Thursday, January 31, 2008


Yesterday I swam before work. The pool was a little more crowded -- the other three lanes each had two people in them at various times. Was thrilled when the whale singer arrived, about 20 minute into my workout. Listening to his bubbly melodies kept me distracted.

I swam 550 meters of freestyle, 550 meters with the pull buoy and my paddle gloves, 250 meters with the kickboard, and then 50 meters of freestyle to wrap up. 1400 meters, 38 minutes. Not the fastest performance in the world, obviously, but it felt good to just keep swimming. I'm excited at the prospect of open water swimming again -- though that might just be excitement at the prospect of warm weather...

Today I met Wil at the gym DT to run on the treadmill. The bones in my feet, and especially my left foot, have continued to feel a little odd, so I decided to change back to my nicer, more supportive, old Saucony shoes. I swapped the sensor over, knowing that it wouldn't be well calibrated, but figured I'd rather test it after meeting my monthly goal than before. (Stupid, I know...)

It was interesting watching the pace displayed on my iPod change from 9:06/mile to 23:18/mile in the blink of an eye. Sometimes the iPod didn't even read the sensor. But in the end, I ran for 40 minutes and it tracked 3.37 miles, which is 50% closer than it tracked on Sunday in the real world. Maybe it's the iPod, maybe it's the sensor. Who knows. But I didn't expect much while using the old shoes.

To add to my electronic amusement, I also wore my heartrate monitor. At least it was only broadcasting to the treadmill I was on. But it only rarely matched the rate displayed on my "watch", sometimes being off by more than 40 bpm. Oh well. I ran more slowly than usual, trying to keep my heartrate down, but it was difficult to know what the rate really was.

So January is at an end. I feel really proud of all the running we've done this month, and how far we've come since starting this journey. By the end of February we'll be running 9 miles in our "long runs". I hope to swim every Wednesday morning, and maybe to find another day when I can fit a swim in. I'd also like to start doing a little strength training, at least to strengthen my core. And I'd like to ride my bike more. Perhaps even daring to ride outside. Brrr.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

goal attained!

Met Wil at the gym DT for some treadmill running. Wil ran 35 minutes while monitoring his heartrate; I ran 45 minutes monitoring my sensor. Pathetic, yes, but it was good to see it work on the treadmill at least.

Happy to report that the 4.26 miles today officially pushed me over my 45-mile goal for the month of January. Yes, I know that I made my goal sometime last week, given all the malfunctions, but it's nice to have it "official". I also entered my goal for February: 50 miles. We'll see.

I felt good during the run, breathing pretty easily until the very end. My right knee had a little twinge at minute 35, but then felt okay. Right calf still tight.

Feet felt funny after the run, as if the bones were... loose? Tender? Weak? Not sure how to describe it. I think Wil's right -- I should go back to my older, more sturdy Saucony kicks until I make the time to get refitted.

Tomorrow I'll be sending off our registrations for the Birch Bay International Road Race, which is a nice 15K run. With tech socks. Oh yeah.

Monday, January 28, 2008

bikey xt

Snow this morning kept me at home. Hey, I just don't drive in snow. Poor Wil weathered the 45-minute wait at the bus stop while I tapped away happily at home.

For my "lunch break" I went downstairs and rode in the trainer for 35 minutes at a speed high enough to break a sweat. I should have worn my heartrate monitor, but didn't. Naughty Sunny. Feeling a little saddle sore -- I don't think I've ridden for two weeks. Tomorrow I hope to fit in some treadmill time at the DT gym before our Tolkien lecture. Unless my sensor has totally imploded, I'll FINALLY make my goal for January.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

a tale of two sensors

It was the best of runs, it was the worst of runs...

My sensor -- the replacement one -- was even worse today. Two full laps around Green Lake registering as 2.72 miles. Clearly I need to recalibrate. It's just frustrating because it is fine on a treadmill. I guess I run very differently.

