Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for the ‘Fitness Musings’

Published July 3rd, 2010

My interview with Meb

While I was thrilled with the opportunity to interview Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2009 New York Marathon and Olympic silver medalist, I started to panic. I wanted to ask him about running, but I hoped to ask him something I could relate to.  What could we possibly have in common?  Yes, we both ran the 2010 Boston Marathon, but he crossed the finish line more than two hours before I dragged my sorry ass across.

Mind you, I didn’t have much time to prepare — I had only found out about the opportunity two hours before I was to meet him.  Since I hadn’t actually spoken to the Sony PR rep myself, I had no idea if I’d be meeting him one-on-one, or if it would be a group interview.  But my darling and I mulled over a couple of questions as we drove back to the expo.

We arrived at the Sony booth to find a long line snaking around waiting for his autograph.  I spoke to one of the Sony reps who had just found out I’d be coming.  The autograph session was supposed to go until 1 p.m., then he was all mine.  I decided to hop in line myself in order to get my bibs signed (I brought my Boston bib as well).  When I realized the session would go long, I told the Sony rep we could skip the interview as I didn’t want to take even more of his time.  But they kept assuring me it’d happen (perhaps they thought I was some big-shot running blogger!)

When I finally got to sit down with him, I was starstruck; it was as if I was in the presence of royalty (extremely humble royalty!)  He greets you with a warm smile that lights up his face, grasping your hand in both of his.  He’s clearly appreciative of the opportunities his adoptive country has given him, and I couldn’t think of a better ambassador. (He was floored — and extremely honored — when my darling asked him to sign his passport as a patriotic gesture).

When asked what opportunities he sees for his young daughters that he didn’t have in his native Eritrea, he beamed.

“This is a great country, a melting pot,” he said.  “I want them to follow their passions.  If it’s running, great, but if it’s something else, that’s fine.  It’s all about self fulfillment.”

His two oldest daughters, ages 4 and 2 (his youngest is 5 months) are already expressing some interest in running.  They’ll position themselves as if on a starting line for a track race, then yell out “On your mark, get set — GO!” and sprint off.  While he’d love them to follow his passion for running, he simply hopes they’ll stay active.

“Anything to get them off the couch,” he said.  “Sports teaches you a lot about life — accountability, hard work — there are no short cuts.  Same with education; you wouldn’t skip high school and go directly into college.”

In addition to fitness, health and education are his other passions, and to promote and support these causes he is launching the MEB Foundation, which he says stands for “maintaining excellent balance.”

I was also curious how he approached his races in terms of a goal.  I assumed his “A” goal would be to win, but does he come up with secondary or even tertiary goals?  Ever since my blowup at the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in 2008 — where my end all/be all goal was to BQ — I’ve learned to come up with other goals to keep me motivated should my A goal slip away.  Do elites think the same way?

Turns out Meb does.  “You don’t want to make your primary goal untouchable, but you should some up with A-Z goals.  It’s all about self fulfillment.”

As I left the expo clutching my autographed Rock ‘n Roll bib, it dawned on me I blew it with Meb — Food!  THAT’S what we ALL have in common!  Here I am a personal chef and runner, why didn’t I ask him about food?  What does he eat before a race?  Does he allow himself any guilty indulgences afterward?  Is he able to find food from his native country here in the U.S.?

Oh well, perhaps I’ll get a second chance to talk to him in Boston next year


Published June 25th, 2010

My brush with greatness

I returned from the Seattle Rock ‘n Roll expo yesterday to a voice mail from a PR contact for Sony who said she wanted to talk to me about my blog. She had an opportunity she thought I might be interested in, yet didn’t elaborate. We traded phone calls, and when I didn’t hear back I figured the opportunity had passed. But as I got out of my dentist appointment this morning I saw a text from my husband — would I be interested in heading back to the expo to interview Meb? HELL YEAH!

I rushed home, jumped into the shower (and my 2010 Boston shirt, natch. After all, the race is probably the ONLY thing Meb and I have in common). I had to wait for almost an hour while he signed autographs (he signed both my Boston bib and the one I’ll wear tomorrow), before I got the chance to sit down one-on-one. While I had hoped to put on my best hardcore journalism hat ala Bob Woodward, it was more of a gush-fest:

I’msohonoredtomeetyou,youmadeussoproudinNewYork,Iwasthrilled toseeyoucrossthefinishline,you’resuchaninspiration.

I’ll post my “interview” with him later this weekend, but for now I’m reveling in the encouragement he provided for tomorrow: “Go for it.”

