Sunday, December 30, 2012

Seattle Locks Fat Ass Half Marathon race report

We were looking for a race for the last weekend of the year -- I had considered the Yukon Do It race on the 31st, but then decided I didn't necessarily want to spend the money. I saw the Seattle Locks Fat Ass Half Marathon -- and that it was free -- and that the race started at Woodland Park.

We rolled up this morning, joined the small crowd at the picnic shelter. We got our bibs, listened to the course description (essentially, run out to Stone Way, down to the Burke-Gilman, and then out to the turnaround, almost all the way to Golden Gardens. 

Not really much to report about the race -- we just ran out, turned around, and ran back. At the end, we received a medal, had some hot cider, cookies, and jelly bellies, and then nibbled on them as we stretched. We ran pretty smoothly today, but we did decide to walk up the hill on Stone Way rather than run it. After all, we're supposed to be in our taper...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pushups are hard.

A slightly bigger group at this morning's boot camp -- not at big as before the holidays, but still 10 or 12 folks. This morning we did a circuit -- several exercises, 20 reps each, as many sets as we could get through -- aiming for 4.

I did that annoying thing I always do -- I watched others do the workout, and thought to myself, "Hmmm. She's not doing 20 reps" and "She's not doing all the lengths" and "She's not doing those right." I could hear Wil's voice saying, "Run your own race!" so I tried to ignore it. But it kept bothering me. Why, I just don't know. I guess I'm a rule follower.

I told Wil about it when I got home, and he actually agreed with me -- that it seems weird when, in a boot camp when the only person who matters is you, why not just put in the reps?

I really struggled with doing pushups with one hand on a medicine ball -- had to modify every single one, and on the last round I had to stop a couple of times to regroup. And as far as "bosu get ups" go, I simply couldn't get all the way down to it without torquing my knees. So probably other ladies were watching me and thinking, "She's totally not doing that right."

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Months and months ago I bought a Groupon for swims at a pool not too far from my work. Well, in typical procrastinatory fashion, I waited a looooong time to redeem it. I kept meaning to go, but, well, you know how it is.

So, with an impending expiration date of January 19, I decided to go check the Juanita "Wave Aquatic Center" pool out.

Arrived to a nearly empty parking lot. No surprise, really -- school is out for the holidays, and, well, not that many people are going to get up and swim at 8am during the holidays either.

I headed in to the building and discovered that the women's locker room was locked. Oh. And the counter looked pretty locked up as well. But there was a little sign that said, "Please pay on the pool deck", so I tentatively pushed through the doors.

There were 4 or 5 people swimming, a couple of bored-looking lifeguards, dubstep coming through the speakers, and a chill in the air. To be honest, I wasn't even sure that the pool was open, but the lifeguards were friendly, set me up with a punch card, and turned me loose

The pool was pretty cold -- but also pretty refreshing. I picked up a kickboard and a pull buoy and settled in to an empty lane. The new goggles I bought yesterday were awesome -- no leaks at all. (I do think I had them fastened too tightly -- I had some killer goggle marks for a while after my swim!)

My goal wasn't to swim all that much -- the emphasis today was really just getting into the darn pool. I swam sets of four lengths each: freestyle, kickboard, arm pulls, then a little break, arm pulls, kick board, freestyle. Then four more lengths to cool down, and I was done.

On my way out the lifeguard asked if I thought the water was too cold, and told me that the school had turned the boilers off for the Christmas break. Oh. Then a little girl in the locker room told me that the showers were just as cold. Oh.

But I didn't feel like driving to work in my suit for a shower, so I just took a chilly shower there. Brrrrrrrr.

Nice to swim, nice to use a Groupon (ha ha). I've got nine more swims to do before we move to the U District in March!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day Boot Camp

Managed to get myself out of bed early on Boxing Day to go to boot camp. Arrived to a nearly empty parking lot, and wondered if I should have checked the site before braving the morning. But as I sat there, another car arrived, so I figured I should just go in.

The 6am camp was wrapping up -- all FOUR of them. Wow. I signed in and wondered if I was going to have a personal training session. I must admit that I was hoping others were turn up because I wasn't feeling particularly strong!

But another woman arrived, and then, a few minutes into the workout, a third woman jumped in. We did a circuit focusing on "butts and guts" -- different squats and crunches, interspersed with cardio.

I was cold to begin with -- the heating hadn't been on in days, apparently -- but never really had a chance to take off my long sleeved shirt when I got warmer. I think I'll be pretty sore in a day or two... but again, really glad to have gone for my third session!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas Half Marathon

We woke to a dry morning, and were dressed and on our way around 6:30. I insisted on wearing our Santa hats, which we discovered bounce around quote a bit. No matter, we were on the road and running!

We decided to run a simple route, down to the Fred Meyer, on to the Burke-Gilman, and out past tHe university. It was very, very dark when we set out, so we were both decked out in our high-visibility NightLife gear. We had considered running with headlamps' but couldn't find any, so we decided to go without.

The trail -- and indeed the roads -- were pretty empty, but everyone who was out was cheery, and we exchanged a lot of hellos. We reached the turnaround pretty quickly, and were well on our way home before the rain started. By the time we got home, it was pretty wet, and we kept feeling pleased with ourself for getting up and going -- knowing that if we had contemplated going out at 9, we would have let the rain keep us indoors. Heck, I admit I would have whined and pleaded not to have to go out.

Then home, hot showers, a FaceTime visit with Beck, Steve, and her family; a quick breakfast; a Skype call with Tony and Sue; and then the festival of presents. Now napping on the couch -- a perfect Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Substitute Boot Camp, day two

Yeah, okay, I woke up sore. Heck, I woke up sore yesterday. But there's a big part of me that LOVES that...

Friday's camp starts at 6:00, so I got everything ready on Thursday night. Well, almost -- realized when I got to the locker room at work that I had an empty bottle of shampoo and no moisturizer in my bag. Oh well, at least I remembered to pack trousers...

