Wednesday, December 14, 2011

yes, 26.2 miles is a long way, but....

Saw this article the other day -- can't believe the lengths people will go to to "win" a race. I'd rather come in last than be one of these folks... that said, no one is every going to believe that I won. :)

11 Ways to Cheat While Running a Marathon

Friday, November 4, 2011


Wow. If any butt-kicking was done at Body Revolution yesterday, it was not by me. I may have kicked some early-morning butt... but Dillon sure kicked mine. I am sore and achy and I have that "it hurts to cough" feeling in my core. Still, awesome...

The other day Athleta sent out this "Finding Your Fitness Mojo" blog post... and I really liked their completely obvious yet also useful tips on staying motivated:

  • Get rid of the excuses. No one is too old, too tired, too unfit or too busy to start an exercise program. You just have to make it a priority.
  • Start small. Make your exercise goals achievable and reasonable. You will be more likely to follow through.
  • Keep it simple. No need to spend $100 month to join a gym or to buy expensive gear. Get out for a walk or short run. Invest in a yoga DVD and do it in your living room.
  • Have a plan for the week and write it down. Post it in a visible spot like the refrigerator, not in the bottom of your sock drawer.
  • Make it easy to get out the door. Lay out clothing, set out water bottles, pre-program the coffee maker, whatever it takes.
  • Pick a goal. Sign up for a 5K race or join a 30-day yoga challenge. Making a solid commitment increases your chances that you will stick to your plan.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people. You’ll be more likely to follow your fitness routine if your friends are committed to theirs. If your friends are all couch potatoes, they may influence you to be one too.
  • Don’t lose your momentum. Stick to your plan. The more days that you have under your belt, the more motivation you will feel to continue.
I still struggle with motivation, now and again. So it's nice to get some timely advice!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Body Revolution at 6am...

So I skipped body revolution for three weeks in a row. After agonizing over whether I could "afford" it. Actually, whether I could justify it, I guess.

Perhaps it could be argued that by not attending for three weeks, I couldn't justify it. But hope springs eternal, right?

I knew I wouldn't make it on Wednesday night, so I rescheduled my session for this morning... At 6am.


That Dillon totally kicked my butt. A couple of times I felt woozy. Not just tired, but borderline close to passing out. But in a good way. I think.

But starting at 6, and ending at 7 is pretty awesome. I could imagine getting in the car and driving straight to Bothell after, and showering at work. Maybe it is a better way for me to get my weekly session on? Especially when I start my "21 day jump start to fitness"...

I hope that I don't completely seize up while sitting in these conference rooms......

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Completely awesome treadmill run!

Was having a lie-in this morning because I am going to the Seattle Interactive Conference today... which means I didn't have to leave the house until 8ish. But then inspiration struck: I could squeeze in a little run!

So I popped out of bed, threw on some running gear, and headed downstairs to the treadmill.

Sometimes I dread running, especially if I have missed a few workouts, but this morning went really, really well. I wasn't particularly fast or anything, but the running felt natural and easy. Really great to feel so relaxed on a run.

The only problem I was was that my treadmill goes into "cool down" mode after 35 minutes of you hit the quick start button. Oops. Once it goes into cool down, you can't add time. So when I needed an extra few minutes for my real cool down, I had to march on place while the program reset.

Still, it was a great little workout, and a good reminder that I am always happier for having worked out!

... Even if I did have to run out of the house with soaking wet hair....

Tomorrow I am going to the SIX a.m Body Revolution class. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Push 5K Race Report

I've been to a lot of costume parties. I love dressing up. But somehow I had never managed to run a race in costume. Even with all of those Disney races I've run, I've never dressed as a princess, a pirate, or a pixie.

Until now.

Suz was looking for an October 5K and was considering the Dawg Dash. But what with T-Mobile being a sponsor and all, I convinced her to run one of the Halloween 5Ks instead. But which one to run? The Pumpkin Push? Or Run Scared?

Because Pumpkin Push benefitted healthcare for Seattle's homeless, it was a pretty easy choice. So, the date was set. But what to wear?!?!

A few weeks ago Wil and I stopped in at a Value Village in Lynnwood. I discovered an amazing bull costume. Not one of those 2-person models -- a proper costume in brand new black velveteen. Or velour. Whatever.

A padded velour "muscle" top (with sleeves that ended in "hooves"), black tights with attached tail and "hooves", and a headpiece with horns and ears. All that was missing from the ensemble was the bull nose. But that was a minor consideration. For somewhere around $7.50 with tax, it was mine all mine.

But even when I bought it, I hadn't considered the race. I just thought it was too good a deal to pass up.

Then when Suz and I were emailing about the race, genius struck. The running of the bulls!!!!

All she needed was a white top and trousers, and I would supply the red kerchief and sash. Perfect!

Sure, okay, people thought Suz was a matador.... and one elderly volunteer thought I was a Viking (huh?!?), but the literary minded instantly recognized it. Let's just call it a win, shall we?

Anyway, we picked up our bibs, timing chips, and shirts (dark blue... sigh), eventually found a bag check area, and then milled around a little. I was already warm (thermal tights, a thermal top, and of course a padded, velour top kept me toasty) while Suz was shivering when we stepped out of the sun.

