Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for August, 2007

Published August 30th, 2007

Women who run with the zebras

Zebra costumeEver since I was little, I’ve loved to dress up in costumes. My girlfriends and I would put on the 50s-style dresses in our attic and prance around on our patio. I adored the flapper dress in my mom’s closet with its luxurious ivory-colored fringe and couldn’t wait until I was big enough to fit into it properly (alas she gave it to Goodwill before that happened). I’d plan my Halloween costumes months in advance, and could barely contain my excitement at showing them off.

Rat costumeBack then there were few options for buying costumes off the rack; besides, I preferred making them myself. As a teenager I spooked the bejesus out of the kids my friend baby-sat when I showed up with a long black velvet coat and my face painted black & white. In the early 80s I found a deal on a red satin GunnySax dress for my Cyndi Lauper costume (I bought several lengths of chain to wrap around my waist and sprayed my hair brilliant orange). The dress was later repurposed in college for a slutty devil (I called her the Whore from Hell). I’ve gone the traditional witch route — green scaly skin, warts, knobby nose and all — and even tried dressing like Marilyn Monroe (I ended up looking more like a man in drag). One of my favorites was an evening dress with rats running up the back (I kept telling people I just found the dress in my attic and dusted it off).

So when I read about the Marathon du Medoc, I knew this would be the race for me (okay, so the wine part was the first thing that drew me in). I started thinking of my costume from the get-go — more than a full year before the race. I perused an online costume shop for ideas and found one that was promising: a Vineyard Vixen. However, I knew it wouldn’t hold up to the rigors of a marathon; I’d have to somehow recreate it using actual running gear.


Published August 23rd, 2007

Photo finish

Click here to see what it was like during the Danskin (I particularly like the close-up of me coming out of the water; I think that’s when I realized I’d be biking in the rain!). There’s also a good one of me sprinting to the finish line (and yes, it’s all about me). 🙂

Published August 22nd, 2007


Not that anyone cares, but after re-reading my race report for the Danskin (I mean, Dampskin), I realized I never included my finishing time! Thing is, despite having a somewhat competitive nature, my time wasn’t important. I just wanted to be there with my sister (which may sound insincere considering I left her in the dust after my competitive nature took over).

I finished in 1 hour, 45 minutes, 55 seconds: 15:06 for the swim (it was reduced from 800 meters to 604), 11:21 for the 1st transition, 47:06 for the 12-mile bike ride, 5:05 for the 2nd transition, and 27:14 for the 5K.

Published August 22nd, 2007


Wet legsWouldn’t you know it: the year I FINALLY make it into the DANSKIN Triathlon it ends up being one of the wettest on record.

Yeah, yeah, yeah; I know what you’re all thinking: “It’s SEATTLE, Betsy; it ALWAYS rains in Seattle.” Well, you’re wrong. Sure, we get our fair share of rain, but August typically is hot and dry. While one can expect to be greeted with foil blankets at the end of the Seattle Marathon (held the weekend after Thanksgiving), you’d NEVER expect to need one after a race held the third week of August (and unfortunately they weren’t handing them out; you had to be in pretty bad shape to get one).

I have longed to do the Danskin since the early 90s. A bunch of us had traveled over to Spokane to watch one of our friends compete in the Troika half Ironman; while that distance (1 1/4 mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, 1/2 marathon) seemed unattainable at the time, the Danskin was within reach (1/2 mile swim, 12-mile bike, 5K). The fact it’s a women’s only triathlon increased its appeal (sometimes you just don’t want to deal with all the testosterone). But although I was in shape at the time, I never bothered to enter. Then I got out of shape, and even just a 5K seemed daunting, let alone the swim and bike legs.