Wil's sensor, however, was pretty much spot on. We ran around the lake twice and then ran for 5 more minutes, which read as 6.18 miles, at a 10:28 min/mile pace. Wil also wore his heart rate monitor, which made us both feel as if we were going really slowly, but it also meant that we were never out of breath and were quite happily moving along. And, as I pointed out to Wil, that pace is more than twice as fast as "mine".

We started a few minutes behind a running group, which was handy, because they'd marked the mileage on the track. They were running 3 miles today, and were all in really good spirits. I like seeing happy runners.

The cold weather kept the crowds down at the lake, which was nice. We also started really early (for us, anyway) - it was only 8:35 when we started, I think. And we ran for a good hour, which still amazes me a little. Lots of ice on the lake, some even at the shore.

Given the sensor thang, I didn't complete my January goal today. But I'll complete it on Tuesday! Then I get to think about my February goal... is 50 miles too ambitious?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

After my dentist appointment (look, Ma, no cavities!) I met Wil downtown at the gym. I ran on the treadmill for 4 miles, feeling pretty good the whole time. Today was the first time I had worn the heartrate sensor, which for some reason broadcast my HR to the machines to my immediate right and left, but not to my own. Oops. It meant that Wil was monitoring my HR, even if I wasn't. I think it's too high, probably.

After our workout, we went to Pacific Place for to see "Spirit of the Marathon", a documentary about training for and running the marathon. Wil kept nudging me at moments when he knew I'd be teary. Which was often. It was strange and fun to be in a movie theater full of runners -- lots of people calling out to each other, talking about their weekend run, etc. Wil and I talked to a man who runs half marathons -- has been doing it for seven years. During the movie people gasped, laughed, and cheered. And, of course, everyone left feeling inspired.

BTW, as of today's run, I've run 40 miles this month. Sure, it's less than an elite runner does in a week. But I still feel ridiculously proud of it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

wet set

On Wednesdays I have meetings until 5:00. But I still go into the office at 7:00. So today, even though it was a scheduled "rest" day, I decided to go to the gym in Bellevue before work. It still got me across the bridge before traffic got bad, and I got to work feeling energized and pleased with myself.

Today I swam for 30 minutes -- 400 meters freestyle, 400 meters pulling with a leg float, 250 meters kicking, and 50 meters freestyle to end it. I was pleasantly distracted during the first 400 meters by the whalesongs of another swimmer. (Do *I* make that noise, too?) It worries me a bit that it took me half an hour to swim 1100 meters. How long will it take me to swim 1500? In open water?

I was looking at last year's Portland Triathlon. It looks like an amazing event, and I was happy to see that "normal" people also participated in the race. I scrolled through the results. One of the later finishers spent 53 minutes in the water on her swim. I think that if I spent 53 minutes just swimming, I'd be pretty much done. I don't know if I'd be able to will myself to get on the bike. So huge, huge kudos to her.

I wrote the date of the Portland Marathon on my whiteboard at work: 10/05/08. I think that's my new target.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blogger Omnibus

Okay, so I haven't blogged in days and days. I've been busy -- not as busy as I probably should have been, but busy nonetheless.

Friday did absolutely no exercise. None. Well, unless you count the 7-block walk to the pub, and the 7-block walk back from the pub. Which of course didn't come anywhere near compensating for the pints of cider. One does what one can.

Saturday was "Mom Day", where we went down to Lacey and did some errands for her. Again, no real exercise.

Sunday was "Run Day" -- where Wil came back strong and speedy on his Achilles and ran > 3 miles. We ran together around Green Lake once, stopping to walk at Wil's 1-mile mark and 2-mile mark. I say Wil's marks, because my sensor wasn't functioning quite right. I didn't get my 1-mile mark until about 1.5 by Wil's sensor, and I didn't hit 2 until after I'd gone around the lake once. Admittedly, I'd walked for 5 minutes to warm up, but unless I was walking Very Quickly, I didn't walk over a mile in those 5 minutes. When Wil hit 3 on his sensor, he turned to walk in the other direction and meet me. I kept going, and ran almost 2/3rds of the way around the lake before running in to Wil, who turned and ran with me back to where the car was. At some point I finally hit "4", though by that point I must have run over 5. After going around the lake two times, when I should have been at 5.6, I was only at 4.5. Being the sort of person who needs the carrot, I couldn't make myself keep running. I was cold and frustrated, so I decided to stop.

