Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for the ‘Training’

Published January 5th, 2016



<knock knock> HELLLOOO?  Anyone here?

Yeah, so clearly I’ve gotten lax on the ol’ blogging front.  Can’t even blame it on the cancer, as thankfully I’ve been cancer-free for over a year.  Rather, I’ve suffered a lack of motivation on the running front, which has lasted far longer than I anticipated.


Eager to have a goal race to look forward to after having to bail out of the IMTUF 100, Waldo 100K and White River 50, I signed up for the Umstead 100, held in Raleigh, NC at the end of March.  I heard great things about the race, and since it was very close to my sister in Chapel Hill, I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone.

With the lumpectomy and radiation therapy, my mileage was pretty low July-September, but I figured I’d amp it up come October.  I did increase it somewhat, but my motivation was still at an all-time low.  Ditto for November, and December, and… well let’s just say by the time I toed the line at the end of March I was just hoping to finish within the 30-hour cutoff.  The result?  I PRd by over an hour, finishing in 25:54.  WHUT?  Buoyed by this I entered the Lumberjack 100 two weeks later.  It was rough, but I squeaked in under cutoff.  This was the confidence boost I needed for my next big adventure: the Bigfoot 200.


I knew I’d have to step things up considerably for Bigfoot, a 200-mile jaunt around Mt. St. Helens, but my performance at Umstead left me cocky.  “I just have to maintain a fast hike,” I told myself.  While I got out on several long runs around Mt. Rainier, my weekly mileage averaged only 35-45 miles in May, June and July.  When I toed the line at that race start I was scared shitless — for good reason.  Within the first few miles it was clear this would be FAR harder than I anticipated, as I gingerly made my way through a mile-long boulder field.  I actually thought I’d get cut at the first aid station at mile 12!  Fortunately I made it with time to spare, but I was fighting cutoffs for the rest of the way.  (I was joined by the sweepers starting at mile 75).  I eventually made it to mile 110, where I had hoped to pick up a friend to pace me, as well as get some much-needed sleep.  However, the volunteers said that the cutoff at the next aid station — 19 miles away — was in 8 hours.  Normally this wouldn’t faze me, but the section had the steepest and longest climb of the race.  I just didn’t think I’d make it without sleep or a pacer.  Defeated, I chose to DNF.


After licking my DNF wounds and having my pity party, I set my sights on the Rio del Lago 100 in November.  My darling and two of my friends were also running it, and I was looking forward to the party.  However, it wasn’t enough to get my butt out the door to train; my average weekly mileage was a dismal 25 miles in September and October.  Once again I hoped my endurance base would get me to the finish line, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Between taking a couple of hard falls and having to huff it to make a few cutoffs, my body and spirit were broken.  I actually was grateful to not make the mile 84 cutoff, as it meant I could stop running (although by then I could only muster up a fast hobble).

In the three weeks after RDL I only ran once a week.  I felt my joy for running had disappeared; I was far happier with my other hobby: sewing.  However, since that doesn’t do much to keep my weight at bay, I knew I’d have to come up with a plan to kickstart my running.

Enter REDFAM — Run Every Day for a Month.


Published May 8th, 2010

Playing catch-up

Oh my — has it REALLY been more than two months since I’ve blogged? So much for my vow to document my “13-in-12” journey (not that I have anyone left reading.) Suffice it to say I’m now a 7-star Maniac who managed to complete the stunt injury-free. I’ve included more info below, but wanted to summarize the highlights from the past two months.

The biggest news? We’re going back to Boston in 2011!!! Unfortunately I don’t have an invite to the party (yet), but my darling — after two years and several attempts — ran a BQ race this past Sunday at the Tacoma City Marathon, finishing in 3:18:28 (he needed 3:20). This was a surprise to us both as he’s run even more races this year that I have. But his Achilles heel (so to speak) has been the long run; he starts off strong but fades toward the end. By getting in so many long runs he built up his endurance and it’s paid off. Now I need to get my butt in gear.

Tacoma was not only the capper to my 13-in-12 streak, it also was my 50th race of marathon distance or longer (I even got to wear bib #50). It also was my fastest marathon since Portland.

The Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge was fantastically fun, albeit not particularly challenging given I had already been running a marathon a week. Going in to Boston I toyed with trying to beat last year’s time (4:15:48), but my darling encouraged me to try for a more challenging goal: a BQ. I figured it would be an incredible long-shot, but I also thought I would know when to dial it back once it became clear I wouldn’t reach that goal. Fortunately that happened with the first 5K. In order to make 4 hours I’d have to run each 5K in under 29 minutes; when I hit the first in 29:30, I decided I’d run the rest of the race for fun. I finished in 4:25:19 feeling great.

