Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rock and Roll and stuff

The good news: 1:55:10. The bad news: 1:55:10. Ha. Kidding. Sort of.

I don't really think there's anything wrong with a solidly sub-2 half marathon (it is my fastest in 2011). I'm pretty satisfied with my time and the general evenness of my splits (more on that in a mo). would have been nice to be a little closer to a PR (sub-1:53). Buuuuut...I am still a little envious of all the mid-1:50s halfers who have broken 1:50 this year (I read a lot of running blogs). Buuuuut...8:45 pace,* while solid, is so predictable and wouldn't it have been nice to surprise myself with something faster?

The Seattle R 'n' R half is actually a great course for me and it plays to my strengths. It's a nice combination of mostly gentle hills, up and down, plus flat. The uphills are matched by downhills, so you do get a reward for your efforts. My typical training routes include both up and down hills and I have been working on running strong on the ups and making the best of the downs.

It turns out that about half of my miles were in the 8:40s, a few were around 9, and a few were 8:30 or below. Yup, that looks like 8:45 to me!

Okay, I went and grabbed my Garmin so I could look at the details....

1 - 8:48
2 - 8:43
3 - 8:49
4 - 8:47
5 - 9:03 (long uphill)
6 - 8:23 (long downhill)
7 - 8:45
8 - 8:55
9 - 9:01 (most of this mile was through a tunnel with no satellite was flat and easy but I don't like the tunnel so I probably was lagging...and I had no Garmin pace to encourage me to pick it up)
10 - 9:01 (no idea what was going on here, it may have been somewhat uphill coming into downtown Seattle, or maybe just general fatigue....)
11 - 8:48
12 - 8:31
13 - 8:23
.15 - 7:27 pace (woohoo!)

I was happy to see that I had the capability to pick up the pace in the last couple miles, but wonder why I couldn't do that in a few more of the early miles? Of course I didn't want to burn out by going too fast in the beginning. I felt like I was running at a pace that required effort but not excessive work. I wanted to have strong times at the 5K and 10K mats as my mom was getting text updates (5K just a bit over 27, 10K just a hair under 54). There was apparently also a "9-mile" mat but it must have been in the wrong place because my time was way off.

I was pleased at how solid my pace was on the hills. I know I was slower than 9-minute pace at times but I managed to pull out the averages. Same thing (in reverse) for the downhills.

After last year I didn't intend to run R 'n' R Seattle again. I signed up this year because some other plans fell through. I am planning to have other plans again next year but I wouldn't rule out ever doing it again. The half, I mean. Never, ever the full.

My mom and I stayed at the Days Inn Tukwila South and I would definitely stay there again for the event. Yes, it is just a humble Days Inn, but we have stayed in any number of rather expensive European hotels that are slightly less nice than a basic American budget motel, so our standards are not high. As long as it is clean and vermin-free, we are there! Any special bonuses and we will rave like the Ritz. The benefits to this Days Inn--literally right around the corner from the starting line, plus a Starbucks nearby which I didn't take advantage of but would in future. Also complimentary breakfast (not early enough for me, but my mom went), and best of all (according to my mom), quick and easy access to the freeway for departure. Yes, it is right next to the freeway, but surprisingly, the noise didn't disrupt my sleep at all. I slept as well or better than any other pre-race night.

On Friday morning I took a hiatus from work to zip down to the Expo and packet pick-up. This was a great idea because afternoon traffic was bad even on the freeway, I can't imagine battling downtown Seattle on the night of a Mariners game! I was back at work at 12:30, then we went straight to Tukwila later in the afternoon.

We ate dinner at Grazie Ristorante near Southcenter. I had a primavera salad (which turned out to have just vegetables, no lettuce, a surprise to me!) and linguine Marco, with roasted chicken, capers, roasted garlic, feta, pine nuts, white wine and feta. The sauce was a lot more buttery than I expected, but it was delicious!

Afterwards we drove around for quite a long time looking for Starbucks so I could buy coffee to save for morning. I hadn't noticed that we had a coffee maker in the room, though regardless I would have preferred the Starbucks anyway. It was quite a frustrating endeavor, as we drove up and down the same roads. Meanwhile it was raining hard, which added to the stress as I imagined what similar weather would be like in the race.** Finally we found success at Barnes and Noble, and I acquired my Americano doctored with cream and splenda. I did drink a few sips to soothe myself on the way back to the motel. Especially when we took a wrong turn and ended up in a scary industrial area. My iPhone map app put us back on track.

