Thursday, June 30, 2005

Life doesn't get much better than this.

Fishing, hiking, camping, beer, good company, hot springs, wine tasting, and, I hope, some running.

Back in a week or so. Best wishes to Jeff at Seafair!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Are you a runner? Wear sunscreen.

Graduates of the 2005 Run For Your Life Training Program: Wear Good Supportive Athletic Shoes (fade in background music.)

If I could offer you only one tip for future training; good, supportive shoes would be it. Studies have indicated that a good training shoe will reduce injuries. The rest of my advice has no basis other than my own collective experience. I'll share it now.

Don't worry about winning. Sometimes you will and sometimes you won't. Losing will give you motivation to try harder.

Don't worry about coming in last. Finishing an event is an accomplishment, in and of itself.

Keep your old race T-shirts. Be kind to your body. Don't be ashamed of it. It's a gift.

Stretch. Don't feel guilty if you miss a week or two of training. Your body will appreciate the break.

Full article here.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Best. Runner. Hack. Ever.

I am so glad Marshall stopped by. Not only is he eminently rational, but his blog pointed me towards The Google Maps Pedometer - a truly useful hack of Google maps that lets you calculate the distance of any route you run just by clicking waypoints on the map. I'll be using this every weekend - thanks, Marshall, for the heads up! Wish this was available for MapPoint ...

Great run

DISCLAIMER: Three times Blogger deleted this text after I tried to format it.

So today was my longest run yet - eight miles - and I'm still high and intolerably chirpy from the endorphin rush.

My runs have been getting longer, and the weather hotter, so I've been thinking about hydration.

A while ago
Jeff gave me some great advice about water bottles. Yesterday I took his advice and headed off to Road Runner Sports to pick up a Fuel Belt.

Initially I didn't think much of it - I thought it looked dorky and very occasionally my elbows would bump against it - but around mile 7 I took a cool drink, picked up my pace, and sent silent thanks to Jeff for the tip.

Besides, I'm dorky anyway.

Friday, June 24, 2005

What a long, strange trip it's been.

Naomi ran a marathon.

She's a great writer, so go over there and read her account of her race. Then read her follow-up.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


The official God FAQ.

A frivolous, foolish milestone, but it's my milestone, and I am incredibly happy about it.

For most of my life, I've been pretty thin. After I hit 30, though, it became hard work. But I managed to stay thin, pretty much, by being disciplined (in bursts) about what I ate and working out (in even more erratic bursts). Then, New Year's Eve 2003, I gave up smoking. Over the next six months, my weight increased by 30 pounds. I remember calculating my weight by Christmas if I continued to gain five pounds a month. I panicked, I started working out, and the weight gain stopped, and over the last couple months, since I started running seriously, it's been falling off. I don't have scales any more, so I don't know exactly how much I've lost, but I know this:

I can fit into my skinny jeans! I can fasten the zipper the entire way! I wouldn't call them ready for prime time yet - Guy Noir would note that you could read the days of the week on my knickers - but I can put on my skinny Sevens jeans.

Isn't running brilliant, Ted?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Flickr is the coolest photo application ever.

I've just been browsing the Flickr show of photos tagged "marathon". Some of these pictures are truly beautiful: an elite Kalenjin runner blurs by; adult-onset athletes hold their finisher medals to the camera.

72-year-old man runs his 101st marathon.

The Southside resident has run 45 marathons since 2000, including one stretch of 12 in 12 months. His most recent was June 5 at Casper, Wyo., where he was 52nd out of 140 finishers in the 26.2-mile race. He was first in the over-60 age group.

He apologized for the time: 4 hours, 25 minutes, 29 seconds. Wind was blowing at 30 mph, he explained.

His 100th marathon, he finished in 4:08:47.

Amazing. Full article here.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Hutterite woman runs half-marathon in ankle-length skirt

The Hutterites dress modestly, and live much like the Amish, in Manitoba.
Read the full article.

Sniper Grenade-wielding lunatic shot in Seattle courthouse

A man entered the Seattle Federal Courthouse building today, apparently carrying a grenade. My friend Chris was temporarily barricaded into his apartment opposite, while snipers entered his building and shot the attacker. He took these photos during the standoff.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

This week's accident report

No sprained or swollen hands this time, just the removal of unnecessary skin from both palms, right shoulder, right knee, and shin.

