Seattle Rock n Roll half marathon 6/21/14

So since this race was a year ago and I never wrote a proper recap, I figured I’d just post the notes I scribbled down and some pics from the race so I at least have something to remember it by! (I fail at blogging)

-goal, once again, sub-2, and also not to poop self :P
-but I know this baby is hilly
-expo day before, rode the Brooks shoe, wandered around, went to pho, played basketball, played bocci ball, watched the conjuring (GAH)

Expo madness

Expo madness

-crashed at Jeff’s the night before to get up early and carpool w/ him and Nat
-forgot water bottle… crap!
-got there a little late and still needed to poo… started to freak out, Jeff held my hand to calm me down (we ran into an official photographer, who was like “want a picture?” I said “Sure!” and Jeff said “no!” right at the same time haha) and we found the brooks VIP potties in the nick of time as corrals were going off, made it into corral 16, hugged Jeff goodbye!

HA! This VIP potty saved my bacon

HA! This VIP potty saved my bacon

Waiting to launch

Waiting to launch

Just glad I got that PRP outta the way!

Just glad I got that PRP outta the way!

-annnnd we’re off! somehow zipped the first 3 miles, mile 3 was 7:59, holy poop! (downhill)

Stomping downhill in my fastest mile

Stomping downhill in my fastest mile

-drinking from all the water stops since I didn’t have my bottle, they were like a slip and slide zone, wee!
-rainier ave – the mountain right in front of us looming beautifully
-J texted that Nat had started 2 corrals back, texted him a bit
-Nat caught me around mile 5.75 at the wee out and back dogleg and flew on toward lake washington
-hit the 10k mat in a new 10k PR! ran under the brooks guy, along the lake, passed a photographer and raised my arm in the air, which prompted the guy next to me to remark “did you just flex?”
-walked the steep crappy hill, allowed myself 30 more sec, started running again which actually felt really good
-chugged thru tunnel – gangnam style!
-zipped along the freeway on the other side, chugging along, kept looking for Nat
-charged the downhill, hit 10 mile mat, doooown into the city
-slogging up 2nd ave started to kill me, started to chug
-up to the viaduct.. chugging but trying to enjoy the view

Chugging along on the viaduct

Chugging along on the viaduct

-cambered Battery St. tunnel bleh, just trying to keep it going repeating my running mantras.. “I’ve done this before, I can do it again” “If I stop now I won’t start again” “Be tough”
-was suddenly right on top of the mile markers and thought I had a chance to PR… pushed up that dang Mercer St hill only to hit the top and see the finish line was still sooooo far away (and my watch had already passed 13.1) and said out loud “you’ve got to be kidding me”
-slogged in the final 4/10 of a mile (sooo loooong) saw J right before the finish and Nat right after, who killllllled it in 1:49, took pics with him

Nat KILLED it. he's a beast

Nat KILLED it. he’s a beast

-ended up in 2:01 even with the long course…. sooo close!

WIth the armfuls of crap you get

WIth the armfuls of crap you get

-watched the concerts (ugh to Sir Mixalot) got sunburned, then went to red robin

We're down there to the lower left

We’re down there to the lower left!

North Olympic Discovery half marathon 6/1/14

Well seeing as I’ve already run this year’s edition of NODM, I figured I should finally post some kind of report of last year’s race. I am the queen of punctuality. (Prepare for a deluge of last year’s race reports as I try to catch up…)

I went into this race with my main goal being to break 2 hours for the first time, though I’d missed my last long run doing an 8-mile straight-uphill hike with Jeff (priorities?), so that was making me a little paranoid. Hard to “trust the training” when you didn’t complete it 100%! But I did get two 10-milers in in the last three weeks before the race.

Jeff and I drove to my lovely hometown Port Angeles the day before the race and hit up the race expo downtown. As he had never been to PA in the summer, we did a bunch of touristy outdoor things – wandered around Salt Creek and then drove up to Hurricane Ridge, which I’d also forgotten is fairly terrifying to drive up toward the top of the mountain. (Who needs guard rails?) My folks took us out to carb-loading dinner where I had the “marathon special” pasta, which I remember was quite tasty.

Salt Creek!

Salt Creek!

Hurricane Ridge!

Hurricane Ridge!

We stayed at my bff Laurel’s apartment the night before the race; Jeff was mystified that girls don’t seem to mind sharing beds with other girls, whereas guy friends would never want to share a bed with each other, or risk brushing against each other in any way. We laughed at him.

