Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for the ‘Race Reports – Running’

Published September 30th, 2009

What I did over my summer vacation

While the calendar may have claimed summer ended a week ago, we continued to be blessed with some absolutely glorious weather.  Sure, the morning’s were a tad nippy, but the afternoons have been clear and cool — perfect for running.  That said, I knew it couldn’t last, and indeed today there’s a storm a brewin’.  I’m not quite ready to bring out my winter running clothes, but I did appreciate my long-sleeved tech tee during this morning’s run.  (Edit — I wrote the previous paragraph last night.  Tonight — to guard against the whipping wind and horizontal rain — I did indeed break out the long pants.  Summer’s over.)

As we watched the clouds come rolling in my darling commented how much he’ll miss this past summer.  While many folks think Seattle is all rain and gloom, those of us who live here know better.  Yes, we’ve had years where our summer was merely a week or two.  But this summer?  Couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Not surprisingly, we were running fools.  Here are some of the highlights:

Wild Thing Summer Fling
Marathons are serious affairs.  The word “fun” has no place when discussing the marathon.  Yeah, right.

Granted, only a Maniac could appreciate a race such as this — 10 loops around a 2.6-mile trail, each runner MUST wear a dress for at least the first loop (as well as red lipstick), then perform a designated task after each loop.  Runners not possessing a sense of humor or silliness need not apply.  This wasn’t my fastest marathon, but I know I had the most fun. I’ll let the pictures tell the tale:





Published July 18th, 2009

Seattle Rock ‘n Roll 2009


The interwebs are turning my brain into mush.  Whereas I USED to find the time to compose pithy prose, nowadays you’re more apt to find me on Facebook and various running forums with nary a pith to my name.  Pretty pithiful, I mean, pitiful (or pithiless?)

Anyhoo, I aim to reverse the trend.  I realize my blathering may not interest many, but it provides me with a great outlet for my writing.  And I’m not just talking race reports, although yes, this one will be.

When Elite Racing announced it was taking over the Seafair Marathon I was ecstatic — for once I’d be running a local inaugural race.  Even better, we managed to nab a couple of the one-day-only $47 registration specials.  Score!  At the time we weren’t yet Marathon Maniacs, so little did I know it would be my 5th race for the month.

I was really excited as not only would the race be held at a better time of year than the Seattle Marathon, it truly was a destination marathon.  Whereas Seattle may attract people primarily from around the Northwest, Seattle Rock ‘n Roll would be bringing in runners from across the country.  I was curious to see how the city would handle 25,000+ runners (the Seattle Marathon typically has about 12,000-14,000).  The race sold out in May, much to the dismay of several (I saw many bibs listed on Craig’s List for an exorbitant amount).

In an attempt to fortify my running karma, I volunteered at the expo the day before.  Fortunately I was placed in registration as I was able to sit (I figured standing all day would not bode well for the marathon).  But while my legs got rest my arm did not; after pointing toward the t-shirt/goody bag pickup about a bajillion times my shoulder started to ache!  Oh well.  The expo itself was one of the largest I’ve seen, rivaled only by Boston’s.  I showed restraint and didn’t buy a thing, save for two $50 registrations for next year’s race.  (It was an expo special; the cost has already increased to $100).


Published June 21st, 2009

Double double, toil & trouble

First of all, I survived once again! But boy, was it TOUGH. Actually, only the first day was tough; Sunday’s race was no more tougher than any other marathon. Saturday was the Lake Young’s Ultra — 28.8 miles comprising three loops around the Lake Youngs reservoir in Renton, Wash. I had run one loop around the lake in January, so I knew what to expect. In fact, I was goaded into doing the double-double after talking to a couple of fellow Maniacs after that race.

After my experience with last weekend’s double, I figured I’d run alone for both races. But my Maniac friend Jessica assured me she too would be taking it slow since she was also running a double that weekend. So once again I decided the company would be nice. We were joined by Shannon, one of my Runner’s World forum buddies, who was running one loop.

Since Matt is hoping to BQ at Seattle Rock ‘n Roll later this month, he didn’t run the race but instead manned the aid station on the other side of the lake. It was a real boost to see him each loop. He brought his camera along and set up some lights so we all have some pretty awesome pictures.


While I knew the course was somewhat hilly, it seemed worse this time, perhaps due to the fact we ran in the opposite direction (yes, I know it shouldn’t make much of a difference, but the uphills seemed steeper!) Jessica and I felt pretty good, but Shannon, who’s not as experienced, started to struggle toward the end. However, she appreciated being pushed. I also made her take one of my gels at about mile 7 and that perked her up.


