Sunday, November 29, 2009

Well, that went fast . . .

The Short:

Event: Seattle Half Marathon
Mar Split 1 = 1st 13.1 miles; Mar Split 2 = last 13.1 miles. HMar Split 1 = 1st 6.2 miles (10k); HMar Split 2 = last 6.9 miles.


Overall Place

Division Place


Chip Time

Official Time

Split 1

Split 2

Finish Order










GPS Track:

The Long:

It has been a while since I ran long, a month in fact, and the last run was a tough, hilly slog through Ballard that left me feeling quite beaten up. The flu took me totally out for a week and it took two just to come back.

I had a fantastic race this morning!

Woke at 5:00 AM to get ready. It was very calm and quite warm when as I walked the puppy (he is not a "morning guy" and was complaining at the early hour). 49 degrees and little wind so I decided that shorts and one of my light long-sleeved shirts would do. No hat, gloves, or throw-away shirt necessary. Packed my race bag, remembering the bottle of Iskiate I prepared last night and headed over the SS's to wait for our ride.

Once at Seattle Center I headed over to the bag check and took advantage of a whole line of empty Porta-Potties just past a whole line of full Porta-Potties with lines of people in front of them. Dropped my bag and ran into PuddleThumper and she introduced me to "J" who she was pacing.

Lined up just behind the 2-hour pace runners and waited. The Half-Marathon walkers went off to much fanfare and we heard about the Baghdad Shadow Run (some impressive times there). Was it just me, but was it less crowded than it has been in past years?

I got a great start, about a minute to the start mat, and was almost immediately running in the clear going up 5th. This did not stop me from being bumped and elbowed by people wearing headphones (they were weaving off their line and, of course, could not hear anything going on) but I made steady progress up the hill. Two guys running in Five Fingers passed me at this point going like bats out of hell. And then there were the really strange gaits—the guy whose feet and lower legs ended up at almost 90 degree angles to the side, the pigeon-toed woman, and the various (and interesting) injury compensations.

Skipped the first water station at 2 miles and headed up the I-90 Express Lanes.

Hitting the lanes I was passed by two girls wearing t-shirts that read "You are being beat by a 13 year old girl!" Funny! Everyone around me was laughing at this.

I started to think how fast this was all going and how short 13 miles really is (at least it is for me at this point, mentally and physically). We'd be at, what, 4.5 miles or so exiting the tunnel (I think) and then the hard work climbing over Capitol Hill would begin. Looking at my watch, was surprised that my pace was well-under the planned 9:30's and at how smoothly running felt though I am sure that a video would show that standard lumber of mine. A two hour half started looking possible and I decided to go for it. I'd run strongly on the flats and the downhills and try as much as possible to power up the hills knowing that I would have to make up time. Pretty uneventful EXCEPT that I had to run through a potent cloud of someone's gas (it was awful).

East Galer starts the first significant climb of this run. Turning the corner and hitting the uphill I noticed the two 13 year olds to my left. They hit this hill at about the same time. One just dropped away, the other charged but ran out of steam about halfway up. I smiled at this. Yep, I wasn't being beaten by 13 year old girls although I am not sure why this matters (actually, I counted five really young runners in my immediate environs as I went through the course and marveled at their efforts).

East Madison to Lake Washington Blvd through the Arboretum is a long climb followed by a downhill and turn. It was interesting to see how many people that hill took out. I made slow and steady progress and picked up the people that I would basically be running with for the rest of the race: two women carrying cowbells (and ringing them, if that is the right word), a woman in a "Run Calgary" t-shirt, a tall and lanky South Asian Indian man, and a woman with short dark-brown hair done up in a hair-clip, and a bearded man wearing a red wool hat (why??). I was feeling the "heat" at this point and drinking as much as I could get in at the water stations (not much).

Interlaken has to be my favorite part of this race. People in the neighborhood come out to cheer (got the obligatory "Eye of the Tiger" on the boom box) and, well, the scenery is just so pretty that it distracts you from the climb that you are actually doing. Interlaken Park is just peaceful and pretty. Surprise! Surprise! I was running closer to 8-minute miles during this section which, adding the slower climbs, put me at just over 9-minutes per mile.

