Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What the butt?

When a track interval hurts, speed up! That way, it will be done quicker. Right? Well, not today. You just might end up stopping before the interval is complete.

I've been ignoring a little soreness at the top of my right hamstring, where it connects to the base of my butt (?). I have no idea what the technical term for this location is. Anyone? It's been "there" but not slowing me down so I've been letting it ride.

It hurt more than normal during last week's speed work (that was HALF of a speed workout due to being short on time). I could feel the nag for the last couple miles of Sunday's long run, but it was nothing that alarmed me.

This morning I was so very excited to get some speed work in for the Furman FIRST/Run Less, Run Faster 5k training program: 1600 (400m RI), 1200 (400m RI), 800 (400m RI), 400 (400m RI). I got almost 3/4 through that first interval and that nagging pain suddenly became acute.

I did the responsible thing: STOP. DROP. ROLL. 

That foam roller found a lot of tenderness back there, right where I sit.

Next, I did the irresponsible thing: I got back on the treadmill. It HURT to run. I couldn't deny it. I jogged slowly, vowing to at least get 3 miles in for the day (because I'm stubborn). Maybe the soreness would go away after a bit?

It did subside after a few minutes but it certainly did NOT go away.

So here I sit on a pack of ice, reaching out to Blogland for any thoughts about this damn thing.

I will sit on ice all day today, maybe even bite the bullet & take some NSAIDS. I will be a good girl and will cross train and continue to ice tomorrow. Thursday, I have an appointment at Brooks to be a running lab rat. I've been looking forward to this appointment all month.

Dear pain in my ass, please don't make me cancel this appointment...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Duck, duck, duck...GOOSE!

Giraffy tagged me in this crazy game of lists. I’m excited to participate in something that involves a prime number!
Las Reglas:
1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them.
My Random List
  1. I just found out I’m categorized as a “Basic – Analytical” decision-maker (i.e., I like spreadsheets but also use my gut). 
  2. Giraffy doesn’t want to accept it, but Evan Dando is MY boyfriend and she needs to find someone else.
  3. My favorite fiction writers are Haruki Murakami, Jose Saramago, Herman Hesse, Madeline L’Engle, many of the Latin American authors who write in the style of mystical realism. I also love nonfiction!
  4. I am an only child but have 1,000,001 cousins and am close to each one. 
  5. In my fantasy life, I’m a mortician or sports nutrition specialist. 
  6. I’m turning 30(i) in less than a month. *gulp* One more year until I'm a master AG’er. 
  7. My preference has always been to travel to less developed countries but as I age I’m starting to appreciate the concept of vacationing in places with amenities that meet or exceed the standards we have at home. 
  8. Travel wish list: Japan (so I can stalk Haruki Murakami), Iceland (so I can stalk Bjork), Mexico (Oaxaca, D.F., so I can eat my weight in mole and chocolate), Spain (so I can eat my weight in Serrano ham & paella and wash it down with a river of wine). 
  9. I’m a knuckle-dragger and I don’t care what you downhill people have to say about that.  
  10. I don’t use a Garmin/GPS. Harry, my HRM, is as techy as I get.
  11. Rick Bayless sent me a Tweet after I Tweet-raved about eating at his restaurant, La Frontera, in Chicago this week. I’m going to print & frame, then hang it in my office.


Giraffy’s Random List
  1. Do you cross train? (Be honest!) YES, I try to x-train at least 2x/wk but I’m not always successful: weights, yoga, cycling, swimming.
  2. What's your FAVORITE thing about running? These days, it’s the fact that I get to be by myself and have obligations to no one but me.
  3. And your LEAST favorite? Having tightness in my plantar fascia and calves (red flags).
  4. If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what is it? IMPOSSIBLE!
  5. What came first, chicken or the egg? EGG
  6. You're stuck on a deserted island - what three books do you wish you had with you? IQ84 (Haruki Murakami), Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkein)= both in Spanish and an English-Spanish dictionary. Figure I may as well get fluenty.
  7. How much time do you spend getting ready before leaving your house for a normal day of work/school/whatever you do?  30-45 minutes depending on if I eat breakfast at home or take something to go. This extends upwards of 60 minutes if I’m getting the little man ready, too.
  8. Do you love the treadmill as much as I do? Absolutely.
  9. My birthday is coming up (in 6 months)... want to come have a party? Do we get to run before having cake and margaritas?
  10. What should I get The H for his birthday (next week)? A gift certificate for a massage or tickets to a game.
  11. Have you joined Team Gab yet? Is the Pope a Catholic?