We took a short break after the first loop to visit the potty, replenish our fuel and kick a few pebbles out of our shoes. We bid Shannon adieu and headed out. I could tell from the start this loop was going to be tough, so I told Jessica I’d be needing a few more walk breaks. But we still managed to chat our way through.


Published June 10th, 2009

Baby’s first double


I survived!  In fact, I feel no more creaky than I normally do after running just one marathon.  But I’m not going to get cocky — I still have another double this coming weekend.

While I rarely get pre-race jitters any more, my trepidation over these two races intensified as the date neared.  I made the mistake of mentioning my plan to the owner of my gym and one of her personal trainers; as expected, they not only thought I was crazy, they were concerned I’d injure myself.  While I’ll cop to being crazy, I certainly was not being reckless.  Still, I had needling self-doubts in the back of my head.

Fortunately I have many enablers mentors among my Maniac brethren.  Not only have they proven my plan CAN be done, they provided excellent advice.  I tried to get as much sleep as possible the week before, and I ate well and heartily.  (I think that was my favorite part — planning out each day’s meal!)  Seattle was hit with a heat wave, so I fired up my grill on several occasions.  We ate lettuce from our garden and spring braising greens from the farmer’s market up the street.  I also made a delicious barley salad with Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, green onions and a lemon vinaigrette that served as both a side dish and a couple days’ lunch.  As for laying off the hooch?  Well, I succumbed, but kept it in moderation (I figured it might ease my anxiety).

Exercise-wise, I took it easy, running just over 13 miles at a 10-minute pace.  While I made it to yoga and did my arm weight routine twice, I skipped the stretch class as it was too darn hot.


Published May 26th, 2009

2009 Capital City Marathon

I had planned on writing a longer report for this, but time got away from me.  So this’ll be a down & dirty report for the 2009 Capital City Marathon, held in Olympia, Washington.

While I first stated Tacoma was #17 for me, I was doing some creative accounting.  Rather, this marathon was #17 (#8 for the year) and it ended up being my 5th fastest marathon at 4:20:14. I had hoped to finish in under 4:20, but the heat got to me in the later miles and I had to take a couple of unscheduled walk breaks to shake off the dizzyness. That said, I’m thrilled with my time.

As with most Seattle-area races, it’s a hilly one. However, most of the hills were pretty gradual, although there was a long stretch from mile 22-24 that pretty much sucked (made worse by the heat). I guess I shouldn’t complain TOO much about the heat as we’re talking 65-70, I think; I know many of you have run in far worse conditions.

Although one of my Maniac friends thinks the course “sucks” (he didn’t run it this year), I really liked it. It’s on a lot of back roads through Olympia, and fortunately there were a lot of shady spots. While they let some traffic through, it was never a problem. We received a terrific jacket instead of a running shirt, however, no medal. Instead they let us keep our chip (it had Capital City Marathon on it) and gave us a card to clip it to, along with our race results (which were available on another card within about 30 minutes after finishing). The post-race pizza REALLY hit the spot, as well as provided much-needed salt.

I definitely give this a thumbs-up for anyone needing a Washington state race (although if you’re a Maniac, I’d probably recommend Tacoma next year as that’ll be the Maniac reunion and Dick Beardsley will be the featured speaker).

Published May 10th, 2009

2009 Tacoma City Marathon

Given all the hubbub over that little race I ran last month (the one that starts in Hopkinton), I’ve neglected to mention the other races I have planned for the year.  I’ll update you in another post, but wanted to share my thoroughly enjoyable experience at this year’s Tacoma City Marathon held this past Sunday, May 3.

I had no intention of running the race — I had chosen the Capital City Marathon in Olympia for my May race — but I’m easily swayed by fellow Marathon Maniacs.  When I mentioned CCM to one of them, his reply?  “That course sucks!  You should run Tacoma.”  However, another Maniac came to CCM’s defense, so of course I signed up for BOTH of them.

For those of you looking for a Washington state race, I highly recommend TCM.  Sure, the fact we had absolutely gorgeous weather certainly increased my enjoyment, but it’s a very well-organized, Maniac-centric race (the race director is Tony, Maniac #3).

In its third year, TCM is known for its hills, but also for its spectacular views of Commencement Bay (Tacoma is about 35 miles south of Seattle).  It’s small (237 finishers this year, although at least double that run the half marathon), and there aren’t a lot of spectators.  But what it lacks in crowd support it more than makes up for in volunteers.  They truly are fantastic.


Published April 28th, 2009

Boston Marathon, Part 2 — I kissed a girl


Since I forbade him from banditing the race, my husband decided he’d run the course early, adding on a few miles to make it a 50K.  He left the B&B at 4 a.m., ran to Back Bay and caught the train to Framingham.  While he turned around in Hopkinton, he decided to save the section near Athlete’s Village for when he officially runs the race.  Long before I started making my way toward the corrals he was done.

