Sunday, July 27, 2014

Anacortes Art Dash Half Marathon race report

Here's what I learned from this race. No matter how much you love your friends, and how great a night you are having with them, and how much you are laughing... multiple Manhattans and no dinner makes for a delicate morning.

But no matter -- we were running the Art Dash Half Marathon!

This race had been on my radar for a couple of years... but the timing never quite worked. But since, apparently, I don't run unless someone will give me a medal at the end, I figured I would sign up for a little motivation. 

Met up with long-suffering-friend Suz at SIX A.M. for the drive up to Anacortes. Glorious day -- perfect conditions. Got to the start with about 35 minutes to spare, which allowed for bib pickup, a porta-potty stop, and this photo-op. 

Yeah, I still think it looks more like a cut-out of my big, grinning head than an actual picture of me... #flatsunny

A bit later we took this one... now Suz is the cut-out:

We relaxed in the car for a while but then headed to the starting line. 

My bagel and cheese helped a bit, but I was still pretty delicate. I figured I would start off gently with Suz and then see how I was feeling. We also met a nice woman named Kim who asked of she could run with us. The more the merrier, we said!

Once we got moving, I started to feel a lot better, but I was enjoying the weather, the pretty course, and the company, so decided to settle in for a gentle run. 

Somehow I managed not to take any pictures of the course (huh?????), though I did take one of this seal as seen from the Tommy Thompson Trail:

The course ran from downtown, then out along the Tommy Thompson Trail, and then up and over a steep hill at mile 4 or so. 

Up to that point we were making steady time, but we needed to rest a bit up the hill. Suz looked like she was getting a bit burnt, so I made her take my hat (I had sunblock on... At least on my face.)

We did notice, as we headed up the hill, that there was a handful of people behind us. Our goal was to stay ahead of them. :)

The course took us out and around a little peninsula along quiet country roads. Well, other than the occasional big truck pulling a boat...

At around mile 8, Suz started to flag a little. As she pointed out, she hadn't run for 5 weeks, and she knew this would be tough for her. I tried to keep our little trio chipper and moving, which we pretty much did. 

Very nice to get off the road and back onto the trail, though by this point we were walking. At some point Kim decided to scoot off -- she was chasing a time goal, and I hope she didn't leave it too late!

Suz kept moving, and I kept telling her the decreasing remaining distances as we went. Funny finish -- we had NO IDEA where to go, but just kept trucking along. 

Finally I saw Kim down the street, and she came back to meet us and walk in with us. (And assure us that, yes, that's the finish!)

We crossed somewhere just under 3:40 -- not a speedy or pretty performance, but a gutsy one since Suz stuck it out. 

Things I loved about this race: 
- really nice course
- tons of water stops, friendly volunteers
- police and other volunteers where the route crossed streets, directing traffic
- a handsome custom medal
- great communications from the race director before the race, including parking info, directions, and a course map
- spending a day with Suz! (and apologies for turning into Super Perky Girl towards the end of the race... maybe sometime we try drill sergeant or tough love instead?? ;) )

Thursday, July 24, 2014

More Pics from the Web Team Relay

Ian sent these pictures around to the team this morning -- so rather than edit yesterday's post, here are a few more pics of the big Minas Farewell Tour '14 run...

Ryan by the Web Pen getting ready to start
Korny and Ryan "lining up"

and they're off!
midway through the run, at the Nickerson Street Saloon
a graceful ending to a great run! me, Nikki, and Jenni finishing up

high fives all around… can we please eat now?
You can read about the whole Minas Farewell Tour '14 Relay here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Web Team Relay / Minas Farewell Tour '14

you know it's wet when your laminated bib soaks through...
Today was a great day. I have a lot of great days at Brooks, but this day was pretty epic.

Every year our team does a summer outing and a holiday outing. We've been glass blowing, kayaking, chocolate tasting, to baseball games, and, sure, to a couple of movies (some better loved than others).