The Tag-ee Random List

Would the following bloggers please respond to the questions listed at the end of this entry?

  1. What is your preferred method of re-fueling after a long run?
  2. Do you keep a food diary?
  3. Do you typically run alone or with others?
  4. If you could get paid to run, would you?
  5. Desiree, Shalane, or Kara?
  6. What/where is your “dream” race, the race you would love to do over all others barring any limitations in resources or ability?
  7. What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2011?
  8. Have you ever changed careers?
  9. What podcasts (if any) do you listen to?
  10. If you had to pick, where would you go in 2012: Japan, Iceland, Mexico, or Spain?
  11. How much longer do you think you’ll continue to blog?
If you made it to the end of this post, I’m impressed!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A beer deferred

This is a crazy week. I arrived back home from our Hawai'i vacation on Monday morning, then was packing Monday night for a Tuesday flight to Chicago (work training).

I love this city!
Our flight out of Seattle was delayed and I didn't get checked into my hotel room until 7 p.m. My co-worker and I had made plans to meet at 8 p.m. to watch the State of the Union address and have dinner. It took until about 7:10 p.m. to find a place nearby that was actually showing it, instead of the Blackhawks (hockey town) or Michigan-Purdue ball game.

It was Tuesday track workout day and I really didn't want to miss it. What to do? With less than an hour, I knew I couldn't get a full workout in. It would have been easy to throw in the towel and head down to the bar early and have a beer. I was tired from the red-eye on Sunday night/Monday morning and then from traveling to Chicago.

My typical choice in this scenario (especially at night, in a city with fantastic food & brews) is to enjoy a hoppy drink. After all, what could I really accomplish between 7:15 and 8:00 p.m. (that includes time for a shower/change of clothes)? What's the point?

Hell didn't freeze over, believe it or not, but I DID defer the beer and sprinted to the hotel exercise room to test their treadmills. I figured I had time for exactly HALF of my speed workout. 

5k training plan:
10 minute warm-up
4 x 1000 m repeat @ 7:02 pace with 90 sec rest interval
10-20 minute cool-down

7:25-7:30 = Begin 5 minute warm-up
7:30-7:36 = First 1,000 m repeat + 90 second rest interval
7:36-7:40 = Second 1,000 m repeat
7:40-7:45 = 5 minute cool-down
7:45-7:55 = shower, dress, race downstairs to meet co-worker
8:00 = Order well-deserved Goose Island ale / arugula and grilled shrimp salad

Now, I just need to remember that sometimes you just have to do the best you can with what you've got and it's better than doing nothing at all!

My next challenge will be to get up early enough tomorrow morning to do my tempo run! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Team Gab Virtual Race (AKA Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon)

It's time for Team Gab! 

Before reading this race report, check Giraffy's page HERE to learn about the race she is running in honor of her youngest who has been fighting leukemia for over a year. Team Gab is raising money for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (It's tax deductible, yo! Get your last 2011 donations in NOW!) . 

Yesterday I had the good fortune and pleasure to run the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon with the lovely Kim @ (Just) Trying is for Little Girls. I dedicated this race to Gabs and am rooting for Giraffy's team to kick a$$ in the fundraising. Before I describe this great event, a few thanks are in order:
  1. Thank you Giraffy for being such an inspiration with all that you somehow manage to do in the same amount of time that I do much less (run, work, mom to many, fund raise, etc).
  2. Thank you to KIM for inspiring us to take our first trip to Hawai'i (and for me to register for this race). 
  3. Thanks to our Alaskan Airlines credit card for providing a $99 companion voucher every year ($650 savings for one ticket).
  4. Thanks to Costco for hooking us up with an affordable package for accommodations & a car, making this trip possible for us.
A few days before this race, Average A (Diary of an Average Runner) saw a DailyMile entry for a run in Ka'anapali and shot me a message. She was coming to run Maui too! However, Average A is not even close to average. After waking up at 2:30 a.m. the day before the race so she could catch the sunrise on Kaleakala (volcano) and BIKE down to the bottom from 7,000 ft, she picked up her bib and upgraded from the half to the FULL MARATHON. Loca! Kim et al. and me, hubs, and little man met up with A and her friends at the Maui Brewing Co. for dinner. Unfortunately, that was the only time I saw A.

For the race, Kim and I had originally planned to show our Husky pride, wearing super cute purple & gold UDub cotton/poly blend shirts, black skirts, and purple tie-dye socks. After I arrived in Maui, I realized we would end up in an aid car due to heat stress if we ran in this. 