Published January 20th, 2010

I’m not dead yet!

Has it REALLY been six weeks since my last post?  Criminy!  I knew I’ve been wasting FAR too much time on Facebook and other online forums, but hadn’t realized how much of a time suck they’ve been.  But with the new year comes a new resolve to devote more time to my blog (let’s see how long it lasts).

Although I’m overdue with many race reports, I figured it best to start anew.  So rather than bore you with the typical lengthy EDRW race report blather, I’ll simply catch you up with a year in review.

When it comes to running, 2009 was a fabulous year for me (heck, it was pretty darn good for other aspects of my life as well).  I accomplished so many things I never thought possible and truly grew as a runner.  Sure, I neither BQ’d nor PR’d, although I came close in both respects.  I ran more miles than I ever have (2,010 for the year) and finished 24 races of marathon distance or longer (five of these were ultras — three 50Ks and two “mini-ultras” of 27-28 miles).

In addition to running my first ultra, I had hoped to earn four Marathon Maniac stars by running a “double” (two marathons in two days).  Once I stated this goal to a couple of fellow Maniacs it didn’t take much for them to talk me into a “double-double” — doubles on consecutive weekends — earning me five Maniac stars.  At the end of November I ran the tough but rewarding Seattle triple — the Wishbone 27.8-mile trail marathon, the Ghost of Seattle Marathon and the Seattle Marathon (the latter being my fastest of the three).

In December I once again braved the cold and wind during the Ghost of Birch Bay Marathon (it wasn’t nearly as frigid as last year) and ran a snow & icicle-free Pigtails Flat Ass, this time opting for the 50K.  While many runners pick a 5K race for their Jan. 1 resolution run, we Maniacs aren’t content with such a short distance and therefore turned out in droves for the First Call to Run marathon and 50K (I had intended to run the 50K but opted for the marathon at the last minute).  Finally, the ice we managed to avoid at Pigtails emerged — in of all places — Orlando.  We made our third (and final) trek to run the Goofy Challenge, where temperatures hovered in the low-30s and upper 20s; BRRRR.  But the frigid temperatures translated in great race times, as I ran the half in 1:57 and the full in 4:22.

While the running was certainly great in 2009, even better were all the friends I met while running.  Because the Marathon Maniacs are based in the area, it’s very easy to meet others when wearing one’s “colors.”  I believe it can be difficult to meet people as one gets older — life often gets in the way — but I’ve formed some terrific friendships over the past year with both women and men who inspire and motivate me.

So what’s in store for 2010?  Although I was hesitant to have a mileage goal for the year, I decided I’d try for 2,100 miles.  I’d also like to beat my current mileage PR for the month of 205 miles.  But my two biggest goals are race related: I want to run my first 50-miler (Rainier to Ruston), as well as earn seven Maniac stars by running 13 marathons/50Ks in 12 weeks.  I’ll kick off the latter on Feb. 14 with hopes of finishing up at the Maniac reunion at the Tacoma Marathon on May 2 (if all goes as planned it will also be my 50th race of marathon distance or longer).  I’ll be documenting my progress on my blog, so if you’re interested, be sure to stop by!  (I promise to be more forthcoming with my posts).

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 August 7th, 2009

Baby’s first DNF(s)

It’s said bad things can happen to good people.  But why, oh why, did it have to happen to me?  After all, I consider myself an ambassador of the running community.  I train well, backing off when I’m on the verge of injury.  I serve as a mentor to new runners, encouraging them to challenge themselves and do their best.  I thank all the volunteers and spectators who come to cheer us on.  I discretely launch my snot rockets.  I don’t pee in people’s yards (okay, so just once).

So how could such tragedy befall me?

Oh, who am I kidding?  Even though I technically DNF’d from the Crescent Forest Marathon, I don’t consider it a “real” DNF.  It’s not like I had been training for this race for months; rather, I decided about three days prior I’d run it.  In addition, we didn’t shell out a ton in race fees — it was free, although we did pony up $20 as a donation.  But considering I started the race fully intent on finishing it, I suppose it counts.

Knowing I’d be in need of some serious recovery time after my Monster Month, I vowed not to run any marathons in July and August.  My resolve was short-lived, as I was soon signing up for the Wild Thing Summer Fling that required each participant to wear a dress on their first 2.6-mile lap around Lake Padden (extra points for wearing red lipstick).  Eager to run his first double, my darling signed up for Crescent Forest the day before.  While tempted to run the entire thing, I decided I’d run just a couple of laps (the course is four laps) and then cheer my darling on.  But as the weekend neared I began jonesing for another double (call me a masochist), so I emailed the race director to let him know I’d be joining in on the fun.


