Monday, January 31, 2011

Found art

Ahhh Seattle!

Somewhere near Leschi:

"Trike atop stump"
Pardon the blur. One of the delightful sights from my "long" run on Friday morning. Another hilly Seattle run along this route, which included some good hills and time along the Lake Washington waterfront:

Note the 700+ feet of elevation gain

McClellan St.

This hill came at mile 6+ (see elevation profile above at mile 6+ and note short, steep, nearly vertical incline). See the hill in the distance? That's not really the top. You can't tell, but the road flattens for about 1 block, jogs to the right, then continues UP for another 2 or 3 long blocks (again, see elevation profile for evidence). 

I was still sore from Wednesday's run up & down Madison Street (see HERE) so this was a killer way to end my long run. Missed my run on Sunday so I'm hoping to get all three runs in this week. 


January Re-cap:

The month started out strong, meeting my milage, biking, and core workout goals. Then, the Michigan boys came to stay for 2 weeks and I got sick. These last couple weeks have not been ideal but am trying to get back on track. Instead of a rest week this week, I'll be running last week's miles. 

This will be my last week of base miles before starting the Furman First / Run Less, Run Faster program on February 7 to prepare for the Indy Mini Marathon in May and I'm NERVOUS to start the program but very curious to see how I hold up. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Running off for a cause

Anyone out there follow Giraffy @ 365 Days of Awesome? I do. I've enjoyed reading about her running adventures but at the beginning of the year, completely out of the blue, everything changed. With each post, my heart goes out to her and her family. Her story starts HERE and continues to unfold daily. 

At the new year, Giraffy's youngest child was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. This is a treatable condition, which is good, but that doesn't mean it's an easy road for the baby girl or the family. 

As I'm sure everyone knows, these sudden and serious illnesses are devastating for a family. Giraffy is one tough cookie (just check her blog and see) but everyone, even Giraffy, can use some help at times like these. 

Lovely Teamarcia of Running Off at the Mouth set up a "donate" button on her blog. She explains it all HERE. Visit this link and donate what/if you can. Our running sister needs some help.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Holiday Booty Buster Challenge booty

Amigos Brasileiros, bem-vindos!



From the sounds of it, our lovely Amanda of Run to the Finish has been working around the clock lately and yet, she still managed to get our butts in gear over the holidays for the Holiday Booty Buster Challenge. I was a lucky winner of one of her gift packages for my Miami Resolution Virtual Fun Run.

Check out the booty! A bright Oiselle tank, matching Sweaty Band, FRS energy blocks, tea (I was very low due to my cold last week, thank you!), and a coupon for some soy "ice cream." Very nice! The fun tank and Sweaty Band will be my outfit of choice for my upcoming New Orleans RNR.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Multi-tasking run

Multi-tasking. This is how mamas, some pops, socialites, bike messengers, and other busy people get stuff done.

Today, I wanted to catch my first run in 10 days (that nasty cold) but also had my "to-do" list smacking me. SO MANY ERRANDS to run before we go out of town on Friday to see family.

What to do? I shut down my computer an hour early, grabbed by credit card, ID, phone, and office keys and ran north two blocks to Seattle Running Company. Quick purchase of the item shown below because I'm TIRED of carrying stuff when I run:
This Nathan waist pouch not only will make me more visible, it will hold all my junk right above my trunk when I'm not using my water belt. Nice! Ripped the tags off in the store, clerk commented on my "vintage" 2007 Seattle Half Marathon shirt (2007 is vintage? I have a 1999 Seattle Half shirt still in my drawer!) then headed UP MADISON STREET to run errand #2: Birth & Beyond for last part of a baby shower gift. 

Anyone who has run the Seattle Half/Marathon KNOWS Madison. From downtown on 1st Ave, it goes UP. And UP. And UP. Then you go down a bit then back up again then DOWN, DOWN, DOWN to Lake Washington. A 2.5-mile chug got me to the store. I ran in, bought my small but critical gift item, then headed back UP and UP and UP and UP before I could eventually come back DOWN to downtown. 

I wanted to hit the bank to pick up cash for the nanny but ran out of time. Drat. Tomorrow. So, back to the office for a 5-mile run and a couple errands accomplished. NICE! Tomorrow, I have a feeling my quads won't be feeling too nice, but mentally I'll be quite pleased about this hill workout. Check out the elevation profile:

I should be able to bike commute in tomorrow, hopefully get my 7-mile run in on Friday (I'm repeating last week's plan since I was on the DL), then do a 4-mile run on Sunday. It's a lot to squeeze in while road-tripping but must do. 