This summer we all voted and decided we'd like to do a team relay -- think Ragnar, but shorter. Ian surveyed the team -- how far would each of us like to run? And put together an awesome route that went ALL OVER Seattle.

Until we realized that a relay of that distance was going to take us 10+ hours to finish. And, well, that's just too long for a team-building outing!

So Ian rejiggered the route, put us in pairs, and, voila, it's now a much more manageable 5 hours.

You'll see that it's still pretty amazing, and a gorgeous route. While the runners ran, the rest of us rode around in the van, cheering them on… and making sure we were at the transition zone on time to pile out and celebrate. Woot woot!

Korny and Ryan getting ready

and they're off!!!
David and Ryan -- two of our speedsters -- started off the morning from the office. We went downstairs to cheer them off! They were running a good long stretch up and around Ravenna Park, across the Montlake Bridge, back around to almost the University Bridge before cutting back along Eastlake and the Cheshiahud Loop to MOHAI.

We went back upstairs to wrap a few things up, then got in the van and drove to the handoff point in the parking lot at MOHAI. We expected to see them when we were driving along Eastlake, but they had cut down to the water (much nicer running…)

here they come!
Once David and Ryan arrived, we sent off Barry and Marshall. Let's just say that with all the weird construction… and a big fire… they may have found their own way down to the waterfront… where they joined the Elliot Bay Trail (one of my favorite spots to run!). Meanwhile, we piled back in the van and went back to the office to pick up Taylor, who had a final exam this morning (!!!!) and would be running later in the day. R & D freshened up, the rest of us made pit stops, and we headed over to Magnolia for the exchange.

Marshall and Barry head out
When we got there, we decided we should drive down to the railway switchyard so that we could cheer for them as they came out of the bike path… sad to see how disappointed Marshall was when we told him he had another wet, windy mile to run!

here they come!

don't celebrate yet -- you've got a mile to go!
We got back in the van, cheering for them as we passed them running, and then went to the real transfer point.

NOW celebrate!
Meredith, Carrie, and Dre -- who was in a car accident last week and doing an amazing job of getting through the day! -- set off on their leg along the Ship Canal Trail. We drove to the Nickerson Street Saloon (the handoff point) to wait. Some of the guys went in to get changed and have a drink, while for some reason Nikki, Jenni, and I decided to have coffee from the coffee stand. (Chai! It was chai, darn it!!!) While we waited for our drinks, the skies just opened up.

Carrie, Dre, and Meredith heading out
It had been raining off and on all day… but this was real drenching rain. We piled in the van as quickly as possible, drinking our chai. So. Very. Wet.

Team Tiny Mustache drinks chai. Soaking wet. In the van. (These little mustaches were on our drink lids. Honest.
After a little while, Dre, Meredith, and Carrie came into view -- woot woot! We cheered them in:

hey ladies!!!
And then sent off Minas and Taylor. They had a great route along Leary to 46th, across the Ballard Bridge, back around to the Ballard Locks, across the locks, and along the Burke-Gilman trail to Paseo.

see ya fellas! Minas and Taylor heading out
The rest of us headed in to the Nickerson Street Saloon to dry off, relax a bit, and have a quick drink.

Okay, okay, so we left it too long… but Minas and Taylor (speedsters themselves!) had already arrived. Oops.

yeah, we're fast, so?
Ian and Jeff were up next -- they had a long, uphill route… the upside of which was that they got to run past Jeff's house, where his kids went outside to cheer for them. Awwww!

Ian lacing up
Jeff and Ian heading out… hey, isn't that Paseo???
Meanwhile, the guys and Meredith ordered food from Paseo and ate in the parking lot. Nikki, Jenni, Carrie and I were hungry… but three of us were getting ready to run and Carrie was holding out for our post-run spot: The Whale Wins.

