really wanted to 10K runners to start first) and then lined up at the back of the pack by the 11:00/mile marker. A woman walked past us, moving farther behind us and saying "Ah, the honest people!"

Again, I was fiddling with too much technology, so I started my Nike+ before the starting gun even went off. But off we went, running around the track in Husky Stadium, and then out and around the old carpool parking lot, across the bridge, and down along the BGT for a while. Then a meandering trip back and forth across the campus -- up towards Drumheller Fountain, past the HUB, up through the Quad, out around the northern parking lots, and then back down towards Red Square, past the Henry, and then a few surprising turns around a part of campus I'd never seen. Finally, we were back on the BGT and headed back to the bridge.

We were running 5 minutes, walking 1, and basically setting our pace off two couples who we would pass on the run, and let pass us on the walks. This was going okay -- until the last mile, when we just ran behind the couple at their pace. It was nice running behind them -- until we got closer to the stadium and they were joined by a friend who had already finished... and ended up slowing them down. So we passed them and moved on. Down the hill to the stadium entrance, then back in to the stadium and on the track -- dodging 5Kers with strollers leaving the stadium. A nice sprint to the finish, holding hands, and we were done.

All in all, the course was nice, but I had forgotten just how hilly the campus is!

One criticism -- they ran out of water at the end of the race. Plenty of chips and salsa, plenty of fruit, plenty of other treats -- but no water, no juice, nothing. Oh well. They *did* have water on the course at least.

Still feeling good about the run, no real stiffness or soreness. And looking forward to the Run Like Hell half next week.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

the tree wins

When I ran eastward from 15th on 75th, I always had to be careful not to trip over the massive upheaval in the sidewalk caused by a very old, very big tree root.
Imagine my delight the other day when I discovered that someone had allowed the tree to win... while also improving the pedestrian experience. Kudos to whomever came up with the idea to pave a new sidewalk around the root, leaving room for a cute little garden.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

horse chestnuts

One of my favorite things about autumn is finding horse chestnuts. They seem like little pieces of art -- carved wood, lovingly polished. So I can't help but pick them up when I see them. Of course, there are so many of them around this neighborhood, I can't really keep filling my pockets as if they were squirrel cheeks.

But on my last two runs, I couldn't resist picking one up and holding it in my hands while I ran. I remembered hearing that Emma Snowsill, the reigning Olympic triathlon champion, runs with sticks in her hands "to help with her rhythm". I've often pondered what exactly this means - does she tap them against herself? Do they help her relax her shoulders? Do they distract her ever so slightly to help her get in a zone? Who knows. But I enjoyed holding a horse chestnut today, mainly in my left hand, hoping to counteract the weird flippy motion I make with my right arm, which I blame on often holding my iPod in that hand.

I ran my standard loop backwards today -- running up the hill to 80th, then west all the way to Loyal, then the diagonal to 85th, and then south and over to the Sunset Park, and then back towards home. I warmed up a little too long -- 7:30 -- and then alternated 5:30 runs and 2:00 walks until I was 55 minutes in. Then a brisk walk to cool down for 6 minutes or so until I got home.

I felt pretty good once I was in to the run. I ended up going 5.63 miles, but again, I walked quite a bit of the time.

I didn't really want to run today -- but convinced myself that I at least had to go out and start the run. Like they always say in Runner's World, just getting out the door is the hardest part. I also want to take advantage of the decent weather for real-world runs as long as I can.

How that it's been 3 hours since I finished the run, I'm feeling a little pain in my right hip, and some stiffness in my knees. I hope I feel strong again soon.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

100

Two milestones today.

Today's run was my 100th Nike+ workout. This means very little, since I didn't always manage to capture my runs in the early days. But it's still nice to see the workouts add up.