Fast forward to last year. By March I was down 30 pounds, I was running consistently and had signed up for a half marathon in July. I knew with just a bit more training I could do my first triathlon. However, when I went to sign up for Danskin I saw it had sold out the day before; RASSENFRASSEN! But I then heard about the Subaru Tri, another all-women’s race, held the second weekend in September. I signed up, trained hard (especially in the swim) and had a respectable finish. (I loved it so much I signed up for another tri the following weekend). The Subaru was probably an even better tri to start with, as it’s about a quarter the size of Danskin. But I knew I wouldn’t be happy until I could participate in that race.

Knowing it sells out quickly I started monitoring the web site in November (yes, I’m a freak). I also asked my sister Robin if she’d like to do it with me. To entice her I told her I’d pay for it; the only way she’d have to pay me back was if she ended up not participating. In early February the Danskin site stated registration was slated to open February 26, but I continued to monitor it just in case. On Friday morning, February 23, I received an email from the LUNAChix (a local tri team) that registration had opened. Within minutes I had signed us up (good thing too; it sold out by 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26). In order to race together we entered in the mixed age group (Robin’s 11 years older).

Whereas for the Subaru Tri I swam more than a dozen times — both in the pool and open water — ran several “bricks” (bike to run drills) and even did a couple of practice mini triathlons, I did none of that for Danskin. My goal would just be to finish, and I felt confident I could easily swim a half mile (besides, I wanted to concentrate my training on Medoc). But by early July I was concerned I was being cocky, so I worked in a couple of half-mile swims in Greenlake. And with the three brewery/winery bike rides under my belt, I figured I was good to go.

Robin, meanwhile, truly got into the spirit. I had hoped to train with her, but my schedule became too booked. So she signed up with a tri coach on Vashon Island (which I think benefitted her much more than training with me). Because she had given her bike to her daughter, she’d be using my old mountain bike. My darling tuned it up as best he could, then Robin and I took it out for a 6-mile practice run the day of the expo. Since she had been training on the hills of Vashon, the flat Burke-Gilman was no match; she couldn’t believe how easy it felt.


Published August 17th, 2007

A different race

As a woman runner, I put my safety and well-being at the forefront. I never run at night unless my darling accompanies me, and I’m even leery to run alone early in the morning. I stay on well-traveled trails, and though I often run with my iPod, I am always aware of my surroundings.

While all of my precautions are common sense stuff, the true test comes when running in an unfamiliar city. This past weekend I was in Philadelphia for a personal chef conference, and I was also scheduled to do an 8-10 mile run. After consulting the GoPhila website, I decided the Schuylkill River Trail would be ideal; not only did it remind me of our local Burke-Gilman — a well-traveled, runner-friendly trail offering incredible views — it appeared to be within a couple miles from my hotel.

Although the route certainly looked safe, I emailed a local runner’s group to ask if there were any concerns (call me Nervous Nellie). I never got a reply but figured I could ask the hotel concierge. I also decided to run sans iPod.

Due to a travel snafu I didn’t arrive in Philly until 2 a.m., which meant I’d be starting my run late (the weather report said the humidity would be in the 80s, so I had wanted to get an early start). But by 9 a.m. I was ready to go and stopped at the concierge desk for directions. Seemed simple enough: turn left outside the hotel, right on 17th, follow 17th until the Ben Franklin Expressway (the only diagonal street), which would take me to the Philadelphia Art Museum and the Schuylkill Trail — an estimated 2 mile trek. He asked if I wanted to take a map with me but I declined (I didn’t have any pockets and would already be carrying my hotel card key).

I stepped out the front doors and was immediately hit with a wet blanket (figuratively, of course; I had forgotten what humidity felt like!). Garmin took forever to locate the satellites, so I took off before it could register. The sidewalks were teeming with people making their way to work, but I managed to dodge around them. At one point I came to what appeared to be a diagonal street, however, the sign said “Arch Street,” NOT the Ben Franklin Expressway. So I continued along 17th.

Here’s where judgment factors in. At what point do you determine the surroundings to be less than safe? When you see old, somewhat dilapidated houses with overgrown yards? If that were my only criteria, I wouldn’t run by my own house! When you hear reports of dangerous activity in the area? I have to be cautious even on my beloved Greenlake trail (a woman was sexually assaulted during a morning run several years ago). When you see homeless people? We often see them sleeping in the grassy areas by the lake, and I even found a man wrapped in a blanket sitting on my front porch one morning (I swear I live in a safe neighborhood!).

