Monday, June 28, 2010

Waiting for my green hair to grow

I've jumped on the chia seed bandwagon. A few weeks ago I bought a jar of chia seeds at Whole Foods, and recently I started adding a teaspoon to my breakfast (oatmeal, yoghurt, whatever) and sometimes a teaspoon to my evening snack yoghurt. You can do the internet research to explore the health benefits of chia seed; one benefit is that it is higher in Omega 3 fatty acids than flax seed. Of course it is also mentioned in Born to Run as a superfood which may enhance athletic performance.

I haven't yet tried soaking the seeds in water or making the energy drink described in Born to Run, but I was interested in finding a use other than just stirring it into stuff. A quick internet recipe search found me this recipe for Pumpkin-Chia Seed Muffins, courtesy of Dr. Oz.

I tried it out last week and I thought it was quite good! I made a couple changes to the recipe. I used two tablespoons of chia seeds instead of one, and I used the agave for sweetening and reduced the amount by a couple of tablespoons. I chose agave because it is lower in calories (when you take into account that you use less), but I do think that the maple syrup sounds appealing for flavor!

I decided to make mini-muffins, but only had enough tins and liners for three dozen. The remaining batter made four regular muffins. I suspect that you could make about four dozen mini-muffins or 18 regular small muffins with this recipe. The approximate calorie count (as I made it) is (very roughly) 50 calories per mini muffin and about 150 calories per small regular muffin.

Here's the recipe, with some minor changes by me.

Pumpkin-Chia Seed Muffins
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can organic pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 eggs
¼ cup high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup pure maple syrup or ½ cup agave nectar or a combination of the two (I used agave minus a tablespoon or two)
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional, but recommended)

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients. Fold the dry ingredients and nuts into the wet ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Spoon into paper-lined muffin tins. Bake for 25–30 minutes (less for small muffins) or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Store completely cooled muffins in sealable plastic bags in freezer.

6/29 chia update: Last night I decided to try soaking the chia seeds in water. I mixed one teaspoon of chia with three tablespoons (= nine teaspoons) of water and let it sit for at least a couple hours. (One batch I did for last night's yoghurt and one I kept overnight for breakfast, when I mixed it with cottage cheese to put on waffles, with berries and sliced banana.) The seeds and water eventually turn into a gel-like mixture, but there is still a little crunch of seed in each little gel-ball. Mixed into stuff it is barely noticeable, although it does thin the consistency of the cottage cheese and yoghurt a little. I will probably do this from now on for mixing, but leave the seeds unsoaked if using in baking.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rock on

Here's a view of the Seattle Rock and Roll Expo from yesterday afternoon. I finally got in there around 5:30 (work and traffic were issues) and quickly picked up my number (Corral 6!), D-tag (chip), and goody bag. I didn't have a lot of time because we needed to get on to the hotel and dinner, but I managed to drop a good amount of money shopping, plus sample a few yummies, before I fled back to the car.

I have many stories to tell in a full race report but I'll have to do that later. I am really looking forward to reading a bunch of other reports, in part to see if they had any of the same setbacks as me!

In summary, finish time 1:58:23, including a bathroom stop. I'm satisfied (though not over the moon) with that. More to some point.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Newport Marathon (the days before)

Where to begin, where to begin?

When I last posted during pre-marathon week, I was sitting in the Maui airport waiting for my delayed flight to finally depart. (Obviously, I got back, as my post-marathon posts would establish!)

After the first few hours delay the airport staff distributed $15 food vouchers, so we went to the restaurant and ordered dinner. I had a kalua pork sandwich with fries. Normally I don't eat fries but who knew when we would eat again?* Earlier I had spent quite a bit of time on my BlackBerry reading about Hawaiian Airlines' Rule 240. So I had an idea of what they would have to do for us. The first requirement was providing a meal after a delay of four hours. Check. If the delay was more than four hours and extended past 10 p.m., they would have to provide us lodging for the night or, alternatively, travel credit compensation. That seemed unlikely to occur, at first...but then it got later and later.

When they announced that our expected departure time was ten-something, they also announced that they would be distributing $200 travel vouchers. My first reaction to that was, "that means we have to fly on this airline again?" But eventually we came around and started "planning" our next trip.

We finally got on a plane about eight hours late (the pilot had gone to Honolulu and brought back a replacement plane), which meant we were leaving at around 11 p.m. Hawaii time and would arrive in Seattle around 7 a.m. Pacific time. Yup. We left Kona on Tuesday afternoon and would get home on Wednesday. Talk about a red-eye flight.

When we boarded the plane my body was so achy from already being up late and all the standing and sitting around. The airplane seat was as comfortable as plane seats usually are (that is, not), and I despaired at the thought of sitting in it for another five-plus hours. I hoped to sleep some, but I am not usually able to sleep on airplanes. I felt so crappy that I actually thought to myself, "there is no way that I am going to be able to run a marathon in less than four days!"

Surprisingly I did sleep sporadically (waking up whenever food was offered), and somehow the endless hours passed by. When we had first heard about an extended delay I had emailed Luke to ask him to cover my 9 a.m. hearings (at that time I had no idea that I wouldn't even be home until 9 a.m.), and later that night I sent an email to the office that I wouldn't be in until late afternoon.

My parents picked us up at the airport, drove us home, and eventually I took a nap in my own bed. I didn't want to sleep so much that I got groggy, so after a couple hours I got up, did some shopping for Rod's birthday and groceries, and then went into work for a couple of hours to get ready for Thursday (my only real day at work that week).

I decided on Thursday morning to do a short run just to warm up my legs. That was my last run before Newport, and while I ideally would have taken two days off before the marathon, I didn't like the idea of five days off (my last run had been on Monday). I felt good about that run, so I was in a good place heading to Newport.

The trip to Newport is a long drive. We left around 10 a.m., and finally arrived sometime in the late afternoon. My mom did most of the driving. I did take over for a while, driving through Portland and as far as Corvallis, but I had to give it up because I was having difficulty staying awake! Not good to be on winding roads (or any roads) when you are struggling to maintain consciousness.

We were staying at the Embarcadero Resort Hotel, which was also race headquarters. After checking in, I was able to pick up my number and packet without delay. I also bought a nice Newport Marathon running cap and a souvenir shirt (finishers' shirts would be handed out after the run).

We had a very nice suite, two large rooms that connected by stairs. Actually the downstairs was a suite in itself, with a separate bedroom, a sitting and dining room that overlooked the harbor, and a small full kitchen. In my upstairs studio I could look out at the view while lying in bed, and I also had a kitchenette.

