Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for the ‘Fitness Musings’

Published November 24th, 2008

Drastic measures

It’s time for a bit of belt-tightening in the EDRW household.  Unfortunately not literally; despite my best intentions a few pounds have crept on to my frame.  No, I’m talking about our standard of living.  As I’m sure you’re well aware, the economy sucks right now (in fact, I spied it bogarting the port-o-potties at my last race).  And tough times calls for drastic measures.

Although we’re self-employed, my darling and I are in great financial shape.  Our only debt is our mortgage, and considering we live in a teensy hovel built in 1906, the monthly payment is more than reasonable.  We’ve both suffered through lean times as we’ve built our respective businesses, and that frugality has stayed with us.  But given today’s uncertainty, we know we could do better.

Our race schedule was the first to suffer the chopping block.  While we’re still running the Ghost of Seattle Marathon this weekend and the Christmas Marathon on Dec. 21, we’ve decided to forego the 12Ks of Christmas on Dec. 14.  It’s a great race (I ran it last year), but I figure if we’re not actually racing it, why shell out $35-$40/person just for another t-shirt?  I’ve also nixed the Whidbey Marathon on March 29.  I originally thought I’d run it as a training run for Boston (I figured the hills would prepare me for the famed Newton hills), but I’ve decided the $70/person could be better spent elsewhere.  Sure, we could probably coax our friends into letting us stay at their condo by the race start, but we’d still rack up additional expenses in travel and food.

We have a couple of big ticket races already on the agenda for 2009 — the Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge in January and Boston in April — so we may end up staying local for the rest of the year.  I’d love to run New York, or at the very least pick up a couple of other states than Washington, but we’ll have to see if our budget allows.

Unfortunately the cuts don’t end with our race schedule.

Long-time readers know of my problem; I just gots to have me some cute clothes!  This year I’ve been particularly indulgent: 4 short-sleeved shirts, five pairs of shorts, two pairs of capris, two running skirts, a rain jacket and a hat.  I swear — I spend more on workout gear than I do on regular clothes.

All good things must come to an end; so too must my rampant spending.  So for the next 14 months (until Jan. 1, 2010), I am to buy NO MORE WORKOUT CLOTHES other than bare necessities such as shoes and socks (and perhaps something to commemorate the Goofy Challenge, but only ONE thing.  Oh, and there’s NO WAY I’m leaving Beantown without an Image Impact jacket.  And maybe a hat.  But that’s all; I SWEAR!)

Published November 2nd, 2008

A real hack job

Things sure have been quiet in EDRW land.  I WISH I could say it’s because I’ve been out earning Marathon Maniac stars by the dozen, but today was the first time I ran since October 25.

Remember that deal with the devil?  Apparently he wasn’t quite through calling in his chips.  After running almost 20 miles over three days (including a particularly speedy 6.5-mile run at an 8:35 average pace), I awoke last Sunday morning with yet another sore throat and skin that hurt to the touch.  It was so bad I canceled Monday’s cook date and skipped the gym for an entire week.  But the worse thing was how my running suffered.  As of Oct. 25 I was just 13 miles shy of a 100-mile month — my lowest for almost a year.

I wasn’t too concerned in the beginning of the week; I assumed I’d be well enough to get in a couple of runs by the end.  My darling and I had booked a room at the Willows Lodge for our dinner at the Herbfarm, and we planned on getting in a run along the Sammamish River Trail before getting ready for dinner.  However, by Tuesday my cold had settled into my chest and I spent several sleepless nights hacking away.  It was clear my 100-mile month wasn’t going to materialize, and I feared my coughing would jeopardize our romantic dinner.

Hoping to stave off a coughing fit, I turned to my neighborhood pharmacist.  He was a bit taken aback when I asked him for recommendations for cough suppressants that could be taken with wine, but I explained to him we’d be dining at the Herbfarm and abstinence was NOT an option.  While he researched alternatives, his assistant jokingly said she always heard the best thing was a shot of whisky with some lemon and honey.  Not being a huge fan of whisky, I decided to see what the pharmacist said.  As long as I took the suppressant a couple of hours before imbibing I’d be fine, he promised.  I grabbed a package of Mucinex and a couple packs of cough drops and headed out.