Published April 2nd, 2009

Just a quickie

Egads!  Another two weeks has flown by.  However, I’m flying to Tucson on Sunday to spend time with Mom & Dad, so hopefully I’ll have some time to properly blog.   The great news is he’s doing well, although it will be another two weeks before he’s given the go-ahead to travel home.

I rocked the Mercer Island Half (will post a full report soon); while I missed my overall PR set at last year’s Kirkland Half by only 41 seconds, I cut off almost 4 minutes from my course PR (while they’re both hilly courses, Kirkland’s hills come in the beginning, while Mercer Island’s are at the end).  However, my heel was sure talking to me afterwards and still hurt considerably the next day.  But a trip to the shoe store remedied things; I’m now sporting an ugly — but very comfortable and supportive — pair of Brooks walking shoes with the green Superfeet for work (they replace my Dansko clogs which have been giving me problems).

I actually haven’t done a lot of running in the past two weeks, instead focusing on cross training to heal my heel (the fact the weather has been downright CRAPPY certainly played into things).  But I hope to go on a quick run tomorrow morning before heading over to Yakima for the Yakima River Canyon Marathon (it’ll be a slow training run for Boston).  I’m really looking forward to this marathon as it’s a reunion for the Marathon Maniacs.

In Boston news, I received my celebration jacket last week, however, I’ve decided I’ll wait until after I cross the finish line to wear it (a lot of people will be wearing them on marathon weekend as they figure they’re celebrating qualifying for the race).  I also bought a singlet and will probably pick up a hat at the expo (yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to buy any more race stuff, but I also recall saying Boston gear doesn’t count!)

Anyhoo, for those of you who still bother to stop by, I promise I’ll be a more prolific writer in the months to come.  (And you KNOW I’ll be posting an epic Boston report!)

Published March 19th, 2009

Play that funky music

Boy, you know you’re a lame blogger when you see someone who claims they’re on sabbatical has written more than you.  Sheesh!

Yeah, I’ve been in a funk.  Some of it is warranted — my 83-year-old dad was rushed to the hospital a couple of weeks ago when he fell at my sister’s house in Arizona.  At first he was diagnosed with pneumonia, but the diagnosis kept getting worse and culminated in a quadruple bypass surgery a couple days ago.  It’s been a whirlwind of emotions, but I’m so grateful for my sister and everything she’s done (Tucson is known for its world-class cardiologists, so I know he’s in good hands).  My darling and I are planning on heading to Maine to visit the folks after Boston, but right now we’re playing it day-by-day.  However, it sounds like they’ll be able to travel soon and we’ll be there to help them settle back home.

Some of my funk is due to general unease over the economy.  While being self-employed has its rewards, it can be unsettling at times.  Sometimes I feel I’m hanging on by a thread.  And then there are the irrational emotions that flow over me during my “lady time.”  Something as innocent as a lost shoe will send me into a wailing tizzy:  “I can’t find anything in this mess!” “If we had a larger house we’d have more storage space!” “We’re NEVER going to be able to afford a larger house!” “What am I going to do with my life?” “I feel fat!”

Given all of this I haven’t been particularly motivated to write.  But fortunately I haven’t let my funk interfere with my training.  Since I last wrote I’ve logged in a little over 130 miles, which included the Ghost of Whidbey half marathon (a small Maniac race) and the St. Patty’s Day Dash, as well as earned a bronze medal through the President’s Challenge (more on all of those in a bit).

Because I’ve added several races to my schedule, I’ve ditched my plan to follow Pfitz’ 12/55 plan for Boston.  My body has been rebelling of late, and since speedwork tends to aggravate whatever aches and pains I’m feeling, I’ve decided not to follow his prescribed workouts, opting instead to run by feel.  Some days I’ll feel speedy and will run an average of 8:20-8:35, other days I’ll take it slow, averaging 9:45-10:15.

Speaking of Boston (which I’ve been doing quite frequently; my darling simply rolls his eyes), I received some news the other day that got me out of my funk: my bib number!  So if you feel compelled to follow me on April 20, I’ll be #19631 (back of the pack).  By coincidence my number is the year of my birth, plus the No. 1; I’m hoping that’s a good sign.  I’ve also ordered my Adidas celebration jacket and a racer-back tank top (hey — they were on sale; I won’t wear them until after completing the race), plus a really cool shamrock t-shirt with the Boston logo (I probably WILL wear that before the race, but will also wear it at next year’s St. Patty’s Day Dash).