Back at the Days Inn we had cake from work for dessert, and then called it a night.

Here I am this morning ready to run! It's the only picture I have until there are race photos.

I had a Goodwill jacket for the beginning which I tossed after a mile. After I finished I went over to the merchandise tent and bought a light jacket to wear in case I got chilled after my body temp cooled. I also got a "free" Rock Seattle tee shirt with my purchase which I like as much as anything I could have bought. (Actually I could have bought it at the Expo but they gave them away after the race.)

I was a little smarter about my departure than I was last year and was able to catch the bus at the International District station instead of walking all the way downtown. My mom met me at the Northgate transit center and we went to Sunflour Cafe for a lovely late breakfast. Banana sourdough pancakes and bacon. Oh yeah.

*My average pace of 8:45 is based on a distance of 13.15. My official pace was 8:48.
**But it wasn't like that! The weather for the run was perfect, cloudy and 50s. I don't know what it warmed up to later, but it was very pleasant for the first two hours.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tiny taper!

And the taper for Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon begins...NOW! Actually it began at 7:45 this morning, when I left the Y, and it's not so much a taper as a rest and recovery period for my legs before the race on Saturday morning. Approximately 47 hours of coddling should have them ready to run, I hope!

I've probably written before that I don't follow a full-fledged taper for a half marathon or shorter distance race, but I do like to have at least one full rest day before any race where I want to try for a good performance. For major races, either longer (marathon, half) or races where I hope to PR, I actually like to have two days off running to feel my best. For Saturday, I had originally planned on doing my usual Y thing on Thursday (elliptical, yoga), then taking Friday as a full rest.

But my ankle and heel have been pretty flared up in the last couple days (probably as a result of my speed work yesterday), and as I limped around the house getting ready to go to the Y this morning, I decided that this was it. I'd do the morning workout then call it good. Hopefully I can remember to ice my ankle tonight, I think that helps a little. I should have done it last night but I didn't. I would like the discomfort to go away, but I am not too concerned about any effect on the race. The pain almost always goes away once I'm warmed up.

I don't have a specific goal for the race on Saturday. I feel prepared to do well, but I don't want to set my expectations too high. On the other hand, I would like to do a little better than just running at goal marathon pace (which would give me about a 1:58). Last year I had a 1:58 but that was with a bathroom stop, so in fact I was running a bit faster than the time would indicate. My speed work and other runs seem to suggest that I am about back to where I was last year.

My final run was yesterday, Wednesday morning, and it went great (although perhaps it was a little too long). Everything went exactly as planned.

  • 2.2 miles - warmup. 10:07, 9:38, plus .2 at 9:51 pace.

  • 3.1 miles - tempo/fantasy race pace. 8:23, 8:23, 8:17, plus .1 at 8:37 pace. My goal for those miles was 8:30 pace. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to make it, so I pushed it a little too hard!

  • .45 recovery - 9:36 pace

  • 4 x .25 miles at the track, with short recovery jogs in between - 1:52 (7:25 pace), 1:52 (7:21 pace), 1:52 (7:26 pace), 1:48 (7:10 pace)

  • .70 recovery at 9:14 pace

  • .27 recovery at 8:59 pace
I mistakenly hit the lap button during the final recovery, that's why it's split up. I didn't realize I was so close to a full mile! Total distance 8.07 miles (yeah, that extra .03 would have rounded things up nicely--but I was already running late).

I also went to yoga last night, the Wednesday version of my Monday class. I really enjoy this class and instructor; I may have to try to go twice a week more often. The reason I don't is that it's a little bit far away from me and is at 7:30 p.m., which means I don't get home until 9:00. I'm in the habit for Mondays, but adding another late night would be hard. My Thursday yoga class (which I will skip tonight in favor of rest) is at 7:15, but only a mile from my house so I still get home at 8:30.

I am also trying to do some judicious carb loading. You know, not pigging out but getting some glycogen in my system. Waffles for breakfast!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Portland Marathon training begins!

