Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Balanced Athlete Half Marathon race report

On Sunday we ran the Balanced Athlete Half Marathon -- day 2 of the "Sweet Quadzuki" series. This race was sponsored by Balanced Athlete (natch), and started from in front of their store in the Landing in Renton. It also meant we had a nice wam place to wait before the race! (Though it was much, much warmer than on Saturday...) Unsurprisingly, we saw a lot of the same faces!

We had a brief course talk -- but at the end of the day, it was basically "follow the bike route to the turnaround". 

One odd thing -- we were told we needed to stay together at the big intersection and wait for the light. "We don't need another dead body." Okay. But when we set off as a group, and approached the intersection, he led us across ... without waiting for the light. Mmmmkay. 

We had bundled up again -- heck, I was wearing an extra layer -- but it really did warm up relatively quickly, and within a few miles I had taken off my jacket and Wil was down to a singlet. 

It was a gorgeous morning... and the leaves were turning and falling. And the field was so small that we were on our own pretty quickly. 

The course was similar to part of the Seahawks 12K course: the rolling hills to the VMAC, then beyond to I-90 and a bit.

We ran and ran and ran, finally spotting the front runners at about mile 5.5, and then more runners just after mile 6. And then, oh happy day... we arrived at the turnaround. 

We had decided to take things easy again, and walk back from the midway point. So we had more time for some lovely photos. 

Did I mention that it was quiet and beautiful?

Eventually we made our way back to The Landing, crossing with the light, and holding hands at the finish. A small group cheered us in, we picked up our cute little "medals", and then we went in the store for PIE. 

Yes, that's right, pie. 

It was fun to run another small race, cheer for our fellow runners, and REACH A NEW MOON LEVEL IN HALF FANATICS. Boo-yah!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cupcake II: Electric Boogaloo race report

I still don't know if I can talk about this. It still seems so ridiculous when I think of it now. 

But one day, one race at a time, eh?

The Cupcake II: Electric Boogaloo Half Marathon ran along the Centennial Trail from Snohomish toward Arlington. Thankfully the organizers sent out an email reminding runners that the race didn't start at the same place as the Spring race. Phew!

Anyway, we drive out to Snohomish on a frosty morning and joined the 60 or so runners shivering in the cold sunshine. 

The course was simple: just run along the trail to the turnaround. Easy peasy. 

It was so cold that I felt super stiff, but we headed out at our steady pace. I had negotiated (ha!) a 3:1 interval set with Wil... nice, steady, doable. 

We decided that we would keep that patter until the turnaround, and then walk back -- we have a lot more miles to go this week. 

The day was beautiful, if very cold, and the trail was a gentle downhill on the way out, and a gentle uphill back. And, for the most part, we were on our own. 

When the sun was a little higher in the sky, we passed a lake that was steaming in the sun. Nice. 

Lots of long, straight, empty trail....

We finished in a slow 2:50, but feeling pretty good, considering. And at the end, there were shiny disco ball medals and a zillion cupcakes!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Yesterday I had a dentist appointment in the morning. I left the office in the bright, crisp sunshine to walk the 5 or so blocks to the bus stop. I passed a block swarming with construction workers, all standing across the street from a big new building, staring up at it. Then, in the middle of the long block between 20th and 22nd, I crossed the empty street at the mid-street crosswalk.

I must have been walking briskly... but I somehow stubbed my toe, HARD, on the opposite side of the street, and went down flat. No stumble, no attempt at recovery, just WHUMP.

I landed hard on my right hand, my wrist folding under me, and my right knee, which hit a metal plate. In a split second I was lying flat out on the sidewalk.

It was stunning -- literally -- and I lay there for several seconds doing a small mental inspection. I was right in front of Skillet, and had a moment when I thought, "Someone will see me and rush out to see if I'm okay." Nope; they don't open till lunch. Dammit.

I made myself stand up, wincing as I pushed myself up with my right arm, which made me feel woozy. I could sense myself freaking out a little -- I just kept saying "slow down, breathe normally" but my level of panic was rising. I saw a bench about 30 feet away, in front of the little ice cream shop, and forced myself to walk to it. I figured I would rather pass out on a bench than from a standing position.

A few minutes before I had exchanged texts with my friend Dre'. As I sat down, I pulled my phone out and called her, hands shaking. She answered and I burst into tears, telling her what had happened, that I was okay, but I just needed to sit and talk to someone for a minute.

She was perfect -- making sure I was really okay, talking to me, even making me laugh.

I did another inspection. Bloody palm, with a chunk scraped out to it. Jeans with a scuff but no hole, but a suspiciously wet-feeling knee. Throbbing toe. Pounding heart.

I was too far from home... and already blocks from the dentist... so I just decided I needed to get on the bus and go to work.

