Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for December, 2007

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 27th, 2007

A bowlful of jelly

Santa Claus


Hmmm… perhaps it’s time to lay off the eggnog!

(In case you’re wondering, I offered to don the suit after my darling and his cousin’s boyfriend refused. I couldn’t let a 5-year-old girl down!)

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 24th, 2007

The 12Ks of Christmas

12Ks of ChristmasI ran this race last weekend as part of my back-to-back long run training for the upcoming Goofy Challenge. Held in Kirkland, Washington, it’s a relatively small race — a little over 900 participants for the 12K and 500 for the 5K.

My 18.5-mile run the day before left me wiped and beaten, so I questioned my decision to do the race. Not only would I have to get up early, I’d be racing solo (my darling was visiting his mom in Yakima). But I knew it would be good for me, so I bucked up.

The weather was absolutely perfect: slightly overcast but no rain. I read a couple of race reports from previous years and found it’s a rather hilly race (which really didn’t come as much surprise). Normally this wouldn’t bother me too much, but given the beating I had taken the day before, I would have preferred a flat course. But again, I bucked up.

Unlike the Jingle Bell Run the weekend before, the 12Ks of Christmas appeared to attract some pretty serious runners. I once again donned a Santa Hat, but questioned that decision after seeing the other runners heading toward the packet pickup (I was the only one with any type of costume). Fortunately once I got down to the registration area I did see several others in holiday attire.

Due to all the last-minute entries, the race started about 15 minutes late (I’m assuming people waited to see what the weather would bring). But finally we were off, only to encounter the first of many hills. sigh.

In true holiday spirit, I offer you my 12Ks of Christmas race report:

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!

Published December 8th, 2007

Virtual 8 on the 8th

While my darling thinks I have an obsession with running blogs, there definitely is a benefit to being a member of an online community. I’ve “met” lots of fantastic runners who inspire me and spur me on to lace up weekend after weekend.

A few weeks ago Nancy suggested a virtual 8-mile race on the 8th of December. Since my darling and I are training for the Goofy Challenge, we decided to make it two back-to-back 8 mile races. We picked a scenic route that started at our doorstep, wound around Greenlake and Lake Union, headed along the Seattle waterfront and the wound back up through the neighborhood to our favorite pub (we thought a frosty beverage would provide enough incentive to run those 16 miles!).

Despite not having to pay any race fees, we still got a t-shirt:
Betsy & Matt 8on8 t-shirts


(I think my arm weight routine must be working; do I look buff OR WHAT?)

While other runners were forced inside due to the snow, we awoke to gloriously sunny skies. This was an incredible change from the beginning of the week; as some of you may have read the Seattle area got a deluge of rain earlier in the week (they had to shut down a major interstate for several days due to flooding). I was crazy enough to run a little over 10 miles in the stuff, and I tell you, it wasn’t fun. As I was stretching prior to the run it was snowing:

Snowy stretch


…but by the time I started the run it turned into a cold downpour that soaked me to the bone. So I was thrilled to see the weather cooperated today for our 16-mile run. Here’s a picture at the end of the first 8 miles (notice I’m still smiling):
First 8 miles


We finished the first “race” in 1 hour, 14 minutes — a 9:21 pace (I’m extremely happy with that!). The second part of the race was much hillier, plus we were starting to tire. We still finished in a respectable 1 hour, 20 minutes, but I had to take a couple of walk breaks (I powered up one hill at the 15-mile mark and thought I was going to faint). Here I am enjoying my frosty beverage:
Second 8


We originally were going to run the mile+ home, but decided to walk given the hills. But tonight we’ll be walking around Greenlake again to enjoy the “Path of Lights” (they line the edges of the trail with luminaries) and will be running a 5K Jingle Bell Run tomorrow morning.

Thank you Nancy for organizing this!

Published December 4th, 2007

Determination or insanity?

Now that I’ve got Boston on the brain I’ve been rethinking my training strategy. I’m still a fan of Jeff Galloway (he’ll always have a place in my heart given he got me to Medoc), but I question whether the run/walk program will get me to Boston. It’s a fabulous program for one’s first marathon: the “to finish” plan requires only 3 days/week of training with relatively low mileage (although he does recommend running the full 26.2 miles before the race). And because you’re interspersing walk breaks with your running, you recover much quicker (and reduce the risk of injury).