Meanwhile, I got up at 4:30 to eat some instant oatmeal and down a couple of cups of coffee (the owner of the B&B not only got up early to have our coffee ready, she also had bagels, peanut butter and bananas available for us to pack).  I threw my drop bag over my shoulder and we headed to the T to catch the 5:15 subway to Boylston (runners ride for free on Marathon Monday).  Paula Sue’s running group took a few group photos, then we were loaded onto one of the buses to Hopkinton.

While it was somewhat clear in Boston, it got increasingly foggy as we neared Hopkinton.  Although I had packed both warm and cool weather gear, I opted to be resplendent in my Maniac gear — tank, arm warmers and wind breaker, along with my Race Ready shorts.  However, over that I wore an old pair of sweats, long-sleeved cotton race shirt and winter rain coat (I looked like a dork).  I was told to bring something to sit on in case the ground was wet, so I found a great use for the banner we used to use for our personal chef chapter:


I tried to take in everything at the Village.  Picture in front of the “It all starts here” billboard?  Check.  Write my name on my legs in black marker?  Check.  Get a shamrock temporary tattoo?  Check.  Score a pair of Boston running gloves?  Check.  I was like a kid in a candy store.

While I thought three port-o-potty visits would suffice, my bladder thought otherwise just as I was dropping off my bag.  We still had several minutes before the start, but as the minutes ticked away I started getting nervous.  I shed my throw-away clothes, but left on my heavy jacket until the last minute (wouldn’t you know it — I managed to hang on to the jacket I intended to donate, but lost my good one).  I hadn’t realized how far it was to walk to the corrals, so I started jogging to get around the crowds.  Even before I hit the #19 corral the gun had gone off, but fortunately it would take several minutes before we crossed the start line.


Published April 27th, 2009

113th Boston Marathon – Part 1


The picture captures it all — the joy, the pain, the tears.  It’s the overwhelming elation I feel for accomplishing something I thought inconceivable.  No more am I the scrawny, awkward, non-athletic teenager, nor am I the overweight and miserable 40-year-old.  I AM A BOSTON MARATHONER.  Here’s my story.

Official time: 4:15:48
Overall: 18202/22849
Gender: 6902/9302
Age group (F45-49): 1066/1456

While I got through my first two marathons with minimal mileage using the run/walk plan, I tried Pete Pfitzinger’s 18/55 for my first BQ attempt at the North Olympic Discovery Marathon.  I missed my goal by 15 minutes, regrouped and BQ’d 10 weeks later with a 3:54:34 at a small Marathon Maniac-sponsored race called the Light at the End of the Tunnel (I needed 4:00:59).  I squeaked in another BQ in October 2008 at Royal Victoria with a 4:00:26, so barring financial ruin I’ll be toeing the line again at Hopkinton in 2010.

While Pfitz was indeed strenuous, I liked the plan and intended to follow it for Boston.  However, I figured I wouldn’t try for a particular time.  Sure, I wanted to finish strong but I also wanted to take in the experience.  By the time I ran Royal Victoria I had become a Marathon Maniac, and the multiple-marathoning bug had hit.  I ran three more marathons for the year after RVM, then ran another on Jan. 1 and the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World Jan. 10-11.  I had no intention of running any others until Boston, but when I saw the Yakima River Canyon Marathon on April 4 was a Maniac reunion, I decided to run it as a training run for Boston.  But I swore that would be it; HA!

By early February I was jonesing for another race, so my husband and I signed up for one on Feb. 8, then I ran my first 50K on Feb. 22.  As a result I tossed out my plan to follow Pfitz’ 12/55 program for Boston.  His speed work beats me up, and considering all the races I was running my No. 1 priority was recovery.  That said, come March I wanted to see if I had ANY speed left in me, so I entered the annual St. Patty’s Day Dash fully intent on racing it.  While I was thrilled with my pace (about 8:20 — fast for me), I knew I could have gone faster if I had elbowed my way closer to the front.  Oh well.

A couple of days later I ran almost 7 miles at an 8:37 pace.  During that run my heel, which had been barking at me for several weeks, decided it had had enough.  While I wasn’t sure if it was plantar fasciitis, I was definitely dealing with a bruised heel.  I took the next four days off from running, focusing instead on cross-training.  And despite admonitions from the owner of my gym, I raced a half marathon that weekend.  While I missed my overall half PR by less than 40 seconds, again I was pleased with my effort.  (The course somewhat mimics Boston in that you get a couple of killer hills at the very end).

Again I had to take several days off to nurse my heel, but I got new shoes for work and replaced the shoe inserts with green Superfeet.  I also put the Superfeet into my running shoes, which helped tremendously.  I was able to get in a few more runs before Yakima, but I took it easy and ran by feel.  I then ran/walked Yakima, finishing in just over 4:36.  (That course also mimicked Boston with a 1.2-mile hill starting at Mile 22 that climbed almost 300 feet).