Oh, and BTW, I registered for the Mardi Gras New Orleans Rock & Roll Half Marathon on February 13th. CRAZY! I will NOT be in shape for it but I WILL have fun. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Returning to life & Mardi Gras RNR half

I'm finally regaining signs of life. An unobstructed breath. A pulse. Movement beyond the minimum to maintain basic functions. It's been a LONG time since I had a cold actually take me out of commission. Bah! Marluce - Eu procurei a fruta do acerola mas não pude encontrar alguns. 

THANK YOU everyone for the get well wishes. It was nice to have the virtual cheer. Crazy how many of YOU have been sick, too. There are some mean & nasty bugs going around right now. I hope everyone else is coming back to life as well. 

I'm thinking tomorrow I should be good for a run. Finally. After 9 sniffly, weak, tired days off. Do I pick up with last week's training goals to make up for lost time or do I just keep on going with this week's plan? Since next week was supposed to be a rest week anyway, I'm thinking that this week I should do last week's plan and then next week do this week's plan, skipping the rest week. Confused? Me too.

So my Master Plan 2011 (for kicking ass) officially starts on February 7th. Only two weeks to go and already I'm modifying the plan to accommodate an unplanned race. Yup. I'm going to NEW ORLEANS!!! My husband will be there for a conference so Baby F is going to stay with Gramma/Gramps and I'll fly down for a long weekend. First real weekend away from baby to celebrate our anniversary, my birthday, Valentine's Day, Susan B. Anthony's birthday, early President's Day, late Groundhog Day, and anything else we can think of. Nice timing, right? Thankfully the conference organizers picked just the right weekend for us to boondoggle a trip. 

My goals for the trip are to:

  1. Eat
  2. Drink
  3. Be merry
  4. Run/walk the Mardi Gras/New Orleans Rock & Roll Half Marathon (maybe?)
I haven't registered for the race yet but am strongly considering it. That same weekend I have an 8-mile run scheduled, so I figure I can run the first 8 miles at workout pace then walk/jog the rest, or, just jog the whole thing. I'm leaning toward option A to stay true to my Master Plan for 2011 (for kicking ass). I'm trying to "run smart," remember? Which means, not taking on too much too soon.

If I run this race, I will be able to check Louisiana off my "to race in" list and I've got a long way to go on making my goal of running a race in every state/province. 

Friday, January 21, 2011


I still have this damn cold that makes my throat raw (the hot water / brandy / honey drink helps but doesn't cure) and chest ache. I haven't run in 5 days.

How in the heck am I supposed to be a marathoner if I'm sick forever? Seems like forever. 

No biking, no core work, no running, nothing.


Poor Baby F was sick too but he's rebounding faster. I think because he's getting better sleep. I had to stay home Tuesday because I wasn't feeling well and you know, even though I only went to the office 3 of 4 days this week, I still billed my full work week even without using any sick time. UG!

No rest for the weary or wicked. We are SLAMMED right now. One more week of deadlines then things should lighten up. I just hope I don't have to wait a week to get enough rest to kick this stubborn bug.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm free!

Ok so remember how my PT asked me to tape my ankle for 90 days to intentionally build up scar tissue? I started this crazy taping business on October 13, 2010 (see HERE).

I'm now FREE from the tape. No more itching. No more long hairs after forgetting to shave underneath for too long.

Last week on the 13th, my ankle felt naked and cold. Otherwise, it doesn't feel any different, even when I run. You know what though? I feel like I should switch to the right ankle now because it just seems "unbalanced" somehow. Do you think my right ankle feels left out of the fun? What if my RIGHT ankle gets injured next? Will it blame me for not investing the 90 days to build up the scar tissue to add strength? 

And how do I know this worked, anyway?

I haven't been able to tell lately because I haven't run since Sunday. It's driving me batty! The little man, Baby F, came down with a cold over the weekend and kindly passed it on to me with his juicy kisses. Sore throat, very tired, the usual. I'm hoping to get a run in Thursday or Friday? I feel like I need to at least get my "long" run for the week in:
7 miles, baby!!

Looking forward to getting back to a normal schedule and homefront next week (all regular exercises and no more house guests).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

RNR Mardis Gras / New Orleans?

Is anyone out there running the Mardis Gras / New Orleans Rock & Roll Half Marathon/Marathon? There is a chance that I'll get to take a spontaneous trip to MSY in February and it just happens to fall on the RNR weekend! What luck!!

I have only an 8-mile long run scheduled for that weekend but I wouldn't be able to pass up the chance to run a race so...I think I would run 8 miles then walk/jog the rest so I don't overdo it and mess up my training.

