Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The results are in!


So the other day I ran the Oso United 5K. And I missed the turnaround point - which is my fault. (Part of racing is knowing the course!)


Was a little bemused to get the results today... not just because I had inadvertently been placed in the 20-29 age group. I ended up coming in 92nd out of 302 finishers in the 5K, with a time of 31:00.3 and a pace of 9:58/mile.


(Clearly not a super speedy group, but that wasn't the purpose of the day!)


That time was good enough to place me at 9/41 women 20-29... or 9/56 women 40-49. Hey, I'm super pleased with that!


Here's what's extra interesting: if I hadn't missed the turn and ran at my 9:20 pace, I would have come in 54th overall, and 5/56 in my age group. So I am SUPER PLEASED with that.


Tomorrow I head to the Midwest for the Indy Mini and Flying Pig half marathon -- excited!!!




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oso United Mudslide Benefit Fun Run 5K race report

Yesterday I drove up north to run the Oso United Mudslide Benefit Fun Run 5K. (Phew! That's a mouthful!) A group of us from Brooks were participating; it was funny to spot the other "run happy" cars in the parking lot!

The run was organized by the Arlington Runners Club to benefit local charities helping victims of the massive mudslide:

100% of the monies given will be donated to LOCAL charities to assist with the recovery efforts and to provide assistance to those effected by the mudslide. The Arlington Runners Club is 100% volunteer. Your donation will go to help with funding the recovery efforts, funeral expenses and to help those who lost their homes recover from this tragedy.

I was impressed by a lot of aspects of the organization of this run -- especially how quickly it was announced and put together. A detailed pre-race email was sent out, complete with directions to the start, parking info, and course map. Plenty of larger races miss this info, so I really appreciate it when a small race gets it right.

I headed north and arrived at a large parking area, complete with volunteers getting us parked in lines. Okay, it wasn't the clockwork precision of Disney World parking, but it was nicely done. Plenty of volunteers were there to point runners in the right direction. As a pre-registered 5K runner, I got in that line. I noticed some fellow Brooksies in the line next to me. One of them said, "Is this your first line?" I wasn't sure what she meant, but apparently some of our registrations got lost in the shuffle. Mine, however, was there, so I felt lucky. I will say that the lines were moving quickly, the volunteers were efficient and friendly, and there were plenty of them to point people in the right direction.

the scene at the registration / pickup
As at all races, it's just really hard to hear what's going on. But the organizers announced that, given the number of people trying to register on the day, they were going to delay the start a bit. No big surprise, that… though I know it frustrates some folks. They did a small but very effective tribute to the victims at 10:37, the time the mudslide started 5 weeks prior. First a bagpipe version of Amazing Grace, then a bell rang once for each victim, and then a bugle rendition of Taps. I was pleased that most runners quieted down very quickly, and remained quiet for the moment of silence as well. I could see people hugging each other and wiping away tears, which always makes me feel weepy.

the scene at the start
Then it was time to move down toward the start, about a hundred yards down the path. Again they told us that they were going to delay the start. They had been planning on starting the 10K at 10:45, the 5K runners at 10:50, the 5K walkers at 10:55, and the 1M walkers at 11.

It was clear by glancing at the color-coded bibs in the start chute that most folks didn't know this. There were bibs of all colors right up front. Oh well, the best intentions...

While we waited, the sun came out, followed by a cheer. Only in Washington, right?

here comes the sun!
I didn't actually hear anything leading up to the start, but suddenly people were moving. I thought, okay, that's just the 10K, but then realized that it had turned into something of a free-for-all. Hey, it's a fun run, not an Olympic Trial. Just relax and have fun. So I slipped in to the chute and started going. (Again, folks, it was chip timed -- so it didn't really matter when you started, okay?)

By the time we reached the road (a couple of hundred yards, max), I had moved past the walkers and a bunch of runners, and tried to settle into a relaxed pace. Did I mention I haven't been running much? Yeah, not sure why not, but I haven't been making the time.

The road was closed, but a lot of people were running on a (very nicely paved) trail next to the road. I was much happier running on the road; I had lots more room and could just carry on at a comfortable pace.

I was pleased that I felt pretty relaxed and was running quickly (for me). I passed a lot of runners in the first mile -- something I don't usually get to do. I saw the mile mark and was really pleased (and perhaps a little concerned…) that I had run the first mile in 9:18.