Or — and this is the toughest to admit — is it when the majority of people you see don’t look like you?


Published August 14th, 2007

I’ve been tagged!

Just got tagged by Suzanne (yippee! My first tag!). I tag Database Diva and Warriorwoman.

Jobs I’ve held

  • McDonald’s server/cashier
  • Factory worker (making parts for quartz heaters)
  • Deli counter clerk
  • Movie concessionaire
  • Clerk/typist for state of Alaska
  • Mail carrier for U.S. Postal Service (don’t tick me off!)
  • Admin assistant for college guidance center
  • Dock worker for UPS (only lasted 2 weeks!)
  • Phone survey taker
  • Journalist for college newspaper
  • Receptionist
  • Public relations executive (at 9 different companies in 12 years; no WONDER I decided to change careers!)
  • Personal chef
  • Gourmet cookware sales person at Bon Marche (now Macy’s)
  • Demo chef at Bon Marche
  • Famous blogger 🙂

Movies I can watch over and over

  • Okay, this is embarrassing: Grease! (I swear I’ve seen it at least 30 times)
  • Eat Drink Man Woman (natch)
  • Big Fish (I’m a blubbering fool every time!)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (the scene where Scout is told to stand in the courthouse because, “Your father’s passing” causes goosebumps every time)
  • Terms of Endearment
  • Animal House
  • Caddyshack (just the first one)
  • Driving Miss Daisy
  • The Sound of Music
  • Of Mice and Men (with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise)
  • and too many more to mention

Guilty pleasures

  • Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
  • Cambozola cheese
  • Running barefoot on lush grass (unfortunately neither we nor my neighbors have a great lawn!)
  • Diving into a cool lake on a hot day (okay, so the last two aren’t ones to feel guilty about!)
  • A double dirty vodka martini with double-stuffed olives

Places I’ve lived

  • Manchester & Winsted, CT
  • Bayville, NY
  • Juneau
  • Yakima, Pullman & Seattle, WA
  • (gosh, is that all?)

Shows I enjoy

  • The Biggest Loser (add that to my guilty pleasures as well!)
  • My Name is Earl
  • The Office
  • ER
  • Lost (although since it was on so late last season I’ll have to get caught up on Netflix)
  • Buffy & Angel (didn’t watch ’em while they were still on, but our neighbor lent us all 7 seasons of Buffy and we got Angel through Netflix)

Websites I visit daily

  • FAR too many to mention, but mostly food & fitness blogs

Places I’ve been on vacation

  • Trenton, ME (family cottage)
  • Chiang Mai & Krabi, Thailand (honeymoon)
  • Baja, Mexico (kayak trip)
  • Kona, Hawaii
  • South Jersey shore
  • Ocean Shores, WA
  • Portland, OR
  • Missoula, MT
  • Reno
  • Fairbanks and Anchorage, AK (visiting family)
  • Los Angeles
  • Vancouver & Whistler, BC
  • and soon: Paris & Bordeaux, France!!!

If you include business trips:

  • Dallas
  • Philadelphia
  • San Francisco
  • San Diego
  • Kansas City
  • Atlanta
  • Ottawa
  • New York
  • Boulder, CO
  • Washington, DC
  • London
  • Phoenix
  • Albuquerque
  • Las Vegas
  • Boston


  • Betsy (my “real” name is Elizabeth)
  • Sweetie girl
  • Pooky darling (yes, my darling and I can be quite mushy)
  • Beets (my former New Zealand roommates pronounced my name “Beetsy” so that’s how I got that)


  • Totem Award (a local public relations award): 1st place for employee communications program, 2nd place for newsletter
  • 2006 Kirkland Tri: first of the fat old ladies (Athena division, age 40 and over)
  • No. 2 “Cheesiest Seattle Business Name” from Seattle Magazine (for Ovens to Betsy)
  • Hmmm… do scholarships and academic awards count? ‘Cuz I won the Glenn Terrell Presidential Scholarship and the Women in Communications Scholarship at WSU. I also won a few 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place academic awards in junior high and high school (I forget what they were called, but we actually got cash!)