I did, however, amuse myself by thinking "I know what you're thinking. 'Did she run six miles or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a Nike+ sensor, the most powerful motivator in my world, which doesn't seem to function in cold weather, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel tired? Well, do ya, punk?"

Okay, maybe it was only funny at the time.

Monday was really, really cold -- literally freezing. We had decided to go for a bike ride, but couldn't face the idea. The minute you got out of the sun, it felt arctic. So we tidied the house in the morning and then went for a long walk through Myrtle Edwards Park and the Sculpture Park.

Today we were both back at work, but went to the gym downtown to run. Wil ran for 3 miles, while I ran for 45 minutes. In the sweltering, airless gym, my sensor worked just fine, logging 4.25 miles. Not the fastest run, but I ran at a 1.0 incline.

After tonight's Tolkien lecture we got home to discover our heart rate monitors had been delivered. I try not to worry when my pulse "stops", and Wil tries not to worry when his pulse registers at 220. We assume it's the crazy wireless interference in this very wireless house.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

a better brick

Went to the gym in Bellevue today so that I could have a swim. After warming up for 5 minutes, I ran for 40 minutes on the treadmill, starting slow (5.5 mph) and speeding up 0.1 mph every 5 minutes. Still feeling a little twinge in my right ankle... not a strain, but an intermittent weakness. Not sure how else to describe it. But after the first 5 minutes I felt pretty good, and felt like my breathing was smooth.

After my run I changed into my swimsuit and hit the pool. Pretty quiet -- a woman with her little boy in the far right lane, and woman in the far left lane who got out within minutes of my getting in the pool. A man later took her lane, and made a marvellous, cetacean sound as he swam. I think he must have been humming or something as he exhaled underwater. It was sorta distracting, but also nice and soothing. I swam for 25 minutes, doing 12 lengths of crawl, 8 lengths with the kickboard, 4 lengths of crawl, and 8 lengths of breaststroke.

Unfortunately someone had stretched their towel across the top bench in the sauna, so I didn't really get to relax. Given how terrible the traffic home was, I should have just skipped the 5 minutes. But it was still really nice to be warm for a while.

According to Nike+ I've completed over 27 miles so far this month. Just 18 more to go! I feel stiff most mornings, and stairs are creaky for me, but otherwise I feel pretty good,

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

half way there

Snuck in a workout between my morning meetings and my afternoon meetings, which made me feel both virtuous and naughty.

Did 35 minutes on the treadmill at the DT gym, felt slow and stiff at first but then happily settled in and increased my speed as I went. In the end, just over 3.5 miles. Gym not very crowded at 12:30...

Loaded my run to Nike+ and was very pleased to find that I'm just over half way to my goal of 45 miles in January - yay!

Right calf a bit tight now, and my knees felt extra crunchy today. Will take some Vitamin I before bedtime. Blisters healing, slowly, but I am still putting the blister pads on for workouts. Tomorrow is a well-earned day of rest.

Random thought, from Tolkien, courtesy of Dr. Robin Chapman Stacey, whom we saw lecture tonight: "We need the consolation dragons provide". Nice.

Monday, January 14, 2008

XT: 30 minutes

Horrible day at work; couldn't wait to get out of the office. But yesterday's glorious sunshine became today's torrential rain mixed with wet snow. So I very happily put in my 30 minutes on the bike trainer in the warm(ish) basement. Tomorrow's workout will be tricky to fit in -- I have a meeting from 2-5 in the afternoon, and a lecture that starts at 7. So I think I'll slip in some gym time over lunch.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

5.5 miles!

Had to do this week's long run on my own because Wil is still resting his damaged Achilles tendon. I wasn't sure if I'd manage to get myself out of the house without him, but luckily the weather was beautiful -- bright sunshine, little wind, and unseasonable warmth. 