I had made a dinner reservation at a restaurant called Quimby's, which was a mile or two away in the Nye Beach area (not sure if it was actually in or out of that neighborhood). It proved to be a good choice. I ordered the fried oyster cocktail for us to share, just to taste because we all love fried oysters! For dinner I had a spinach salad starter ("organic baby spinach, hard egg, candied hazelnuts, red onion, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and bacon, tossed with house made raspberry vinaigrette") and I'm pretty sure I had Rosemary Chicken and Shrimp Linguini ("tender chicken pieces sautéed in olive oil with white wine, fresh rosemary, shallots, garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms, then tossed with linguini, local pink shrimp, and shredded Parmesan"). I didn't eat it all, but luckily we had two refrigerators back at the hotel!

Later that evening all I had left to do was lay out my clothes and gear and make sure everything was ready for morning (including alarms set). Even though the weather on Friday had been volatile, clear skies and sunshine were promised for I put out a sleeveless top and sunscreen. Then I tucked myself into bed and hoped for a good night's rest!

I will have to write about the race itself in a separate post; I have worn myself out with this one!

*Although I did have a secret food stash in my bag, in case of emergency. Plus a bunch of macadamia nuts that I had bought for gifts.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Berry Run Pictures

Here are a couple of pictures from the Berry Run 5K on June 12. The first one is my warm-up at the tail end of the one-mile race, and the other is (obviously) the finish line.

I wore my Newport Marathon cap (though you can't tell in the picture) in case I had to make excuses for a slow showing in the 5K.

Probably one of my best finish line photos ever—it shows my actual finish time and I don't look too bad! :)

You call this summer? Plus mini-taper

Today is June 21 and it is the first day of summer, people! The. First. Day. Of. Summer. Except in the Pacific Northwest where it is, apparently, March 21.

I know I should count my blessings at my ability to run in cool, temperate weather most of the time, winter and summer (not that there's much difference between the two, this year). I read about runners in the East, South, Midwest, Southwest, even California—pretty much everywhere but here and Oregon—and I shudder at the thought of their hot, sometimes humid, running environments. I read of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and just plain lethargy and I know I am lucky to avoid these heat-exacerbated conditions.

But. Still. IT IS SUMMER NOW! Would it hurt for the sun to come out for a day or two? Would it hurt for the temperature gauge to rise out of the fifties and on a good day sixties, just a little bit? Is it asking too much to expect that the weather be more clement in June than in January?

Yes. Apparently yes, it is.

Now, the weather forecast over the next couple of days does show a sun (only partially obscured by clouds), so it is possible that we may get a temporary reprieve from the rain. But if the projected forecast for the remainder of the month is correct, we will have passed the entire month of June without one day's temperature above 69.

What does the weather have to do with a taper? Well, I hadn't planned on a taper for the Seattle Rock & Roll Half Marathon (coming up on Saturday), because I don't taper for half marathons. I did plan on modifying this week's schedule a bit to run on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday (leaving Friday off to rest). Had I run this morning, it would have been my fourth consecutive running day.

Last night, with sore knees from my fall and possibly feeling more achy than usual after a long run, I debated giving up Monday's run and running on Tuesday and Thursday this week instead. That would drop me to only three running days (including the half on Saturday), but I had five last week so I guess it averages out. Listening to the rain pounding on the roof, I sort of left it up to the universe. If it was raining again on Monday morning, I would switch over to the Plan B schedule above. If it wasn't raining...well, I'd play it by ear depending on how I felt.

This morning when I woke up I could still hear rain on the roof and I took that as a sign from the heavens to rest my legs a little more today. Modified rest, of course, as I still got up and went to the Y (elliptical). Tomorrow I will do my easy/recovery run, then on Thursday I will do my Wednesday speed work, which this week just consists of a regular run plus four 400/quarter-mile intervals at the track.

Happy Summer Solstice, everyone!

The Fremont Summer Solstice Parade

Sunday, June 20, 2010


12.25 miles this morning--but that's not the ouch part. Not directly.

Ouch happened about 1.75 miles or so into the run when I crossed the street and as I stepped onto the sidewalk I stepped into a wire loop on the sidewalk. It tripped me up and I fell, cursing, mostly onto my knees but also, apparently, grazing my right elbow and the heel of my right hand on the sidewalk.

I sat there for a few moments (stopping my Garmin) then checked out my injuries. I was wearing shorts so no clothing was damaged. (Luckily?) Both knees were scraped and bloody. It was hard to tell how badly they were cut up because of the blood. I didn't notice my elbow until much later, when I was undressing to take a shower, and my palm was just a little skinned, not badly at all.

I took the wire loop off my foot and tossed it to the side, hopefully out of the way of anyone else.

I stood up and assessed the situation. My knees didn't hurt (yet) but there was some blood running and I thought I needed to clean it up (and prevent further gushing) somehow.

It actually took me a minute to process that Hagen's grocery store was only a short distance away and there I could buy bandaids and clean myself up in the bathroom. I walked across the street then jogged the quarter mile to the store. (It did occur to me that this was adding a little mileage, which would come in handy later on.)

I bought some GIANT bandaids and washed the blood off my knees before sticking on the bandaids. I might add that the "not hurting" ended as soon as I applied water to my scrapes. From then on they stung until the endorphins from running drove the pain away.

I can't deny that I entertained thoughts of quitting or shortening my run. If I just headed back to Rod's I could make it a four mile run...if I went the opposite direction to my parents' it would probably be about six miles and I could get a ride back to town.

But since I wasn't REALLY hurt and I was still capable of running, I couldn't quite bring myself to abandon my plans. My route would still allow me to cut it short if I needed to, and plus, I had promised myself a mocha at Starbucks at the end of 10+ miles. I really didn't want to forgo that!

When I had started, the weather was very cloudy but mild, probably in the 50's. As I ran along it stayed mild but began to drizzle. At first it was very light, didn't disturb me at all. As I went along, though, the drizzle got heavier and heavier, until at times it was genuine rain, though still fine enough that I didn't feel poured on. Of course I was getting wetter and wetter. I was wearing a running cap and a long-sleeved Lucy shirt. It occurs to me now that my glasses never got really wet, so clearly it was not a heavy rain!

Somehow, despite the rain and my injured knees, I was maintaining a pretty decent pace for a long run. I even felt strong on the long hills that I had to run up. By the second half of the run (before that, actually) I had moved into the 9:30ish neighborhood. The first five miles were slower but still showed a nice progression.

1 - 10:00
2 - 10:02 pace (slightly shy of a mile, this included my fall and of course I stopped my watch when I went into Hagens).
3 - 9:52
4 - 9:42
5 - 9:50

Either mile 6 or 7 included a LONG hill. (Up.)
6 - 9:34
7 - 9:34

After that I did get to go back downhill. :) I was at the point in my route where I had to figure out where to go so that I reached my end destination (Safeway) at about 12 miles, neither too much more or less. Originally I thought I would need to do 1.5 trips around the Jennings Park loop (then to Safeway), but I was far enough around that I thought I could cut it a little shorter.

So I did one full rotation then headed back (repeating one side of the loop). In the last couple miles I pushed myself to pick up the pace, as much just to get done quicker as anything!