I was awake bright and surly around 6am and ate the toast w/nutty butter Laurel made for me. This isn’t something I normally eat before a race but I’ve never had issues with it other times so I figured it would be ok. (FORESHADOW WARNING) Jeff drove me to the start line and on the way I realized I’d taken the shuttles every year and didn’t really know how to get there in a car! That started a frantic spurt of googlemapping and searching the race website for the (somewhat rural) location of the starting line. Though we were a little late, we made it just in time and had time to stand around for a few minutes. I paranoidly started to fret about my missed long run and wondered if I was crazy to attempt to go sub-2.

Standing around nervously before the start of the race.

Standing around nervously before the start of the race.

Hamming around with my beardy spectator

Hamming around with my beardy spectator

Jeff followed me along the course, which was so awesome – we high fived at every spectator spot and it was such a boost to see him!

Jeff caught me at nearly all of the spectator spots, it was a huge kick to see him

Jeff caught me at nearly all of the spectator spots, it was a huge kick to see him

I was in front of 1:55 pacer for a brief bit so knew I was going too fast at first… but I was feeling pretty good so I went with it.

Skipping along (too fast) in the first few miles

Skipping along (too fast) in the first few miles

The 1:55 pacer caught me on the rolling hills, as did the 2-hr pacer, but I could tell I was still on pace by my watch.. but ugh I always forget how hilly the middle of this race is! The creek beds are also a pain in the butt – it’s fun going down but coming back up out of them is such a slooooooog. I walked both of those monster hills….

There was a new section near the movie theater, toward the top of morse creek at Deer Park, a crappy out and back that was pretty much bleh slog sun gravel… slightly downhill out and then of course uphill on the way back. But I got to see Jeff twice here!

On one of the more annoying sections of the course, right before some construction

On one of the more annoying sections of the course, right before some construction

The next part, running down the Morse Creek curves, is a huge downhill which I always love to storm. I just barely saw Jeff at the bottom in the nick of time and ran to give him a hug before continuing on to the final 5 miles of the race, which angles downhill through the woods (probably the best part of the course) before busting out on the coast for the last 3.5 miles.

He was great at finding me!

He was great at finding me!

As I emerged out on the coast for the final miles, I started to feel urge to poo rising, and decided I would stop at the next portapotty but was cruising on goal pace. But tragically there were NO portapotties along this final stretch. I kept waiting… and waiting… and waiting… all the while realllllllly hoping I could hold it together…

And finally, during mile 12 – poopocalypse! There was no stopping this train, it would not be denied. I didn’t know if it was “apparent” or not (I discovered later it wasn’t; thank you black shorts with built-in elastic undies) but I walked about a mile in shame watching my goal slip away on my watch and hoping all hopes that nothing streaked down my leg. A dude passing me tried to urge me on to run (“C,mon, you can do it, we’re so close!”) and I didn’t want to tell him I was only walking because I’d just pooed myself….

I did decide I didn’t want to walk across the finish line and ran in the final 2/10 of a mile, stopping the clock in a frustrating 2:03. Jeff was right there cheering me on, and I leaned over the barrier at him and said “the worst thing ever just happened to me!” And bless his heart he knew exactly what I was talking about….

Full of shame, and something else

Full of shame, and something else

It was so close to my goal! Take away the poopocalypse and I might have gone sub-2, agghhhh.

Even with the poopocalypse at the end I allllmost hit my goal..

Even with the poopocalypse at the end I allllmost hit my goal..

I cleaned up a bit in portapotty afterward with about a gallon of hand sanitizer, then ran back to Laurel’s and took the most glorious shower of my life. The three of us went out for some delicious pizza and then Jeff and I did a very short “hike” (more like a stroll) to Marymere Falls out by Lake Crescent, which was about all my legs could handle. Afterwards we went to a pho place in town at my dad’s recommendation (and tried the weirdly good thai coffee), and then raced back to Seattle with Jeff driving my gokart car, making it to the ferry in the nick of time to be the last car on the 10:30 boat.

All in all it was a good weekend and a mostly good race… and I’ve finally endured the most extreme running embarrassment I think there is! I can tackle anything now!

Blogslackin’

Oh man, I have been severely slacking at keeping up ye ole running blog! And I’ve run a bunch of great races this year, all of which I have half-written recaps for, just waiting to be born. I’ll work on getting those up soon – in the meantime, I’m stoked to report that I finally broke one of my seemingly unattainable and hugest running goals this last Sunday in the Victoria BC half marathon – I finally broke 2 hours in the half, clocking in at 1:57:26!! I am kind of amazed, I never thought I’d be able to pull that off.