There seemed to be a much bigger crowd on Friday than Wednesday. That said, the early class on Wednesday seemed really full, too. Jill led the class again, explaining the exercises at the five stations, and then sending us to run laps as a warmup. We had five stations. I started with three other women at the ring pull-ups / box steps station. We cleverly divided ourselves -- two on boxes, two on rings. (There were only two boxes and three sets of rings.) Once we had moved to other stations, we watched as other groups struggled with too many people at that station... and probably felt slightly smug. 

We did "crossbows" at our second station -- basically pulling super strong resistance bands with alternating arms. 

Then into the big room, where we jumped rope and did wall sits. (Oof.) The station after that had glute planks and something called a "genie squat" (or something...). And at the final station we used weights and did squats and "goal posts". Between each set, and again between each station, we did different cardio bursts, but I found them too brief to really get my heartrate up. 

Here's something a bit weird... people didn't seem to talk much during the workout. I said things a few times, but got little response amongst my group. And there certainly wasn't any whooping or glee. I guess Kerry has spoiled me!

I also felt that there wasn't particularly good form. With people in two rooms, and doing different exercises all at once, it seemed like Jill wasn't able to correct form -- or even demonstrate form. For example -- one of the cardio sessions was "squat jumps". She demonstrated them briefly, but when we started doing them, most people essentially were doing little bunny hops... not proper deep squats with jumps. A little weird.... but as Wil always tells me, I just need to run my own race, right?

Still -- camp is good. I'm happily sore again... obviously it's been A WHILE since I did any upper body or core work. And the facility is nice, and I'm just happy to be back to feeling active. I'm kicking myself a bit that I didn't start going last week -- to maximize the value of my voucher before leaving for Florida -- but this is still a great way to fill in the gap.

Looking at the Vast Fitness calendar, looks like the next session starts on Monday, January 7. Unfortunately I'll miss FIVE of the 16 sessions by running the marathon ... The session after that starts February 11 -- probably a much better time to go. 

So here's my plan:  work out with Sync (substitute boot camp!) till I leave for Florida. Then when I'm back, I can spend a week with Dillon checking out her new place. (She very kindly sent me a "work out with us for a week" token. Actually, she sent two... hmm...) Then I can start up with Kerry again a week after that. Sorted. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Substitute Boot Camp

My beloved boot camp is on hiatus until January... so when I saw a deal on an INDOOR boot camp not too far from our house, well, I figured it would be a good substitute.

I went to workout today -- and had a blast. Now, it's not fun and playful -- I mean, no one really chatted during the workout, which was a little odd -- but I got a great workout, and, yes, it was very nice to be indoors.

We ran laps around the basketball court to warm up, then did sets of exercises -- squats, pushups, and abs -- interspersed with more laps for cardio.

I like the facility -- a "basketball academy", who knew? -- but once we get back from Florida I'm excited to start back up with Kerry!

(Oh, and, yeah, I'm already sore....)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Permission to run slowly...

The Total Immersion Swimming newsletter the other day included a story about giving yourself "the permission to swim slowly"... Now, I don't exactly have to give myself permission, since I'm just so slow. Bit I like the idea that, if you find that you have to stop and rest often, perhaps you're trying to go too fast. Anyway, it made me think about my ongoing challenges with pacing -- that I can't seem to stay on a steady pace if left to my own devices, but I can follow along if needed. I think that's something I should work on next year -- getting my pacing figured out!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Getting in to the Christmas spirit

The Fleet Feet store in Chico sent us this picture from their front window:

FRA-GEE-LAY.... it must be Italian! 

Now that's Run Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Me, myself, and eye... part 2

A hopefully quick off-topic note before we get back to the usual running stuff...

My eye felt a bit weird on Tuesday morning, so when I called to find out when I could come in for the procedure, we just decided to go ahead and have it done that afternoon. I honestly didn't know what to expect, but had come to imagine the laser as looking a little like this:

Or, okay, if not that big, then at least in the form of a shark with a frickin' laser beam mounted on its head:

But in the end, it just looked like this:

Oh. I don't even lie down? I just rest my chin on the fresh sheet of tissue paper? I see.

But the staff was lovely and friendly, Wil was allowed to sit in the room with me the whole time. First I was given a drop to make my pupil constrict really small so that my iris would be stretched taut. Then I was given a numbing drop. And then I just sat around and waited. The nurse told me that some people experienced a "brow ache" after taking the constricting drop, which I didn't really understand. Until a few minutes later I felt a weird pain... in my eyebrow. How weird is that?!?

After a bit, Dr. Carroll came in, took a look at my eye, and explained a bit about what was going to happen and why we were doing it -- probably for Wil's benefit more than mine. Then he put some goop on a special contact lens, put it in my eye, and told me to lean into the machine and look straight forward. 

I tried to breathe calmly, to open my eyes and think of England.... At the back of my mind I started to worry that there would be a smell... you know, a burning smell. But I just focused on breathing in, breathing out, and looking straight forward. 

Then with a strangely loud mechanical, metallic CLUNK, the laser started. My eye was filled with a red light for a few seconds, and then, done. Dr. Carroll removed the lens (which is essentially a guide so the laser only hits on spot), I sat back, and that was it. 

I was given some more drops, had a follow-up appointment set, and I was released. 

It didn't hurt -- but it wasn't comfortable. And the clunk the solid-state laser made probably made me yelp. Afterward my eye felt a little sore, a little tired, and still a little blurry, but otherwise okay. Oh, and, no, there wasn't a burning smell. Thank heavens.

That night I took my steroid drops, as usual, which made it hard to sleep (as usual). So I gave up at 3am  Wednesday and just got up and worked. I decided to work from home just so I could be closer to the doc if needed, but I was actually pretty okay all day. And I should point out that the 12 hours I worked at home were probably as productive as two full days in the office, so that was also good. 

