Friday, January 28, 2011

Waiting on the Maui race report

I started my Maui post tonight after work, but it's going to take a little time. I did get the race photos (and pay!)--only three of me, but I liked them enough to fork over the bucks. I still need to download pics from my camera, and I'm hoping to get a few from Rod too. Then there's the writing...yeah, it's going to take a little time.

I am back on track with the training, though I admit I've been on the low end of my distance ranges. That's mostly because I am having so much trouble getting up and out in the mornings. Even if I'm up late I have to get to work on time, so that means dropping a mile or two.

I started the week with a 6+ mile run in Lahaina on Monday, my last run in Hawaii. This was also a recovery run from the half marathon. My legs were so heavy when I started that I had serious doubts that I could ever do the Goofy challenge! (That's totally not in the works, I had just thought about it a few times. Like when my niece is a little older, maybe we'll all go to Disneyworld...and if we do, why not go that weekend and do the runs?)

Anyhow, even when my legs eased up I still ran pretty glacially slow. But that's fine. I covered the full distance of Front Street, going south (on the path of the race) until Front Street met the highway on that end, then backtracking north, through Lahaina and past Aloha Mixed Plate, to the highway on THAT end. And back.

I stopped at a place where I was able to order two pineapples to be sent to the office (at the cost of about 10--or more--pineapples from the store), then finished at Foodland and Starbucks. I bought a couple musubi and eggs for our final breakfast, and my last iced Americano from Starbucks (not that I can't have them at home, of course) then walked the third of a mile back to the hotel.

Thanks to the run on Monday, I didn't have to run on Tuesday, so my next run was Wednesday morning. On the plan: 6-8 miles with 5 x 800 speed intervals. What I did: about 6.5 miles with 4 x 800 (half mile) intervals plus one (inadvertently untimed 400). This was a day when I definitely didn't allow enough time for the distance. In order to get the intervals done at all, I bagged the quarter-mile recovery jogs between repeats, and just did about a tenth of a mile recovery. After four I was done, but instead of a final recovery lap, I decided to bust out a 400. Untimed, because I messed up on the start button. A middle school boy ran alongside me for a minute (perhaps to mock me), but although I didn't outpace him he quickly dropped out, panting. Ha. Take that, kid!

My 800s were WAY slower than I was accustomed to. My first one felt so awkward, and was just under 9:00 pace. By the last my legs were remembering what to do a little bit, and I was down to under 8:30 pace. Still slow for a half mile, but showing progress.

Today I originally planned 8-10 miles with six at marathon-pace effort. Even though I didn't have to get up EARLY, I had a rough day yesterday and getting up at all was a challenge. So I stayed in bed way too long and once again was short on time. I knew my miles would be cut.

I started with two miles warm-up on an uphill grade. I planned this intentionally so that my MP miles would start on a slight downhill. I wanted to give my legs a little speed boost.

My old MP goal was 8:45-9:15. I knew this was unrealistic. I was, however, fairly pleased to do 5.5 miles at 9:15-9:30 pace. That's an okay marathon pace, and hopefully I can pick it up over time. Total distance was 7.5 miles, which wasn't TOO far under goal!

I was, however, so far behind schedule that I didn't even have time to take a shower before work. (I did, however, have time to stop at Starbucks.) I mopped myself up, blowdried my sweaty hair (it styles up really nicely that way), got dressed, and hustled off to work. No one was any the wiser.

Tomorrow--long run. 16+ miles. Whoopee!
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Maui Oceanfront Half done!

This is a picture of me by the hotel entrance on our way back. Not the greatest photo, I know. Rod took several good ones before and after the race, and when he emails them to me after we get home--and maybe there will be some race photos too, I'm not sure--I'll do an illustrated race recap.

In short, 2:06:30-ish, which was fine, I was happy with it. Later I can analyze in detail how I could have gone under 2:05 (I know I could have, there were factors). The second hour was warm! By the time I returned to the hotel and the surface sweat had dried up, I could feel a grainy layer of salt on me.

Now we are off for a bit of a driving tour of the north end of the island, then lunch back at Aloha Mixed Plate. Loco moco, here I come!
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

A different kind of bathroom emergency

Don't worry, this isn't one of those "I was running and had a sudden urge..." stories. No clothes were soiled in this incident. (Ugh, TMI even though it's not real? Sorry.)

Anyhow, this afternoon Rod and I were lounging by the pool for a while. The hotel has two really nice pool areas. Not only are the poolside lounge chairs nicer than typical, the larger of the two pools has a whole outdoor room area, with couches and chairs and reading lamps and tables, even a big-screen TV and wireless internet access. You could squat there if you didn't have a hotel room... assuming you didn't get caught and thrown out.

The restrooms are really nice too, roomy stalls with tall wood doors.

So, shortly before we were about to leave I took a quick trip to the bathroom (I drank a lot of water at lunch, hence didn't want to wait to go back to the room.) I popped into a stall, flipped the latch, and did my thing.