Eventually, we got back in the van and drove over to the PCC by Green Lake -- another pit stop -- and waiting for Jeff and Ian to arrive. It had actually stopped raining when they set out (how does Ian set that sort of thing up???) but started again when it was our turn.

we seem to have lost our 'staches...
The three of us stepped out of the van… no ceremony, no cheering. Heck, folks were tired and it was raining! We ran to the corner, spent several minutes waiting to cross busy Aurora Avenue, and then headed down to Green Lake.

This is what my leg -- run with Jenni and Nikki -- looked like:

Yep, that's right -- we ran the final leg. Probably wanted some Super Fast Folks to run the anchor leg, you know, so we could make up some time. Ha ha ha.

Not much to report, other than rain, rain, rain, crosswalk (which always makes me hear elevator music in my head), rain, rain, rain, then the restaurant.

We headed inside, pretty wet, and the three of us went straight to the bathroom to dry off with some paper towels. We then proceeded to eat EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD … at least, one of nearly everything on the menu … for a very, very delicious lunch.

ordering a BUNCH of food at The Whale Wins
Oh, and we sat next to this picture, which makes me very happy:

photo from The Whale Wins
So, the weather could have been nicer, but other than that it was a perfect day. Have I mentioned I love working for Brooks?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Best. Idea. Ever.

First and foremost. I don't particularly like beer… I'm more of a cider girl myself. And not because it's gluten-free, for heaven's sake.


This. Is. Genius.

photo from Shoes & Brews

Shoes & Brews is a new running store that will be opening in Longmont, Colorado on July 25, 2014… The fact that a new specialty running store is opening is awesome enough -- we need more running stores! But these guys are certified geniuses. Because it's all running business in the front… but in the back? Yeah, it's got a taproom. Shoes AND Brews. It's not a mullet, as they describe themselves… more of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup… two great things that go great together.

here's your SHOE side (photo from Shoes & Brews)

here's your BREW side (photo from Shoes & Brews)
I can't tell you how much I love this idea. Ballard has a great bicycle pub, Peddler Brewing, but it's not a store… (Maybe we're more a bikes+coffee kinda town??) But how great to have a hub for group runs… with the pub built in. Thing I love the sound of most? Something called "the half mile beer price challenge". Given my speed, I may not be able to afford a beer (ha ha). But, seriously, genius. 

Not sure when we might get ourselves down to Colorado again… but now we have another thing to do, along with visit Annie and Andy, if we get down there! Till then, best of luck to the folks at Shoes & Brews -- and happy grand opening on Friday!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivation Monday: "Run Like a Girl"

It's not the first time I've shared advertising for "feminine hygiene" products… I mean, the O.B. Tampon "Apology" campaign was genius, after all… but it didn't make me get misty-eyed and completely inspired.

So I felt I needed to share the "Run Like a Girl" campaign by Always. Yes, Always.

First the director (Lauren Greenfield, who also directed the documentary The Queen of Versailles) asks some adults -- male AND female -- what it means to run like a girl, fight like a girl, or throw like a girl. Now, c'mon, admit it. When you read that phrase, I bet you also imagine the stereotype.

But the completely inspiring part comes when Greenfield asked young girls the same questions -- and their totally badass responses.

The tiny little girl who says that to run like a girl is to "run fast as you can" -- gets me every time. And the rising awareness of how words shape opinions as these grownups are encouraged to think about it… well, it makes me so happy. And weepy.

So when I run that half marathon on Saturday? I'm gonna run like a girl. And give it all I can.

"Why can't run like a girl also mean win the race?"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Inca Trail Marathon Adventure "race report"

It's hard to believe that it's been two weeks since we got back from our Inca Trail Marathon Adventure -- it seems both forever ago, and like we've only just gotten home.

We felt as if we had 4 vacations in one -- spending time in and around Cusco, four days trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, a few days in the Amazon rain forest, and an extended city break in Lima. Somehow, we managed to do this with one suitcase each. (Ha!)

Wil and I aren't all that keen on "group activities". We don't run with a running group, and we rarely do large group things at home. But this was great -- a fun group of runners, Coach Jenny Hadfield cheering us an every step of the way, and Erik and Myra making everything work. I can't say enough good things about it, should anyone come across this blog while debating a future trip.