8 - 9:31
9 - 9:37
10 - 9:33
11 - 9:20
12 - 9:08
Last .3 mile to Safeway - 9:16 pace

(TOTAL 12.3 miles, 9:38 average pace)

Before I left Rod had mentioned that he had some Progresso soup he could heat for lunch. I probably made a little face.... It's not that I don't like soup; of course it is great on a gloomy day and in many ways it is an ideal post-run food. It has both sodium and water, after all. (That sounds like more of a beverage though.) It's just that a nice bowl of soup isn't much to look forward to after a long run!

But I figured with some bread to chew on and maybe some beans to bulk it up I could handle the soup. But I got an email from Rod suggesting I get some stuff at the store and he would make a heartier lunch. Okay!

Then I got a message from my mom asking if I needed a ride. Well, I was soaking wet and about to buy groceries to carry 3/4 mile! I called her and we arranged that she would meet me at Safeway and give me a ride to Rod's. I promised her a mocha in payment.
Since I didn't have to walk, I felt free to load up my basket and got plenty of good food and a couple of other things besides. (Including a Luna bar that I split with my mother. I needed food. Now.)

A while later, a hot shower had never felt so good. I re-bandaged all my scrapes with some Neosporin. (My mother has already expressed concerns about Mersa and also asked if I have had a tetanus shot lately. She doesn't know how common road rash is in the running world! But I may consider a tetanus shot. I'm not to worried about infection but I'll keep using Neosporin.) I also took some Advil. Now, hours later, I do feel a little achy but don't know if it's from the fall or just running... maybe both.

Rod made a lovely lunch (it was mid-afternoon by the time we ate) but now, around 7:30, I'm thinking it's time for dinner. I'm thinking a sweet potato, sauteed spinach, leftover broccoli and cauliflower, plus a small piece of leftover salmon.

Tomorrow is the first day of summer. I am praying that at least it DOESN'T RAIN!!! Anti-rain dance, anyone?
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

The 5K that wasn't 5K

Or 3.1 miles. It was, in fact, 2.67 miles. Which explains my "record-breaking" time of 20:53!

This unfortunately (or fortunately) mis-measured race was called "Run with the Cops, Not from Them," and it was sponsored by a law enforcement charitable group. I agreed to go with my secretary's son (who is FAST and is obsessed with 5K's), even though I am a defense attorney. Haha.

Actually there is so much pro- and anti-cop stuff (depending on the incident of the day) going on around here that I felt a little weird about it, but it was fine. Not gung-ho at all. Although there were way more uniforms around than at your typical 5K. Non-runners, of course. The running cops were pretty much incognito. (Although I must say, although there was a fair combination of fit-looking and chubbier people, there weren't many of the Skeletor type runners that you see at races. Cops are meatier folk, I guess.)

Anyhow, Arjin picked me up in his pristine Prius and we drove to Marymoor Park. The weather was good for running, mild and cloudy, though not so great considering that we are two days from the first day of summer!

I registered, got my number and chip (an improvement from when I ran this three years ago), and ran out on the (paved) trail to warm up. I ran a little more than a mile in one direction then back. I wasn't sure if this was the exact race course, but it turned out it was. Marymoor has great paths for running and walking, but the flaws I noticed for racing were the narrowness of the trail (wasn't a problem though), sharing it with cyclists (wondering if they closed it for the race? Because there were way more bikes during my warm-up), some sharp turns and some short but steep inclines (both of which tend to be slowing). I did a little more than 2.4 miles warm-up then met up with Arjin again.

I told Arjin we needed to line up near the front to avoid a bottleneck. I knew I couldn't keep up with him but I thought I'd try to keep him in my sights as long as possible.

After a countdown of 10 (10?) we were off! Arjin pulled ahead quickly. I could see him ahead of me for close to a mile, then he was out of my vision except when we crossed paths in the out and back.

I was running pretty hard, but not my fastest. My first mile was about 7:45, which was even a little slower than last week. I blame the hairpins and hills...I also blame them for my paces in the rest of the race.

Not too much past the mile, I saw the turnaround sign ahead. This couldn't be right--unless there was a change in course on the way back. We turned at 1.33 miles. Hmmm....

My second mile clocked at a slightly shaming 8:00 (may turn out to be 7:59 when Garmin does its adjustments). Then it was time for the final kick. Only a mile...or go. Although I wanted the race to be the proper distance, it was tempting to be done sooner rather than later!

As I turned the bend into the final stretch I saw that there was no change in the course, so the distance was going to be short. WAY short. I crossed the finish mat and stopped my watch at 2.67 miles.

I immediately told the race official at the finish line that the course was short. In a nice way, of course. I also told several other runners, right then as well as later when we were looking at the result printout.

Arjin was waiting for me and of course I IMMEDIATELY told him. Don't want him thinking his 19-ish minute time is for real! :) Honestly, the reason I thought it should be known was not to make people less thrilled with their times today, but to keep them from disappointment when their next 5K was so much slower.

While waiting for the results to come out I jogged around some of the other park trails to bump up my total miles for the day. I ran two more miles at just under 10 minute pace. Total for the day, 7+ miles.

When I got back the result lists were up. I had a little trouble finding my name until I realized there were separate lists for males and females.

The real: I was 7th female, first in my age group, 20:53 time. The fake: it showed my pace as 6:44. Ha. Ha. Ha.

I ate a couple of orange wedges and a tasty carrot muffin, then hung out for a bit waiting for the awards. But--there were none. Apparently the budget didn't allow for ribbons. Really? What about just announcing the names of the winners? Not that I care, of course. :)

I didn't even take a picture. I went back to the car (Arjin was waiting there; despite his speedy time, as a youthful 30-year-old he was only 5th in his AG). I put on a jacket so I wouldn't sweat on his car (he also has plastic on the floors to keep them clean). Then we drove away home.

The end.
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Friday, June 18, 2010

145 by 45

Some people will know exactly what that title means. Others (skinny folk) might not. I have decided to take the bull by the horns (don't know if that's a good metaphor, but whatever) and shave off those stubborn ten (or so) pounds that I think may be interfering with me being a better, faster, runner.

A quick bit of history. A long, long time ago I lost a lot of weight and eventually became a runner. Like almost every other woman in the world, runner or not, I've never been able to achieve the perfect weight, although I'm fairly happy where I'm at. A couple years ago I picked up a few pounds and last spring and summer I manage to shed those extra pounds, but still was unable to get below that elusive 150-pound mark (or stay consistently below 155 pounds).

This year I'm going to change that! (Well, I hope I will.) I've decided to make a concerted effort over the next two months until my 45th birthday on August 19 to get my weight down to 145 pounds. Then I'll have more than a month before the Bellingham Marathon in September to keep it there (and assure that it's not just a momentary blip, like the one day when I weighed 149 pounds in September 2009).

A caveat: I don't want to begin by failing, but I do want to make clear that if I don't, or can't, accomplish this I am not going to sweat it. I am not willing to make myself nuts if this proves to be an unreachable goal! I think it is reachable, but...we shall see.