Last week I was tinkering with potential marathon training schedules for Portland. I planned on a 12-week plan, which would allow me to start it in July. That seemed long enough considering that I still have a good base. My idea (which I did adopt) was to jump into an 18-week format around Week 5.

But as I plotted out the long runs from week to week it seemed apparent that Week 5/my Week 1 should be the week that ended with the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll half marathon. (This week!) That would be equivalent to a 14-mile long run (with a warm-up), and subsequent weeks would fall right into line.

That leaves a couple of extra weeks to play with, which is good because I do have plans on a couple of weekends that don't fit nicely into the training plan. I figure I can just slip those weekends in and resume the "plan" the following week.

I still have some tinkering to do, as I have only actually written out the "long run" schedule and the remainder of each week still needs to be specified. I'm sure I'll work with my usual pattern of one recovery/general aerobic run, one speedwork (track or tempo), one marathon pace run, and one long run each week. I managed to narrowly avoid scheduling a 20-miler on a weekend when I am going to be out of town with Rod and his sister. Somehow I think my spending half a day running would not add a lot to our weekend plans!

I am feeling pretty good about the Rock 'n' Roll half on Saturday, as well as the weeks of training to follow. All my runs lately have been good. Last Wednesday I did eight half-mile intervals all under 8-minute pace. On Friday I did 6.36 miles GA (I had to be at work early). Then there was the 5K race on Saturday and a great long run on Sunday, 13.28 miles at sub-9:30 average pace.

Today, though the first day of the training plan, is a non-running day. I think it's always good to start marathon training with a semi-rest day, don't you?

Cross country

On Saturday I ran my first ever cross country 5K (or cross country race of any kind). I've run tons of road races (obviously), and several trail "races," but never a full-fledged cross country race. I know this one was because it was at Lakewood High School and the cross country coach was in charge.

I learned that a cross country course is a bit of a hybrid between a trail run and road run. Actually there aren't roads, but this one had a bit of pavement and track, a cross country trail through the woods (a lot like trail running, but not technical, just dirt and gravel), and some actual cross country across fields and such.

This run was in memory of Lakewood High student athlete Scott Skiles who died almost five years ago in a car crash just before his senior year. It raised money for the school's booster club and scholarship fund. They had both a 5K and one-mile event.

On Friday night I prepped for the race by hanging with the Book Club ladies, eating vast amounts of chocolatey food, watching the movie Chocolat, and even drinking (unusual for me) about 2/3 bottle of chocolate stout. Not only do I rarely drink, I never drink beer--but this paired nicely with the chocolate hummus that I made.

Yes, I said chocolate hummus...chocolate peanut butter hummus, to be exact.

No, that is not a bowl of is delicious chocolate PB hummus.

One 15-oz. can garbanzo beans
3 oz. smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend everything in food processor until smooth. Add water while processor is running, until hummus is desired consistency. Serve on whatever you please!

I promise you it is very good. I may in fact have eaten way.too.much. Even though I thought I ate modestly of everything else, suddenly at some point my stomach was overly, uncomfortably full. I had to unzip my jeans, and when we finally started the movie, I fell asleep during at least the first half (I was up really early that morning).

The rest of our Chocolat menu....not everything was chocolatey. Cheese fondue with bread and veggies, fruit with caramel, peanut butter and nutella, deviled eggs, chocolate martinis (I stuck with the beer as it was "lighter"), bacon-wrapped shrimp with spicy barbecue sauce, chocolate marinated flank steak (made by me), grilled asparagus, tossed salad. For dessert I brought a decadent chocolate ganache layer cake, but we were too full to eat it and I sent everyone home with big pieces.

When I got home at 1 a.m. I was no longer painfully full, just full, so I had a tiny slice of cake just to try it. Mmmmyumm.

I got together my stuff for Saturday and set the alarm for 6. That wasn't a lot of sleep!

Saturday morning was grey and drizzly. Too bad, the last few days had been quite nice and the weather turned just in time for the weekend. Of course.

I got up to Lakewood High at 8 and the 5K wasn't until 9:30. There was a one-mile race at 9 and I thought I might incorporate that into my warm-up. I picked up my bib and used the bathroom. Then I walked up to check out where the races began. I still had time to sit in my car with the heat on for a while before I warmed up.