The next week we headed to Monterey for the Big Sur Marathon where I met up with a woman from the Runner’s World online forum. She’s a speedy runner (she BQ’d at Boston), but this would be her first back-to-back race. Therefore, we decided to run together. It’s an absolutely stunning course, and fortunately we didn’t get as much wind as in other years (in fact, the little wind we had helped cool me down). We ran up ALL the hills — including the 2-mile Hurricane Point — and celebrated our accomplishment with a snort of Laphroaig 10-year single malt scotch at the grand piano just after the Bixbey Bridge (it was surprisingly tasty!)

The other big news? We’re parents again! We welcomed Jasper and Luna into our hearts and home this past Sunday (we rushed home from the marathon to shower and then head north to pick them up). They’re from the same litter and they not only keep themselves entertained, they fill us with happiness and joy. We still miss our sweet Xanthe terribly, but are so thrilled to have the pitter-patter of little paws running around.



As for future plans, now that the pressure is on for me to BQ again I’ve made some adjustments to my schedule. I was signed up to run the Rainier to Ruston 50-mile (my first) on June 5, but now that I want to try to BQ at Seattle Rock ‘n Roll on June 26 I’d like to get in some more recovery time. So I’ve switched to the 50K for R2R and will attempt to run 50 miles during the Redmond Watershed 12-hour next Saturday, May 15. This takes some weight off my shoulders as my darling wouldn’t have been available to crew me on the 5th (although one of our running friends offered to do it). And since the Watershed race is a 12-hour, there’s no DNF — I’ll simply run as many miles as I can.

Should I not BQ at Seattle Rock ‘n Roll I may try again at Missoula on July 11, however, it’s only three weeks later and the race can get pretty hot. My last-ditch back-up plan will be Skagit Flats in September, however, that too can get quite hot. Given how quickly Boston filled up last year I doubt it will still be open for an October race (but if it is, perhaps I can try again during the Nike Women’s Marathon). If all else fails then I’ll simply go to Boston as a spectator and will perhaps take over the Hopkinton Hop.


Published February 5th, 2009

How to qualify for Boston

This week the Runner’s Lounge asks us to let you in on the secret of how to qualify for Boston.  Why on earth would I want to do THAT?  I can put up with you stopping by my blog, but that doesn’t mean I want to rub sweaty elbows with you in Hopkinton.

I kid!

Frankly, even though I’ve managed to qualify for Boston twice, I can’t say I have the secret.  So many factors come in to play — some you can control, others you can’t — there’s no guarantee what works for one person will work for another.  While I worked hard to get my BQ, I was also blessed with a bit of luck.  I may not have the secret, but I’m happy to share my road to a BQ.

The following factors are what I consider to be the most important in my BQ quest:

Obviously, this is one you can’t control.  There are many folks who argue BQ standards favor older women, especially those in the 40-49 age group, and I just so happen to fall into that category.  The standards account for bodies that get creakier and less responsive with age, yet perhaps I’m in that sweet spot where my body isn’t so decrepit I can’t pull off a 4-hour marathon.  Compare that with the 3:15 my darling needs as a 38-year-old man.  As many of you may know, he missed his time by a mere 18 seconds in the same race where I first BQ’d.  But was my age/gender the only reason?  Maybe, maybe not.  My training was more regimented than his, and I believe I got in a couple more long runs.

The race
Here’s something you can control.  There are hundreds of BQ course around the country from which to choose — some with a reputation for being a fast course (CIM, St. George, Tucson), others not.  I chose the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in Port Angeles for my first BQ attempt.  It’s a scenic, small race (about 600 marathoners) on a relatively fast course.  Even though I missed my BQ there (you can read about it here), I do think it’s a great course on which to BQ.

Not wanting to leave things to chance, I chose the Light at the End of the Tunnel for my second attempt as it’s an all-downhill course (you can see the elevation profile in part 1 of my race report).  Some running Nazis may claim it’s a cheater course, but if the USATF certifies it, then it’s good enough for the BAA.  Still, even though I was ecstatic after the Tunnel Marathon, I wanted to challenge myself on a more difficult course.  While I wasn’t sure if I had it in me going into the race, I BQ’d again at Royal Victoria with a 4:00:26.


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 April 9th, 2008

Finding THE ONE

In my early 20s commitment was the farthest thing from my mind. I was a foot-loose and fancy-free single gal — I didn’t need nuthin’ or no one to tie me down. That philosophy served me well at the time, but as I matured I realized I was ready to settle down. I was ready to make a commitment.

