Saturday, February 25, 2012

Practice Training Run - Shamrock 15k Route

Since the downtown gym has been out of commission, I've been running outside on my lunch hour a few times a week with Laura (my co-worker). We tend to run at a similar pace and each find motivation in pushing each other. I am pretty certain that my inner lazy persona would take over and I'd find myself sitting on my ass more if I didn't have a running partner who actually makes me believe that I enjoy running. Plus, if I'm having an off-day she's nice enough to let me whine and moan through our run without complaint. It's been working out well.

Somehow, I even convinced her to sign up and run the Shamrock 15k Challenge with me next month. I've run this race consistently in one form or another [ie pregnant] since 2008, when I ran the 5k as my first race ever (2010 recap: here, 2011 recap: here). Today, we decided to meet up downtown at an ungodly hour and run the race route together.

I innocently believed this would be easy enough to run and had not considered the possibility that 1) we'd be running through POURING rain and SNOW this morning, 2) that we might be running in a flooded bike lane facing on-coming traffic speeding towards us, or 3) that we'd make a wrong turn and come plunging down a steep trail into a ravine that was blocked off to pedestrian traffic. Let's just say, it was a bit of an adventure...but we laughed our way through the whole thing and came out pretty much unscathed.

Crazy Weather & Gorgeous Clouds!
The first two miles were miserable but I tried to lighten it up by reminding us that there was no way race day conditions would be worse than they were this morning. My hands had becoming virtually locked up and numb from the blistering wind and sleet falling down on us in clumps. We were pounding through the puddles with our heads to the ground just turning one foot over to the other.


Suddenly around mile 2, the rain/snow mix completely stopped, the clouds parted and the sun came out to warm us up. My hands thawed out and with renewed vigor, we rejoiced and charged on ahead. The remainder of the run was an interesting mix of sun and pouring rain.

Miles 3-6 brought us from virtually sea level up into the hills, where we eventually crested at the Chart House Restaurant and a view of the city below.

Partway up
Working it at the Chart House view point:

View from Chart House
 See? Thar be a big hill:

It was after the Chart House where things got a bit dicey. In an attempt to avoid running the bike lane of busy Capital Hwy and Barber Blvd, we attempted to make our way down towards downtown via the Marcum trail network. We ran down a muddy trail that skirted a steep ravine for about a 1/4 mile only to get stopped in our tracks because the trail was closed (probably due to its condition). With nowhere left to go, we hiked back up, laughing our asses off and decided to brave Capital Hwy/Barber after all. I mean after that trail how much worse could it get?

By then the rain was pouring down again and with on-coming traffic scaring the crap out of us, we trucked it down towards town in the partially flooded bike lane as fast as our legs could carry us. After the seemingly longest mile ever, we finally met up with the sidewalk and jumped with glee at finally reaching the security of pedestrian safety. Not our finest moment ever, but we kept on laughing and pushed on for the final couple miles back to downtown.

Overall: 9.45 miles in 1:32:51 (overall pace 9:49)

We celebrated by stopping into a coffee conglomerate for steaming hot lattes and post-run chatter. It was definitely an adventurous run but so so awesome and I just felt great through almost all of it (minus mile 1).


Friday, February 24, 2012

Summing up Seattle

I've neglected the "blogosphere" lately. My Reader is piling up so quickly, I'm afraid to look at it. I really ought to stop adding blogs to it but y'all are just so damn interesting.

Anyway, my tiny little family went hog wild in Seattle this weekend and had a blast! I had Saturday planned out to the nth degree because I didn't want to miss a moment of opportunity, including this...

The above is a rest stop somewhere south of Olympia. We stop at it every year to get this picture. If you look closely, there's a tiny "You are Here" over Thurston's head. It makes me chuckle every time. I hope Thurston enjoys it as much as we do when he gets to be an apathetic self-absorbed teenager.

After the rest stop, I wouldn't budge on my schedule even for a bathroom break when Dave started dancing in his seat. We just had to get to Red Mill Burger. We had to. Even if we were in stop-n-go traffic through downtown.