Photos and recaps to come…

The Green Lake Gobble 5k and a shiny new PR

It’s been awhile since I’ve set a 5k PR – almost a year, in fact. The 5k is such a weird distance – full of people just getting into running who are having a great time and just trying to finish, and then people trying to improve and shave seconds off their previous personal bests… which would be the category I fall into, so a 5k race is more an exercise in pain and HOW MUCH LONGER CAN I HOLD THIS PACE?!

My previous PR (set this February) was 28:18 and I distinctly remember feeling like death as I slogged along trying to maintain that 9-min-mile. ( I am not fast, clearly). But after my big half marathon PR last month, and all the consistent (if slightly halfhearted) speedwork I’ve been doing since around August/September, I thought I might have a shot at finally cracking under 28 minutes for 3.1 miles.

I met up with some friends around 7:30 – we’d all volunteered at packed pickup in exchange for a race entry. Can’t beat a free race for a few bone-chilling hours handing out bibs!

It was cooollllllllld at the start – though I should have ditched my race shirt; I ended up tying it around my waist… you’d think I’d learn…

Me, Laura, and Karene - this was the 2nd 5k ever for both of them, yeaah ladies!

Me, Laura, and Karene before the race – this was the 2nd 5k ever for both of them, yeaah ladies!

When the race started I remember deciding to go for it and took off at a challenging pace for me. That saying “it never gets easier, you just get better” is so true – it felt like a hard pace has felt for me in the past around a 9 min mile, but I was actually holding a sub-8-min pace for the first time ever.

Not sure why I look startled to be running

Not sure why I look startled to be running…

I’d decided to try out a long-sleeve compression shirt I’ve had for awhile but never raced in, and while it was comfortable enough, it looked kind of ridiculous!

Ha ha, I look like a bandit in this getup... well aside from my fabulous pink shoes.

Ha ha, I look like a bandit in this getup… well aside from my fabulous pink shoes.

Even though it was like 30 degrees out I still got too warm and took off my gloves. I am my own sunshine factory. I mostly just tried to keep up the effort as hard as I could and felt shocked every time I glanced at Henry the Garmin and saw sub-9 min mile paces. I guess all that halfhearted speedwork paid off!

Zipping through the finishing chute. Yeaaah PR!

Zipping through the finishing chute… my gumby-leg back-kick is still a thing apparently…

As I crossed the finish line I knew I’d set a shocking new PR – nearly 2 min faster than my old one. I didn’t even feel like puking afterwards, which has been a staple of previous hard efforts for me – who am I?! I’m kind of curious now what I could do if I really applied myself to training instead of just going through it and completing it… like maybe actually doing 400m repeats at a pace that feels insane?

Whaaaaaaat? How did I do this?!

Whaaaaaaat? How did I do this?! I even forgot to stop my Garmin for a few seconds after the finish…

.

And my official results were even 6 seconds faster. Uhhhh, I have no idea how I pulled that off.

And my official results were even 6 seconds faster. Uhhhh, I have no idea how I pulled that off.

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Considering I've never strung more than one sub-9-min-mile together in a row, I'm amazed I ran each mile faster than the last. Who am I?!

Considering I’ve never strung more than one sub-9-min-mile together in a row, I’m amazed I ran each mile faster than the last. Who am I?!

Victoria BC Canada half marathon 10/13/13

WOW. I am amazed, baffled, astounded at how this race went for me. Let’s just get the big part out of the way – I was hoping to break 2:10, and at least PR (current PR is 2:12:58), but NOTHING could have prepared me for the number I ended up with:

That there is also a 10k PR!

That there is also a 10k PR!

WHAT. Just WHAT. How the crap did I pull that off?! Even more astounding to me was Henry the Garmin’s report:

Holy poop!

Holy poop!

Not a single 10+-min-mile to be found. And mile 12, what whaaaaaaaat? How on earth did I pull off a sub-9-min-mile in a half marathon!? How the crap did I run at a 9:17 average for the whole race? (I’ve run 5ks at a slower pace than that!)

There were a few significant things I did different during this training cycle, a few of which had me convinced this would probably be a SLOW race for me:

1. I did about 95% of my training runs on the treadmill, and the vast majority of those were at a 0% incline, because I’m lazy and hate hills.

