Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Springtime In Seattle

There are a number of different types of light in the Puget Sound, the silvery grey mist of the winter months, the brilliant blue skies of the summer, and the golden light of the fall, but it is the light of the spring time that is most exciting of all.

As the seasons change and the winds shift from north to the south we get all kinds of unstable weather. One minute you'll be walking around under blue skies, the next getting pelted by hail as a thunder squall moves through. Makes for a spectacular light show in more ways than one.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I was wearing my Ragnar sweatshirt the other day and Meridith, the morning manager at The GB, asked me what the Ragnar symbol meant? She had seen a sticker on another customer's car and thought "Hey, Robin wears that too. I'll ask him!" So she did and in between the preparation of my coffee I explained the whole Ragnar concept.

I bring this up because it is getting on towards Ragnar Relay season and GVB has managed to convince me to join his team and, even more importantly, to actually commit by paying my share of the registration fees.

Oy! What have I gotten myself into (again)?

187 miles of running from Blaine to Langley split amongst 12 runners in two vans in temperatures that range from 80 degrees into the 30's at night. Three legs of running, quite a bit of it uphill and some of it in pitch blackness so late at night that even the bars have closed.

Actually, it was a lot of fun the last time and I am looking forward to it again.

Team #86 "The Ramblin' Wreck" is an optimistic name if I ever heard one (how about the "Nattering Nabobs of Negativism" or N3 to wax Agnewish).

Late July is a long way away and I've got to focus on Eugene for the moment (hmm, methinks it time to make my travel arrangements). Of course, there is still the Cougar Mountain Series as well.

But Eugene first, yes . . .

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


59.97 miles last week.

Kind of a tough week at work, budget cuts, a RIF announcement (Reduction in Force), final exams coupled with tons of grading, the odd student complaint about Blackboard's inconsistency, and, of course, desperate emails imploring for extra credit points. Perhaps the oddest thing was talking with an advisee about getting training as a make-up artist (just so you know, a Ph.D. in Political Science does not prepare you for such conversations, at least not well anyway).

Running, on the other hand, went splendidly. Tuesday's 10-miler (2 X Zoo Loop) was a blast and ended with me blasting down hill while weaving through a whole mess of Team In Training folks. Saturday's 20-miler took place under a brilliantly sunny sky and ended up as a 21-miler with an ice bath. So much stronger than the last long run but I should mention that dehydration was setting in by the end despite the fact that I had been drinking water and Gatorade all throughout. The week ended with the Mercer Island Half Marathon, a race that I DNS'd a few years ago (the flu), and which presented a rather unique challenge following the 21-miler. I must have done something right on Saturday as I had all kinds of energy, power, and stamina going into the race. A very hilly course that I ran consistently. I simply had fun and finished in 2:05 with an overall pace of 9:35. Even better, I was walking around easily afterwards and was complimented by another runner who said: "Good Job Today! I couldn't catch you . . . " Quite an ego stroke I must say. Lots of carnage out on the course though including a man who collapsed just feet from the finish line—lots of paramedics working on him. Just a reminder that 13.1 miles is not a trivial distance by any stretch of the imagination.

I seem to have come off some kind of plateau in my running. My 2010 Nookachamps time was 2.06.59 and my official Mercer time was 2:05:38. Yes I was working hard but it didn't feel as hard as in January and I certainly don't feel as done in afterwards and I did then. Interesting. What a difference training makes. :-)

The best part? I am now officially on spring break which means that I can noodle around a bit and take care of stuff around the house—getting the front garden cleaned up, trying to patch a leak in the roof, spring cleaning. Still have some TLF-related things to do: course planning, a college open house, and a All-Washington Academic Team ceremony in Olympia. Still, it is nice to be even more in control of my time.

Even better, nice to actually read something fun. Like Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science. Then there is the Star Trek original series marathon.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

And the Saints Go Marching In

Terfel met his first marching band (no really that is a band).

Much barking, growling, backing up, and looking at me for reassurance

They weren't that bad, really, although their "Major" kept on yelling
at them to "Dress Right!"

Running Times Shoe Trends Discussion


Reposting this very interesting discussion on shoes, shoe trends, shoe marketing, and notions of demand.

Running Times senior editor Brian Metzler discusses the trend toward more minimalist shoes, new players in the market, whether increased prices are here to stay, and more. (11:51)