My first wooed me with his promises. He respected my need for “me time,” never demanding my company for more than a couple of days a week. Our weekday trysts were short, yet intense; we saved our long encounters for the weekend. He made me feel great at first, but I began to sense things were moving too fast. I cut our weekday visits short, and sometimes avoided them altogether. I just don’t think I was ready for what he had to offer.

My second was recommended to me by my therapist. She thought his easy-going style would better fit my nature, plus he too respected my time. I was skeptical at first, but he soon won me over. Within five months I was professing my love for him in my diary; I just knew he was a keeper.

While others questioned my devotion to him — they felt our relationship made me less of a woman — I felt nothing but pure bliss. But a year into the courtship I started to feel pangs of want. I couldn’t put my finger on it, perhaps I was getting bored? Even though he assured me he’d provide everything I ever hoped for, the skepticism returned. I yearned for more. Within a month of our year anniversary we broke up, and I went it alone.

Three months later we hooked up again, albeit for a one-night stand. He was what I needed at that moment, but we both knew it wouldn’t last. I already had my sights set on someone else, someone much more exhilarating.

I’m now with my third and couldn’t be happier. Sure, he has a reputation of being a tough guy. He demands a lot and there are times I wonder if he’s asking too much of me. People who know him say it might not be obvious at first he loves me, but by sticking with him his true feelings will reveal themselves. But I gotta tell ‘ya: our sessions exhaust me; he’s insatiable!

You DO know I’m referring to my training plans, right?


Published March 7th, 2008

Duvet Day

A friend of mine used to work for a public relations firm that gave its employees a couple of “duvet days” per year.  Those were the days where you woke up and decided you just wanted to stay in bed all day with the duvet over your head.  They weren’t sick days, more like “mental health” days.  Well, today was my version of a “duvet day.”

Since I’m self-employed I don’t get the luxury of paid days off, so I couldn’t ditch my client.  But fortunately my cook day was a speedy one.  And I actually was able to drag my butt out of bed for my morning arm weight routine, but it was a half-hearted effort.  Normally I put in at least an hour to an hour and a half; today I called it quits after 45 minutes.

My workday was done by 1:30 p.m., and after taking my darling to lunch I plopped myself on the couch with a bowl of truffle popcorn.  I haven’t moved for the past four hours.

Why such slothfulness?  I’ve been anxious about this weekend’s half marathon since it will be the first time I’m truly racing.  Sure, I try to run my best at every race, but it’s not a priority.  With this race, I not only hope to PR (and ideally break the 2-hour mark), I’m also using it as a gauge for my marathon training.  Based on my finish time I will readjust my training paces accordingly.

Mercer Island is known for its hills; while there aren’t any steep grades (other than one small downhill), the race comprises rolling hills throughout.  This year’s course has been changed to include two particularly long, albeit gradual, hills within the last 2-3 miles.  Therefore, I’ve been incorporating several hills into my workouts.  Thing is, given how I feel, I’m wondering if I’ve done TOO much.  (Hence the duvet day).

I must remind myself that my training is for the marathon in June; not Sunday’s race.  If I were just training for that, I would have tapered longer and eased up on this week’s runs.  I did bag on a 5-miler this week, but my taper is only a couple of days long.  However, it’s sorely (pun intended) needed!  If I’m up for it, I may hit the pool tomorrow morning before heading to the expo.  But if my body begs me for another day of rest, so be it!

Stay tuned for the race report.

Published February 10th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 1 (33 miles)

One week down, 17 to go (damn that sounds like a lot). The training this week wasn’t much different than what I’ve already been doing, but I have to admit there were a couple of times I almost postponed due to crappy weather. But then I reminded myself that attitude won’t get me to Boston, so I laced up and headed out.

I know the hardest runs will be the mid-week ones. I actually relish the weekend long runs, but I typically keep my mid-week runs to eight miles or less. That distance is just the starting point with Pfitz; by week nine I’ll have a 14-mile mid-week run, and several 10-12 milers on other weeks (just what I want to do after standing on my feet all day). But fortunately I’m typically home from my cook dates by 3:30 and it won’t start getting dark until at least 5:30-6 p.m.

I’m also finding it tough to keep my pace slow for my general aerobic and recovery runs. For the former, I should be keeping it to a 9:30-9:45 pace; the latter should be 9:45-10:00. I’m also finding my heart rate seems to get pretty high, even though I don’t feel I’m putting in a lot of effort. However, it’s not too far off, so I’m not going to worry about it too much.