2. I had that dumb 2-month cough that interrupted my training a bit over the summer.

3. I started doing halfhearted speedwork (400m sprints and Higdon-style tempo runs) this time around.

Maybe it was number 3 that made the biggest difference, who knows! I think maybe doing my 10-milers on the treadmill may have helped me in ways – I did take walk breaks during them, but they kind of taught me to hold a consistent pace and keep going (whereas when I run them outdoors my pace goes all over the place). I am a notorious hater of hills as well, and while this course isn’t totally flat (there are a lot of mild undulations and a few gradual uphill slogs), there are no giant ego-crushing monster hills like there are at NODM and Seattle RnR. I think as a result of that I was able to run every step of this half marathon and didn’t take a single walk break – that’s a first for me!

not flat, not ridiculously hilly. Think this is my new favorite course, sorry NODM.

not flat, not ridiculously hilly. Think this is my new favorite course, sorry NODM.

The day before the race we hauled our crap on the boat over to Victoria and hit up the expo first thing to get it out of the way, then wandered around being touristy for awhile. We ended up going to one of the several Irish pubs downtown to carb load – and the pasta at the Garrick’s Head Pub was actually pretty fantastic! I also had probably the best cider I’ve ever tried.

delicious, delicious carb loading and the BEST CIDER EVER AMG

delicious, delicious carb loading and the BEST CIDER EVER AMG

Dusk was falling as we wandered back in the direction of our hotel and though I’ve been to Victoria countless times I couldn’t resist snapping some of the typical touristy photos. Our route went by the Parliament building and we stopped by the finish line that was still getting set up, on the road right out in front of the building:

The Parliament building (top, where the race started/finished) and the ivy-covered Empress Hotel

The Parliament building (top, where the race started/finished) and the ivy-covered Empress Hotel

See you tomorrow, finish line.

See you tomorrow, finish line.

I was up at the miserably early hour of 5:30am and promptly chugged coffee and got dressed. One advantage of having a hotel so close to the race start was that I didn’t have to use the portapotties, but rather the warm hotel bathroom… yesssssss. It was FRIGID and I decided to keep my long-sleeved running top on, even though I know I’m my own little furnace and odds were good that I’d be tying it around my waist at some point. After a rousing rendition of “O, Canada” (ha it had never occurred to me up until that point that other countries might, you know, sing their own anthems before sporting events) we were off!

It’s been kind of a trend now with my last few halfs (halves?) that I feel really stiff and awkward for the first mile or so and wonder what I’ve gotten myself into, but this is probably more because I don’t usually run at 7:30 in the morning. This race was no different and as we looped around the parliament buildings and up by the harbor I felt like I was running through jello, but I was still passing people pretty consistently. I remember glancing down at the Garmin somewhere around here and seeing a sub-9-min-mile pace. Oops!

I was yanking my overshirt off by mile 2. I should have known I wouldn’t need it! It became my awkward waist buddy from that point on, flapping against the back of my legs for the remainder of the race. You’d think I would have learned my lesson after last year, but noooooooo…

Somewhere in the first few miles, as we were going up a hill, I passed a guy in a wheelchair who was wearing a racing bib. This wasn’t a sport wheelchair though, this was a regular old standard wheelchair, and he was wheeling himself along the course. I couldn’t help but be impressed by how hardcore that was. I can’t imagine propelling myself through 13.1 miles with my arms!

The course takes its first real uphill jaunt into a few loops around a pretty big park right about mile 3.5 or 4. I only really remember this because I took my first Gu at mile 3.5 and also because I hit the 5k mark in the park at a number not far off from my PR, which was a little scary, but I was feeling good so I just went with it. The uphill sections were a little slow but I just kept putting my feet to the ground and trying to take quick, short steps.

Coming out of the park we hit the long section of road that travels right along the coast of the Strait of Juan de Fuca:

A good section of the course is out along the water like this - it's beauuuuuuutiful. And you can see my hometown across the way!

A good section of the course is out along the water like this – it’s beauuuuuuutiful. And you can see my hometown across the way!

This part is all fairly downhill/flat (but is part of an out and back, so what goes down must go up in this case) and easy to just plow through. The sun was in our faces a bit and I kind of wished I’d brought along my runglasses. Also, the signs that said “water stop ahead” along this part might as well have said “slip and slide zone ahead” in my Pureflows… man I love those shoes, but they do not grip a wet road at all! This part of the race went really quickly though and before I knew it we were curving up a slight hill into the residential part of the race, which winds through some neighborhoods before looping around at a turnaround point shortly before mile 8. I vaguely remembered this part from last year but couldn’t remember exactly where the turnaround was and kept hoping to see it just around the next bend (which is always annoying when it ISN’T). I kept looking at my watch here as well and seeing numbers I totally did not expect, not to mention the fact that I was way ahead of pace to hit my goal of 2:10. But I still felt good and just kept going with it!

