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!

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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!

Rock n Roll Seattle half marathon recap

My morning started (after a slightly sleepless night due to a lapse of judgment in letting my cats sleep in my room) with my “Runnin down a dream” alarm at 4:15 and my coffeemaker gurgling to life. I tottered out to my kitchen and grabbed a cup, and gulped it down (with a banana) while I got ready. I decided to go ahead with my Pureflow 2‘s and Pro-compression knee socks, and made sure not to tie the Pureflows too tight to try to avoid the foot achies I endured on my last 10 miler.  I also setup my lemon-lime Nuun (which I probably should have done later since my handheld water bottle tends not to seal all the way if I don’t jam it down real tight…)

The race had offered an Uber promo code for runners, and I was seriously nervous about it (you don’t pre-schedule it – you basically ask for a ride when you want it, and I was worried they’d be busy with other runners, or take forever to get to my neighborhood and make me late, etc) but it was great! The car showed up within 10 minutes of my request and I hopped in and was shuttled downtown. On the way I realized my Nuun had leaked inside my bag, doh… I knew I should have waited on filling that bottle.

The Uber car dropped me on Mercer around 6am (free of charge with the promo code!) and I walked past the finish line and into Seattle Center where sleepy runners were shuffling in the same direction like zombies. My peoples!

Good morning Seattle!

Good morning Seattle!

I scooted straight to the loo indoors (a much shorter line than the portapotties) and did that glorious pre-run thing runners do, then sat down for a bit at a table to apply another layer of sunscreen, eat my vanilla Powercrunch bar (my favorite protein bars, nomm), and turn Henry the Garmin on briefly to make sure he was in the mood to get satellites.  Around 6:30 I moseyed toward bag check, where the sun was already beating down mercilessly. I applied more sunscreen (seriously, I am practically translucent, I need all the protection I can get from that death orb in the sky), checked my bag (always a “here we go, gulp” moment), and walked toward the corrals.

As I was making my way back (back, back, back) to corral 21 the announcers called for a moment of silence with peace signs for Boston. Everyone raised their hands in the air and a chilled silence fell over the crowd. I prayed everyone would be safe today.

I found my place in corral 21 and we slowly shuffled toward the start as corrals started to go off around 7am. They seemed to be releasing every 2 minutes so I guessed I’d take off around 7:30ish.

Corral shot, pre-sweat!

Corral shot, pre-sweat!

And finally, just after 7:35, my corral was off and running!

I tried to fall into a groove. I am not much of a morning runner (well, ever, except on race days) so it always takes a few minutes to get my road legs going. Mile 1 had a bit of an uphill heading down 5th ave under the Monorail tracks (it went by overhead as we ran, that was kind of cool) and through the core of the city heading south. I was feeling a little awkward and stiff and gut-rumbly at first but hoped that was just my body going “what the crap are you doing, you should be in bed right now!”

looks like I'm speedwalking!

looks like I’m speedwalking!

what is going on in this picture? am I dancing?

what is going on in this picture? am I dancing?

But then as we headed out of the downtown area there was a looooooong awesome downhill I picked up some speed on. Downhills are my jam, I looooooove them.

weeee!

weeee! (what am I doing with my hand?)

stompin' downhill

stompin’ downhill

As we (sadly) hit the bottom of the downhill part I tried to run evenly and focus on keeping my shoulders back, and my breathing in my belly. As hills approached I kept picturing the hills on my neighborhood loop in my mind and telling myself they were no worse than my usual hills, and just to chug it out and keep moving, that it was OK to go slow as long as I kept my feet going.

We turned onto Rainier Ave, which I remembered from last year as being mostly downhill. There was a fun water stop with volunteers in blow-up airplane hats. (I avoided all the water stops; I just ran down the middle of them and took a gulp of my Nuun at every mile marker… avoided most of the cup grenades this way but the ground was still pretty sticky, yeech) At this part of the course I really fell into an awesome groove at a sub 10-min pace with quick strides and even breathing and I just went for it and tried to hold that groove.

At mile 3.5 –  I ate a choco mint Gu, NOM

Alright with Me, my usual late-race pace-picker-upper, came on my playlist somewhere around here and I realized I was running faster than the beat and it was hard to run in time with the song. Made a memo to myself to move it to the end of the playlist for my next half.

