Saturday, October 02, 2010

Hmm... currywurst...

So... The Berlin Marathon...

It was a lot of fun! I think not training very hard makes the whole thing more enjoyable since there was no performance pressure. And I PRed anyway!

Hanging out in Berlin before the race, I drank lots of beer, ate many pastries from the bakery on Lisa's block, and had some German food, which is mainly meat and potatoes in some form or other - It was goooood! I think I broke every pre-marathon eating rule.

Lisa lives in Berlin, so I ran the race with her and her mom. Although we really only ran the first 12 miles together or so, since I had to stop to use the portapotty and then I lost them.

I only walked through the water stops. That was my main goal - to not walk this time. I figured that if I met that goal, that I would probably PR.

The weather was rainy. That wasn't fun. But much better than the heat!

Other highlights:

*Germans are totally line cutters, which makes the portapotty line miserable.

*This was the first race ever where I had to use the portapotty in the middle of the race. I am so glad I finished in 5:11 and not 5:03 or something, or else I would have been kicking myself for the portapotty minutes.

*I only did two runs longer than 14 miles - a 15 miler and a 20 miler. So I was ready for the collapse at mile 18 or so. But by then you are so close, you have to finish!

*It was marked all in kilometers. Thank God for Garmin. Too bad Garmin was a half mile off by the end. (And I even got a new one! Not the old crappy one I had!)

*We ran past lots of historic things of which I have no recollection. This is argument number one against destination marathons - the city is a blur.

*I do remember running through the Brandenburg Gate. That was about half a kiometer from the end, but the way it was described by the race, it sounded like the end, so I totally sprinted through the gate only to see the finish line in the distance. That was brutal. But running through the gate was cool. And there spectators for the last km, even for us slow folks.

*My last 2k were the fastest splits I had all day. Nothing like wanting to finish to get the job done!

*After the race, despite there being a changing tent, everyone just got naked on the grass near the Reichstag and changed there. Oh the Germans! We all would have been arrested for indecent exposure in the US.

*The rain made for some major chafiness. My tank top chafed at the arms holes, by belt thing I put blox in chafed around my stomach, my running skirt chafed in all sorts of unmentionable places that made walking miserable.

*It's a lot of fun to run these big races! All the people makes it more enjoyable. I am thinking of doing Chicago next year.

Er, that's it! I'm off to do an easy 7 miler before I head to Hawaii tomorrow for a conference. Life is rough. I know.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hellloooo oooutttt tthhheerrreee

People, this summer has been nuts. Since my last post, it has been one marathon-training destroying weekend after another. I can't even recap it all, so here is the brief summary:

7/17-7/18 Seattle To Portland. Me and my bike and 205 miles and 10000 of my closest friends. We split it 135/70 and that 135 was tough. I did one century ride in training. Skipped my long run that weekend.

7/23-7/24 (yes, six days later) Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay. My friend Genn recruited me at the last minute for her relay team, which is also entirely composed of scientists. Genome scientists to boot, so I was totally the odd man out. I got the easiest legs (4,4,3) and I hauled ass, running them at a 9:30, 9:10, and 9:20 paces respectively. Van 1 is totally easier than Van 2. I didn't know what I was missing! I was supposed to run 14 miles the day after, but I only managed to squeeze out 12 - long run destroyed again.

8/1 (yes, one week after that) Troika Half-Ironman. I signed up on a whim the day before Seattle to Portland. I figured I was doing all this biking and running, I might as well just do it.

I did one 1.2 mile swim for training, along with a few dips to get used to my wet suit. It was a small race, so I was one of the last people out of the water (in 50 minutes or so).

I brought out Aqua Velva for this race. I had done one 20 mile ride on her this whole season, then I raced her 56. She held up and I caught several people and finished in about 3:25 (16.5 mph or so).

My only real goal was to finish under 7 hours. I got off the bike at 4:25 so I had 2:35 for the half marathon. It was doable, but I knew I couldn't walk. So I trudged through it in the heat, stopping at every water stop. I still didn't get enough down (I didn't finish my water in my Camelback on the bike, so I went in low). By mile 10 I had chills and I was beginning to wheeze (didn't bring my inhaler). I told myself I had to do this all again if I didn't get under 7 hours, so I kept going. At mile 12, the volunteer at the water stop started running with me to ask me if I was feeling okay. I told him there was no way in hell I was stopping with 1.1 miles to go, so I wasn't going to tell him the truth.