The Inca Trail was hard -- but in a way, it was hard because of all the repeated days of travel. And, of course, the altitude. But reasonably fit adults can do it with little trouble. If I could change two things, I would just bring along a small scrubby washcloth and a half-length Thermarest. I wouldn't change anything else!

As usual, I wrote too much and we took too many pictures. But should you wish to learn more about the Inca Trail Marathon Adventure, here are links to the individual days:

Day 0 we spent a Long Time in Houston and traveled to Lima

Day 1 we traveled to Cusco and met the gang

Day 2 we explored Pisac -- the ruins, a trail hike, and a great big market

Day 3 was a free day, so we explored Qorikancha and the San Blas neighborhood

Day 4 we celebrated Inti Raymi with all of Cusco

Day 5 we visited the ruins at Ollantaytambo and started our Inca Trail Trek

Day 6 we continued along the Inca Trail, crossing Dead Woman's Pass

Day 7 was the long day, distance wise, along the Inca Trail

Day 8 we arrived at Machu Picchu!

Day 9 we traveled from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco

Day 10 we traveled to Refugio Amazonas via Puerto Maldonado and a nice long ride upriver

Day 11 we climbed to the top of the canopy, fed piranhas, and went inside a Strangler Fig

Day 12 we trekked to a clay lick to see macaws (because of their claws? no, because they're macaws)

Day 13 we left the rainforest behind and arrived in Lima, where we met lots of cats

Day 14 we explored Lima and its beautiful cathedral… and drank the best Pisco Sours in the world

Day 15 we visited Barranco, watched a parade, and said farewell to Lima… and made our way home

We want to send out HUGE THANKS to our fellow travelers for making this trip so memorable, as well as our friend Coach Jenny Hadfield for putting the trip together… and making us laugh and laugh and laugh. Finally, thanks to Erik and Myra from Erik's Adventures for arranging every detail and continuing to smile while herding cats for 2 weeks.

Finally, a couple of stories I managed to forget in the giant set of blog posts -- I'm sure I'll come up with a few more...

- at one point I gave Jenny a coca candy.
Jenny: "These are so great, I wish we could get these at home."
Wil: "Oh, but you can… it comes in a more concentrated, POWDERED form…"
Jenny: "Really? Wow!"
Wil: "Umm, yeah. You're in Chicago, right? Probably on a lot of street corners…"

- one night someone came in with her pocket stuck to her thigh. Seems she had decided to unwrap the fiddly little coca candies (which were indeed a pain to unwrap) in advance, and put them in her pocket. But the humidity and her sweat hat melted them into a sticky mess. It occurred to me that she had actually created a coca "patch" and was ingesting it transdermally. She laughed and said, "Well, I did feel pretty good today!"

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Inca Trail Marathon Adventure Day 15+ - Lima -> Houston -> Seattle

"today will be the best day of your life. tomorrow too."
Had a relaxed morning, including a nice long breakfast on the terrace. Got ourselves packed and ready for the day's adventure and the long night of travel…

We checked out of the hotel around 10am, leaving our bags in storage before heading out for one last day.

We walked along the cliff top to Barranco, thinking how gorgeous it would be in summer with the bright sunshine and the blue ocean. Still, a pretty spectacular view. Also, the pavement is marked in 500m increments (maybe more frequently?) and measures out a perfect 5K. This did seem like an amazing running path!



We arrived in Barranco to find a big parade seemingly about to take place. We traveled backward along the staging area (potentially the route, though no one was parading?). First a large reviewing stand, already full of local officials. Then group after group of school kids, government employees, office workers, and some groups that seemed quite random. Though people were obviously practicing, it didn't seem as if anyone was moving forward. Or anything was really happening.




this building was pretty amazing

We ended up in the little square in front of the handsome local library and church, watching more parade prep … along with a woman using her very young children to pass out flyers about the dangers of drugs and booze.