Then I flipped the lock open, pushed the door, and...nothing. Thinking I was confused, I turned the lock the other way, and tried again. I did this several times. Needless to say, my pushing grew harder each time. No luck. The door would not budge.

I was trapped in a bathroom stall with an 8-foot tall door that went all the way to the ground.

I started pounding on the door and yelling to try to get someone's attention. This lasted quite a while before a woman came in to find me. (Apparently she worked there, though I didn't know at the time.)

She went and got a maintenance guy and they both wasted some time messing with keys. Obviously, no luck there.

Then the guy went and brought back a ladder. How exactly I was going to get up the 8-foot inside of the door and out the other side where the ladder was, I am not sure!

While I was in there waiting for the ladder to arrive, the woman went out to tell Rod what was going on. Apparently she started with "Kristin is going to be okay..." That may have sounded a little ominous! But once he had the whole story (she advised him not to mock me), he decided to pass the time by taking a swim.

So, back in the fortress. The maintenance guy thought better of trying to have me hurdle the door, and gave me a screwdriver to remove the deadbolt. Then the door handle. FINALLY the locks jiggled loose and I was free!

The whole episode took about half an hour, I guess. It could have been much worse. What if there had been fewer people around? I wonder how long Rod would have waited before coming into the ladies' room? (He had thought I

It really is a nice restroom, but if I use it again I may just take my chances and leave the stall door unlocked!
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Race Day Coming Soon

I enjoy this sign. I pass it coming and going on my Lahaina running route, as well as on the way to Aloha Mixed Plate. I think of it as a landmark..."Soon I'll pass the Jesus Coming Soon church." With three runs and two meals at Aloha Mixed Plate under my belt, I've seen the sign ten times. Jesus hasn't arrived yet! (Forgive my irreverence.)

Tomorrow morning is the Maui Half (and Marathon), and one week since we left home and came to balmy Hawaii! Hard to believe it's still winter. Although it hasn't been super hot here (which is fine with me), the weather has been a lot like a great Washington summer.

It has been a few degrees warmer the last couple days, though. Yesterday (my final pre-race run, 8.25 miles), I did a couple quarter- mile and a half-mile pick-up in the final couple miles. 9:20-9:25 pace on each and it was WORK and WARM. That was around 8 or 8:30 am, which will be in the second half of the race.

I arrived at the number pick-up at the Pioneer Inn this morning a few minutes early, and there was already a little line. By the time I left the line was out the sidewalk! Glad I came early.

I am so glad to be running the half marathon and not the full! I see the full as pretty much nothing but torture. (Don't know why I don't feel the same about all marathons.) The half, however? Just a fun little run along the ocean. Okay, there may be a tiny bit of torture at some point, but it will be short (relatively speaking).

This race will be my fourth half marathon in 23 days and bump me to four moons in the Half Fanatics. I don't see much likelihood that I will ever reach a higher level than that, though. This challenge was quite doable but anything higher seems a little too demanding. Especially if I intend to keep doing the OCCASIONAL full marathon.

In less than twelve hours I will be on the road! In fourteen I will be eating shave ice! (If they sell it at 9 am.)

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011


We are so lucky we arrived here the week AFTER the heavy rains and flooding. We flew in on Sunday afternoon and, except for a few stray drops Sunday night, haven't seen any rain.

Our weather so far has been pretty good. Sunday evening was quite windy, but both yesterday and today have been pleasant, some scattered clouds but enough spells of sun and blue sky to suffice. Temperatures in the mid-70s to 80, mostly, I think.

My secret is that I don't really want it to be TOO hot. Especially in the mornings, when I run! And especially on this coming Sunday morning!

I've been leery to go out and run while it's still dark out (which it is until at least 7 am), so both yesterday and today I ended up out around 8:00. Which has been fine. I wear shorts and a sleeveless top, and I am sweating by the end, but I haven't felt overheated at all. I suppose it would be good to get out earlier for planning purposes, but I am on vacation after all!

Tomorrow will be a rest day as we have an early trip to Molokai scheduled. Thursday may also be an off day depending on how early we leave for a drive to will be quite early, I am sure.

My running course here has been basic but it works. I run north along Front Street in Lahaina from Prison Street till Front Street turns into the highway (that's about two miles). Then I run along the highway for just a bit (there's a wide shoulder) until I veer off onto a dirt trail that parallels the highway and the water. It probably goes a couple miles (maybe a little less) before it starts running into some resorts (Hyatt Regency, etc). Today I continued on through some parking lots and onto the grounds of the Hyatt before turning around and retracing my route back. Final destination, Starbucks!

Yesterday I did 6.7 miles total and I swear, for the first five miles my legs were lead. I was so relieved when they perked up at the end! Today I felt much better from the start and did 8.5 total. As I mentioned, tomorrow is off, Thursday is either off or very short, and Friday will be my last run before the half marathon on Sunday.

On the vacation side of things, yesterday we drove up to Haleakala (the mountain/volcano). Much cooler up there--I was happily wearing a jacket, hat and gloves. On the way back we stopped in Makawao for some cute boutique shopping and dinner at the historic Makawao Steak House.

