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.


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?

racked and ready

Blurry and hurried shot of my transition set-up, pre race...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

danskin expo

so we were told that we had to pick up our numbers at specified times. so I foolishly believed them. apparently I should have just come this morning...:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Open water swim with the Luna Chix!

Just got back from a FANTASTIC swim in Lake Washington with the Luna Chix! Was nervous about going (not knowing anybody, worried I'd be the slowest, etc....), but decided I really needed to go. Found my way to Matthews Beach, nervously changed into my tri shorts and top, and then wandered over to the little circle of ladies. Lots of other first-timers were there, so that put me at ease. Met the Luna Chix themselves -- all nice, all supportive -- and nibbled on some Luna treats (love the pomegranate moons).

Then it was time to get into the water. Lots of women put on wetsuits, which immediately made me apprehensive again. As a result, I joined the "beginner" group, though I pretty much knew I would stay in the water more than 10 minutes. We waded in at the boat ramp, swam slowly through the icky milfoil, and then set out to swim around some boat buoys. I have no idea how far the "course" was, but I swam 3 laps, feeling pretty good. Oh, and the water was fine. Refreshing, even. I focused on relaxing, breathing, and using only my arms.

I feel good -- much more confident about the swim on Sunday -- so I'm really happy I went to the workout. Thanks Luna Chix!!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

slow bike commute

Had a decent ride in this morning, but felt like my knees were going to buckle when I tried to walk up the stairs at work. This is worrysome...

The ride home was... slow. It was muggy, it was windy, and I just didn't feel as if I had it today. So I skipped the hill on Dexter and just rode the low road through Westlake. I told Wil that I passed a couple of people on Westlake and on the BGT -- he laughed and asked if it's always a race. Snort.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


On Friday I took the day off -- it was a Most Auspicious Day, 08.08.08, so I decided it was a good day to get my hair cut. For the first time in nearly 3 years. Anxiety? Yes. Tears? Yep. But it's just hair, right?

Anyway, Wil and I had arranged to spend Friday evening in Seattle -- I would ride my bike down, we'd lock it up in the WaMu garage, then Wil and I would go to lower Queen Anne to see Hellboy II, then back down to Schmancy for a artist show, and then home. Except that when I got down to my bike, my front tire was flat. Not just low, but full-on flat. I tried to pump it up a little, but could hear that there was a hole in the tube. So I went to plan B -- I took the bus down and the evening was spent on foot (and then on bus home).

Why do I tell you this? Well, because yesterday I fixed my tire and then Wil and I stopped in downtown Seattle to drop off my bike and my bike things at his office before going for our swim. Why? Well... Wil had a great idea on Friday... that we should do a little multisport workout. So today we ran to Wil's office, then rode our bikes home. The run down is about 6 miles, which felt surprisingly easy. We ran 7:1 sets, and I felt really good in the second half of the run -- I felt stronger, smoother, more relaxed. And the bike ride home was fast and easy -- kept an 11.0 or above pace up Dexter, which was good.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Lake Washington Dip

Really really fretting about the swim leg for next weekend, so Wil and I went out to Lake Washington for a little swim. Somehow the day got away from us, so we didn't get to the beach until 2:30 or so, and the sun had long since disappeared. There was even a bit of drizzle. But we got in to the water, thought we would faint with cold, and then we just got down to it and swam a few long lengths. After a few minutes I felt okay in the water -- I stayed calm and swam slowly and steadily, pulling with my arms. I feel much better now. Still a bit worried, but...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

treadmill run

Drove in this morning (again!) as I had a late meeting on my calendar... so I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill there. Five minutes walking to warm up, then 45 minutes of running, and then 5 minutes of walking to cool down. During the running stretch, I started at 5 mph, then upped the speed to 5.5 after 5 minutes. Then I kept upping the speed by .1 mph every five minutes -- except the last 10 minutes, when I upped the speed .1 mph every 2 minutes, ending with 2 minutes at 6.5 mph. Sure, that's not super fast, but I felt good at that speed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bike Spa

Because Silver (my trusty old bike) was feeling a bit creaky and was pretty dirty, I dropped him off in the morning at Eric's "Just Riding Along" bike shop, in Seattle's Bikestation. When I returned in the early evening, Silver had obviously had a great day being very well treated. Thanks Eric! Thanks especially for getting that creak out of my pedals -- now if only we can get it out of my knees.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More Bikeness

Another pretty uneventful ride to work -- got to the bus a bit earlier today, which meant some milling around, but no panic. :)

Legs still sore -- surprisingly sore -- and the ride home up Dexter was slow. Maybe not as slow as yesterday, since I nearly caught up with someone on the way up. But still slow. Saw Shannon as I puffed up the tiny hill on our street; weird to be "caught" riding as I'm sure I look like I'm about to explode. Tomorrow is my late day at work so Woody gets to go for a drive...

Monday, August 4, 2008

bike commute XT

Now that I'm a pledged member of Team Wonderbike (what?!? no t-shirts?!?) I decided I needed to ride in to work. My quads had other ideas. I was so sore that even the downhill bits hurt. Yikes. Just barely made it to the bus stop -- I literally raced the bus across the street to get on it. Maybe it was a tiny bit early -- the other bikey also arrived at the last minute. But I made it, and had a totally uneventful trip across the bridge. I did, however, make a point of noticing just how far the Mercer Island P&R is from the I-90 bridge. Far.

The way home was also pretty grim -- I quickly put all thought of riding to Mercer Island out of my mind when I could barely push the bike over the little bridge. So on to the bus I went, and then tried a new (and awkward) route to get to Dexter. Some day the penny is going to drop and it will all make sense. But for now, it's a pain.