And why does a grown woman trip over so often on familiar sidewalks?

There was a woman walking towards me and, reader, I was distracted by her shiny gold purse.

Monday, June 13, 2005


The most fun running weekend ever.

So Saturday, off I go on my long run, and I have a blast, running to the end of the Burke-Gilman trail, exactly 3.5 miles from my house. My run, however, ended up being 7.68 miles (thank you, Garmin Forerunner, friend of the obsessive, enabler of the retentive) because I did a couple of unnecessary loops around the Fred Meyer parking lot, thinking I could find the trail again.

Nice parking lot, the Ballard Fred Meyer's, but after a couple of times round, it gets old.

Ah, but Sunday. After probably too many beers in the Eastlake Zoo on Saturday night, Sunday was the Furry 5K. When I signed up for it, I hadn't really thought about the furry part. Oh, but the dogs! Hundreds of them. Big dogs, small dogs, working dogs, toy dogs, dogs in strollers, dogs in backpacks, and every dog as happy as it's possible for a dog to be. It was like the Seattle dog convention. You can imagine them all unable to sleep the night before with the excitement. I even met an Irish wolfhound, the first I'd met since our own wolfhound, Tara, who used to howl at the moon when we lived on Achill Island. As an adult I found out that Tara ended up chasing and killing a sheep. That just wasn't tolerable in a place like Achill in the seventies, and Tara went to "live on a farm". We were surrounded by farms - of a sort - on Achill, but it never occurred to my sister and me to demand which farm, exactly, Tara had gone to live on.

The race itself was a blast. Most people had a dog with them, dragging them along ... "Water around the corner!" the volunteers shouted at the halfway mark. Thank god, I thought, and rounded the corner to see a paddling pool full of drinking dogs.

Nobody could be at the Furry 5K without smiling.

After I crossed the finish line - just over 30 minutes - Phil and I watched the other runners finish. Best of all were the girls - ranging in age from 8 to 11 - from Girls on the Run. It's an organization that helps girls develop confidence and self-respect. A 12-week program finishes with a 5K run. The Furry 5K was the graduation run for these girls, and to watch their as they crossed the finish line was inspiring and joyful. We shouted ourselves hoarse.

A runner and her running buddy, from last year's race.

If you've ever been an eleven-year-old girl, especially one who's not particularly confident or happy in her skin, you know how hard it can be. These girls were beautiful, every single one, and each of them finished their run laughing, knowing she'd earned her medal and the applause.

This was an awesome weekend.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Weak with greed and consumer envy. Weak!

Over the last couple years, I've made a real effort to live a little more simply. It hasn't been entirely successful, but there've been a lot of improvements: I no longer go in much for recreational shopping, and P (much more disciplined than me) and I managed to get rid of vast amounts of our possessions - I estimate 60-70% - since we moved in together. "I am what I do, I am not what I own," I tell myself when I see a pretty dress I know I'll wear twice. And it's beginning to feel a lot more true than it used to. (Extravagance - blowing your budget on a wonderful meal you'll remember forever - can be wonderful, but waste drives me demented.)

So you'd think I'd embrace the simplicity of running. A good pair of shoes, maybe some non-cotton socks, and off you go.


Oh, I covet. Sleek running clothes from
Sugoi. The funkier workout clothes of Athleta, a change from the sunburnt soccer moms of Title 9. I don't regret for a moment getting my Garmin Forerunner, and use it everyday, but the iPod never comes running with me any more and languishes in its sports strap in a drawer. Now that summer's here, and I'm running for longer than an hour at weekends, I need a water bottle to carry with me, and the choice out there has me paralyzed. What's the best one for me?

Oh but god, these have me transfixed:

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Oakley Thump. That's 128 or 256 MB (up to 8 hours) of music right in your ears, right in your sunglasses.

I'd kill everyone in this room for the Oakley Thump.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

This morning ...

... while running through Eastlake, with all the athletic grace of a young wildebeest, I tripped right onto my face. I put my hand out to break my fall, and forced all my fingers backwards. Now my hand is swollen and hard to close.

Only a klutz of the very highest order injures her upper limbs while running.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I've been doing it all wrong

I had something of a breakthrough during my run yesterday.

