Saturday, May 30, 2009

PNB Director's Choice

PNB's Directors Choice 

May 28–June 7, 2009 

Dances at a Gathering 
(Frederic Chopin/Jerome Robbins) 

After the Rain pas de deux 
(Arvo Pärt/Christopher Wheeldon) 

Symphony in C 
(Georges Bizet/George Balanchine)

Let me start by saying that I really don't much care for unaccompanied piano music. Such things can be very pretty and/or energetic but I'll still drift off into the land of nod no matter what is happening on the stage. Brahms is the worst for me and I can feel the air close in around me. Given this propensity I  was really worried about the Jerome Robbins piece because it was 1.x hours of unaccompanied Chopin piano music. I needn't have been. Robbins created a series of varied short pieces to go with the music. I’ll admit to dozing a bit during the beginning but I got caught up in the movement and can understand why Balanchine would say to Robbins "Make more!" when he saw some initial works. 

The Wheeldon piece is short, too short M said later, but it had the audience completely hushed. Someone yelled “Yeah!” when it ended, a sentiment that was shared by most of the audience (this had the most enthusiastic applause of the evening I think). Hard to describe but exquisitely beautiful. Perhaps the altered reality of two lovers? I am not sure but it was amazing to watch. I was captivated. By far my favorite piece of the evening. 

The Balanchine was spectacular witty and also very physical. It looks classical but really isn’t. Visually, the opening was stunning after the hushed tones and lighting of the pas de deux (I loved the colors). The ending, wow! Let's just say that I found myself looking at everyone on stage and wondering when they discovered they wanted to dance AND how they felt to be living that dream. You’ll be amazed I think. But I won't say much more until you've seen it yourself! :-P

Go! Dance!

Shoulda Stayed In Bed Saturday

Or, why I should not be allowed to ride a bike after a long run AND "NUTS!!!"

Wanted to ride today to keep my legs limber but I wish I had just not gone riding. 

Rode the BG out to Golden Gardens and then up to 80th and then GL to home. I felt quite strong on the bike and am very happy about that. I just didn't like how crowded things were and also how chaotic. Lots of runners and bikers out and everyone was going every which way possible. Got off the trail in Ballard and was riding the road just West of the Ballard Bridge. Stopped at a stop sign and looked, proceeded, and was immediately surrounded by honking cars. They were going so fast. I just kept going, they cleared, and I went to the side of road with a racing heart. Getting out to GG was pretty easy after than although I was shaken up a bit and really concerned that I had just given bicyclists a bad name (not to mention also becoming a statistic). Rode to the end of the trail and just went up the hill. THAT went pretty well as I climbed easily and smoothly. The road was surprisingly not steep. Got back on 80th heading east and was just chugging along. The stop light at 15th (I think) had a walk button which I pushed. As I was getting myself back into the road a delivery truck can roaring up behind me and  I over-balanced as I turned to see if he was going to stop, could not get my right foot out of the cleat and just toppled over. As I went down I heard someone scream. I said something nasty, got up, checked my bike, got on it, and went across the road. I think everything is alright but it did feel a little strange. Not sure if that is the shock of the crash on me or if I damaged the bike. We'll see. The rest of the ride went well and was smooth but I was just glad to be done.

As if that wasn't bad, I have a potential serious injury problem. 

Woke up this morning too with an inflamed red patch on my right ankle. I've inflamed a tendon, not the achilles I think but the Flexor Hallicus Longus. It does not hurt but it looks swollen and red and is hot so. Icing helps as does Advil. I've also broken out a new pair of trail shoes as they will be nice, stiff, and supportive. So, no trail run for me even though I think I can do it. Something was wrong with the way that I was wearing my shoes yesterday I think. That, and yoga. Ah well. At least I can sleep in again and will try a short run if it feels better. Maybe not until Tuesday though. We'll see . . .

I am not a happy camper today and hope this does not get in the way my enjoyment of the ballet this evening. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Getting Lost In Seattle

21.5 hot, long, hilly miles today and I am very, very happy. Managed to get lost, back track, discover a G.A.R Cemetery and a park I've not been through before. Pretty cool and I am flush with victory.   (OK, Mb gives me 22 but RunSaturday says 21.5

I left later than I wanted. Something woke the Four-Footed-Fiends (FFF's) at 4:00 this morning and my sleep was a bit disturbed. DW went and took care of it. Let's just say that it involved squirting outside cats who were driving one of our fiends nuts. 