A very slow ride up Dexter -- other bikeys leaving me in the dust. Wil reminded me that it was very windy, and very hot, so perhaps that's why I struggled. That and the fact that my quads were screaming!

Was going to meet Wil in Ballard, but he decided to wait for me along the BGT in Fremont. So we rode in to Ballard together, tried to order our new license plate, failed, but at least we got the tabs. Then home, where we both complained about our quads. I figured it's mainly due to our nine-mile run yesterday; Wil thinks that our slow but long (time-wise) ride on Saturday also had an effect. Probably a bit of both.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Got up early this morning, ate half a bagel each (mine with cheese, Wil's with peanut butter), and then got ourselves ready to go. Had a very brief chat with Wil's mum, then headed out for our nine-mile run. Decided to replicate (and slightly extend) the route west on 65th, south on 32nd, across the locks, past all the maritime businesses and around towards the bike trail through the railyard, and out along the water almost to the grain elevators. Then doubling back until we hit the Dravus overpass, then across the Ballard Bridge, and towards home. Felt better today than I did running last week; the weather was pretty cool which helped a lot. Wil and I wore our Human Race tops, which was a bit funny but we were also thrilled with how great they wicked away sweat. Nice work, Nike!

Felt pretty good physically -- was able to distract myself with thoughts of Disney World and the minute details of advanced dining reservations. My right hip feels a little achy now, hours later, and my right arch feels a little bruised and rubbed. I'm happy to have a day of running rest tomorrow.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Tour de Fat

Today we got up early (ish), got on our bikes, and headed out to Gas Works Park to join the Tour de Fat; New Belgium Brewing's celebration of all things bikey. We arrived a little before 10, signed our waivers, picked up our "I LIKES BIKES" stickers, and then milled about watching the other bikeys. Wil and I were both impressed by how professional and high quality the event looked -- great signage, tents, stages, etc. Professional without looking corporate in any way. Very, very cool.

Slowly more people arrived, and eventually (after a rousing speech by the Reverend Ballyhoo) we set out, about 100 strong, with bike marshals and costumed cyclists and even a guy pulling a trailer with a bumping stereo. Very nice indeed. We rode very slowly -- not protest slowly, mind you, but family slowly -- out to Golden Gardens where we stopped briefly and then headed back. Only a few awkward moments -- an idiot who joined the ride late deciding to stop traffic by lying down in the street, which was stupid and very quickly stopped; and people running the light in Ballard along the lost stretch of the trail -- but other than that, it was a really nice trip. We laughed because for most of the trip we were riding at about 5 m;p.h., which is slower than we run.

On the way back we got antsy and, when the music guy went past us to get back to the fest, we followed, so we arrived a bit before the rest of the parade. We locked up our bikes, headed into the beer garden, bought some "Beer Tokens of Affection", and then got ourselves a pint.

We watched the very saucy Sprockettes, drank beer, and sat in the sun... It was too nice to leave, so we went out of the beer garden, got very nice t-shirts, signed up for Team Wonderbike, grabbed "Seattle's best falafel", and then back into the beer garden for another round. We watched the Slow Ride contest -- marvellous! -- watched a funny male dance troupe, and then felt like we'd had enough.

A nice ride home and we still arrived home in time for the block party... a perfect Saturday.

Friday, August 1, 2008


I took the bus to work this morning, having ridden to work yesterday but gotten a ride back across the bridge in the afternoon for a meeting at the agency. Surprisingly empty bus, given the price of gas! But I guess I was pretty early. Yes, it did take over 90 minutes to get to my desk, much more than the 25 it takes me by car. So I can see why people don't want to do it. But it was simple and I did get some reading done.

During the day my eyes felt tired and a little weird. But with the bridge closing for the Blue Angels show again today, I either had to make it to the bridge by 12:15 (meaning leave my desk by 11:45 at the latest) or stick it out until after 3. Well, I hemmed and hawed about it, but at 11:30 I decided to go for it. And then promptly got drawn into a conversation with someone. So at 11:48 I ran for the stairs, trekking across the TMO campus, changing clothes, and racing to my bike. I had no idea how long it would take me to get to the bridge because I had NEVER RIDDEN ACROSS IT. Fun, eh?

So on to the path, and out towards the bridge. Up and down the rolling hills, getting completely breathless and times and even having to stop and push my bike. (Yikes!) When I got to the park and ride, there was no one waiting for the bus so I decided that I must have just missed one, so pushed on. Up and down some more hills. Crowds were starting to gather in the park, making riding difficult. I just kept thinking that I would get stuck on the bridge and have to wait.

Finally, I got to the bridge -- with minutes to spare. Actually, 15 minutes, as they were allowing bikes to cross until 12:30. Good thing I didn't know that! The ride across the bridge itself was a little scary -- more pedestrians than usual, of course, and most of them completely oblivious. A few desperate cyclists trying to make their way across. And the wind. But I made it across... and then wasn't sure which way to go.

Found my way into the tunnel, then on to a faintly marked cycle path. There sure are a lot of hills on that trail. I know I need to get more comfortable on hills, but sheesh... The worst part was the trail abruptly ending and turning into a narrow sidewalk. I must have missed a turn... though a couple of other cyclists ended up behind me at the point, so maybe it *is* the trail. Then down towards the stadium and into Pioneer Square. Visited Eric at his bike shop briefly, made a date for Silver to see the doctor, and then.. well... I punted. My legs felt a bit jellyish so I decided to put the bike on the bus.

I did get off the bus at 15th and Leary and rode the rest of the way home, but it was a pretty weak display. I'll have to work up to riding the whole distance home.

Someone asked me why they have to close the bridge when the Blue Angels fly. I think this picture, from the Blue Eyed Buddhist blog, says it all: