Thursday, December 31, 2009

I would run 500 miles...

Okay, so I haven't blogged in a while. The news hasn't been great, but it does look like things are looking up. Wil has been blogging about his foot, and his wonky sesamoid bones (poor baby!).

Yesterday, Wil asked me point blank: "Have you been running?" Busted! I have indeed been sneaking in a few runs when I can. See, it's important that Wil rest his foot for us to have the best chance on finishing the distances on race weekend. But it was also important to me to try and hit my goal of 500 Nike+ miles in 2009. I was really close -- I needed just over 18 miles as of Saturday night, so I got in an 11-miler on Monday, a 5.5-miler on Tuesday, and needed under 2 miles to hit 500. So before heading north to the naked lady spa, I went for a quick run around Green Lake. It wasn't the fastest run, nor the strongest, but it was fun to complete my goal today.

The path wasn't very crowded -- but there was a surprising amount of nature out. I think I saw three ravens, if that's even remotely possible. They were way bigger than just crows. Of course I saw a lot of crows (a murder of crows?). And I saw two great blue herons. And then there was the limping raccoon, that worried me a little. Hopefully he just hangs out at the lake until he feels better.

2009 has been a great, if challenging year. We ran our first marathon, a couple of half marathons, and have trained hard for the Goofy challenge. Hopefully we're up to it!

Not sure what 2010 will bring. First we just need to get through the next two weeks. Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Turns out that I'm a Genetic Freak & a broken one at that!!!

Went to the sports Doc this morning and got x-rays…

Turns out that I'm a Genetic Freak & a broken one at that!!! (Thanks to Mum or Dad for the freaky mutation one of you passed down to me… :-))

My sesamoid bones are fig 8 shaped instead of being straight. The one in my right foot has snapped in half at the weak point.

Sport Doc said the broken bone has probably fractured & fixed several times throughout my life, (this explains the similar pain I had just before and during the Portland Half Marathon, which went away so I wrote it off as 'one of those things').

Nothing can be done, but no further damage will be done (other than continuing with ice baths and anti-inflammatory stuff). I have been referred to a different sports clinic next Tuesday to get a custom foot bed/strapping which will hopefully ease the amount of pain I have to endure during the races…

But one this is for sure; there is gonna be 40 miles of pain ahead!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Well the Doc and the Physio gave some positive news.

This morning I went to see my Doctor (at 7.10am, I am impressed that we are able to get an appointment that early). And following that I went to see a physio to work out the best way to get around the foot pain problem (and to address/prevent it from reoccurring)

Without my prompting the Doctor came up the the diagnosis of some bruising around the bones and the seamoiditis that I had thought sounded likely. And while it means I should hold off running for as long as is possible it does mean that as long as I can put up with any pain on race-day then I will not be doing myself any permanent damage. But I should defiantly consider doing as much walking during the race as is feasible.

We rushed out to see Toni the Physio (who luckily had a cancellation at 8am) we did get there a little late (oops sorry). She did a full analysis of the problem and tracked it back to a number of issues with how I carry myself, and the types of warm-up/warm-down and stretches that we do. My muscles are a little too tight in various places. This in turn leads to my feet, knees (and legs in general) not being a sideways flexible as would be desired.

All of this makes total sense as I currently tend to run or cycle for exercise, which is a very push pull without much of a sideways release of tension.

We went through a number of exercises which I need to do each day, and a whole new set of stretches and jiggles to release the straight line tension and therefore free up my feet to do their jobs in all directions and therefore not putting as much stress on the same repetitive tension building movements.

I also need to soak my feet in ice water for three ten minute stretches up to three times a day to reduce the swelling on and around the two little useless bones which seem to be causing the problems.

All in all a very positive morning, which was well needed after my last few days of gloomy doom feeling about the whole thing. The relief makes me feel like bursting out in tears right now, but still I need to bear in mind that this isn't going to be easy.

I need to keep up the exercises and stretches; missing out on the long runs, while taking it easy over the next few weeks, means I won't be fully prepared for the races. Races which will, more than likely, involve a lot more foot/toe pain than desired, but at least it will only be painful and not damaging...

I know that it's not good to wish your life away, but at this point I really can't wait until these three weeks are done, and there is no 39.3 mile obstacle looming.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Running sucks, and my Foot sucks!!! :-(

Well here we are three weeks from race-day, and I have a foot which I can hardly run on. And it Sucks!!!

On the long run last weekend my foot started to feel a bit odd, but bearable. I figured we're getting old, and have been doing quite a lot of long runs, so with 800 foot falls per foot per mile that's quite a bit of beating for the old plates of meat.

On Monday my right foot felt bad even just when walking and positively hurt when I ran (I was only running to see if would hurt, and it did). Dull achy pain between the ball of my foot and my big toe which escalates into a sharp stabbing pain when I push down with my toe (again 800 pushdowns per mile that's quite a lot of sharp pains to put up with, and while ibuprofen helped with the ache it did little to nothing for the stabbing...)

Decided rest was a good idea so didn't run on Tuesday or Thursday (granted Thursday was more from having a tiny little hangover for most of the day and just looking forward to getting home and to lie on the sofa.) Then Saturday came, and I needed to do some gift wrapping and christmas prep, and didn't think a rest would be a bad idea as it still hurt just to walk/trot short distances... :-(

I did make a doctors appointment on Thursday, without really having much of a clue what the doctor would say other than "if it hurts to run on it, then don't run on it". From looking around it sounds like the generic metatarsalgia or worse (and if you read the causes, more probably) Sesamoiditis . Neither of which are really going to mean that all is right in three weeks. However, my Doctor is great, she is a runner, who has given both of us decent advice in the past so I figure a visit is a good idea.

I started having a bit of a panic last night, as in three weeks I have to complete not only a half marathon, but a full one the day after, and I can't do that I don't keep up the training. So decided that I was going to run today, and spike my run with painkillers.

Well three miles in and the pain was there but bearable, so bearable that I stopped 'thinking' about my footfalls, this was good. (plus I was enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse book I was listening to).

Then we hit three and a half miles and pain just shot through me I had to stop, and had that horrible, "Have I just made things a thousand times worse" feeling. Tried running again, and really couldn't without huge worry that I was potentially doing more damage. Walking was uncomfortable, but not too bad. So we decided to turn around and walk back.

Sunny was great while I was having my little tantrum, as I really don't want this to be happening right now.

Last year would have been worse, as it was our first marathon and I would have been heartbroken to have another hurdle when we already weren't sure if we could do it. Completing a marathon was an aim I had set and I was really driven to complete.

Where as this year, we know we can do mentally, cardio-wise and leg/body muscle-wise. But now here's an irritation, which will make the whole thing very unpleasant. We can still complete both races, but (as we discussed on my walk of shame home today) maybe we have to reconsider how things are done; maybe we have to really conserve ourselves for the big race.
Walking the half marathon won't be a problem within the timescales. Not sure that it would be much fun, but we could do it with ease.

That would mean that for the full marathon, we could run as far as I could manage. I am really hoping that, with rest and race day excitement (and enough ibuprofen) , todays three miles would be stretched to at least thirteen. then a brisk walk for ten miles before a three mile trot to the end.

Yes it would mean we will be even slower than we'd hoped, but it still should mean that we'll see the finish lines and wear the medals...

(I do feel horrible to be a bit broken at a time where I want to be at my best, but we deal with the cards we are dealt I guess..)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

10 Miler

Wil's foot is still really hurting, so I didn't want him to run today. I'd even rather he stay in tomorrow and do cardio on the bike trainer downstairs. So I did a solo 10-miler around the Cheshiahud loop in the cool drizzle. I've never been very good at pacing myself -- Wil is the one with the good, steady pace. So the first few miles I either ran too fast and felt sick, or I ran too slowly. Looking at my run on Nike+, what is usually a smooth line is an ekg of chaos. Oh well. I also felt strangely anxious about the run. Would I be able to complete it without Wil? I also got strangely bored.

