Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for July, 2007

Published July 31st, 2007

Taking exercise for granite

Betsy on SummitAs I look around my fair city and surrounding area, I’m baffled how I managed to take such a long break from exercise. We have hundreds of miles of trails for running, hiking and biking (both road and mountain); mountains galore for downhill and cross-country skiing; myriad waterways for kayaking; a plethora of lakes for swimming and diving; both natural and man-made rock walls for climbing — you name it — Seattle teems with opportunities.

Prior to moving here my fitness activities were somewhat limited. I enjoyed biking and swimming, but nothing too strenuous. I hiked regularly while living in Juneau, Alaska, but my trips were always short day trips (although given the mountainous terrain, they were far from easy). Once in Seattle I started running, but again, it was fairly limited (it tapered off after I ran a half marathon in the early 90s). I then got into mountain biking, but gave that up after a couple of years.

My darling has always been physically fit (we met through mountain biking), so in the beginning of our relationship we were quite active. He loves being out in the middle of nowhere, so when he suggested a hike, I jumped at the chance. However, given it had been years since I strapped on hiking boots, we decided to take a day hike closer to home. The Granite Mountain trail seemed perfect: it’s 4 miles long with a 3,800 elevation gain. It not only offers spectacular views, the trailhead is less than an hour from Seattle.

I was rather fit at the time (I’m not too sure of the year — but I believe it was 9 or 10 years ago), so the climb didn’t bother me. However, about an hour in I started feeling blisters on my heels. Unfortunately I carried no moleskin with me; I just soldiered on. A half hour later (slightly more than halfway up) I couldn’t bear it any longer; my heels were burning in pain. Although disappointed, we decided it best to turn around.

The next time we tried the trail — not sure if it was the same summer or the next — we brought a friend along. But we got started late and she had to get back to town by early evening. We made it to approximately the same spot as the first time and decided we better head back. We were jinxed!

Fast forward to the present.

Published July 27th, 2007


This past November I wrote a post about the significance of the number 43. That day was my 43rd birthday, there were 43 days until Christmas, and 43 WEEKS until the Marathon du Medoc. I just happened to consult my calendar, and you guessed it: there are just 43 DAYS until I’ll be winding my way through the vineyards in Bordeaux. Merde!

In my November post I stated I had to 1) learn French, 2) pick a costume, 3) educate my palate for Bordeaux wines and 4) train. Well, two out of four ain’t bad. I’ll probably spend the next few weeks cramming my French lessons, and perhaps quaff a few glasses of Bordeaux. But at least I have THE most important thing pretty much taken care of: I know what I’ll be wearing 🙂 (My costume is about 80% complete thanks to eBay).

Published July 27th, 2007

I can stop at any time… Really!

Hoo boy; methinks I MAY have a problem.

Long time readers of EDRW know I have a thing for workout clothes. In fact, I spend more on them than I do regular ones. During a recent REI outing I shelled out more than $350 on workout gear; the cost for my dress for my sister’s wedding? $27 (although in my defense it’s a killer dress that I’ll get a lot of mileage out of).

This insanity started last year when I decided I needed a biking jersey to go along with my new bike. I thought of the ultimate shirt and Googled it to see if it existed. Sure enough, I found it at Team Estrogen. Unfortunately it only came in small, and when I called the company I found out it was a limited edition; no more would come available 🙁 I tried in vain to to find another source, to no avail. That’s when I settled on this shirt:
Juicy shirt


It’s apropos given my career, plus I get a lot of comments on it. But I still covet the one that got away.

Fast forward to this year. When our friend told us about the inaugural “Bike to Brews,” I knew I couldn’t ride in any old bike clothes. Besides, all my biking shorts were a decade old from my mountain biking days (I figured today’s shorts would have updated padding to cushion my delicate bits). So off to REI I headed.

I made a beeline to the clearance rack and was thrilled to find a biking skort and a matching top at a reduced price. I also picked up a pair of Descente biking shorts with a matching blue stripe. The other bikers were awestruck by my fashion sense.
Biking shorts


Chateau shirt


A few days later I was perusing eBay for zebra accoutrements for my Medoc costume and on a whim I typed in the name of the character for my coveted biking jersey. Holy Crap! There was one available! The only downside was that it was a size XL, and I figured I needed a large. But what the heck? The bids were only at about $12 and the auction would be closing within 13 hours.