Didn't want to run alone on the BGT -- not sure why, but I just didn't want to be back there alone. So I drove over to Green Lake and decided to go around twice. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to pace myself very well, so I just decided to run at a comfortable pace and walk a minute after every mile. The path was crowded -- beautiful weather + January = lots of walkers and joggers. Just like me. 

Had wisely gotten out of bed early to eat some toast and egg, and then gone back to bed for a while before going out for the run. I think my extra slow performance last week was due to a lack of fuel. So this week I felt better. The first mile was tough, as usual, but then it got a bit easier. I made a point of drinking during each of the walk breaks, which also helped. 

It was strange to go around more than once. Not sure if it helped or made it worse. Had a collision with two little girls who ran into me (I had stopped because I couldn't tell where they were going). Even though they were stopped up against me, their little legs kept going. Bless. I saw them again a while later and the parents smiled at me. 

After my run, I walked for 5 minutes and then tried to find somewhere to stretch where I didn't feel like a prat. Didn't succeed, and ended up just stretching on the grass by the aquatheater. Then back to the car and home. 

Really pleased with myself for running alone, and really looking forward to Wil being able to join me again soon. I've done 19+ miles so far this month; just 25+ left to go.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Took advantage of the fine weather to go to Ingraham to calibrate my new sensor after work. Was pleasantly surprised to see that my iPod knew it was a new sensor -- seems like a good way to keep couples from inadvertently swapping sensors. So I calibrated my walking pace, and then calibrated my run. Just to check the calibration, I then ran around the track once -- it was spot on. Feeling a lot of love for Apple right now. (Mustn't forget to return the old sensor!)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

dumb as a brick

Was in a bit of a hurry this morning -- couldn't decide whether to go in to the office a bit late and go to the gym in the morning, or to go in to the office at the usual time and leave a bit early to go to the gym. Morning in the office won out, but it meant that I rushed around getting my things ready... and I forgot to put socks in my gym bag.

When I got to the gym after lunch, I decided that, since my shoes were already broken in, I would go ahead and run. I was more worried about the sensor working (the replacement hadn't yet arrived) than my feet.

Got on the treadmill and started walking to warm up. The iPod couldn't read the sensor... boo. Then I remembered that I might have turned it off while trying to get it to read. So I stopped, took my shoe off, and tried to get it to connect. Success! Shoe back on, treadmill turned up to 5.7, and off I went.

After about 20 minutes, my right foot had a hotspot on the arch. I soldiered on. After 25 minutes, the left foot had one to match. Again, I kept going. After 30 minutes, I got a hotspot on my right heel. Almost done, I reasoned, so on I went. 35 minutes, 3.43 miles. My January total (as per Nike+: 14.1 miles).

Limped through a very short cooldown (3 or4 minutes), and then headed to the locker room. Three big blisters. Ouch.

Reasoning that my feet wouldn't be hurt any more by swimming, I got changed into my suit, showered, and hit the nearly empty pool. I swam for 25 minutes, mixing freestyle, kickboard, and breaststroke for 36 lengths. Funniest moment: when a "water walker" lady passed me, going faster than I could kickboard. Nice.

In other news, I got tickets to the "Spirit of the Marathon" movie for the 24th at Pacific Place, and when I got home my new sensor has arrived from Apple. Bless them. Tomorrow I'll go calibrate it in preparation for the long run at the weekend.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I love Nike+... I hate Nike+

Running along today on the treadmill at the gym in Seattle. 22 minutes into a 37-minute run. Suddenly, I hear "workout paused... press the center button to continue your workout". Rowr.

So I press the center button... try to run with particularly heavy tread.... wiggle the receiver in the bottom of the Nano... nothing. So I stop the treadmill and turn the Nano on and off.


I try again. Each time I'm told "walk around to activate your sensor". There I am, in a crowded gym, stomping along, trying to get the iPod to recognize the sensor.


Wil and I did a little research on the Nike+ forums. The battery in the sensor isn't rechargable or replaceable... but it's supposed to last for "1000 hours". Or at least a year. I've only had 20 workouts with this sensor, so it's a bit early... Luckily, you can send off for a "free" replacement -- as long as you're under warranty. You can even do it online, though I thought they needed to finess the language on their form. I *think* I'll only be charged $21.00 if I don't return the defective part after I receive my replacement. Actually, I'm sure of that, but the language is a little funky. Still, I was impressed with their online "troubleshooting" tool and will be pleased when my new sensor arrives... hopefully soon.