At mile 7 I took Gu #2 and shortly after that hit the turnaround. I have a memory from this part of the course with Laurel last year – she wanted to take an extra long walk break as we ate GUs, so we walked and enjoyed knowing we were more than halfway done. This year I rolled on through and back through the residential part of the course. I remembered at this point last year Laurel and I started to see the super-fast elite full marathoners (and the guy in a business suit) and realized I wasn’t seeing any this year yet… probably because I was running quite a bit faster this year!

I popped back out onto the road running by the water for the “back” portion and set myself down for the uphills I knew were coming. On one of them a guy was standing outside his house with cups on a tray, and as runners would reach for them he’d yell “it’s not water!” At that point I saw his sign – FREE BEER! Haha. I allllllmost went for it, but you know, nothing new on race day and all that.

I saw the guy in the wheelchair again around this point going the other way – still chugging along! SO HARDCORE. Huge props for that guy, I was tired and his arms must have been killing him.

At mile 10 I took my final GU (I didn’t do a 3rd one at NODM or Seattle RnR and felt pretty dead in the last few miles, so figured I should go ahead with it this time) and chugged up the gradual uphills back in the direction of the park (which thankfully we would run by instead of looping around again).

Heading up one of the longish moderate hills in mile 11

Heading up one of the longish moderate hills in mile 11, on the “back” part of the out and back

I kept seeing faster times than I expected on my watch and going holy crap, well, ok! The race had seemed to go by pretty fast up to this point but I was starting to get tired (the complete lack of walk breaks probably also contributed to this) and time began to drag. We hit a long downhill in mile 12 (see my Garmin’s clocking above) and I tried to use it to my advantage and just blitzed it, passing a bunch of people in the process. I knew once I got through this mile we’d twist through a few windy streets and then be heading straight for the finish, which was a part I remember being really fun last year, but last year I wasn’t racing faster than I ever have before for the distance. I tried to distract myself and cranked my music as I came off the bottom of the hill and headed into the final mile, just trying to keep my feet chugging. (sorry to the spectators who saw me dancing like a dork!)

As we moved into the final winding streets I spotted a photographer – right after I coughed in front of him, which he so kindly preserved on film for me:

I noticed him right after this and was like oh great..

I noticed him right after this and was like oh great.. also, charming sweat mark there!

After a final annoying hill there was the 800m to go sign (of course all I could think was agh, that’s half a mile!) and further down I could see the row of flags over the course! I tried to pick up the pace but my feet felt like rocks. And there was the finish, so close and yet so far away – but I could see the clock counting down and knew that unless I totally biffed it I was going to shatter my goal of hitting 2:10. I tried to give it all I had and crossed the finish with pretty much nothing left to spare.

Apparently it took me 3+ min to cross the start line!

Apparently it took me 3 min to cross the start line!

I found Laurel on the sidelines shortly after and showed her the frozen face of my Garmin with my shiny new PR plastered across it:

I just noticed you can see Gu on my arm from where I wiped my mouth. Hot

I just noticed you can see Gu on my arm from where I wiped my mouth. Hot

She wasn’t allowed into the immediate recovery area so I collected my medal, grabbed the free milk and bananas and etc, and worked my way through the masses to reunite with her and gimp-walk up to the same waffle place we hit up after the race last year for the best recovery breakfast evaaaa.

We've done this twice, it's now a tradition.

We’ve done this twice, it’s now a tradition.

Afterward we walked back to the hotel (well she walked and I shuffled) where she rubbed my legs down (having massage therapist friends = bonus!) and I had a nice soak with a Lush bath bomb, which unfortunately had the side effect of giving me a raging migraine for a few hours (memo to self, drink more water and don’t immediately suck all the moisture out of your body with hot water next time) but I recovered in time for us to go out for a dericious recovery meal and drinks later that afternoon. We spent an additional day in Victoria just being touristy and enjoying not having to rush back home… and in all it was a great weekend, a fantastic PR race (I’d probably call this my favorite course ever at this point), and full of all the fattening delicious carbs my stomach could ever desire!

Women of Wonder 5k – 9/8/13

I’m only a month late on posting this, but I ran this inaugural 5k  earlier this month with my friend Laura, who ran it as her first 5k ever. Yay Laura! This race was created as a replacement for the very girly, very newbie-friendly Iron Girl 5k that has since become a triathlon (and which I ran as my own first 5k back in 2010). So everyone got a medal (I think this is the only 5k around here that gives out medals), you got a free brownie right after finishing the race (YESSSS), there was a wine garden, and plenty of girly vendors and free samples. It’s honestly a pretty fun race to run and due to the high percentage of new runners the average finishing time was around 40 minutes (meaning I somehow placed 10th in my age group even though there were around 1500 participants).