I didn’t want to alert the other bidders to my desire, so I decided to snipe (for you eBay virgins, that means placing a bid within the last minute or so). The auction would end at 9 a.m. the next morning, and I dreamt about it all night (in one of my dreams I justified paying as much as $150 for the shirt!!!). The next morning I saw the bids had gone up to $21; RASSENFRASSEN! I then questioned my sniping strategy. Should I just place a bid and enter the highest amount I’m willing to go?

My darling, always the voice of reason, reminded me that 1) I had just spent a boatload on clothes, and 2) the shirt was a size larger than what I wear. “Isn’t that the whole point of workout clothes — to show off your new slim figure?” he reasoned.

*sigh* I knew he was right. However, I figured if I could get it inexpensively then I could always tailor it. I placed a bid, stating I’d go as high as $35 (again, for you eBay virgins, your bid will continue to increase in dollar increments until it hits the highest you’re willing to go). A few minutes later I decided to increase the high bid to $40, as that was half the full retail cost of the shirt. I waited with bated breath as the auction ticked down. By now my bid of $31 was the highest; but would a sniper ruin it all?

At 9:06 a.m. I had my answer: I’m now the proud owner of:

Spongebob Squarepants shirt


And the best part? Size XL is the PERFECT size!!!


Published July 22nd, 2007

Lessons learned

Yesterday my darling and I ran the farthest we’ve ever run: 22.72 miles. In two weeks we’ll run even longer — a full marathon — before we start our taper for Medoc. As I sit here recovering, I think of the lessons learned from our run:

1. 22.72 miles is FREAKIN’ long
2. It’s best to wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days
3. If you DON’T wear sunscreen, expect to get the goofiest suntan on the arm where you’ve strapped your iPod
4. You’ll listen to 58 songs (and 6 seconds of song #59) during your 4 1/4 hour run — everything from “Enter Sandman” to “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” to “Grandma’s Feather Bed”
5. Your route will take you past breath-taking scenery — the houseboats on Lake Union, the historic buildings of Pioneer Square, Alki Point, the Seattle waterfront, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Center — yet you’ll want to hold your breath on several occasions — while passing by the urine-soaked alleys of Pioneer Square, the exhaust-filled Airport Way, the makeshift potties in the underbrush on Harbor Island, the rotting seagull on Alki Beach
6. While tourists help make Seattle a vibrant city, it sure sucks having to wind through throngs of ’em
7. There are better fountains to drink from than the one in “needle park”
8. 22.72 miles is FREAKIN’ long
9. When choosing a restaurant for your victory lunch, it’s best NOT to choose one with an entry-way staircase with 25 steps at a 80-degree angle
10. Once you arrive at your designated restaurant, you will NOT want to run around the block(s) an additional .28 miles for an even 23 miles (or even .03 miles for an even 22.75 miles); you’ll want to stop now, dammit, NOW!
11. Although your water intake was about a gallon, your output will be less than a shot glass
12. Just when you’re thinking you’re all that and a bag of chips, you realize you have two CD-sized sweat stains on your boobs
13. Your cat will confuse you for a salt lick
14. Beer has incredible curative properties
15. Did I happen to mention, 22.72 miles is FREAKIN’ long?

Published July 14th, 2007

Balance and Flexibility

LoungingIn many ways my darling and I are a study in opposites. Planning is the bane of his existence; he relishes spontaneity. While I have my impulsive moments, I take comfort in knowing what’s ahead. For example, with our trip to France, I booked the Medoc portion through a tour company (I wanted guaranteed entry into the race, plus comfortable accommodations for our weary bodies). It’s costing us a pretty penny (actually several), but brings peace of mind knowing we’re covered. My darling is responsible for the Paris leg, and he assures me we’ll have no trouble finding a place to stay once we arrive (I have, however, asked him to at least book a room for our first night).