This morning I had a follow-up appointment with the doctor, who told me my pressure numbers were good and low -- under 10 in each eye. So I can continue to taper the drops (and hopefully increase my sleep!), and I'll check in with him again on Tuesday. 

It's been a scary couple of weeks, and I know I'll still have to go in next year and have the big surgery done, but the crisis seems to have been averted for now. Fingers crossed, eh? 

Monday, December 10, 2012

My, myself, and eye...

Completely off-topic here, but I want to write about it. I hope to return to my usual running-related blather soon...

A few weeks ago the vision in my left eye got a little fuzzy. I've had bad eyes since I was a kid, but for the last several years I've been lucky to have only a few uveitis / iritis flare-ups in my right eye. But I try to be careful and aware of my eyesight. A day of slightly bleary eyes isn't a big deal ... but a few days starts to make me nervous.

So on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I called to make an appointment. Given that it was Thanksgiving week, the office would be closed on Thursday and Friday, and my doctor was out of the office on the Wednesday, but I figured I would rather see a doctor who was familiar with my eyes, so made an appointment for Cyber Monday. (Yeah, great timing for an e-commerce person, I know...)

I wasn't that worried over the weekend. My eye was a little blurry, but not all the time. I did feel like my night vision was getting worse, but since more and more of my friends seem to have the same issue, I figured it might just be middle age. (ha ha ha).

But then at work on Monday my left eye was so blurry that I couldn't read unless I covered my left eye and used my right. Yeah, not a good sign at all. I drove home in the bright sunshine, frankly worried about how badly I could see in the flickering light. I dropped the car off at home and walked down to the doctor's office.

When the tech came in to measure my vision and my eye pressure, she seemed a little surprised with how bad my eyesight was. But when she took the pressure, she took it, looked at the instrument, took my pressure again, then ran from the room.


A few moments later Dr. Carroll came in and said, "Well, apparently you have an awesome eye." I told him I was a little surprised by the tech running out of the room, and asked what was up. He took a look, said my eye was really inflamed and the pressure was quite high. He prescribed three sets of medicines -- a steroid eye drop, a set of steroid pills, and some glaucoma meds he referred to, cheekily, as the "pressure drop".

I went away feeling scared, with an appointment to check in with him the next day. While walking to the pharmacy to pick up the drugs I called Doug to tell him what needed to be done before tomorrow -- and, me being me, broke down in tears. This freaked him out a bit, and he asked if I wanted to catch my breath and call him back. That was enough of a disconnect that I reset and just listed out three things he needed to take care of.

I spent the afternoon taking steroids (not the strength kind, mind you...) and having a pint or two of cider with Wil and Suz.

The next day I went back in and had my eyes checked again... the pressure had dropped from the 50s down to less than 10; a much better number. One more check in later in the week and my eyes were doing okay again, so the crisis seemed to have been averted.

By the way, I did ask whether running the Quadzilla could have had an effect on my eye, or whether I should stop running. I was assured that there was no connection, and that I could run and fly and endure a week in Vegas. (ha ha).

So I went to Vegas, land of recycled air, and survived. But over the weekend at home I felt like my left eye was a little fuzzy again. Now, whether it was tiredness or too many eye drops or what, I didn't worry too much. But today, Monday, it seemed fuzzy. Growing fuzzier. I sat in a meeting at 11am and thought that my eyesight was getting progressively worse... and I even felt a slight weight or pain in my eye.

As I left the meeting I turned to Doug and said, "My eye has gotten very blurry again -- I'm going to go to the eye doctor." And I packed up and left. 40 minutes later I was at the doctor's office, asking the front desk to let me in. Luckily, I came right after lunch and they were able to fit me in pretty quickly.

This time the tech didn't run from the room, but she did measure the pressure twice. And Dr. Carroll came in and said, "Well hi there." I said, "I didn't think you could bear not to see me for two weeks..." and then apologized for feeling like a hypochondriac, but that my vision was blurry and my eye hurt. He said, "Well, your pressure is way up again, so your instincts were completely correct."

I asked the pressure level -- this time in the mid 40s -- and said, 'Well, it's not as bad as last time."

Apparently what's happening is "closed angle glaucoma" -- where the drainage angle in my eye that should allow the aqueous humors to drain out has been blocked by my iris... a side-effect of the long-term damage my eye has been through. The aqueous humors cannot drain, which causes pressure to build up, which can harm the optic nerve and cause permanent damage. Neato.

He then told me that I needed to have a small procedure on my eye -- a laser iridotomy -- which will create a small hole in my iris so that the humors can drain. Not really sure how I feel about that, but I've read a lot and it seems that it's a pretty minor procedure. I asked if I would have any down time after the procedure, and Dr. Carroll said, "Not really. Your eye won't feel any worse than it does now... a bit hurty, with blurry vision."

I don't have my actual appointment yet, but I should be going in on Wednesday. Stay tuned for updates.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas

Okay, so it isn't really running-related. Other than the fact that I am running out of town as fast as I can....

Other than the half marathon (PR!!!) on Sunday, the only exercise I got while at the conference was a short swim on Wednesday and a run on Thursday... So much for good intentions!

I also just feel doughy and flabby - even though the culinary choices were pretty limited, I think I still managed to overeat. Again, so much for good intentions!

But next week should be better. I am going to join a new boot camp for the four weeks until we go to Orlando for the Goofy. I think I will also be able to go to Nijah's Zumba class on Thursdays at work. And of course I have a lot of running to do.... So here's to going home, getting healthy again, and finishing the year on a high!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Vegas Run

Well, maybe the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon owns the "strip at night" tagline, but regular runners own the "strip in the morning". Went out for a run at 7 and was amazed to see that, other than cleaners hosing down yesterday's filth, the only people out and about we're runners. Dozens of us, all running up and down the strip. I think the highlight was when I was directed on a detour through the Treasure Island casino because of work being done on one of the pirate lakes in front of the hotel. I joined a little pod of other runners snaking around the casino floor, up a staircase, and across a sky bridge to get out. Nice.