All was quickly forgiven when the above pile of HUGE onion rings were plopped in front of us. This place was packed to the gills and we had to beat people down to get a table but when all was said and done, the food was DELICIOUS. We stuffed ourselves silly and then headed to the Seattle Center to check out the Experience the Music Project and even more importantly, the Battlestar Galactica exhibit.

We kind of LOVE that show...

When it comes to museums, Dave and I are more like in-n-outers-see-it-once-see-it-all types. We can't sit still and read each and every plaque or get neurotic if we miss a tiny scrap of wood that came off of Kurt Cobain's guitar during a Nirvana show (Nirvana was also an exhibit that Dave' gleefully pursued). Plus, we have a certain little person amongst us, who tends to demand attention. At least he was free. Thus, we were in and out of the EMP in just over an hour.

With the extra time on our hands (and my schedule), we decided to hop on the Monorail and hit up Pikes Place Market. Dude loves trains. Have I mentioned this before?

That evening we dined at an extremely over-priced and over-touristed restaurant that shall remain unnamed because I really don't want to remember that we actually willingly spent money there. 

The next day started out with yet another Monorail ride...

Followed by a delightful little brunch at a random cafe we found in Pikes Market. This almost made up for our terrible dinner.

We headed down to the Warf and caught the hour-long Ferry to Bremerton. T-Dizzle was seriously thrilled and we found ourselves chasing after him from one end of the boat to the other...a few times over.

Turns out, if you get off the Ferry and then walk back on again to go back to Seattle, the return fare is free. Sweet deal, people. Sweet deal!

That afternoon, after running around like a Banshee on the ferry, little dude quickly conked out in the stroller while Dave and I had a rather peaceful picnic lunch a la Beecher's on warf. This was probably the best meal of the whole trip, although I might have been biased because tiny tot was pleasantly asleep for all of it.

And no visit to Seattle can be complete without a visit to the GUM WALL. While it is disgustingly disturbing, I cannot seem to turn away.

I missed my long run because of our trip but I did manage to work out a couple times and we walked so much all over the city that my legs really didn't miss anything.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

RTRF Half Marathon - Week 6

We went to Seattle over the weekend so I never got in a long run. Honestly, I'm way too lazy to do a full recap and I'm already so behind so this is what you get...

Monday - 

4 Miles in 40:59 (10:14 pace). I ran this with my co-worker and we just meandered along the west bank. Neither of us really were feeling it so we took it easy.

Tuesday - 

4.5 Mile Hill Run in 44:35 (9:54 pace). Another lunch hour run with my co-worker. We ran up a HUGE hill and just about drive-heaved at the top. Then we ran back down.

Wednesday - 

Zip. Nada. Nothing.

Thursday - 

See Wednesday.

Friday - 

5.25 Mile Tempo run in 50:08 (9:33 pace). We ran hard.

Saturday - 

SEATTLE DAY!! I snuck out in the wee early hours to get in a quick 5k before we left for Seattle.
3.1 Miles in 29:20 (9:28 pace). I was tired and off so I ran hard to get done with it.

Sunday - 

Travelodge Exercise Room work out. I ran a short mile before lifting weights. My abs hurt like hell for three days so I must have done something right.

Overall: 17.35 Miles

Friday, February 17, 2012

Worn with Love

I got my last pair of shoes back in August and it was love at first footfall. In them, I've completed two marathons and probably many more miles than they are actually designed for. And really, I'd probably continue running in them if they didn't look just so darn beat up. I have a hard time giving up on a favorite pair of shoes, despite the common wisdom to retire shoes after their expiration.

But really...I think it was time.

Since I loved those darn New Balance shoes into the ground I up and bought a new pair in almost the exact same style. I like the laces :). I am looking forward to many wonderful miles together....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

RFTR Half Marathon Training - Week 5

Monday -  

An absolutely gorgeous day! My co-worker and I ran a 5-mile tempo run along the Springwater corridor and soaked up some rare winter rays.

We ran the first 4 miles at a hard pace and then relaxed into an easy pace for the final mile. Our splits:

5 Mile Tempo run in 47:45 (average pace of 9:33)

Tuesday -

We took it to the hills! We ran a 5 mile out-n-back up into the Terwilliger hills and then raced our own feet back down again. See? BIG HILL:

Our splits:

5 HILLY Miles in 49:03 (Average pace of 9:48)

Wednesday -

After two tough runs this week, my co-worker and I decided to just run an easy four miles along the West Bank. It was overcast and misty but actually really enjoyable. I came back to the office just flying high.