The course was wide and flat and open. I spotted a water stop and took a cup of water (tell me why I did this? I never take water in a 5K!) and kept going. I could see runners ahead of me turning right for the 10K, and turning around for the 5K. I thought it was a little odd that there wasn't a "turnaround" cone or anything, but no big deal, right? I just ran to the end of the road and started heading back…


Why were all those people turning around at the water stop? Way back down the road?


The water stop WAS the turnaround.


Suddenly I was in amongst a bunch of people I had lovingly, happily passed. What's more, I had to catch up with them before I could pass them again. I guess that explains why a volunteer was running down the road toward the water stop after I (and, let's be clear, EVERYONE IN FRONT OF ME) passed it.

Oh well, it was a fun run and I wasn't really bothered. Honest.

I lost track of things at this point. I wasn't sure whether the course was very accurate… and I knew I had run long. But I kept running, and apparently sped up in my mile 2, running it in 9:14. I had a little flash across my mind that I was on pace for a PR -- one of my 2014 running goals. Until I realized that, well, I had run long, so it would be difficult to actually PR with an extra quarter of a mile added to a 5K.

I'm not gonna lie, it took some of the wind out of my sails. I also didn't realize that we would be running a lap on grass near the start, so pushed too early. Oops.

As I was running the last legs of the race I started to get that queasy feeling… it's been a while since that happened! I ended up walking a bit just because I didn't really want to throw up. Guess I'm just not a "leave it all on the field" kind of gal… My last mile split was 9:40.

Nike+ tells me I ran 3.3 miles, and that my time for that was 31:01. My average pace overall was 9:20 -- which should have given me a new PR for a 5K, and (finally) my first sub-30 5K with a 28:59 finish. (I know, I'm slow, it's okay.)

I admit that I'm sad about this. But given that I hadn't been training -- heck, I haven't been RUNNING! -- and that I wasn't shooting for a PR, I'm okay. Besides, this is what this race was all about:

Oso Strong - sweatshirt spotted on another participant
According to the Arlington Runners Club, approximately 1000 people came out to run or walk, with nearly 1000 other people coming out to support by volunteering or cheering. That's an amazing turnout for a small event like this. They haven't totaled the donations yet (in fact, if you'd like to donate to the race you can do so until May 2nd at the Arlington Runners Club site), but the event was clearly very successful. 

If you'd like to come out and run for Oso yourself -- or run virtually for Oso -- you have another chance. The Oso Strong 5K will be held on July 27, 2014, and includes a virtual race option. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Registration for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events opens today!

2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend event registration opens today

I love the Walt Disney World Marathon. Finishing that first marathon, way back in 2009, remains one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life. I mean, I am LEAPING IN THE AIR!!!!

2009 Walt Disney World Marathon - our first!

Barring something extremely bizarre, Team Wil-Sun won't be running this event in 2015, but I can wholeheartedly recommend these races, having run the 2009 marathon, a very cold half and full marathon in the 2010 Goofy Challenge, and another Goofy in 2013.

Being the 10th anniversary of the Goofy Challenge, you know registration will fill up quickly, so get your fingers ready at 9am Pacific on Tuesday, April 22!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Motivation -- so much inspiration!!!!

If you're reading this, I can assume that you know that today was Marathon Monday -- the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. I was lucky to be able to watch it this morning at work, as we stood around chatting and cheering, sometimes going back to our own desks to watch, but frequently regathering to chat. A pretty great way to spend a morning, eh?

On my walk home today I kept thinking about different things I wanted to write about -- so much to write about! -- for please forgive me if this post is a little more scattered than usual.

Monday Motivation #1: Meb Keflezighi!!!

photo by Charles Krupa, AP

All the way home I kept singing "Eye of the Tiger", but just saying MEB.

Meb! MebMebMeb! MebMebMeb! Meb Meb MEEEEEEHHHHHHBBBBB!!!!

I'll admit it -- I've liked Meb for years, from when he won the New York City Marathon in 2009 (first American man since 1982), to when he won the Olympic Marathon trials in 2012, and his two great finishes at the Olympics (a silver in 2008, 4th place in 2012). I'll also admit that I like Meb even more since Nike bizarrely cut him in 2011, and that he races for Skechers. Yep, Skechers.