A few amusing distractions: saw three different women twice around the loop; each time we smiled and waved. Also decided to try the mint chocolate Gu rather than the chocolate Hammer Gel. It's much denser than Hammer Gel -- more like frosting. It tasted great, but was hard to wash down. So I'll stick with the old standard.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Ran on the treadmill at work this morning in anticipation of a long day. This time Nike+ captured my 5.5 miles, though with some strange troughs in the pace. (Maybe I really did dork out at some point?) Anyway, I got some miles under my sensor. :)

Make fun of me if you must, but I know at least some of you understand the question "If I run 8 miles but Nike+ doesn't add it to my totals, did I really run?"

This has been the longest "week" in the history of my worklife. At least today felt productive, if LOOOOONG.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Got up, bundled up, and braved the cold weather for an 8-mile run today. We wanted to try the same route we started on last week, when it was so cold we cut our 18-mile run down to 9 miles -- because Wil likes the idea of getting a chunk of mileage done before we head out on the Burke Gilman towards the U District... and because we've got a 20-miler scheduled for next week.

Again, the run down to Golden Gardens was fine -- it was just that, upon turning around, we had a headwind blowing off the water that was bitterly cold. We ran on the trail side of the road this week, rather than directly along the water, but it didn't really help much. So we'll see how it goes next week.

Feeling a little grouchy because my Nike+ sensor -- though it read the run, gave me a result, etc., didn't seem to "save" the run... bearing no record of it, and therefore it didn't add to my mileage for the year. I'm still quite a ways from my 500 miles in 09 goal (with the sensor), so today's 8 would have been useful. Oh well, we'll see how it goes... the important thing, of course, is that I ran it and felt okay. :)

(Must admit that I have a bit of pain in my right leg... perhaps from too much skipping yesterday?)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Girls on the Run 5K!

Woke up early and happy to see that there was no snow this morning -- because today was the Girls on the Run 5K! Bundled up and headed over to Seward Park, which, I'm ashamed to admit, I had never really visited. I mean, we once rode our bikes there on a Cascade group ride. And in the Danskin tri, the running course took us close to that point. And in the Rock and Roll 1/2, we ran down the hill and turned past the entrance. But I'd never really entered the park. It's glorious -- sort of an inverted Green Lake -- a little thumb of land in the midst of a large lake. The running track takes you along the beach, and then (to get the distance), there's a hill up into an interior loop. Then back down and a nice flat run along the water to the finish. Very nice!

Gathered with coaches, other running buddies, and our girls in the FREEZING COLD. The girls were given hand warmers, thankfully, so I didn't have to worry about my buddy getting TOO cold. I recognized Morgan by her rainbow gloves. She gave me a hug and we did the warmup stretches together. I met her mom, very sweet brother, great aunt, and grandmother. Nice to see that she had a lot of support. Coach Carmen had tiaras for the girls to decorate... I loved that Morgan didn't want to make a tiara. Not her style at all.

As we walked to the starting line, Morgan said that it didn't matter if she came in first or came in last -- that the important part is just going out and having fun. (Go girl!) The organizers had balloon arches at the start and finish -- nice touch. It was a little crowded right at the start, but we were able to keep up a pretty good clip, alternating between running, skipping, and walking. We actually ran more that I thought we would -- certainly more than in the practice 5K. We talked about Christmas, her new kittens (they got three!), camping, books, how pretty it was there, and even running. I told her the "leave nothing in the tank" story, which she liked.

She was getting pretty tired at the end of the run, and said she wasn't sure she had very much in the tank. But we decided to sprint from the 3-mile mark to the 3.1-mile finish line. She took off pell mell -- really fast! -- but we remembered to smile and wave at her family as we sprinted past.

Her family were very sweet, even her 13-year old brother who ran up to her and said "I'm so proud of you!" That made me almost want to cry. Hooray for sweet boys! Coach Carmen gave Morgan her very cool medal and bracelet that they made with the beads they earned in the program.

We stood and cheered until everyone finished, which was great. Then I said goodbye to Morgan and her family, along with the other running buddies and coaches. It was a really nice event, with lots of cheering. Oh, and the goody bags were better than the ones we'll get at Disney World. Ha!

Another nice touch -- everyone was given bib number 1. Sweet!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

pre-work treadmill

I knew I wouldn't fit a run in after work, so I ran in the morning on the treadmill at the work gym. It was pretty quiet -- one guy on a treadmill, the very dedicated lady on the stairmaster, a guy lifting free weights, and, later, a woman on the elliptical. No television, no talking, just the sound of the machines. Ahhh.

Warmed up for 5, then ran 55, then cooled down for 5. Managed to squeeze out 6.36 miles overall. Got a funny "note" from Joan Benoit Samuelson; "Congratulations! You've just recorded your fastest mile." But I figure that's because I have a new sensor so every run is a new distance, a new speed, etc.

Next run ... the Girls on the Run 5K! Where I'll be doing more skipping than running... perhaps in the snow?!?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

treadmill are okay when it's freezing outside

Wil and went to the gym after work and ran on the treadmill in the hottest room in the world. Still, I sure felt loose after 20 minutes! Felt nice and steady, and very pleased at the end of the run. 5+50+5.

Monday, December 7, 2009

An Icy Run Cut Short

L Yesterday's run was officially horrible.

I tend to be warmer so underdress (and Sunny, rather sensibly, tends be colder so makes sure she is warmly dressed). I was so happy yesterday that she had a 'spare' fleece vest.

The 18 miler was going to be mentally challenging, but well within our fitness level, so I thought that a nice run up to Sunset park, then take the road route down to Golden Gardens, and out until the path turns into beach. Then back along the Burke Gilman, through the missing link til we hit Fred Myer (often our starting place) and then an out and back on the Burke Gilman proper.

The run down to Golden Gardens was great, and in my mind it felt like a pre-amble to the 'proper' run (even better mentally). Calculations/guestimates, started make it look like we would hit 8 miles as we got to our usual Start point. Meaning just a 5 mile out and a 5 mile back, Yay!!! No further than the University district!!! Superb!!! Mentally the run was no long going to be any challenge at all.

And then we hit the end of path/beginning of beach and turned around.

I hadn't noticed any wind so far, as we had been running with it. We turned around, and the wind off the sound was icy. Really icy. Saturday's run was cold and icy underfoot, but the bright sun had kept us warmed up, on Sunday there was no sun just a thick blanket of cloud.

Still, no worries we would just run through it, then after about a mile I had a sharp (skin level) pain in my chest. I wondered whether I had somehow cut myself, and how I could possibly have. We got to a walk break and I checked, there was no cut. A brief one minute walk with no pain, then started to run, and there was the pain again.

I noticed that it wasn't a cut, it was the sweat patch on the front of my jersey which was being pushed against my skin and was painfully biting cold. I felt the cold of my skin even through gloved hands. Still I figured I would warm up. (Mentally this run was getting harder again, as I started over analyzing what points of my body were the most cold).

I was wearing a single layer jersey and a double layer pair of shorts, my legs were starting to turn a bluey red. Hmmm... Not good. Having to hold my shirt away from my chest to avoid scalpel-like pain.. Not good. Pain where any moisture was on my face… Not good.

At that point I found myself shivering while running, again, not good..

not good + not good + not good + not good = mentally really bad.

And at that point I started wondering whether we should stop at Kavu where I could buy a shirt/vest to keep on running. That would be a waste of money; we could easily detour back up to the house adding two miles and thus shortening the out and back (as the run was basically a right angled triangle with the out and back at the right angle.)

We talked and at that point decided that it would be an even more sensible idea to run home and abandon the rest of the run. Our faces were feeling chapped and sucking in the cold air wasn't feeling good.

Sunny gave me her fleece vest, which was fantastic, and quickly stopped my shivering. At this point I was getting a bit too keen to get back to a warm house and into a warm shower. So I kept losing track of my pace and racing off. We decided that a steep hill would be the best way of being slightly sheltered from the wind and the uphill would help to get warm blood to our iciest bits…

The whole run home I was feeling guilty that I had robbed a layer from Sunny and her preparedness L. But super thankful for that extra layer (and she reassured me that her body heat wasn't too uncomfortable.)