We made our way to the Bridge of Sighs… but it was closed for renovation. (Sigh.) Not that we particularly cared… so we made our way down underneath it and along a very handsome path towards the seafront. Lots of little restaurants and B&Bs on this path -- seemed like a potentially nice, quiet place to stay.

path down to the seafront

We walked along the seawall, past lots of weirdly empty buildings. There were clusters of large buildings where one would be a restaurant that was clearly closed down, a bit dusty, but available for lease; the next building would be a restaurant doing well enough to have a huge staff (we saw their pre-opening meeting); and the next building had a collapsed ceiling and a speedboat being stored inside.

again, wouldn't this be lovely with blue skies?


Eventually found a path back up to the cliff top, then walked around to Larcomar, a famous upscale mall on the cliff. Weird place: really high-end shops, plus a food court with everything from fast food to "fast casual" restaurants including Chili's and Tony Romas. (Weird.) We got food at Bembos, which is the Peruvian fast food chain -- fried cheese, yucca fries, onion rings, and a darn tasty veggie burger. Perfect lunch.

Larcomar … so odd!

paraglider over Larcomar -- there were several floating overhead

lunch at Bembos -- mmmm, fried food

"at the request of our cows" is what the headline says
We decided to go back to the park to see the kitties again. I heard a man say, "No, no, you can't take one home." I figured it was just an American dad talking to his kids -- but it was Ken! Yes, we all had a little, "Yeah, we know people in Lima" moment. Nice to see them and hear their experiences -- they'd been on a food tour as well as a running tour, both of which sounded very cool.

our lady of feral cats

Saturday afternoon dance party

We moved on, stopping to watch part of the Costa Rica / Holland World Cup match over the shoulders of others gathered around a television in a cafe. We also just wandered around a little, taking pictures of the street art.


loved this random art of a giant man

With still more time to kill, we decided to finally pop in to the "Barcelona" bar/restaurant near the hotel… where we had our final Pisco Sours while watching the end of the game. Sorry Ticos! That, my friends, is Lima.


(We were also a little sorry that we waited until the last minute to check out Barcelona; the hotel receptionist had suggested it on our first day, but it didn't seem right by daylight. But by night? Perfect. We should had stopped in for a nightcap every night.)

With a few minutes to spare, we went to the hotel to collect our bags, then waited for our Peruvian Shuttle to arrive.

I'm embarrassed that I don't remember our driver's name, but I can't say enough good things about Peruvian Shuttle's service. A very nice, well-maintained car with AC, driving smoothly and quickly to the airport. He even helped with our bags.

Because the ride was so fast, we had LOTS of time to kill at the airport.

First the long, slow-moving line to check in … though because different flights had different agents, we basically got moved to the front of our flight line once we'd passed the person who was sorting folks by flights.

Moved through security quickly (can't get enough of that Samsung ad with Rooney, Ronaldo, and Messi… that was on nearly endless repeat on the big video screens…), did a bit of shopping (becoming, somehow, obsessed with finding a sticker and a patch… but managing to avoid buying a hat, t-shirt, or poncho…), and had dinner, including our final Cusquena beer.

Last-minute search before getting on the plane -- no liquids in the carry-ons. Then on the plane, where we tried to sleep.

Sadly, no vegetarian food options -- so I just turned off my light and tried to relax.

Arrived in Houston, cleared immigration using weird electronic machines that take the worst photo of you you have ever taken. No, really. A cursory customs check, and then we were through.

Had a surprisingly good breakfast somewhere in the sprawling airport… though there was no booze anywhere available. (Is that a Texas Sunday thing? I mean, it really was just a late Saturday night for us…).

mmm, breakfast burrito!
Flight to Seattle quick and painless, well, apart from being kicked in the kidneys for a few hours by a shrieking child… then we collected our bags and light railed / Ubered home. Arrived to find mellow kitties and a clean house -- we were HOME!!!