Plan "B" was to go AQUA and get lei'ed:

Race start: 6:45 a.m.
Prettiest race bib ever.
Kim, her hubs S, and I started out the race together after hanging out at what was NOT the race start. Oops. We found the correct location in time, no worries. I was feeling a bit rough from the get-go, like from spending so much time in the sun, sand, and surf during previous days, not drinking enough water, and having one too many Mai Tais and mother's milk from Maui Brewing Company:
Thanks for the recommendation, Jamoosh!
Why yes, that IS my SkirtSports running dress I'm wearing! Works well for running, beach wear, AND being a lush!

Ok, back to the race: Kim and I ran together the entire time. I have the potential to run my mouth nonstop so hopefully I didn't drive Kim too crazy with my chatter but I really enjoyed having the time with her. We talked about other runner bloggers, boobs, families, marriage, jobs, running, and more running.

After about 3 miles, Mr. S peeled away from us and we didn't see him again until the finish line (total sandbagger, "I'm not in shape, I'll probably walk!"). The 3-mile mark was about the time the field started to thin out enough to where we didn't have to weave in and out of traffic and could finally settle into a groove together.

The course started in Lahaina then ran south along the oceanfront highway. On the way out, we enjoyed the sunrise, ocean views, and cool breeze. I totally spaced on taking photos until after the turn-around, when I REALLY needed the distraction because by about mile 8, I started to hurt. The sun was well up by then, I was hot and thirsty, and there was no shade. The views helped a lot and I kept thinking about how great it would feel to jump in the water at the finish line.

Random people, nice view
One of several parks/beaches along the highway
That's KIM up there!
The last couple miles were tough, no lie. I should have been better hydrated and poured water over my head at previous aid stations to cool off. It helped having Kim there to plug along with. It was a relief to see the finish line. We crossed the mat in 2:06:50 with big smiles. Post race, we enjoyed water, fresh oranges, water, pineapple, water, macadamia nut cookies, and more water. 

Until Brightroom publishes their photos of our glorious finish together, I can only share these finish pics:
The Girlz 
+ "S" 
Post-race refreshing dip, contemplating the view before heading back to the car.
If you made it this far, go back to the top and click the link to register for your own Team Gab Virtual Race - any distance, anywhere, anytime before February 17.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Maui: Run #2, Beach walk in photos

Well, I tried to mix it up today and run north up the beach but after a few minutes it seemed that it was going to be just an "in town" run and I'm not really interested in seeing anything but the beach, water, and gardens while running here. I can see strip malls anytime!

After doubling back, entered the Beach Walk
To get here, take the Lower Hono~~~ road off the main highway running past Ka'anapali. I think this is the last exit for Ka'anapali, then it becomes Napili (?). The trail head entrance will be immediately on your left, after the bend in the road and the Honua Kai Resort. This is a public access point with parking & public restrooms.
This was a rare, quiet point on the trail. Countless runners this morning, including 3 familiar race shirt viewings: women in a Seattle RNR, Hood to Coast, and See Jane Run.
On the way out traffic wasn't bad but on the return trip I was weaving quite a bit around other runners and walkers, like Dom Toretto and Paul Walker being fast & furious while racing a quarter mile down a city street for a million $.
Whoa! Sliding on the freshly sprinkled path.

Side trail to the beach

Moloka'i in the distance

For the golfers out there
6.5 miles round trip in 52:11. Not bad for the heat/humidity.

It's looking like our matchy-matchy Husky outfits (see end of Kim's post, they are super cute!) will be post-poned to the Tacoma St. Patty's Day race (I just registered, Kim!) because we will surely have heat stroke if we wear dark cotton for a half marathon here!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Maui: Run #1

I could get used to this...

Although my body is in shock with the warmth (low 80's) and humidity, it's feeling pretty damn good. We flew out of Seattle just as Snowmageddon was starting. We're missing out on an unprecedented 5-9 inches of new snow in town. Crazy!

Meanwhile, Ka'anapali is pretty o.k. It was a bit rough on our first full day here yesterday as the little man caught a bug. We took it easy, spending time at the pool and beach but not for very long. We got a decent sleep last night so I was able to get up early-ish this morning and try my first run (a little over 6 miles) along the "beachwalk," which is accessible from anywhere along the Ka'anapali beaches.

Compliments of USATF.ORG
The trail is a bit busy with runners and pedestrians but it was all good. It's part wood, part cement sidewalk, part oceanfront, part resort, fresh air, no traffic/car worries, all good (again, yes). I will take my camera next time so I can share the great ocean views.