Not a long or a fast run, but at least j got a few miles in!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Imperial Swim

So, the pool at Caesar's Palace is only open from 10-5. And I am at the conference from 9-5 every day. But I really, really wanted to go for a swim.

So today I brought my swimsuit along to the session and, when we broke for lunch, I ran down to the pool. I got changed in the huge, empty bathroom, grabbed a couple of towels, and made my way out to the deserted pool.

Under the watchful eyes of a bored life guard I swam for 20 lovely minutes, got out and dried out in the sun for a few more, and then got dressed and went back upstairs. I grabbed another awesome salad, inhaled it, and slid back into my seat right when we got started.

Pretty much a perfect lunch!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Doing the splits...

So I don't usually have runner tracking at races -- I just don't think it's worth paying to have my splits texted to me while I'm running... especially if I don't know how many splits I'm going to get. But it was offered at the Runner's Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon for free, so I figured I might as well. (Plus it gave Wil a way to track me remotely...)

Anyway, they were super generous with the amount of splits they recorded... and I'm pretty thrilled to see that I got faster and faster as the race went on:

Split Time Estimated Finish Average
3.1 33:21 2:20:40 10:44 Walked for a minute early on in this split, before joining the group.
6.2 1:03:48 2:14:36 10:16 Big jump here!
10 1:42:05 2:13:50 10:12 Was running slightly ahead of the pace group here.
12 2:02:24 2:13:43 10:12 I'm proudest of this split -- got through my normal head game here without slowing down!
13.1 2:13:06   2:13:06 10:09 Ran the last mile at a 9:43 pace -- fantastic!
Wil now wants us to run a 2:10. Eek. But I think we could definitely get to that sometime next year if we keep at it!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ode to my Fuel Band

I coveted you from the moment I saw you.

So sleek, so simple.

I had been a Nike+ user from the early days. No, of course I never used the shoes... I really hadn't worn Nikes since, what, 7th grade? But I loved being able to track my miles when I ran. Heck, I still do.

I started with the little shoe pod, a pouch to attach it to my laces, and a sensor I attached to my iPod. My iPods came and went, and I even wore out a couple of sensors. But it was still good.

A year or so ago (probably more?) I bought the SportWatch. That was also cool -- and I still run with it because I love the GPS functionality. It's too bulky (and, well, too NIKE...) to wear every day as a watch, but who cares.I never wore my Garmin as a watch either. And this is much better looking.

And then, ah, the Fuel Band. A sleek little black band for my wrist, tracking my movements and granting me "Fuel Points". I love the device, I love the gamification, I love it love it love it.

But after 219 days, I had a problem. A stretch of the LEDs on the watch had died. Now, these aren't functional, really. I could still see if I hit my goal for the day. But I worried that if they were going, something else inside my be going, too.

Since I'm in Las Vegas for the NNG Usability Week conference -- and staying at Caesar's Palace -- I walked down to the Nike store to see if the folks there could help. After a little hemming and hawing, ("Well.. do you have a receipt?"), the manager said just to swap it out for a new one. Great.

Here's something a little shameful: I asked them to help me sync my day's Fuel Points (and those of the previous couple of days) so that I wouldn't break my streak. Yeah, it's like that. So we synced my old Fuel Band, and it was unceremoniously put in a box... while I was handed a shiny new one.

So -- Nike Store customer service gets an A. That said, they know the device hasn't been around all that long -- so they couldn't pretend I had had it for years.... But it was with a minimum of hassle, and I didn't have to lose my Fuel Band for weeks on end if I had to send it in.

But now I'm struggling to set up the new Fuel Band. Am I perhaps the only person in the history of the Fuel Band to ever get a second one? (No, I'm sure I'm not... but I may well be an edge case...) And it seems that my points from the past three days haven't actually synched. Which leads me to the real crux of the issue:


Yes, since having the Fuel Band, I only missed hitting my goal one day -- on day 41, I think. And now I have "missed" three more -- including a day when I ran a PR in a half marathon. But, assuming everything sorts itself out, I will be back at it tomorrow. I hope.

By the way, I know I'm a dork.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Runner's Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon race report

After a bit of chaos trying to pick up my bib (in the pitch dark morning, along with several hundred other runners and six panicked volunteers...), I stood around trying to relax and stay warm before taking off my long sleeve and leaving it at the bag drop. I noticed that the race had pacers for 2:07, 2:15, and 2:30. I idly wondered how long I could hang on to the 2:15 group, but then just laughed that off.

I made my way to the starting area, where I lined up on the right-hand side (the slow lane...) and a but behind the 2:15 group. But when the race started and we all had to funnel through the timing mats, things got a bit jumbled and I was running with the 2:07s. Yeah, not my tribe.

I ran the first two intervals without the walk break -- we seemed too bunched together to stop. I did decide to walk the next break, however, which is when the 2:15s passed me. But when I started running again, I caught up with them quickly. Given that I struggle with my pace over even short runs, I decided to experiment with joining a pace group.  Crazy, right? But I figured I would just run with them until I ragout of gas.

Marie was the pacer. Holding her balloons (2:15 ROCKS!) and wearing a Santa hat, she kept up an almost constant chatter.  She asked members of the group if they wanted to dedicate miles to people, told funny stories about being a pacer all over the country, and sang songs. At every mile marker she would sing,, "Do you see what I see? It's mile marker number ________". And then the group would shout "2:15 ROCKS!!!"

Never having run with a pacer (umm, besides Wil...), I didn't know what to expect, but it was okay. All I had to do was keep close to them and let the miles and minutes click by.  It was sort-of the real-world version of running on a treadmill.

I have been running intervals for years now, and other than occasional long treadmill slogs, I really haven't run more than 30 minutes straight for a long time, if ever. So I kept thinking that eventually I would just crash.  But the pace was fine, I felt good, and I just kept going.