I came in at 6:56 and was immediately swept into the med tent, mostly because I had sprinted to the end and I was wheezing really badly, but then they realized that I was covered in goose bumps so they wouldn't let me leave until I had sat and hydrated.

Needless to say, I missed my long run that weekend as well. But I am not sure when I will ever be in this biking condition again, so I decided that the Half-IM goal was more important than a good marathon.

8/13-8/14 (wow, a whole two week break!) Spokane to Sandpoint Relay. We had a last minute drop out, so the team was reshuffled and I ended up with harder legs than intended. My first 8 miler was hot and hilly and kinda sucked. The second 4 mile leg was still hot (despite it being almost sunset) and kinda sucked too. The last 3 mile leg was one of those pure bliss nighttime relay legs. I had a sweet downhill for the last half mile as well and pulled out an 8:59 pace on that leg. Our team was speedy and came in 9/56 in our division and 17/100-something overall. The roller coaster in the middle of the night was pretty freakin' awesome. What was not awesome was that a bike escort got killed by a drunk driver during the relay. I feel kind of remiss for not doing a real race report on this, but honestly, it was a month ago and I barely remember shit anymore.

Missed my long run that weekend as well. I got back from the relay and the next morning flew out for my first ever faculty interview. I was working on my talks on our breaks during the relay. Good times!

Exhale. I have been home since and managed to do some of my marathon long runs. I did 15 the weekend after the relay. I was supposed to do 18, but my hip flexor acted up and I started limping. I think my body was just yelling at me "You need to take a freakin' break!" Never one to actually listen to my body, the next weekend I jumped 5 miles to 20 miles. It was slow, but I got it done with no weird aches and pains. Then I have been tapering. And by tapering, I mean no runs more than 7 miles. Despite the fact that my horoscope says that 9/23 +/- 4 days will be good good for athletic achievement, I don't care at all about this marathon. I'm going to go to Berlin, have fun with Lisa, and run this race with her. If she is in better condition than me (and I think she is, but she has had a crazy training period as well), then I will send her off into her first marathon glory without me.

In other news, I beat my 10k PR by almost 3 minutes on Sunday, coming in at 58:25. I was pretty ecstatic about that. I didn't even want to die at the end. My short run times have really gotten faster recently (I usually run about 9:30s-9:45s comfortably instead of 10s these days), so I think after this marathon business, I am going to focus on getting sub-27 on my 5k. Me and the track will become friends.

In other other news, Team BOMIAS has been challenged again by Girls Heart Rockets to the Sinister 7 in Alberta next July. Registration fills by January, so I am trying to find 6 other souls to do this with me! Let me know if you are interested. The logo alone is awesome!

Pretty soon I will start planning for the next relay season. I am thinking that since recruiting in the PNW is so easy, that I am definitely going to stick with PNW race. That leaves two races at two very different times of year. If you want to do either one of these, let me know! I will pick one or the other (probably by a vote) at the beginning of next year.

6.17-18.2011 Oregon Prelay Tualatin, OR 177 mi

8.5-6.2011 Cascade Lakes Relay Diamond Lake, OR 216 mi

Okay, time to do some work. I'll try and post more regularly, but life is a lot less boring here than in Iowa.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lake Padden Tri Race Report

ETA: This happened about 10 days ago, but I have been slow to update. One of our faithful readers and commenters, Wendy Buckner, passed away after doing a sea swim. I didn't know Wendy personally, just through many email exchanges over the years now. I consider her a friend and she will be missed.

Well this was my first race back on the tri scene in two years. The race was a half-mile swim, 21 mile bike, and 5.2 mile run. So the swim was more sprintish, but the bike and the run were closer to Olympic distance.

SWIM (1/2 mile in 17 minutes)

The swim took place in this pretty little lake. Everyone's opinion was that the half mile swim was short, which is fine by me! The water actually wasn't that bad - I think our "heat wave" last week warmed the water up to 65 or so. I could have done it without the wetsuit if necessary, but it was good practice. On the other hand, I was totally one of those 3 minute transitioners because of the wetsuit. Normally I am under two minutes, but I took my sweet precious time. I wasn't racing this all that hard, as they only gave out awards for the top three men and women, so I wasn't even close to being in the running. It's amazing the effort I'll expend when I might win some bling :-)

BIKE (21 miles in 1:24 - really? really?)