It's been two months - almost to the day - since I decided to run the marathon, and I've been pretty hard-assed about sticking to my training schedule. The runs get done. Increasingly, though, they seem to have been getting harder, and I was finding it more and more painful to get through each workout. It's not that I get out of breath - that's not a problem - it's more that my legs get heavier and heavier, until I'm humping across concrete. It hurts.

Yesterday I realized I was just trying to go to fast. I am about halfway through my initial 16-week program, with the goal of building up stamina and running about 30 miles a week. I've decided that the next 8 weeks are all about stamina, and speed is not even going to come into it. The following 16 weeks - the countdown to Vegas - well, let's see how things go then.

It was amazing. Once I'd made that decision, I slowed down to a 10.5 / 11.5 mile and really, really enjoyed my 7-mile run. Usually I go round the lake, but yesterday I ran to Fremont, and then continued on the Burke-Gilman trail along the canal. How have I lived in Seattle six years and not been here?

When I lived in London, I regularly cycled to work along the Regent's Canal, from Caledonian Road or Bethnal Green to Ladbroke Grove. I'd forgotten how much I love canal scenery. In London, the towpath took me through the zoo. Here there are no gazelles, but there are crows and seagulls battling it out on the water.

Canals were purely functional. They weren't designed to be beautiful. They just ended up that way.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Say it like it is.

The fact remains that some theories are better than others, and neither creationism nor intelligent design has come up with any compelling evidence to warrant their serious consideration.
A good opinion piece in today's Virginian-Pilot.

Seattle Race for the Cure - check

I'm full of the Portage Bay Cafe's awesome porridge and fruit, I've run a 5K, I've seen some inspiring people, and I'm feeling good.

The Race for the Cure was a lot of fun. I ran this with my friend Laura, who kicked my ass. There were thousands of people in this race - we ran the co-ed race, mainly because it started later in the morning than the women-only. Just as I expected, I loved the pre-race atmosphere, the buzz. But I didn't expect to find the experience so moving. Many runners ran with pink cards pinned to their shirt, celebrating breast cancer survivors, or honoring those lost to the disease.

Two small girls, the older no more than nine or ten, ran ahead of me with cards that read "Mom".

A woman ran with a card that listed her mother, an aunt, and two sisters.

Women in pink survivor hats cheerfully handed out t-shirts and water, grinning at panting runners, a testament to the resilience that is our species' most admirable characteristic.

Final race time: under 30 minutes, just about (29:49:46 by my watch).

That's good enough for me. Today, I feel fortunate just to be running.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I've got a race tomorrow morning ...

and all I want to do is go to the Tamarind Tree and drink three (or five) of their outrageously good kumquat crushes.

This should stop.

Man, I'd be pissed.

An extra mile was inadvertently added to the Chicago Marathon on Monday.

All 529 runners who finished Chicago's Lakeshore Marathon set a personal record for the distance.

The problem was the race--27.2 miles--was a full mile longer than a traditional marathon. But participants didn't know about the mistake until the event was over Monday.

Full article here.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Posting to Craig's List

Here's the post:

I'm training for the Vegas Marathon on Dec 4, and I'm looking for one or more running partners, so that we
can motivate each other and keep us on track. Running
Seattle instead? It's only a week before - we can cheer each other on.

I'm female, 38. This is my first marathon. I'm currently running about
25 miles a week with a 6.5 mile long run, but this is increasing steadily. I'm
using Bob Glover's training program, and am working up to beginning his 16-week
program sometime in July. I also have a bunch of road races scheduled throughout
the summer. In training I am running about a 10-minute mile, and a 9-minute mile
in 5Ks. This will (I hope) improve over the summer. My aim for the marathon is
probably about 4:30.

Ideally I like to run my weekday runs about 7 AM,
before work, and am flexible about the weekend long run, though I prefer it to
be on Saturday (so that if it doesn't work out, I can run Sunday instead).

I'm tracking my progress on my blog, here: I'd love to meet
running partners, so shoot me a mail if you have any questions.

It's worth a try! I think it would help with motivation. The last week or so, it's been really hard for me to get off my ass, and my runs seem longer and harder than they did the week before. But today's run went really well, leg twinge notwithstanding, so I'm optimistic.

Check out Somebody's triumphant weekend run, and if you haven't already, read Dianna's great Rundown. Derek Rose over at Runorama started the Carnival of the Runners, and though it's only been up a few weeks, it's become a regular source of running inspiration for me. Cheers, Derek!