Finally I dragged myself out of the car and started jogging around to warm up my legs. I ran around the track a couple of times then up to the starting field. I did a couple more laps then stood behind the line-up of one-mile runners.

I followed the group across the field at brisk jog. I couldn't help but pass some of the slowest runners. I noticed that running on grass is harder than pavement...not that that's news. I was going about 9:30 pace.

Just ahead of me there was a little boy, about eight years old, who would run a little, stop to walk, then start running again when I approached. I decided to run along and pace him, encouraging him to keep going. That was quite a challenge because he was breathing hard and half crying all the way. I started using the tricks I use on myself, like run to the guy in the blue coat, run to the fence, etc. A couple of times he did stop, but I coaxed him along and pretty soon we got to the final stretch, the track. I saw the finish clock ahead and thought he might finish under 10 minutes! He ran hard and although the clock passed 10, it was only by a few seconds. He did a great job!

I veered off to the side, bypassing the finish line, and continued around the track to the cut-off to the parking lot, where I dropped off my jacket at the car and headed back up to the starting area. After jogging around the field a couple more times, my total warm-up distance was 3.1 miles.

Then we all gathered along the "starting line," e.g. edge of the field. There were maybe 30-40 people running. A bunch of them were high school cross country kids, but there were a few adults as well. Meaning, some assurance that I wouldn't finish last!

Although I have done a few trail races, none have been at race pace effort, so this was a brand new race experience for me. I was pretty certain I would not be able to manage a sub-8 5K pace, so I hoped just to average sub-9. I really didn't know what was realistic.

I hurtled across the starting area with a pretty hard effort. The speedy younger folk soon disappeared into the distance, but other than that I was holding my own. The first mile was around the field, across some sort of grassy area, and down alongside the track for a bit. Several times along the course we had to run down grassy hills. The first time I was nervous of falling and a coach-like guy told me just to let myself go with it. I did better the next couple times.

I wish I could remember the course well enough to describe it, but my recollection is fuzzy. This is what I remember: grass, dirt, more grass, pavement, grass, trail through woods (dirt and gravel), two short steep gravel hills, more grass and dirt, repeat trail and hills, grass again, track and FINISH. The trail in the woods was probably about 3/4 mile long and it is the school's cross country trail.

The course was fun to run, but one of the things I found challenging, particularly on the trail, was to keep myself running hard and not lapse into easy running. This type of terrain seems so suited to leisurely jogging. I did push pretty hard, though. My first mile, which was before we got on the trail, was 8:16.

For the first mile or so, after everyone spread out, the closest people around me were a couple of males about my age or older. One was behind me and the other remained consistently ahead of me. As we crossed a field about halfway through, though, I saw him stop to walk a bit. I don't know if he had gone out too fast or what. Obviously I passed him there and he never got back ahead of me. The hills on the trail took their toll and mile 2 was 8:37.

At some point after that I caught up to a younger guy (20-29 AG), wearing lacrosse shorts, and ran on his heels the rest of the way. When we got to the final stretch on the track, however, youth prevailed, and though we both sprinted hard to the finish he pulled ahead and finished several seconds ahead of me.

I really, really wanted to finish under 27 minutes and my Garmin time says 26:59. I tried not to push stop prematurely so hopefully my actual time was a second or two faster. Mile 3 - 8:40. I really did gun it on the track, though, and my pace for the final .2 miles was under 7:40, I believe.

My total race distance was 3.2 miles. (Average pace of 8:28 per mile for that distance.) I can really see how distances can be inexact in cross country, considering that often you are just running across fields instead of on a precisely marked road. There was one place in this race where I came out on one side of a soccer field, and my destination was an opposite corner, so I just ran diagonally across. Thank goodness I didn't run around the edge or my distance would have been much further!

Click on "aerial" to view terrain!

I had been running in a short sleeved shirt, and it was raining or drizzling throughout the race, so by the finish I was more than damp. I didn't want to go all the way back to my car for a jacket, though perhaps I should have. Instead I opted for a post-race massage, since I was standing right next to the tent and they had a spot immediately available. Perhaps because there wasn't a line-up, my massage was way longer than a typical free massage. I must have been there half an hour. Halfway through they gave me a blanket as I was getting cold.