I did manage to record just over 2 miles today; about a mile and a half less than I wanted to run.

What's silly is how quickly I've become lured in by Nike+. I love seeing the runs, seeing my progress towards my goals, seeing the challenges. So it's stupidly frustrating when it doesn't record my work. Yes, I know, I've still done the important thing -- the running. But it would be nice to see it recorded!

But, well, "it just works"...

Monday, January 7, 2008


Today both Wil and I felt a little the worse for wear after yesterday's run. I've got a gimpy hip and a tired back. But I came home and put in my 30 minutes of speedy riding on the bike trainer so I feel okay about that. Tomorrow is a running day; 35 minutes at the gym. I should be able to get another 3.5 miles in; which will put me at 12 miles for January -- pretty good progress towards my 45-mile goal.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

5 Miles!

Just back from this week's long run -- five miles!

I feel really tired, a bit chilled, and my calves are screaming. (I'm stretching them as I type...)

Again we ran down to the Fred Meyer and onto the BGT. Again it was in to a headwind. I was really sluggish and had a hard time keeping up with Wil. At one point I must have been 15 feet behind him. Luckily he decided he wanted a short walk break, which gave me a chance to catch my breath, to0.

However, starting up from the break, Wil tweaked something and sent me off on my own. I decided I'd do the Adobe Loop and then catch up with him heading back. I was just about to make the turn through Adobe when I saw Wil coming up behind me, telling me to keep going. Apparently whatever "popped out" "popped back in". So on we went, a little further. I turned back at Speedy Reedy, looping back on the inside lane.

At 3 miles, Wil mistook my "two miles left!" arm flailing celebration for a "quick, turn right!" signal. Oops. But on we plodded. I took another short walk break at 3.5 miles, and then we ran the rest of the way home. Not the fastest pace ever, not the most enjoyable run ever, but we did it.

Apparently, I have been taking off my headphones too early to hear the special guest commentators. Today Paula congratulated me on my longest ever workout. Aww. Thanks Paula.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

feverish and unfit

Left work early yesterday, feeling feverish and flushed (though, apparently, cold and clammy to the touch). Got home, felt restless, so decided to squeeze in a little XT since I knew I wouldn't get out for a walk later. Rode 25 minutes on the bike in the trainer downstairs, felt even more ick, and then showered and went to bed. Boo.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

January at the Gym

Even though I got held up at work today -- had to complete my self assessment for Q4, yawn -- I still decided to go to the gym for a 35-minute run on the treadmill. Got there about 4:50, and it was already crowded. By the time I finished, every treadmill was full, as was every elliptical trainer, every exercise bike, and every stairmaster. I love January! All the fresh starts, all the new resolutions.

I didn't reset my treadmill after my 5-minute warmup walk, which meant that, after 15 minutes of running, it decided to go into cooldown mode. So much for a "manual" workout! So I hopped in place while trying to get it to reset so I could run the last 20 minutes. I'm sure that the unexpected break meant that I was able to run strong the whole way. Happy to report that my iPod worked okay, chiming out my remaining times and keeping me going. I love Nike+!!!

I set the pace as 6.0 mph, with a 1.0% incline. Passed the time by watching people outside struggle with their umbrellas (# turned inside out = 4). Still, happy when I hit 35 minutes, and then did a 5-minute cooldown walk. (Which meant that I again had to reset the machine, as they only give you a 2-minute cooldown.)

Came straight home to shower here, but then had to struggle to get my iPod to connect to the computer. A little fiddling, some furrowed brows, and Wil got it to go. I have officially logged 50+ miles with Nike+. Yay me!

Also joined my first "challenge" -- a pretty simple one, trying to run 30 miles in January. Still, I wasn't able to include today's run (or Tuesday's, of course), so I may not be able to get 30 in. We'll see.