Then at a water stop somewhere around mile 8 I somehow ended up behind three other women from the group, but ahead of Marie.  I figured we would all shuffle back together, but we never did.  For a while I could hear Marie right behind me, but I stuck close to the three lively ladies and soon we had gapped them. I also knew that I should try to eat up some road while I was feeling good mentally and physically... And that I could let the 2:15s sweep me up later.

After another little stretch we did a loop to turn onto a bike path. As we wound our way through a park, I thought the ladies were slowing down, so I scooted around them and ran on my own. I kept picking out a runner to join, but I would catch them and keep going. I should remind you that this is a very unusual phenomenon for me!!!

The organizers had placed lots of water stops toward the end of the race -- one at mile 10, 11, and 12. This was great for me because it gave me a chance to have a sip of water, walk for a few moments,, and then move on.

At mile 11 -- always the toughest mile for me, mentally -- I decided to just think about things I love... Wil, Kiki, Bub, half marathons... ;) I thought about how great this year has been, how much Wil and I have accomplished, and how proud I am of us.

Then came mile 12 -- such a relief! I dedicated the final mile to Wil, my favorite running buddy, and wishing he was there running with me. The day had been nperfect -- coolish temperatures, gorgeous blue sky, no wind, flat course.

Every so often I looked at the elapsed time on my watch. But seeing that stat meant I didn't really know where I was on the course. So I started just thinking in terms of minutes. Fifteen minutes of running left... Fourteen minutes of running left...

I had looked at the course map before and noticed that there were three 90-degree turns in the last little stretch: right, left, right, finish. That was hugely helpful because I knew that I wouldn't see the actual finish until I was almost there. So I was ready for that.

It was interest ting -- and shamefully satisfying -- to pass so many people in the last couple of hundred yards. But I knew a PR was on the line, so I went for it.

As I was running in I got a shout out by the announcer, which made me wave and whoop. No one responded. But who cares?!? I had just finished in 2:13:06!!!

I felt wobbly and winded and gratefully took the medal and cup of water from the volunteers. At a bit of a loss for what to do next, I just picked up my gear bag, called Wil, and walked back to the hotel.

I already don't remember much about the race. No signs, no sits, just running behind and with a little group of strangers for a couple of hours.  Nice volunteers. Good course markings, including big, honking mile markers. Tons of police helping direct traffic. Plenty of water stops. A handsome medal. OH, AND STATE #17!!!!

A new PR!!

Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon - Finish Results

Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon:

Sunny Delaney at the Finish in 2:13:06.

Pace 10:09 min/Mile.
Time of Arrival: 9:44:13.

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Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon - Split Results

Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon:

Sunny Delaney at the 12 Mile in 2:02:24.

Pace 10:12 min/Mile.
Estimated Finish Time: 2:13:43.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 9:44:51.

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Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon - Split Results

Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon:

Sunny Delaney at the 10 Mile Split in 1:42:05.

Pace 10:12 min/Mile.
Estimated Finish Time: 2:13:50.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 9:44:58.

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Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon - Split Results

Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon:

Sunny Delaney at the 10K Split in 1:03:48.

Pace 10:16 min/Mile.
Estimated Finish Time: 2:14:36.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 9:45:43.

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Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon - Split Results

Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon:

Sunny Delaney at the 5K Split in 33:21.

Pace 10:44 min/Mile.
Estimated Finish Time: 2:20:40.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 9:51:48.

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Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon - Start Notification

Runners Den Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon:

Sunny Delaney has started.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

November Wrap-Up

Well, it was a strange month.  No boot camp, and only five runs. Of course, each of those runs was a half marathon....

I am writing this in my room in Scottsdale, where I am running a half marathon tomorrow and kicking off December.

I still have about 80 miles to run in order to hit my annual mileage goal. That is gonaa be pretty hard to hit, but I think I will get close. I would like to find a way to get some mid-week miles in again... It's just so darn dark!

Kerry's boot camp doesn't start again until January, but I have a deal for another one that will cover me for the weeks between Vegas and Orlando. And Nijah is teaching Zumba at work every Thursday. I have also been feeling like swimming again, so maybe I can find morning lap swim. And then of course I still have Zumba classes on my Fresh Fitness punch card, as well as samba classes with Janeale. So I should be able to shake off my sloth!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Best marathon sign of the weekend...

A woman was standing at about mile 10 (mile 23 of the full course) holding two signs.

The first sign was one of the ones they handed out at the expo, saying:


The second sign she had made herself... Probably on the back of one of the official signs. It read:



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Today's minor obsession...

While looking for marathons in Montana for next year on the Running In The USA calendar, I saw a reference to the "Center of the Nation Series" half marathon in September... And discovered this:

5 Days, 5 Marathons, 5 States?!?  Um, wow. I was hoping to pick up five states next year... so perhaps this Center of the Nation Series is the way to go... I haven't run in any of those states yet...

Of course, me being me, I had to start thinking about logistics. Fly into Rapid City and rent an RV? (A weird little dream of mine is to rent an RV... ). Fly into Rapid City and rent a car and stay in motels?

And then it hit me... ROAD TRIP. I mean, if the first race is on the Monday morning, leaving Seattle on the Friday evening would give us PLENTY OF TIME to drive across. And with the last race being on Friday morning, that would give us PLENTY OF TIME to drive back from Nebraska. Perhaps even to drive through Yellowstone.

In other news, I had been toying with the idea of running the Yukon Do It Half Marathon on my birthday... but admittedly I didn't want to pay $70 (with tax and fees) to run it. Plus getting to Port Orchard early in the morning, etc. etc.

And then I found this cute little race:

It's unsupported essentially -- we'll have to carry our own water. But it is timed, so that works for me. Plus it starts at Green Lake, runs down to the Burke-Gilman, out to Golden Gardens, and back. It's not that different to what we would have run on our own -- so it's perfect!