Today also marks 100 days left before the Walt Disney World Marathon. This means a lot -- since it means we really really REALLY need to be serious about it. We duly went out for a run, running for 40 minutes plus a warmup walk. We were scheduled to do "drills" today -- but after one minute of sprinting on the drizzle-slickened, uneven sidewalks of Ballard we decided to just jog out another two minutes. Too much risk of me tripping, slipping, or otherwise damaging my poor scabby knees.

Oh, and after the run I went hosiery shopping. Not sure where to buy the "so thick you can't see my own skin" hose, but I bought a wide selection of hose... Again, I should apologize in advance for the state of my knees in Rebecca & Eric's wedding photos!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September summary

So my goal at the beginning of the month was to run 60 miles. By today, my goal was just to run without falling and hurting myself again! It wasn't the best month ever from a health or injury perspective, but I feel like I rehabbed wisely. Well, until I fell again on Sunday.

Next month we have the Run Like Hell half marathon, and the miles really start to build up. My knees felt pretty good on the run today -- a little painful at the skin/scab level, but not bad in the joints. Also my feet feel good -- I'm wearing the new kicks now. That said, I think I haven't put the SuperFeet in yet. Must try that on Thursday.

I'm going to set my October goal at 65 miles. If I do all the weekend runs, and most of the weekday runs, I'll hit that with no problem. All I need to do is stay healthy. Easier said than done, perhaps!

Monday, September 29, 2008

clumsy me

So Wil posted the pic from yesterday's run... all I know was, we were running down a hill, preparing to turn a corner, and then I was sliding across the sharpest pavement in the world. Must have just barely caught my toe on a tiny ridge in the pavement. A less clumsy person wouldn't have done it. Perhaps I wouldn't have done it except that my shoes were brand new and a little too grippy. Oh well.

Apparently a man in a nearby yard kept an eye on us -- to make sure Wil wasn't attacking me or something like that. But Wil got me off my knees, had me sit for a bit, kept me from crying, and then got us moving again. We agreed that there was no point in trying to clean the scrapes there and then -- "Might as well let the blood push the grit out."

Tried to avoid seeing too many people (except for that block along 15th...). Passed a handful of horrified pedestrians who "Oooooh!"ed at me; I just said "I'm okay, I'm okay" back at them. Then home, where I discovered that my knees had gone numb. This made scrubbing the pebbles out pretty easy because I couldn't feel a thing. Then a big dollop of neosporin and two big Band-Aids and I was good as new.

A day later and I've finally let the wounds "breathe" a bit. They're prickly and itchy but not giving me too much pain. I'm hoping I'll actually be able to go out for a little run later.

I'll try to be more careful!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Who's my brave princess..?

Four miles in on a lovely sunshine filled Sunday morning run.  New grippy shoes, combined with a gritty path, a corner and a point where two paving stones were starting a new battle with young tree...

I heard a cry and saw a fall and a brave lady not crying but bleeding... 





Thursday, September 25, 2008

new kicks!

UPS man just delivered my new Saucony Hurricane 10s...in black. Hooray for black shoes!!!!

keys for success

So this morning I had a meeting in downtown Seattle at 9:30, so it didn't make sense for me to trek across the bridge for 7:30, then trek back for 9:30. So I decided to get my little run in in the morning.

Went out along my usual way to Sunset Hill Park, then back, feeling no real twinges in my knee (but finding the neoprene brace a little weird on my leg). Discovered that they've done something wonderful at 75th that I won't spoil by telling you about, but will post a photo when I get a chance. Then home, where I was in a bit of a hurry (because it was 8:45) so I decided I'd stretch inside.

Except that I couldn't.

Because I had grabbed the wrong keys.

And had locked myself out of the house.

Now, if I had needed to show my Fred Meyer Club Card I would have been set. If I had needed to get into my (always unlocked) desk drawer, I would have been fine. If I had needed to get into the bike locker at work, sorted.

But I had no keys to the house... no phone... no wallet.