I actually literally zoned out at some point along this part of the course and was one with whatever song was playing though I don’t remember what it was… fail.

A little past mile 4 (maybe 4.4 ish) two ladies screeched to a walk right in front of me; I hopped to the right to avoid them but ended up tripping on one and tumbling to the ground, twisting my right ankle – I popped right back up and said “sorry” (not sure why I was apologizing actually) and kept running, but my ankle was definitely not happy and I gimped a bit for about a mile. (It eventually felt ok for the latter half of the race but it’s pretty sore now… not bruised or anything, thankfully.) I noticed if I kept my foot somewhat flexed (which I’ve been trying to focus on anyway) it lessened the ache as I ran, so I tried to keep that up as well.

We hit a little out and back dogleg which thankfully wasn’t very long.. out and backs are mentally kind of grating for me. Gangnam Style came on my ipod right about here (don’t judge) and I have such a hard time not dancing when I hear that song, I had to keep reminding myself not to flail wildly. On the “back” portion of the dogleg I saw a dude running on 2 artificial legs! Hardcore!

We cut through some residential areas and I kept expecting the huge 2-part nasty killer hill from last year that precedes the Lake Washington part of the run. As I was watching for it an older lady suddenly tripped and fell about 10 feet ahead of me and sat up with blood dripping down the side of her face. She was immediately surrounded by other runners and many called “MEDIC!” – I hope she’s ok :(

Suddenly we turned a corner and were on Lake Washington – needless to say I was super happy with the course revision that eliminated the nasty, two-tiered, pooptacular hill. I had been planning to walk it, but decided since it had not made an appearance and I was still in a groove and feeling good, I would just keep running until I hit the other nasty hill I knew was coming – the trail leading up to the I-90 tunnel at the end of the lake portion of the course.

They had a huge blow-up rocker dude over the course right about at this point but what I remember most about that was the LOUD machines keeping him puffed up that blew hot air on me as I ran by, blehh.

About halfway through the race! Pretty sure they superimposed the blue on the road...

About halfway through the race. Pretty sure they superimposed the blue on the road…

I noticed as I crossed the 10k timing mat that I’d just broken my 10k PR, ha (both by my Garmin – which was timing me about .15 further than the course at this point, around 58:35 or something for the 10k – and by the actual timing mat, which I crossed in exactly 1:00). It actually didn’t worry me that I was running so “fast” (clearly a relative term for me) at this point, since my 10k PR was set when I was seriously out of shape and is one of only two 10k’s I’ve ever run.

I like the lake part of the course – the gently rolling hills, the sun blinding me, er, glistening off the water, and the tribute to fallen soldiers that always cuts to the heart. I was passing a lot of people here – I felt like I was constantly weaving around slower runners and 3-abreast walkers. I was in the groove and didn’t want to slow down and felt good, so I just let my legs go and kept passing people. (The past two years I’ve felt pretty tired at this point of the course so I figured I should go with it while I was feeling sprightly.)

I took my second Gu, delicious chocolate flavor (tastes like a packet of frosting!), @ mile 7, and shortly afterward accidentally hit the lap button on my Garmin, which threw off my mile splits for awhile – I didn’t realize it was now timing miles based off my new created laps and not the actual miles, and I didn’t correct this until mile 10.

I walked the nasty B of a hill up into the I-90 tunnel between miles 7 and 8 – my first walk break of the race! – and walked for about 30 more seconds inside the tunnel, then made myself pick it up again. My Garmin lost satellites but I noticed I was definitely on pace to break 2:10 – except for the fact I was already “behind” the official mile markers by almost 2 tenths of a mile, blargh. I was running the fastest mile splits of these distances that I ever had, all at a sub 10-min-mile pace (which has been a challenge for me in runs of 8 miles or longer).

Inside the tunnel everyone screams of course which makes you feel like you’re in a post-apocalyptic movie. Midway down the tunnel I heard car horns and engines coming down the right side of the road, which was roped off for full marathoners. Suddenly the lead truck and motorcycles went by and then came the lead male for the full marathon hauling arse past all of us. Everyone cheered as he went by; it was so amazing to think he was running almost twice as fast as me!