The bike... was disheartening. I'm usually best at the bike and pass a crapload of people, but it was hilly. I was warned though. I was looking at my Garmin afterwards and I had several miles where I wasn't even hitting 10 mph on average for the mile and several miles where I was averaging 25 mph. But it was a pretty bike ride. And I didn't fall over on my bike on the last hill like I was afraid of doing. I saw a girl do this once on the Hill of Death at the Cornman and ever since, I have been petrified of doing the same!

RUN (5.2 miles in 53 minutes)

The run was a trail run on the above trails, which was a nice change. The run was quite nice. I wasn't a huge fan of the two loop course because I got passed a lot on the first loop by people who were on their second loop. But by the second loop I knew who I should chase down and did the second loop a minute faster. The trails were pretty though!


The best part though was starting a race with temps in the 50s and ending in the 60s. Back in the midwest, by the time you were on the run, it was in the 80s. My first Olympic distance race (Big Creek) I crossed the finish line and they yelled "She's dry!" and hauled me into the ambulance because I was apparently no longer sweating.

My friend won the women's division. My bike time was my worst performance (back in the midwest I typically did Olympic distance races (25 miles) in the same time I did 21 miles on saturday AND I wasn't riding 50-80 miles every weekend back there). I came in at 2:41 total.

I did win a door prize too - a t-shirt from the local brewery (Boundary Bay).

I'm also leaning very heavily towards signing up for this Half-IM in August. It is a favorite race of my friend who won this event. And the bike! It's meant for me. 56 miles of rollers with a long downhill into the finish (point to point course). That's what me and my triathlon bike were born to do! (I used my road bike this weekend, since that is what I have been riding).

This week I have a 12 mile run on tap tonight, a 50 mile bike ride on Wednesday night, and an century ride on Saturday. Oh, don't let me forget a grueling kickball match on Thursday night. It requires a lot of effort to lose 17-0!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Team BOMIAS is officially registered!

I sent in the money yesterday for the Spokane to Sandpoint Relay. Game on! I actually have 8 paying team members and some pretty solid maybes, so I'm not too worried about recruiting this year! That is honestly my biggest concern when being a team captain - as much as I love it when people offer to take on certain planning tasks, I get most excited when they recruit people as that is the hardest thing.

On that note, I'm officially nominating Maria as "Awesomest Recruiter Ever!" She brought in three other people besides herself, all atmospheric scientists, so totally in keeping with our team theme.

My only concern now is that we may end up in the men's category since we might not have 6 women. There are worse fates for sure, though.

Two months away!

In other news:

* I joined a kickball team for returned Peace Corps Volunteers. We lost our first game 17-0 last night. I generally suck at kickball, but apparently I'm the only one who knows anything about kickball, softball, or baseball. Like you don't run on a pop up. And that you can run past first base. And that shortstop is supposed to cover 2nd or 3rd if needed. Oh well, we drink beer after and that is all that matters.

* I've been biking my ass off. Every weekend the miles keep going up. I did a hilly 65 mile ride on sunday. I still hate the hills. But we decided to do 120 miles on the first day of Seattle to Portland so that we only have to ride 80 the next day. So put in the miles I must. My rear tire has flatted out within the last three miles of my ride the last two weekends. On Sunday I was 0.9 miles from the end. Boo!

* On a related note, I had scrapped the idea of doing a Half-IM this year, but when my weekends routinely consist of a long run and long ride, it seems dumb not to take advantage of it. Especially since the Troika is flat flat flat (and a point to point bike course that is downhill for much of the second half). I am doing a triathlon on the 26th, so we'll see how I feel after that!

* OMG I have a triathlon in 10 days! And I have been in the pool maybe 5 times. I am counting on the wetsuit to float me to a not pathetic finish. Speaking of which, I must go buy or rent a wetsuit and practice in it this week.

* Also, I have not used my tri bike yet this year because I do so much hilly riding and city riding and I'll do STP on my road bike. I am thinking that bringing it out for a race for the first time this season is not a good idea. Especially since it is a hilly course. But if I do the Troika Half-IM, Aquavelva will come out.