As for my weight? sigh. I’ve been a very, very bad girl. My darling and I decided to hit happy hour on Thursday, splurging on margaritas, chicken wings, Southwestern spring rolls and calamari (oh, and cupcakes from Cupcake Royale). On Friday we met up with friends at Shorty’s for pinball, hotdogs and nachos (oh, and a burger and fries at Dick’s on the way home). We were much more sensible on Saturday, preparing a huge salad with garbanzo beans and loads of veggies. (Oh, I guess I forgot to mention the aprés run mac & cheese and the evening martini. But hey — we were watching Casino Royale; how could we NOT have a shaken martini?). Today my darling joined some friends for the “Love ’em or Leave ’em” 5K at Greenlake; I however, decided to prepare brunch treats for everyone in the form of ooey-gooey caramel-pecan rolls and Southwestern strata. Looks like it’ll be lettuce leaves for the rest of the week!


Published December 31st, 2007

A religious experience

I’m not much of a religious person. I grew up Unitarian (which I consider an agnostic’s religion), but since our church was about 45 miles away, we didn’t make it that often. I’ve never read the Bible cover to cover; I think I skimmed the child’s version I received one year, and I had to read portions in the 7th grade when we did an analysis of Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea.” In fact, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say my primary source of information about the story of Jesus is from the movie/soundtrack of “Jesus Christ Superstar”!!! (Blasphemous, I’m sure).

I haven’t listened to the soundtrack in ages, but I remember how much I enjoyed the music. I received an iTunes gift certificate for my birthday, so I decided to download the album. I figured it would be the perfect music for yesterday’s run (it was Sunday, after all).

Although I’m in taper mode, I still planned on doing 14-16 miles. Since my last few routes have been rather flat, I purposely picked a route with a few hills. Unfortunately I’d be running it solo, as my darling came down with a bit of a cold.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the weather; on Saturday it was raining pretty hard, but fortunately the skies looked clear when I woke up. I was then thrilled to see blue sky as I headed out the door. My route immediately took me up a hill, but the overture to JCS kept me going. I’m sure I started belting out some of the tunes, but I didn’t care!


Published December 26th, 2007


I think I just may make my “Wonky Body Mechanics Be Gone” goal of 150 miles for the month!  With this morning’s 3-mile run, my current total is 130.  Woo hoo!

Published December 21st, 2007


It sounded like a good idea back in August: head to Walt Disney World the second week in January to run not just a marathon, but a marathon and a half! Sure, I’d be training in the cold, but what a way to keep the holiday pounds off. Sign us up!


While I’m happy to say our training has been going very well (I’ve already logged a record 90 miles for the month), it’s been to the detriment of everything else. It took me a full week to get my tree trimmed, and I just managed to dash off cards to my clients (friends and family will be lucky to get Groundhog’s Day cards). Normally I spend a couple of weekends baking treats for clients, but this year only one received cookies (and only because she requested them).

And gifts? Oy! Although my darling and I agreed not to get each other anything this year (we’ll probably buy a “household” gift such as a TV or mattress), I feel guilty for not thinking of a special something that will totally surprise him on Christmas morning like he did to me last year.

But even though I’ve neglected a lot of holiday-related activities, I’ve still been feeling overwhelmed and a bit brain dead. I’ve been meaning to blog for several days, but once I sit down with my laptop I feel all creativity has left my body. So I just end up reading every else’s blog instead. (Hopefully you’ll forgive me).

Here’s a quick synopsis of what I’ve been up to since I last wrote:

  • Ran two races — the Jingle Bell 5K and the 12Ks of Christmas (I’ll be posting a race report on the latter soon)
  • Started taking a yoga class on Tuesday mornings. I’m thrilled to have found a yoga class I actually like. I’ve taken 3-4 classes in the past, but I think they were just too advanced for my inflexible body. It just hurt too damn much to try to get my body/limbs to go where the instructor wanted them to go, and I’d get flustered trying to breathe the correct way. This class is a TOTAL beginner one; we’re doing more stretching than anything else.
  • As I mentioned earlier, with yesterday’s 3.3-mile run, my total mileage for the month is now just over 90. While training for Medoc I think there was only one month where I logged over 80 miles; all the rest were in the 70-75 mile range. Today and tomorrow will be our last long runs before our taper for Goofy, and we’re making it a simulation of what we’ll be doing in Orlando: 11 miles today, 22 tomorrow. So it looks like I’ll be able to make my “Way to go Betsy!” goal of 125 miles for the month, and will possibly hit the “Wonky Body Mechanics Be Gone” goal of 150.

Happy Holidays everyone!