In fact, I think Meb is my favorite male marathoner (other than Wil, of course!!!).

Anyway, it was great to watch Meb run today -- I loved how he opened up a big lead, then watched in alarm as Wilson Chebet started to reel him in. It was a little like a horror movie there for a bit… it seemed like every time they changed camera angles, Chebet was just that much closer. We were all counting seconds by watching their feet as they passed road markings. Twenty seconds, then 15, then 10, then 5 or 6… But in the end, Meb prevailed, becoming the first American man to win Boston since 1983.

Monday Motivation #2: Emma Stepto

Emma Stepto winning the Bristol Half Marathon
On Saturday afternoon I finally sat down and watched the recording of the London Marathon. When I think of marathons to run, if I ever run another, London is top of my list. So, yeah, I watched 6 hours of coverage…

I noticed Emma Stepto just before the elite women's start. She was wearing a bright yellow top, but I couldn't really see any detail. I did wonder if maybe she was a Brooks runner that I didn't know. I spotted her a few more times during the coverage -- turns out she was the second fastest British woman in the marathon, coming in at 2:36:05, good enough for 14th overall.

After watching the race I looked her up on Bing, and found a very cool post on the Improbable Runner blog, which informed me that Ms. Stepto is … FORTY FOUR. Not only that, but she didn't start running until she was in her 30s. Well, there it is -- it's really never too late to start running!

Nice coincidence: I found her on Twitter (@emgogogo), and she thanked @brooksrunninguk after the race. So maybe she is a Brooksie of sorts.

But the awesomeness of Meb, Wilson Kipsang, and Emma Stepto all pale, frankly, in comparison with our third motivator:

Monday Motivation #3: Tatyana McFadden

I've written about total badass Tatyana McFadden before… after she won the NYC Marathon (and, of course, Chicago, Boston, AND London in 2013…). I was surprised and happy to see her during the London marathon, as I didn't know whether she would be racing. After all, she had changed her focus (albeit temporarily) to cross-country skiing. Oh, did I mention she earned a silver medal at the Paralympic Games in Sochi the other month? Yeah, she's that sort of athlete.

The men's wheelchair race in the London Marathon was very close, with four men screaming down the Mall very close together. The women's race? Not so much -- Tatyana McFadden simply outraced everyone.

And then this morning… there she was again, all of a sudden, winning Boston. WHAT??? Winning by more than 2 minutes? Well then.

But even that isn't the best thing about Ms. McFadden.

She raced today for team MR8, in honor of sweet Martin Richards, 8, who was one of the victims of last year's Boston Marathon bombings. She was wearing his name and age on her back while she raced.

photo by @PaulaEbbenWPZ

But wait, there's more…

After receiving her gold-dipped laurel wreath, she took it over and gave it to Carlos Arredondo, who rushed to the aid of the bomb victims last year.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

So. Very. Awesome. Oh, and today is her 25th birthday. So happy birthday, Tatyana McFadden!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nike Fuelband FTW!

It arrived on Monday… it was easy to set up (I just plugged it in, really), and since I already had a Nike+ account, everything synched up easily. And then, when I unplugged it, this happened:

Yes, it's a little blurry, but you see what is happening there. My new Fuelband SE is greeting me by name.

Bravo, Nike, bravo!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Run for Oso

On Saturday, March 22, at 10:37 a.m., a mudslide a mile wide crashed through a rural neighborhood, killing at least 36 people (8 remain missing). A massive hillside collapsed, sending mud and debris across part of the Stillaguamish River, and eventually covering an area of approximately a square mile.

In the three weeks it's been heartbreaking to follow the news -- but also heartwarming to see the communities of Oso, Arlington, and Darrington band together; and the outpouring of love and support from Seattle, western Washington, and the whole world.

So far, I've heard of two running events raising money for the communities and victims of the landslide; I just wanted to pass the info along in case anyone wants to lace up and show their support.

#1: Oso United Mudslide Benefit Fun Run, April 26, 2014 @10:45am

Taking place 5 weeks after the slide, the run will start at 10:45, following a minute of silence at 10:37. Here's the scoop from the Arlington Runners Club site:

The Arlington Runners Club is hosting a fun run to support those affected by the mudslide in Oso on March 22, 2014. We will be holding this benefit fun run on April 26, 2014 at the Arlington Airport Trail. 100% of the monies raised will be donated to the mudslide relief efforts, victims and their families.