Since it’s such a lady-oriented race I broke out the ol’ running skirt I haven’t worn in about a year and which I feel kind of dumb running around my neighborhood in, but which I feel a little more comfortable in at a race like this. I also wore compression socks (which I normally wouldn’t for a 5k) because I hadn’t shaved in…. a little too long. Laura and I took a photo at the WOW backdrop that had been setup:

I tried out the Wave Sayonaras for this race (which I've only worn on the dreadmill thus far)

I tried out the Wave Sayonaras for this race (which I’ve only worn on the dreadmill thus far). I think I also need to get another running tank in a different color since I wear this one at practically EVERY RACE

The race actually went pretty well – I decided to go for it, and after the first mile of weaving around a thick mob of other runners and walkers (I’d started the race with Laura at the back of the field) I was able to let my feet fly a bit. I have kind of a problem holding a steady effort over the course of a 5k – I don’t know if it’s my own unwillingness to feel uncomfortable or a lack of training, or lack of speedwork, or all of the above – though I’m pretty sure 5ks (if you’re trying to race them) aren’t supposed to feel good, but are supposed to feel like PAIN and MISERY. Regardless I was definitely feeling all of those things since I rarely ever hold an effort-pace longer than about a half mile, and I tried to keep it going all the way through the finish.

I hate this photographer's watermarks. Srsly, ugliest evar

The look of death. Also, I hate this photographer’s watermarks. Srsly, ugliest evar

I did end up running the fastest 3+ miles I’ve ever strung together in sequence, though it wasn’t a PR:

I need to work on speed, methinks

I need to work on speed, methinks

I want to get faster. It’s been 3 years since I started running, dangit – a 9 min mile should be my easy pace by now, right? (Maybe not if you’re a lazy bum like I am?) Guess I need to do a little research and maybe start running hills? (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)

One of the photographers hailed us right after the race, in our sweaty, red-faced glory:

once again with the crap-crap-crappy watermarks. They could at least make them a little more transparent

once again with the crap-crap-crappy watermarks. They could at least make them a little more transparent

Our friend Rachel caught up to us afterward (she’d come out to watch us run and juuuust caught sight us leaving the starting chute):

apparently when told to "make a face" I revert back to my days in Japan

apparently when told to be silly I revert back to my days in Japan

And of course, what better way to celebrate your first 5k than BOOZE:

NOT BEER.

NOT BEER.

Afterward we moseyed to a Starbucks across the street (fully packed with ladies in running gear) and went up to the roof to hang out for a bit, and upon which I actually got SUNBURNED from sitting with my back to the sun for about 15 min. Clearly I need to drag my pasty white self out into the elements more often.

Next up for me is the Victoria BC half marathon on Oct 13th – and while I’m definitely training better for this race than I did last year, I’m a little worried that the 2-month cough I endured this summer took more out of my fitness than I wanted it to (since I had to cut mileage down and couldn’t train as hard). I’m hitting 90% of my training at this point but I’m going to have to face some rain this weekend on my first 10-miler of this training cycle (NOT RAIN! I’m such a wuss)… which may be a good test for how the race may or may not go, if this current weather holds up… though the forecast is looking a little promising!

My worst race photos

For every somewhat flattering photo I post in public, there at least 5 others in which I resemble a lumbering rhinoceros. Obviously running isn’t about looking good,but those race photographers have a way to catch me at my worst…

yeaah pretty much

yeaah pretty much

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Busted!

Busted! (Seattle RnR 2012)

ARE WE THERE YET (Seattle RnR 2013)

ARE WE THERE YET (Seattle RnR 2013)

DYING (Green Lake Gobble 2012)

DYING (Green Lake Gobble 2012)

Herpa derp (Iron Girl 5k 2012)

Herpa derp (Iron Girl 5k 2012)

I have a lot of stumpy-legged pics like this. (NODM 2011)

I have a lot of stumpy-legged pics like this. (NODM 2011)

I get this look of death often, seems like (See Jane Run 5k 2012)

I get this look of death often, seems like (See Jane Run 5k 2012)

Bahahahahha. This pic is the reason I don't wave at photographers anymore. I was also 20 pounds heavier here (See Jane Run half 2011)

Bahahahahha. This pic is the reason I don’t wave at photographers anymore. I was also 30 pounds heavier here (See Jane Run half 2011)

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I looks like a dude in this one. An ugly dude. (Victoria BC half 2012)

I looks like a dude in this one. An ugly dude. With floppy arms. (Victoria BC half 2012)

Yeesh, I feel like I need to go look at cute pictures of cats after all that fugliness!

