I hate you hill! I’ve hated you for ten years and today I’m making you my BITCH!

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My plan to make my triumphant return to the Seattle Marathon, ten years later didn’t happen.

Seattle was my first full marathon. I ran it to celebrate turning 40 as well as the five year anniversary of learning how to walk again after the accident that fractured my spine and pelvis.

Little did I know when I signed up that it was a bad first marathon; the combination of almost the entire course being joint pounding concrete (versus asphalt which believe it or not is much easier on the body) the hills, the worst of which come in the 2nd have of the race when glycogen stores are depleted, legs are wobbly and lactic acid is built up and foul weather (snow, ice, rain, freezing rain, sleet, hail, frigid wind whipped waves crashing over the I-90 floating bridge) make this one of the most difficult marathons in the country (even the Kenyans don’t generally run it)

Since that first painful marathon, I have done two other fulls, and have returned to the Seattle to do the half many times over the last ten years (it’s a hard half, but lovely and fun) but have avoided doing it as a full for the sake of avoiding injury.

Despite that, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate turning 50, not having cancer and taking huge risks to rebuild my life back to the way I wanted it than returning to the “scene of the crime” ten years later to run the full again (the pain/memory does fade eventually)

A combination of injury taking me off training and not being able to take time off work to prep and rest made it impossible for me to consider it without risking serious injury, so I decided to bag it. I might have tried to waddle an easier course like Portland or Victoria, but not this course. (DNS = Did Not Start = Did Nothing Stupid)

Then my friend Lynne who was also off training for various reasons decided to go ahead and do the half marathon as a walk/run without pushing. I told her I’d do it with her. Then my friend Julie who was getting ready to sell her registration because she hadn’t been training, decided to join us for a fun day of acting silly and hanging out with our running friends.

This was perhaps the best weather I’ve had for a Seattle Marathon (full or half) in the ten years I’ve been doing these. No snow, ice, freezing rain, hail, sleet or icy crashing waves. Yes, it was cold, but quite bearable.

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very Unlike in 2006 when Knut and I stood in the snow, shivering in black trashbags at the start…


Since it was going to be more walking than running, Julie and I decided to go in costume. Seriously, there are just not enough good opportunities for grown women to wear tutus and tiaras, so we create our own.

In our colorful costumes, including a pink wig for Julie and my green/black “green fairy” wig, we hit the streets of downtown Seattle for some no stress, no injury fun.

This is the first race where I had absolutely no worries about time. I didn’t care, I was just there to see friends and have fun. I’m lucky I was with folks who wanted/need to walk part of it, as I would have pushed myself too hard had I been alone (that’s how I ended up injured in the first place)

When we saw the traffic control folks holding the sign that said “SLOW” we knew it was the perfect photo op for us so we stopped.

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Kevin put his bike in his truck and drove us down the hill from Julie’s house to drop us off at the start line. He was going to go for a nice long ride, but decided to hang with us on the parts of the course he could get away with riding on and take photos for us.

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Here’s a shot of me getting a shot of Kevin getting a shot of us…

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When we were on the express lanes of I-90, the marathon runners caught up to us. Julie was like a cheerleader on speed yelling and cheering them on as they went past.

I had been lamenting about not bringing a fleece vest and instead having a really uncomfortable, non breathable jacket, when there it was… sitting on the Jersey barrier along the interstate express lanes, a nice windblock fleece vest, in a color that matched my outfit no less (runners often bring old or thrift store sweatshirts/jackets/vests to start out in and then ditch when they get warmed up. Julie picked it up and said, “Do you want it?” I asked her what size it was, certain that it would be an extra large (I can’t stand wearing stuff that flops around when I’m running or biking) and lo and behold, it was an X-Small L.L. Bean windblock vest, and a perfect fit. SCORE!

By the time we got down to the lake and up to Leschi Beach we couldn’t feel our fingers (and my tushie was freezing as well) so we stopped off at Starbucks (how typical Seattle was this move eh?) We had lots of fun chatting up the cyclists that were in there, getting caffeinated and warming up. This whole not running for time thing was pretty fun.

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It was beautiful down on mist shrouded Lake Washington, very reminiscent of the way to Avalon. As a lone kayaked paddled by through the mists, I wonder what he was thinking when he saw two tutu and tiara clad women running past. “We are the fairies of the lake!” I shouted. At least no one tired to hand him a sword 😉

All lovely runs along the lake must end as we approached my (and pretty much everyone else’s) “huckleberry” frikking Galer St.

For those not from here this area was carved by glaciers and volcanoes; there is no flat ground and many of the hills are crazy steep.