Okay, so what am I going to do to make this happen? I'll begin by making the crazy-sounding statement that I don't really want to eat less or exercise more. At least not drastically. I believe that generally speaking I eat very well, and nutritiously, and fairly low in calories compared to the exercise I engage in. And as far as quantity of exercise, I think it would be difficult to spend a lot more time at it than I already do. In fact, I expect that over the next couple months I will be running slightly less mileage than I was in the last stages of marathon training.


First, my diet (meaning what I eat). I plan to generally stick with my same types of foods, but with the following modifications (let's call them improvements, shall we?).

Stop it with the sweets already. My greatest temptation and downfall is undoubtedly cookies, cakes, and candy. Even though I account for my self-indulgence in my calorie allocations, I am probably underestimating and an almost-ban on goodies will surely make a difference. I am limiting treats to birthday cake (or equivalent) for actual birthdays of close family members. There may be other exceptions but I am definitely nipping the mindless nibbling in the bud. That includes bakery samples in the grocery store!

Be careful with portion size for proteins, fats, and carbs. I am pretty good about this already—I almost always weigh or measure these higher-calorie food items—but it never hurts to take a closer look. And stop the extra nibbles (a bit of this, a scrape of that—e.g. maple almond butter!).

Eat more salmon (wild Alaska salmon). That is, more often, not quantity. Although salmon is a little higher in calories than chicken and turkey, I believe that its Omega 3 fats really help with weight loss (I ate salmon all the time when I was losing weight). There are also other fishes that I should eat more of. Plus shrimp, which is not an Omega 3 food but is really low in calories! (I love all seafood, eating it is not a sacrifice!)

Take Vitamin D and fish oil supplements. Both of those are good for general health and weight loss. There is also some indication that Vitamin D might help with athletic performance. In any case, we have had so little sun around here that I am sure I need to boost my Vitamin D levels! I'm also going to take Vitamin C because I have two whole bottles and at the very least, it is good for your gums.

Cut back and/or eliminate diet pop, as well as other diet beverages and artificially sweetened foods. This will be so hard for me. I find it hard to believe that a substance with no calories can affect your weight, but other people have had good results with giving it up. I can't say that I will never, ever drink a diet coke, but I am going to seriously reduce my consumption. I am still going to put Splenda in my coffee, though. And I don't think I will completely give up Dannon Light & Fit yoghurt, but I will substitute Greek yoghurt at least some of the time, especially as fresh summer fruits become more available.

I already eat lots of fiber, so I don't plan to make any changes there. I also eat tons of non-starchy vegetables, and reasonable amounts of fruit. I do plan on eating grapefruit more often, and I am looking forward to delicious ripe canteloupe during the summertime!

Now, as for exercise and lifestyle. I have put together a training plan for improving my half marathon performance this summer. It's very similar to my marathon plan, actually, except that the long runs don't get as long and the pace and tempo runs will (hopefully) be a little faster. At this point, I am not changing my practice of running four days a week on most weeks, and five days on occasion. I will also continue to fill in the gaps with cross-training (mostly elliptical at the Y) on off days and an extra cross-training stint on some running days.

I have some other thoughts, but the fact that I am just thinking them, and not committing to a plan yet, probably means that I won't follow through. But here goes...

Strength training, probably with weights. Yes, I know that building muscle through strength training (e.g. lifting weights) will build muscle which raises your metabolism and burns calories more effectively. The problem is finding time to fit this in, as well as (frankly) the motivation. Or a plan, really. I'm ruminating on it, though.

Adding an extra high-cardio activity other than running (e.g. spinning). This is really a long shot that I'll follow through. I don't want to increase running days because I want to avoid injury, but really the only type of exercise that brings my heart rate up (very high at all) is running. The exception is spinning, on the few occasions that I've done. But. I. Hate. It. (And that aside, scheduling is still an issue.) So we shall see.... (Update as of Friday: all the spin classes at the Y are at bad times for me and on running days. So spin is out. So sad. Haha.)

I guess I'll have to think about the exercise component more, but my gut feeling is, other than strength or weight training, there is nothing major I could or should change in my exercise plan other than continuing to work on my training plans for running more effectively. I actually believe that what you eat has more effect on losing weight than exercise does. And I think it's unrealistic, perhaps even harmful, to try to pump up the volume higher than it already is.

There are a couple of other strategies I might consider, depending on how things go in the next couple of weeks. I'm keeping them in my back pocket for use in case of emergency.

Consider giving up my pre-run, pre-Y snack in early mornings. I suspect that I use this more as a treat to get myself out of bed than as fuel (100-150 calories). I probably could give it up and just wait for breakfast when I get home. I would continue to eat breakfast on days when I go out later, though, or if I am going for an extra-long run!

Stop using half and half in my coffee. I don't use much (I don't think), and the total over a day is less than the calories in a nonfat latte (but with fat and without much calcium). I don't want to give it up unless it's really necessary.

Give up my yoghurt/fruit/Fiber One (or alternative) snack in the evenings. I do include this in my overall calorie count for the day, so I don't see how it can hurt! But if emergency calls....

Eat less vegetables. Does that sound crazy or what? I eat lots of spinach, salad greens, and non-starchy veg. Maybe the calories are adding up....

Cut back on salt/sodium. This is kind of a last-ditch, Biggest Loser type of strategy that I may employ as a last resort to hit my number by deadline. I used to really restrict sodium because I felt it made me retain water (as it does for most people). But with the volume of running I do, and especially after the very hot and sweaty summer we had last year, plus my tendency to get leg cramps, I have rethought that. I still eat very little in the way of processed food (which tends to be high in sodium), but I do use salt in cooking, sometimes add salt to my meal (if it is bland), and drink Nuun while running (which has sodium). I would only take this step if it seemed truly necessary.

So there you have it. There is more I could say but I think this is plenty for now. Just for fun I am putting a weight loss ticker in my sidebar, to show my progress (and the unfortunate fact that I am starting three pounds higher than I had hoped to). I'll probably only update it once a week or so, don't want to be obsessive! (No, not me!)

So tomorrow, June 19, is Go Day! (Also I am running another 5K tomorrow morning. I'll report later how it goes.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Capital Half Marathon (5/14/10)

Please don't hate me for the pun. :)

The spelling of the words "capital" and "Capitol" have been a topic of some discussion, enlightenment, and finally humor between Rod and me over the last few weeks. When I signed up for the Capital City Half Marathon, located in Olympia, Washington, home of our state Capitol, I thought the spelling of Capital was a mistake. You see, I believed that the word was spelled "Capitol" when it is relating to government and "capital" for all the other definitions. E.g., capital letter, capital relating to wealth, capital meaning important, excellent, etc., or capital relating to crime.

Rod thought the same and some mocking ensued when I told him of the race. There was also criticism of state representatives who use the word "capital" in their newletters, and the Department of Transportation which uses the word "capital" in some road signs. Hmmm...a lot of people seemed to be misinformed on the spelling of the state Capitol/capital!