Woke up and took J for her walk and then got myself ready. Decided on 
something like route that I sketched out the other day. Ate a sandwich and then headed out the door around 8:20. 

Took a slightly different route out to 80th this time. Up 35th and then up 75th and sort of diagonally across the Dahl Playfields and up to 80th. The run out to GG on 80th was a lot less difficult than it was last week (I may have been going slower). It took a bit for my legs to warm up and I surely was feeling yoga last night. Hips, hamstrings, adductors, etc., were all feeling good but my lower legs were tight. Right ankle and left Achilles. Stretched out the left calf and that went away but the right ankle business lasted throughout the run.

The pavement felt pretty hard today and that made the descent into Golden Gardens interesting. I now conclusively know that now matter how quaint cobblestones are they are a bear to run on. Going down into the tunnel was a little dicey. 

There were only a few people down in the park. Mostly mom's with small children. I am sure that the park is now packed given the weather. The water was so calm and clear. Only a few few sailboats and kayaks out,  much less than I would have expected actually. 

I ran along the road today and noticed that the finished BG extension is on the other side of the road. Only felt the 8-mile woozies momentarily which suggested to me that either I am over that or the changes in my fueling are actually good. The miles from Golden Gardens to the Locks went pretty fast mentally and I made it over and through just before they started ringing the bell to let boats out. Quite a few tourists out taking pictures of the lock activties and also the Salmon coming through the dam. I think I ended up in a video or two (that is going to scare some folks).

Out of the Locks I headed east on Commadore, right through an industrial area. Ran past a least 3 printing presses that I have heard of but had no clue of their location. Seeing all the waterfront activity was pretty cool too and kept me quite entertained. This part of the run exposed to the sun, it was getting quite hot, and became the start of the mentally tough section of this run. Running Nickerson was easy though at least until I got to the Freemont Bridge where traffic was backed up, the bridge was going up. I waited a bit and then crossed to Westlake when I could. Not sure what it is about Lake Union but this section kind of takes it out of me no matter the direction. Today was no exception. I HAD to stop at a store to buy some Gatorade as it felt like my water bladder was getting emptied. It was a surprise to see that it was not anywhere close—I had thought that I had consumed more than I had. Heading down and around Lake Union also went pretty fast mentally although I did stop to try and see how I would get up to Interlaken from Fairview. iPhones are handy that way but you really need to have presence of mind to read maps correctly. :-P

I-5 Colonnade Park is pretty interesting, too bad I didn't have time to explore (maybe on a different run). There is some public art and other attractions in addition to the MTB trail. Lots of stairs to climb (I walked) and then left onto Lakeview and past some really neat homes. Ended up on 10th and Miller having overshot my mark (Lynn) to make a turn to get me out to Interlaken. You can see on the map how confusing it actually is up there. Stopped at a cleaners to ask for directions but the owner hadn't even heard of the street. :-/ Checked the map on the phone and headed east-ish and then south-ish. Got pretty steep in there. More really expensive houses. Asked a UPS driver about Interlaken and he just suggested hitting Boston but didn't really know either. So on I went and hit 15th and Howe just at the northern edge of the cemetary. Took out my phone to map it, read things wrongly, and headed west. Next thing I knew, I was almost down at 10th again. Doh! I did discover the G.A.R. Cemetery though, didn't know we had one. Turned around. Got back to 15th and Howe, looked at the map again, and then got it right. 15th to Galer and then to Internlaken. All flat and downhill. 

Did you know that Seattle Prep's campus looks just like a small college campus and not a prep school at all? Got to be some money there. 

By this time it was getting towards lunch time and all the little neighborhood bistros were pumping out good food smells.  Passed this one place on Galer that was frying chicken. Oh Boy!

Hit Interlaken and I knew that I was home free, except for a brief moment of confusion about which turn I ought make. Some guy came zipping up from the opposite direction. I wish I could run that fast. But I can run long. :-)

I've only run Interlaken during the Seattle Half and it sure looks different in the sun and all leafed out from the opposite direction. There are trails all over the place in Boyer Park. This might be an interesting place to explore. 

The rest of the run once I got to 23rd was fairly easy. Just hot. I was debated going a bit longer but realized that I had been going so long and probably I should stop so I just went home. DW called me to check in at 19.92 and I answered thus missing the wall completely. :-P Nice distraction. No wooziness, no fading, no nothing. Just a watch clicking over to 20 miles and another gel. Pretty cool, huh? 