Because it wasn't yet 9am, I thought I might be able to hurry up to Reba's house to borrow her set of keys. So back I hurried, hoping that she would be home. A mile later, success! A set of keys, some hurried pleasantries with Peter, and then home. Got into the house, jumped in the newly unblocked shower, and was out the door in minutes.

Not the best morning, but I *did* get a run in. And I felt pretty good during the run, and still feel good. Still behind on mileage for the month, but a girl does what she can, eh?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

110 days

Put in another tiny run on the treadmill at work this morning -- in part because I knew I wouldn't get on in after work, and in part because the drain in the shower got bunged up so I took one for the team and was going to shower at work anyway.

Did some brisk walking for 5 minutes, then ran for 3 minutes, walked for 2, repeat. After 3 cycles of this, I ran for 10 minutes and then decided that the slightly funny feeling in my knee was a sign I should stop. Of course, I'm probably now just being a baby. Who knows. I do know that my knee sometimes hurts after walking too much on a treadmill -- I think I overstride or something -- so I am going to try not to do too much more treadmill work for a while.

Oh, and, yes, we're 110 days from the marathon. But who's counting? Oh. I am....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the tiniest of runs

Wil and I went out to Green Lake this morning for a tiny little run. We decided to flip our usual intervals around and walk 5, run 1 -- just to see how my knee felt. We went around twice and it was only at the very end that I started to feel any pain at all. I did feel sluggish and winded easily, but I chalk that up to not exercising for a week. I did, however, have moments when I felt good and smooth and like I wanted to run farther and faster. But I'm trying to take it easy and not hurt myself again.

Also went to Road Runner and tried on a pair of Hurricane Xs -- nice! Light and comfy. They didn't have the black/silver ones in stock, but they will ship them to my home for no extra charge. Yay! New kicks! Also bought some new SuperFeet and another sensor pouch so that I won't have to swap the bits back and forth when I start breaking the shoes in.

Finally, I also remembered to get Dixie Cups so I can freeze little ice massagers... I put three little cups of water in the downstairs freezer for tomorrow...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

refresh, renew, revitalise

Rather than having a bridal shower for Rebecca, we decided on a trip to the Olympus Spa for a soak, a scrub, and (in my case) a massage. I've been trying to cheer myself up -- to stop worrying about work and running -- with little success. So while I lay on the table being scrubbed pink by an enthusiastic young Korean lady ("Tina"), I tried to picture my sadness being scrubbed away. Scrub scrub scrub, rinse; scrub scrub scrub, rinse...

Later, during the massage, I tried to picture warm happy thoughts being rubbed into my muscles, to imagine happy energy.

Barbara (who had a scrub and a moisturizing treatment) told me that she was recommitting to a fitness plan that starts tomorrow -- to be able to look back upon today's spa day as a new start. Amen, sister.

Friday, September 19, 2008

feeling blue

I haven't posted for days because I haven't exercised for days -- which has me feeling out of sorts, jangly nerved, tired, pudgy... Finally went to see a doctor today because the pain really wasn't getting any better.

My internist tells me that I have sustained trauma to my rotator cuff, but no major tear. Just ice it and rest it and I'll be fine.

When I landed on my knee, the impact pushed my kneecap up and out of the way, which pulled the patellar tendon and strained it. So I've got patellar tendonitis. Again, no tear, no long-lasting damage, so it's just a course of rest, ice, ibuprofen, and being conscious of the injury. It's a clear case of "if it hurts, stop".

She recommended that I limit my exercise to walking and maybe some light water running for another week... boo. She also said to avoid hills and stairs, as the flexing of the quad muscle pulls on the tendon and causes pain. So I actually took the elevator several times at work. Weird.