Before I regale you with tales of our evening’s woe, some background is in order.  (Warning — the following is not for the faint of stomach).


Published October 22nd, 2008

And iRan

How could I NOT run on a day like today?

My cooking class got canceled for this evening, so I found myself with a day off. Although my sinuses have a bit of residual yuck, I felt good enough for a run (I figured it’d do me good). Nothing too strenuous — just a slow recovery run to my bank and back (about 4 miles).

It felt so good to run, although my chest felt heavy during the hills. As I neared home I decided to head to Greenlake to add another mile, and once there I felt good enough to head south to the Woodland Park hills for an additional mile. It ended up being a 6.5-mile run at a 9:27 overall pace.

So, what’s next? While my countdown ticker shows the Goofy Challenge as our next race, we’ve decided to add two more marathons in between in order to earn “silver” status with the Marathon Maniacs (6 marathons in 6 months). The first will be the “Ghost of Seattle” Marathon (run primarily by Maniacs on a portion of the current Seattle Marathon course) on Nov. 29; the second will be the Christmas Marathon in Olympia on December 21. I’ll be running both of those as training runs for Goofy, but my darling will try another BQ attempt at the Christmas one.

It’ll be great to not have to follow a rigid training schedule, although I may throw in some lactate threshold and perhaps a few VO2Max BUAL workouts. I’ll also run several back-to-back long runs in preparation for Goofy.

The devil can’t stop me now!

P.S. Long-time EDRW readers may find something eerily familiar with the above photo. My camera is dead and I misplaced my battery charger, so I had to repurpose the photo from this post (taken almost a year ago to the day!)

Published October 21st, 2008

A deal with the devil

I can’t say I’m surprised.  I KNEW this would happen.  I made a deal with the devil to keep the threatening cold at bay.  Well, this past Wednesday he called in his chips.

It started with the tell-tale scratchiness at the back of the throat, followed by overall achyness.  After a mostly restless evening, I awoke Thursday morning in the full throes of a cold.  Fortunately I was able to postpone my client for the day, opting to stay in bed and drink ginger tea.  Friday was not much better; I did manage to make my way from the bed to the couch, but that was the extent of my activity.

While my condition thankfully improved on Saturday (just in time for me to cater a party for 50), I was still lethargic and full of phlegm (I must have washed my hands a bazillion times that day).  I toyed with going for a quick run on Sunday, but ended up taking a couple of naps.  It’s now Tuesday, I haven’t run an inch since Royal Victoria, and I’m still feeling achy.

My body sure has a way of telling me I need to recover, huh?!!

Published October 10th, 2008

I’m aboot to run a race, eh?

(Sorry to all my Canadian fans)

Tomorrow morning my darling and I will board the Victoria Clipper for a MUCH needed 3-day vacation (and yes, that includes running a marathon).  I have absolutely no idea how I’ll do; while I would love to BQ again, I just don’t think I have it in me.  My more realistic goal is to beat my North Olympic time of 4:15, and if it looks like that won’t happen, my other goal is to beat my Skagit Flats time of 4:27.  (And if THAT doesn’t happen, I sure hope there’s lots of beer at the end to drown my sorrows).

But really, I’m more excited about the mini vacation.  We’ll arrive about 11 a.m., and after checking into our hotel (the 5-star Hotel Grand Pacific) we’ll head to the expo to pick up our bib numbers (although I don’t think there’s runner tracking, my bib # is 1415 and my darling’s is 712).  We’ve sprung for the pasta feed at the Empress that night (featuring Nitmos‘ nemesis Dick Beardsley as the motivational speaker), and will return to the Empress on Monday for high tea.

I’m also excited about getting to wear my new Marathon Maniacs singlet for the first time in a race (given how cold its been I’ll probably wear a shirt underneath).  Hopefully we’ll get the chance to meet a few fellow Maniacs (one of them — Jon “Coconutboy” Mahoney — will be running his 300th marathon).