Galer is a brutal, vomit worthy hill that comes at the worst possible point in the course for physical performance/recovery. I have always hated that hill which turns more runners into walkers than not. (note, I’ve never walked it, but have slowed way down and felt like crap)

Julie had already been running the downhills, which my injured hip and hamstring were not going to tolerate, so I decided that the best way to stay together was to run the uphills, starting with this, my nemesis. The hill I hate more than just about any hill anywhere else (yes, even worse than biking up the 25th St hill in Tacoma)

So there I was, in my tutu and tiara, yelling, “I hate you hill! I’ve hated you for ten years and today I’m making you my BITCH!”

Off I went, full speed ahead, no break in stride, no giving into the angry quads, burning lungs (frigid air and fireplace smoke don’t help) up that hill passing people right and left to the sound of cheers from bystanders until I was to the top where I turned around defiantly and soaked it all in. Yes, I’d made Galer my bitch (whilst dressed like a fairy princess).

Lynne said as the crowd at the bottom was watching me attack this thing, one woman turned to her and said, “Wow, she was really angry.” Lynne had fun with that one for the rest of the day.

The arboretum was another opportunity to stretch out my legs and get some actual running in. My favorite part of this course is running across the top of Interlaken Drive

Is this not a gorgeous marathon course?

as if the road its self wasn’t stunning, check out the view…

Fall colours in Interlaken Park.

As we came down the other side, downtown came into view (for those who are not local, the Space Needle is at the Seattle Center where the race ends, so the goal is to head towards it)

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At the last water stop before the drop downtown, I got a nice surprise hug from my Tacoma Runners friend Doug who was working the water stop.

an amazing thing happened as we headed back down the other side… the SUN came out (seriously folks, this is BIG news up here in November)

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At mile 25 for the full marathon (around mile 12 for the half) we had to stop for the obligatory “God Save The Queen” shot… for those who aren’t aware of this tradition and that the original marathon wasn’t 26.2 miles, you can click here for the real story of how modern marathon distance came to be and why we yell “God Save The Queen” at mile 25

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We had a warm, sunny finish at Memorial Stadium (which I am so glad has not been torn down yet, the marathon finish will never be the same once it is)

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Just after this photo was taken by Kevin, we had to sprint the rest of the way across the field to hit the actual finish line. We may not have been running this for time, but by golly, you make a show with a big sprint to the finish for the crowds. It was a bit like being in a parade as everyone loved the costumes so Julie and I were doing our prom queen waves for the crowds.

Then, I saw her…

About 100 yards before the finish, Lynne decided to open up the throttle, and was gone like a shot. “OH HELL NO!” I yelled and sprinted after her as hard as I could, catching her just as we crossed the final timing mat together. I’m sure that was a hilarious sight in the tutu. I can’t wait to see those photos.

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We all got our shiny things and I got the best thing I ever spent money on, a sports recovery massage. Then we headed back up to Queen Anne and enjoyed some well deserved pizza and beer.

~L



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Dawg Dash

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On Sunday, I ran my last race in the 45-49 age group and Carmel raced her first 10K where she didn’t do a run walk combo, she ran the whole way!

They had a “pack run” (a mini dawg dash) here in Tacoma, but they didn’t offer a 10K option, so we left Tacoma at 0′ Dark Ugly to get up there to find parking (always a “joy” in the U District) and pick up our packets. There’s nothing worse than rushing at the last minute so we got there early and relaxed at a local coffee shop (heat and indoor plumbing are big wins on race morning)

Just for fun, we decided to take our photo before we got all sweaty and gross…

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*note for those who are not local, “Dawgs” are the nickname for the University of Washington Huskies; this race is part of UW’s homecoming celebration.

The race started on Memorial Way on the upper campus and the post dash bash was in Red Square. UW does have a truly beautiful campus.

It was super cold at the start (41 degrees) so it was a challenge to stay warm.

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I started dancing around to the music and found myself with a dancer partner. He had some hot moves.

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It was a super slow start due to the sheer volume of runners on the typically narrow Seattle streets. Since I was still recovering from a 15 mile long run, had been pushing super hard, had not had a rest day in a week and needed to run ten more miles that day for a total of 16, I decided to take it easy. (not like I had a choice at that point) but it sure would have been nice to break an hour for the first time since all the mom dying, house buying, medical and surgery stuff took me “out of the running” over three years ago.

At one point on the course I saw a woman who appeared to be about ten years older than me and thought to myself, “Look at her go! I’ll be back here doing this again when I’m turning 60.” She was tall and fit, had a long silver pony tail and was dressed just like me down to the running shoes. I was tempted to ask her how old she was, but didn’t know how that would be received, so I didn’t.

We ran up through Ravenna Park, on the Burke Gilman Trail and then headed back to campus to the the circuitous loop that comprised the 5K race.