There was one surreal moment out near the UW Urban Hort building. There is a kind of tree here, an Oak or a Walnut but I am not sure, that expels its seeds in puff-balls. These puff-balls fly so thickly through the air and look for all the world like snow on the ground. Some of these trees were letting go and as I excited the Union Bay Refuge. It even got quiet like when it snows. Amazing!

Ending this run on an uphill might be good for building my character but I sure hope the Seattle RnR is easier. I tried moving a bit faster during my last quarter mile (it was 21.25 or so to the corner of 55th and 35th) and did notice some power remaining. I finished and went home. 

Learned some stuff about fueling and eight-mile woozies too .

Tried Accel Gel's today which have protein and caffeine in addition to carbs. I like the taste, they are more liquid than gels seem to be, and I could feel the caffeine hit pretty rapidly. 4 gels at 5, 10, 15, and 20. Also had a fuel water bladder in my pack with sports drink (added a bottle of Gatorade at about the 13-mark) and a "Bonk Buster Bar" (PB&J) which I did not like. I should take something solid at the half mark though if today's run is any indication of what is likely to happen to me during the marathon. 

Upper legs, hips, and knees felt quite good. Not problems with adductors and hamstrings. Lower legs and feet took quite a beating. Right Flexor Hallicus Longus (I think) is sore but is responding to stretching.  This may be yoga-related. 

Felt like I could go a little longer once I got past 20 and could have had I chosen a flatter course. Glad to have hit 21.5.

Scared the dog when I got home. Looked in the mirror and scared myself too. No wonder people were looking a bit askance at me. I looked like a little bit of baked hell. Shower and ice bath took care of that.  

Hard to eat afterwards though. You'd think . . . 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Big Day, Big Weekend

A little nervous this evening. :-)

Coach has scheduled a really cool (and new) trail run out at Mount Si on Sunday and I really want to go but I also have to run a 20-22 miler this weekend. 

I've decided to take Friday as a long-run day and work on Saturday (except for a report that is due by 5:00 on Friday) and then run 11-ish at Mount Si. The weather this weekend is supposed to be spectacular. 

Not sure what route I will do. I am thinking of this after rejecting this (not sure how he got across the Ballard railroad bridge actually). Both runs would have elevation profiles that are tougher than the Seattle R N R. 

Hope to get an early start in the morning. Yoga this evening was good but that is going to make running a bit harder than normal (it always does). 

Wish me luck. 

30 Days until the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon and I am feeling just fine!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Yee Haa!!!

What a great run! 

Nine miles on the Discovery Park Loop Trail, three loops. 

Supposed to be an easy run but I was feeling so strong that I just hammered the run, flying into the finish with a ecstatic yell escaping. 

Coach T was out running with a couple of folks as I started my third loop. He asked how I was feeling as I went by. "Strong!" I said, "Really Strong!" He roared as I went. I should have said "Monster Strong!!" 

It felt good to uncork on this run as I've spent so much time over the past couple of month running so slowly. At times it felt that my body has forgotten how to run fast, as in as "Winter Grand Prix Fast". I think I rediscovered my down-hill trail legs too, something that has been missing in my running since last summer. Cougar 7-miler, here I come!

31 Days until Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon (I am getting excited)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

8-Mile Woozies

Lots of LSD ("Long Slow Distance" for the uninitiated) over the past few weeks.

This past week (5/18-5/24) I ran 55.64 miles in six runs including back-to-back long runs of 15 and 17 at the weekend. The week before (5/11-5/17) was a cut back week of 33 miles in four runs with a long run of 20 miles on the SVT at the weekend. The two weeks before were 47 and 46 miles respectively. 

An interesting thing is turning up. Around 8 miles or 1:30, whichever comes first, I start feeling really woozy and wobbly. I've also noticed that both my hands, the finger tips really, get quite numb. At first I thought the woozies were simply a fueling issue and started gelling a little earlier than I normally do (at 5, 10, 15, and 20 instead of around 7, 13, and so on). But that did not stop the problem. I eat well the day before and started the run well-fueled. That also did not help during the long runs (it is a little less noticeable on the short duration runs). 