Now I just need to plan runs for the weekend of the 8th, the 15th, and the 22nd. Oh, and the 5th of January. I do have some ideas for runs I'd like to do:

- a track half marathon. I have no idea why I want to do this, but I do.
- a million inch run -- 15.8 miles. It would be a little weird if I didn't hit this goal, right?
- a run to downtown and back -- I've missed doing this route for a while!
- one last Green Lake half?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Seattle Half Marathon race report

Wow! The Quadzuki is over... and I feel both happy and relieved.

We found good street parking on the northwest corner of the Seattle Center -- perfect for an easy escape after the race. We walked in to the Armory for a potty break and to get warm. It was 37 degrees -- colder than I expected -- but I was wearing an warmer top layer today, so I figured I would be okay.

We stayed in the warmth and looked at the "Centerville" train set until 10 minutes before the start, when we headed out onto the street. I put us on the far side of the street again (though we walked around the median rather than through it...) -- made for a much less crowded start.

It still took us a couple of minutes to get across the starting line -- it's the first time the horn and the "woo!" happened without us at least walking a little... But once we crossed the line, it was pretty smooth running.

We ran all the way up and down Fifth Avenue, down to the International District and on to the I-90 express lanes. This time no one slipped and fell. Still not sure what happened two years ago to those people.

I still prefer running through the tunnel at the beginning of the run rather than the end... even if it gets weirdly warm running through there. Then, of course, the worst little ramp in the world. I guess any and all Seattle races require a trip down that little walking path... Steep, narrow, and slippery when damp. Neato.

It is, however, nice to hit the bottom of the ramp and turn left -- rejoining the Ghost course from yesterday. It was also nice to run out in the street rather than along the sidewalk. That said, it was a little sad not to be able to pick up some Ruffles and jelly beans at an aid station in Leschi...

But we kept running along the lake, past the Ghost turnaround, and then up up up up up the hills. Ooof. But Wil kept us moving.... sometimes walking (faster than a lot of runners), and sometimes running (potentially slower than walkers!). I was sad not to have seen any Hashers out with beer on the hill. Not sure if they weren't there, or if I just didn't see them this year? Maybe next time.

Then back down Madison and into the Arboretum, which is my favorite part of this course. I think my brain sorta fuzzed out at this point, because I don't remember all that much, other than that, at some point on the closed-off road through the woods, someone called my name. Wil and I turned around to see someone waving at me. I smiled and waved back... but had NO IDEA who it was. I'm really sorry to whoever it was... but I sadly don't see super well, and often have a hard time recognizing people outside of their street clothes. But thank you for cheering at me. And I hope you had a great run! :)

I was't sure how far we'd run today... when we got to mile 8, I thought we might stop... nope. Mile 10 in the woods? Nope. After mile 10, it just seemed like we should just keep going, so we did.

We popped out near Roanoake Street, which always surprises me, crossed 520 and I-%, and then turned toward downtown. The trip back under the freeway, along the road past the tilting townhouse (again, does ANYONE else remember that?) and one last trip over the freeway.

We turned down the steep hill by Cafe Venus -- which we decided to walk, rather than bang up our knees even more. After that it was pretty much straight ahead, across one block to get on the Mercer underpass, and then up into the stadium. I had the strange realization that I felt better at that point today than I did running the Rock 'n' Roll Half... weird.

We turned down the road into the stadium, said "God Save the Queen" at mile 13, and then sped down the ramp and across the turf to the finish line. Huzzah!

After we collected our very handsome medals, we went into the Recovery Area -- nightmarish again, and already very picked over. (No Muscle Milk... sigh.) And freakishly hot. So we quickly escaped, walked the 3 blocks to the car, and came home.

Still a little surprised that we've finished the Quadzuki... but as I sit and type my knees do feel as if they're seizing up. So I guess that's proof as well.

Seattle Half Marathon 2012 medal

Seattle Half Marathon 2012 medal - back

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ghost of Seattle Half Marathon race report

Was thrilled to wake up this morning to the sound of silence.. by which I mean, no rain!

Got up, got dressed, and was out of the house quickly. Got to the start and jumped in the line for bibs. Nope, that was the porta-potty line. So bib pickup was super fast. We also found the Quadzilla guy and bought a glass. He said if we don't see him after the Seattle Marathon, that he'd mail us our medals. Cool.

We headed back up to the car to drop off our bags and glass, and ran into Ian, who had come down to say hi to Lauren and us. But basically we got back to the start and had to start running. At a minute and seven seconds in, we were probably the last people to start, but who cares. Our goal was just to finish.

The course starts out around Seward Park, and it was a beautiful morning. We ran around the park, chatting with other runners and admiring the view. Then back past the start, and out along Lake Washington Boulevard.

They allowed marathoners to start at either six or seven, so we saw some of them heading back toward us as we went out. It was a little disconcerting to see people so far "ahead", so it must have been weird for people to see us during the Widdle Waddle.

We were both pretty achy from yesterday's trail run -- so decided to let discretion be the better part of valor and only ran half way rather than the eight miles we had planned. All I can say is that those 6.55 miles were supremely easy compared to yesterday!

We passed the Leschi aid station, headed out to the turnaround, and then back. I told Wil that I loved this race because the aid station had Ruffles and gummi bears. Got there and -- yay! Ultra kibble! Had some jelly beans, some Coke, and some Ruffles and headed back out. Awesome.

The way back was pretty uneventful, except that I started to get cold so took Wil's jacket. We cheered for our fellow runners, smiled and waved at a lot of folks, and happily finished in something like 2:50. Pretty slow, but still okay.

After the race we indulged in the great post-race food -- veggie dogs, chili, and of course, some tasty beer. Oh! And the medals were very cool -- a combination trophy, medal, AND bottle opener. Sweet.

Ghost of Seattle Half Marathon Medal

Happy to have gotten three races done... just one more to go!!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Half Bone Half Marathon race report

It was, in a word, WET.