Sunday night, our arrival day, we headed to Aloha Mixed Plate for some cheap, plentiful local food. Our only misjudment was the distance--we decided to walk and it was 1.5 mile each way! That's not far on my running routes, but after a long flight, when we were starving and not wearing walking shoes, we would have been better off with the car.

However, it filled our bellies! We both got the Ali'i Plate which included (as I recall): lomi salmon (yum), poi (meh), kalua pork (always a yum), lau lau (double yum!), rice (I had brown), and a gelatinous coconut dessert that I don't know the name of. But it was good and apparently Mark Twain really liked it when he was here (per Rod, who read Letters from Hawaii last year).

One more food thing. For lunch today Rod picked up a couple of musubi from the grocery store (at my suggestion). What is that, you ask? Okay, don't be shocked. It's a local favorite. A slab of rice topped with a slice of spam (and some kind of unknown sauce) wrapped in seaweed. They're wrapped in saran wrap for selling. A compact, handy snack or light meal. I liked it! :)
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is this wrong?

Packing way too many sleeveless running shirts for Hawaii and just figuring I can wear them for general use? Yeah, I'm a style icon.
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Clearly, I suck :(

I know I shouldn't take such a negative tone, but seriously, each half marathon I've run this month has been slower than the one before, for no apparent reason. (Except that, you know, see above.)

Let me dismiss the possible reasons quickly.

1. Burnout. Bah! No. I should be able to run 13+ miles on a weekend (at a moderate effort) without LOSING fitness. Isn't practice supposed to make you faster?

2. Race conditions. No. Today was the mildest of all three weekends thus far. No rain. The course did have some hills in the second half, but I was already slower than befor in the first half, which was mostly flat.

3. My preparation. Well. Maybe. I'll come back to this.

Other than my extreme slowness, the Nookachamps half marathon progressed very similarly to last year, except about a minute per mile more slowly.

The first few miles--an uphill or two and some downhill, went pretty well. Last year sub-8:45, this year around 9:30. Then we got into flat farmland. Though this should be easy, the long straight lines seemed to make it hard to hold a pace. Last year I'm sure I was bobbing over 9:00 (I was hoping to stay sub-9). This year my 9:30s dipped closer and closer to 10.

Around 5 miles we went through the town of Clear Lake. This was a nice change! We also went up a short, steep hill. Perhaps because I was travelling with a slower crowd, I noticed more walk breaks around me. I have nothing against that. Frequently those who take breaks then speed up and pass me!

I was not staying under 10:00 in these middle miles. This was rather frustrating, but I didn't seem capable of pushing up the pace. I began to wonder if perhaps I hadn't done a great job of pre-race fueling this time around. I've been trying hard to lose a few pounds, and although I'm not having a lot of success there, I have been pretty strict with my eating. (Except for 200-300 calories of unauthorized treats most days. But I do include that in my totals.) Yesterday I didn't bother with any carb-loading for dinner, and went with a veggie scramble (I have lots of eggs in the fridge) and a double fiber English muffin with light butter and strawberry jam. Low cal and low carb.

With that in mind, at the next aid station I actually passed by then came back to get some (weak) Gatorade. (Lost some time there.) Around mile 7 I ate my Gu, hoping for a boost.

From mile 7.75 to about 9.5 there was an interminable out and about slogging! One difference from last year, though, is I'm sure I was getting a second wind then, while today I was just struggling.

Once back on the main road, we headed uphill to the 10 mile mark. There would be a couple more hills, I knew, but the last mile should be downhill! (By this time we were retracing the starting miles.) I really did try to push myself from mailbox to mailbox, telephone pole to pole! (Last year I did that at close to 8:30 pace...nuff said.)

I crossed the finish line just over 2:11. Another :( My Garmin gave me an exact 10-minute mile pace. The total distance was 13.15, hence the extra seconds.

One other comment about the race NOT about my running...there was a little too much traffic on the quiet country roads and I am sure the cars were not thrilled with runners on the road. At one point in the early miles, a car drove by blaring his horn the whole way with the driver shouting out the window that we needed to go single file. Not in a nice way. I was never sure if this was an irate local or somebody from the race organization trying to get us in line! It was quite disturbing. It's hard to run completely single file and run your own pace.

That was my only complaint, though (except for my own performance). I ran 1.7 mile warm-up beforehand, and I should have run a little more after to bump my total to 15, but my legs DID NOT want to run any more after I finished. So I didn't. 14.85 miles total.

I should mention that I scrapped my run+speedwork on Wednesday due to SNOW. Several inches on the ground overnight. It did go away by the end of the day, but I opted to make that day a rest day anyway.

Next up, MAUI! (I really gotta go pack!)
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lake Samish Half Marathon

I ran my second half marathon of 2011 last Saturday, January 8, up near Bellingham around Lake Samish. The course was 6.5 miles around the lake, doubled for the half marathon (there was also a 6.5 mile race).