What could this be? Some theories:
  1. I may be eating a lot (not losing or gaining weight at this point) but maybe not the eating the right things?
  2. The gels I take, Gu's, may not have what I need during the run. They are just carbs and it could be that I need some protein
  3. Blood Iron deficiency? (Won't know until I get tested in a bit)
  4. Body shifting from immediate fuel stores (gels, etc.) to stored fuels. I remember reading something in Peak Performance about this happening (and being a good thing too). Time to look at my archives
  5. This is all in my head
In any event. This has me scratching my head. Could this all be in my head? It made my long runs this weekend a bit interesting. 

34 Days until Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009



Getting sick and tired of how slow and unresponsive Motionbased has been over the past few weeks? 

I sure am and so, it seems, are many more users. And, as slick as connect dot garmin dot com actually is the fact that I cannot upload my own stuff from my own watch is frustrating. Add to that the fact that my last encounter with Mb tech support resulted in a polite message saying it was pretty much my fault (no, it isn't and it hasn't been) has me looking for something that does what Mb used to do really well only better and without the frustration. 

Someone on one of the Mb forums suggested RunSaturday as an alternative, a comment that PuddleThumper passed along. I've been mucking about with it over the past day or so and so far am impressed with what I am seeing. 

The positives: 

  • Speed—the site uploads from my Garmin 305 really fast, much faster than Mb currently does without all the hanging, time outs, and errors
  • Social Networking—this combines your data with a social networking profile, allowing for what seems to be an easy way to exchange information. I could see how people could ask for advice on a particular course or make suggestions of their own
  • Data Analysis—Interesting scatter plots etc..

The "I am not so sure about" category (stuff I haven't figured out quite yet):

  • Time—Not sure but all activities get ported in using a time zone other than my own even if Lat-Lon comes in right. Is this GMT? Manually correcting this is kind of a pain and I haven't figured out if there is a setting
  • Total Time v. Moving Time—I have to compare what data is pulled in
  • Importing records from a database (i.e., how could I bring in my records from Mb)
  • Automatic weather—nuff said
  • Changing units of measure—We are kinda stubborn here in the US of A and haven't caught up with the rest of the world (some of us like to measure in cubits still apparently). How to change. 
Still this is an intriguing site and I look forward to discovering its capabilities. 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My First 20 In A Long Time

First 20-miler of training today! These serious distances are getting a little less daunting as the weeks go by. 

Today's run was at the Snoqualmie Valley Trail from MacDonald Memorial Park in Carnation. An out and back with about 3 miles of flat before the remainder of the track is at railroad grade—elevation profile that looks like the two upper sides of a triangle.

I woke up at 3 (internal alarm) and kind of rolled around for a bit and then slept until 5. Got up feeling quite refreshed too (went to bed last night at 9:30 to get as much sleep in). The pets were not problems this morning either (is there something in the air?). Headed out at 5:40 and got to the start at 6:16. Then I started getting sleepy and dozed in the car for a bit. THAT made it difficult to get up and out into the cold but I did and wandered around for a bit. EB and JB went past at 6:30, wearing hydration packs, unlike last week when they ran out of water on an 18. At 6:40 we got the "Go" signal from Field Coach D (FCD). The others in my start group took off. I just sat there looking a bit doubtful and asked for a gentle push. That is when Sj threatened to kick me instead. It worked and off I went. Passed De within the first quarter mile and CM just after the turn off 202 and down onto the trail. 

There is some new, and large, gravel on the trail from the road out to the SVT that made it a bit of a hard go. I ended up running along side the track on the loam and weeds. Hit the SVT and just started going. I was running conservatively, taking my time to warm up. It was cold, 43, but the sun was coming through the fog. It was very, very pretty and the air was so clear. I knew this was going to be a good run, especially since I was imagining what it was going to be like at the 10 mile turn around for me. 

By the 3 or so I was warmed up and heading uphill, still keeping it steady and slow. This first bit, from Remlinger farms to about the 6, was the leg I had during my first Mt. Si Relay and I remembered it all. It felt so familiar. But the section that I really loved was from the 6 to the 10 because it more and more quiet and more and more isolated even though there were houses around. Right after the 7.75 check point (I stopped and chatted with FCD for a break), six deer crossed the trail about 20 feet in front of me. They looked at me as they went, not scared at all. Just magical and unhurried. I did not stop running either. It was if we all knew what was what and who had what space. At 8.79 or so I saw E and J coming towards me with big grins on their faces (so happy to be on the return). They told me the turn around was near. I rather chirpily traded greetings but didn't say anything going out the the 10. 

