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


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!