The massage therapist said she wasn't accustomed to sports massage (neither am I, actually, I just take whatever I can get), but she did a great job, really getting into my sensitive spots (glutes, quads, calves), and even doing some stretching. At the end I did start getting anxious about the time, as there were other people waiting and the awards were about to begin! I was sure I had won my age group, primarily because I wasn't even sure there was anyone else in my age group! I grabbed half a bagel to refuel while I waited.

First they did the one-mile awards. My little running companion, Grayson, won his age group!

Then the 5K, and none too soon. I was shivering in the damp. I got my first place AG medal and there were 2nd and 3rd place females behind me! They may have been walkers...but a win is a win! I would have liked to leave then, but it seemed awkward considering that we were in the bleachers and I would have had to cross in front to get past. Plus I wanted to wait to see if my secretary's son, Arjin, won anything. He's quite fast but so is his age group, 30-39. In the end he was second. The winner had a 16-something time! Unbelievable!

Here's me and Arjin after the awards.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oregon Coast weekend

I'm writing this hoping to pass time while riding in the car, heading home from a weekend on the Oregon coast. I am a terrible car passenger if I have to sit for more than an hour or so. My back tightens up and I am constantly wriggling and readjusting myself to try to get comfortable. Today (and on the drive south on Friday) my left glute has been pinching me (sometimes down the back of my leg), and it is quite bothersome. Just the left side. I guess that's better than both sides.

So I am hoping to distract myself with hunting and tapping on the iPad. (I've already finished my Runners World magazine and read a bunch of blogs. Trying to break things up a little.)

Rod and I spent the weekend in Gearhart, Oregon (just north of Seaside) at the Gearhart Ocean Inn. I had bought a Living Social deal which would have been great except that I bought one for my parents as well. For various reasons they didn't make their reservations prior to the June 1 booking deadline, and now they can't use it. So my deal was actually no deal, as I ended up paying double. Before we left I asked if I could still book for them (since the voucher is good in the fall), but they said no. I was truly on the verge of tears. I was so sad because I had really thought my parents would have enjoyed Gearhart. I did tell the manager that I would never come there again, and I wasn't being mean-spirited, I truly could not bear to go there again after this. I do understand them "needing" to enforce the rules (after all, it's much more advantageous for them to take my money and not give me anything in return), but they only sold a limited number of packages, so I do think they are being a little mean-spirited. (Added later: I have been looking into whether I can talk them into at least honoring the face value of the voucher, based on state laws regarding expiration of gift certificates. I'm still thinking on it.)

Anyhow. Enough sour grapes.

Friday morning I got up early enough before our planned departure to squeeze out about 8.6 miles. 2.2 miles easy warm-up (> 10 minute average pace) followed by 6.2 miles sub-9. Well, the first of those was 9:05 but the rest were enough under to average out. Then .2 to the door of Starbucks.

I had packed the night before (as usual, a stress-filled experience, I don't like packing!), so I was able to eat breakfast and get dressed fairly quickly. Rod picked me up about 10:00 and we headed south. And west, then south again.

Even though Rod went to law school in Eugene and has spent plenty of time in Oregon, he's never been north of Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast, or south of Westport in Washington. I, on the other hand, have been to Ocean Shores and Long Beach (WA) many times, as well as the northern and central Oregon coast. So I was kind of the tour guide and he was the wide-eyed tourist (or wild-eyed, haha).

On the way down we headed west from Olympia to Montesano and Raymond. My plan was to have lunch in Astoria, right across the border. That put lunch a little late in the day; I think we got to Astoria around 2:30. I was glad I'd had a pretty good breakfast.

The Astoria Bridge from Washington to Oregon is amazing. It's over four miles across the Columbia River, and it climbs quite steeply on the Astoria side and circles into town. There is actually a 10K in October called the Great Columbia Crossing where you run across the bridge from Washington to Oregon. I have been interested in this race for a while but I am not sure it is worth the trip for a 10K. (Plus it's a week before the Portland Marathon so I'm already traveling for that.)

We had lunch at a bakery cafe called the Blue Scorcher. What I'd failed to realize in my Internet search was that it's a vegetarian cafe. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) We both had grilled portabella sandwiches. They were good and I think Rod liked his too, even though he said something about a ribeye for dinner....