They say it (was) my birthday

Geez, I haven’t updated in about 10 years. But I’ve been doing things!

– I turned 34 in late August! (GAH! and aside from contemplating mortality and the thought of 40 looming in front of me, it was a pretty good day.) My best friends and I went to a newish restaurant in ye ole hometown and ordered a bottle of wine for the table, which was a first for me. We polished it off in no time…

My friends and I on my birthday (top) and 10 years ago in Japan.

My friends and I on my birthday (top) and 10 years ago in Japan, before I discovered the wonders of bangs. Now you know I color my hair.

– I went on a real vacation (for the first time in what feels like eons) with my best buddies in Ocean Shores. It was mostly overcast and 60 degrees and I skipped 5 days of workouts, but at least I got to ride horses on the beach. (Butt was SO SORE afterward)

My assigned horse was named Silver and liked to be on the outside of the group away from the others. Fine by me, I got to ride right by the surf!

My assigned horse was named Silver and liked to be on the outside of the group away from the others. Fine by me, I got to ride right by the surf!

Laurel and her horse Chester who was super competitive and wanted to pass the other horses.

Laurel and her horse Chester who was super competitive and wanted to pass all the other horses.

On the one sunny day we got, we did the obligatory beach shadows:

Hooo rahhh

Hooo rahhh! The creepy alien shadow to the right is my friend Maureen and her 1 year old.

– My friends and I met up with a girl we met in Japan almost 10 years ago on our missions trips – Chihiro, who happened to be in Seattle. It was so awesome to see her again. Amongst many other conversations we asked her what her least favorite food in America was and she said teriyaki, since we “make it so sweet!” Go figure!

the Japanese gardens are awesome!

the Japanese gardens in the arboretum are awesome!

– I saw Sir Paul McCartney in concert at Safeco Field!! I’m a huge Beatles fan so this was AWESOME. I’ve seen him a few times, and I swear he never seems to age… he has more energy than I do.

Sir Paul!!

Sir Paul!!

– I also picked up an annoying cough sometime shortly after the 4th of July that lasted for about 2 frakking months. (Can you tell I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica?) I’m even now just in the very final tiny throes of it, but for awhile I was like a phlegm machine and coughing up stuff out of my chest constantly. The weird thing was there was no pain or other symptoms associated with it, and when I ran (after the first few minutes clearing my lungs) I would feel great for a few hours afterward. Just when I was convinced I was DYING OF CANCER or something, it started to go away. I have no idea what caused it, but at least I’m getting over it!

During coughing-horrible-phlegm time, though, I ran the Lake Union 10k, and while I’d originally planned to try to PR in this race, the cough made that kind of impossible, and I ended up running my slowest 10k ever. Ah well, there’s always next year… though to be honest I kind of hate the course. (SO MANY HILLS) The Portage Bay Cafe catered breakfast afterward makes it worth it… almost.

I think I need to switch up my race outfits, I've worn kind of the same thing since NODM. heh

Oo, thigh muscle definition, that’s a first. Also, I think I need to switch up my race outfits, I’ve worn kind of the same thing since NODM. heh

Tomorrow I’m running the new Women of Wonder 5k (kind of a replacement for the Iron Girl 5k which is now a triathlon) and I think I’ll bust out the old Running Skirt to switch things up a bit. I don’t plan on wearing anything with pink in it, though :P (save my shoes, but that can’t really be helped). I was always that girl that avoided the flaming pink Barbie toy aisle like the plague and went for the Breyer model horses instead. It’s true, I have never owned a Barbie, and that’s alright with me!

Back to the grind, and Firecracker 5000 5k recap

Midnight 5ks are kind of awesome. Tearing through the streets of Seattle under the cover of night with glowsticks and many, many costumed runners while drunk patrons stand outside bars to cheer you on is just kind of hilarious and surreal. I wore the foam Statue of Liberty crown-hat-thing I got in NYC back in 2009, which somehow managed to stay firmly on my head the entire time.

Unfortunately the course had to be altered this year due to road construction and it felt like it was about 75% uphill (including the same loathed death hill from the end of Seattle RnR… both ways!). In spite of that I managed to come within a second of my existing 5k PR, though I think the bit of a downhill during the last mile had something to do with that (I can’t help but shift into TURBO MODE on downhills… they are my favorite thing about running).

Ugliest watermark evar.

Ugliest watermark evar.

I was shooting for red white and blue with my shoes, socks, and shirt, but it didn't really come off that way.

I was shooting for red white and blue with my shoes, socks, and shirt, but it didn’t really come off that way.