The run began at the civilized hour of 10 a.m., which was good as I had my Book Club the night before and didn't get to bed until after midnight. (Book Club menu - Roasted Tenderloin of Beef with Root Vegetables, mini Yorkshire puddings, salad, and sticky toffee pudding made by me for dessert! All was delicious. It was an English theme. An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde and the splendid movie version to watch.)

My mother drove up to Bellingham with me and although we tried to be very early (before 9), we were not early enough to get a parking spot in the park that was the home base for the race. We had to park in the park & ride lot a few miles away and I took a shuttle to the race while my mother stayed in the car. (Yes, for almost three hours. She is a trouper.) There were actually way more people than the shuttle vans could transport quickly...I was lucky enough to get in the first van, but it took so long to transport everyone and get them checked in that the start time was delayed to 10:15.

Before I knew there would be a delay, I did a one-mile warm-up and got into the porta potty line at about 9:45. I got to the front of the line just before 10, about when they were announcing the delay. So I had 15 minutes to pass while I waited. I had decided during my warm-up that I wouldn't need my jacket, even though it was a pretty cool day (upper--maybe mid--30s). I had a half-zip over a long-sleeved shirt, and that was plenty. I even ended up taking off one of my gloves before I finished.

I am definitely still not anywhere near peak half marathon pace, and I knew this would not be a sub-2 hour run. I really wanted to get all my splits under 9:30, but that didn't happen at all, either. I did keep all but one under 10 minutes, and my other miles were fast enough to average 9:40 pace overall. As before, my fastest miles were in the first half, slowing in the second half, except that I did pick up the pace for the final 1.1 mile.

The course around the perimeter of Lake Samish (not the whole lake, we crossed over a bridge at the beginning and middle) was scenic and fairly comfortable to run. Gently rolling, I would call it. It was definitely not flat but none of the hills were epic. (Well, there were a couple that were pretty long, though.) And every uphill eventually had a downhill.

The first half of the race was more crowded, with both half marathoners and 6.5 milers running together. When we came into the last mile of the first half, the road sloped downward almost the whole way, which is nice for a finish. After a bunch of 6.5 milers dropped off, I found myself running almost alone for quite a while. I saw a couple of males ahead of me, but no one else. (No, I had no illusions that I was in the lead of anything! I just hoped I wasn't quite last! Turns out I was neither.)

A couple of miles along, though, two women caught up to me and spent quite some time running ahead or just behind me. One of them was wearing a Portland Marathon finishers shirt. She pulled ahead of me a fair amount, but then I passed her when she stopped for something. Later she passed me again, eventually pulled ahead, and then I never saw her again. The other one was running pretty much the same pace as me. I stayed on her heels for a long time, but in the final mile or so I picked up the pace, passed her, and finished a few minutes ahead of her.

The point of doing these half marathons so early in the year, when I know my times are going to be mediocre, is to give me a fun way to get my mileage up and to push myself to a harder pace (even if not an ideal pace). I was using all kinds of tricks to pass the time. Of course there was my usual story that the first five miles are warm-up, and the second five are "easy." That works a little. I was also doing a little fartlek tempo, running easy for a stretch then pushing it for a bit. I tinkered with my methods a little. For a while it was 3/4 mile easy and 1/4 pushed, then I modified it to 1/2 mile easy, 1/2 mile accelerated. I thought I would try to pick up the pace in the final 5K but, as usual, after mile ten I decided to wait until the final 2.1 miles. I really did push it in the final mile!

I'm not bothering posting my splits because they are nothing to write home about. I crossed the finish line at 2:06:40 (we had chips but only for the finish), which is an average pace of 9:40. A little slower than last Saturday but the course was a little more challenging too.

I've signed up for another half marathon this Saturday (now that snow has been removed from our weather forecast), and then of course have the Maui Oceanfront Half on January 23. After the month of half marathons in January, I will go back to doing long runs on my own and then working on my speed with few shorter, faster (hopefully) races.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Races in Review

It's time to clean up the sidebar and put last year's races (and 2009's for that matter), to rest. They will be compressed into a link to this post, and available at any time for anyone who wants to see how awesome I was! Am. Whatever.

I ran a lot of races in 2010! (Twice as many as 2009.) Here are the overall stats:

Total number - 34 (everything else falls within that total)
Virtual races - 2
Marathons - 3
Half Marathons - 11
30K or thereabouts - 2
15K - 2
8.25 - 1
12K - 1
10K - 6
4 mile - 2
5K - 5
2.67 mile pretending to be 5K - 1

And here is the entire list, in reverse chronological order, with links to race reports or whatever post at least mentioned that race. (I have at least two where my post "promised" a full race report, that I apparently never delivered.)