But eventually it was time to line up -- and admire lots of fun costumes. I loved this guy's wolf man costume as well as this woman's Hulk Hogan costume. Awesome!

We lined ourselves up in front of the walkers but at the back of the runners... and then with the wail of a siren, we were off. 

We were moving along pretty well when, about half a mile in, Suz got a cramp down the front of her shin. She tried to stretch it or work it out, and ran on it a bit farther, but it was no good. In exchange for her sincere attempts to de-cramp, I did not gore her. :)

So we walked briskly around the loop, then hustled up the hill. It always surprises me how long that hill is! But I think the change of pace -- or perhaps angle? -- helped Suz's leg, and we were able to run for a bit more. Then down the hill, around the last bit of loop, and we could see the finish line.

We had gotten muddled up with people walking the 2-mile loop (no trip up the hill) so we had quite a bit of traffic to weave through... and Suz said she didn't think she had anything in the tank. Even when I threatened to gore her. But we trotted across the finish line (getting a literary shout-out) in just over 52 minutes. 

While we were running (and I was bristling at being described as a viking....) we started talking about other things I might be. And I hit on panther ... which inevitably led to Panthro. Thundercats, ho!!!! (So I've got next year's costume sorted, then...)

No more races scheduled for this year... but I can imagine doing either the Jingle Bell Run and/or the 12Ks of Christmas... even if that will almost certainly cause it to snow...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Things I learned today...

Highbrow, lowbrow -- I learned several things today.

1. St. Crispin is the patron saint of cobblers (and tanners and saddlers, etc.) Now, I'm not a cobbler, but I do work for a shoe manufacturer, so I have decided to feel a kinship. And it's a good excuse to watch Branagh's Henry V and the St. Crispin's Day speech (here mislabeled as "Eve of Saint Crispin's Day". We few, we happy few...

2. It is very, very difficult to run while wearing a bull costume. I'm going to have to do some major modifications of the headpiece. And I nearly suffocated from the nose.

3. It is amazing how quickly one can become ill while running 8-minute miles on a treadmill after two pints of beer, some tater tots, and some hummus. I might have been able to manage the bull costume had I not been fighting the urge to throw up.

Let's just leave it at that, shall we?

Oh, except for the fact that I am now feeling semi obsessed with running a race on St. Crispin's Day sometime... looks like I'll probably have to wait until 2014 for a Saturday, October 25. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wil's back on his feet!

With the Tinker Bell Half Marathon now just 14 weeks away, and with Wil's foot officially healed (yay!), we decided it was time to start running again. We were just going to run around the neighborhood, but as we walked down 67th I noticed that the gates were open to the school track. I've wanted to run on that track ever since they resurfaced it, but have never been able to. (It always seems to be either locked up or in use.) So Wil suggested we just plod around the track as our first run in months.

Well, you know how uneventful a track run is -- we went round and round and round. Like Nascar, only much slower. We kept to the outside of the track, swapping lanes halfway through.

Wil being Wil, he is of course in better shape than I am despite having not run since June. But it was good to be back out there with my running buddy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Haller Lake Run

Had a nice run with Suz in her hood this morning. Of course, I had forgotten that it would be pitch black at 7 when we started... But we set off and ran a loop around the invisible lake. A nice three miles with Suz!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Denver Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Race Report

After two days on my feet at the expo, I was pretty beat. So I was more than a little worried about the race. But al I could do was get to the start and try to get to the finish. My goal for this event? To finish. And as a stretch goal, to finish under 3 hours. Not normally much of a stretch, but since I was liming on my way to the start, I figured I would just see what happened.

My hotel was about a 5-minute walk from the starting area, but I decided to get over there a half hour early to say hi and goodbye to Tara and the Gurus. Tara was very sweet and thrilled to hear that I (and Wil) would love to go to another event some time, if possible. She also gave me a VIP area wristband – sweet.

The sun had just started to come up when the race got underway. Rather than fight my way back to the corral, I just stood out of the way toward the front and stepped in when my corral (lucky 13) came forward. Clever clever me.

It was really really cold – 40 degrees – but the sun was up and the sky was brilliant blue. I had layered – jog bra, tank top, arm warmers, a long-sleeve thermal top, and my running vest. I also had a “disposable” top and sweats, which I took off when I entered the corrals. I had fretted about the vest – but in the end I was cold throughout the race, so I’m glad that I had it for the windbreaking warmth.

Suddenly, we were off. Wil advised me to go out at 3:1s – because that had been so successful in Seattle. But it was really hard going from the very beginning. I found myself gasping for breath (I often have a hard time breathing in Seattle cold), and I started a dry, hacking cough. I also had a bunch of different pains – or perhaps just one pain moving up and down my left leg. First my hip, then my knee, then my foot, then a really sharp pain where my bone bruise is. But I plodded along.

The course was pretty – we passed the stadiums, ran through old neighborhoods, and then entered a park… where we spent mile after mile winding around. It was a little odd – at one point, I could see groups of people running to the left, to the right, and to the left. It’s somewhat dispiriting to realize that you’ll be running back and forth. But it was a very nice park.