So I mentioned this anomaly to Luke, an attorney in my office, who grew up in Olympia and attended, ahem, Capital High School. (So the school district is wrong too?) Luke told me that he believed (very tactful there) that the word Capitol referred to the building, and "capital" is the word for the city where the government is located and all other related uses.

So I looked it up and he was right. "Capitol" (with a capital letter) is the building in Washington, D.C., used by the Congress of the U.S. for its sessions, as well as (sometimes lower case) a building occupied by a state legislature. A "capital" is the city or town that is the official seat of government in a country, state, etc. (As well as all those other meanings.)

Well, call me stupid. But now corrected!

Be that as it may, the Capital City Marathon and Half Marathon was on Sunday, May 14, and I was registered for the Half. Olympia is about 90 minutes south of Everett (if there is no traffic or other delay, assuming the driver sticks to the speed limit or above), and that is just a little further away than I am anxious to drive in the morning to a race that starts at 7:45 a.m. So months ago, when I first registered, I made a reservation for Saturday night at a hotel/motel only about two blocks from the race start. That way I could get my race number on Saturday as well as avoid an extra early morning and long drive on race day.

On Saturday afternoon Rod and I left around 1:00 or so and had a fairly smooth trip to Olympia...some traffic in downtown Seattle, and some around Tacoma, but we still arrived by 3:00. The packet pickup was open until 5 p.m. so we were in good shape. I had a small moment of crisis when we had trouble finding the hotel, and I contemplated whether the address on "South" Capitol Way meant something other than downtown...potentially leaving me blocks or miles away from the start on race day! But it turned out the hotel was there all along, it was just hard to see.

We checked in...and I don't have a whole lot to say about the hotel! It was no Davenport or Benson, that is for sure. It was a place to stay, it was close, it was fine. And it had a refrigerator in the room (I like that) as well as a microwave (we weren't there long enough to use it, but it could be useful under some circumstances).

After checking in, we walked over to check-in at the park just a couple of blocks away. There were only a few exhibitors, but the race swag was very nice. The shirt was a long sleeve half zip tech shirt in deep olive green, and instead of the usual plastic bag it came in a nice fabric drawstring bag decorated with a scene of the Capitol (with an "o").

It was a little past three by now, so we walked along Capital Way through downtown Olympia. There are actually quite a few intriguing-looking shops there, but we didn't stop then. We decided to walk all the way down to the Farmer's Market instead. But, unfortunately, when we arrived at the Farmer's Market we found out that it closed at 3:00, and by now it was all but deserted. Oh well... We dropped into an espresso shop so I could get a bottle of water (I was parched), and walked back towards where we had started.

This time we did stop at a few place. Rod wanted to look into a guitar shop that he knew from previous trips to Olympia, and after than we browsed through an antiques shop mostly filled with strange dark furniture. I couldn't resist a peek into a fascinating shoe store called Yolli Shoes. They had a delightful collection of cute, colorful, creative shoes, not even horribly expensive! I didn't try anything though, for a number of reasons--1) I have so many shoes, 2) The shoes are so unique that I don't know how I could pick out just one pair, and 3) Rod was with me, which was a definite damper on crazy shopping. Just as well though.

We also dropped into a bike store, a quirky gift shop that was full of things I love (and I think even Rod is drawn to things like kitschy signs and semi-antiques), and looked at the menu at Ristorante Basilico, where we had a reservation for dinner later on. Then we just headed back to the hotel to hang out and rest before dinner.

At about 6:30 we started out to walk back to the restaurant. Of course we were a little early for our 6:45 reservation, as it's a five minute walk, but they seated us anyway. Ristorante Basilico is a fairly small, sophisticated, family-owned Italian Restaurant. One of their claims to fame is having an available gluten-free menu, along with a full "regular" Italian menu.

Since we had looked at the menu beforehand, we both had an idea of what we wanted, and it only took a few minutes to finalize that. I order a fairly simple pasta dish (they make their pasta) with beef and pork ragu, and a salad with arugula, pears, and Italian gorgonzola (there may also have been dried fruit or some kind of nuts, I can't recall), dressed with olive oil and honey. Rod had a steak, also topped with Italian gorgonzola. Very yum!

After we finished eating, I firmly said we should look at the dessert menu. I thought we might share something but, as long as we were getting dessert, Rod didn't want to split. Okay with me! Everything sounded luscious, but there was really no alternative: we both ordered the Italian Chocolate Cheesecake (it had an Italian name, which I now cannot remember). It's not at all like the cheesecake you know. The cheese is mascarpone, and it's really more of a very decadent dark chocolate torte (with a hazelnut crust!). Truly scrumptious!

We rolled back to the hotel and watched Austin Powers on TV (though I'm afraid I fell asleep).

Sunday morning I got up quite early at 6 a.m. to have breakfast (the race started at 7:45). I made a sandwich with some bread, almond butter, and jam I'd brought along. I also had leftover Starbucks coffee in the fridge. I left the room coffee maker coffee to Rod.

Despite my early wake-up, I was a bit slow getting ready and zipped out at pretty much the last minute to do a warm-up jog. I only had time for 2/3 of a mile before stopping back at the hotel, using the bathroom (always an important last-minute activity) and meeting Rod to walk over to the start. Since it was only a couple of blocks away we got there pretty quickly. I had left behind my jacket and was just a little cool in my sleeveless running dress...not too bad.

Rod encouraged me to line up somewhat near to the front section, to avoid being held up by slower runners in front of me like at Bloomsday. So when the gun went off (or whatever the starting signal was) I took off with the fasties around me. The first mile was slightly downhill, and passed in a speedy 8:12! I wasn't concerned about going out too fast, because I knew that the pace was aided by the downhill, and not by excessive effort on my part. The course leveled out and started its ascent after the first mile. Mile 2 - 8:30.

The next few miles, through mile 8, climbed steadily. Although I slowed down, I kept my pace in a good steady sub-nine range. Miles 3 - 8 clocked in at 8:51, 8:52, 8:49, 8:43, 8:39, 8:53. Somewhere around the halfway point the terrain leveled out and a woman running near me said that this was the high point on the course, and we shouldn't have any more hills. Um, she should have looked a little closer at the course elevation chart.... (I, of course, had not looked at it at all!)

In mile 9 we turned (from the "high point") and started heading back down towards downtown Olympia. Those eight miles we had gone up? Went back down in just a little more than a mile. I tried to let my legs go and run easy and fast. Mile 9 - 8:24.

I could see the Capitol building in the not-so-far distance, though, and I knew that there had to be something more ahead to fill in the remaining four miles. Sure enough, at 9.24 miles (thank you Garmin for the detailed information!), we turned away from downtown and headed back into the surrounding neighborhoods. Back up into the surrounding neighborhoods!