I was still in a great groove coming out of the tunnel and the blast of cool air as you exit made me throw my arms out (thankfully didn’t clothesline anyone, ha ha). We were running on the freeway now, curving around to the section that heads toward downtown Seattle. There are a few hills here too but I kept using the same mental trick from earlier in the race and picturing the hills on my home route, and just chugging up them. You turn a corner and it’s a looong curving downhill stretch into downtown, which I tried to let my legs free on and pick up some speed, but I was starting to feel it at this point, especially in my quads. I was still below a 10-min overall average pace and going faster than I ever had before for the distance.. and still losing more and more ground on the mile markers, arg!

Usually it’s my wind/cardio getting tired before my legs, but it was the other way around here – my breathing seemed fine but the legs were definitely feeling it, especially in my thighs.

I hit “lap” again on my Garmin as it hit mile 10 to try to correct the offset miles I’d messed up back around mile 7. I crossed the official mile 10 timing mat in 1:39:09 (though I’d gone that distance even faster by my Garmin’s mile 10 measurement) but both were PRs for the distance.  I was supposed to take another Gu here but I forgot! Maybe that would have helped me finish a little faster, maybe not…

lurching past the stadiums!

lurching past the stadiums

The course swept into downtown past the stadiums and train station, and then up onto 2nd ave, which is a slight, but long, uphill. I was curious to see what route we’d take onto the viaduct – last year we were routed up a steeeeep horrible offramp which was one of the worst hills of the race for me. I watched the runners up ahead and it looked like they were turning down Seneca, which is a road I’m on every work morning on my way to the office, so it was a little strange to careen onto it with thousands of other sweaty, puffing people. There’s kind of a steep downhill going down Seneca (which I briefly heel-stomped) and then a bit of an uphill to the actual viaduct itself but I didn’t allow myself to walk and just kept running. (Mile 11 – entering the viaduct)

My legs were feeling dead dead dead and at this point the mantras came out in full force. “Just keep running” – “don’t quit” – “you made it this far” – “you can maybe PR if you keep going” – “you don’t get to the last mile and stop, you keep going!” (thanks Jillian Michaels for that last one) I prayed for endurance and energy and the will to finish, no matter how slow. Running on the Viaduct is not my favorite part (and I always forget to look around at the scenery from up there!) though I was definitely feeling better here than I ever have in previous years. I guess putting in all the training really does help, huh, fancy that?!

After (thankfully) making an exit off the viaduct we puttered into the battery street tunnel which kind of sucks (cambered, mostly uphill, narrow, dark, blah) but I kept pushing through the pain, reminding myself of how I ran out the last 3 miles at NODM, and how I knew if I started walking I’d totally lose my running groove and walk a lot more than I wanted, and regret it later. Fleetwood Mac’s the Chain came on my playlist (it’s a weird mix… I know) and I knew I had maybe 2 or 3 more songs until I’d hit the finish, at 3 or 4 min per song. I was so ready to be done and felt like I was doing a death chug, but would not allow myself to walk.

We popped out of the tunnel and there was a slight downhill, yay! I picked up a little speed. I could see runners up ahead making a right turn. By my watch we had maybe a half mile to go though I knew I was behind the markers so it would be a little longer than that. Everlong by the Foo Fighters came on my playlist.

I like that the guy to the left looks like he's talking on his phone!

I like that the guy to the left looks like he’s talking on his phone.

I rounded the corner and up ahead I saw another left turn happening onto Mercer so I knew we were going to face the same last killer of a hill that we did last year (SO CRUEL right before the finish!)

my arm looks weirdly kind of muscley? smoke and mirrors, I tell ya

my arm looks weirdly kind of muscley? smoke and mirrors, I tell ya

I walked that poopy hill last year but I was DETERMINED to chug my way up it and defeat it this year no matter how slow I ended up going. I hit the hill and just crawled up that stupid thing but I did not stop running!

At the top of the hill I pretty much had nooooothing left and was just putzing forward on fumes and visions of recovery foods dancing in my head. I could see the finish line was still maybe .2 miles away. My watch had already hit 13.1 (probably before the hill) so I knew I wasn’t going to PR (stupid swerving, or long course, not sure which) but I was determined to finish at a run, or a shuffle, or anything not technically a walk.

I don't remember throwing peace signs...?

I don’t remember throwing peace signs…?