4.25 easy miles in 44:07 (average pace of 10:17)

Thursday -

No run today. I did a 30-minute strength training workout at home using my 20# adjustable kettlebell.

Friday -

Rest day! I made a huge vat of split pea soup and it was DELICIOUS.

Saturday -

10-Mile long Run (read about it here). I really felt amazing and pulled off 10.06 miles in 1:37:09 (average pace of 9:39).

Sunday -

Ok, now Sunday was CRAZY.  I had plans to meet up with Violet to run the Shamrock 5k route again. Even though my legs were a little tired from Saturday's long run, I decided I'd run the four miles downtown to meet her and then we'd jog the 5k route together. Unfortunately, I left a little late and well.....

What the eff??????

My heart was racing out of my chest when I got downtown and I about keeled over when I saw my splits. The 5k jont with my friend felt like a nice walk in the park after that.

Overall: 31.41 miles at an average pace of 9:46

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hanging with my Boys

How cute are they?? Gawd I love these dudes.

T-Diddy says things to me that make me laugh so hard that I start wheezing and gasping for air. Seriously. This kid is hilarious. For example, right now he's screaming at me that he wants to watch monster trucks.

Dude is such a dude.

Dave and I managed to get the next week's three-day weekend off together and we are planning to head up to Seattle. I'm so excited!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

10 Miles - RFTR Long Training Run

I have loved every minute on my feet this week and every run has left me enthusiastic for more. I just love it! Today's run was no exception. In all honesty, I really questioned whether my Garmin was working properly or I was doing something wrong because...well....look:

Where in the blue blazes did that come from???

I mean, really? Are these still my legs???

The route was pretty much the same as the route I did a couple weeks ago except I tacked on an extra mile at the beginning and at the end. I really felt great right away and the pace felt right. I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep it up but I felt comfortable and so I just kept on.

About halfway in, I took some time to think about Sherry Arnold since today was the Virtual Run for Sherry. Sherry went for a run on 1/7 and never returned. It was definitely a moving and somber period for me thinking of all the other runners out there today running for her.

I approached the same HUGE mile-long hill again at my mile 6 and I pushed up it, taking a couple walking breaks only when my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. Still, I managed to shave off 40 seconds from the time it took me to get up it last time.

Just in case you don't believe me about the hill....

I shot down the other side and finished mile 8 in 8:53. I felt strong so I just I let my legs just fly. I approached downtown Lake Oswego at just before mile 9 and then took a turn that would take me an extra little loop around a portion of the lake for some additional pretty views:

The area was mostly quiet residential with very little vehicular traffic. I was feeling great, just cruising along my last mile when I spotted what looked like a pile of clothes in the middle of the road. As I got closer, I realized it was a man lying face-down in the middle of the street. I sprinted up to him, relieved to see his head moving. I shouted out asking if he was okay as I was approaching but got no response. I shouted again as I reached him and he turned to me but it was obvious that he wasn't able to talk.

Shaking, I assured him that I was going to call for help as I brought out my phone to dial 9-11. He began to sit up and hug his legs to him but he was still incoherent and shaking. It occurred to me that he had probably gone into some sort of epileptic seizure. Thankfully, the police showed up within minutes and they questioned me since he was still unresponsive. The ambulance followed a few minutes after. My suspicions of a seizure were confirmed and they assured me that he would be ok. He seemed to be coming back to a little bit and started making eye contact and by that time, some of his neighbors had shown up to help out. 

I headed on after that but it definitely shook me up a bit. I had just a half mile to go and soon enough, I met up with my Dad and T-diddy for some hot coffee and pastries.

My splits:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Change of Plans


I had a change of heart on Santa Cruz.

It's a tough time for me to travel because of deadlines at work. Also, we're going down to the central valley again in June for a wedding, so it just seemed easier (and cheaper) to combine that trip into a family vacation and nix the Santa Cruz Half. I had yet to even register for the race so it was an easy drop.