We climbed for almost exactly two miles. My pace took the biggest hit in mile 10 (9:30), and I was able to pick it up a little for mile 11 (9:05). The ascent in mile 11 was much gentler than mile 10! We leveled out and started to descend in mile 12 (8:45).

The final mile-plus (1.17 miles by my measure) was a somewhat steep downhill pitch to the finish. Like everyone around me, I threw it all out there and tried to channel my 5K pace for the final stretch! Mile 13 - 8:08. Final .17 mile - 7:22 pace. My Garmin shows a 5:47 pace for a split second just before the finish line! Official finish time: 1:54:44.

Here is the course map of our route, plus a timing chart and an elevation chart. (All from my handy Garmin.)

Rod took this picture just before the finish. He's pretty good at action photography.

After I crossed the finish line I collected my finisher's award, which in this case was a customized coaster instead of a medal. At least it's useful! We didn't hang around the finish area, but instead crossed the street to Starbucks where I got myself a celebratory mocha. Then we headed back to the hotel where I breakfasted on a banana muffin that I had packed, then took a shower and dressed. Before changing, we took this sweaty post-race photo with my phone to send to my mom.
Later, we browsed through a few more downtown shops (including a toy store where we bought 1-year-old birthday gifts for my niece Eva--a drum and a xylophone, hehe), and then hit the road for the drive back north. Capital City Half Marathon weekend over!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bloomsday, the race (May 2, 2010)

Catch-up post! I originally wrote this in mid-May but I think I was waiting to get a picture from my mom of me wearing a cute Target dress at dinner Sunday night. I still don't have the picture, but who cares at this point!

It never fails, I wait so long after a race to write about it that I forget all the details that were fresh in my mind at the time. Bloomsday was less than two weeks ago (when I originally wrote this) and already it feels like an eternity. (And now it really has been an eternity! Two half-marathons, two 5K's and a marathon later!)

I believe I left off after our pre-race pasta dinner on Saturday night.

Sunday morning, race day, dawned clear and bright, a little sunnier than had been predicted. I had brought both a long-sleeved and sleeveless version of the same top, and almost went sleeveless, but decided it was probably cool enough in the morning hours to wear the long sleeves. For the first time ever (except at CIM) I had brought along a throwaway jacket, so I could keep warm in the starting area and discard it for the running.

I made myself a peanut butter sandwich thin and got some coffee from the lobby for breakfast. The race started at 9:00, although with wave starts, only the fastest runners would be starting promptly at 9:00. My color was yellow, which is pretty much the first group of ordinary runners. Our estimated starting time would be 9:05-9:15 or so.
In order to qualify for the yellow bib, you have to run a past Bloomsday or a similar race at 9:40 or faster pace. I believe that includes basically a 7:45-9:30 pace range of runners. I base this on what it would take for me to qualify for a faster group (brown, or "second seed")—58 minutes in Bloomsday (7:45 pace), or a sub-47 minute 10K (7:30-ish), or a sub-22:30 5K (7:15). All of which are faster than my "wildest dream" PR's! So I don't plan on being in any but the yellow group in the foreseeable future.
The problem was, with so many of the yellow group being happy with a 9-minute pace, that is the pace that we started out (roughly) and that is the pace we maintained (roughly) throughout most of the first three miles before it became possible to break out of the group. The course is fairly narrow (for thousands of runners) in the beginning, and I did not want to waste energy trying to weave excessively. I don't think I could have, anyway.

There were a few lunatics who were trying to escape the mob by weaving wildly, running off course, and running on sidewalks (where they got yelled at). I am sure they were adding lots of extra distance in their efforts, but maybe it paid off for them.

The worst point was when we were going down a hill, and I was happily picking up the pace to sub-8, and suddenly everyone came to a stop. I really had to put the brakes on...I am surprised there wasn't a pile-up. All I can think of is that I believe there was a fairly sharp turn at the bottom of the hill, and possibly the slowing needed to take the turn led to the traffic jam.

My times for the first three miles were 8:52, 8:57, 8:59. I believe that is almost entirely due to the mob pace, but I can't discount the terrain as well. While everyone always talks about Doomsday Hill (which is the longest and steepest hill later in the run), there are two or three substantial uphills in the early part of the race as well.

But in mile 4, and onwards, I was able to set a faster pace, though nothing like my aspirational goal pace of 8 minutes. Doomsday Hill comes in the middle of mile 5, following a nice long downhill, so although that hill was difficult and slowed me down a lot, my overall time for that mile was not bad. Miles 4-7—8:27, 8:34, 8:39, 8:22.
During Mile 5, when we were tearing downhill and looking at Doomsday Hill approaching, I chatted a little with a woman running beside me. She was probably a few years older than me and said she's been running Bloomsday for 20 years! She asked me the time, and at that point we were at 36 minutes. She interpreted that as a 9-minute pace, although actually we were into mile 5 at that point, so faster than 9 minutes. She said she recently ran a 5-mile race in 40 minutes, but has never been able to do Bloomsday in an hour. I told her that was my dream too, but it would take a lot to be able to do that (and it wasn't happening today). I would have liked to see her again, or find out how she did, but I lost her on Doomsday. I think I pulled ahead of her, but who know, she might have gone ahead of me. Before we parted ways I told her we were doing a 7:30 pace at that time (still on the downhill). (That would soon change.)

At the top of Doomsday Hill the course flattened out and I don't remember it as either noticeably up or downhill for a while. It may have been a slight downhill grade but sometimes flat looks like downhill as well. I concentrated on trying to push my pace. Although I did manage to pick it up at the top of the hill, I didn't fully succeed until mile 7 (8:22).

In the final half mile, I finally did get my speed up to a happy pace of 8:05 (per mile) for the last .55 mile (a little further than the official .46). I really poured it on in the final quarter mile to the finish line (okay, it was downhill). Garmin amazingly shows my pace as 5:57 min/mile at the 7.43 point (okay, for a split second), 7:36 at 7.5, and 6:53 at 7.54 miles. (I am loving this feature of Garmin! I will be looking at my results even more closely now!)

I waited just a second after crossing the finish line to stop my watch, so that in case there was a finish line picture of me, it wouldn't show me hitting my watch. I don't remember what the clock or watch times were, but my official chip time turned out to be 1:05:17. That's about seven minutes faster than last year (which was a slow time for me) and almost two minutes faster than 2008. So even though it wasn't as close to an hour as I would have liked, I was happy with my time.

One runner who was well under an hour in finish time was celebrity participant Joan Benoit Samuelson!

During the walk through the finish area (where we got water, finishers' shirts, etc.), I called my mom to let her know I was done so she could leave the hotel and meet me at Madeleine's for breakfast. I got there first, and although it wasn't packed yet, it was pretty full and the order line was long. I snagged a table and went to get in line. My mom arrived about then, and a smaller table had opened up (the one I had could seat 4-6), so we moved. (By the time I placed the order, my mom had moved us yet again to a more desirable table by the window, where we stayed.)