I had nothing left for a sprint so I just tried to keep my feet moving. I scanned the rows of spectators looking for my friends who were supposed to meet me and just chugged my way across the finish line in an official time of 2:13:59.

more peace signs. I was apparently feeling very peaceful in my moments of leg-crushing agony

more peace signs. I was apparently feeling very peaceful in my moments of leg-crushing agony

YAY! I was immediately handed a Gatorade, got medal’d, picked up some chocolate milk, and walked headlong into a fleet of photographers.

yay sweaty tired photo

yay sweaty tired photos!

I staggered toward the exit to the family area in a lurchy daze. My quads were already starting to stiffen and get SOOOORE, and my right ankle was reminding me I rolled it earlier and then ran 9 more miles on it.

Right outside the exit to the family meetup area I heard my name being yelled through the delirious fog in my brain; I turned to the right and there were my friends with a sign for me!! YAY!

Spotting my friends right after the finish - with the armfuls of crap you pick up right after the race

Spotting my friends right after the finish – with the armfuls of crap you pick up right after the race

the awesome sign they made me!

I didn’t pants my poop!

We staggered… well, they walked and I staggered over to the bag check to pick up my crap, and then over to the merch booth so I could buy a finisher’s shirt (I’m a sucker, I know). We then moseyed to a nearby Starbux, where I had a delicious iced caramel macchiato and sat for awhile, feeling my legs get nice and stiff. (Probably would have been best to stretch at some point…)

Later, after the most awesome-feeling shower ever, I ate my weight in recovery sushi with my friends (YUM) and we watched The Island with Ewan MacGregor… pretty interesting movie if you haven’t seen it.

Stairs are now my mortal enemy. So is getting out of bed, and sitting on the toilet. TMI!

I’m proud of this race: technically it was my fastest for the total distance I actually ran per my Garmin, ever (a sub 10 min mile) – I pushed through the heat, the ankle rolling, the hills I made myself run, I only took one walk break (a first in a half marathon for me!), hit an awesome groove for a good portion of the race, outran my running playlist – overall, this was technically my best half performance ever, even though it wasn’t a PR.

Mile 9 in this list included the nasty hill I walked before the I-90 tunnel

Mile 9 in this list included the nasty hill I walked before the I-90 tunnel

My Brooks Pureflows and the Pro-compression socks did great. My poor toe that got trashed in Newtons at the NODM half seemed fine, and I didn’t get any new blisters (also a first in a half). I also didn’t get a sunburn, so even though I was covered in crusty sunscreen sweat-off by the end of the race it did its job.

I forgot to take any running pics but did jumble together a Vine, which wordpress won’t let me embed, but apparently adding a twitter link works?

Clothes I wore:
Nike G87 tank – so soft and comfy
Brooks Ephiphany 2-in-1 shorts – love the coverage
Brooks Glycerin 2 bra – love the uh, “help” and modesty ;)
One More Mile 13.1 visor – probably could have tightened it a bit, it was down over my eyes by the end!
Oakley 26.2 runglasses – they don’t slip!! and they don’t squeeze my giant melon head
Pro-compression marathon socks many fun colors!
Brooks PureFlow 2 shoes were awesome in this race!
Runderwear I bought off backcountry.com awhile ago, don’t remember the brand.

Playlist for this race (clearly I have odd taste in music):
Monument – the Frames (rockin’ beginning to the run)
Hopeless wanderer – Mumford & Sons (starts slow, gets awesome)
You told me – the Monkees (folky rock awesome)
Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
What wondrous love is this – Kenosis (proving Christian music isn’t all pansy)
Run the world – Beyonce (the actual song starts at :50 in that video.. also lol, her dancing)
My Sharona – the Knack
Are you gonna be my girl – Jet
No one knows – Queens of the Stone Age
Alright with me – Kris Allen (a fav running song)
1901 – Phoenix
Party rock anthem – LMFAO
Lotus flower – Radiohead
Gangnam style – PSY (don’t judge ;P)
All my tears – Kenosis
Wonderwall – Oasis
Mirror in the bathroom – the English Beat
Sunday Morning – Maroon 5
Electrify – Beastie Boys
Pleasant Valley Sunday – the Monkees
Missing – Beck
Hello it’s me – Todd Rundgren
The denial twist – the White Stripes
The national anthem – Radiohead
Tusk – Fleetwood Mac
Circle – Sarah McLachlan
Runnin’ down a dream – Tom Petty (one of my fav running songs, makes it on every playlist)
La caravane – Caravan Palace
Daily Nightly – the Monkees ;)
White blank page – Mumford & Sons (another one that builds to awesomeness)
Take me out – Franz Ferdinand – makes me dance while I run.
The chain – Fleetwood Mac (dang, had a lot of Fleetwood!)
Everlong – Foo Fighters (only song I have a perfect score to on Rock Band, heh)
Harder, better, faster, stronger – Daft Punk (and my favorite mesmerizing video of it)