And if I play my cards right, I’ll get to score 6 points should I see my darling on the out & back course on Sunday (nudge, nudge; wink, wink).

I’ll post my results as soon as I can!

Published October 8th, 2008

The games we play

As many of you know, I live within a couple blocks of a very popular running trail/lake in Seattle — Greenlake.  (It’s officially “Green Lake” but I’ve always said it as one word).  In fact, in my 19 years as a Seattleite, I’ve always lived in the Greenlake neighborhood.  My first rented house was less than 1/2 mile away, my second apartment was four blocks away, and now I’m two blocks away.  (If I keep this up I may someday move onto Duck Island).

Naturally, my darling and I run Greenlake — a lot.  It truly is a fabulous spot.  If we’re in the mood for a quick, easy jog with lots of people-watching, we’ll choose the inside 2.8-mile loop.  If we’re on a more serious run or simply want more miles, we’ll stick to the outside 3.2-mile loop.  While I typically head for other routes once my runs top 8+ miles, I have recorded a few 9-10 mile runs around the lake (it gets rather boring after the third go-round).

During my first running “career,” years before I met my darling, I concocted the “Greenlake Game” that broke up the monotony by rewarding points for people watching.  Here’s how it works: you get 1 point for every person you’ve seen before.  Typically it’s someone you’ve seen at the lake, but that’s not necessary.  The key is you don’t know anything about the person — their name, where they work, etc.  However, you get 2 points if you recognize the person and know something about them (but typically you don’t know their name).  The checker at the market, your UPS driver, etc. — they’d warrant 2 points.  You receive 3 points if it’s someone you’d stop to say hello to — typically a co-worker or casual acquaintance.  You don’t HAVE to stop to say hello to get the points (sometime you see them from afar or are just too focused on your run), but you know them well enough to do so.  If they’re a close friend you get 4 points, 5 points if you slept with them and 6 points if you slept with them the night before.  (Remember, I was single when I first devised the game.  Nowadays if either my darling or I scored 6 points from one person, there’d be some serious ‘splainin’ to do).  Finally, if you choose someone at the beginning of your run and then you see that person, you get 10 points.

One day, a couple of years before my darling and I married, he brought the wooden kayak he just built down to the lake for a test paddle.  I decided to go for a run, and when I arrived I saw he was talking to some guy admiring the boat.  As I approached I realized the guy was the brother of one of my college friends.  We chatted a bit, and as he walked away my darling says, “Hey!  You just got 4 points!”  I paused for a moment to make a judgment call.  Even though we weren’t even engaged at that point, we had been together for about three years.  But was our relationship strong enough to survive what I was about to say?  I decided to take the chance.

“Ummm… honey?  I just earned 5 points.”

(Yes, dear readers, I was a wild child during my college years.  My name might as well have been Eat Drink Run Ho-bag.  Or more appropriately — Drink Drink Drink Ho-bag).

Fortunately my darling thought it was hilarious and we’ve continued the Greenlake Game for several years (thankfully there’s only been one other boyfriend sighting).


Published September 28th, 2008

You don’t have to tell me twice

Okay, so maybe you do.  But after that I’ll get it; I swear!

As I’ve been grumbling about for the past few weeks, my right calf has been giving me grief.  It’s not the same top-of-the-calf pain I experienced while wearing the motion control/stability shoes (I’ve since switched to a neutral pair, the Brooks Defyance), nor was it a case of shin splints.  Rather, the pain was centered between my calf and shin on the inside of my leg.

I’ve chalked it up to running too many damn miles with little recovery.  It certainly helped to take a week off after Skagit Flats, but I could still feel twinges of pain during my runs since (that’s one of the things that contributed to last week’s tears).  I’ve stretched, I’ve sticked, I’ve foam rollered, I’ve self-massaged, I’ve had my darling massage the spot — all to no avail.

But then it dawned on me.  Could it once again be my shoes?