* Oh yeah, marathon training... Well I'm getting in three runs a week at least. My long runs are sloooow. But they are getting done. I have 11 on tap for the weekend. Also a 75 mile bike ride. See! This is why it seems dumb not to do the Half-IM!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Marathon Training Begins.

So this is Week 1 of my 18 week marathon training plan for Berlin, which I am right now signed up to run with Lisa and her mom.

The last time Lisa and I ran together was in Norway. Gosh, we look pretty gross in this picture. But anyway, that was a half-marathon. This will be her first marathon. Her mom and I are bad influences.

Anyway, Week 1 started after having the plague the week before. I ran a 5k on Sunday, in which I clocked a not-so-good 29:48. I signed up for a series of 5ks in the spring with the idea that I would use them to track my improvement. This was not an improvement over the last one in April. I guess I can blame being sick the week before, but on the other hand, I was well rested.

I already skimped out on one of my runs for the week. I ran three times, but I didn't do the 5 miler I was supposed to. But I also biked 4 times this week, including a really hilly ride in the neighborhoods in Ballard and down to the water. My legs were shot after 20 miles. I hope to God my triathlon isn't as hilly. I doubt it is as steep as we were winding through some pretty minor roads through residential areas. But who knows? I actually got off and walked on one hill, mostly because I was afraid I was going to tip over from going so slow.

My race is in a month!
And Seattle to Portland is in 6 weeks or so!

PS I have dropped the ball on relay recruitment. Right now I have a check from Lauren. The price goes up on June 15th, so I'd like to get at least 9 of us total on board before then! So if you want to run with us, let us know! We are doing the Spokane to Sandpoint relay on August 13-14. It will be good times!

PPS Al is moving to Seattle! Down at sea level, those Wyoming lungs will kick some ass I think. Al, you better sign up for a race or two real soon to take advantage!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Race Report: Al Finishes Second... Again!

This time the race was the Cody Yellowstone Opener, and I finished over a minute behind the winner. The course was similar to the other 10k races I've run here in Cody, but instead of starting and finishing at the Rec Center, up on top of the ridge that runs through the middle of town, it started near the Chamber of Commerce, down at the bottom. Also, we took Meadow Lane Ave. to the reservoir instead of the dirt trail. Both changes made the course hillier, and would have made it longer, so we turned around short of the cattle guard and ran the cut-off version of the reservoir loop. Overall the course was something like this, except with the turn-around a bit sooner (I don't know exactly where it would be on a map). For additional intrigue, this race carried a $300 prize for the male and female 10k winners. I wasn't really in great shape, but I figure I'm always a threat to win a race in a small town like Cody.

I actually led up to the turn-around, so for almost the first two miles. The eventual winner then turned on the jets and built a prohibitive lead almost immediately. He had clearly measured his pace for the first couple miles to observe the field. Another runner passed me as well, and built about a 30-meter lead. But at 14th St. he took a wrong turn; along Meadow Lane Ave. we had joined up temporarily with the 5k runners, who took a left at 14th, and he followed them all the way to the finish, cutting the whole reservoir loop (about 1.5 miles). I had studied the course and knew to take a right. The hill up to the reservoir took a lot out of me, and I didn't recover to my normal pace as quickly as I would have liked, but once I did I kept my turnover up and ran strong on the reservoir path. I think I would have had a reasonable chance to catch the second-place guy on the path had he taken the correct turn, but I'll never know.

Since the big climb was at the beginning of the race, and the climb up to the reservoir was steep and short, I think the critical parts of this race were recovery after climbs and downhill running. My recovery after the initial climb was fine but my pace between the turn-around and the climb to the reservoir didn't feel very fast. On the other hand, I really took advantage of the short downhill sections early in the race to pick up my turnover and extend my lead. I used to be awful at that, and it's become a real strength in my racing. As I mentioned above, after a slow recovery from the reservoir climb I felt like I got my pace and turnover up to a good level (I have no data to back this up). Coming down from the reservoir I did fine with my form and settled back into a nice pace before the final descent. That was a little dicier; my stomach started to hurt on that stretch, and as it's a pretty steep decline I wasn't really able to open it up. I lost a little momentum toward the bottom of the hill checking for traffic before crossing to the left side of the street, but there was enough residual hill to get my speed back up. If there had been anyone on my tail I might have tried to kick harder, but as it was I settled for a moderate pick-up at the end.