It was still early, yet, which meant the bus was busy, and I spent the ride shaking a little, and trying to hide my bloody hand in my jacket sleeve. Ewww. But I got off the bus, got to work, went straight to the first aid box, and got cleaned up in the bathroom. Heck, I could even laugh at the story and told my coworkers about it.

But here's the truth: it was scary. So very, very scary.

It's 36 hours later and my wrist is super tender, nd now my shoulders and back feel crazy sore. I must have strained a few muscles at impact. My knee is still very, very sore (though less purple and swollen) -- it's painful to bend it, and the skin on my knee is badly scraped. How is that possible, when my jeans didn't tear?!?!

I told Wil this morning that I was really sore and achy, and he very sweetly pointed out that a woman who is almost 50 fell on the sidewalk yesterday. Ouch, man. I'm still in my MID-FORTIES, okay?

As an added bonus, I am planning on attempting something absurdly stupid this weekend and next. So stupid I can't bring myself to talk about it. Or write about it. Or even think about it. Because, well, it's STUPID.

I should hasten to add that it's nothing dangerous... just something that I got into my head that suddenly seems remotely possible. Or, at least, it did before I banged myself up. But we'll see, eh?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon race report

Up before the sun to run Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia. The weather forecast was for 40 degrees and clear at the start. Well, they were close...

I walked the mile or so from my hotel to the start village, stopping in at the VIP area (thanks Brooks!) to grab some Gatorade and a bagel. I also noted, happily, that mimosas are back!! So I had that to look forward to after I finished. 

I went out to my corral... So far back that I couldn't see the start. I was a little surprised to see the time -- and to hear the national anthem -- but of course I still had 30 minutes to wait!

not sure where the start is...

It was really cold in the corrals -- I was very glad to have brought my Mylar from RnRVan with me. But eventually we were on deck. That said, the main announced left to go to the finish line before we even started, since the elites would potentially finish before the last corral started!

ahhh, THERE it is!!!

When it was our turn, it was a real pleasure to run on Philadelphia's wide boulevards -- we ran up Benjamin Franklin Parkway and around Logan Circle, then a little loop around downtown (was there something I should have "seen" there?), and then a big swinging loop around City Hall. We turned back toward the art museum, passing "Love Park" and Philly's iconic artwork before heading up Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the opposite direction. Philadelphia has such lovely, wide boulevards to run on!

2015 Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon course map

I was really surprised that, at the 3-mile mark, there were still people starting. But 35 corrals is a lot of corrals. And at 18,500 people registered, it's no surprise!

We passed the main stage, where the Gin Blossoms would perform later, and heard a great cover of "I Wanna Rock 'n' Roll All Night" ... which of course madee think "and part of every day..."

We had one more "spur" out and back before passing the art museum and heading out on the Shuykill River ... Or the road next to it, anyway. This was really beautiful -- mainly flat, lovely wide roads, and pretty views of the river and of the autumn leaves. Leaf peepin' while running a half marathon? Oh yes please. 

No crowding here!

This really was bliss to run on. 

Because Brooks had made a pretty drawing of the course, I knew that we would cross the river at Falls Bridge at mile 9. So getting on to the bridge was awesome - only 4.1 to go!!!

view downstream from the bridge

view back to downtown from the bridge
The road back to downtown was equally pretty, though the only thing I took a picture of was this guy. I can't tell ou how much I enjoy seeing The Dude at races! I didn't know he was going to be on the course, so it was a pleasant surprise. 

the Brooks Dude

I was feeling pretty tired by mile 12, but I had pretty much maintained my 100:25 intervals. Seeing this in the distance helped perk me up a bit!

the backside of the Art Museum -- where the finish line is
I had been planning on one last walk break so that I could finish strong, but the last half mile was suddenly very narrow and totally thronged with cheering spectators and I just couldn't. So I slotted in behind a hand-holding couple to pace myself, followed them up the last cruel little hill, and then slingshotted past them in the final stretch.

The crowd in the chute were too quiet, so I encouraged some whooping, high-fived the announcer (let's be clear, he's no John Bingham!), and crossed the line in 2:22:43. 

It was a bit rough getting through the finish gauntlet, but eventually got my medal, some chocolate milk, and made my way back to the VIP tent for a little breakfast and a couple of mimosas. Perfect. 

the finish line, as seen from the VIP area

the Art Museum and the Rocky Steps
Nope, I didn't go back and run the Rocky Steps!

Decided against watching much of the Gin Blossoms because I had gotten cold and was thinking about having a nice hot bath. So I made my way back to the hotel, stopping to visit the spitting tortoises. 

This race was fun, and the course was pretty. There wasn't a ton of support, but the people out there were super loud and enthusiastic. Best sign: "ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10, YOU'RE A 13.1"

thank you Philly!

Most importantly, of course... This is STATE #34!!!