We got home in good time. Stretched inside, stretching felt odd, as muscles weren't 'warmed-up' even after 9 miles of running.

Today I checked the hour by hour weather for yesterday. 34F (just 1 Celsius), then at the time of our run there was a peak in the wind speed (so maybe on our run down to the beach there really hadn't been any wind). The wind speed went from 5 mph to 17, (which I don't think we got the full brunt of). Either way that would have been static speed. We were moving at 6 mph into it. So let's put a realistic estimate of 15 mph windspeed while running.

The BBC wind chill table puts the actual temp (inc wind chill) as below freezing, between -2.5c and -4.8c (27.5F and 23.36F) (The table doesn't have a figure for 1c just 0c and 2c). And that's not accounting for the drop in temp from the wind coming straight off the water.

Brrrrrr… Not the sort of temp to be outside in a pair of shorts and a sweat dampened tech jersey.

I feel really bad about abandoning a run, but figure that at least we were sensible, and no-one got hypothermia...

Lesson learned – It's time to layer up and wear running tights (and maybe even a neck/face gater) for long runs. And shift short runs to the dreaded treadmill.

congratulations Lindsay!

Woke up to the news that Lindsay shattered her PR to finish the Las Vegas Rock and Roll half marathon in 2:15:09! Way to go girlfriend!!!!! We're so proud of you!!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


It's really cold here. Okay, not Antarctica cold or anything like that, but cold. Went for our 7-mile run on Saturday, which was okay, but turned back early on our planned 18-miler today when the wind and the cold conspired against us. So today was only about 9 miles. I'd rather short our run than get hypothermia any day.

One nice thing I noticed on these runs this weekend is how friendly the (few) other runners seem. Everyone smiles and waves. I mean, I never wave or smile at other runners. I'm too focused on just getting my miles in and not tripping on the broken sidewalks of Ballard. (ha!) But everyone is waving, saying hi, smiling... no, wait, maybe that's just the rictus of cold...

One less nice thing I noticed -- spending over an hour outside makes your face hurt. I have a windburn/chapped cheeks/whatever on my face. I'm sure there is something one can do to help soothe this? Let's just say I am going to look awesome for the next few days.

Finally, super big ups to my girlfriends Lindsay, Jen, Melinda, and Brenda, for running the Las Vegas Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon this morning -- I have total race envy! Next year I have sworn to run in an Elvis outfit. Hold me to this. :)

So... not the greatest start to this month's running. I take some comfort in hearing from others in Goofy training that they're in training funks as well. I'm writing this down -- NEVER AGAIN. After January, no matter what happens, I will not do another Goofy's challenge in Florida. It's too far to go, it's the wrong time of year for us northern types, and the half+full back to back is, well, Goofy. I don't regret signing up for it, and it will be just absurd enough to do this crazy thing, but it's just not for me.

I'm not ruling out another marathon -- I would still love to run the NYC Marathon, maybe even the Chicago Marathon -- because I love the idea of a big-city, big-crowd race. (I would also love to run the London Marathon, but that's just not going to happen.) But I think that next year -- unless we get in to the NYC Marathon -- I'd like to focus on the half marathon. It's a very nice, very do-able distance. In the working list of events for post-Goofy 2010, I've plotted out 4 half marathons (Eugene, Seattle RnR, Disneyland, Vegas), a couple of big local runs, and maybe even a triathlon (we'll see). It just seems more... sensible...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Had a surprisingly good 16-mile run this morning. We did all the right things -- had a light breakfast, then lay around while it settled, then got up, made Powerade, grabbed Hammer Gels, and headed out the door. Because today's Seattle Marathon crossed part of our usual downtown run, we decided to do a simple out and back on the Burke-Gilman Trail. This had the added benefit of keeping us near bus lines if the weather turned, if my quad couldn't take it, or whatever.

Wil kept a nice, even slow pace the whole time -- unlike me, who kept getting distracted and then running into the back of him. Sorry baby! The trail was pretty empty, just a handful of runners and cyclists out in the gray misty morning. It was really quite beautiful out there -- damp black asphalt and luminous yellow leaves, nearly as bright as the rain jackets most of the cyclists were wearing.

The run was so easy that there's not much else to report really -- we just ran slow and steady. A perfect Long Slow Distance run. It was only afterward that Wil pointed out that it's one of the longest runs we've ever done. We've done half marathon distance 6 or 7 times, which makes it relatively easy for us. But once you get above 14, we haven't done that many runs, really. Looking back at our training log from last year, we did a 14, a 16, and an 18 before getting snowed in. So that puts today's 16-miler in a tie for our third longest run EVER. Nice!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

playing catchup

Okay, so long time, no blog. Or little blog, I guess. There has been very little news on the running front, but I suppose there *has* been news, so here it is...

My right leg has been bothering me for weeks. The hip was the first to hurt, and then a pain in my right quad that, while not really intense, just wouldn't go away. I finally went to see my doctor about it (stop nagging!), but she told me what I expected -- it's a deep muscle strain, and that all that can be done is to rest it. She also knew that, at 45 days from race day, I wasn't really going to rest it, so she told me that I wouldn't do permanent injury to myself if I just kept running on it -- it would just hurt more. So I've been given the thumbs up to take stupid amounts of Advil for the next couple of weeks to encourage the muscle to heal itself. So far, so good.

Wil and I went for a run today, our first run together -- and my first run, period -- since last weekend. We ran an easy six miles down to Golden Gardens, huffing and puffing up the stairs to 85th, and then home. As Wil pointed out, it's not difficult to run these shorter distances, which leads to boredom. I guess that's why a lot of people decide to focus on speed or time, rather than just getting the mileage in. Who knows.

At the end of our run last week my iPod informed me that my Nike+ sensor had a low battery. Since I had this week off work, I decided to finally use my birthday gift certificate from Super Jock n Jill and buy a new sensor and some other running goodies. I didn't need new shoes, gear, etc., but picked up a couple of Christmas gifts for friends along with the sensor. However, when I got home and tried to link the sensor, I just kept getting a low battery message, and when I tested it, it wouldn't register any motion. Boo. But we did go back on Friday, pick up some new shoes for Wil to use up the rest of the gift certificate, and swap the sensor, no questions asked. While Wil was finishing the purchase, I put the new sensor in my shoe and went for a walk to test it -- I was relieved to find that this one worked. Hooray!

The nicest running news is that I met my "Girls on the Run" running buddy on the 17th at our practice 5K. I was really nervous beforehand -- would I like her? Would she like me? Would I be able to keep up with her? Because my original buddy had left the program, I had been transferred to a different school and a girl whose buddy had dropped out. My new buddy is Morgan, a very bright 4th grader who loves kittens and reading. She actually goes to a different school, so she's often late to the program -- she needs to get from her school in Wedgwood across town to Ballard -- which makes me wonder if she gets enough time with the other girls. I was also told that Morgan isn't a big fan of running -- but she loves to walk fast and to skip.

Morgan arrived late for the practice 5K, which meant we were behind from the beginning. But we set off at a good clip -- she is a VERY fast walker! The route was 4 loops around the neighborhood -- the idea being that if something happened, we didn't want the girls to be over a mile from the school. So we walked -- and skipped -- around the loop four times. The whole time we talked about books and pets and how excited she was about Christmas. I hope she gets the kittens she wants. Even nicer was the card she sent me a few days later, telling me she had a "super great time" on our practice 5K. Awwww. I'm looking forward to our GOTR 5K in a couple of weeks -- even if I have to wear a too-small orange t-shirt....

So that gets me caught up with the running news... oh, except that Wil ran partway home from work on Tuesday, which is very cool. I might have to sort out some way to run partway home myself.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

rain, rain, go away

The weather here has been strangely rainy -- as Wil said tonight, this is the first time since he moved here 3 years ago that Seattle has really lived up to its reputation as a rainy city.