Distances of 10K, 5K, and 1 mile will be offered, and registration $25 for runners and walkers between 15 and 69, regardless of the distance. (14 & under, plus 70 & older are free.) Can't make it to Arlington for the race? You can register for a virtual run and support the community. T-shirts aren't included, but they're selling nice "Oso United: I stand with Oso" shirts online and at the event.

I'll be running the race with 40 of my coworkers; I'd love to have others join us.

The late start time (10:45) honors the victims and their families; the race is being held 5 weeks after the slide, and there will be a moment of silence at 10:37.

Learn more about the Oso United Mudslide Fun Run >
Register for the Oso United Mudslide Fun Run >

#2: OSO Strong 5K, July 27, 2014 @9am  

"Oso Strong" captures the spirit of the community, and this race is intended to help fund the local first responders so they can in turn provide even better service to their communities.

This event will feature a 5K held partially on the Arlington Airport Trail and on some trails in the woods, but it will be "mostly flat, with some slight hills". The 5K will be divided into four running waves, each starting 5 minutes apart. Following this, there will be a walking wave. They're also offering an obstacle run for kids aged 3-10. Oh, and if you can't make it, you can sign up for a virtual run and sleep in.

Registration for the 5K run or walk is $35 and includes an event t-shirt. The virtual 5K is $45, but the price includes shipping your shirt to you. The kids' obstacle course is $10.

I'm hoping to add this to my summer race schedule -- even if just as a virtual run.

Learn more about the OSO Strong 5K >
Register for the OSO Strong 5K >

Let me know if you're interested in running these races, or if you hear of other events to benefit the mudslide victims and their communities.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

You. Are. Registered.

So, um, yeah, this is just around the corner:

This is me, in denial. :)

I've been placed in Corral E, at the back of Wave 1. This seems a little surprising. But we'll see how it goes, eh? Still super excited to KISS THE BRICKS at the Indy Mini Marathon!

The agony and the ecstasy of the Nike FuelBand

I have been in a steady, serious relationship with Nike+ for years now. Sure, we've had some ups and downs. But my love of running grew right alongside the Nike+ system.

From my earliest runs I have tracked with Nike+, from the old days when you needed a sensor in (okay, ON in my case) your shoe and a plug on your iPod, to the SportBand that replaced the need for an iPod, to the arrival of the SportWatch with GPS, to an iPhone app, to the FuelBand for "everyday athletics". 

the original Nike+ set-up

Nike+ SportBand -- a huge improvement!

Nike+ GPS SportWatch -- loved this!

And, while I love the SportWatch for when I am running, I adore the FuelBand. 

When the FuelBand was first announced, I was somewhat desperate to have one. I missed the very first round (I didn't preorder one), but did get mine within the first month they were available. And oh, how I loved it. 

I loved that it tracked me as I moved through my day -- at boot camp and on walks. I loved the gamification of it -- what, I still need 179 point to hit my goal for the day? Better go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood! I loved the goofy animations on the achievements, and I liked comparing my totals against myself... and other women in my age group. 

About 5 months after getting the FuelBajd, I noticed that one of the LEDs in the display had stopped working. I figured it was no big deal -- it was still tracking and uploading and so on but then I worried that it might be an early warning of an internal short circuit. I happened to be in Vegas for a conference, and staying at Caesar's Palace, so one afternoon I walked in to the giant Nike store, showed the manager the band, and walked out with a new one. (Great service, Nike!)

Since then, no problems to report. With only seven exceptions, five of which were on days when I underwent surgery, I have hit my FuelPoints goal. (No excuses for the other two!)

Until now. 

On Monday I checked my points status my FuelBand and got a weird display ... an animation showing it needed to be plugged in. Not the low battery image, but something else. It looked like a USB cable, moving across the display.

Odd, I thought, but maybe it was somehow super low on batteries, so I plugged it in, and saw this:

Uh-oh. That doesn't look good. So I clicked the "Get Help" button, and saw this:

Crappity crap. Crap crap crap. Crappity crap. Okay, stay calm. I just need to give them a call.