I consulted my training log to see how many miles each pair had racked up.  I wasn’t surprised to see the first pair had 500 miles on them, but was a bit shocked to see the second pair was pushing 450.  I’ve had a pair on order from Brooks since the end of August (I had received a 40% discount card at Hood-to-Coast), but the company is in the midst of a software upgrade and they’re experiencing longer-than-normal delivery delays.  So off to my running store I go.

Not wanting to mess with a good thing, I had the clerk grab another pair of size 10 Defyances (hey — don’t laugh.  I’m a tall girl, ya know).  After inspecting my insoles she also recommended I replace those, as they had about 950 miles on them (although she recommended I wear my old insoles in my new shoes for a couple of runs to make sure the shoes were still a good fit).

I laced up my new shoes for an early morning run and headed out the door.  I could tell the difference from the get-go — no calf pain!  There was just a tad bit of residual achyness as I ran downhill, but it was nothing compared to what I have been dealing with.  I was able to run 10 1/2 in relative comfort (I cut my scheduled 12-mile run short as I was meeting my sister for lunch).

Who says blondes don’t catch on?

(Then again, calf pain isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Published September 27th, 2008

Look Ma, no tears!

I am happy to report I’ve run 23 tearless miles since my last post (although I may have muttered a few “damn”s,” “ouch”es and “how many more f’ing miles do I have to run?”)

I was determined to get in a redemption run on Monday, and when I saw the skies clear from grey to blue I knew there was no excuse for backing out.  I decided to run a portion of the course I skipped the day before; although it was longer than I wanted to go (about 10 miles), I gave myself the option to walk should things get tough.  I averaged a 9:20 pace for the first five miles heading down around Lake Union, then slowed to a 9:50 pace as I ran back up.  I experienced the typical aches and pains, but nothing too drastic.  As I neared the 8-mile mark I decided I’d be ready to walk after 9 miles.

I hit that mark just as I reached Greenlake.  Normally that would spur me on to finish strong (I was about a mile and a half from home), but I welcomed a leisurely stroll.  I figured if I happened to see anyone I knew and they asked why I wasn’t running, I’d point to my Garmin to show them I really was a studette and had just run 9 miles.  I’d also tell them I had just run a marathon, let’s see — how long ago?  HOLY CRAP!  It had been only two weeks since I had run a freakin’ marathon!  No WONDER I was sore.  Sheesh!

I started adding up the miles since Skagit Flats and was shocked to realize I’d run almost 50 (it would have been closer to 60 had I finished Sunday’s run as intended).  Some recovery!  Upon returning home I consulted my “Advanced Marathoning” book to see what it recommended as a plan for marathons five weeks apart.  Sure enough — I was overly ambitious.  While I had scheduled two rather long runs — Sunday’s 20-miler and an 18-miler for tomorrow — the longest run Pfitz calls for is 15 miles, and that’s not until late next week.  He may be hardcore, but he obviously emphasizes recovery.

I’ve since retooled my plan and will only be running 12-13 miles tomorrow.  I even bagged today’s 5-mile recovery run since I walked to my running store on the other side of the lake (about 3 miles).  I’m no longer aiming to BQ at Royal Victoria either (although I may try to beat my North Olympic time).

Perhaps all I needed was a good cry to knock some sense into me.

Published September 21st, 2008

There’s no crying in baseball

However, all bets are off when it comes to running:

Dear readers, I just wasn’t feeling the love today.  I had such high hopes too: 20 miles at a leisurely pace; no big woop.  But given how tired I felt this morning, 20 miles turned into 17 (give or take).  I was thrilled to see yesterday’s downpour was a no show; even though it was overcast it looked to be a fabulous day for running.  I loaded up my iPhone with tunes, strapped on the fuel belt, stepped outside and, Crap!  It started to rain.


Back indoors to grab my raincoat.  I’d be doing this run come Hell or high water (perhaps literally).  By the time I ran over the ridge by our house I was sweating bullets, so the raincoat came off (fortunately the raindrops had petered out as well).  My darling and I kept a slow, steady pace, and despite a few aches and pains, I was feeling good.

Just after 5 miles we stopped at the Locks for a pee and water break, then watched as a huge barge floated through.  While I welcomed the break, my legs protested as we started up again.  My darling wasn’t sure if he’d run the full 17 miles (he ran 10 yesterday), and my inner slacker started talking me into bagging it as well.