Now, before you cry out in shock, fear, outrage, or perhaps just an apathathetic nod, etc., let me just put your worries (or complete lack of concern) at ease. There's another half marathon in downtown Portland on the EXACT SAME DAY. Phew! Problem solved!

Portland's Race for the Roses takes place on April 1st and the cost is comperable to Santa Cruz. Since Dave and I don't have to pay for travel, it's a Win-Win. I ran it and PR'd last year and you can read my very enthusiastic recap here. I really loved the race last year and Dave is down with running it with me. Especially since I convinced him that we'd visit Santa Cruz anyway in June. I'm a genius like that.

In other news...this week is turning out to be another good week for me!

Every year from October to June, Winter falls like a grey blanket upon the Pacific Northwest. Then, in the brief window that we call "Not Winter" (July through September), the blanket lifts and we are hit with the most gorgeous summer season you could ever imagine. Seriously. You just have to make it through the Winter in one piece-- but it can be trying.

However, this Winter has been dryer than Winters in the past and we have had some incredibly beautiful days bestowed upon us. So incredible that I want to sing. And sometimes I do. In public.

I took the above picture on Monday when I went for a run with my co-worker during our lunch break. We took to the Springwater corridor for a 5 mile out and back and soaked up the winter sunshine.

Of course, the rest of the week has been off and on but I can't complain. I've had a couple additional lunch hour runs this week that have all gone really well. I guess not having a gym downtown to use on my lunch hour isn't the end of the world...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Liked Pizza Before it was Cool

THIS just made my day:

Why did the Hipster burn his mouth?
Because he liked pizza before it was cool.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does the Hipster buy the soundtrack?

Why do Hipsters hate rivers?
Because they're too mainstream.

What did the Hipster ice cube say to the water?
"I used to be water before it was cool."

Why did the Hipster cross the road?
I could tell you but you wouldn't understand.

Monday, February 6, 2012

RFTR Half Marathon Training - Week 4


Lunch hour run on the treadmill. I wasn't feeling it when I started. I wasn't feeling it when I finished. But I did 3.5 miles at an easy pace and I got it done.

3.5 miles in 36:05 (Pace - 10:18)


Today was the last day before my gym downtown was closing down for good and I attended my very last strength training class. It was bittersweet.

1 fast mile warm-up on the treadmill (in 8:45) before the 45-minute class.


The Chicago Marthon registration opened at 10:00 AM Pacific! I was registered by 10:08 AM. :)

I also signed up to participate in the Chicago Marathon as a St. Jude Hero! This will be my first charity event and I am pretty darn excited.

Click Here to view my fundraising page!
I had planned on running a tempo run on Wednesday. Instead, I did a run-commute from my office to my home. I had to leave my thick coat at the office and stuff my shoes and work clothes into my commuter bag, strap it tightly to my back and clamp my arm around it in order to run. It was awkward but it got the job done! Considering that the route was almost entirely uphill to my house (250+ ft elevation gain) and I was carrying a 10-pound bag, I figured it was as close to if not more difficult than an average tempo run.

4 miles (uphill & with a 10 pound bag) in 40:22 (Pace - 10:04)


Another beautiful day in Portland! I had originally planned to do this on my lunch hour but I had the pleasant morning of getting puked on by my child. Poor kid! He was feeling just fine by the evening though so I have no idea what that was all about. I stayed home with him in the morning and then Dave came home from work early to watch him in the afternoon. I had enough time before I needed to head into work to get in a quick run.

4.18 miles in 40:03 (Pace - 9:35). No idea where THAT pace came from???


Rest day. I did nothing and it was awesome. Oh, I did make stew. It was delicious.


Initially, I had planned to do my long run on this day but I ran out of time. In retrospect, I'm glad I did because Sunday's long run couldn't have been better! I did do some strength training of my own at home, using T-man as an additional weight/coach.


 That afternoon, we took a 4 mile stroll around the neighborhood and soaked up some sunshine.


Another great week in the books! I have made a lot of progress since the beginning of the year and, even most importantly, I am loving running/training again.

Overall mileage: 23.69 (Overall Average pace - 10:03)