Slowed some on Delmar doing down over I-5, was thrilled to hear some Boston, and kicked it up a notch on Boylston back under the freeway and onto Lakeview Blvd. Couple of miles left and I was feeling amazingly strong especially on the hills. My group generally stayed together as it were with me surging on the hills only to be passed on the downhills and hold even on the flats. Kicked it into 8:30's or so onto Lakeview. One mile to go!


All downhill too . . .

I started to feel vague, odd because I had been eating and drinking and hadn't really be over-taxing myself. A quick glance at my watch told me why, I was running about 7:45 per mile. OOPS! Backed off and concentrated on holding steady on the final stretch down Republican and onto Dexter. Cow Bell Ladies surged ahead and were complimented on their musicianship by one of the course volunteers. Lost sight of Run Calgary, short haired woman, and tall South-Asian Indian guy. Red Wool Hat dropped away. Saw my first casualty of the day at the final aid station on the course—a tall guy who was looking not-so-well as he lay on the ground being administered to by emergency personnel: pale, closed eyes, and moving jerkily. :-(

The rest of this race went so fast. Caught and passed tall South-Asian Indian guy on Dexter.

Point one-oh left. Down under Aurora. Caught Run Calgary, Cow Bell Ladies, and short haired woman. Tall South-Asian Indian guy caught and passed me and then just started walking up the last hill. I kicked in the afterburners for the final kick. Entered the Stadium running 8:23 and sprinted in running 6's.


Really cool!

By this I mean, I really enjoyed myself this morning in a way that I have not on the course before. It didn't seem so hard or so long.

Not a PR but a very strong run, especially after being ill.

It is really funny how much detail I remember about the people around me. I never met them but they felt like friends . . .

Can't wait until next year when you know that it will snow, hail, ice storm, and turn tropical all in the space of two hours. :-P

What's next?

What else?

Friday, November 27, 2009


32.5 hours before the Seattle Half kickoff and, well, this will be interesting.

The flu took it out of me and I've been clawing my way back into running shape (such as it is) so this will be a run and not a race. 13.1 miles is going to be a bit on the longish side given what I've been able to do—had to resist challenging John Curley at packet pick-up today.

Yesterday, PT and I had a wonderful run out at Soaring Eagle and Beaver Lake. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time even though I was really tired by the end of the 9.6 miles. PT reports that I run duck-footed and it gets worse the more tired I get, another indication of the regression away from the ankle, leg, and foot strength that I had developed over the summer. Still, it was nice to get things stretched out on some new trails AND to have fun wading through knee deep water.

Been paying attention to the weather on race day. Looks like we might have some sun. Today?


See . . .

Still not that soft-warm sunshine in the ad promos but, you know, it is sun at the end of November and I am not complaining.

I am wearing Bib# 5394 in 32.5 hours.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cyclists and motorists on collision course --

Now here is some common sense . . .

Cyclists and motorists on collision course --

A physician's conviction in a bicycle crash case reveals a noxious form of road rage.

Posted using ShareThis

Cough Cough, Sneeze Sneeze, Shiver Shiver

Well, I had a snappy way of starting this entry but it fled as soon as I opened the window. One of those very special writing moments.

Did I have the flu? Not sure. I had something that had me sleeping for three days last week (literally) and which has been giving me the low-grade blahs since (still sniffling, coughing, and, on occasion, sneezing). Bad enough that I had no desire to go outside to enjoy the two days of sun in the middle of the week, I missed two days of class last week and have not run a step since Sunday a week ago.

This would be OK but frustrating for the fact that in a fit of optimism I decided to sign up for . . .

Before I got sick.

Yep, haven't run a step and still feeling iffy. This will be fun.

I'll run it without any illusions for racing it and hope to finish in one piece.

For the record. For those of you out-of-towners thinking of this November in Seattle most emphatically does not look like this picture. It snowed the last time I did this.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wind and Rain

Brutal run this morning.

To begin with, this is what the weather looks like today. See that red blob? That is pretty much where we were.

12 miles with a goal pace of 9:30 over-all.

This was a my first group run for a while (work, puppy, being on the edge of coming down stopped me from doing other runs). Woke up early and took the pup for a walk in the windy dark and then got ready. PT picked me up at 7:00 AM wearing her stylish new British running jacket. Very chilly with intermittent rain showers.