At mile 7 I felt pretty awful, and sent Wil a text message from a porta potty. “Only at mile 7. Grim. :(“ But I just kept going… slowly…

Finally we left that park, and ran towards another park at mile 10. Just before the entrance, we arrived at the Dude, straddling the course. He always makes me happy – and I was happy to be only a 5K away from the finish.

Still, by this point I was essentially limping and shuffling along – but I knew that I would finish (unless something really awful happened) , and that, so long as I didn’t dawdle, I would finish under 3 hours. Trust me, this was an accomplishment today.

At the full / half split, I saw a couple of marathoners – and couldn’t help thinking how happy I was to only have 2 miles left – not 15. Wow.

The last mile or so we passed the original Wax Trax record store (lovely), somewhat near Molly Brown’s house (apparently), and – wait for it – the ORIGINAL Quizno’s. Who said the course wasn’t scenic?!?

Turned right and was running straight toward the golden dome of the Capitol building – hooray! A volunteer said “You’re point two of a mile from the finish, and it’s all downhill! Honest!!!”

Not that I believed her… until we made a left turn and I could see the finish. So even though I really didn’t have anything in the tank, I ran as fast and as hard as I could to the finish. Not pretty – just pretty grim. 2:56:11. And possibly the most difficult half I have ever completed.

I went through the finish area – nicely organized distribution (not that there were a lot of people there!!!!), a pretty medal, and then I was out. I headed over to the VIP area, where I had been promised a mimosa. The very nice lady behind the bar poured me a glass of champagne with a splash of orange juice (“You earned it!!!”), and I helped myself to a belated breakfast.

A little while later they announced the winners, and then announced the band. I wasn’t really listening, so I assumed it was just an opening band. But they sounded okay, so I wandered up to the terrace to watch. Imagine my surprise when they launched in to “I Can’t Get Enough of You Baby” – at which point, I turned to the guy next to me and said, “Umm, is that actually Smashmouth?” Apparently, yes.

Two mimosas and 30 minutes of Smashmouth later, I was ready to head back to the hotel. I stopped at the Give Your Soul tent and exchanged my slightly tired Trance 10s for a pair of Brooks Run Happy flip-flops – and the nice people in the tent were thrilled. I hobbled back to the hotel (not the most comfy or supportive of footwear…), where I got cleaned up, packed, and even had a short nap before checking out.

The race – and the trip in general – was really hard going… but it was a great first experience! And I am already scheming to see what race(s) I can go to next year.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Denver Rock 'n' Roll Expo

Oof. I'd like to go on record by saying that I have NEVER thought that working a race expo was easy. The set up was actually the easy part -- we were moving around, hustling. But while the race expo was open, we were just standing on concrete floors... and (this is the very hard part).... being NICE to people. My feet and lower back are killing me!

Expo was cool -- interesting to see the "backstage" areas and how things were organized. I chatted with some of the other vendors, especially with a very nice man from Run Disney. He was glad to hear that we had gotten in to the Tinker Bell Half before it sold out -- me too. It's amazing how quickly the Disneyland races sell out.

I never felt that the expo got super busy, or super crowded. We heard that this race had about 15,000 registrants, and 80% of them are local. Not sure how many people picked up their packets -- apparently the weather was really bad just 40 miles south of here, so some people may have just decided to def it rather than fight through snow.

I think I would have preferred it busier, so as to make time go by faster... but time passed just fine. I liked that the expo / event crew were all cool, nice people -- and it was fun to spend some time with the gurus. And most of the customers were nice. That said, I spent a lot of the day with a banging headache, feeling a little sad, and missing Wil and the kitties.

But it's 7:24 and I'm already back in the room, having some dinner (pesto noodles, a tomato and cucumber salad) and getting ready to have a bath. Just checked the weather report for tomorrow -- it's supposed to be "much warmer" than today -- which is good, because it was really, really cold today! Still, I'll be in capris and long sleeves... and perhaps even arm warmers.

Tomorrow is going to be tough... but I decided to pamper myself a bit and book "stretch" seating on the plane ride home. It also means I'll be off the plane quickly (not in the 3rd from last row...) and first on. Yay me!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mile High

Headed for Denver for RnR -- with a mixture of nerves and excitement. Nervous because I'm travelling with people I don't know well, but work with. Nervous because I don't feel very speedy -- or even fit, for that matter -- and I'm running on Sunday. Excited because you know how I love a race expo -- and I'll be there for DAYS. Also because I'll be running in a new city, new state, which I love.

Today is set-up day, which I've done before. Basically we get there and start unpacking boxes -- separating clothes from shoes, MC product, and cavalcade prizes. Then we'll go through and put everything in size order and then merchandise them on the racks, adding signs and things to make them look pretty. This will take all day. I really enjoy this -- it gives me a chance to see all of the apparel in person... and to do a little browsing!

Friday and Saturday I'll be working the Cavalcade -- either handing out the cards, supervising a game, or doling out prizes. Friday night there's a "VIP Party" (ha ha) with Competitor -- we'll see how long I last. :)

Saturday the expo closes at 5, and then it's all hands on deck while we break down the booth. Apparently it's much faster to break down than set up. Very cool.