But we managed to squeak in a run today -- 6 miles -- which is essentially our first run in two weeks. My hip just didn't feel right for a while, and we didn't run on our Disneyland trip (there's only so many times I want to run around Anaheim...). But I've been resting the hip pretty well, so I wanted to go out and try.

We woke up early; Wil got up and brought me breakfast in bed... but after eating it, I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep. We snoozed for, oh, 4 more hours... finally dragging ourselves up and out of the house after 11:00. Wil had a package to collect at the post office, so we decided to run an out and back on the BGT rather than our standard 6-mile loop.

I felt sluggish and a bit stiff, but eventually warmed up pretty well and felt okay. In fact, I felt great afterwards. Hours later, when we were standing at the Paramount waiting for Them Crooked Vultures to play, I realized that running had really put me in a good mood. I've been feeling extra sad at work -- anxious about getting things done and still using up my "use it or lose it" PTO, etc.

I came across this article the other day in the NYTimes -- basically saying that exercise helps make brains more resistant to stress. Clearly I shouldn't be letting exercise fall by the wayside when things get hectic.

Friday, November 13, 2009

kicks life cycle

Since I didn't run last night, I *did* at least pull out my running shoes, my old "backup" shoes, and the brand new pair in the box to have a look at them. The recent pair were way more scuffed and wornout that the backup pair. I realized that my recent pair had more miles on them than my backup shoes -- since the recent pair I started wearing 7 or 8 weeks before the marathon so I could break them in a bit. And I didn't actually replace them. Rather than downgrading the recent pair to "backup", I decided to retire the recent pair... and keep the backup shoes as backup.

Shifted the Nike+ sensor, shifted the Superfeet insoles, and they were ready to go. New kicks will get their first mileage on our trip to Disneyland!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

creaky old lady, and two sorts of buddies

My right hip has been bothering me all week... so much so that I decided not to run again today. Packing my running gear (and have already plotted out a 10K...) for our anniversary weekend trip to Disneyland. I hope my hip holds up!

Also, today had a check-in meeting with my "insight buddy" -- Rob, from my weird "leadership academy" training at work a couple of months ago. I think we were supposed to meet to see how we were implementing the things we had learned, but we ended up talking about running. Apparently I have inspired him to take up running and he's up to doing 7 mile runs. So that was a nice thing at work amidst the crazy ick.

But even nicer was the Girls on the Run "Running Buddy" orientation call last night -- I'm really looking forward to meeting my running buddy on Tuesday afternoon!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

jury duty

Spent the last two days in a windowless room surrounded by other fine citizens of King County who had actually responded to their jury summons. For some reason, sitting in that room and being slowly driven mad by the coughs and one-sided phone conversations and people who talk while they type and the occasional calls to join a jury panel -- well, for some reason it was exhausting.

When I got home today I just couldn't face it. So, here we are, SIXTY DAYS from the marathon, and I didn't run. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

What I will do tomorrow is transfer my Nike+ sensor to my new shoes, which, for some reason, has been beyond me for the past week. Baby steps, man.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

long weekend runs

Saturday we were supposed to run 7 miles... but the morning was blustery and awful. so we headed to the gym. Weird standing and waiting for one of the 12 treadmills to open up... 10 of which were being used by people who were walking. But we only stood around for 7 or 8 minutes before, wonder of wonders, two treadmills opened up side by side.

I felt a bit stiff -- pain in my right knee and that strange "weakness" in my right hip. Just didn't feel right. Started to get nervous about the run on Sunday, and was feeling worse and worse, so I wrapped up my run at 2.48 miles. The shortest run I've done in a very long time.

So today, when we had a 14-mile run to do, I was a bit nervous. Would I be able to get through it? I also noticed that our usual 14-mile route may not be the best idea on a day when the Seahawks were playing at home. We weren't in too much of a hurry to get out the door, so I decided to plot out an alternate route -- down to the Burke Gilman Trail, then along the trail to 65th, and then "straight" back home along 65th, with a tiny detour around part of Green Lake.

I knew that there would be a hill when we first turned on to 65th. And I knew there would be a hill from Greenlake to Phinney. What I didn't know was that 65th is essentially all ups and downs. Oops. Let's just say I did more walking than expected... but perhaps got in more hill work than expected. :)

This simply doesn't reflect the hills...

All in all, 14 miles. Do I feel like I could get up and run a marathon tomorrow? Um, nope. But do I feel as if I could probably struggle through one in under 7 hours? Yes. So that's good then.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

remember, remember, the 5th of November...

Stormy weather outside, Wil recovering from his earlier illness, and me on a treadmill at the gym watching the news trickle in from Fort Hood. Sad and strange day.

5 minutes warmup, 50 minutes of steady running, and 5 minues of cooldown for 5.55 miles. A bit of stiffness in my right hip -- I must have altered my stride to "protect" my knee (which felt fine today).

Too wet for any bonfire tonight. No toffee apples either. :(

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy birthday, Adam Ant!

Had a surprisingly good treadmill run after work today -- the hardest part was finding parking near the gym. Went upstairs and found a good treadmill right away and then got to work. 5-minute warmup, 48-minute run, 5-minute cooldown. Got a little bored, as I always do, but kept myself amused by watching BBC World News with no sound and listening to Adam Ant, my all-time favorite artist.

Amusing tidbit from the "Ant Liberation Front", who bill themselves as "The largest, longest-running independent international organisation dedicated to fans of Adam Ant / Adam & the Ants." Apparently, Friday, November 6, is "Wear your Ant Shirt to Work Day." Bless. Oh, and if you need a shirt, I've got them. Just let me know.

The nice thing about the loooong runs is that the miles add up surprisingly speedily. November 3 and I'm already 25% of the way to my goal? Awesome!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

rough weekend

Spent Friday home in bed with a banging headache that simply wouldn't go away. The head fuzziness wouldn't go away so I skipped the run on Saturday morning and spent most of Saturday in bed as well, rallying for a brief walk to downtown Ballard and then a relaxed evening at home with the trick or treaters. (Decent turnout this year, and lots of compliments on our pumpkins.)

So today I woke up feeling much better and excited to run for the first time in days. I had the 12-mile loop that I'd plotted out for last week ready, and the weather was glorious. So we got up, had some "sausage" roll, filled our drinks, and headed out. This is the first of many "downtown loops" we'll be making -- run to downtown on our usual bike route, then cut across to the waterfront, and run back along the trail through the sculpture park, past the grain elevators, behind the train tracks, and past Lindsay's house to the Ballard Bridge and then home.

Felt pretty good for most of the run, but a little stiff in my right knee and then ankle. Now that it's been a while since the run, I've got a bit of pain in my right knee, but all in all I still feel okay. Happy to have a rest day tomorrow.

I had a great October, running 77+ miles despite missing a couple of long runs. In November I've set my goal as 75 miles, knowing I won't get full runs in on our anniversary weekend, but hoping for an otherwise good record.

We're a mere 69 days till the half marathon -- which means we're 75 days out from the cruise! Yeah, I booked our Nassau shore excursion...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

staggering treadmills

We both managed to squeeze in a run between a 60-minute teleconference, a 40-minute commute, and a dentist appointment. It meant that I stayed in the car an extra 25 minutes wrapping things up while Wil went in to the gym to start his run, and then I joined him later. When he finished, he showered and then walked to the dentist, where I met him after my run was finished.

Didn't really enjoy the run -- I was on one of the noisy treadmills, which means I end up adjusting my stride to reduce the noise. Which is silly, I know. Honest. Now home and STARVING.

Monday, October 26, 2009

75 days!

Just noticed that we are 75 days away from the start of the Goofy weekend. Yikes! It seems both really soon and really far away. And we have literally hundreds of miles to run between now and then. Oof. But we'll get there, just like before, slow and steady.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I, Wil, hereby declare that as from Monday October 26th 2009 I will not attempt to coerce, convince or in any way avoid any of our scheduled runs from now until January 10th 2010.