Adventures with a heart rate monitor

Tonight I decided to dig out Henry the Garmin’s heart rate monitor, which has been languishing at the bottom of my running drawer, and take it for a spin just for kicks, to see how close my heart is to bursting through my chest wall as I chug along my old running route. After 15 minutes of consulting the Garmin manual and then strapping the monitor awkwardly under my sports bra (you have to wet it before you put it on… weird?) I waited curiously for evidence that I do in fact have a pulse. Henry picked up the signal right away and said my heart was pounding merrily away at 82. Nervous, much?

According to the ol’ classic heart rate formula (220 – age), my max bpm should be 187, so I was curious to see where I’d average out. The results actually kind of surprised me…

strangely... consistent. And gerbil-ish?

strangely… consistent. And gerbil-ish?

There wasn’t really much variation at all. I basically ramped up to my workout heart rate and then more or less stayed there. The max I hit was 176, probably as I wheezed my way up the doozy of a hill in the latter half of the run, but I’m kind of surprised you can’t see huge dips and variations throughout. My heart is more consistent, and rodent-esque, than I thought.

yeah, I'm kinda slow.

yeah, I’m kinda slow.

On a side note, this was actually a nice run, and I didn’t really feel like death during any part of it – it’s been awhile since that’s happened! I focused hard on form and just running with “comfortable effort” (not pushing it, but not phoning it in) – which I thought I succeeded at but since my heart seems to have been cranking away the whole time, maybe I need to dial down the effort a little bit the next time out?

8 miles on tap for Saturday (Kentucky Derby day!) – I think I’ll focus on going slooooow and maybe I’ll wear the monitor again to see if I can succeed at this whole “easy run” thing!

Half training week 9

Training’s been chugging along, even if I’ve been guilty of not keeping it updated on ye ole blog. Apologies to both of my readers! ;P

I was still emerging from the mucusy bowels of the sickness I had for around 3 and a half weeks, but finally felt like I got the better of it during this week of training. I think the missed workouts had an impact, though…

Sunday 4/21/13
Scheduled: Cross train
Actual: Did Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD (35 min)

Monday 4/22/13
Scheduled: 5 miles
Actual: Ran 3 miles on the dreadmill with the middle mile at what was then my half goal pace of 9:25. Was still building mileage back from being sick and didn’t want to kill myself on the mill.

Tuesday 4/23/13
Scheduled: Cross train
Actual: Got home too late to do anything and ended up calling this a rest day.

Wednesday 4/24/13
Scheduled: 5 miles
Actual: Ran 4.35 miles outside, 40:56, 9:25 pace – my first run outdoors since 2/9. It was abundantly apparent that I’d been running on a treadmill at 0% incline for the last 2 and a half months… the hills on my old running route were killing me! Was kind of a humbling run – somehow I thought I’d be faster after so much treadmill running. HA HA

Thursday 4/25/13
Scheduled: Cross train
Actual: Jillian Michaels DVD – Level 4 of Ripped in 30.

Friday 4/26/13
Scheduled: Rest day
Actual: Rested!

Saturday 4/27/13
Scheduled: 8 miles
Actual: Ran 7 miles outside. I switched things up and ran about 3/4 of my normal loop, then diverted course and ran over to Discovery Park to run the loop trail. In hindsight it was a poor decision (especially considering I was running a 5k the next day) .. I’d forgotten how hilly the trail is, and the uneven terrain didn’t help my tiredness. I totally crawled up some of the hills and this ended up my slowest run in over a year. The important thing is, I got it done, but my confidence in my overall fitness is kind of shaky now… might have to re-evaluate my plans to try to PR at my half in June, and maybe just shoot for “finish and don’t die!”