I came up with several goals for Boston, ranging from the “you’re freakin’ crazy” goal of another BQ or PR, to the more realistic 4:10-4:15 range, to the “You went out too fast, didn’t ya?” goal of 4:25-4:35.  I was hoping to make this my third fastest race, which would mean finishing in under 4:15:19.  Ever so optimistic, I printed out pace bands for a 4:05 and 4:10 marathon using a spreadsheet someone developed on the Runner’s World forum.


Published April 15th, 2009

2009 Yakima River Canyon Marathon

yrcm41This is going to be a down & dirty report since I’ve been obsessing over another little race I’m running on Monday. 🙂

My darling and I have wanted to run YRCM ever since we heard about it.  His mom lives in Yakima, and when we heard Bob and Lenore Dolphin put it on, we knew it would be amazing.  However, this year was out for my darling as he was shooting a wedding that day (the bride originally picked April 18, but he convinced her to change the date due to Boston).  I figured I wouldn’t run it either, but then discovered it would be a huge Marathon Maniac reunion.  How could I NOT run it?

To save on costs I advertised for a roommate on the Maniac message board, and within a couple of days fellow Maniacs Rikki, Marie and Cheri took me up on it (we figured we could stand sharing a bed for one night).  The cost of the room couldn’t be beat: $70, divided four ways.  While Cheri would be driving solo from Oregon, Marie, Rikki and I made plans to carpool.

I originally had Friday off, but a last-minute trip to Tucson the day after the marathon meant I had to cook for my Monday client that day.  Fortunately I picked a speedy menu and made plans to meet up with Rikki and Marie in North Bend at 2 p.m.  However, we were concerned about the weather — Snoqualmie Pass had to close Wednesday evening for several hours due to a severe snow storm.  WTF?  It’s April!


Published April 12th, 2009

2009 Mercer Island Half Marathon

2009 Mercer Island finishThis was the third year running this race and I was determined to not only set a course PR, I also hoped to beat my overall half PR of 1:53:35 set at last year’s Kirkland Half.  However, given I hadn’t been doing any formal speed work and was dealing with possible plantar fasciitis on my left foot, I knew the latter could be a long shot.

I’m particularly fond of this race as it not only signals the start of the spring running season, it also is a fundraiser for colon cancer awareness (we have a family history of the disease).  This year I decided to forego wearing the blue colon cancer ribbon on my bum since in the past people kept coming up to me telling me I had a piece of tape on me.  (Don’t you get it, people?  You wear the pink breast cancer ribbon on your chest, so it only makes sense to wear the colon cancer ribbon on your bottom.  Sheesh!)

My darling decided not to run as an “official” runner this year, opting instead to take it as a slow training run and help pace me (shhh… don’t tell the race director).  This was fortunate as we encountered a huge backup at the Mercer Island exit.  By then I had to pee again, yet we were stuck in traffic for at least 15 minutes.  I actually considered peeing into a bottle in the car when I saw a couple of runners ahead of us get out of the car and run to the start.  With less than 15 minutes to go before the race start, I decided to do the same.  I kissed my darling goodbye, saying I’d meet up with him on the course.

I was a good half to three-quarter mile run to the start, which helped get my legs warmed up.  The lines to the port-o-potties were quite long, but fortunately they moved rather quickly.  I had just enough time to do my business and get lined up in the 8-9 minute pace group when the starting gun went off.

In order to reach my goal I would have to average an 8:38 pace.  Knowing I’d slow down at the hills at miles 10 and 12 I decided to start out at that pace, increase it during the middle miles, then run as fast as I could during the hilly portion.  My darling caught up with me just before mile 6; while I was doing well it was definitely a challenge.  I had put some cushier insoles in my shoes thinking it would lessen the heel pain, but it started talking to me.  I also started getting a tad bit dizzy, despite taking in plenty of fluids and gels (I think the rolling course may have triggered my vertigo).

Starting to struggle:

Struggle on course

Not a happy camper:
More struggle

While I had been on pace through mile 6, I started to struggle slightly after that.  Mile 10 — with its short, yet steep hill — got the best of me, slowing me to a 9:05 pace.  While I was able to run mile 11 in 8:41, I slowed again for the mile 12 hill, running that at 8:54.  Fortunately mile 13 is mostly downhill, and I was able to shake the dizziness and run that in 8:33.  However, the last bit of the course is a very cruel uphill.  Despite pumping my arms as hard as I could, I missed my overall PR by 38 seconds, finishing in 1:54:13.  However, I smashed my course PR by almost 4 minutes!