The pre-announced exception to this declaration is the weekend of our wedding anniversary over November 15th 2009 (please consider this to be sufficient future notice of run avoidance for that weekend.)

A caveat may be that any stupidly long runs scheduled to take place on a 'Snow Day' may be reduced in length to compensate the tedium of the stationary treadmill (in these cases a run will take place and an acceptable distance agreed at the time.)

Yours Sincerely


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nike+ Human Race 2009

Friday evening went to Road Runner to pick up our race packets for the Nike+ Human Race -- figuring there would be a race number, maybe some coupons or gel samples, etc. Was pleasantly surprised to discover that the packets included shirts -- very nice tech shirts -- with this year's "bib". Not bad for a free gift -- thanks Nike.

Was a little surprised to learn that the group run would start at 7:30. Oh, umm... So it will surprise no one that we snoozed past the group run time and joined the Human Race much later in the day, where we ran the 10K loop around to Golden Gardens, up the steep hill, and then a bit of meandering to pad the mileage (kilometerage?) at the end.

All in all a very nice run (really nice to start a run with a downhill!). Tomorrow is a 12-miler, which has been very difficult to plot out. I've got good 16 milers, and a good 10 miler, but the 12 miles doesn't have a logical "location". I don't want an out and back on the BGT, so basically I'm adding some time at the start to go down to the locks and then run along the "missing link" to the BGT. Not the nicest route, but I just can't figure out a good one. I guess we'll see tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Take It Outside Week

In this month's "Fitness is Fun" newsletter (from the President's Challenge... yeah, I track my activity there.... so?) I learned that this week is "Take It Outside Week", which encourages people to get outside and play or otherwise exercise. So I was bound and determined to get home and run in the real world after work.

Not the greatest of runs; I felt really sluggish at the start but just kept reminding myself that I always feel better after about 20 minutes if I just force myself through the first couple of miles. Ran out to the lookout and back, adding a couple of blocks in the middle and at the end to fill out the time.

Got home, decided to learn more about "Take It Outside Week" and discovered that the program is part of "Head Start" and "The National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play." Oh. So, um, it's for children. Suggested activities include "Moving with Hula Hoops", "Moving with Pool Noodles", and "Moving with Beach Balls". Oh. Isn't it a little late in the year to have the kids playing outside after school? I guess not if they're preschoolers...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

today's Garmin report

Here's a link to the map and elevation/speed graph from Garmin.

Cheshiahud loop

Ran our 10-miler this morning down to Fred Meyer, then along the BGT to the Fremont Bridge, and then over to the Cheshiahud trail around Lake Washington. Really nice morning -- trees still glorious, and the weather held (hooray for running outside!). Didn't feel particularly strong or fast, but things went pretty well. Still, my legs were tired at the end. I don't think I can continue to run 3 days in a row.

However, did have one strange victory -- on the steep hill to get back up to Eastlake, I just put my head down and ran up it. Sure, I was taking tiny steps, but I just kept moving and actually felt okay at the top. (Albeit happy that it's a gradual downhill from that point on.)

Tomorrow another well-earned rest day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

another day in the gym

The rain continued all day and all night Friday, and we woke up to steady rain. We looked at the "hourly" forecast and laughed because it just said "rain, rain, rain, chance of thunderstorms, rain, rain, rain..." all day. So, rather than hope the weather improved and postponing our run till later in the day, we went down to the hottest gym in the world and ran on the treadmills for 5 miles. Really boring, really hot. I don't think that gym has any ventilation. I drank a liter of water and was still feeling dehydrated at the end; both of us were completely soaked. (I guess we might as well have run outside in the rain, really...)

Still, got the 5 miles in. Really really hoping for better weather tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

PTO run

Took today off work... and let me say I'm extremely jealous of housewives and retired folk. :)

It was pouring down rain this morning, so I couldn't face running outside. So I headed to the gym, where I hadn't been in months. (Look, it's been too nice to run inside!) In a very warm room full of cardio equipment I climbed on to a very tall treadmill and ran for 5.23 miles. I got too warm twice and had to slow down to a walk for a minute, but otherwise just ran for the 45 minutes.

Tomorrow we're scheduled for a 5-mile LSD run, with a 10-miler on Sunday. Hope the weather improves!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

GCX pics...

I haven't unearthed my camera cable yet... but I did nick these pictures from the photographer's site. It looks like a very pleasant day... nice that the sun came out in time for the run. :)

Wil running strong

Sunny galloping along

with the pretty bridge we've just run across

a strong, smiling finish

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Great Columbia Crossing

Okay, I'll be the first to say it. I messed up the timing for the run this morning. See, I had read that you could get a shuttle starting at 7am and running every 20 minutes until 8 that would take you from the Port of Astoria to the start of the race across the bridge. I didn't want us to miss the shuttle and not get to run this race. So, um, I made us leave before 7 to head to the port.

That said, *I* wasn't the one who, at 6, said, "Shall we go downstairs and get some breakfast?" I was going to be civilized and let us sleep in until 6:30.

But we joined the strange group of old people with their numbers pinned to their backs in the breakfast room, and found ourselves ready to head out at 6:45.

We walked the short distance to the shuttle pickup area, where there seemed to be more volunteers than runners. We quickly got on a shuttle (after flashing our numbers, of course) and then soon we were headed across the bridge.

It was cold out. Really, really, bitterly cold, with a strong wind. We both had jackets on, figuring that we could always just tie them around our waists. But upon getting off the bus and realizing that there was no shelter at the starting line we realized we had miscalculated. Others were wearing hats and gloves and big coats. What on earth were we thinking? Even worse, we had arrived around 7:15... and the race didn't start until 9.

So for 90+ minutes we stood and shivered. Twice Wil decided we needed to go for a brisk walk because it was simply too cold to stand around. We weren't the only people with this idea -- lots of people were either doing warm-up runs or even just keep-warm walks.

The race director made a few announcements that were difficult to hear... but I did hear that they had 3000 participants this year -- their largest ever. 3000 people huddling together in a small highway rest area which Lewis and Clark had named "Dismal Nitch" -- because of the terrible weather they encountered there. So nothing has changed.

They had chalked two starting lines, but most people couldn't see them and didn't hear that runners should start in front. So, of course, when the race started, there were lots of clumps of walkers. But luckily we had two lanes of highway to move around in, so it was pretty easy to negotiate and clear them.

We ran for a mile or so on the Washington side of the river, and then climbed the first (small) incline onto the bridge. The Astoria-Megler Bridge is 4.1 miles long -- it seemed like we were running in place along the flat bridge deck. We settled into our usual pace and were running comfortably... and then we hit the hill. A 200-foot incline doesn't seem very steep, but somehow it was. But we just kept chugging along until we hit the apex, and then started running down the other side onto Oregon land. The course took a little loop around the port and through a hotel parking lot (where a volunteer was scolding a woman for driving in the running lane) to the finish. Nice.

We picked up some water, stretched, and then collected our "post-race munchies" which, due to concerns over the flu, were all individually wrapped. Hey, who needs a bagel when you can get Fritos, string cheese, and cheese crackers?

Anyway, a nice run in a nice town -- once we left the aptly named Dismal Nitch, anyway. Once I figure out what I've done with my camera cable I'll post some photos of pretty pretty Astoria...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Astoria Riverwalk Run

Up and out reasonably early to run our strangely short 3-mile run. Our hotel overlooks the river so we were able to just step out the back door and onto the Astoria Riverwalk, a 5-mile trail that follows the old train line along the river. Even though Wil pointed out that a Briton would be very hesitant to walk along train tracks, I assured him that it would be safe. There are a few places where there are wooden trestles with "watch out for trolley!" signs. Still, it was lovely and quiet. Besides, the trolley doesn't run until 1pm in the winter.

Wil pushed us to run faster than we usually do; I reminded him that this was a "long slow distance run" even if it was a very short one because it's a step-down week in our training calendar. But we zipped along at a pace that left me feeling breathless and with very sweaty hair.