Slacker Devil: “You’ve been training so hard.  You deserve a break.  You’re legs are getting TIRED.”
Persevering Angel: “You can do it!  You’re strong!  You can run 17 miles in your sleep!”
SD: “Don’t listen to her yammering.  You’re going to hurt yourself.  The couch is calling you!”
PA: “Think of how proud you’ll be for gutting it out.  You’ll EARN that spot on the couch!”

I silenced my inner devil, at least for a couple more miles.  But as we neared the spot where my darling would branch off, I had to stop to mull over my options: 1) turn right at the Fremont bridge and run along the south end of Lake Union, finishing my run as planned; 2) head straight and run along the north end of Lake Union, cutting the run by roughly 3 miles; or 3) turn left up Stone Way, thus cutting the run to about 11 miles total.

I’m embarrassed to say my inner slacker won out.

I braced myself for the Stone Way hill, but by now my legs were really protesting, and my heart was no longer in it.  At 8.41 miles, I was ready for my meltdown, Mr. DeMille.  (Ever the photographer, my darling couldn’t pass up an opportunity for a great close up).

While we walked the rest of the hill, I rallied at the end to finish running, logging in 10 miles for the day.  (My inner slacker is now sulking in the corner).

Published September 18th, 2008

These are a few of my favorite blogs

I debated whether or not to participate in this week’s Take it and Run Thursday.  How could I possibly call out my favorite blogs without hurting someone’s feelings for not including them in the list?  In fact, I’m considering removing my blog roll since it’s not indicative of all the blogs I follow.  (As I commented to RazZDoodle, I’m finding I spend just as much time — if not more — reading running blogs as I do actually running).

Running blogs serve multiple purposes for me.  As a personal chef, I’m typically alone in the kitchen all day.  Running blogs and forums provide the social interaction I lack in my day job.  They also help me unwind at the end of the day.  My favorite blogs are witty and well-written, challenging me to improve my own writing.  And yes, blogs have made me a better runner.  If it weren’t for my RBF’s, I don’t think I’d be heading to Boston the third week in April.

The following are some of my all-time favorites.  I apologize if you’re not on the list; rest assured I read WAY more than I’ve listed here.  I know many of these have been called out by others — the last thing I want to do is cause heads to swell even more — but I have to give these folks their props.

Angie, Suzanne: these two remarkable women are my oldest RBFs (not in age — I’ve got several years on both of them — but I’ve been reading their blogs the longest).  As a 5′ 11″ woman, when I saw the name of Angie’s blog I just HAD to check it out.  Her witticisms and humorous take on running made me a stalker follower.  I believe I stumbled upon Zanne’s blog through her comments to Angie.  Although she’s now a hardcore biker chick, she motivated me to try for Boston.

Diva, Tory: not only are they local gals (I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them both in person), like me they turned to running to lose weight.

CoffeeBetsy, TheBets: BETSY’S UNITE!  Not only do these women have a totally awesome name, their blogs are very entertaining.  (Just don’t call them Becky or Besty).

Runner’s Lounge, Disney Running, Taper Madness, Marathon Maniacs, Runner’s World Forum: Not blogs per se, but I spend an inordinate amount of time in these forums (somebody please stop the madness).  Some may know me as EatDrinkRunWoman, others as Ovens2Betsy.

PiecesofMe, Frayed Laces: As an old married women, I live vicariously through these vivacious single gals.  (Although I’m often reminded why I’m glad to not be in the dating scene any more!)

I REALLY hate to do this.  But if there’s one person who has encouraged me to polish and refine my writing, it’s him.  He has a real flair for humor, and I look forward to his postings.  I think you know who I’m talking about.  No need to mention him by name.  I mean, he already has the ego the size of Texas (or more appropriately, Michigan).  The last thing he needs is more adoration/fans.  As it is, I’m sure the beleaguered Mrs. N can hardly stand to have him in the house, what with all the sweating, poop analyzing and running akimbo.