The same holds true for our training styles. He’s naturally athletic, so he’s not interested nor concerned about a regimented plan. He figures he can show up and set his mind to running 26.2 miles. “You train for the day after” is his mantra. (What he means by that is training helps you recover quicker). I’m significantly less athletically inclined, so I gravitate toward a more rigid schedule to keep me on track and injury-free. Fortunately my darling is also very easy-going; he not only puts up with my anal retentiveness, he often joins me on my training runs.

But now that the lazy days of summer are upon us, I’ve become more flexible in my schedule. We’ve suffered through a bit of a heat wave of late (nothing compared to the Southwest, but still pretty darn hot for this area), so afternoon runs have held little appeal (we’d rather sit on our deck with a frosty beverage). I’ve also cut out the cardio classes at the gym in order to save my legs and instead have been focusing on an upper body weight routine.


Published July 11th, 2007

Bike to Brews

Bike comic

Photo of Matty in swing copyright Matt Hagen. All other photos courtesy of Marcus Donner, copyright 2007.

Published July 3rd, 2007

Getting back to nature


My darling and I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Fairbanks for my sister’s wedding (left late Thursday evening, arrived back home Sunday evening). Despite our hectic schedule, we were determined to fit in a run. Although our training called for an 8-10 miler, we figured that may be optimistic. But given the debauchery we were sure to engage in, we knew even a short run would be beneficial to both our bodies and minds.

We had a window of time on Friday afternoon between shopping and cooking for both the rehearsal dinner and wedding, but I was keen on doing a midnight sun run. Besides, it was hot during the day — almost 80 degrees! (For those of you unfamiliar with the interior of Alaska, the sun barely sets during the summer. When we arrived Friday morning at 1:30 it was as light as 8:30 p.m. in Seattle).

As I was prepping the Greek garbanzo and orzo pasta salads, I refrained from partaking when my sister — the bride-to-be — offered to make me a Bloody Mary. However, my resolve soon waned as my darling decided to pop the cork on the Little Penguin shiraz about an hour later.


Knowing a run was on the horizon I not only kept my wine quaffing to a minimum, I also drank several glasses of water in between. But when we arrived at the rehearsal dinner at my brother’s house, the wine flowed a bit more freely. I also make a pig of myself of the home-smoked and roasted salmon, as well as the numerous side dishes.

Our original idea was to join my sis at the Howling Dog, a bar about 5 miles from her house, enjoy a quick drink (or two), and then run home. However, after consulting with several people who knew the route, we decided that running FROM my sister’s house TO the bar would make more sense, as it would be mostly downhill. We stopped at her place to change into our running togs and visit the restroom. Although I was a bit buzzed, I knew I could still run 5 miles. Besides, I figured it would be great practice for Medoc.

The run started out rough: the first 1/4 mile is up a steep, slick gravel road that would be challenging even when sober. About half-way up we decided we should walk to the top. Fortunately the road then turned into rolling hills for the first mile or so, but given all the jostling the salmon burps started coming on strong.

Although it was about 9:30 p.m. when we started the run, the sun was still shining brightly — so much so I wished I had slathered on some sunscreen. But what a gorgeous route (sorry, no photos); it felt great to run where there were few cars and little noise.

At about mile two the road started a gradual downhill. I was feeling rather good, but then — what’s this? It can’t be! I went potty before we left!

It was just a niggling feeling — nothing major — but I definitely started feeling some discomfort. However, within a span of less than five minutes I went from “I can run it out” to “Hmmm, perhaps I should start looking for bushes with leaves that can double as toilet paper” to “OH MY GOD I HAVE TO GO NOW!!! I DON’T CARE IF I HAVE TO WIPE WITH DEVIL’S CLUB!”

I dashed down a shallow ditch and tried my best to hide behind a small bush. While the light made it more challenging to keep my modesty, I welcomed it (I tend to get creeped out when venturing into the woods. Don’t laugh — even an ad in Runner’s World acknowledged the issue by saying “Ever notice it’s runners who find dead bodies?” But I digress).

My darling, meanwhile, ran interference — literally — back and forth on the road to distract the few cars that drove by (if that’s not love, I don’t know what is). All that was available to me were a few tiny leaves, but I made the best of the situation. But believe me, I made a beeline to the restroom when we finally arrived at the Howling Dog.

Running is SOOOO glamorous!

* Too. Much. Information.