After I got back and posted my run to DailyMile, Average A commented that she's coming here, too, for the Maui Oceanfront Half! WOOT! I can't believe we didn't know each other were going to be here until now! "A" will be running with friends, decked out in grass skirts and coconut shells - oh my! Ms. Kim arrives later this week, too, and I'm quite excited for this little bloggy reunion.

In the meantime, I'm testing out places where we can carbo load...

Maui Brewing Company - the variety is ALMOST too much! (We got through 16 varieties on this visit.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I'm so excited for the trials today! 
Thank you Brooks for supporting our girl!
 I really want to see Desi come in FIRST for the trials but I can't be untrue to these truly tough women, Kara & Shalane:
  • Kara is the so very inspiring come-back mama, America's sweetheart.
  • Shalane, well, I just love her tough-talk (and slight potty mouth).
If all three of these women qualify, it will be the best marathon team ever. EVER.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Too many notes

In a little over 2 days, I'll be on a plane bound for Maui. My first trip to Hawaii, EVER, which is crazy for a native Washingtonian. It seems like I'll never get there though.

I've been working every night this week to get caught up before lift off and still, I need to do so much before Sunday's departure WITHOUT child care over the next 2 days:

  • Put a hold on the mail (minor) DONE 1/13!
  • Cancel the dairy delivery (minor) DONE 1/13!
  • Cancel the produce delivery (minor) DONE 1/13!
  • Notify the neighbors of our trip plans (minor) DONE 1/13!
  • Put the lamps on timers (minor, yes, these things are just busy work but they add up)DONE 1/14!
  • Pack (find our snorkel gear, life jacket for little guy, sunscreen, summer clothes, etc) DONE 1/14!
  • Complete & send in my annual self-evaluation (yes, it's that time of year) DONE 1/13!
  • Provide manager reviews for 6 of my co-workers
  • Develop a budget for a new project opportunity that came in today DONE 1/13!
  • Complete a deliverable that is due tomorrow/Friday (!) DONE 1/13!
  • Take care of some loose ends for a confidential project DONE 1/14!
  • [Just decided not to worry about the 2 baby showers I'll be missing & will just send presents after I get back]
  • Watch my niece Friday-Saturday while mom is away DONE 1/14!
  • Get last long run in before Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon on 1/22? Can I squeeze an 8-miler in?
  • Watch the marathon trials on Saturday, 3 p.m.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DONE 1/14!
I'm sure I'm forgetting some work stuff. I'm thinking the performance reviews will get put off until I'm already in Hawaii. Yes, I'm bringing my computer because guaranteed, I'll have fires to put out (like one of the people on a project team just gave notice so I'm coordinating transition of her work to another staff while away).

The good thing is my "goal" list for next week is all relaxation:
Just need to get through the next 2 days (and a 5 hr flight with a 2.5 yr old!)...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Soma (Session 1)

My mom has been seeing a somatics practitioner for quite a few years now and credits her with improved flexibility and balance (things that help her keep up with our 2 year old). The soma treatments also help her with restless leg and plantar fascitis. 

Finally, I decided to give it a try. My husband and I each went to "Session 1," which focuses on BREATHING. The therapy is supposed to consist of 12 sessions that follow a progression. 

Somatics uses hands-on guided movement and self care exercises that lengthen muscles back to their natural, relaxed state and correct inefficient movement patterns.  Benefits include: 
• decrease in muscle stiffness
• reduction in pain using a natural and little known brain process
• decrease in stress and tension
• integration of how we move our entire body easily and surprisingly with little effort

So how was it?

At the beginning of the session, you stand in underwear and the practitioner checks out how you stand from the ends of your toes to the top of your head. At my session, "Ms. Soma" could pick out my leg imbalance (which caused my calf tear) and issues with my flat feet and all kinds of messed up stuff going on. 

I'm always trying to remind myself to stand up straight (thanks for the reminders Jamoosh & the Hard COREs) and it's effort. A lot of effort on my part - pretending there is a string pulling me up, checking my pelvis tilt, lifting my arches, checking my knees, etc. And, I often catch myself holding my breath. Not sure why other than I need to relax more. 

After my session today, I stood up again for inspection and it was completely effortless. It's difficult to describe, but it was like I was weightless, floating up almost. I was so very relaxed, but not like after a massage - it was completely different than at the beginning of the session. Also, I could breath so much easier, with deep, relaxed breaths. I felt like my breaths were what was making me stand up so easily? Or maybe it was just actually my bones and not my muscles that were having to work so hard?  

Right now, we're trying to decide if we're both going to continue with the full series of treatments. It's expensive but could help us both. 

Anyone out there tried soma? Thoughts?

Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm no economist but...

I can share a study that some real economists published!