12/4/10, Skagit Jingle Bell Run, 4 miles, Mount Vernon, WA, 33:20
11/28/10, Seattle Marathon, 4:38:34
11/13/10, Fowl Fun Run 10K, Mount Vernon, WA, 53:07
11/7/10, Mud and Chocolate 1/2 Marathon Trail Run, Redmond, WA, 2:24:45
10/30/10, YMCA Fall Classic Fun Run, 5K, Monroe, WA, 27:06
10/23/10, Lake Sammamish Trail Run Marathon, Redmond, WA, 4:51:29
10/16/10, Point Defiance 30K+ Trail Run, Tacoma, WA, 5:34:04
10/10/10, Portland Half Marathon, Portland, OR, 2:02:26
9/11/10, Fairhaven Waterfront 15K, Bellingham, WA, 1:19:33
9/6/10, Super Jock 'n Jill Half Marathon, Woodinville, WA, 1:59:11
8/25/10, Mama Goes Masters Virtual Race, 8.25 mile, Everett, WA, 1:13:56
8/7/10, National Fitness Day Half Marathon, Seattle, WA, 2:18:31
8/7/10, River & Rails 10K, Arlington, WA, 52:22
7/31/10, Anacortes Art Dash Half Marathon, 1:56:40
7/24/10 at 9:30 a.m., AquaRun 5K, Lake Stevens, WA, 27:05
7/24/10 at 8:30 a.m., AquaRun 10K, Lake Stevens, WA, 51:41
7/11/10, Langley Half Marathon, Langley, WA, 1:58:05
7/4/10, Yankee Doodle Dash 10K, Everett, WA, 50:25
6/26/10, Seattle Rock & Roll Half Marathon, 1:58:23
6/19/10, Run With the Cops 2.67 mi, Redmond, WA 20:53
6/12/10, Berry Run 5K, Marysville, WA, 24:20
6/5/10, Newport Marathon, Newport, OR, 4:10:07
5/23/10, Monkey Run 5K, Snohomish, WA, 23:57
5/22/10, Heroes Half Marathon, Seattle, WA, 2:00:24
5/16/10, Capital City Half Marathon, Olympia, WA, 1:54:44
5/8/10, Inspiring Hope 10K, Mukilteo, WA, 50:25
5/2/10, Bloomsday 12K, Spokane, WA 1:05:17, PR
4/11/10, Whidbey Island Half Marathon, Oak Harbor, WA, 1:55:40
3/27/10, Birch Bay Road Race 30K, Blaine, WA, 2:50:21
3/14/10, Shamrock Run 15K, Portland, OR, 1:19:51
2/27/10, Smelt Run 10K, LaConner, WA, 50:36
2/20/10, Virtual Run for Haiti, 4 miles, Everett, 32:48
2/13/10, Love 'em or Leave 'em Valentine's 5K, Seattle, 24:28
1/16/10, Nookachamps Half Marathon, Mount Vernon, WA, 1:56:17

Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Call Half Marathon 1/1/11

Happy New Year! I celebrated my New Year's Day by getting up at 5:30 a.m. and driving to Bothell for a Half Marathon. (I actually got there way early so I probably could have slept another 15-30 minutes...oh well.) I am also counting this as my Resolution Run for HBBC purposes...hope that's okay.

We have been experiencing a real cold spell and it was probably in the mid-20s when I headed out in the dark. By the time the run started at 8 a.m. it was light (thank goodness), sunny, and probably about 28 degrees. I dressed a lot warmer than I usually do for a race, with a warm mock turtleneck (that I usually wear skiing) and a rather heavy half zip (again, one I've used for skiing and snowshoeing, although with long underwear added, plus a vest or coat). I was actually afraid I might be too warm with the sun out, but I was okay (though not cold). I also wore long running pants, compression socks, gloves, and a regular running hat (I know my head would have been overheated with a warmer hat).

This was a pretty low-key race put on by the First Call Running Club (mostly Maniacs). There were options for a 50K (starting in the dark at 7:00!), a marathon, and the half. Despite the proliferation of Maniacs, a lot of people chose the half. I was a little nervous, as I have only run more than eight miles one time since the Seattle Marathon (eleven miles about two weeks ago). Additionally, we got an email the day before the race that the bathrooms at the park where we were starting might not be open. Eeek!

After I arrived, I checked in then sat in my car for a while to keep warm. Luckily there was a Safeway not too far away, where I could go to use the bathroom before starting. I did my warm-up jogging to and from Safeway (getting a little lost on the way over and going the wrong way at first). My warm-up was about .86 mile.

The race was on the Sammamish River Trail starting in Bothell and running toward Woodinville, where we turned around. Out and back for the half, doubled for the marathon, with something extra for the 50K freaks. The trail was almost all flat, except a bit in the beginning/end.

As I said, I was a bit nervous, but I wanted to see what I could do with a moderate (but not lung-searing) effort. It went quite a bit better than I thought it might, although my splits were quite evenly divided between the first half (pretty good) and second half (just okay). Miles 1-6, 9:20, 9:13, 9:17, 9:20, 9:22, 9:31.

It's pretty obvious that most of my recent runs have been 6-8 miles. Not coincidentally, it was around 8 miles where I started thinking how long this was, and losing my mojo a little. I concentrated on keeping as strong as I could, and using landmarks to push myself a little. I had hoped to make an extra strong push in the final 5K, but that didn't happen (though I was trying, I just didn't go faster!). Miles 7-13, 9:43, 9:45, 9:51, 9:46, 9:45, 9:50, .97 at 9:35 pace.