But it was a short run, so we turned around after 1.5 miles (ish, we had satellite issues with the Garmin) and then ran back. Astoria's riverfront is lovely and old-industrial. Lots of lovely old pier buildings with cafes and shops in them. And a strange new housing complex of funny faux old houses built around a mosquito-breeding "mill pond" and some winding streets and shared grassy lawns. And, of course, condos.

Over it all looms the bridge, which is taller than I thought it would be... huge container ships just glide right under it. Should make for some interesting running tomorrow.

We spent the afternoon walking around town, poking in shops, visiting the Goonies house (yes, Wil did a "truffle shuffle"), and -- highlight of highlights -- meeting Paul van der Veldt, winemaker, in his Shallon Winery. We spent a really wonderful 45 minutes with him, touring his winery and tasting four of his wines. He's a lovely man, and he makes some amazing wine.

Tonight was Astoria's Art Walk, so we spent an hour or so visiting galleries and chatting with the locals. This is a very friendly town.

Tomorrow: Great Columbia Crossing!

Friday, October 9, 2009

90 days from WDW

So today marks the 90-day milestore before we go to Disney World. How do I know this? The crazy world of the "ADR" -- the advance dining reservation system.

See, with the popularity of the Disney Dining Plans, one basically has to book reservations months in advance in order to ensure that one can actually dine. So 90 days ahead of your arrival date, you are allowed to book your reservations. Wil and I sat down last night with our list of choices and figured out what we'd like to eat when. Yep, that's right. We have essentially decided what food we're going to eat three months from now.

The one thing I really really wanted was an early morning reservation for the Crystal Palace, which is inside the Magic Kingdom. See, the restaurant opens before the park does, which means that you get Main Street USA all to yourself (well, and about 100 others). This makes for some beautiful photo ops. We really enjoyed our breakfast there last January (did I mention it's a "character breakfast" with Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and Pooh?) and I wanted to book it again.

So when I called to make our reservations this morning, I was very sad to learn that the Crystal Palace is going into refurbishment starting January 3. Boo. I asked the agent if there was anywhere else to get an early morning breakfast inside the Magic Kingdom. She said, "Um, well, I do have an 8:30 for Cinderella's Royal Table..."

I should point out for those who don't know, that Cinderella's Royal Table is the single most difficult reservation to get at Disney World. It's a medieval-themed restaurant inside Cinderella castle, and there are princesses. Crazy numbers of princesses. And of course, little girls dressed as princesses. Little girls, dressed as princesses, so excited that they can barely eat. Pandemonium.

ADRs for Cinderella's Royal Table tend to sell out within minutes of the date opening up. There are websites dedicated to information on how to score a reservation for "Cindy's". And here was a cast member just casually offering it up?

I hesitated -- surely there's a little girl somewhere who really needs to meet Cinderella?

But it was the right time, the right day.... so we took it.

So on Tuesday, January 12, 2010, we're having breakfast in the castle. Scary. Funny.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

hooray for autumn

Lovely little run today -- 5 miles around the neighborhood in the crisp air. Gorgeous leaf colors against a bright blue sky. Had a funny burning feeling in my chest when I started the run; suddenly realized it was cold air. I love autumn!

Really happy with this week's running -- hope we can keep it up!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

midweek run

Home today relatively on time, then into our running stuff and out the door promptly. That's going to be the key to keeping on track during the week, I think -- not faffing around, just lacing up and moving out.

Just a short run today -- 5-minute warmup, 42 minutes of running, and then 5 minutes of cooldown. We basically ran the loop out to the lookout with some additional block-long loops due to traffic or just needing to get a bit more mileage in.

I felt good today -- at one point Wil pointed out that I was going too fast, which is why I'm really bad at running alone. I think my uphill running form is getting smoother, though I can't say much for my downhill form. And I'm sure that, overall, I still look like a galloping cow.

Still, a good day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

9 Miles (with a steepish uphill for two of them)

For ome reason we slow down quite significantly on the long uphill sections... I wonder why???

3 days, 3 runs

Phew! Since I had postponed my Thursday run to Friday morning, today's run was the third run in three days -- so I wasn't sure how I'd feel during it. I mapped out a 9-mile route based on last week's 8-miler, but with an extended bit near the lookout. Wil asked if we could run it the other way round, so we did. I think that, though it made the bit up to the lookout really long and hilly, at least we had the wind at our backs running across the Ballard Bridge.

Felt pretty good for most of the run; a little stiff at the beginning and a little bored at the end. But not exhausted or sore. (Okay, my knees feel a little tender, but the muscles seem fine.)

Tomorrow is a well-earned rest day, and then the week starts again. I'm going to ask Wil to post one of his fancy Garmin maps of today's run in a bit.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We done a run....

Not a very long run, but nice for a Saturday morning...

I guess it's really autumn...

Back from NYC last night and out for a run today. Surprisingly chilly weather -- not that it was warm in NYC, but I was really happy to be running in a long sleeve shirt. Might be time to break out the full-length running tights...

Anyway, today was a nice little 4-mile run. Ended up doing a funny loop out near the lookout, but got our mileage in nonetheless. Felt okay. Wil's going to post an image of the run. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

NYC Bridge Loop

Perfect morning for a bridge loop run. Out across the Manhattan Bridge (which turns 100 on Sunday) and back across the Brooklyn Bridge. Didn't even get lost on the Brooklyn side this time. Ran about 4.75 miles -- but forgot to shut off my Nike+ while I roamed around a market gathering breakfast things...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

reality tv...

So I'm in NYC on business. Long flight, stupidly long taxi ride (2 hours? really?), and then dinner meant it was suddenly 8:45. Since we've decided to shift our running schedule to a more realistic Sat-Sun for the long runs, Tuesday is a run day. But I was tired, it was dark, and I just didn't feel like it. In fact, I spoke to Wil and told him that I was just going to have a long shower and then go to bed.

So I had my shower and climbed into the very comfy bed, and started channel surfing. (This is why I don't watch TV... because I am completely fascinated by the tiny moving pictures...) On came "The Biggest Loser". It was near the end of the show, and they were at the weigh-in stage, and there was lots of crying and accusations and a surprising amount of glittery makeup. Someone lost 11 pounds and there was no cheering. Then there was more crying and voting. By the time they were at the voting stage, I was crying. These people I had never seen before, whose names I didn't know, were causing me to cry. (Yes, I'm a sap.)

Anyway, I watched the end of the show -- nice to see that the folks voted off the farm continued to lose weight -- and then got up, put on my running gear, and headed down to the gym. Reality TV made me cry, and then made me run.

5+42+5 = 5.01 miles. Felt okay, if a little footsore at the beginning.

PS: I never want to watch that show again. Ever.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

back to back

It's obvious that I haven't been running enough -- but the long long days in the office have really sapped my strength. So very little running happened this week, and only one run last weekend. So I decided that I really needed to get some miles done. Friday we got home too late, but on Saturday, Wil woke up early, made us some breakfast (bagel and cheese for me, bagel and peanut butter and Marmite for Wil), and we went out for our short run.

Wil needed to pick up a package at the post office depot, so we plotted out distance that would take us from our house to Fremont and back along the Burke Gilman, dropping us at the post office at the 4.25 mile point. So a smooth run down to Fremont, a turnaround near the Aurora Bridge (where we saw the workers installing the jumper net), and then back to the post office. It was a pretty easy run, though Wil had us going at a faster-than-normal pace.

So that was one run finished. We had our friends Rebecca, Eric, and Meg over for a Beatles Rock Band party on Saturday night -- may I point out that my arms are tired? Too much drumming. :) Wil woke up with a banging headache (umm, too much drumming?) but I was bound and determined to do the long run.

I had plotted out a 8.5 mile course (that left time for warmup and cooldown), so I didn't have too much thinking to do. Just get up, eat some leftover quinoa salad, fill up my camelbak, and decide what to wear. The weather this morning was strange -- sunshine, but a very brisk and cold wind was blowing. So I compromised -- tri shorts and a long sleeved top. Perhaps not the best choice -- I got too hot about halfway into the run. Should have had a layer to strip down to.