Then back to the hotel for an early night -- Sunday morning our call tie is 4:40 am. WOW. That will get us over to the start area in time to set up the VIP Porta Potty and start serving customers.

Then at 6:55 am, the race starts! I'm in corral #13 -- Lucky 13 -- out of 16. (17?) Puts me safely in the bottom third of the pack, where I expect (hope?) to finish.

Then what? Who knows. My flight isn't until 6:15, which means I might be able to catch part of the game on TV. :) Of course I also don't know if I"ll be needed after the race -- or if I'll be able to shower and change!

Friday, September 30, 2011

I < 3 GOOD!!!

I have known for a long time that I lead a charmed existence. I decide that I would like to find a 30-day challenge for October, but struggled to find the right one. The good people at GOOD have solved my problem.

The October 30 Day Challenge from GOOD is .... GET HEALTHY!!!

Bless. I pledge to follow their lead for the next 30 days. And run 2 half marathons. :)

In completely random news... Wil and I are spending the weekend on the Olympic Peninsula... and just had a great chat with "Chris" and "Ally" next to the fire here at Lake Quinault about running. Yay for random meetings!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

30 day challenges...

The other day I got an email from Athleta with a "30 days of new challenge", which I thought was intriguing... even if a number of the items were "mommy" related and therefore not relevant. I also laughed that it came on the 23rd of the month (rather than around the first), and in the month before a 31-day month. But whatever.

I wanted to look at it again, so I searched for "30 days challenge" and was astounded by the number of hits. Apparently a lot of people do 30-day challenges. Some take the angle of "try something new every day for thirty days", while others try to develop a habit by doing something for thirty days straight. 

I do like the idea of trying something new every day -- or, if not new, something different (if you know what I mean). I also like the idea of following someone else's list -- I mean, if it's just my "to do" list, it's less... serendipitous... 

While searching for more guidance, I came across September's GOOD 30-Day Challenge -- late at night on the 29th of the month. Boo. 

I'm a Capricorn -- I like order. Of course I have to start on the 1st. No, really. I do. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Three Things Thursday - Squats, Lunges, and Crunches

Just home after another Body Revolution session with Dillon at Soma Training -- and again I feel totally happy. Sore, tired, but HAPPY. There were 6 of us tonight, and Dillon set up 7 stations: a kettleball lunge and lift, pull-ups, a "goblet squat", crunches with a medicine ball, running a ladder, forward/backward lunges, and triceps pulls. We warmed up outside (it's really hard to do backward lunges up a hill!) and then went in for the three circuits. Hard, but I was able to do most of the exercises.

Again, Dillon is great -- she walks around the gym, correcting form as needed, cheering us on, telling us when we're working hard / looking good / finishing strong / etc. Again, really nice.

I expect to have very sore abs in the morning. :)

I decided to sign up for one session a week -- seems like a good start -- and then I'll do the 21-day jumpstart  starting on November 1. Anyone up for it?

Soma Deal on "Green Lake Moms"

Well, that's amusing... anyone want to join me for a 21-day series at Soma Training?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Tried It Tuesday: Body Revolution

Several weeks ago I purchased an "Ideal" -- a group deal that actually gives back to the community -- for 2 weeks of Body Revolution classes at Soma Training in Seattle. I went to a class last week with a substitute trainer -- a real butt-kicking workout, but given that I limped in (as I had walked a brisk half marathon the day before) I don't think I really was able to review it for real.

So -- I went back last night and... it was amazing. I should have written this blog post last night because I came home all glowing and endorphin rushy. I felt like I had been through the wringer, but was really blissed out afterwards.

We started by warming up on the various cardio machines, and then all did a group warm-up. Some kicks, some running in place, some lunges, some push-ups, etc. Then Dillon (the owner / instructor) quickly set up some stations and explained what we'll be doing.

Last night the stations were: push-ups, side lunges with kettlebells, a wood-chop/circular motion with medicine balls, squats / throwing medicine ball agains the wall, sort of hanging chinups, stepping up onto a high bench, and jumping jack squats. Each interval lasts a minute, I think, with 15 seconds of recovery between intervals where you move from one station to the next. During the interval you do the exercise as much as you can. Because it was my first time with her, Dillon had me do some of the exercises without weights -- so that she could check my form. I still feel like I got a killer workout!

We did a full circuit, then took a break for water and air, and then started again. It was all very high energy. I noticed that the women didn't talk to each other much, and Dillon did some talking, but mainly kept time, checked people's form and corrected it as necessary, and kept people moving and motivated. I liked the way she worked with all of us -- urging us to keep going ("I didn't say to stop!" "A little higher, ladies") and gently correcting and praising.

At the end of our third circuit we did some stretching and cooling down. I had to leave the studio to get a little fresh air -- I had that vaguely queasy feeling I sometimes get after working out really hard -- which, to me, is the mark of a fine, fine workout. But, no, I didn't lose it. :)

At the very end we were stretching our hamstrings -- mine are notoriously tight -- and she came up behind me, put her hand on the small of my back, and said "A little lower" with a gentle push. And I did. It wasn't comfortable, but I did get a deeper stretch. I read back over this paragraph and it looks silly -- but it was somehow ... compelling?