So I clicked Contact, and was faced with this:

Hmm. So I'll need to do a little work before I can call them… like, find a phone number somewhere… I suppose, to be fair I have used all three of those products, so the Nike+ site may not have known where to point me… though it should have known where I was coming from, and with which error code, right?

Anyway, I also did a bit of searching to see what error code 801 might mean, and found this:

Again, not good. Eventually I found a phone number and called. I spoke to a nice, super friendly -- if not perhaps super bright? -- customer service agent in Oregon. We spent about 40 minutes on the phone together, me telling him things like the serial number, him telling me, "Oh, great, it's still in the warranty period!" and, clearly, knowing that error code 801 was the FuelBand equivalent of the blue screen of death.

He offered me one of two options -- a standard replacement, where I could send it in, the techs would look at the FuelBand and determine that I hadn't somehow voided my warranty, and if all was well, they would send me a replacement. They also offered an advance replacement (okay, I may be making up the term here…), where they would send me a replacement now and then I could send them my dead band back. The techs would look at the FuelBand, determine that I hadn't voided my warranty, etc. If all was well, that would be it. If things weren't well, they would charge me for the replacement band.

I decided -- in order to get a working FuelBand more quickly -- to accept the advance replacement. But I did check to make sure that if they decided that, oh, running outdoors and sweating voided the band's warranty, well, then, I didn't want another FuelBand. ("Oh, of course! You've got 30 days to return it.")

Then today I get an email -- they are out of my size in the black first-edition FuelBand, so would I prefer the translucent "smoke" gray, or translucent "ice" white.


I really don't like either option -- I've seem them in the wild, and just hated the way they looked… and the fact that they get grimy really quickly. And, well, if I might end up having to pay for the darn thing, somehow, well I certainly wouldn't want that.

So I replied to the email:

Both of the transparent colors are kinda icky -- they look dingy super fast. Any chance I can just get a refund and buy a new Fuelband?

I don't know if maybe that made the support people laugh, whether maybe they looked at my account and saw that I had owned every single version of Nike+ devices, or maybe it's just always the next step. But less than an hour later, I had a reply:

Thanks for your response. As a courtesy I have gone ahead and upgraded your FuelBand to the new Black SE version. I have placed your order and you should expect to see your new device within the next 3-5 business days.

Nike support FTW!

Now, look -- I may still end up being charged for a replacement band, though at least if I am, it's the actual product I want.

I'll let you know when the new one comes, and how it all goes. Sure, I've lost about 10 days of my "streak"… but here's a good chance to re-start. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Daffodil Challenge Part Four: Orting

This really is the home stretch!

Orting Daffodil Parade Route

How cute is Orting? How cute is this little two-block parade??

This is what we expected: a craft and food fair set up in the city park, lots of folks already set up along the parade route, and (best fundraiser ever!) a chance to ring the town bell in exchange for a $1.25 donation. RING THE BELL!!!

We got here plenty early, which have us a chance to walk around the booths, check out the awesome quilt store, and buy an armload of amazing pastries from the Orting Bakery:

Of course, we were only going to buy this adorable cookie:

But, hey, we couldn't resist the cannoli, scone, cookies, bismarks, etc. etc. 

The real rain finally came, so we bundled up in our Gore-Tex jackets. While waiting for the porta potty (three again!) we started chatting with a man about asthma. I commented that he was wearing "my hat" -- one of the Run Happy hats we had made. He said, "do you work for Brooks?" and then "Are you Sunny?"

Turns out he was Amanda's dad, and she had seen us but wondered if it was really us. Nice to see Brooksies in the wild!

We set out on the path, moving surprisingly quickly (compared to our plan... if we ever have a plan...). We had run the path before as part of the Rainier to Ruston half marathon; but we didn't get to run the final stretch along the park. In fact, I was surprised that we didn't actually get to run along the parade route. 

But when we crossed the finish line, we got our medals... from some very wet princesses:

Still, it was nice to finish feeling relatively strong (though with a slightly hurt shin on my right leg...

Four 5Ks, four towns... One medal!!

Daffodil Challenge Part Three: Sumner

Two down, two to go. Other than a couple of visits to the Brooks distribution center, I don't think I have ever been to Sumner before -- certainly not to downtown Sumner.