Yup, the "official" distance was only 12.97 miles. I saw that coming when the turnaround was at 6.49 miles! In fact, I wasn't even sure if that was the right turnaround, but there were arrows on the ground and everyone else was turning there. So I guess it was.

I noted my official time (2:03:50), but kept running so I could have a full half marathon distance for myself. My Garmin time for 13.11 miles was 2:05:27 (9:34 pace). Unfortunately I had slowed for that extra .14 mile and my pace was 10:07 for that bit. Ironic as one of the goals I had for this run was to keep every mile under 10 minutes! Well, I met that for the "official" distance anyway.
There was a club member taking pictures as everyone approached the finish area and later in the day she Facebook messaged us the pictures. How nice! There were actually three pics with me in them. The fourth picture was taken after the race (obviously) with my phone.

Although this was a casual race there was a ton of food at the finish, including pancakes! Plus cookies and brownies, pretzels and other snacky things, and who knows what else. I took a cup of hot chocolate and a peppermint brownie. Then I went back to my car to let my mom and Rod know that I was done.

I drove back to Everett and made a quick visit to Renee's New Year's Day sale. Yes, I bought a cute new outfit. Then home to take care of the cats, and back to Rod's for the Rose Bowl.

Rod has been obsessed with making Onion Soup Mix Dip (carton of sour cream mixed with a packet of onion soup mix), and on Saturday he finally bought the ingredients plus a bag of Tim's Maui Onion Potato Chips. Yes, that dip is just as good as you remember!

He also made us a great New Year's dinner with sirloin steak and a lobster tail, plus collard greens with onions, bacon, and black-eyed peas (to hit some traditional New Year's food). The steak and lobster were great (I'm a lobster lover) but I was really taken with the greens and black-eyed peas. So delicious!

And that was my New Year's Day.

Newport Marathon - the Race

Back in August, I realized that I never finished writing about the Newport Marathon on June 5. I wrote a lot of this post then, while memories were still moderately fresh. I got through the race itself, then stopped. I picked this up a few days ago, planning to finish by the end of 2010, but here we are on January 2...but I am finally ready to hit publish. Here is the story of the Newport Marathon 2010.

The weather on June 5 was miraculously clear and sunny, considering the turbulent weather we had driving down on Friday and the crazy rains that would come on Sunday. The sunny weather was actually a bit too warm for comfortable running (for late spring, considering that we were not acclimated to heat yet), but it would have been worse to be blown about by wind gusts and storms.

At about 6 a.m. I caught the shuttle bus from the hotel to the race start about a mile away. Walking to the start might have been a good option, but I wanted to make sure I got there quickly and reliably. The bus driver was a friendly woman who provided us with a narrated tour of Newport as we drove through.

The race started from Yaquina Bay State Park at 7 a.m., so I had plenty of time after drop-off to jog around (a mile or so) to warm up, plus use the porta-potties a couple of times. Right before start time I took off my jacket and left my drop bag with the bag truck. Then I lined up with the rest of the runners to wait for the start.

The race started out going north through Newport and then looped back through the park at about 3 miles. Those first few miles were just about the perfect pace. Miles 1-3 - 9:15, 9:06, 9:05. I slowed a little when we were running on a boardwalk and on gravel alongside the waterfront. Mile 4-5 - 9:18, 9:22. But then I got back up to speed for the next few miles. Miles 6-8 - 9:04, 9:07, 9:13.

Unfortunately, during those miles I realized I had to go to the bathroom. While I held it through the first half during CIM, this time I decided to go ahead and stop, in case there was a shortage of potties later. Unfortunately, there were a couple of people ahead of me and I had to wait a while for an open door. I went in and out as fast as I could! Mile 9 - 12:07.

The course here was very flat, except I believed it declined lightly (something that would come back to haunt me on the return). Although my pace slowed a little bit, I was running in 9:20-ish range for a very long time. At the bathroom stop I had mentioned to another woman waiting, "there goes my 4-hour marathon." She thought that it could be made up. Maybe it could, if I'd been running closer to 9 minutes than 9:30. Unfortunately, I was not. (I identified this woman by her race number in a picture, and learned that she, at least, finished just a couple of minutes over four hours. Later I found her on Facebook, and almost sent her a message, but decided not to as it might seem a little stalker-like.)

Miles 10-13 - 9:23, 9:16, 9:22. I clearly remember thinking how much I liked half marathons! It's funny how your perspective changes depending on the distance you are running. It was, by this time, hot. I was warm in my sleeveless top, and I don't know how people who were wearing long-sleeved shirts managed! This could explain why I was passing some people, even in the last few miles where my pace slowed quite considerably. Since the race was out-and-back, I was encountering oncoming runners through most of the entire remaining distance. The further along I got, the sorrier I felt for the people who were still on their way "out"!

Except for the beginning parts in town, we were running along the coast most of the way, and it was lovely. On my way back I recognized a few landmarks that I had seen before, and that helped pass the distance.