Got up early for the drive to Gig Harbor... where we got a bit lost trying to find the start, but arrived with, oh, 15 minutes to spare? I liked the set-up for this "not-a-racc"... a couple of porta-potties on a front lawn, a gaggle of runners in a living room, paying a $20 cash donation to the food bank, then picking up a number that was left over from a previous race... Perfect.

We made our way to the start and joined a small group of folks who looked just as wet and a little worried as we did.

But everyone -- at least everyone who put themselves toward the back of the pack! -- was friendly, chatty, and full of a "we're all in this together" spirit. Hmmm... maybe that's the endorphins talking...

A few words were spoken... but I couldn't hear them. There was a request for walkers to start at the back, so we hung back a bit, but then realized we weren't starting off as walkers, so joined the line of people.

bundled up before the race
Much of the race was on single-track trails... so we actually walked for about the first five minutes. Fine by me -- it was brisk and got me used to the feel of the trails in my new shoes. Then we set off at a trot. Not super fast, but a nice trot. I felt like I could run all day at that pace. The trail was narrow, the plants on either side were soaking, and I spent most of the time running looking down at Wil's feet and legs so that I didn't trip, slip, or stumble.

We ran for the first 3 miles with a nice Maniac twosome, sometimes trading leads after wider paths. I was feeling pretty good about the day -- like I could run and run.

And then we hit our first big, big puddle. Now, we'd been through a lot of puddles so far, sometimes jumping over them, sometimes skirting the edge of them in the mud. But this one was a doozy -- all the way across the path and well into the woods beyond. This brought all of us to a screeching halt, as we tried to find the shallowest way through. Jumping ahead to our second loop, I watched a woman -- who was completely soaked already -- just walk straight through it, and the water was nearly up to her KNEES.

Wil and I were wearing our Adrenaline ASR GTX shoes, so we were dry -- unless water went over our ankles. I think I actually stayed almost perfectly dry for the first loop of the course by remembering to walk on my tippy toes to keep the top of my shoes above water.

The course was pretty -- lots of gorgeous autumnal leaves, red ferns, mushrooms, huckleberry bushes. But the rain just kept pouring down so I didn't want to stop and try to take any pictures.

The course was marked with fluorescent paint arrows indicating turns. We were running with a small group when we caught up with a nice German guy standing next to a small path with an arrow. He said, "it's a turn, yes?" and we all agreed --- and tried to call after the people who had run straight past it. As we know from the Birch Bay Road Race, all it takes is one person to go the wrong way and everyone follows. So vielen dank to our German friend!

Before we knew it, we had reached the end of the first loop, so ran out to the aid station at the start/finish to warm up a little. I ate a very delicious pancake and the nicest hot boiled potato you could ever imagine. We weren't sure if we were supposed to go back out to the start/finish, but I'm very glad we did.

We then decided to just walk the second loop. This had the advantage of making it less likely that I would trip and fall, but had the disadvantage of making for a loooooooong day out in the rain. And it was raining ridiculously hard... so hard that every hill turned into a small stream, small puddles completely overwhelmed the path, and dirt turned to ankle-deep mud. Multiple times we had to pick our way across a deep pool. And, of course, at some point I managed to get my feet soaking wet. Oops.

I also got really, really cold... so cold that my hands went almost numb. Not good. Wil ended up pulling my sleeves over my hands for me and then velcro-ing shut my sleeves so I could try and get some feeling back into them. Sadly, this was at mile 12 or so... and he accidentally bumped my GPS... so it stopped recording. Still, small price to pay for avoiding hypothermia, right?

Never has anyone been so pleased as I was when we reached the turnoff for the start/finish... unless perhaps it was me when I remembered that we had only signed up for the half. Yay us!

We got to the finish, gave them our numbers, had a bite to eat, picked up our medals, and then hurried to the car, where it took me a good 15 minutes to thaw out my hands enough to drive.

wet and relieved... and a little bit manic

make that VERY manic

That's day two, then. Tomorrow and Sunday may both be rainy, but they won't be muddy!

and the cutest half marathon medal in the world

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Widdle Waddle Half Marathon race report

Quadzuki, day one... we decided to take the offer of the early start at start our half marathon at 8 rather than 9 -- even if that meant we would have our time recorded as 3:00:00. Who cares? Today was just about getting through it.

Our strategy -- which makes it sound as if we really thought about it a lot -- was to run the first 4 miles of this race and save our legs for the next three. We then plan on running the first 6 of the next race, the next 8 of the race after that, and then the entire half marathon on Sunday. Oof. Tired just thinking about it!
We got to Gas Works Park relatively early so we could pick up our numbers and -- surprise! -- cute hats. Yay for the hats! I will say that it would have been funny if they had embroidered "drumsticks" on the side -- where they would have sort-of looked like wings AND made the hats look a bit like a turkey. Well, a bit. But the hats were warm, fit our beast-sized heads, and were a cute surprise. So yay to you, Chief Giblet!
Only a few people took them up on the offer of an early start -- I think we had about 7 or 8 of us with big blue circles on our bibs. The rest of the runners at the 8am start were the full marathoners -- also not a huge crowd, but some folks. We walked around the park a little bit, enjoying the use of a proper restroom rather than a porta potty and posing for some very fine action photos:

After a brief course talk, where most of us pretended we knew what he meant about the turnaround, the route up the hill, etc., we got started. The half runners were asked to line up at the back .. and at some point, were told to just run straight up the hill and back. But we weren't really sure what that meant.... so we ended up going up and over the hill. Oh, great, already we were lost...

But eventually we just got onto the Burke-Gilman Trail, and settled in to a run. I had worried about crowding, but the little run up the hill (and the fact that so many of the runners were running either the Quadzilla or Quadzuki) meant that paces were slow and people were stretched out. 

We spent most of the time pretty much on our own -- which was fine. And when we hit mile four after about 37 minutes, we made ourselves stop and walk. This is surprisingly hard to do... both from a pride standpoint (it's hard to let yourself be passed) but also from a physical standpoint. Because you've been running, so it just makes sense to keep running. But walk we did. 