I'm going back on Wednesday, but then I need to make a decision. Do I continue? I mean, it feels like a lot of money. $90/month for 1 class/week. $180/month for 2. I mean, I wouldn't pay $840 for a year's gym membership (let alone $1680...). Which is silly, because there are plenty of things I spend that kind of money on. But I really enjoyed the class, the energy, and the workout.

Go on, someone. Tell me to just pony up and do it. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011


Waiting for my Body Revolution class to start, and feeling really anxious. At least those week I'm not limping at the BEGINNING of class....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chips and Salsa Half Marathon Race Report

When Southwest Airlines had a sale a few months back, I started looking for a race in or near Albuquerque so we could take a little trip down to enjoy two of our favorite things -- running and designer toys. The Chips & Salsa Half Marathon fit the bill perfectly. What's more, I actually managed to snag the $59 each way flights to ABQ -- and got a great advanced purchase on a very nice hotel near the Old Town -- so all the stars clearly aligned.

Except one -- Wil's poorly foot. See, I booked this trip a couple of weeks before the burn. And of course Wil hasn't been allowed to walk very much, let alone run. But the tickets were purchased, the hotel was booked, and the race had been registered for -- so we thought we might as well go for it.

To cut to the chase -- we're really glad we did. We had a great weekend and a fantastic time in Albuquerque. The city is beautiful, the sky feels enormous, the food is fantastic, and the people, well, they're cool too.

Packet pickup on the day before the race was a breeze -- very friendly volunteers, well organized. The rest of Saturday was spent doing touristy things -- so I will write about it on our travel blog. We attempted to get an early night, but didn't succeed.... and things weren't helped by having the hotel fire alarm go off at 5:10 am. 

But we got up, got dressed, and made our way to the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute for the start of the race. We parked in the neighboring gym parking lot -- there was a line of cars waiting to get into the main lot -- and walked the 100 yards. No problem. We picked up our chips and then went to find the starting line.

Eventually we joined the people waiting near this very handsome inflatable arch. As with everything in this race, the quality felt like a cut above average -- especially for a smallish event. 

Right around 7am, someone (Stephen?) from IRunFit came hustling over, megaphone in hand. He started by telling us that we were all on the wrong side of the arch, which made everyone laugh. So we dutifully walked around to the other side. 

Then he started talking about the course -- turn left, turn right, follow the cones, etc. Wil and I both got very nervous that we would get lost. After all, we don't know Albuquerque, and we expected to be at the back of the pack the entire race. But we needn't have worried -- the course was really well signed and coned throughout. Excellent work, IRunFit!

Some more chatter, and then, with a blast on an airhorn, we were off! First we made some loops around the neighborhood, chatting for a while with a woman who was doing 5 minutes of warm-up walking before setting off to run-walk the race. She's running Portland in a few weeks and didn't want to overdo it in this race. She is a cross-country coach in northern New Mexico and told us that they had had so much rain they had had to cancel practice and meets -- flooding AND lightning strikes. So Saturday's thunderstorm wasn't so atypical, I guess!

A little while later we crossed a long bridge over the Rio Grande. Other than a glimpse while crossing the border at Tijuana when I was a teenager, I've never seen the Rio Grande. It looked thick and muddy and red in the morning sun. 

The bridge was a lot longer than the river was wide, but I wondered if it floods in the spring or fall, and in late September is pretty dried out. 

Once across the Rio Grande, we turned off into a neighborhood full of big houses, all with gates and fences, and barking dogs. We wondered if they belonged to drug barons, what with all the bars on the windows.

Then we turned and ran along a wide boulevard -- one lane had been blocked off from traffic, but there weren't many cars at that time of the morning. What we did see, however, rising in the distance, were hot air balloons.

Another well-marked turn meant that we knew we were on the course, but had no idea where. We did know that we were ahead of pace -- I LOVE pace bands -- and going strong. More twists and turns, all with ubiquitous cones leading us along. Simple, nice. Oh, also -- LOTS of water stops. It seemed like there was one almost every mile. We had worried that there wouldn't be enough water, or that we would be too late on the course to get water, but there were loads of stops, well stocked, and with friendly volunteers.

We crossed a freeway (which I have just discovered was the same freeway we followed across the Rio Grande...) and kept moving. Eventually we came to some wineries, one of which was hosting a fancy car show. We saw a guy driving a silver convertible Porsche around; he looped past us twice and waved. 

As we approached the first winery, we saw another walker ahead of us.... and started to reel her in. She seemed to be okay, so we exchanged friendly hellos, and moved past her. Another mile later we saw two people -- and we reeled them in too. I should point out that we didn't really see anyone else on the course -- other than a couple we occasionally glimpsed behind us, and a woman we saw at the very beginning. 