In the most recent Environmental Health Perspectives, some folks from University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Iowa, and Georgia Institute of Technology estimated that $8 billion/year could be saved by making 50% of short trips by bicycle. In their analysis, they evaluated 11 of the largest mid-western urban areas. These cost savings would be seen through improved air quality and physical fitness (i.e., reduced health care costs).

Since most car commutes are just shorts trips, riding a bike for half of those trips could have a big impact.

(In case you needed some extra motivation to jump on a bike this winter!)

Grabow M.L., S.N. Spak, T. Halloway, B. Stone, A.C. Mednick, and J.A. Patz. 2011. Air quality and exercise-related health benefits from reduced car travel in the Midwestern United States. Environmental Health Perspectives 120:68-76.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NYC marathon 2012

Registration is open for the New York City Marathon! (Click HERE.)

Since I applied for the lottery in 2011, I am "grandfathered" in for the "get rejected three times then you're in" deal. HOPEFULLY I will not get in this year but will get to reapply and get an entry in either 2013 or 2014.  Anyone else applying? Are you hoping for entry this year or later on?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy ending (race re-cap)

This was the most happy ending to 2011: At 6:55 a.m. on December 31st, I commuted via car and car ferry to the Olympic Peninsula to participate in the Yukon Do It half marathon in Port Orchard, WA. As the sun rose, it was looking to be a clear but cold day (24 degrees!). The crossing took just 35 minutes from West Seattle to Port Orchard/Southworth with a pit-stop on Vashon Island.
View from ferry while docked on Vashon Island
The start of the race was located at the finish point on the map. The course headed due north to the water then headed northeast along the waterfront to Manchester State Park where it took a few turns then headed back along the water.

Route from Seattle to Port Orchard, on the Olympic Peninsula
This race I signed up for on my own and enjoyed having the commute and race time to contemplate 2011. This year I experienced some extreme highs and lows in running and this race was a beautiful, happy ending to all of it. While the North Olympic Discovery Trail Half Marathon (also on the Olympic Peninsula) was beautiful, this course topped it - handily. (I would like to make a tradition of doing this race every year.)

The pictures don't do the course justice and I didn't take nearly enough, but see for yourself the mountain and water views (I completely neglected taking photos of the old growth forest views in the state park): 

Walk-jogging gingerly down an icy hill.
Olympic Mountain range across water
Runners starting out along the Yukon Bay
Part of the course between the water and state park ran through quaint small family farms, mostly populated with horses and cows, but also CAMELS!
BIG smile on my face pretty much the entire race (thanks for the pic and cheering along the course, Carla). This photo was taken in the state park.
Race shirt with our iconic symbols of Seattle: Space Needle, ferry, Mt. Rainier.
As far as the "race" goes, I set out to take it easy. I hadn't trained as I would have liked for this race so I wasn't really sure what I had in me. My primary goal was to finish without hurting myself. My secondary goal was to try to finish in less than 2:00 hours. I ran conservatively, focusing on enjoying the time to contemplate and enjoy the views.

Mile splits:
1 = 9:26 (Everyone had to walk down a steep hill at the start because the road was icy, but this was a good way to keep from starting out too fast.)
2 = 8:56 (I can't believe what a gorgeous morning this is!)
3 = 8:48 (Sound of seals barking from the bay.)
4 = 8:57 (Stopped to use a port-o-potty, it was occupied, got tired of waiting, kept running & kept it in!)
5 = 8:59 (Running inland now, quaint homesteads.)
6 = 9:18 (This is where the hills started.)
7 = 10:18 (The course most mostly flat but where there were hills, they were fairly challenging. I did NOT push myself hard up those so I could conserve energy. Fortunately, the smell of the forest was invigorating.)
8 = 9:09 (I realized I had a good amount of energy still in the tank and decided to start picking up the pace on mile 9.)
9 = 8:41 (Making our way out of the countryside and back to the water.)
10 = 8:46 (Oh the waterfront views are back!)
11 = 8:38 (Feeling good, can I pick it up more?)
12 = 8:34 (Lots of people ahead of me, I'll just try to move up one at a time.)
13 = 8:11 (Uh-oh - I'm going to be sore tomorrow.)
Finish time = 1:57:29 (unofficial)

Race results and photos have not been posted yet and yes, I'm quite sore today (New Years Day) from that run.

I'm curious to see how Elizabeth Mitchell (actor in TV's Lost) did in the half marathon! If I see pics of her, I will post later. I did not notice her on the course but heard she ran (I don't know that I could ever recognize a famous person without someone pointing them out).

Happy New Year & welcome 2012!