My Garmin's interpretation of the trail. WEE

My Garmin’s interpretation of the trail elevation. WEE

Needless to say, I was not prepared for that! I’m not sure if I should try to add hills/speedwork into my training plan this far into it, or just continue chugging along and hope for the best.

Sunday 4/28/13
Scheduled: Cross train
Actual: Ran the Top Pot Donut 5k (on tired legs!) and actually didn’t do horrible, but got preeeeettty tired. The free donut made it worthwhile, though!

Huffing and puffing to the finish. I hope I'm looking at my watch and not just wildly flailing my arms. Also, ugliest watermark evar

Huffing and puffing to the finish. I hope I’m looking at my watch and not just wildly flailing my arms. Also, ugliest watermark evar

A new 5k PR (somehow) – the Firecracker 5000 5k

I know I haven’t posted my RnR recap yet, but just wanted to mention I ran the Firecracker 5000 July 3rd and 4th (it starts at 11:55pm July 3rd and runs into the 4th, obvs) and even though it was kind of a hilly course and I hadn’t run since the Seattle RnR half, I managed to beat my old 5k time, coming in under 29 minutes with a time of 28:52… and Henry the Garmin actually measured the course a little long, too! I think this is all speed by weight loss and not related at all to how I’ve been training, which is sucktacular.

weee!

I somehow went sub-8 min-mile in the last tenth of the race o_O

The race itself was fun though; I wore a statue of liberty crown thing (my brother took a picture of me getting ready and posted it to facebook… thanks bro >_>)

I fail at costumes

my room is kind of a mess.

There were a TON of other folks dressed up, so I didn’t feel too overly ridiculous. This guy must have been SOO COLD:

seriously!

for reals, it was FREEZING!

I think I arrived a bit too early (half marathon habits and all) as I had to stand around and freeze for about an hour before the race started, and ended up putting on my longsleeved NODM shirt to stay warm, which covered my bib during the race… oh well. We ran by a bunch of bars on the route and drunken patrons had come out to watch us run by and cheer, which was fun. My Statue of Liberty crown hat thing managed to stay in place during the entire run as well, and there was a nice long gradual downhill at the very end that I was able to pick up some speed on. I was actually kind of surprised to PR given the several crappy hills in this race… but I’ll take it! Maybe I have a sub-28 in me somewhere?

wee!

annnnd we’re off! The watermark on these photos is so annoying

chug chug

in hindsight, I should have taken off the red overshirt in the starting chute, oh well… I was trying to hold it up so my bib was visible

blarg

man, my legs look so chunky in some photos…

Run the Bluff 5k

An inaugural 5k in the vicinity of my neighborhood? How could I resist! Of course, I neglected to take into account the fact that the area is very very hilly, and while I usually take care to avoid most of these hills on my training runs (weenie that I am), the race organizers decided to send us right up (and down) some of the nasty huge hills. (Memo to self: stop being a weenie, start running the inclines)

And oh gosh this course was PURE HILLS. I eventually had to stop and walk (first time ever in a 5k) when I turned a corner about halfway through and the steepest hill of them all laid before me. At the end, there was a downhill so steep it was actually hard to run down, but I think I did pick up a little speed there (switched to heel-strike and just stomped my way down). With all the hills and the few minutes of walking, I’m not too bummed by my time. Overall, I felt great when it was over!

I did bring my camera, but forgot to take any photos… ah well.

Mile 2 = hill of death and walking. Actually kind of surprised I went sub-10 on the rest of the race

Officially, my results were:
Time: 30:57, a 9:58 pace (My Garmin only got me at 3.05 miles so I must have cut the corners a little bit somewhere, or it was just a short course)
Age place: 15/47
Gender place: 53/171
Overall place: 93/248

There was a 12k as well that started at the same time, and I think most of the runners were going long, since not many people turned at the 5k split-off!

UPDATE 10/12: Oh hahaha, official photos were posted today and daaaaang do I need to work on my posture. I think these are some of my worst race photos. Can you say T-rex-arms?

Heh, I felt bad dropping that cup (they were handing them out right before the finish) so I carried it through the finishing chute

Yikes. Memo to self, I am not a velociraptor, I do not need to pretend I’m chasing prey like in that game I played when I was 11

LOOK OUT IMMA GITCHA

HAHA. Aside from the T-rex arm, slouchy posture (which gave me 90-year-old woman boobs) and wacky hip drop, I did seem to avoid my usual charming Gumby legs tendency..