Our experiences on the Alaska Marathon Cruise really made us aware of others on the course. (Or maybe it was our experiences on the Carros de Foc, waiting for the hikers to come in off the mountain each night?!?!) But I feel very protective of people at the back of the pack, and want to make sure that they don't get forgotten, or lost. So I tried to keep track of the others as we went along.

Another nice thing -- at one point, a truck passed us on the course, and they were clearly from IRunFit. They didn't stop or check in with us (we were doing fine), but I was happy to see that someone was driving the far-flung course keeping tabs on the participants. 

Then, suddenly, we came to a freeway overpass manned by police -- and I realized where we were... almost to the bridge over the river! Fantastic! So we turned, collected some water at the final stop, and headed back to the SIPI and the finish. 

We crossed the Rio Grande again -- and in the bright sun it looked like the river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Except no Augustus Gloop being sucked up the tube.

Then a few final turns... where Wil spotted two guys ahead of us we hadn't ever seen. We toyed with the idea of breaking into a run to pass them, but that made both of us feel a little dirty. Besides, when they caught a glimpse of us gaining on them (walking...), the started to painfully jog. 

As we rounded the last curve toward the finish line, the few people there started cheering and clapping -- nice. We smiled and gave parade waves and crossed the line in 3:11:40.

okay, okay, this picture is long after we finished -- but I wanted to show off the nice finishing arch!

First, we picked up our medals -- sure, they're catalog medals, but we liked the star shape and the custom year badging.  And then we got the best post-race food we've ever had...

chips and salsa (of course!)... and

breakfast burritos!!!!!

Since we were so far to the back of the pack, we wanted to make sure and watch the final finishers come in. Every time we spotted someone coming around the last bend, we all stood up and whooped. Finally, everyone was in except the last woman. One volunteer was holding a medal -- the last medal -- but they started breaking some of the things down. (The 5K clock, the 10K clock, some of the extra matting.) I got a little worried. We walked over to the portapotties (which are DIFFERENT to ours -- they look like something you'd see on Tattooine, all white and trapezoidal...) and saw her running down the last hundred yards or so.

We made our way back to the finishing area -- where, sadly, they had just taken down the arch -- and everyone started cheering. I especially liked that the high school kids made a corridor and cheered for her. And of course it made me weepy.

It's funny, I spent a little while at toward the end of the race mentally composing a "DLF" blog post. And I can't pretend that I'm glad I didn't come in DLF. But I've also realized that it would be okay -- WILL be okay -- if and when I get my first DLF.

All in all, a great event. Nice course, friendly staff and volunteers, and a good looking medal. And, two days later, I have a renewed respect for people who walk long distances. I think it's harder than running them!

course map
course elevation

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mile High Half Marathon!


I'm working the expo at the Run Happy Cavalcade of Curiosities -- and in return I get to run the race. I'm both excited (another state!) and nervous (umm, no Wil? altitude?) but happy to have the opportunity.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

teeny tiny Tuesday treadmill trot

Came home and essentially willed myself to suit up. Couldn't will myself to leave the house again, however. So I headed down to the basement for a little run.

Warmed up just fine, and then midway through my first interval I had a bit of pain in the front of my left shin. Hmmm. I ran through it, and then didn't really feel any pain in the second interval. Still, I was feeling a little bored and a little antsy so I cut the run short.

Sure, I probably should have worked through it so I could write about how I overcame adversity (ha!) or got the job done regardless. But I didn't.

Sometimes it's about making the right decision for the day. Besides, I'm in my race taper for Sunday's half marathon...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Iron Girl 5K Race Report

Suz picked me up at 7 so we could make our way to Green Lake for the Iron Girl 5K. We parked near the Bathhouse so we had a nice 1-mile warmup walk, then milled about for a while in the "expo". A bit of people watching, a bit of browsing, and then we lined up in the corrals.

"I'm so proud of you, total stranger!"
As usual, we lined up in the correct spot... and as usual, a lot of people did not. So when we started, we had to work our way through a LOT of traffic. Women walking with toddlers. Really? You think you're gonna run a 10-minute mile? REALLY?

But we took it easy and just slowly worked our way through the crowd for the first mile. It was a warm, humid morning, and a little strange that so much of the run was on the outside loop. But around we went, cutting in by the golf course in time for the water stop by the aqua theater.

Suz kept us moving at a steady pace, while I just kept chattering away. We passed mile 2, then 2.5, and then we could start to hear the finish line announcer. I warned Suz that the finish area might be weird -- we might need to do some weird little loop -- and she said the thought that was the case. (I always think of the finish at Chelanman, with "just a loop around the parking lot" before the actual finish....)

who doesn't love a personalized bib?

But we got to the finish area and realized that it was just a straight shot to the line... and Suz took off. I mean, TOOK OFF. So we sprinted towards the line, while I kept saying "Nothing in the tank! Go go go!" Suz told me that she was concentrating on neither tripping nor throwing up. :)

We collected our medals, took a nice post-race photo, got our food bags, did a little stretching, and then headed home. All in all a nice 5K -- and a great job by Suz running a PR!

and a good-looking medal to boot!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

sooo... about Sunday night...