We both ordered whole wheat pancakes with maple butter. I got a latte and ordered tea for my mother. The pancakes were such a departure for me, I don't know when the last time was that I ordered pancakes in a restaurant! (I have had homemade pancakes on occasion, though.) They were quite delicious, I must say.
After breakfast we walked back to the hotel and I took a shower and dressed before we headed downstairs to the spa for pedicures! Now my toes are summer sandal ready.

Later, for a late lunch, we walked back to Europa Cafe and ordered a couple of appetizers to share. The weather had changed a bit from the morning. It was still sunny, but a strong wind had whipped up and it was even hard to walk to the restaurant. I was so thankful we didn't have that wind during the race! It was a bizarre wind that was blowing all through central and eastern Washington. There were wind warnings (including dust storms) throughout the eastern half of the state. Actually, by Monday we had some strong winds back in Western Washington as well, enough that I didn't go running as planned after we got home.

For our lunch, we shared a flatbread (like a pizza crust) with carmelized onions, reduced balsamic vinegar, and gorgonzola cheese. It was delicious! We also had a plate of antipasto which included some meat, cheese, and marinated vegetables. Great lunch.

Dessert was a couple pieces of candy from the Davenport candy store.

Our final race weekend meal (well, except for breakfast on Monday) was dinner later that evening. I wanted to eat in the hotel restaurant by the fireplace, so we sat at a low table that was like a coffee table and balanced our plates in our laps. (I am skilled at this from eating in the living room by the TV.) I had a cup of French Onion Soup and Crab Cakes.

Monday morning after Bloomsday I traditionally go out and run along the river. This time, though, the wind situation made that much less appealing! I decided to skip the run (planning to run at home that afternoon, which, it turned out, I did not), and take advantage of the hotel workout room.

It was a nice enough workout room, but I think the claim of "state of the art equipment" was a little exaggerated. I was lucky to get there at a time when I could claim the one and only elliptical (which was a kind of mediocre elliptical at that). There was also a stair stepper, a stationary bike, and two treadmills, as well as weight machines and free weights.

Happily for me the woman on the bike had already put the TV on the Today Show, so I just plugged away on the elliptical, watching TV and reading blogs on my BlackBerry, just like I do at the Y. Amazingly I stuck it out for about 80 minutes!

Before leaving I took a look at the swimming pool (which I hadn't known existed) and wished I had brought my suit! Not that I wanted to do any real swimming, but it would have been fun to at least soak in the hot tub.

Then I braved the wind to walk down to Madeleine's and pick up pastries for our breakfast. I also got two Cornish pasties that we could take on the plane for lunch. In case you don't know already, Cornish pasties are English meat pies (though pasties can have fillings other than meat), generally meat and potatoes backed turnover style in a pastry crust. They are delicious and doughy and may be a reason I gained weight in England last spring! The word "pasty" is pronounced with a short "a" (as in back), not a long "a" as in paste. Unfortunately the counter clerk at Madeleine's mispronounced it but I said it properly several times. Don't know if she noticed.

A bit before noon we checked out of the hotel, headed to the airport, and got on our (very bumpy) flight to Seattle. And so ended Bloomsday weekend, in which I ate like I was doing a marathon but only ran 7.55 miles (plus warm-up).

I had considered doing my Monday run that afternoon/evening after we got home, but as it turned out the crazy winds followed us back to the west side, so I ditched my running plans, took the evening off, and ran Tuesday morning instead!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Berry Run 5K

Yes, I am aware I haven't done my Newport Marathon race report yet... I have actually been quite busy adjusting to almost THREE days of work this week (last week was about 1.25 days at work between Hawaii and Oregon). (How in the world am I going to manage a five-day work week next week?)

It's unfortunate because I have actually mentally composed a lot of my race recap (while doing my recovery/comeback runs) and I am afraid the details will go dim, the longer I wait. So I'll try to get my act together. I also need to decide if I want to fork over the $ for any of the moderately/extremely unflattering official race photos.

The marathon was Saturday and I took Sunday through Tuesday off running. Wednesday morning I braved the rain (though I did put on a jacket when I opened the front door and saw what looked like almost a downpour). (To digress for a moment--Wednesday afternoon we had a true downpour, hail and so much rain that my windshield wipers could not fend it off. The streets were running like rivers and some local areas flooded just from rainfall!) My legs had stopped aching by the time I got home from Oregon Tuesday night (despite the long drive home), but they were pretty heavy Wednesday morning. I stuck it out for exactly six miles, average pace about 10:30.

Friday morning I slept in a little and didn't get myself out until about 8:00. The weather was pretty mild, just a light drizzle which I don't mind at all. I had thought of doing 8 or 9 miles but due to my lazy morning I really pushed my time boundaries even squeezing in 7.5! I was still not especially light on my feet, though; average pace just over 10:00.

So it was not without a few qualms that I decided to go ahead and run the Marysville Berry Run 5K. I really was not sure whether I had it in me to muster up any kind of 5K pace. On the other hand, who but me would care whether I ran a 9-minute pace or the more desirable sub-8?

The last two years I have gotten PR's at the Berry Run (each time beating them later in the summer). It's a super-flat, fast course.

I drove up to the race site, Smoky Point Plant Farm, about an hour before the race started. After I forked over my $20 admission and found the porta-potty, I started jogging around to warm up. (My legs, that is. It was already sunny by 7:30 this morning. Nicest day of the year so far!) I thought I would jog after the tail end of the one-mile race. I did veer off their course a bit to add some mileage and also not interfere with the finishers.

I ended up with a two mile warm-up and enough extra time to stand in the porta-potty line. I thought that the two mile jog was a little more tiring than it ought to be, but hoped I'd still have steam for the 5K!

I stood pretty close to the starting line (no chips) and took off pretty fast. I didn't want to stare at my Garmin too much, but I was curious about what my hard effort was getting me. I was happy when I saw my pace was consistently under 8 minutes. Mile 1 - 7:39.

I did have a few goals. My A+ goal, which I did not expect to achieve (and did not) was a PR. My A goal was sub-24. My A- goal was every mile sub-8. And my B goal was just staying under 25 minutes.

I figured the A+ goal was probably gone when mile 1 was not sub-7:30. My pattern in 5K's is to do the first mile quite fast and slow a little in the rest (because I can't sustain that pace).

Miles 2 and 3 were a mental game, telling myself to keep pushing and not let people pass me (only a few did, all males I believe). Once I was into mile 3 I started picking landmarks to run to, in an effort to keep my pace up. I actually managed to run mile 3 slightly faster than mile 2! Although my Garmin dipped over 8 occasionally, I was able to keep my average under. Mile 2 - 7:56. Mile 3 - 7:52!

Goal A- was clearly going to be met and for the last tenth I tried to push myself as close to the puke threshhold as I could. My math wasn't good enough to know if I had a shot at my A goal.