Also, remind me not to wear those shorts in public ever again…. hahah.

NODM half complete!

Short version: YAY! It’s done!It was super hot and I had to go to plan B (survival) and walk a bit. But I finished, in an almost-goal 2:35:39 for 13.23 miles.

Longer version: Unfortunately (in this case) the weather outdid itself and went above and beyond the forecast – it must have been about 75-80 out there and it was brutal on the unshaded areas (of which there were many). I’ve been training in 55-60 degree weather (usually in the 50’s) and the heat just sucked the energy right out of me. Even the local paper pointed out the heat’s effect on the race.

The morning started out pretty normal, I got up at the bum crack of 5am and sleepwalked through getting my outfit on and drinking some coffee. I drove down to where the shuttles were ferrying runners to the starting lines and on the way out I noticed a bank clock reading 65 degrees… at 6:50am. Not a good sign of things to come.

Heading out the door about 6:50 am in the blindingly neon race shirt. apparently I am also practicing for the 27 other times I lifted my arm during the race

At the half start, I chilled with other runners in a warm field but started to get a little nervous at how warm it was. There were a bunch of empty port-a-potties so I did my business and checked my gear bag. Right around 8:45 everyone lined up self-seeded at the pace poles and I slid in between the 10 and 11 min-mile poles, with a goal pace of around 10:30-10:45.

start your Garmins!

annnnnnd we're off!

Within the first mile I had a tiny sideache. I pressed on it for a bit and it lessened, but I was already noticing I didn’t have my usual energy for this point of a run. In mile 2 we broke out into open sunlight and the heat was ON! I was feeling like the pep was just leeching out of me. In training, my first mile is usually my best-feeling, and I have to force myself to slow down. There wasn’t a lot of forcing going on here :S I was glad I’d worn my sunglasses, but DANG I need to get a pair of actual running ones… my cheapo 7-dolla Old Navy aviators were sliding down my face the whole race, I think I must have pushed them up about 5,000 times.

Right about mile 3 we hit the first/worst gnarly hill of the course – a super steep creek bed that went dooown and then very steeply uppp. I let pride get the better of me and ran up the dang thing, which left me gasping and staggering to the aid station conveniently located at the top. Spoiler: I walked pretty much 90% of the remainder of the hills in the race.

I abandoned my pace strategy pretty quickly and went into survival mode and just chugged along. I took my first Gu a little earlier than planned (I wanted to take it around mile 5, and was trying to string myself along with that as a carrot, but then was just like “screw it, I’m tired NOW” around 4.5 miles), but the mint chocolate deliciousness was a nice distraction for a wee bit.

I just started counting down the miles as they passed… 8 miles left, 7 miles left, halfway done! Since I had abandoned all hope of meeting my time goal I took a few photos and walked through all the water stops. They were all themed differently and some of them were pretty creative… there was one modeled after Survivor that was pretty awesome, I really should have taken a photo! I walked up most of the hills after the halfway point as well and sluffed along in the heat as best I could.

tirrred sometime between mile 11 and 12

I had no leg problems, no bathroom issues, and only slight foot soreness. It was mostly just the heat killing me out there. It was BEAUTIFUL though and the mountains looked amazing. I tried to distract myself from the glowing orb of death in the sky and stare at the mountains as much as possible.

cue hallelujah chorus

the view as we headed down the highway toward town... a little over 6 miles to go at this point!

Running down to that creek (the photo above) was pretty fun as it was the first real substantial downhill of the race. At that point we entered a bit of a shady area as we headed north toward the coast which was a huuge Godsend, but a bit of too little too late since I was already pretty well overheated. There were a few homes along the forested path and one couple had brought out their little mini-cooler and were filling up tiny dixie cups of water and setting them out for the runners, which was so awesome of them, I thanked them profusely as I went by (though there was no garbage can so most people were tossing the dixie cups further down the trail :S)

We broke out onto the coastal part of the trail (the final 4 miles!) which was back in the burning beams of the sun. My energy was really sapping at this point and I was starting to lose the mental battle to not walk. I took my 2nd Gu (delicious chocolate frosting flavor!) around mile 10 after a water stop and I may or may not have dragged it on a little bit so I could continue walking. I walked about a half mile of mile 12 as well (a weird little detour around the old mill site, up and around a gravel path), but I reallllly wanted to run the final bit, so forced myself to pick up my feet and run the last 1.1 miles to the finish. I passed the final course photographer and struck what must have been my best delirious pose:

WEE AMG ALMOST DONE

I can't really explain this other than I was hot and somewhat delirious and almost DONE

I have some pretty awesome burn lines around those calf sleeves. I kind of look like I'm windmill-flailing here

Finished in a chip time of 2:35:39 for 13.23 miles (measured by Henry the Garmin), which, considering the heat and my sporatic walking, I’m fairly happy with. I think without the heat/walking I probably could have hit my goal (2:15-2:20). I think I did give in a little too much in the later stages of the race to the walking urge so I ‘m a bit disappointed in my mental fortitude.. I think I need to write a motivational word/phrase/verse on my hand for the next one. Hopefully the RnR Seattle half June 25 will be a little cooler!

DONE!

need to work on my tired running posture a bit >_<

a little slower than I wanted

not sure who I'm even waving at.. haha

.

wasn't expecting the finish line buddy... "who are you, why are you shoving these things at me"

I have no idea what I'm doing, I think I was delirious. I also don't remember being THAT sweaty haha

the awesome medal!

I now have 7 angry blisters, a sweet sunburn (yes I forgot sunscreen, and my calf sleeves made for some particularly classy burn lines), and an automatic half-marathon PR, which I hope to smash shortly!

Seattle Marathon 5k with my lil bro!

UPDATE 12/1/10 – official photos added (preview versions)

So! My little bro Griffin and I ran the Seattle 5k this morning. Due to the snow and ice we got this week, I hadn’t ran since Sunday, and my bro hadn’t ran/trained at all (though he signed up months ago.. heh). I decided I would just run with him and forget about trying to beat my old time, which ended up being a wise decision anyway, since rather than routing us down the relatively flat 5th ave, the race sent us down 2nd ave instead – dooooown and then back uuuuup a killer huge long hill.

We lined up in the chute between the 10 and 11 min mile pacers and stood bopping around trying to stay warm while we waited for the start. I gave Griff some tips and reminded him to start out slow.

Griff did really well considering he hadn’t trained at all – he ran the first mile and a half pretty easily to the turnaround, but as we headed back upppp the giant long death hill, he stopped to walk about halfway to the top. I kept calling back to him “cmon Griff! You can dooo eet!” and kept jogging with him as he walked (slowly, heh). I tried to take some action shots but clearly my little camera was not meant for sports photography…

Somehow we were in our own little pocket of space with not many people around us, so we hammed it up for all the photographers on the course. I should have some pretty good pics to post once they go live ;)

We crested the giant hill and hit a bit of a downhill breather, and picked up the pace a bit again in mile 3. Griff was getting tired but kept chugging along like a champ. The final .1 miles was a little cruel as there was another crap hill (short, but pretty steep) to deal with right before the finish. Griff told me to go ahead and I sprinted through the chute, then cheered him through as he followed up. Henry the Garmin caught the race a little long at 3.29 miles:

Can you tell where the giant hill started? ;P Also I'm not sure where the 19.3 mph came from in Mile 2... is that even possible? >_>

So no PR for me, but it was really fun running with my bro and I don’t know if I would have PR’d anyway with all those killer hills! Though, I was feeling pretty good throughout the race so you never know.

Now I’m trying to convince Griff to start running with me during the week and sign up for another race… This one didn’t have medals (LAME) so I gotta get him one! heh.

The photos from my camera:

Griff looking terrified in the chute

Looking like it's 8am. Can't believe he ran in that hat!

Action shot fail!

Slightly better *shakefist at camera*

Cooling down afterward by the Seattle Center fountain

Lookin a little tired but I felt pretty good

Annnnd here are the official photos!

Griff and I hammed it up for this photog but he snapped both of us individually :( at least my arm made it in the photo

my half of the photo

think this is the only pic they got of us running together (in the background of course heh)

FINISH LINE SO CLOSE (amusingly there's a photo almost identical to this one of me in my first race)

(nearly-identical photo)

sheesh I should concentrate on running a little straighter instead of smiling for the camera ;P

le fin!

Griff chugs to the finish

go Griff go you can duuuu eeeet

Griff crossing the finish line :D

heh he said he beat those ladies right at the last second