Just wondering who else may be running this race that I could meet up with?

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Thank you ROSE and KADIE for tagging me with the STYLISH BLOGGER award. My friends would likely disagree about me being stylish, so THANK YOU very much for tagging me anyway!

There are 4 duties to perform to accept this award:
1. Make a post + Link back to the person who awarded you this award (check).
2. Share 7 things about yourself 
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
(many of the people I would like to award have already been awarded so I'm just going to do a few, and these aren't necessarily recent discoveries)
In a Field of Daffodils
Mom Vs Marathon
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won! 

Seven random style-related things about the Average Woman Runner:
  1. I am an INFP.
  2. My microwave is spotless. I freak if just the smallest food particle is found inside. 
  3. I crumple my race bib up before donning it at each race, for good luck. 
  4. My favorite authors are: Haruki Murakami, Herman Hesse, Jane Austin, and Jose Saramago.
  5. My racing style is: go out fast, poop out right before the end (working on fixing that this year). 
  6. I used to wear flannel and Birkenstocks in the early 90's - like everyone else around here - but not while running. 
  7. My running gait style is slowly becoming more of a mid/fore-foot strike with shorter strides rather than a heavy heel plant with long strides. This is supposed to reduce injuries. We'll see how I do this year! 

This past week, I met my running goal but didn't get any core workouts in and biked only once due to all the craziness around here: Two Michigan visitors staying through this Friday and two holiday parties this past week. Phew! I'll be ready to return to my normal routine NEXT week. Until then, this coming week will include my long run growing by 1 mile to SEVEN miles and two shorter runs. 

Looking forward to February 7, the start of the RUN LESS RUN FAST program!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I can't believe I'm really doing this

The culmination of my Master Plan 2011 and climax of my 2011 kick ass year is to run the Portland Marathon. I'm terrified. I've been afraid that if I write it, say it, think it too often...I'll jinx myself. I'll get injured or something else will happen that will prevent me from running it.

Well, today I had to bite the bullet because I heard that the race was filling up. So for the first time in my life, I registered for a marathon. Now I'm $135 in so there's no backing out, right? My email confirmation just came:

Registration Confirmation for:

Dear Average Woman Runner,
Congratulations! You are now registered for Portland Marathon 2011. Please check the event's official website for updates:
We invite you to take advantage of these additional special offers from The Portland Marathon!
When I got registered, I had the option of personalizing my race bib. I've never had that option before. The obvious thing was to enter "ALMA" but really, I wanted to enter something more fun...but what? P-COSA? Why don't I have a cool handle like TallMom or HotLegs? Darn. I guess that's why I'm just 
the average woman runner.
So the good news is that my friend who I'm running the Indy Mini Marathon with is going to register for Portland too! And this friend who lives in Indianapolis is moving to SEATTLE in June so we may even get to train together a bit. Double bonus!
It will be so great having someone to do the long runs with. Man, just planning the long run routes is a lot of work.
And in other good news...
I won a Holiday Booty Buster Challenge prize! Amanda from Run to the Finish selected me for the Resolution Run award. I'm getting some of her favorite nut butter. Mmmmm!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

100% compliance

Week's Goal:

Bike commute 3 of 4 days: DONE
Run 4 mi, 4 mi, 5 mi, easy: DONE
Complete two Jillian/core workouts: DONE

Not a bad way to start the year.

My butt cheeks and shoulders are already dying from Level 2 of Jillian's 30-Day Shred video this morning. Hoping tomorrow's bike commute helps to loosen everything up.

So right now we have a couple guys from Michigan visiting. They are both contractors who are out to re-roof and frame our friends' unfinished attic. While they're here, we're hoping they have time to replace our basement windows and install a couple new exterior doors. On their next visit, we want to frame in our basement, insulate, etc. and get ready to finish. Eventually, when our basement gets done, a treadmill will be in my future!!!!!!!

Of course, that's some months and a tax return away.

Anyway, so while these guys are out, there is no way I'm doing exercise videos in my living room at 6 AM. I need to find a substitute for my core workouts for the next two weeks...likely I will be slacking a bit.

On a food note, we got SUNCHOKES delivered in our produce box this week. They taste pretty good but strange in that they have the consistency of a potato but flavor of an artichoke heart. Anyone have any good ways for fixing these things up? Last time, I just sliced & baked with (mmmmm) butter. Tonight, I sliced them up with some red potatoes and am making into a gratin. Cooking suggestions welcome!

Photo from:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I won't back down, Mr. Leadville!