Gearhart is only twelve miles south of Astoria, so we arrived pretty quickly and checked into our room. After settling in, we headed down to walk on the beach, of course. There's about a quarter mile walk across the dunes (which is typical for the coast), then a bit of really soft sand before we got to the hard packed sand. The hard pack was great for walking, running, and biking. (It's hard enough for driving, but there can be difficulty with the soft we saw with an unlucky car on Saturday.)

To the south we could see the buildings of Seaside, so we decided to walk down the beach and see if we could make it to Seaside. We were able to walk about a mile before running into a river-like section of water that we could not ford. So we turned back. Seaside would have to be reached by car.

For dinner we crossed the street to the Pacific Way Cafe. This is a really wonderful cafe (with attached bakery open in the mornings) in a historic building that was once a boarding house and grocery store. They have a nice eclectic dinner menu, plus a selection of pizzas. I was really wanting pizza, so I ordered a side salad with grilled steak (for protein) plus a pear, gorgonzola, and walnut pizza (I got a medium and saved the leftovers for breakfast). Rod had a New York steak (probably still suffering from the veggie lunch). We also ate our way through a generous bread basket (deeelicious bakery bread) and shared a marionberry crisp for dessert.

Saturday morning I headed out for a run. Gearhart might not be so great for a long run, but I was able to put together a medium length run. I planned to run on the beach but wanted to get a few miles in first. I ended up running about a mile along 101, which luckily I didn't ever need to do again after I got a better sense of the town geography. I ran up by the golf course and through some streets of fancy beach houses at that end of town. I stopped to check out the menu at McMenamin's Sandtrap restaurant (and use the bathroom), then back down to our end of town, where I braved the beach. I only had time to do about a mile and a half on the beach, but the running was good. I was doing about a 10:30 pace on the hard sand, which was about the same as my easy road running that morning. (For the weekend, I abandoned my "sub-10 easy" efforts.) Total distance, town plus beach, 7.77 miles.

I stopped at the Pacific Way Bakery for an Americano and couldn't resist a delightful-looking cherry almond scone. I ate about 3/4 of it along with 1.5 pieces of the pizza for my breakfast.

After I got dressed we checked out bikes and took them for a pedal around town and along the beach. We accessed the beach at the north end of town, which is where we saw the unlucky car stuck in the sand. They were trying to get out on their own when we first saw them. The tow truck was arriving just as we returned from our beach riding a while later.

Riding on the hard sand was so fun! I never realized that a one-speed bike could be so fun and easy to ride. I took some pictures of Rod as we were riding along. I was impressed (with myself) at how well they turned out!

Then a couple posed shots.

Does this bike make my butt look big? Yes, yes it does.

After we finished with the bikes we walked over to the Gearhart Grocery (across the street from the bakery and cafe) and bought deli sandwiches for lunch. I went with my traditional turkey and havarti (mustard, no mayo). Rod went all out with two kinds of meat and two cheeses! All on Dave's Killer Bread. We are in Oregon, after all. I also bought some fruit, oranges and grapes and, by request, a peach for Rod. We ate in the hotel garden, in the sun.

I could have spent a lot more time lounging in the garden, reading and soaking up some almost warm rays (maybe in the 60s?). But we had some touristing to do.

First destination, ten miles south to Cannon Beach. I had stayed in Cannon Beach last year after the Newport Marathon, and noticed how much the town had grown in the years since I'd been there. Since Rod has never been to Cannon Beach, and was accustomed to his memories of sleepy Oregon Coast towns from twenty years ago, he was a little blown away by the crowds of people and blocks of shops and restaurants, not to mention dozens (hundreds?) of hotels, motels, and inns. We were primarily there to see Haystack Rock, so we parked (lots of good parking in Cannon Beach) and walked across the street to the beach.

I tried to take a picture of us, but Haystack Rock did not get in the picture and the sun messed up the lighting. It was also pretty windy.

We didn't feel like shopping, so we returned to the car and headed to Seaside. Before going into town we made a quick stop at the Nike outlet store. I finally got a new pair of running capris! The two pairs that I have are old and wearing out. I'm not going to stop using them, but I wanted a new pair in case they went south. These were only $10 off regular price (hardly a deal), but since there's no sales tax in Oregon and I need them, I thought it was okay.