Fretting about the training program. Worried about getting too far behind. It's not as if I enjoy running -- but I do enjoy the sense of achievement, of completion, when I finish a run. I've missed that and it's making me feel blue.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

short, careful run

Today we were scheduled to run 8 miles, but given my poorly knee, we decided to take it very easy. Set off running slow, 5:1 interval sets, west on 65th, then down to and across the Locks, then south towards Fishermen's Terminal. After about 2 miles I decided we should cut the loop short and run back towards Ballard at Nickerson rather than at Dravus. Once we finished the 7th set of running, or about 3.5 miles, we decided to walk from there as my knee had given me a few warning twinges. Got home, stretched for a long time -- even taught Wil the partner stretching I'd learned at the LunaChix running clinic last week. I feel pretty good now, a couple of hours later. I don't feel tired (then again, we didn't run very long or very far), and my knee doesn't feel too dodgy. I take it as a good sign that I'll be able to run for real next weekend -- as long as I am careful this week.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

120 days and counting

Oh, and, um, as of today, we are 120 days away from the Walt Disney World Marathon. Yikes! And, yes, we're actually registered.

Wil's verification:

Kudos to Disney for letting me put "SUNNY" on my registration (and therefore my custom bib for the race):

HoopGirl

I've always been clumsy. Never in my life have I successfully completed a cartwheel. Never have I managed to juggle. And never have I kept a hula hoop spinning more than once before clattering to the floor.

Until today.

Attended a HoopDelite "playshop" and, within minutes, was able to hula hoop. Okay, sure, I can't keep the hoop spinning for more than a minute or so at a time, but I can hoop! And, yes, I still look like a spastic giraffe when I hoop, but I can hoop! Had to be careful because when the hoop falls, it had a tendency to smack my knee -- OUCH! I think my knee made me a bit too tentative today. But I learned some cool "off-body hooping" and I think, with practice, I'll actually "get it" and be able to reduce my motion while still keeping the hoop spinning. I even bought a beautiful swirly hoop and hoop tote (so portable!), so I can practice at home. Maybe after I get more skilled at basic hooping, I'll go back for another playshop.

BTW, my knee is feeling much better (except when it's smacked with a hoop). My left shoulder, however, feels stiff and sore.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

4 months and a sore knee

So the marathon is exactly 4 months away. Yikes! Feeling nervous and worried because my knee is swollen like a grapefruit and taking on a purplish hue, which means probably no running for a bit. Then again, when I really focus on the pain, how it hurts, it doesn't really seem like "mechanical" pain, if that makes sense -- it feels very bruised, and like the skin is extra tight and angry. But it doesn't hurt more when it's bent, when I walk on it, even when I test a tiny bit of jogging on it. So maybe I will be able to get back on track with my training.

Four months. Yikes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

bike crash

Rode in to work today -- nothing remarkable, other than that I was 5 minutes late for my bus across the bridge -- which just meant that I was 25 minutes early for the next one. (ha!)

On the way home, however, because I was at work so late, I decided that I would just catch the bus in front of T-Mobile rather than ride over to Bellevue. I also decided that I would just wear my street clothes home. On my way down the hill a car turned in front of me into a driveway. I braked hard, locked them up immediately, and went over the handlebars.

Wow.

There was this moment when I realized that, yes, I was going to go over. Don't remember much after that; I quickly got up and picked up my bike and tried to get out of the way (since the car was now blocking traffic). I limped off down the sidewalk, trying not to cry, muttering curses. The driver mouthed "Sorry!" and I just kept walking, not knowing what else to do. It wasn't until I was at the crosswalk that I realized that my chain was off. Decided I could wait to fix it until I was across the lake -- more room there; more privacy.

Got the bus, rode to the end of the tunnel, and then flipped the bike over to reset the chain. Except that it was trapped, somehow, and I couldn't get it back on the cog. Much fiddling, a bit of metal bending, and I got it back on the crank -- but it wouldn't turn very well. Also discovered that the rear wheel is bent -- not sure if the spokes are okay, but the wheel is definitely out of true.