Didn't sleep well last night so feeling tired today, and my back is achy. Must go to bed early tonight.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Decisions, decisions...

The stated goal of our training, and this blog, is to train for the Seattle Marathon. But for weeks we've been having second thoughts.

I saw an ad for the Las Vegas Marathon, which sounds fun and wacky. I love the idea of running Elvii and a run-through wedding chapel and fireworks on the Strip. It's almost guaranteed to be better weather than Seattle, which happens a week before. It's also much flatter.

And then on New Year's Eve, three semi-strangers all told us that Portland was far more fun than Seattle. That the city is really supportive, that there are people all along the route, that the course is beautiful, and the entire race is eco-friendly. It's a few weeks earlier than Seattle, which means that the weather tends to be better.

Another friend, who happens to be in the process of moving from Portland to Seattle, echoed these sentiments. So what's it going to be?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 is the Year of the Runner

Today was the Road Runner Sports Resolution Run 5K. We got a bit lost trying to figure out exactly *where* in Magnuson Park to go -- we ended up on the course by accident. (Luckily it was well ahead of the race start!)

Got in line, picked up our shirts, bibs, and chips, and got ourselves settled. I also insisted on getting the bright orange Road Runner hats... Wil is sure I'll never wear it, but who knows. Might be nice in the summer. Dropped off the shirts (which say "2008 Year of the Runner" on the back) and the hats and the milled around.

We both felt a bit stiff and a bit the worse for wear, so we placed ourselves with the 10:30 mile pack at the start. I fiddled with my iPod, but I had to reset it... and though it finally started recording our run a hundred feet or so in, it was dead to the world by the end. Pity. I've got 45 miles to run in January!

That said, we were running pretty easily, passing more people than passed us. Wil had a headache, I had an iffy stomach, but on we plodded. The sun peeked out and, while the day couldn't be described as warm, it was pleasant. As we neared the 1-mile point, a fast moving cyclist rode towards us saying "Keep right! Keep right! Runner coming through!" It was the front runner, a very very fast man. We all whooped and cheered for him, along with the next few runners. Did I mention that they were already at the 2-mile point at the time? Oh well.

Then out for a loop near the boat launch, where three bald eagles put on a show for us. Very cool. I told Wil that they were just waiting for the stragglers to pick them off.

We walked for 60 seconds while Wil took his fleece off and tied it around his waist, and then passed the 2-mile point ourselves. A guy at the marker was calling out split times, and I could tell that we were on track for a pretty good run. We say it all the time, but it's so cool to be at the point where we see that we have a mile left and think "Well, that's easy... I can run a mile." So on we went, running more and more smoothly. We fell in behind some people who we felt comfortable running with, and settled in.

A few minutes later, we were running down the last hill past the start line and through the chutes. The organizers had cleverly used an overhead banner, additional signs at the side of the lanes, and a man in the middle miming dry and wet to separate the dry runners from the trip and drippers. Perhaps a lesson for the Las Vegas Marathon organizers who didn't have much signage for the full and half marathon split...

We rounded the last corner, kicked up a little bit of speed, and we were done. Hooray! Sadly, I discovered my iPod had indeed died (though Wil resurrected it later in the day) so I didn't know what my time was. Wil stopped his, but only after we had been walking around for a bit. We got drinks, a banana, and picked up our bag from the drop and wandered around. There were a surprising number of drippers! The overall winner of the event even went in the water before finishing. That said, apparently he is a member of Team USA for ultramarathons... Sadly, neither of us wanted a beer, which made both of us a little sad. We wanted to want a beer, if that makes any sense. But in the end, we decided to gather ourselves up and leave.

Upon getting home from my mom's new place tonight, I looked up our results and was thrilled to see that we had run the race in 30:10 -- a PR for each of us! We came in 314 and 315 out of 558 5K runners. I was 142 out of 328 women (again, just in the 5K), and 39 out of 108 women in my age division. We had run at a 9:44 pace, which is zippy for us, and came in ahead of the average time of 31:02. Yay us!

Tomorrow is a rest day, which is good because it's my first day back in the office in a week.