I had been feeling like I really needed to go to the bathroom all the way up to this point and had even been looking for placed off trail to go. But I also saw what looked like Poison Oak and thought, "what is worse?", and kept going. Stopped to pee at the 9 and immediately felt better. (Is this TMI?). Going out to the ten was really cool. The trail sort of evened out and there was a long bridge over a spectacular gorge. At least 150 feet down. So much water flowing, very loud. As I made my turn I saw D coming across the bridge. Stopped and asked how far he was going, 14 or 16 I think. CP went past the other way too. 

By 13 I was feeling a bit wobbly and slowed down to a 10:00 pace and cleared my head by cycling music through my head really fast. It worked and I was able to center myself. At 16 a woman came along with two Field Goldens. I crouched down and said "Puppies" and they got all enthusiastic. Wiggling, etc.. I must have spent 5 minutes or so with them, petting and getting licked. It was fun. They were so soft and happy. Really alive and playful. I had put my water bottle down on the ground to pet and hug them. One of them picked it up and started playing chase me with it (they are retrievers after all). Their owner got it back but not after I asked the dog if he would like to carry it for me the rest of the way. A nice, soft and wiggly interlude. I left smiling with a happy heart. 

I was thinking about two things at 17. First, the fact that the course was going to even out and second the Wall that was coming. I had some get-up-n-go and miles 17-19 were in the 9:50's and I was feeling really happy. At about 18 I noticed a real crowd of people. As we got closer I saw that it was bicyclists. As we got even closer I saw that it was some girl group out (brownies, girl scouts, I dunno). They were all saying hello, and I back at them. Then I noticed one coming straight for me, not looking where she was going. I was over as far as I could go and finally barked "Heads Up!" She went "Ack!" and almost fell off but recovered at the last minute. Then they were gone and I was on my own again. At 19 though things started going wobbly again. Partly because of the change of the surface (back on the hard gravel) and partly because I was getting knackered. Once I got back on the road I gelled and trotted to the finish with a 10:16 overall pace. Like the 18-miler a couple of weeks ago I could have gone a bit more although this time with more confidence. Considered running down to the river to soak there, but I noticed the AR van in the parking lot and figured I ought to check in so I circled the parking lot to make sure that I have 20 on my watch and stopped. The van was open but empty. Hunh. FCD had been waiting for me the whole time. I felt badly for making him wait but it was really nice to have someone besides all the mountain bikers I didn't know see me smiling and all happy. 

Had a wonderful stretch and a bit of a picnic whilst sitting on my shins. Ice bath standing in the lake was wonderful!

THIS WAS GREAT!  A great confidence builder on a fantastic day. And I can't wait to run 22 next. :-)

42 days until the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon!  Symbolic? 

Friday, May 1, 2009

The First 18

Well, I recently committed to the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon on June 27th but plunking down 120-odd Simoleons. It is for real now. 

Tomorrow is my first 18-miler, a long run on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Combined dirt and gravel it is relatively flat until it starts climbing up towards Rattlesnake Lake. I've run this trail quite a bit, the first time with De as she helped me train for my first Seattle Half way back when and generally as part of a distance training regimen. I've even raced on it, twice, is the Mt. Si Relay. 

I don't mind saying that this run has me a bit nervous. The furthest I have gone so far is 15 or 16. This past Tuesday I ran a 7.65 mile trail run with 2.5 miles of all-out running and then a 13-odd mile hilly commute run from TLF to home. The first 8 miles or so went really quickly (mentally) but I ended the run wondering if I had another 13 in me. It turns out that I didn't. 

I guess that it is THAT phase, as belovedrooster put it in an SMS, and I really need to ignore that voice behind the curtain. PuddleThumper also suggested that I get out of my head and just focus on how strongly I seem to be running, two strong difficult runs in two days is nothing to sneeze at. Both of them are right of course, but it is really hard not to succumb to the voices of self-doubt. 

It is also kind of hard to be blasé about these distances even though I have run such distances before and I have been training. These distances are significant undertakings—26.2 is a long way to go, so is 18. 

Why is it so hard to balance these mental demands? The physical demands are relatively easy, and I do mean "relatively". You back down if you need to, ice, etc. but the mental stamina is the really hard part. 

I guess it really is, getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other. Good thing I got new kicks. :-)

What do you do?