Wil and I spent Sunday at Bumbershoot -- and then came home and sat in the garden to watch a movie. We sat until long after dark, then decided it was time to pack up and go inside. I was carrying a glass and an empty water bottle when I walked at full speed into the edge of one of our gorgeous Adirondack footstools. It stopped me completely in my tracks.

The neighbors were also outside, which is the only thing that kept me from shrieking several Olde Englishe words. I did, however, whisper them VERY LOUDLY as I struggled to stay upright. Wil asked what was wrong, and I said, "I think I just broke my effing leg."

Given that it was pitch black and he couldn't see where I was, let alone what position I was in, he asked me to repeat myself.

I said, "I just smacked in to the footstool -- I think I broke my leg."

Some more whispered cursing followed, and then I went inside. I had started to feel woozy -- so Wil told me to go sit at the foot of the stairs.... a wise move, given our concrete-floored basement and all the spiky things in the basement (bikes, tools, racks of plates...).

Within a few moments, apparently, I fainted. I remember feeling as if I was spinning -- and I could hear Wil but couldn't move my arms to grab him. Finally he was right there, next to me, and I had stopped. I kept trying to tell him that I couldn't stop the spinning, and he just kept asking my name. I kept saying, "But I was spinning -- and I couldn't stop it" and he kept saying "TELL ME YOUR NAME!!!". Finally I stopped and said, "It's Sunny. Sunny Delaney."

I sat there a few more minutes and started to ask what happened... but when I thought about it, I felt woozy again. Wil finished bringing everything inside and helped me up the stairs and into bed. I sat there for a while -- Wil making me eat something with salt and sugar in it -- some energy bar we had picked up at Bumbershoot earlier in the day.

I felt a lot better, but didn't move my leg -- and Wil had covered it up with a sheet so I wouldn't look at it and feel woozy again. Then, suddenly, I was rather spectacularly sick. Sure, Wil had been prepared with that, too, so I had a sturdy hole-less bag at the ready. But wow. Sick and sick and sick and sick. Wil reported afterward (since he valiantly removed said bag and took it outside) that it was "Heavy. And quite... solid feeling."


And then I was fine. Oh, and I ate a piece of toast with jam and peanut butter -- more sugar and salt. Wil is a very good doctor. :)

Woke up Monday morning with a huge bruise on my left shin, a bit of swelling, but clearly no break. Just a good, solid bone bruise. Good times.

It's almost funny -- if I had had a glass or two of wine, I wouldn't have been moving so quickly across the darkened garden and wouldn't have smacked my leg so hard. (At least, that's my theory....) It has also reminded me that I should be getting more calcium in my brittle old bones.

I haven't run on the leg yet -- might try a little loop around the block tomorrow -- but I'm sure I'll be fine and hopefully able to keep up with Suz at the Iron Girl 5K this weekend!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Green Lake Run with Suz, week 2

Had another great run with Suz around Green Lake - and another gorgeous day!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Heavy Medal

Pleasant surprise in the post today: my "Rock Encore" medal for running two Rock 'n' Roll races. Always nice to get a bit of bling...

I feel that bonus medals make up for halfs that haven't had medals -- so I am especially happy to get these!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Green Lake Run with Suz

Belatedly reporting that I had a great run with Suz on Saturday -- bright and early, with a gorgeous morning and a relatively quiet lake. Can't wait to do it again!

Friday, August 19, 2011

running crafts - race bib keeper

I'm crafty. I've been crafty way longer than I've been a runner. But it took me a while to figure out that it would be cool to combine these two things I love, at least a little. 

Everyone who runs events knows that you get a lot of stuff at them -- bibs, shirts you'll never wear, the occasional awesome medal. And as something of a packrat, of course I hold on to most of the stuff. 

Bibs were especially challenging for me -- I had gotten into the habit of jotting down notes on the back of each one after the race -- the date of the race, my time, how I had placed overall, among the women, and in my age group. But then what?

I had seen this advertised in the back of a running magazine (yeah, I read those too):

But then I saw that it was $40. FORTY BUCKS?!? I knew I could make something just as nice -- perhaps nicer -- for much, much less. In fact, I could make it from stuff I have around the house. The only thing I was missing was the "notebook ring" thingy.

I started by gathering up my race bibs. I picked out the largest ones -- the Rock 'n' Roll series bibs are HUGE -- and measured them. Then I cut two pieces of chipboard just slightly larger. I then decorated the front, the inside front, and the inside back with running-themed paper. And I added my name and a running slogan (also a running joke....) on the front. 

Now you may be asking yourself -- Sunny, why do you have such things in your house? 

Deep breath.

Because I am a scrapbooker. I resisted it for years -- I remember, oh, a decade or so ago, Suz telling me she had been to a scrapbook party. I had no idea what she meant. I mean, sure, I made scrapbooks when I was a kid -- either gluing newspaper clippings and pictures onto construction paper, or sticking them under the plastic in those "magnetic albums". (Remember those?) But the fact that an entire industry had grown up that I had never heard of -- despite being crafty -- well, that was astonishing.