But something tells me Boston will require much, much more.

After perusing the Runner’s World discussion boards on marathon training I picked up a copy of Pete Pfitzinger’s “Advanced Marathoning.” As the name implies, it’s definitely more hardcore than Galloway. They offer several training options: 12-, 18- and 24-week plans with 55, 70 and 70+ miles per week (not every week includes that mileage, rather, you work up to it). However, they do recommend a hardy base — you should be running at least 25 miles/week within the past month and should have comfortably completed a run close in length to the long run called for the first week.

I won’t be following this plan for Disney, but will start the 18-week, 55-mile plan once I’ve recovered (I’ll be giving myself three weeks) for the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in June (where I hope to BQ). The first week calls for 32 miles with a 12-mile long run; while I knew it would be an increase in mileage, I hadn’t realized how much.

I had been reading Runner Gal Leana‘s post on breaking 100 miles for the month of November (way to go!), which prompted me to figure out how much I’ve run per month. I was shocked to see the results: even during my marathon training, not only did I never break 100, I only broke the 80-mile mark one month! My average monthly total has around the 75-mile mark. Part of it has to do with sickness and injury, but most of it has to do with laziness. While I’d be diligent about getting my long runs in, I was pretty lackadaisical about the midweek runs. Obviously I was still able to finish the marathon, but again, if I’m to run in 4 hours, 59 seconds, I’ve got to step it up.

At first I chose a very optimistic goal for the month of December: 150 miles. But considering my hip/hamstring issues, I should be more realistic (most training plans don’t recommend increasing your mileage by more than 10% each week). So I’ve revised my goal: the bare minimum is 100 miles, the “Way to Go Betsy!” target is 125 miles, and the “Wonky Body Mechanics Be Gone!” target is 150 miles.

I’m happy to say I’m off to a good start: 22 miles for the month! (Although I hope to not have to do a lot of it, I’m including treadmill running. With the nasty weather we’ve had over the past couple of days, I decided to do my 4-mile run this morning indoors). But I’ll be outside — rain or shine — for Nancy’s 8 on the 8th!

Published December 1st, 2007

One step forward, two steps back

Mean lookWhile I refuse to see it as an omen, there sure have been a few wrenches thrown into my Goofy Challenge training. I missed a couple weeks in September due to a nasty cold, then my right hip rebelled against my increased training (which included hill and speed play). Just when I’m back running long distances (thanks to doing my physical therapy exercises diligently) the holidays hit. ARGH!

Given I’m a personal chef, Thanksgiving week is always hectic for me. Not only do I have to prepare Thanksgiving dishes for my clients, I’m also responsible for my own. Because we were heading to Whistler for the holiday I roasted the turkey ahead of time and froze it (it works remarkably well, resulting in incredibly moist turkey!). I ran about 12 1/2 miles on the Sunday before, which meant I was too wiped to bake any pies on the weekend. So I was forced to bake a pie for my client during their cook date (it was a gift). Given I only bake pies once a year, I’m not that speedy. In addition, they live about 20 miles from me, and by the time I hit the road the traffic was horrid.

As I was winding my way through the jam I got a call from my Wednesday client: what was I planning on preparing for their Thanksgiving dinner besides the stuffing? Well, I hadn’t even planned on doing the stuffing! (The wife was out of town the week before and her husband said her family was going to take care of everything. Apparently he got it wrong). So while I had planned a quick cook date to allow us plenty of time to get to Whistler, I now was responsible for stuffing and mashed potatoes for 25. sigh.

But what the heck has this got to do with my training? Unfortunately it meant I had to curtail much of my workouts, especially my physical therapy. I got a 3 1/2 mile run in on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, then the 5-mile Whistler International Turkey Trot on Thursday (I still can’t believe you’ve never heard of it). But Friday and Saturday were a bust (okay, so I suppose I worked off a few calories WALKING down the friggin’ mountain on Friday).