The bike couldn't be ridden, so I pushed it a few blocks to where I could pick up the 28. Then the 28 home to Ballard. Now here with my knee iced and elevated, my elbow cleaned and bandaged, and my head pounding a little. I'll be taking Silver over to Eric's for a visit to the vet. A tiny bit worried about my knee, as it's very swollen and sore.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

LunaChix Run Clinic

I've been feeling a bit uninspired by my training lately -- all too happy to skip the long run at the weekend, and to avoid doing a make-up run yesterday. So I decided to go to the LunaChix running form clinic -- hoping to learn, in some small way, how to improve the way I run.

We started with a quick warm-up, then paired up to practice stretches. It was a lot to remember! Then we started practicing run drills. We also had our running analyzed, one by one. Let me tell you, it's pretty awkward running in front of a group of 20 people. I move my arms in different directions -- the left arm moves up and down, but the right arm flaps in a circle. Also I land on my heels and lift my feet up before I have a chance to push off, which limits my power. So the drills were designed to get us to land more evenly, push more forcefully, and, finally, to learn to use our arms. Pretty cool stuff. We then finished off with some core strengtheners.

I'm sure that my stride is still wonky, and that I have a lot to learn. But I did find running a bit easier, and it gives me something to work on, something different to think about during the runs.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

nature girl

Went across the bridge early on Friday so that I could get a treadmill run in before starting my day. Ran 4.47 miles in 45 minutes, but felt stiff and creaky the whole time. Especially worrying that I felt creaky in my LEFT hip. Booo. But got it done and tried to get some decent stretching in, given that I'd pretty much skipped my stretching on Thursday afternoon.

Then quickly through the workday so that I could leave a little early to pick up Wil and head down to Mount Rainier, where we spent the weekend camping with our friends Megan and Leslie (and their 13-month old, Finn) -- along with their friends Chip and Leah (and their 3-month old Simona). Wil and I haven't camped in years, but really enjoyed the chance to be away from the city for a couple of days, go for walks in the forest, see wildflowers, breathe fresh air... Not the most strenuous of trips, but it was really nice to spend some time with "Meglie" and to have quiet time with each other.

We skipped our long run today -- I *still* feel a little gimpy from last week, unfortunately -- but we'll run 7 miles tomorrow.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

afternoon treadmill

Wanted to cram a run in today but couldn't manage it before work -- so I ran after work but before grabbing the 4:00 bus back across the bridge. Left my desk later than I had hoped (of course...) hurried to the gym, and got on the treadmill. Walked 5, ran 38 (was really watching the clock) and walked 3 to cool down. Stretched in the shower. I know, I know... not ideal. I have a very tight right calf and a sore right arch. Really ready for some new shoes.

A woman came in next to me and did what I can only describe as an upper-body workout on the neighboring treadmill -- hanging on to the front and basically pulling herself along. Weird. It also meant that with EVERY STEP she kicked the front panel. BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Very, very bizarre. Luckily she only spent 15 minutes banging alongside me.

Hoping to get up early enough to run tomorrow morning... we'll see.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

plod plod plod

Neither of us were in particularly good moods today... but I'm proud to say we got home, laced up our shoes, and went out for our 40-minute run. The usual -- 5-minute warmup, 40-minute run, 50-minute cooldown. Nothing spectacular to report, other than we were both pretty slow. Not sure what caused it -- a bit of lingering fatigue after the weekend? Lingering work stress? I just don't know. I managed to pause my workout about 8 minutes in on my Nike+, and Wil's Garmin acted up. Wil's Nike+, however, reported something like 4.19 miles. Not our best time...

Right foot still feeling sore... luckily the new Saucony Hurricane 10 is out... and did I mention it's available in BLACK!!! Hello Road Runner!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Race Numbers

Just wanted to call out - again - how great the individually numbered shirts were. Well done!