Our walk gave us the opportunity to chat, plan our remaining half marathons (very exciting!), and just enjoy the surprisingly dry day. 

Because I didn't really listen to the course talk, I had assumed we would turn around, well, at the turn-around point. But Wil reminded me that the full marathoners would only have an additional 6 miles at the end... so they had to run longer. Oh. Well then, I wonder where we were supposed to turn around? We saw a half marathoner heading back toward us and asked her -- she said she came to a crossing where there were big yellow turn-around markings... So on we went, and right around 6.55 miles, we found it. So we turned around and headed back.

Toward the end of our race, we saw the runners from the normal start coming toward us. We waved and smiled.. and felt a bit funny about having started early. But, hey, we wanted to get things done early. So we were quite happy to stroll hand in hand across the finish line in about 2:45... or 3:00:00 as the records will show.

We took a post-race photo, had some potato chips and chocolate milk (ultra kibble!), and then happily headed home for a quick hot tub and some Thanksgiving preparations. Quadzuki day 1 in the books!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seattle Quadzuki 2012 Pre-Race Report

I really think it seemed like a good idea at the time. Caught up in the excitement of Wil's 40@40 project, running four organized half marathons in the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, well, it just seemed like the obvious thing to do.

Plus, it will move me to 6-moon status in the Fanatics... something I have coveted for two years, since the Wishbone Run on Black Friday didn't hold a half marathon.

See, two years ago I ran the Ghost of Seattle Half on the Saturday, and the Seattle Half on the Sunday -- but still felt like a dork because there were so many Marathon Maniacs there who were doing the Quadzilla. So when it was announced that the Wishbone would offer a "HalfBone" this year, I couldn't resist.

But now it's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and I'm feeling weak and nervous. And excited... I do love these small "ultra-type" races. Just a couple of hundred people, Coke and gummi bears at the food stations, and a very low-key vibe.

Here's what we have in store for the looooooooong weekend:

Thursday, November 22: 
The Widdle Waddle Half Marathon. 

Starts and finishes at Gas Works Park, and follows the Burke Gilman Trail as an out and back.

Friday, November 23: 
Grandpa's Halfbone Half Marathon.

Run on trails in Crescent Forest near Gig Harbor... this one feels like it will be the most challenging / worrisome.

Saturday, November 24: 
The Ghost of Seattle Half Marathon.

Run on sidewalks and paved trail around Seward Park. I ran this two years ago and really enjoyed it -- a very nice, low-key run.

Sunday, November 25:
The Seattle Half Marathon.

Seattle's hometown race. A weirdly hilly course, but one I do like.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Race Report

I probably always say this, but the race was a blur. I always struggle with my pacing, especially when running on my own, but I tried to relax, let my stiff legs warm up gradually, and not waste too much energy tying to weave through the pack.

I had left my loud Timex interval timer at home, and was going to rely on the sportwatvh for intervals.... Which, of course, is the major flaw with the sportwatch. But I also decided that today's goal was is ply to finish.

By mile 2i felt like I was running in an easy rhythm. Not too fast, not too slow, just easy. We were winding around heaven knows where in an essentially nondescript part of town.

Then after another mile, we got into a bunch of twists and turns and there were spectators. Happily, the "mini-marathon" ended around here,, removing a lot of people from the crowd. Then, all of a sudden, we were running on flagstones. That was weird... I mean, who would route a course over such a slippery, uneven surface?!?!

Oh. Wait. That's the Alamo. Ahh. Gotcha. 

Other than that, i have only fleeting memories of sights on the course.  A couple of pretty, older neighborhoods with grand homes; one particular street with one faded mansion and a lot of empty former fast food restaurants; maybe a small park?

I think I usually notice more of the city around me, but this time I didn't, really. I don't know if that's because I never really felt the pack thin out all that much, so I was focusing on not running into anyone?

I did notice a few things... I spent much of the race near a bride and groom running together, which made me feel as if I were part of their wedding party. The Dude standing proudly. A band somewhere around mile 9 who played a Matt & Kim song, followed by "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO. (Best on-course band ever? Probably!)

Oh, and best marathon sign ever:
If marathons were easy,
they would be called

I tried not to look at my watch much, other than to see intervals. But at around mile 10 I realized I was having a pretty good run. Not a potential PR or anything, but a pretty good run. Mile 11 went okay, and even mile 12. But I was finally getting tired, and, well, you know how I get when I am tired. I did have a look at my watch just to confirm that I was not on pace for a PR... Nope. So I let myself walk a bit, especially up the last little hill (an underpass).

We rounded the last corner and I could see the finish line. I realized that I had plenty left in the tank, and that I should sprint to the finish. So I took off as fast as my expo-sore feet would take me. This triggered a sprint in a 20-something woman near me. She looked at me, I looked at her, and the race was on. Cut to the chase here... She out-sprinted me. Maybe she looked at me and thought, "damn, I can't let an old lady out-sprint me!"

But I finished,feeling pretty good about it all...amd remembered that with my VIP wristband I would have a mimosa waiting!

The "secure" area was a little chaotic... I never saw the early water bottles, or the cool towels. And I love a cool towel, so I was sorry about that. They changed the finisher photo process in a way that should have made it faster for people to get through, but that somehow was still really hard to get through. But finally I broke free and found the VIP pen.

The pen was weird... First and foremost it was HUGE, and I think everyone had to walk past it on their way out. I had that same feeling of wishing I knew someone else, because I just felt weird eating on my own. But I enjoyed the tasty portobello mushroom tacos and, yes, mimosas...

I didn't bother to wait around for the concert... I just went back to the hotel, showered, and left to spend the afternoon wandering around San Antonio. But the purpose of the trip was fulfilled... A half marathon in Texas... check.

Oh, and perhaps most interesting... despite running alone, I was actually relatively fast, finishing in 2:23:22. Not bad for a post-expo run!

2012 Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Half Marathon Medal