The next day I traveled back to my hometown to hang out with friends and family for the 4th and the ensuing weekend. I then proceeded to EAT ALL THE THINGS while I was there and packed on what I can only imagine was 5 pounds of bloat/sodium/water/carb weight (I’ve since dropped it since returning to a healthy diet this week). But the donuts/popcorn/meat and cheese platters/steak/corn on the cob/potato salad/flag cake were so delicious… so, so delicious *_*

Get in mah belleh.

Get in mah belleh.

I hung out with my 2 best friends and we looked through old photos from our summers spent in Japan in 2004 and 2005 (teaching English and working with a church over there) and had a lot of laughs. During the 2004 trip we went to a theme park in Yamagata called Lina World which was clearly not designed for giant gaijin (foreigners) such as ourselves. The rides were weirdly small and occasionally terrifying. There was a roller coaster that was comprised of one small car that would rocket around the track. It seated two people, one of whom was supposed to sit in front of the other and both of which were held in by one giant seatbelt that looped around them both. We immediately discovered that our huge gaijin arses would not fit on the seat together if two of us were in the cart, and the person in front ended up sitting on the other person’s lap. Due to the rules, however, we weren’t allowed to ride with only one person in a cart… so we had the death-defying experience of bouncing around the roller coaster track on the knees of each other, held in by one tiny seatbelt, which was both terrifying and exhilarating.

My friends Jeri and Laurel riding the most terrifying roller coaster (for big Americans anyway) known to man

My friends Jeri and Laurel riding the most terrifying roller coaster (for big Americans anyway) known to man

So we looked at all the pictures from Lina World and of a bunch of the other ridiculous and awesome things we did while in Japan (that could be a post of its own!), and stayed up super late watching episodes of Sherlock and wolfing down popcorn (see: 5 pound weight gain mentioned above). All in all a great holiday weekend for me!

This week I’m officially starting training for the Victoria BC half marathon; I’m bumping up to Hal Higdon’s Intermediate plan and introducing real speedwork for the first time ever. My ankle (rolled during Seattle RnR) feels a lot better though still twinges at certain angles – thankfully not while I’m running, so I’m hoping for the best. I did 4 miles on the dreadmill last night (to another episode of Battlestar Galactica, which is both insanely frustrating and awesome) and felt pretty good… I’m ready to ramp it up again!

Seattle RnR recovery… and what’s next?

This was me the first few days after the Seattle RnR half:

My personal TMI of suckiness: getting on and off the toilet. I felt like an 89-year-old woman!

I was actually pretty jazzed up after the race and looking forward to my next half, the Victoria BC half on Oct 13, since I remember it being overall fairly flat and fun when I ran it with my friend Laurel last year. (It also might have been more “fun” since it was her first half and I ran it with her at her slower pace, but there’s nothing like a first impression!) I’m even considering bumping up to the Intermediate training plan (gasp!) and adding SPEEDWORK (gasp!) and maaaaaaybe seeing if I can inch toward a 2-hour half!

Then I saw this awesome deal posted by Gametiime on twitter:

Now, I have avoided Seattle’s hometown race up until this point, for several reasons – it’s December 1st (winter in Seattle is typically a never-ending foggy cloud of rain, slush, drizzles, more rain, and some showers to go with it), I always hear it’s a ridiculously hilly course (me and hills are like cats and bathtubs full of water), and I’m poor and can’t afford to run ALL THE RACES, so I pick ones I know I (should) enjoy. But I guess you can’t really judge a race till you’ve run it yourself, and this deal was too good to pass up. So – I’m now registered for the Seattle half on 12/1! (At least there should be Christmas lights up by then and I can throw some Christmas tunes on my playlist? Yeah, I said it.)

Why not the full, you ask? Because reasons. I just don’t know if I could run a full. The amount of training time involved is substantially more than that required for a half… and I’m tired enough after 13.1 miles… why double that?! Then again, running a full is one of those bucket-list-type accomplishments that it seems every runner has to check off at least once, and there is a tiny part of me that kind of wants to see if I could do it. I don’t know. Maybe someday, I guess.

Until then, I’m nursing my sore ankle (it was feeling ok so I tried 3 miles on the treadmill last night, which felt fine, but I woke up this morning and it was more sore than it had been, so I probably need to back off) and easing back into training. I’m scheduled to run a midnight 4th of July 5k next week; I might just take a break from running until then and try to run it easy.. perhaps in costume?

What about you, fair reader – have you ever run a full marathon? If you have, were you terrified of tackling it, and how did you overcome that? If you haven’t run one, is it on your running bucket list?

Onward and upward!