Miles 14-19 - 9:18, 9:22, 9:22, 9:20, 9:28, 9:24. Consistently about 20 seconds slower than my ideal pace. (But in retrospect—from the rearview mirror that is January 2011—perfectly respectable!)

Even though I was drinking some Nuun from my fuel belt, I also took water at most of the aid stations. I know that slowed me a little (even though I didn't walk), but somehow I just wanted to.

Miles 20-22 - 9:34, 9:26, 9:35. I was slowing a little here, but still plugging along...

It was really only the last four miles that I felt I slowed considerably from the pace I'd been maintaining. I am pretty sure that is because that gradual decline from the beginning was now a gradual incline. (And, oh yeah, I was getting a little tired.) Miles 23-26 - 9:44, 9:45, 9:47, 9:41. About two miles from the finish I got my phone out to let my parents know I was near the end. The only walking I did during this race was a few moments while I got out the phone and put it away, just so I wouldn't start dropping stuff.

I should also mention that I was not doing a good job of fueling. I took a Gu about where I usually do, around mile 8. I got another one out somewhere from mile 13-15, but I could only take about half of it. It was making me a little nauseous. I eventually threw it away and didn't try again. In the Seattle Marathon, months later, I compensated a little for my queasy stomach by taking Gatorade at the aid stations in the final miles, but I don't think I did that here. I did, however, really enjoy a carb/electrolyte drink that they had at the finish later. I drank two cups of it. I still regret that I wasn't able to get the name of it so I could seek it out for myself.

The final stretch was .36 long, and it was still a 9:48 pace. Even with a downhill. Must have been tired....

This is where I stopped writing back in August. How ridiculous to stop just before the finish line! So to speak. I think I was waiting to download some pictures (but the few pictures my mom took were crappy, and the race photo website has thwarted my ability to copy the pictures where my teeny tiny head appears) (and now that I have pulled up the finish line photo I see why there is no freakin' way I would spend money on this picture, I don't even want to steal borrow it!) (same thing goes for the course photo, nice stomach roll there!). I do have a few pictures from Newport and Cannon Beach on my phone, so I will throw them in and call it good.

Final time 4:10:07. (If it had been chip-timed I would have been under 4:10, I'm sure!) Back then that was mildly disappointing, after my BQ at CIM and Newport's reputation as a "fast" course, but now with a couple more (much slower) marathons under my belt, I feel quite pleased about that time and would be happy to post that in my next marathon!

Here is the beautiful Yaquina Bay Bridge. The race started in a park near this bridge, but unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to run across it (the bridge would have taken us in the opposite direction).

As I ran across the finish line there were a couple of young men waiting to assist me—I guess they were prepared for people collapsing at the finish! I was in no risk of that (unlike at CIM). Still, who can say no to a handsome guy waiting for you to fall into his arms? (No, I didn't! I said thanks and walked on.)

After I swilled down carb drink collected my medal and raided the post-race treats picked up my drop bag with my jacket from earlier, I went to pick up my finishers' shirt. I heard comments (and noticed) that the shirts were running a little small. They told me I could come back later (after everyone had finished) if I wanted to exchange my medium for a large. I did do that before we went to lunch. It was no problem getting a large but they were busy trying to track down the few XL shirts that had been ordered (luckily they found them, it would be hard enough to finish a marathon after five or more hours without being deprived of your shirt—hope the XLs fit). I got to see some of the final stragglers finishing. Seriously, I think finishing a marathon in five or more hours is even harder than a faster marathon. You/they are still working very hard but doing it for much longer!

After I finished but before we went to lunch, I went back to the hotel room to rest on the couch for a while. I was lying there perfectly innocently when suddenly I got hit with killer cramps in three separate areas of my legs! As I screamed (yeah, pretty much literally) and writhed and clutched my legs, trying to rub out the cramp, my mother brought me my bottle of Nuun, a banana, and some salty pop chips. I don't know if any of this helped, but I appreciated the placebo effect (especially from the salt), and the cramps receded fairly quickly. I didn't have any further problem with cramping, although of course I still had sore legs and didn't really walk completely normally until the next day.

We went back to Quimby's for lunch (where we'd had dinner the night before). There had been so many yummy things on the menu that we were happy to return. I had fish and chips (one of my favorite treat meals). I may have had a cup of chowder as well; I can't recall. Maybe my dad had chowder and I ate some. Anyhow, there were a lot of fish and chips and I took leftovers away in a box. Then, back at the hotel, I put my swimsuit on and went over to the swimming pool to sit in the hot tub. I know that's the opposite of the usual recommendation for ice baths (which I wholeheartedly support), but it's not often I get a chance to use an outdoor hot tub (as opposed to my bathroom tub). Luckily there were two of them so I didn't have to share with the high school students. I did share for a while with a couple of little boys who were alternating between the pool and the hot tub.

For dinner we drove south to Yachats (pronounced Yah-hots) to eat at the Luna Sea Fish House, a favorite of my parents'. I had a much less decadent meal of locally caught salmon (I think with potatoes and vegetables), and was saddened to learn that they were sold out of desserts. We compensated with McDonalds cones on the way back.