When we got to the fountain the UW Alumni band was playing Louie Louie (*the unofficial state song)

at about 5 ½ miles (when the course was pretty much all incline) I was torn, I wanted to pick up the pace and come in under an hour because I was so close.

Alas, my right hip and hamstring (three of the four pelvic fractures I sustained in the accident were on the right side) began to complain about the pounding they’d taken all week with no rest and my heart rate spiked as well (a result over training and being stupid and having caffeine that morning) so I had to back down.

I managed a weak sprint at the finish and came in at 1:01:10 which is five minutes faster than my Iron Girl time (and this was a harder course) so I’ll take it.

I tried to do a slow easy ten miles to make it my long run when I got home, but after less than a mile of pathetic hobbling, it was apparent that my hip and hamstring would not allow it and that I would badly injure myself if I tried to push.

Yesterday was a forced recovery day.

I’m riding my bike to work and bellydancing tonight, so today won’t be total rest, but my hamstring (which is quite a bit better) is still cranky and needs another day off of running. I can’t afford an injury this close to the Seattle Marathon, so I’m going to behave myself.

I also don’t want to be limping around pathetically on my birthday run with the Tacoma Runners on Thursday night.

Next 10K, I’m breaking that hour mark and walking away without limping (because I’ll quit being a moron and over training and will take some rest days)

~L



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Iron Girl (and the Green Lake Takeover of the Men’s Bathroom)

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This morning Carmel and I headed up to Green Lake bright and early to do the Seattle Iron Girl Race.

We got up there early enough to get parking within two blocks of the event, picked up our goodie bags and went back to the car to stay warm (it was butt cold out there which was a very rapid weather change from yesterday’s summer heat)

We found Linda easily (she was only a block from the car when she called) but we never managed to find Caroline.

Here we are getting ready to head back over to the race start.

ready to run Iron Girl

When we got back, we discovered that the port-a-potty situation was beyond dire. The website claimed to have “plenty of port-a-potties… Uh, No you didn’t.

Seriously people… Women, many of us over 40, many more nervous and all of us swilling coffee like Pacific Northwesterners NEED adequate bathroom facilities at these race starts.

I can guarantee you that hundreds of women were still in line needing to use the bathroom long after the race started.

NO BEUNO!

We headed over to the park bathrooms and found an almost equally scary line.

One gal wondered out loud what the line looked like over on the men’s side.

“Let’s go find out!” I said and lead the charge over to the other side. (this wasn’t my “first rodeo” in that regard); it was that or risk a ticket for public urination.

Some poor kid was cleaning the bathrooms and couldn’t let us in while he still had a bunch of water on the floor needing to be squeegeed.. I explained to him that we were desperate and then pointed out the growing line of highly agitated women with angry bladders. Not wanting to see a riot, nor be crushed by a stampeding herd, He hustled.

We let the two men who needed to use it go in first, explaining the need for them to hurry (I can neither confirm nor deny that I stood IN the doorway and muttered loud enough to be heard, “What is he doing in there? taking an epic dump?”) Once the now frightened men exited the bathroom the hordes of women descended.

My apologies if you area male who needed to use the bathroom a bit before 8:00 AM.

And that ladies and gentlemen is the story of the Green Lake Men’s Bathroom Takeover of 2012.

We got to the start line with about five minutes to spare and started out in the 11:00 min mile pace area which was silly because people in Seattle don’t read the pace signs or self sort and we still got stuck behind a bunch of walkers. I have GOT to start farther forward in these events.

There were over 2,200 of us and it took us over eight minutes to get to the start line after the gun went off (thank goodness for chip timing) There was quite the bottleneck getting out onto Greenlake Boulevard so it took a while to get to where we could actually run.

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I get twitchy having to run packed tight like sardines so I do a lot of zigging, zagging and jumping around to get some clear space in which to run. I pulled out an average 10 minute mile pace for the first 1.3 miles (which means a lot of it was way faster than that to make up for the walk/shuffle start, and was way too fast for me to sustain over 6.2 miles right now, so I backed off to an 11 min mile pace.

We ran around the lake (with varying exits off and entrances back on the trail) twice for those of us who were doing the 10K.

Just before the three mile mark, Linda flew past me. She was on fire and set for an excellent 5K finish time (it was her first race in 20 years and she ROCKED it)

I was trying to keep my pace reasonable as I am under trained, had another loop to make, needed to finish uninjured as I have to pull out a ten mile long run tomorrow and then taper for the You Girl half Marathon.

I did kick it up to a ten minute mile place for the last mile and kicked it up even faster for the last .2 miles into the finish. My Garmin said that at some point I was running at a 5:15 mile pace.