So I came in second, for the hundredth time, and with a time of 37:02, which was a pleasant surprise. Since my cats hid my watch I've been training blind and my mental energy has been diverted by my job search... I was afraid I'd lay an egg like I did at the Soroptimist's run in October. But I managed to put all the stress away and run about as well as I should have, given my training.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How did it get to be April?

No really!

This year has been flying by already. I can't believe April is almost over. I have race reports and race plans to report.

Can Do 5k
So at the end of March, I signed up for a random 5k. I decided to make this my baseline 5k, so it was okay if I totally sucked - that just makes running faster easier! It was a pretty nondescript 5k, except that the bastards totally made the race 3.2 miles instead of 3.1. Now I don't trust my Garmin all that much to that accuracy (Forerunner 101 - old school). But the 5k and 10k courses followed each other for the last bit and the 2 mile marker and the 5 mile marker were very close together.

Now, one could argue that maybe the 10k was short, but I came in at 30:19 (9:47 pace) and I passed the 2 mile marker at about 19:19. I could have dropped my pace that much in the last mile but I was sprinting at the end. Stupid organizers and their focus on the special needs families they were raising money for.

(I hope the sarcasm was apparent in that last line.)

Anyway, like I said - baseline race. I decided to do a 5k a month more or less, just to track improvement and because I only did one race last year so I'm not worn out on them.

Seahawks 12k
The weekend before last I signed up for a 12k race that runs along the lake and through the Seahawks training facility and back. I really mostly signed up for it for the incentive to start making my long runs in the 6-8 mile range, instead of the 3-5 mile range I had been poking along in. I didn't bring Garmin, just my heart rate monitor, and made my goal to stay in Zone 2.

The race was moderately hilly and fortunately my knee held up. I am discovering it is mostly the really steep inclines that give me the twinging. Unfortunately, running in Seattle involves many of these sharp inclines if you don't run along the water. So to the water it is! Berlin is flat, so I don't think this will affect me all that much.

Anyway, the first three miles I was sub-10s (while in Zone 2) but then I had to slow down to keep my heart rate down. But then at Mile 6, Crystal Frontier came on and I can't hold back during this song, which is kind of weird since Calexico isn't exactly running music. So I booked it the last mile and a half. The end of the course was evil. You went past the finish and then had to wind around parking lots for almost half a mile. Apparently the number 12 has some significance for the Seahawks, thus why they didn't just make it a 10k.

My burst at the end brought me in at 1:14:45, which was a 10:01 pace. I was quite happy with that and I felt good for most of the race. I'm starting to wonder if I should always be racing with heart rate since when I keep it low, I am generally not miserable.

Earth Run for Water 6k
In my continuation of doing weird distance races, on sunday I did a 6k. The 6k is supposed to indicate the average distance a woman in the developing world walks to fetch water. As a water person, I felt like I should do this race. In another post, I'll describe how I intend to fuck up my marathon training by spending two weeks in Bolivia this summer working on a water project.

Anyway, I wanted to get a long run in on sunday, so I decided not to race this race either and just do a Zone 2 run. I parked my car downtown (about 2.5 miles from the start), ran to the start, then ran the race. It was a gorgeous day, with Rainier being all obnoxious and big and white and a clear view of the Olympics for half the course.

They actually marked the race in kilometers, so I mentally switched to "It would be nice to run sub 10-min miles" to "It would be nice to run sub 6-min kilometers." First k was 5:15, so I dialed it back, especially as it took about 1k for my heart rate to catch up and then shoot over my Zone 2. My heart rate monitor never stopped yelling at me to slow down from that point on. It wasn't way over my Zone 2 (it was in the high 150s and my Zone 2 ends at 156 or so), but I felt like if I ran any slower I would be shuffling. I didn't feel like I was running a hard pace, so I just let it go.

The middle ks clocked in about 6 min/k and then I picked it up for the last one and did another 5:15k, coming in at 34:45 (9:21 min/mile). I'm really starting to think of ditching my Garmin - I run just as fast but I'm way less miserable!

After the race, a nice couple gave me a ride back to my car (in retrospect, probably not my most brilliant move to get in a car with strange people in Seattle - this ain't Iowa!).

I was going to write more, but I think this is long enough. A few notes:

1. My next 5k test is next weekend - I hit 5k at 29:30 on sunday, so it shouldn't be a problem to beat 30:19. Aaaannnndddd.... brilliant me didn't realize that the course this weekend is THE SAME EXACT ONE as the 6k course (although short 1k). So at least I know I am a rockstar there...