Nike+ Human Race

Busy weekend! With day 2 of Bumbershoot looming, we had to get an early start for our run -- 10K in the Nike+ Human Race! We had long since bought the race tops (super cool, excellent work, Nike!) so we put them on and headed out the door at 8:30. Wil kept us moving along at a good clip, and we decided to run 5:1 sets. Nothing much to report -- we didn't see many people out, and no one was wearing the race tops (though I suspect that anyone who was wearing them was running around Green Lake with Road Runner this morning). Felt pretty good until the last mile or so; we'd had egg and cheese on English muffins at 8 and not given ourselves time to digest them so we were both a little off. Still, we finished the 6.2 miles in 1:06, which isn't too bad for us.

Now off to Bumbershoot!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday run

Worked from home today to avoid the gloom in the office -- got a lot done, but not everything I needed to do. Oh well. Perhaps in my future as a "file monkey" I won't have to worry about any big picture issues -- I can just refer people to my new boss. Once I get him trained in that part of my job anyway.

Meow.

But this was supposed to be about running... and run we did. Wil was let out of work early, getting home before 2 so we headed out before 3. After our 5-minute warmup walk, we ran for 40 minutes in a loping 3:2 pattern. As a result, we both felt pretty good the entire time. Tomorrow is technically a "cross training" day; I'm hoping that wandering around and dancing will serve.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

run + "rsf drill"

Another rough day at work... but made it home without tears today at least. Got home and quickly changed clothes to go out for my run -- a 40 minute run, plus a "running speed and form" drill. My first. I even had to re-read "Marathoning for Mortals" to figure out just what exactly I was meant to be doing. I was scheduled to warm-up walk for 5 minutes, then run/walk for 40 minutes in a 3:2 interval, then cool down for 5 minutes, and then do the drill. I made a slight variation on my now standard Crown Hill loop; turning at the sunset park and meandering back through Loyal Heights. The running was good, even though I don't think I ran very fast. I aimed to run the "drill" on that small track at Salmon Bay School, but I mistimed things and didn't want to cool down while walking round and round. So I continued to head for home, and crossed 15th at 67th at the perfect time to start.

And what exactly was the drill, you may ask? Well, it's designed to have you practice your speed... and your form. So you speed up until you're going as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then cool down for a minute, and then repeat for a total of 4 sets. It was interesting to run as fast as possible for a short time. I had this idea I'd need a bit more room -- snort. But I did end up looping around the neighborhood a bit, including a slightly embarrassing sprint up my own street and past the neighbors. I'm such a dork.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

bike + run

Rode my bike downtown this morning but missed the first bus over the bridge -- and had to wait 20 minutes for the next one. Had a similar situation on the way home -- arrived at the P&R just as a someone loaded the third bike on a bus. So there went another 20 minutes. Oh well. Felt really tired on the way home and decided I couldn't face Dexter -- so it meant a trip along Westlake. Westlake isn't so bad in the morning, but in the afternoons it's chaos. Watched two near collisions and felt like cars were extra ornery today. Weird.

Then when I got home (at 6pm!!!) Wil and I got changed into running togs and went out for a 40-minute run. Walked for 5 minutes to warm up, then ran around the neighborhood. Reba had told us that the track at Salmon Bay School was nice; what she didn't mention is that it's tiny. We soon realized that we wouldn't be able, mentally, to run around that track. So back out into the neighborhood, out to the sunset park and then back home in a big loop. Started to rain on our last set, but we stuck with it and got home. It's satisfying that a 40-minute run is comfortable, even if it took me a while to feel warmed up.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

sub-par lsd

Got up relatively early (7:30ish) to have 1/2 bagel each and then get ready for our long run. Headed out of the house around 8:45, then west on 65th, south on 32nd, along the BGT to Golden Gardens, then back, running up the curving hill to 57th (?) and then up 32nd and back across on 64th. I foolishly believed the weather report, which said it would get cold, and wore tights and long sleeves. Big mistake. It was still very warm, and I felt overheated before we even got to the trail. I was already lagging behind Wil, who was running quite strong at first. But then he, too, felt overheated. We had hoped to run 7 miles today, but ended up just running until 5 miles, then walking the direct 1+ miles home.