Published January 29th, 2009

Multiple personality

This week’s Take it and Run Thursday aims to answer the question, “What is it that attracts us to the marathon?”  Well, I’m going to take it one step further and attempt to explain my obsession with multiple marathons.  (Quite frankly, it’s a daunting task.  My therapist has been trying to get to the root of this for years).

I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time as I know you, my dear readers, are dying to know what makes me tick.  I’ve been inundated with your emails and comments:

How do you keep from getting injured or just plain burned out?
Aren’t you tired and starving all the time?
How do you find time to work?
Want to pleasure your girlfriend with a super-sized penis?

So it’s time to share my secret:

Run. Recover. Repeat.

There you have it!  Hope this was helpful.  Oh, what’s that?  You’d like more detail?  Fine.  (After all, the above describes HOW I do it, not WHY).  I’m warning you though — I can be quite the Chatty Kathy.  Or perhaps Blathering Betsy.


Published December 26th, 2008

Run in the snow? Screw it!

As you may have heard, Washington state has had a deluge of snow.  While it’s not unusual for the eastern part of the state, here in Seattle snow is rare.  Sure, we typically get a couple of nasty days each winter, but it doesn’t last long.  The rain comes and washes everything away.

Not this time.

I’ve lived here for almost 20 years, and I’ve never seen it this bad.  While it may make for a pretty white Christmas, most Seattleites will be happy once it’s gone.  We just don’t know how to deal with it; the city doesn’t own many plows (why would it?), but we also take the environmentally friendly route of NOT using salt on the roads.  So while the freeways and main arterials are bare and wet, the side streets are almost impassable.  Although the rain has come, the temperatures are still low so the snow hasn’t melted.  Rather, it’s turned into a soupy, slushy mess (which turns into an even nastier, icier mess once the temps decrease at night).

So what’s a runner to do?


Published December 19th, 2008

My 12-month MEMEs

Coffee Betsy posted a 12-month meme on her blog and since I’m too lazy to write a post from scratch, I decided to follow her lead.  Just for fun I’ve also included the 12 months from 2007 (although the first couple of months are from fitness postings on my Ovens to Betsy blog since EDRW wasn’t launched until April 2007).

My story for 2008:

January — Boy, some gung-ho runner I am.

February — I’ve been playing a numbers game.

March — This week’s theme is flexibility, though not in my body.

April — Well folks, this is gonna be a tough post to write.

May — Not today.

June — Although technically my taper officially started a week ago, I feel my true taper started after my BUAL™ workout on Tuesday.

July — It’s not wise to do lunges, squats and wall sits on day you’ve scheduled a 9-mile VO2max workout with six 800-meter sprints.

August — I get home from work today, logged onto one of my running forums and saw the following announcement:  “The newest Rock n Roll marathon is in Seattle on June 27, 2009. If you go to today August 5, you can register for half price! You must register before midnight today.

September — Dear Running, I don’t know how to break this to you, but I think we need to cool things just a tad.

October — Today I received the email I’ve been waiting for: “This is to notify you that your entry into the 112th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21, 2008 has been accepted, provided that the information you submitted is accurate.”

November — Things sure have been quiet in EDRW land.

December — I can’t believe it — I just survived my first double marathon weekend.

My 2007 story:

January — I wonder what this says about me: my iPod has everything from Metallica (”Enter Sandman,” “Turn the Page”) to Iggy Pop (”Lust for Life,” “Nightclubbing”) to Starland Vocal Band (”Afternoon Delight”).

February — My darling has had a love affair with Paris ever since his 6-month stay in college.

March — Last Sunday’s long run was SOOOOO tough… (all of you, in unison): “How tough was it, Betsy?” I had to call on Helen TWICE just to make it through.

April — For the next 23 weeks this will be my life.

May — Although my sinuses are still filled with a bunch of yuck (I swear I’ve gone through an entire Kleenex box this past week), thank goodness I felt well enough to get back to running.

June — Sometimes I get bored just writing about my training schedule (and more importantly, I’m sure you — my faithful readers — get bored as well!).


August — Question: if you run 26.2 miles and there’s no one at the end to hand you a medal, have you just run a marathon?

September — Just a quick note to say my darling and I arrived in Bordeaux without incident.

October — I’ve read runners are particularly susceptible to colds and flu, especially after coming off of a marathon.

November — Yesterday I experienced a PW (personal worst): 2.8 miles in 28 minutes, 29 seconds.

December — While I refuse to see it as an omen, there sure have been a few wrenches thrown into my Goofy Challenge training.