This run started up on top of I-90 as it enters into Seattle, a nice park and bike path. I started off with three other runners with a goal of 9:30 overall for the 12 miles. It was not raining and I began to get hot in my double shirt and hat. Within a quarter mile, however, a squall came in and within seconds we were drenched and cold. As quickly as it came, it passed and we were just cold. Worked hard on the initial climb out towards the Jackson Park Golf Course in Beacon Hill.

This is actually one of my favorite runs. The scenery is quite varied for a city run—a good mixture of urban running and, around the golf course and down to MLK Way. It is not a place I normally run. The track down along MLK towards Tukwilla is interesting, especially with Light Rail in full operation (it is easy to see how cars and trails can clash). So much development mixed in with the older houses, apartments, and shops. Gone is the ugly gash of construction but it still seems a kind of uneasy mix, but one that will eventually become comfortable with the passage of time.

Today this stretch was just tough. Rain and winds coming out of the South, the direction we were running. I caught DB and she pointed out the school at which she teaches. I asked if she told her students that they could see her running by this morning. She said, "No. They wouldn't be up this early." and then made some remark about the school being surrounded by poverty.

Two of the people I started with caught back up with me (they had made a bathroom stop at the Golden Arches) and this is when the rain and wind really got going. My glasses were so steamed and covered in water that I could barely see. The further south we went the higher the winds became until it was like running through water. Very cold too. My legs and arms were red and I thought, well, I'll not really need an ice bath today. 9:30's had not been in the offing for some time. At 9:18 we turned East on South Ryan Way. From behind me I hear "Oh No!" and then I didn't hear any more. This climb has a left hand curve that obscures the remainder of the hill. Only .44 miles but still. Got to the top and started the descent on 51st and that is when I just started feeling like I was done. Lasted until 10.6 or so and then called it quits.

Running has been so hard of late and, for a moment I felt like I had wimped out, but this was just a hard run and I did pretty well considering the conditions.

I earned my left-over Thai noodles and tea this morning.

Tomorrow, I hit the trails at Cougar. Today? Puppy class, warming up, and some grading. Maybe I'll find some time for a hair cut.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Well, it is definitely Fall here in the Pac-NW. The leaves have changed and are falling, there is a chill bite in the air, the scent of wet everything is in the air, and the weather is getting quite unpredictable.

A BIG storm is coming through, the kind of storm that had veteran weather professors saying "Wow!" with heavy thunderstorms and 30-foot waves out at the coast.

Last night I was woken from a dead sleep by one of the most intense hail storms I've ever seen:

Pretty big and, as you can see, it looked quite a bit like snow coming down.

Here is some video . . .


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Meet Terfel

It has been a while since I've posted. Work has been so busy, as has my running schedule. The biggest news is the addition of a new four-footed fiend into our household. Meet Terfel, our now "newish" puppy.

Named him after Bryn Terfel one of our favorite singers.

It has been interesting to live at the beck and call of a puppy's bladder but he is really quite a joy.  He is (we think) a Lab-Shepherd Mix but there are other breeds likely in there as well (Bernese, Malamute, Rottweiler, who knows?)

It'll be a while before he can run with me but I have a feeling that it will be worth the wait. :-)

In the meantime, we've been having a blast taking him places for new experiences. Here is a typical day going on errands:

  1. cleaned the floor at the GB while I had some breakfast
  2. met a very large mushroom
  3. went shopping for Halloween candy
  4. met some pumpkins
  5. got surrounded by the entire Cal Berkeley Soccer Team who took my picture and deemed him "tweet-worthy" (1-1 tie with 2 overtimes)
  6. looked at Blu Ray players and PS3's at the Sony Store at U Village
  7. met a FedEx driver (who gave him a treat)
  8. jumped on the kid play area fence
  9. met some kids and their parents
  10. sniffed the Gap Store
  11. climbed up some really long stairs
  12. went to Mud Bay for some treats
  13. got a new chew toy
  14. walked down another long set of stairs
  15. met a UPS driver

And then there is the first ride on a ferry, meeting two King Charles Spaniels, two standard Poodles, and a Rottweiler, some ducks and geese, and an Alpaca.

Ah, the adventure continues.