Then we drove into downtown Seaside. Did I mentioned Rod was accustomed to a quiet Oregon coast? Seaside was complete cultural overload for him! I think it might be a little like a New Jersey seaside town. Arcades, candy shops, tons of tacky tourist shops, and a frenetic tourist vibe. Part of it might have been the sunny day...Northwesterners go a little crazy when the sun comes out after a long, dark, wet winter. The beach was packed with wannabe sunbathers (like Waikiki beach, haha). We walked along the Promenade and marveled at the huge, almost tenement-like hotels. At least when we got to the south promenade it was a little less populated.

We were looking for a restaurant that Rod had read about in a magazine. I will say, when we found it, it looked very nice and I'm sure the food would be great. But it was just mid-afternoon and we really didn't want to hang out for two or more hours until dinner.

I must mention that Seaside is a very historical is where Lewis and Clark ended their Oregon Trail journey. Here I am with the Lewis and Clark statue on the promenade.

We went into a few shops and checked out the indoor carousel. All the carnival type rides are inside, which is just weird. Pretty soon we were happy to get in the car and head back to sleepy Gearhart.

We are just hermits, I guess. We prefer semi-deserted beaches and quiet streets and sidewalks. Back in town we walked a couple of blocks to check out a couple of shops I was interested in. One was an antique and gift shop. Really it was more decorative gifts than antiques, but I loved everything. In fact, I found a Father's Day gift for my dad! It's an embroidered "England" pillow just like my commemorative Boston Marathon pillow. Almost every city, location, and landmark is somewhere my dad has been in England. At first I resisted because it was so expensive, but after I looked up the manufacturer's website where it cost even more, I ran back to the shop to get it before they closed.

The other shop was a small nursery and garden store. We had a nice little botanical experience walking through the plants. Rod was impressed with the reasonable prices but we were not able to haul a large Japanese maple home in his Subaru.

When we abandoned the idea of eating in Seaside, we decided to go back to the Pacific Way Cafe instead. We made a reservation for 6:00, which was a good idea as they were fairly busy. They were happy to see us back! So they claimed. We do eat well, and also keep them busy filling our water glasses.

We had both pretty much decided what to order, when we learned that the special was fresh caught razor clams! (Fried, of course, how else would you fix them?) Thats what we got, of course. I also had a cup of the soup du jour, a light yam and corn chowder, and Rod had French onion soup. The dinner came with a small salad, green beans, and mashed potatoes. (Plus the bread basket.) I only had a couple bites of potato, because I wanted marionberry crisp again! Rod had coconut cream pie. We were full.

For the final activity of the day, we walked back to the beach to watch the sunset. Unfortunately a bank of clouds rolled in and obscured was also pretty cold! I was ready to head back as soon as the sun disappeared.

On Sunday morning I was out a little earlier to get my run in before we left. Once again I was running at vacation pace. Today, though, I had a better idea of where to wander around town to get in a few miles (I think four) before hitting the beach. I got onto the beach at north Gearhart, ran as far as I could south, then retraced my route back. To make the distance pass, I ran from log to log. At my turnaround, I took a picture of Seaside in the distance.

I did about three miles on the beach before returning to the streets. I reached the bakery at 8.18 miles (putting my week's mileage solidly over 40). At the bakery I got my Americano, plus some scones and bread for my parents.

Finally, on our way out of town we stopped for breakfast at McMenamin's Sandtrap. It was good that we had a hearty breakfast, since the drive home was long and grueling! Working on this post did get me through the last couple of hours in the car. (That was about half of this, I finished the rest tonight.)

I brought the bakery stuff to my parents, and hung out with Eva a little. Then I went to Rod's and he barbecued steaks for our last weekend dinner. Now it's late and only a night's sleep remains of my weekend!

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

On the seventh day, I rested

I think if God could take a rest day, I can too, right? (On my training schedules, Sunday is always day seven.) So, after two quality medium-long runs (one of which could probably be called "long"), today I gave my legs a break from running and even from cross-training. I think they needed it; with the weekend runs plus my speed work from Wednesday, my legs have been feeling rather tired and achy. I hope this will leave me fresh for the new week tomorrow.