(a little background tune-age for your reading pleasure)

Yes, I was on the gates of hell tonight. It started like this...

Got to work early, busy busy, headed out for an end-of-day run at 4 pm so I could run in the daylight. As per usual for a post-work run, I headed along the downtown Seattle waterfront through the Olympic Sculpture Park. Since this was my "long" run of 5 miles, I continued on the path through Myrtle Edwards Park, which is a strip of grass and paved trail along Elliot Bay north of downtown.

On the way out, I had a great tail-wind and was adrenalinized (hey, if Sarah & George can make up words, so can I!) from a busy work day, which helped me cruise thru the first 1.5 miles at <8 min/mile. The pace also may have had something to do with a guy who was running ahead of me on the path who I had to pass. Silly, I know, but whatever.

So I quickly ditched the dude then stopped at a bench to catch my breath stretch, then ran another mile to my turn-around point then headed back, realizing that the tail wind was no longer my friend. BRUTAL running into the wind. This is where the gates of hell are visible in the distance.

After about 1/4 mile, I realized that there was another guy I could have a make-believe race with who was comfortably trotting along in the grass. And this guy was not like the last. This one was looking like a lean, mean running machine. Only, he was running MY pace - huh? After a while, he had to cut back to the paved trail and we were running basically side-by-side. Same pace. Not my normal pace, but my almost-can't-breathe-pace. Of course on the exterior, I'm playing it cool?

Does this ever happen to you? Do you say anything? It's kind of awkward running with someone but not really running "with" someone. So...

"How 'bout that wind?" ventured the Average Running Woman.

"Ha! Yeah, but at least it's warmed up. Pretty nice now," replied the unknown runner dude.

Quiet. Still running together for a while.

"Hope you don't mind if I pace off you?" This came from HIM, not ME. Remember, I'm hauling a$$ to maintain my pace with the headwind and this dude is cool as a cucumber. I'm thinking there is no way I can maintain this pace for another 2 miles.

I had to laugh. "No, but I don't know if I can keep this pace up much longer."

And we kept running and I just concentrated on maintaining my "sprint" for my "long" run and tried to think of questions to ask the dude to get him to talk so I could focus on my breathing. Turned out, he was fine running together but was a man of few words. Damn. What were those questions in the Runner's Rule Book that you're supposed to ask when you're sucking wind and you want your running partner to talk & slow down? I thought this would get him going...

"So what are you training for?" I mean, who can't resist going on & on about their next event and how they're training for it?

"Uh...well...I haven't registered for anything yet...but Leadville." Almost apologetically.

I practically stopped dead in my tracks (except I still wasn't going to slow down and show him I couldn't keep up). The devil is laughing at me now because I can feel my lunch rising. "That is SO COOL but so INSANE! How do you train for a race at 12,000 ft when you live at sea level?" Not to mention that it's a race that is ONE HUNDRED MILES LONG, up and down the ROCKY MOUNTAINS.

From what I gathered, he lives in Colorado but is here on a temporary work assignment and will be here at least through March because he asked what I knew about the Mercer Island Half Marathon. (I highly recommend it, btw.) Apparently, Mr. Leadville has actually entered the Leadville100 three times but "only made it to about 60 miles."

WOW! ONLY 60 miles. I guess you can say that when your goal is 100 miles but...not having run more than 15 or 16 miles in one run, ever, it's hard for me to imagine.

So we chatted (i.e., I talked his ear off in short, breathy bursts) and I dug deep to maintain a pace that really, I'm in no shape to be running right now. Not yet. I wasn't going to slow down because:

  • I can be silly competitive, but mostly just when it comes to men. Not sure why since it's not very practical. 
  • I'm a hard-head and I just WON'T BACK DOWN (Tom Petty puts on an amazing show, btw). 
  • I realized it's been...since before baby (2008) that I've been able to do a training run with someone, anyone, and I miss it. It just felt good to run side-by-side with someone and chat about "stuff." My pre-baby running partner is swamped with work and hasn't been able to get back into running after her baby, so I'm a bit on my own for a while and I realize I MISS having a running date. 
Where are all the women running after work? Why can't I find YOU on the trail?

I guess I'll keep my eyes peeled for Mr. Leadville during my future post-work runs on the waterfront and maybe I'll run into him at the Mercer Island race? I'm hoping to do the 10k so maybe I'll see him and get to cheer him on? Could be fun hearing first-hand about someone training for a 100-mile race if I happen to see Mr. Leadville on the road again.