On Sunday I woke up to a downpour. I was so thankful the race had been on sunny Saturday! It was so dark and dreary and wet that we had no desire to spend any more time in Newport (although I'm sure there's a lot of great stuff to see and do). We did drive around a little, checked out the Nye Beach area (from inside the car), and I went into the Sylvia Beach Hotel just so I could see it. It would be a fun place for an English major to stay (all the rooms are named after authors), but if I ever came back for the Newport Marathon again I'd still want to stay at the race headquarters hotel (plus I really enjoyed our two-bedroom suite with kitchen(s) and sitting room, and wouldn't mind staying there for longer either!).

Soon we headed north toward Cannon Beach. We made a few stops along the way...for lunch at a restaurant recommended by Lisa called Tidal Raves. It was great, even though they no longer had the Dungeness Crab and cheddar sandwich she recommended! We also stopped at a little town along the way and did some fun shopping at one of those great general stores that sells everything, books, clothing (very stylish boutique brands), housewares, candy, whatever you might want (as a shopping addict tourist).

Then we stopped at the Tillamook cheese factory. We strolled through the cheese-making exhibits, took a fun picture of my parents, and then (highlight) bought cheese and fudge in the shop, plus ice cream cones! Yum.

Finally we arrived in Cannon Beach and located the Inn at Cannon Beach. What a great place to stay! It's a little expensive, so I am glad we had a weekday special (2 nights for the price of one, Sunday through Thursday except in summer) to take advantage of. They were super friendly, had fresh-baked cookies and bowls of salt water taffy (of which I ate way.too.much) in the lobby at all times, and the rooms and and outdoor landscaping were very nice. It's only about a block from the beach, an easy walk. And practically next door to Mo's, where we ended up getting dinner both Sunday and Monday. (After all the eating we'd done, I was happy to get a giant salad with a pile of shrimp on it both days.)

I took Sunday as a complete rest day. (Well, other than driving and eating stuff.) On Monday I went down to the beach and walked past Haystack Rock and basically to the end of the beach where it runs into town. The round trip walk was about five miles. Earlier we had driven into town and browsed and shopped.
On Tuesday morning I got up pretty early and walked into town on the road. Once again my round trip was about five miles. My legs didn't mind the walking at all, though I was happy not to be running!

We drove home on Tuesday, with a quick stop in Seaside. (I hadn't been to Seaside since college, when my friends and I used to go to the Oregon coast quite a lot.) The main reason was to buy some salt water taffy to take home for Gretchen and Todd (yes, I had absconded with a lot from the hotel, but I brought that to my office). While at the candy shop I had a flashback and decided to buy a bag of caramel corn for the car. I bought what I thought was a rather small size but they piled it full and overfull and we ended up with a lot of caramel corn! We pigged out. It was the best.caramel.corn.ever.

After that we pretty much just drove to get home. We ate lunch of things we had in the car (cheese, crackers, salami, hopefully fruit but I can't remember). And that was the end of my Newport Marathon trip. Seven months later, the tale has finally been told.

Food flashback—Carb loading Spaghetti with Chickpeas

Back in November, before my 30K aka 22.5 mile trail run, I carb loaded with this Spaghetti with Chickpeas dish from Smitten Kitchen. It rocked!
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Click through to the original recipe. I made it pretty much the same, except I reduced the olive oil lots and I also cut down a lot on the amount of pasta I used. That did achieve the objective mentioned in the post of making proportionally more sauce.
Spaghetti with Chickpeas [Spaghetti con Ceci] adapted from Smitten Kitchen

15 ounces can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken stock (or more as needed)
Extra-virgin olive oil as needed (the recipe calls for 5 tablespoons, are you kidding me? One tablespoon should be plenty)
1/2 cup pancetta, diced (a little shy of 2 ounces)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (or several spoonfuls jarred chopped garlic)
Pinch chile flakes
1 14-ounce can tomatoes, chopped (I used fire-roasted)
10 to 15 basil leaves (chiffonaded)
Salt to taste
Barilla Plus spaghetti (I used 6 ounces/3 servings)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Set 1/3 cup of chickpeas aside.

In a food processor (I have a mini-version), combine remaining chickpeas with chicken stock and pulse a few times until chickpeas are chopped.

Place a large pot over medium heat and add a little olive oil (1-2 teaspoons) plus olive oil spray oil and diced pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned. You can put a piece of foil over the pot to minimize splatters. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes (with a little more oil, another teaspoon, if needed). Continue cooking until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, or tastes like it could use an additional minute’s cooking time. Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Toss pasta with chickpea sauce, reserved chickpeas and half of the reserved pasta water until evenly coated and heated through, about one minute. Add more of the reserved pasta water if needed.

I recommend serving on a big bed of raw spinach and topping with grated Parmesan (1/2 ounce grated with a microplane is a nice amount). I estimated that 1/3 of this (which is a very generous serving) would have about 525 calories.