But I ran up to the lookout, then down down down to the locks, across the locks and up to the lower edge of Magnolia, then back along Dravus and across the Ballard Bridge. The breeze I was running into going up the hill to the lookout was even stronger here; it was so strong that I felt I needed to lean into it to move forward, but when it lessened between gusts I lurched forward. But I made it across (after pinning myself to the railing when a bike squeezed past me at the narrowest point) and then I was in the home stretch.

I ran up 14th to Market, crossing at the light (to avoid having angry drivers speeding up and then slamming on their brakes to "teach us a lesson" about crossing at crosswalks...), and then along Market up to 3rd. By this point I was walking more than I wanted to -- basically up the hill from 8th to 3rd. But then I ran along 3rd to 65th, and then down the hill (jolting my less than thrilled knees with every step) and stopping at 8th for a cooldown walk.

I'm feeling very tired from the first true back to back runs I've done in a while. But Wil and I both agreed that trying to get the first run in on a Friday night probably isn't going to work out for us. So we're going to have to shift our training to Tuedsay, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday. Which probably makes more sense anyway.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Motivational cotton

Okay, okay, so I actually hit my Nike+ 500 milestone in Fall 2008... I just hadn't bought the shirt. So this is a bit overdue. But it's a nice shirt and I felt a mixture of pride and dorkiness when I wore it out in public. I'm still 150 miles away from my 1000 milestone, but perhaps I'll get to it before the end of the year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

let's get serious...

... all too easily took a week off after the half marathon... but finally managed to go out for a run after work today. I ate a "multigrain" bread thingy with some cheese on the way to pick Wil up; I think that energy boost really helped with the run. I felt speedy up the hills and comfortable on the flats. Still clomping downhill, unfortunately.

Anyway, just under 4 miles in 41 minutes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Disneyland 1/2 Marathon race report

Was feeling a little nervous about this race -- let's face it, we hadn't run longer than 6 miles since the Seattle Rock and Roll 1/2 at the end of June. Sure, we'd trekked in the Pyrenees and such, but we had probably run less than 20 miles total since then. But we were happy to be going back to the Happiest Place on Earth and figured that, worst-case scenario, we could just walk most of the way.

We liked the fact that, staying so close to the park, we could avoid the whole middle-of-the-night/crack-of-dawn shuttle affair. 6 am start meant a 5 am alarm, a quick breakfast of a bagel and cheese for me, peanut butter for Wil. We left the hotel about 5:20 and then headed over to the start. It took a while to make our way across the main plaza and through the crowd toward the corrals. We made the requisite porta potty stop, and then tried to make our way into our corral.

We had been assigned corral C, which meant squeezing through crowds of people. There didn't seem to be much policing of corrals... until we got to our corral, to find the gate shut. A woman near me said "I guess we have to wait to enter the corral." That seemed silly to us -- so Wil quickly opened up one of the barriers and we slipped through. We moved a bit away from the fence, but behind us heard a volunteer telling others that, no, they couldn't come in, but they could start with the D corral. It was strange -- the corral wasn't crowded at all, and once they started telling people to move forward, there was tons of space.

I had been a bit worried by the lack of costumes after seeing so many at Disney World. But, happily, once we got into the corral and looked around we saw some fun folks. This guy with the rainbow wig was a frequent companion during the race.

Because we had been able to arrive at the start so close to gun time, we didn't have a lot of time to kill. We took the usual pre-race photo and then, suddenly we were off.

We headed south down Disneyland Drive to Katella, where we headed east to follow the lower edge of the parks. We rounded a couple of corners and entered California Adventure "backstage". Lots of very, very perky cast members... and very few characters. Flik and Atta were standing near the entrance to Bug's Land -- other than the "Fab 5" at the start, these were the first characters I spotted. Then we quickly ran past Soarin' (and some people from a parade perhaps?) and left DCA.

We crossed the plaza and entered Disneyland, almost immediately going backstage. I was a bit bummed that we didn't get to run up Main Street -- made me wish we had run the 5K the day before. But we wound through Tomorrowland and around the Matterhorn, passing the carousel, where princesses -- and Mary Poppins and Bert -- were riding. Then a quick sprint through the castle, a right turn into Frontierland, and suddenly we were backstage again. Again, there didn't seem to be many characters about, though we did see Aurora in front of her castle, Peter Pan and Wendy... somewhere... and some of the parade dancers here and there.

Not long after mile 3, we left the park and the backstage area completely, and started the meandering trek through Anaheim. I must admit, it wasn't the most beautiful of courses... not a lot of supporters out (I think so many of the streets had been blocked off that no one could get close) but they did have lots of cheer squads. Absolutely no characters out there. And we had to do a lot of winding back and forth. But it was flat, the course was wide, and they had TONS of water stops. Really good job on keeping us all hydrated!

I was surprised when we were suddenly at mile 8 and running through the parking lot at the Pond (aka the Honda Center), where the Anaheim Mighty Duck play. Wil and I mused at the idea of laying down carpet and letting us all run across the ice, but we figured that would be a logistical nightmare. After the parking lot, we entered a tiny stretch of packed dirt trail along the bone-dry Santa Ana River. The dirt gave way to a nicely paved bike trail (complete with sad bikers wondering why they couldn't ride for a few more hours), and then we turned off and into the Angel Stadium parking lot.

Everyone got a boost from running toward the stadium, and I think we all sped up a bit. Down through a tunnel, and suddenly we were on the field... or the warning track, anyway. The stands were filled with screaming Boy Scouts, and a stadium announcer was calling out cities, states, and countries as the runners crossed the timing mats. Pretty cool. They even had a video camera we all ran past, giving us split-seconds of fame on the jumbotron.

Then out of the stadium and a little more meandering through Anaheim. We got to a tunnel that was lined on both sides by three or four very excited cheer squads. For some reason, they triggered on my name and all started screaming "Sunny! Go Sunny!" Very strange, but very sweet. Cheerleaders love me. :)

We ran past our hotel for the second time, feeling pretty good. I couldn't figure out where else the course was going to go -- I seemed to recall more meandering -- but suddenly we were going through the little purple archway, across 10 yards of grass, and then we were headed back into California Adventure. I was feeling pretty confused, but just running along. Then -- where I was expecting to see a "mile 11" marker, there was a "mile 12" marker. Um, really? We were that close to being finished?

We ran past Tower of Terror and then (through a backstage shortcut" into Bug's Land, which was shady and beautiful, and then a run past what -- next year -- will be the gorgeous lagoon again. Another quick trip backstage, and then we were headed past the hotels and through the cheering crowds to the finish. It was neither our fastest nor our slowest half marathon; but we both felt great afterward and even today, two days later, I have very little soreness. Was I ready to run a full marathon on Monday? No. But that's what the next few months are for.

We picked up our Castle medal, our Coast to Coast medal, and the armloads of water, PowerAde, bagels, bananas, etc. Pretty organized, as usual. Nice touch: lemon-scented cool towels. Who needs a mylar blanket when it's 95 degrees? We did a bit of stretching, some people watching, and then crossed Downtown Disney to head back to the hotel. Another nice touch: these do-it-yourself photo backdrops:

Then back to the hotel (Disney, why did we have to wait in line to be searched? Can't you just let the runners through?), for a shower and a change of clothes... and then we had a great lunch with Gretchen where we both ate too much. :)

I had pretty much decided that we wouldn't be doing the race again... but within a couple of hours, Wil had pointed out that NEXT year will be the fifth anniversary, so there will be a special commemorative medal, and, really, wouldn't it be nice to have the Coast to Coast medal again to go with our Goofy medal set? Umm, can someone tell when Wil became the Disneyphile? :)

But with swag like this, it's hard to say no. So... count me in!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ready for raceday! Of course we spent way too much time on our feet today, wandering around the parks. But, hey, that's Disneyland for you!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Race "Prep"

Okay, so we haven't gotten out and run all week. But today I did a little prep for our trip -- printing out our reservations, gathering our race stuff, etc. I searched around for our pirate ears (I failed, but Wil has just unearthed them -- hooray!), which reminded me of Bats Day, which was, crazily enough, the last time we were at Disneyland!