As soon as I peeled off to head to my office, I was relieved to catch my breath. I found that the hard effort had totally energized me though and it made my bike commute home a bit easier. VERY nice way to end the work day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pump up

the Jam. A little Technotronic to get me through the week. First week back from vacay is always a bit rough...

Ah, high school dance memories!

So far, workouts are on track this week except this morning I missed a Jillian core workout. I'll have to make it up this weekend, no?

Watched the first episode of Biggest Loser last night and weeped, as always. I wasn't sure I wanted to watch this season because I get so attached to the contestants. Sappy? Yes, but I can't help it. I have to say, though, I heard my favorite all-time quote in last night's episode (from the former pro-wrester's partner):

"Confidence is one thing, smarts is another." 


Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Race List (I have butterflies!)

2011 is my come-back year, the year of KICK ASS

Not very sweet I know, but seriously, I need to kick some ass (my own, of course) this year after having two bum years in a row.

This list gives me butterflies just thinking about it! During my half and full marathon training programs, any races I do should be at the prescribed training pace for speed work rather than an all-out race effort. This takes some of the fun out of racing but will still be a nice way to get out and have some fun. Plus, I'll have most of May & June that are between training programs to be a racing slut.

I haven't compared full marathon training program weekly workouts to the races/dates yet, so I'm not 100% sure which races fit with prescribed workouts during July - September. This will change a bit depending on other commitments and training, especially after May, but my tentative line-up for 2011 is listed below.

Jan - Open

Feb - Open (Begin half marathon program on Feb 7)

Mar - Mercer Island 10k or Magnuson Race Series 15k (run at training pace, use results to refine training paces)

Apr - Magnuson Race Series 15k (run at training pace), Whidby Island Half Marathon (as part of a planned 15-miler)

May - Indianapolis OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon (target event!), Seattle's Best 15k (awesome course around Lake Union!). Wait - this just in: Nordstrom Beat the Bridge 8k

Jun - Lake Padden Triathlon, maybe North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon or Magnuson Race Series 5k/ 10k/ 15k (If I do Whidby, Indy, and NODM, I could be a 1 moon Half Fanatic for 3 halfs in <90 days?)

Jul - Swedish SummeRun 5k/ 10k and Magnuson Race Series 5k/ 10k/ 15k (training runs), maybe a random race in Illinois while we're out for a wedding (a new state!)

AugBeaver Lake Triathlon

Sep - Fairhaven Runners Waterfront 15k, Fremont Oktoberfest Brew-HA-HA (training runs, though I'd like to renew my 5k PR on the Brew-HA-HA course)

Oct - Portland Marathon (first ever marathon!)

Nov - Thanksgiving run TBD

Dec - Christmas run TBD, possible race in S. Carolina if I attend a work conference
    Anyone out there have any of the same races on their list? 

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Miami Resolution Fun Run 2011 - virtual race



    (as proclaimed by the Average Woman Runner to make up for the last couple years of feeling pretty ass-kicked)


    It has been really cold in Seattle, so this morning I waited for high sun to run the HBBC-related, Miami Resolution Fun Run 2011. You can't quite read my bib, but my resolution is to RUN SMART, RUN INJURY FREE. 

    It was in the upper 30's when I started out (BRR!) so I stuck to the sunny side of the streets. Like all races, I went out too fast but after about one mile, I settled into a nice pace. I didn't take my camera with me but I can report that I passed the following on my course that included an urban section of the Mountains to Sound trail:

    Dogs: 8 (including 3 large "pit bulls" which I crossed to the other side of the street for)
    Cyclists: 8
    Pedestrians: 33*
    Cat: 1 (lounging on the trail)

    *Regarding the pedestrians, everyone looked cold but sober (!) and two older men who were totally decked out in Mariner's garb (wrong season?) yelled at me as I ran by: "BRRR! Be careful honey! Watch out!" I'm not sure what to watch out for - ice? Anyway, it was sweet.

    Stats for this virtual resolution run:
    Distance: 5.23 miles
    Total time: 44:38
    Avg Pace: 8:32
    Min elevation: 39 ft
    Max elevation: 328 ft  (I picked a hilly course for this race!)

    During my run, I thought about my running goals for 2011, which include:

    • running smart - not taking on too much too soon
    • maintaining core strength
    • stretching
    • consistently doing my physical therapy exercises
    • sticking to the training plan
    • hopefully staying injury free. 
    This will also include a number of regular races I try to do each year (race list coming soon) as well as some new ones (Indy Mini Marathon, Portland Marathon).

    I'm looking forward to the start of a new year and aside from running, I'm hoping this year will be more steady/sane than 2009 & 2010 (no new babies, jobs, or other major changes, please).