But as I neared the finish line I saw the 23 disappear from the clock and I poured myself over the finish line at 24:20. (Though not a PR, turns out that was a one second course PR for me. Haha.) Final pace for .12 mile was about 7:45.

I decided to wait around for the age group awards because you never know! I've never won an AG award in this race because there are two specific women (plus an unknown third) who always beat me. But as it turns out, at least the two weren't there today and I ended up winning second place in AG! (Hence the red ribbon I am wearing.) And the guy who was announcing awards commented that there were a LOT of women in the 40-49 age group!

So, hopefully I can use this AG win to collect free swag from Lucy. (I wrote a previous post about this contest, or you can check it out at the Lucy website.) I was hesitant to submit my 3rd place AG from the Monkey Run, since I was technically 4th (the first place woman was also the overall winner). But this one should be "clean." So we'll see how it works. Cause if there's one thing I need it's more running clothes! Or more stuff from Lucy! Hahaha.
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Post-marathon blues

Okay, really what I mean is, end-of-long-weekend, driving home from Oregon blues. And by blues, what I really mean is bitchiness.

Yeah, today has been a bumpy ride, punctuated by spells of irritation and moodiness directed toward my travel companions (parents). Despite feeling like an overstuffed sausage (and having made some diet goals which will be revealed in time), I dove headlong into a box of crack--I mean caramel corn--that I bought in Seaside for the car. Oh, that stuff is good. And bad.

I am still runless (considering a light run tomorrow morning). Yesterday I walked all the way to the north end of Cannon Beach on the beach, barefoot in the sand (mostly the hardpack sand), about 2.5 miles each way. On the way back at the end I waded in the water some. The cold water felt great, though I regretted it a little when I saw the signs warning people to stay out of the water due to high bacteria levels. Oops. I rinsed my feet well and am hoping for the best.

Speaking of feet, my big toe definitely has a big bad blister under it. Last night I woke up in pain, but after I drained it with a needle from a mending kit it felt much better. Still looks pretty ominous, though. I'll probably lose the nail. (Not the toe.)

This morning I got up pretty early and walked into town, to the north end of Cannon Beach, by road. Again, 2.5 miles each way. It's not running, but it's something.

I think I am frustrated because my legs are still sore (quads and hamstrings) and I don't know when I will be fit to run well again. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not.

Of course when I was sitting in the Maui airport and on the plane Tuesday night I wondered if my body would ever feel good enough to run again...and I managed some fast speedwork on Thursday and then a marathon on Saturday. The body does heal itself.

But enough of my ramblings. I'm pretty sure it's the caramel corn talking.
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Monday, June 7, 2010

My left foot

Or more specifically, the big toe on my left foot. Is sore. Tender, really, just on top under the nail. And thanks to the nail polish, I can't tell what color the nail is...but it looks suspiciously dark under the nail. Actually, my right big toenail is tender too, but less so. I guess I must have put pressure on the toes when I was running? There wasn't much extreme downhill, so it's surprising. I am kicking myself a little for not remembering to cut my nails beforehand.

In other areas of the body, my legs are still pretty sore as well, particularly my quads. No running yet, obviously. I did do an hour on the elliptical before we left the hotel in Newport yesterday. Since there's no gym at the hotel in Cannon Beach, today is a rest day. I'm not counting a stroll with my mother through downtown Cannon Beach as exercise, although I might go for a walk on the beach later. After lunch, haha.

And speaking of food...well, I'm not going to speak of it just now. Post-marathon diet begins on Wednesday. I'm trying to just be reasonable right now. While staying in a hotel with cookies in the lobby and unlimited salt water taffy. (Which is like crack, I tell you!) And a really nice breakfast buffet....
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Newport mini-recap

Since we've already moved on to Cannon Beach I thought I'd better mention Newport before it's old news already.

Can it be that the marathon was just yesterday? It seems so long ago! Actually I've been having trouble keeping the days straight ever since our unplanned overnight in the Maui airport. It's a small miracle that I didn't turn up for the marathon a day late!

I'll save my excrutiating detail and long travelogue for a future post and just cut to the chase. Newport Marathon: 4:10:07. Since it wasn't chip-timed, I feel comfortable referring to my time as "4:10" in casual conversation, but believe me I am very aware of every single second.

I am perfectly fine with my time. No hair tearing, clothes rending here! I knew from the beginning that four hours would be a challenge, and as I progressed a third and halfway through, I could see it slowly but surely slipping away. I did think I was going to be a few minutes faster, but an excessively long bathroom stop and heavy legs in the last few miles took care of that.

The picture is the view from my room in Newport, the Yaquina Bay Bridge with the NOAA ship in front of it. (Sadly, we did not get to run across the bridge in the marathon...that would have been so cool.) I could look at that view from my bed!

We drove down to Newport on Friday, ran on Saturday, and left today (Sunday) for Cannon Beach. We'll be here till Tuesday. Then it's back home, back to work, and back to normal on Wednesday!

More about the marathon, Newport, and Cannon Beach later.
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Home again (but leaving tomorrow)

I finally made it home from about 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning. That was after a nine hour delay in the Maui airport! We did end up with $200 vouchers toward future travel. As if we wanted to go back. (Oh, we will....)

Anyhow, that pretty much put the kibosh on my Wednesday run (no running on National Running Day!). I considered trying to squeeze in a late afternoon run, after a nap and a visit to work, but... no.

I did my final pre-marathon run this morning, even though that is contrary to my usual scheme of having two full running rest days prior to a major race. With my rest day on Tuesday and an involuntary rest day on Wednesday, I really wanted to get in one final short run.

I did three miles warm-up (10 minute pace), plus four blazing 400m/quarter mile runs around the track (paces 7:32, 7:26, 7:19, and 6:58), and finally one mile that was supposed to be goal marathon pace (about 9 minutes) but ended up a little faster (8:39). Total distance 5.53 miles.

Despite my running in Hawaii, I seemed to have gained five pounds over the last five days. How is that possible? I am trying not to kick myself or mutter "2 seconds per pound per mile."

Tomorrow morning my parents and I leave for Newport. We're staying there through Sunday then heading up to Cannon Beach for a couple more days. My second vacation in two weeks!

My goal for the Newport Marathon: Have fun!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Not what I had planned...

Sitting at the airport in Maui 2.5 hours after we were supposed to be in the air, and still waiting for word that our airplane has been "fixed." Not very encouraging. In addition to some developing nerves about the flight, I am already tired and frustrated and unhappy about how EXTREMELY late we are going to get home. It's almost 5 p.m. here...three hours later at home...and a 5+ hour flight.

Plus (I am selfishly wondering) how is this going to affect my last few days prior to the marathon? What about my final short run, supposed to be Wednesday? Should I move it to Thursday, leaving only one FULL rest day? Or squeeze it in sometime on Wednesday anyway? (I took today as a rest day, so I don't want to skip it altogether.)

And then we have a LONG drive to Newport on Friday...also hard on the body. I'm bringing the foam roller!

My oh my.
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