2. I might be doing the skate ski leg of Ski to Sea. Good times!

3. I still hate swimming. But I am signed up for a pseudo-Olympic tri in June, so in the water I must go.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is this a bad idea?

Okay peeps, I am trying to figure out my summer schedule. I am signed up already for the Berlin Marathon. And I signed myself up for the Seahawks 12k in April to get my ass running more than 3 or 4 miles at a time.

Here is my current question (and I'm sure I'll have more):

1. Do you think it is a bad idea to sign up for a sprint triathlon (500m/12.4 mi/5k) the weekend before my marathon?

ETA: I already have another question:

2. Would it be a bad idea to sign up for an Oly Tri the weekend after I have a 100 mile ride on my STP training calendar?

ETA AGAIN: One more:

3. What about signing up for a sprint tri (1/2 mi/18 min/3.2 mi) the weekend after I have a 20 mile run on my marathon training calendar?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Seattle to Portland

So my friend Jessica, who I did the Birkie with (and by "with" I mean she did the 55k and I did the 23k and she only took 45 minutes longer than me), has convinced me to do the Seattle to Portland ride in July. I'm so susceptible to peer pressure!

So I wasn't planning on biking this summer, seeing as I have a marathon in September to train for. But now that I have someone who will ride with me... well, it will be fun! Jessica and I will ride bikes, talk about boys, and drink beer afterwards.

So once I started thinking about training for a double century (didn't I mention it was a 200 mile ride over two days?), I realized... this should be the summer I do a Half-IM.

I'll hopefully have my run base up from marathon training and I'll be forced to put in saddle miles to train for this and really, getting in the bike miles is the main reason that I have been hesitant to do a Half-IM.

This race is two weeks after the STP ride. I figure that puts my big ride two weeks out and then I can taper. And then I have August and September to finish marathon training.

What could possibly go wrong? It's not like my knee does start killing me every time I run uphill or anything!

At least the bike ride is apparently pretty flat, for better or worse (no climbing means no coasting). I actually think the days of RAGBRAI that I have done might be hillier than this course.

Hmmm, I wonder if there is pie in every town like on RAGBRAI?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Long Distance Relay Training

I got this from the MC200 yahoo group, which for some reason I am still on, probably because I feel the need to put my two cents in every once in a while. It is sadly only attributed to someone named "Chris" but I think there are some wise relay training tips to be found.

Long Distance Relay Training
General Training:

1. At least one day a week, live on bagels, bananas, and some form of energy drink.

2. Practice rapidly entering and leaving a van without banging your knee or any other part of your leg or anatomy on the van. Work up to at least 23 of these in a row, one for each exchange. A variation of this would be to jump out of the van while it is moving and run to some imaginary starting point several blocks away. (Make sure the van is not moving too fast and you are not the driver.)

3. Practice bladder control. We will need some semblance of order for this during the race. For the experienced relay runners… practice waiting in line while exercising bladder control at the porta-potty, add some jumping around, fidgeting, and holding yourself while waiting.

4. Learn to live with (while keeping your mouth shut) all forms of discomfort, griping and criticism, especially when you are tired. A possible workout would be get really tired, preferably not running (see Run Training below), then have someone criticize you for being smelly, for failing to pickup stuff that isn't yours, for running too slow, for leaving sweaty cloths around, or needing you to run some more right now, etc. Also have this person consume or hide your favorite food and drink before you get back from the workout. You can vary this workout each week to make sure it has all the elements that piss you off the most. This is probably the most important workout in this training plan so don't skimp on it. NOTE: Married runners should be able to shorten this training.

5. Once or twice, stay up all night and act normally the next day. A variation would be to go to a party in some park on the second day and have a few beers without falling asleep.

6. Sleep without a pillow. You can substitute a roll of toilet paper or a pile of sweaty cloths, preferably a little damp, if needed. Make sure it is on a hard surface where you do not have enough room to stretch out. If you must stretch out, try an asphalt parking lot on a cool humid night. As an add-on, after a sweaty workout try sleeping without changing cloths.

7. Find a traffic jam, or, get a couple of cars running in your driveway and enjoy the gas fumes. You might include this with workout #4 above.