That in turn reminded me of the fine folks at Drunk Rockers, whom we met while waiting for the big castle photo op. I hadn't looked at their site for a while, so was amused to find these in their Bats Day Collection.

"When is this photo op, anyway?"

"Oh, is that a camera you have there ma'am?"

See the whole range (and lots of lovely goths!) at their 2009 Bats Day collection.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chi Running

Reba, Eric, and I went to 5Focus to attend a Chi Running talk, which was interesting and got us ready for more. :) Now we'll just have to see when our schedules match up to attend a workshop!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

back to back... almost

Woke up Saturday morning with my right knee feeling strangely stiff and painful... which is odd, because during Friday's run it was my left hamstring and left leg that was bothering me. (Though I suppose I was probably favoring the left leg, which then changed the mechanics of my right leg...) Anyway, given that we have the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon coming up, I decided to rest my leg for another day.

So today we got up (later than expected, hooray for blackout blinds!), had a bagel and cheese for breakfast, and then went out for a 6-mile run. Wil had said something after the Friday run about wondering if the hill we start the run at was really hard or if we're just stiff at the start, and wondering if we should do a loop twice. So I plotted out a run that was two 3-mile loops so we could run that hill twice. Whee.

Felt much better during today's run -- it wasn't at the end of the day, and I had eaten something before. Maybe it's just psychological, but it's important to me to fuel up before I head out. So I didn't really struggle until the very last hill, where Wil sprinted up it and I wheezed along behind him. Still, a decent run and a reasonable pace. 6.68 miles in all.

Friday, August 28, 2009

ups and downs

Ran a very difficult 3 miles today -- not sure why, but I just couldn't keep up with Wil and felt winded most of the time. Weird. The weather was kinda muggy, and maybe I was just dehydrated or overheated (I had tights on), but I was miserable. Tomorrow is a 6-miler -- the first of our back-to-back runs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday run

So... Monday was the first official day of our Goofy training program... and we decided to skip our run due to baseball. :) Tuesday was meant to be a cross-training day, but we missed that because we spent nearly 2 hours at Costco, finally having "the big shop" that we hadn't done since we got back from our trip.

So yesterday was a "run -- or else!" day. We got home from work around 5, then quickly changed clothes and headed out to the lookout. It was a timed run, rather than a distance run, and we did our usual 5 minutes of walking warmup and cooldown, and 41 minutes of running. I felt really stiff at first, sorta feeling like I wasn't loose and warm until about 30 minutes in. Oh well. But we ran, and it was okay. 4.61 miles (including the walking -- forgot to turn the darn thing off...)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run

Despite a night of thunder, lightning, and torrential rain that sparked flash flood warnings in parts of New York state, I got up and joined the crowd for the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run this morning. Took the subway there, which was amusing -- I knew I was in the right place as the car filled up with people in running gear. :) Then out of the subway into a steady drizzle, where I picked up my race number (5400) and "race souvenir" (why not just say t-shirt?) and tried to decide how much of my stuff to stow. I like the way the New York Road Runners manage baggage -- you bring your own bag, pin a small piece of your number to it, and put it in a corral by last digit of your number. It speeds things up because you know where you put it, and you recognize your own bag. Also, it means they aren't giving out a few thousand plastic bags -- everyone brings their own.

There was a bit of standing around trying to stay out of the rain, with limited success. Finally, it was time to get into the starting corrals. Again, I was impressed by the organization -- when you signed up, you told them your estimated pace, which then determined your race number, which then determined your corral. All very orderly, all very nice.

A rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, some inspirational words, and we were off. I was trying out the CardioTrainer app, which was okay, but it unfortunately meant that I couldn't seem to back out of the app to start my camera and take pictures of the pretty buildings and historic neighborhood.

I started off nice and slow, settling behind a couple who were running slower than I normally would, but I decided to see if I could run straight through. After about half a mile, however, I was feeling bored, so I sped up a little to pass them. We ran up a hill that made everyone in my area stop, so suddenly it felt as if I was sprinting past them.

The rain had cooled things down a little at the start, but it stopped and suddenly the air was very hot -- and very humid. (Is it really possible to have 98% humidity? Really?!?) They had water stops at 1 mile and just after 2 miles; I stopped at each to drink a cup of water, which meant I had to walk. (I'm very clumsy.) The volunteers had "helpfully" filled the cups full, which meant that I ended up snorting water up my nose each time. Oops .

We ran along a park, past a beautiful convent gate, and then down a steepish hill. I think I'm slower downhill than I am uphill, especially when the streets feel slick under my feet. Then we made the last turn and had 10 blocks to go. I started to speed up, a little, and started to feel a little ooky. A few blocks before the start, a girl running a little ahead of my suddenly turned, ran to the edge of the street, and hurled. Oh...

This set me off a bit. My ookiness became a bit more urgent. I slowed down, trying to calm my stomach, but nothing seemed to help. I had now reached an area where there were spectators cheering. Not the best place to lose it. It occurred to me that there wasn't much I could do to avoid throwing up now, so I might as well sprint to the finish.

Let's just say that I was glad there aren't finisher's photos, as I'm pretty sure I had my hand over my mouth.

I finished the run, ran off to the side, saw a sewer grate, and threw up. Classy. No one said anything. I stood up, wiped my mouth on my shirt, and headed off to get some water, feeling much much better.

Then I picked up a banana, a bag of pretzels, and some more water, and headed back to the subway, riding downtown with other runners.

Not my fastest 5K, but not my slowest either... and of course it was the farthest I have run since the RnR 1/2. Plus it was fun to run a short event in a new neighborhood of a city I don't know well. I didn't make the "highlights video", but it's nicely put together.

Just got home from my first run in nearly two months...

and it wasn't too bad... (although it was only a slow 4 miles, so it really shouldn't have been too bad...)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Soho, so hot

Arrived in NYC this evening (quickie photo shoot tomorrow) and -- because I was with two guys -- there was immediate talk about dinner, no question about appetizers or desserts. Of course we had three courses! None of this "oh, does anyone want to split a salad with me?"

After dinner, we walked through the still 85-degrees-and-90%-humidity night back to the hotel. I felt a little creaky from the plane ride (6 hours of screaming children!) and I knew I needed to try to get a run in. So I went downstairs to the "state-of-the-art" fitness center... if that's the state of the art of fitness, things are pretty sad. But it was empty, had a treadmill, and a tv where I watched mindless programming for 30 minutes while walking 5, running 20, and walking 5 more : 2.89 miles in total.

Two runs in a row? Will I run on Saturday for the trifecta?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

back on my feet!

So, okay, we went out of town for 4 weeks on a long long vacation... and didn't run a step. Sure, we climbed mountains, walked 8 hours a day (some days), and got plenty of exercise. But no running.

And then we got home, and I just couldn't get started again. Sure, we've got a half marathon in less than 3 weeks. But it's been hard to get the motivation to get started again. I put on my running shoes when we went for a walk on Saturday and I was horrified to realize that they still had the timing chip attached from the Rock and Roll half. Oops.

So today was the day. I dropped Wil off at his new gig and then drove to the work and ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes (plus a warmup and cooldown). Nothing fast, nothing overly energetic... just something to "break the seal". So I ran 2.82 miles and I feel okay about it. Better than nothing, right?

And when I went to synch my run I discovered that Nike+ has made a lot of changes. Not sure I like all of them, but they're definitely trying something new. We'll see if they work out the kinks.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Heavenly Baking

Having spent 12+ hours on our feet today selling Heavenly pretzels and big cheezy scones at the Seattle International Beer Festival, we realized we probably hadn't spent this long on our feet since the marathon at Disney World. In semi-related news, I plotted out a 20-week training course that starts a week after we return from our trip. Yowza! We'll see what kind of shape we return in....

Monday, June 29, 2009