Still feeling a bit tired and sluggish. We didn't sleep particularly well, or particularly long -- hoping for an early night tonight.

Friday, August 22, 2008

solo run

Took the day off work today and, having not run since the Danskin on Sunday, decided I needed to get a bit of running in.

Headed off to Green Lake because I didn't want to think about where to go, etc. It was pretty crowded out there -- lots of moms+strollers, walking 2 or 3 abreast. (Always charming.)

After warming up for 5 minutes, ran for 40 minutes in a 7:1 pattern, feeling a little sluggish but at least running. Then a nice long cooldown walk and a decent stretch.

Still feeling tired, but happy to have run.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Danskin race report

Got up early, put on my tri shorts, tri top, and a pirate t-shirt, then toasted two bagels. Loaded my bucket in the car (fighting off the urge to dump it out and re-check everything I had packed the night before), and Wil and I headed out to the start. Even though we were in the neighborhood by 6:10, the streets were already crowded. We parked about 8 blocks away and walked over.

I was feeling nervous, but I think I was most nervous about the transition set-up! When I got to my rack, my bike had been slid over a bit and It was hard to carve out a little space for my things. I checked and double checked my set up, then tied by sunshine balloon to the rack. Back out of the transition area, then in the portaloo line, and then Wil and I headed over to the swim start.

We didn't see the elite wave start -- we were still making our way through the crowd -- but we heard the whoop. Then a second, larger elite wave followed quickly after. And then the survivors went. Each wave was given their own "mantra" -- a word to repeat during the race. The survivors got "courageous".

I was in wave 14, which meant we had a lot of time. We wandered around, watched the first elites finish the swim (taking surprisingly long, it seemed to me), then headed across the chute to the start side. I got re-inked, we milled about, I got a bit nervous, etc. But then, suddenly, wave 12 was starting so I headed in to position.

I'm not really sure how big the waves were -- I think I was about halfway back? It was all a bit overwhelming. Sally Edwards running out on the dock, getting us to high five each other, shout "you go girlfriend!", and then giving us our mantra. Which was... SEXY. A little weird, and we all laughed and whooped as we stood in thigh-deep water. Then the course announcer interrupted and said "FOUR! THREE! TWO! ONE!" and we all were surprised into swimming.

Lots of grabbing, kicking, and pulling... I just tried to stay calm, keep my head down, and swim. Things loosened up pretty quickly, and I swam cleanly... until the first buoy. The first turn was pretty close to shore, and we hadn't strung out very much, so we bunched up a lot around the turn. That's the only point that I had to pick my head out of the water. Once around the buoy, it was clear water. I slotted in behind a woman who was swimming steadily and we passed a few people from earlier waves. I didn't sight very often, but felt like I could just keep swimming. Then, suddenly, we were at the second buoy.

A little less hectic at the second turn; was very happy thinking that I was almost done with the swim. At that moment my left hand connected with the foot of a woman in front of me -- and I felt my wedding ring shift down my finger. Yikes! I stopped, quickly slid it back on, and started swimming again. I then spent the remainder of the swim wondering if a lost ring would ever turn up. Somehow I'd lost my pacer, but sighted on a woman doing the breaststroke. I swam up behind her and just followed her to the exit ramp. Swim time: 20:26.

Then a looooooong run up the exit chute (saw and heard Wil cheering), and a loooooooong run to my bike rack. (Row F1, where "F" stands for "Far, Far Away"...) I think I moved out pretty quickly, and even remembered to fasten my shoes. Then a looooooooong run back out through the transition area and out to the bike start. T1 time: 4:12. (Absurd!)

The bike started pretty well -- a fast and flat trip north along the lake (another quick glimpse of cheering Wil), where I zipped along at a nice fast clip. Then up a slight hill, and then the dreaded "narrow access lane". I quickly realized that I would be able to ride up it... but a lot of people couldn't. I tried to stay out of my clips, but kept accidentally slipping back in. And then the woman in front of me stopped. Just stopped. I couldn't get out of my clips fast enough and toppled over. Crap! Of course, now *I* was the problem. Oops. But then I just got up, shifted over to the right, and then ran my bike the last 10 yards or so.