8. Open a can of tuna and keep it within smelling distance for at least 24 hours. This is optional depending on the diet of your fellow runners. You can substitute tuna with other odiferous products. An alternative to add into this workout would be to go to the airport (or other public facility), grab a book and head to the "head". Have a seat and ignore the aroma. Resist asking "Who did it".

Run Training
1. Borrow or buy running shoes and try them on.

2. Find a T-shirt and some shorts you can run in. Cutoff's will work. Get a pair of socks, preferably not black.

3. Get up at 5am every other day, turn on the air conditioning to get the temp down to about 45 degrees and spritz yourself with a cold water spray bottle and run a 4 mile fartlek in pitch dark with several cotton rolls tucked into your cheeks. Throw some dust around and bring in some sound bites of semis and cars honking with flood lights flashing to help make you run a bit faster.

Blogless in Seattle

I always mean to post here, but then I never get around to it. And then it gets all overwhelming when I think about how much I could write about.

So it's been two months...

What have I been up to on the training front? In no particular order:

* Cross-country skiing twice a week in prep for the Korteloppet, a 23k race in Wisconsin. A friend and I leave the city on Wednesday nights and drive an hour west to the mountains where we gallivant around the woods with headlamps on, along with a bunch of people from a local cross-country ski club. Then on Saturdays, we do a longer ski.

* The Korte was two weekends ago. It hurt. There was no blueberry juice like at the Mora. But it was still fun. The hills in Wisconsin never end! Good thing I climbed a lot of mountains in training. Me on one of those mountains:

* I have been learning how to skate ski. It looks so effortless, but dang, it is really hard. I did the Korte, classic style. Skating also involves things like having to wax my skis, so it is a little more work. But it is fun to go fast!

* I took off to Whistler in January on a spur of the moment weekend trip with another postdoc. Literally, we decided on Thursday around noon and got in the car and drove to Vancouver that night. My sister has a sweet hotel hookup at the Westin on the mountain, but to get the cheap rate ($90 for a $300 room), we usually have to book last minute. Fortunately, the postdoc lifestyle is easy peasy and no one cares when I come in, as long as I get stuff done.

* Running has been regular, but low mileage (3-4 times per week, 2-4 miles). I am officially signed up for Berlin! But already the injuries are appearing - the last two times I have run outside, I have gotten a sharp twingey pain in my left knee, especially when running up hill. It hasn't happened on the treadmill, so I am hoping it will go away on its own. But there are lots of hills in Seattle. This picture doesn't do the hill behind my house justice:

* Planning for the Spokane to Sandpoint Relay is underway! Right now I have six definites and nine maybes - I would say my conversion rate on maybes is about 50% so I still need people if anyone wants to join in the fun!

* I still drink too much beer. I blame it on hanging out with Australians. Also, leave it is to a foreigner to carry around $100 bills. That we then deface behind their backs.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Once a month is totally regular updating, right?

I'll say it again...

Thank goodness for RSS feeds or else I would be posting this into an abyss.

So Seattle is pretty awesome. Still. I just checked and I apparently said the same thing a month ago. But it's true! I've been busy, gallivanting around, doing a lot more skiing than running.

In theory I'm doing the 23k classic race at the Birkie next month. We'll see if that happens. I wanted to do the 23k skate race, but last Wednesday was my first night out skate skiing and I still have a lot to learn. I have a new ski buddy who is much better than me. We are starting to go to these Wednesday night ski outings where you go into the woods in the middle of nowhere and all of a sudden see all these cross country skiers with headlamps. It's good times!

Running... Er, running...

Well, my long runs are 3 miles these days.

My big running plan for the year is....


September 2010. Me, Lisa, and her mom. And hopefully a lot of beer afterward.

In the meantime, my next distance goal is the Vancouver Half Marathon in May.

And then of course, the relays...

The Canadian Death Race is out this year, unless I can find one more person willing to shell out $350 for a race and who is willing to commit this month.

As for a more laid back relay, based on people's votes, right now it is looking like the Spokane to Sandpoint Relay. Pretty standard 12-person 200 miler... Except this:

What makes this Race different from any other event is the fact that at mile 118 your team is going to take the ride of their life aboard Silverwood Theme Park’s Tremors Rollercoaster. Get ready to plunge toward the Earth at over 60 miles per hour when your team arrives at this exchange around midnight.