Sumner Daffodil Parade Route

No, you're not imagining it -- the parade routes get shorter… yet the race courses stay at 5K. (Duh.)

This race was a little more challenging -- it had the shortest break between races (1:45, as opposed to 2:30 for the others),  and we somewhat foolishly decided to grab lunch between the runs. Oh well! 

We got to the race start with little trouble, parked a block away from the start, and just relaxed for 15 minutes. Again, we managed to mistime things, and were caught in the porta potty line at the start. (At least there were three potties at this start!)

So we essentially found ourselves sprinting through the crowd again, before just deciding to relax and enjoy it. 

The part of the race on the parade route was my favorite, of course -- lots of people watching and cheering, even a few high fives. Oh, and these cute paintings on the road:

A couple of blocks from the finish a well-meaning volunteer told us to "pick it up! You can't walk to the finish!" Umm, yeah we can, if we want to. But we didn't. We made the almost final turn and started our "finishing kick" (ha ha), zipping past quite a few people.

A quick kiss and then we started to head back to the car. Next stop: ORTING!

Daffodil Challenge Part Two: Puyallup

Just finished race number two -- the drizzle turned to rain, so we ran in our jackets. Lots more spectators out waiting for the parade to start, but that isn't surprising since much of the run followed the parade route:

Puyallup Daffodil Parade Route

 Lots of nice comments on the hats. What hats? THESE HATS!!!

Course was super flat and -- on a nicer day -- would be awesome.

Next up: Sumner for race number three. 

Daffodil Challenge Part One: Tacoma

Got to Tacoma with ease, found street parking not far from the starting area, and then settled in to wait. The weather has held up so far -- cool but dry, no wind; perfect running weather.

We got to the starting area, joined the queue for the porta potty, and waited. 

Some of the Daffodil Princesses were mingling with the runners -- and one of the Princesses was actually running the race in a daffodil yellow tutu. 

Luckily the race was chip timed, so it didn't matter that we had to start a couple of minutes late. We dashed across the timing mats and just hoped we would be able to find the route! (Thank heavens for the luminous yellow race shirts!)

We made our way through the walkers (nice to see so many families out together!) and just kept going, making little loops of the downtown core. 

One thing surprised me: there were very few people waiting for the parade to start. I figured it would be more like Torchlight, where people go out the night before to set up "camps" on the sidewalk. But there were a few people here and there, so we made a point of saying hello to all of them. 

We also ran past the Princesses a few times, though they were clearly heading to their staging area, so they were on the move. 

At one point we crossed paths with a number of women on horseback -- the Tacoma Lariettes. We were close enough for me to notice that the horses had green and gold glitter on their bums. Sparkley horsey bum-bums. I am still kicking myself for not capturing this on film. 

A few minutes later and we were done. Just like that. One down, three to go!!

Tacoma Daffodil Parade Route

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Daffodil 5K Challenge pre-race report

In just a few weeks I've gone from someone who had only the tiniest awareness of the Daffodil Festival and had never been to any of the Daffodil Parades to someone who is going to run four 5K runs in one day -- one in each of the communities that will host a Daffodil Parade on Saturday.

The distance isn't challenging, of course -- other than just getting back to the start, lining up, and "racing" four times in one day. To me, the interesting part of this event has to be the logistics of it all.

Here's the schedule for Saturday:

8:45am: Tacoma 5K start, 1600 Commerce St.
10:15am: Tacoma Parade start
11:15am: Puyallup 5K start, 1110 W Pioneer Ave
12:45pm: Puyallup Parade start
1:00pm: Sumner 5K start, 1627 Bonney Ave
2:30pm: Sumner Parade start
3:30pm: Orting 5K start, 200 Washington Ave S
5:00pm: Orting Parade start

Given that this is the first year of the challenge, and there are, ahem, other large community events taking place in each of the towns on the same day that involve a lot more than a few hundred runners, I'm not super surprised that there has been a bit of a delay in getting information finalized. And, hey, they're just 5Ks. We'll figure it out.

(That said, it's 8:40pm … 36 hours before the start of the first race… and we don't have course info, parking info, or any other info from the organizers… though they did say it would be coming tonight. I trust 'em.)