Once I got around the corner I got back on my bike, and then nearly popped my chain. Happily, it held, and I was off down the hill onto the bridge. I looked down at my speed and saw that I was going 22.5 mph. Woo-hoo! Kept moving quickly across the bridge, and passed a lot of folks on my way up the hill into the tunnel. The tunnel was strange -- dark, banked a little unexpectedly -- and I saw a lot of women pulled over with flats. Then out through the tunnel and along the road -- pretty uneventful -- and then, suddenly, the turnaround. It was strangely quiet -- only a handful of supporters out on the bike course, which is, I suppose, a result of having a freeway course.

Back across the bridge, and then a strange traffic jam turning back out to that little path -- this time, down hill. We were told to just walk our bikes and be patient -- which was weird. About halfway down a young man came running up with a megaphone, shouting "What are you doing? Get on your bikes! This is downhill!". There was a gap in the left side of our lane, so I jumped in it and got clear of the gridlock. A few hundred yards past the hill I saw two people cheering -- Reba and Eric! I waved and they cheered extra loud -- and then I just put my head down and pedaled. Slowed for the final right turn, dismounted, and ran my bike into the transition area. Bike time: 41:34 -- much faster than I expected.

A quick run to my rack (first bike back! Woot!), and I tried to take my time and get my breath back. Remembered to take my gloves off and put on my hat. Then jogged out to the run exit. T2 time: 2:16.

Did feel winded on the way out -- but I figured I should at least jog until I got past the crowds. Ha! After running for 5 minutes, I hit the first water stop and happily walked for a minute. Lots of walkers from the earlier waves, and a few speedy runners. I started running 7 and walking 1, but then there were so many water stops that I just started running between the water stops. Found another pacer and just stuck with her out to the turnaround, then back to "the hill". My energy was really low at this point, but a volunteer shouted that it was a 50-yard hill, and then downhill to the finish.

The final downhill (like most of the course), had very few spectators, but there was one man shouting out "You all look so GORGEOUS!" -- which was nice, and not as creepy as I think it looks here.

I sped up as I went down the hill, and then ran as fast as I could through the last 100 or so yards -- down a narrow, windy path. I kept repeating "leave nothing in the tank", which always makes me laugh. Then out into the finish chute, trying to remember to grin. And then, suddenly, done. Run time: 32:13.

There was an absolute crush at the finish line -- couldn't find Wil anywhere. Decided that I would just head to the water and bagel area and find Wil later, but he found me. He told me he missed me on the bike return -- neither of us thought I would finish that quickly! Wil said he'd been standing with Reba and Eric, and that they'd heard my name called, but hadn't actually seen me. I didn't hear my name...

Met Wil's friend Allisen and her friend Dawn, and then found R&E, and chatted. Rebecca noticed that I had a nice set of bloody scrapes on my right leg, probably courtesy of my big crank. I was really, really tired, however, and could think of nothing I wanted more than to eat and nap. So I packed up my transition area, chatted a little with the other ladies, and then we headed over to the car. Drove immediately to Vera's, where I hoovered up a veggie omelette. Then home, shower, and nap.

All in all, I think I had a good race. I finished faster than I expected to, and other than the little crash, everything went really well. Would I do Danskin again? No. It's too big, too commercial. The expo was a joke -- tell me again why I had to go to Bellevue to pick up my packet? Oh, I know, it's so I could shop while I waited. Don't get me started on the cheap bike racks. And for all the pink ribbon stuff, there was no health awareness -- I mean, couldn't they have had the Swedish breast cancer screening vans there? But -- I'm really glad I did it.

But. I would like to do more triathlons -- perhaps Chelanman next year?