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...