Of course, me being me, I have been trying to figure out what to do. Where to park so that we don't get trapped by the parades? How to get from town to town? How many dry changes of clothing should we bring???

I did learn a few things about the challenge:

The event is sponsored by Nike and South Sound Running, and each of the 25 Daffodil princesses received a pair of yellow running shoes as well as exercise gear. (Apparently the princesses have a super busy schedule, including lots of events with local kids: NICE.)

Proceeds from the race will benefit the YMCA's Late Nite Program, which provides a safe place for high school kids to hang out on Friday nights.

At the end of the race in Orting, runners who have completed all four races will receive a Daffodil medal… FROM A DAFFODIL PRINCESS!! Can you say photo op?

And then, the challenge runners are invited to march as a group in the Orting parade. Which I admit seemed not particularly interesting (really? you want me to march another couple of miles???) -- until I saw the sweet Orting parade route: essentially two blocks along the nice park in Orting. Yeah, I think I can do that. As the organizer noted, "Orting isn't the longest parade, but once you're seen it, you have to come back. Three times the population of Orting is there. " Awwwww!

There's still time to sign up on race morning, I'm told. For more info, check out

this year's festival theme -- apparently there are PINS!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas registration opens today

I have toyed with running this race for years now -- it's a night race, it's a Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, and it just seems like a lot of fun. 

Full disclosure: I work for Brooks, and we sponsor the RnR races. I also happen to dislike Vegas. 

But I really do love a Rock 'n' Roll race, and I hear that Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas is one of the best. And registration for 2014 opens today.

Of course, this year Team Wil-Sun will be in Disneyland, having run the Avengers Super Heroes Half that morning. (And, yes, it is completely possible to run both races... If you started in Vegas, attended packet pickup at the RnR expo, flew to Anaheim, picked up your packet, then ran the Avengers half on Sunday morning, and then flew to Vegas in time for the 4:30 start.... But that's not on our list this year....)

The half and the full are currently $125, a "half of the half" race is $65, and -- hey, it's Vegas, baby -- three different VIP packages are available. Hey, you get to run down the Strip, at night, neon glittering, and drunk frat boys and sorority girls stumbling past. And you will most likely be moving faster than a car would move on the same stretch, if the road were open to traffic. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tuesday Booty-Kicking

photo by The Fitness Lab

I have a love-hate relationship with Dillon Kreider. No, that's not true at all. But maybe a love-fear relationship?

Dillon is the lovely, tiny, VERY FIERCE trainer I worked out with for a while back in 2011-2012. Her gym, The Fitness Lab, moved to Ballard last year… because her old space was demolished to build a certain running company's new HQ…

I remember the first couple of times I worked out with Dillon -- and how SORE I was afterward! I always loved the workout, but I did find myself craving the outside world… which led me to the Vast Fitness Boot Camp at Green Lake (which I still miss!).

I kept thinking I should check out Dillon's cool new space (after all, it's only a mile from my house), and I was craving a little external motivation… so hooray for finding a Gilt City deal for three months unlimited + two Inbody 230 body fat testing sessions. (More on that later…)

I sent Dillon a note -- I know I'm not a "new" client, but it had been a while -- and she graciously said that she would love to see me. I told her I was in dire need of a little butt-kicking, and she said she would be happy to supply the boot!

Well, today was my third Body Revolution class. I decided I should be a bit careful, and start with 2 mornings/week. As long as I manage to hold up, I'll try adding another day per week.

Today we warmed up, did some back strengthening work as a group, and then Dillon quickly set up the circuits for us:
- a single-leg squat on a TRX (let's just say I really need to work on my balance…)
- an agility drill moving sideways over little hurdles
- curl and overhead press while standing on one foot
- another single-leg squat on a TRX
- dumbbell skiers (surprisingly, just what it sounds like, once you see it…)
- squat rows with kettle bell
- lateral raises while standing on one foot
- pushup intervals -- 5 fast, 5 slow, repeat

We did three circuits total, with short breaks in between. The workouts are fun, varied, and move very quickly. At the end, we stretched out and were done. Phew!

I admit it -- the workouts definitely kick my butt. This is a good thing. I love that I feel stiff and sore the next day. Not hurt, mind you, just… worked out. Tomorrow is a day off, but I'll be back at 6am on Thursday!