Friday - pace run. 9.5 miles with 7.5 at ??? pace. The ??? is because my actual pace was a little better than marathon pace but not fast enough for half marathon pace. I had planned to do a few miles at around 9:00 and then push toward 8:30. But circumstances conspired to keep me around 9:00 until the final 1.5 miles. I had to stop twice to take work calls. The second one was so long that I completely cooled off and my legs stiffened up. It was an effort just to revive my 9:00 pace, let alone pick it up. But my final full mile was around 8:38 and the last half mile (.57 actually) was sub-8:00 pace (7:59 to be exact). So I felt it was a success anyway.

Saturday - long run. Planned distance -14 miles. Actual distance - 15 miles. Running time 2:27:09, average pace 9:49. Yesterday was our nicest, warmest day this year and I headed out in a sleeveless top and shorts at 9 a.m. My legs felt pretty tired and heavy, so with that plus the unaccustomed warmth, I wasn't sure I could maintain a sub-10 "easy" pace.

My first two miles were warm-up pace at 10:32 and 10:17. Mile 3 was downhill so I picked up the pace (9:31) and passed the 5K distance at 31:03 (10:01 pace). Now I just had to maintain a 10-minute pace for the remainder.

My route had some decent hills, ups but also downs, and I was ticking off some decent miles pretty easily. (Well, as easy as running ever is.)

The splits are a little off because my watch shut off during a bathroom stop so I have a couple partial miles in there.

Mile 4 - 9:30
Mile 5 - 9:55
Mile 6 - 10:01(long hill)
Mile 7 - 9:54
Mile 8 - 9:52
Mile 9 - 10:03 (short, steep hill, but it's the last hill!)
Mile 10 - 9:48
Mile 11 - 9:32
Mile 12 - .2 at 9:34 pace
Mile 13 - 9:36
Mile 14 - 9:41
Mile 15 - 9:30
Mile 16 - .8 at 9:26 pace

I am pleased with the negative splits, but I recognize that it's partially due to the road terrain.

Later in the day we had a combination birthday party for Rod and my niece Eva, who will be two this week.

Here's Rod and me in our party hats enjoying dessert (with lighting problems due to the sunshine, even though it's almost 8 p.m.).

I gave Eva twin baby dolls for her sister is having twins in a month or so! Even though this is not the greatest photo, you can see Eva with her babies.

That crazy Bo Peep outfit she is wearing was a gift from my mom...usually she has better taste.

Today I spent many hours in a chair in the sun, reading blogs and books on my iPad and sipping iced coffee. I spent a lot of time trying to get a decent self portrait with the iPad camera and I have not really succeeded yet! I always seem to come out looking distressed....

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

National Running Day

I almost always love running when I'm finished, often love running while I'm doing it, and almost never love running before I start. Hence another morning when I managed to convince myself to wait until after work to go running. Even though I knew it would be no more appealing then.

In the morning my mind is willing to run, but my body is weak. And tired. And achy. In the afternoon my body is good to go, but my mind is cluttered and agitated from the stresses of the day. I know that many people run to relieve stress and anxiety. Stress makes me want to not run (although it does help the stress go away once I get going).

So there I was today, after meeting with a particularly toxic client, and then going to two grocery stores to get the best price on Copper River salmon, and all I wanted to do was go work out at the Y and read blogs on my iPad. Or crawl into bed with my iPad, either one. I actually contemplated postponing my run to Thursday morning, a couple of times. But each time I thought, "but it's National Running Day!"

And so I went. Two and a quarter miles warm-up, then the track for 800s.
Seven...if I could (I kept open the option of quitting at any time). There were two different softball games being played in different corners. I was a little worried about spectators or players getting in my way, but mostly they stayed off the track. I thought having so many extra people around might slow me down, but possibly it made me a little faster. Either that or I am actually getting faster...nah....

As usual the first two were hard, the next one was hard, the one after that was hard...well, you know. But after four I was on the second half countdown and the end was in sight. Many of my 800s were a little more than half a mile long due to some weaving on the track. My paces:

7:36 (where did that come from?)
7:48 (even though I had to stop when a little girl ran in front of me)

I jogged about a quarter mile between each repeat, and did an easy lap around after I finished before heading home. Total distance 8.26 miles, average pace 9:04.

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