I made my first scrapbook for a girlfriend's wedding back in 2003. And then didn't make another one for a couple of years. Maybe I just needed something -- or someone -- to scrapbook about. :)

Anyway, I also started a running scrapbook. Now, I'm not fancy schmancy with the embellishments or anything. But I like to keep track of the races I've run -- and when I'm feeling uninspired or a little down, I like to look back over the pages. It brings me great joy. 

So, of course, I have running-themed paper in the house. So that's how I could decorate my bib holder. And, well, here it is:

When I finished my first half marathon, as I crossed the finish line, the nice volunteer gave me my medal and said, "You are so strong, and so brave." I just keep thinking how awful I must have looked, how near to death, for someone to say that! It's one of my two favorite race moments.

Yeah, those letters are glittery. Black glitter, of course.

 On the inside front cover, I added my race PRs. Now you can all see just how slowly I run!

When I was done, I put the bibs in reverse chronological order and put them in the binder. You'll see that I only used one ring -- the holes in my bibs are set at a pretty wide range of spaces, so I have just aligned them by the top left hole. Besides, I had to BUY that ring, and it set me back 49 cents. So I was happy to keep my costs under a dollar (after tax).

Let me tell you -- this is one of the most simply satisfying craft moments of my life. Yeah, okay, I'm a dork. But it's still fun to flip through the bibs. I'm sad that I lost my "Resolution Run" bib from 2008, but every other race bib I've ever worn is in here. 

Two things made me think of my bib holder this week. 1: a friend pointed out the store-bought Bibfolio on Pinterest (also noting that it seemed a bit spendy...) and 2: while getting some staples in the office supply room at work, I found a 3" diameter notebook ring. Do you know how many bibs I could collect on that? The mind boggles...

Anyone have a better name for this? Or other running craft ideas? I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

not the average day at the office

Today I got to play art director for the day on a little photo shoot. We dressed up two of my colleagues in a variety of fine running apparel and put them through their paces. We needed to get some "better than stock" images of people walking, running, and sprinting for our new shoe advisor. Doug and Diana were fantastic -- and I enjoyed a slightly more creative than usual day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

National Thrift Store Day

It seems that today is National Thrift Store Day... which prompted an evening visit to our local Goodwill. I was hoping to find something amusing or inspirational... and I clearly found both.

The Elvis sunglasses are inherently amusing. Were they ever cool or in good taste? Hell no. Then again, neither were the jumpsuits... Still,they remind me of our trip to Graceland, when we decided we should never be apart.

As far as inspiration goes, I have been daydreaming about running a race dressed as Elvis one day. Finding these felt like a nudge from the thrift store gods. Okay, so, my ideal Elvis is the 68 Comeback Special Elvis,who wouldn't have worn these glasses. But for 99 cents, they were irresistible.

Strike a Pose

So I read a lot about running. Part of it is for my job, but let's be honest: I was already a dork who read more than she ran before I worked at B.

Today, on two different sites, I saw the term "Pose Running". I swear I have never heard of it before. (Have you?) Apparently, it's based on Dr. Nicholas Romanov's "Pose Method" -- "Efficient, injury-free movement taught through poses. Use the Pose Method techniques to prevent injuries and to dramatically improve your athletic performance."

The "PoseTech" site is pretty interesting, and I admit I've only skimmed it, but it seems like one of those perfect runner's lures. First, it's been around for a while -- since 1977. Second, it doesn't require special equipment, just some coaching. Third, it is described as a way to combat fear: "Imagine training and racing without fear... no fear of not knowing what you're doing, no fear of injuries, no fear of not beeing good at your sport, no fear of overtraining... "

I think it looks a little like Chi Running... but I'm sure an expert would tell me that I'm nuts. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

a little run...

Belatedly reporting that I went for a run on Monday. No, wait, that's not quite true -- I ran on the treadmill. 3.4 miles, nice and simple, on a "rolling" course in 5:1 splits. Yeah, I know it isn't interesting.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Great Alaskan Marathon Cruise Race Report

What an amazing week we had! It was a glorious trip -- great people, fun times. And, of course, a big, honkin' Penguin medal!!! We're already thinking about when we can go to the Carribbean... 2013, perhaps?

I would wholeheartedly recommend this trip to anyone who likes to run or walk. John and Jenny are fantastic, the race stages are fun, but the best part was the fellowship of runners. Meeting complete strangers who "get it" -- for whom it is perfectly normal to fly somewhere to run for a couple of hours, who know the importance of a nice medal, and who understand that it's wrong to wear a shirt for a race you haven't run.

As usual, I've written too much... and the race reports are mixed in with the vacation reports. But here are links to the different days:

Day 1 we sailed from Seattle and met the group

Day 2 we ran stage 1 - a very wet 3-mile deck run

Day 3 we ran stage 2 - a 10-mile trail run in Juneau -- and we went whale watching

Day 4 we visited the Hubbard Glacier

Day 5 we ran stage 3 - a 10K "amazing race" in Sitka

Day 6 we ran stage 4 - a 7-mile trail run in Ketchikan

Day 7 we celebrated our successes

Thanks to John and Jenny for putting this together, to Mila for making things run smoothly, and all of our fellow alumni for such an amazing adventure. Run happy, everyone!