Published August 4th, 2007


26.2 milesQuestion: 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? I know what MY answer is: Hell to the Yeah!

I suppose I should write this post tomorrow to make sure I’m still alive, but considering I can’t do anything more strenuous right now than lay on the couch and eat chips, I might as well do it now.

As you can see from my Garmin, today we ran our longest training run to date: 26.2 miles. That’s right, a full Freakin’ Marathon. We’re following Jeff Galloway’s “to finish” run/walk program; while most training programs limit you to 20-22 miles for your longest run, Jeff recommends going longer since he finds many people will hit The Wall at the point of their longest training run. But the key is to run MUCH slower than you could during the race (at least two minutes/mile). We certainly accomplished that — our average was 11:32/mile; our fastest mile was 10 minutes (mile 11-12), our slowest was 12:47 (mile 21-22).

Our route took us through some of the best scenery Seattle has to offer. We started at our home near Greenlake, wound our way north through the neighborhood and down to the beach at Golden Gardens, headed along Shilshole to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, crossed over to Commodore Park, headed south along the train tracks to Myrtle Edwards Park, continued along the waterfront to Jackson St., where we headed east to Lake Washington Blvd. We continued along the boulevard, then headed up Madison St. to the arboretum. Turned north toward University of Washington, where we picked up the Burke-Gilman trail. We then cut through Cowen Park and wound our way back to Greenlake. Ran around the north end, then stumbled our way back home (I’m getting tired just writing all that out!)

High points:

  • The weather — it started off cool & cloudy, and while we got a few sun breaks near the end, the temperature remained pleasurable
  • Coming to the aid of a woman in distress (she entered a stall without toilet paper and I handed her some underneath the door). Turns out she’s also doing the Danskin in a couple of weeks, so I gave her a pep talk.
  • The bagel and strawberry-banana smoothie break at Starbucks between miles 11 and 12 (I think the nourishment helped make that our fastest mile).
  • The little girl standing in front of me in the restroom on Lake Washington Blvd. who whispered to her mom asking if I was hurt (we had run about 16 1/2 miles by then and I was stretching my legs while waiting for a stall. I assured her that while my muscles were quite sore, I was indeed okay. I thanked her for her concern).
  • Catching several glimpses of the Blue Angels air show (this weekend is the culmination of the weeks-long Seafair; an annual Seattle tradition. The Blue Angels perform several shows over Lake Washington, just before the hydroplane races).
  • Spying the water fountain at the end of Cowen Park (we thought there was one where we first entered the park but were dismayed to find none. By then my water bottles were empty and we were both getting parched).
  • Having the course measure out to 26.2 miles pretty much at our doorstep (we just had to run past our house a 1/4 block and back).
  • Chowing down on home-made lobster rolls at the end.

Low points:

  • The hills! You can’t get to Lake Washington Blvd. from our house without going up one. Of course that heads back down again, so you have to go up another one to get home.
  • Seeing my darling suffer during our walk breaks starting at mile 18. His knees were really bothering him, and the transition from running to walking was particularly painful.
  • Realizing there wasn’t a water fountain at the entrance to Cowen Park.
  • The knot in my shoulder blade. It was particularly bad today; I may have pulled a muscle during my arm weight routine yesterday, so it was hurting for much of the run.
  • My teary breakdown at mile 25 due to the shooting pain of said shoulder blade (although the tears were a nice form of release).
  • Having my darling almost barf up the lobster roll lunch (fortunately a nap settled his poor tum-tum).

Hmmm… considering there were more high points than low points, I say today was a mighty successful run. Bordeaux, here we come!