I averaged 74% of my max heart rate (144 beats per minute) throughout the race, with a short peak at 104% (193 beats per minute) when I was kicking into overdrive at the end)

Carmel, who ran the entire 5K this time was there to cheer me on at the finish line.

I crossed the finish line at 1:06 which really isn’t terrible considering I’ve had so little time to train due to recovering from surgeries.

I came in at 340 overall, out of 546 women running the 10K so I was solidly in the middle of the pack. I was 40th in my age group of 62 (not as impressive but a big pack of us ran in to the finish all at the same time so I was still in with a good grouping)

The medals were big and shiny.

1:06 - not horrible

Here we are at the finish showing off our shiny things.

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I was a super naughty monkey at the expo.

Normally I don’t buy expo stuff, but there was this awesome tech fabric Athleta dress that I fell in love with, which I can actually run or bike in if I want to. I like having dresses to put on after triathlons and this one will fill the bill, although honestly, I think I’ll also wear it for evenings out. It’s super comfortable and I love the color.

I’ve been working my butt off (literally) and decided that I had earned a treat.

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I came home and took a 2+ hour nap. I’ll also be going to bed early and NOT setting an alarm.

I need to get a very slow and easy ten miles in tomorrow so that I can call that a long run and taper for the half marathon next weekend.

~L



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Back in the Running

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The final (and most physically painful) stage of recovering from the hemorrhaging and surgeries is getting back to running after having been off serious training over two years.

I’ve been seeing all these great Tacoma Runners events, but I didn’t want to be limping around behind everyone.

I joined a friend’s “accountability” group on Facebook and set up another one for some girlfriends and I who wanted to train for a 5K. Yeah, pretty weird for a woman who has run several full marathons and olympic distance triathlons to need to “work up to” a 5K, but that’s how it is.

I’ve been starting out slowly so as not to end up fighting piriformus or illio-tibial band syndrome (both injures I’m prone to, when I over train, over race or increase my mileage too quickly due to my previously fractured spine and pelvis)

I started out running 2-3 miles at a shot, 2-3 days a week. I’ve slowly increased that to four with Friday being the day that I will do my “long” run (which at this stage has only been 3.5 miles. I’m also going to try to get off the local concrete and on to trails more often.

My right hip, piriformus and the top of my hamstring has been giving me a heck of a time and I’ve been in a lot of pain.

I’ve always known that I can never live a sedentary life, for to so so would allow the scar tissue and arthritis to set in. This is obviously what has happened and it’s been a challenge to know when the running is breaking things loose or creating an injury, and when I should suck it up or rest.

The first race I chose to run is a very low key, super fun event called the “Great Kilted Run”. Back in the day, it was in Ballard, but now it’s moved to Magnuson Park in Seattle

I was a bit concerned about my hip as it was bugging me just walking to the packet pickup area, which is when I decided that although my shoes did not have too many miles on them, they were two years old and had lost their mojo and needed to be retired… Luckily there was no concrete on the course and there was quite a bit of grass and gravel.

My friend Carmel signed up with me, and this was a really big deal because it was her first ever 5K.

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Here we are engaging in a wee bit of kilt flipping…

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The start was hilarious… Rather than the narrow streets of Seattle start that so many of us are used to, it was a wide start which headed up Kite Hill.

I’m sure we were quite the sight to anyone who didn’t know what was going on. As all of us crazy kilted folks raced up the hill the guy next to me raised his fist in the air and yelled “FREEDOM!!!” and a bunch of us started to cheer and roar. It was an amusing Braveheart Moment. It appears that we were too far down the hill for the video camera to catch it, but it was pretty awesome and a sight to see as is evidenced by the following video.

Of course, we were out running a race with an uphill start and another climb up the side of the same hill so that we could run down to the finish wearing wool kilts on a day that broke the standing 35 year record for heat in the Seattle area, so it was not easy, and we were all feeling the strain. Hey, any race you can walk away from right?

I started out WAY too fast. My Garmin tells me that at some point I was running a 7:22 minute mile pace. I was going to pass out from heat, pain and being out of shape if I kept that up. That hill at the start got me all hyped up; I’m sure that was part of the problem as was trying to jockey for position on narrow parts of the trail. I needed to get out of the dust that was getting kicked up on the gravel portion as quickly as possible.

By the one mile mark, I slowed way down.

By the two mile mark, I realized that I had not slowed down enough and that the heat was making me queasy.

On the out and back portion of the race near the end, I was sure that 3.1 miles would never come. At this point I was starting to get dizzy, nauseated and to see spots.

Finally, we made that last climb up the side of Kite Hill for the downhill finish.

As I descended the hill, I actually got a chill and broke out in goosebumps which was not a good sign considering how hot it was. The last time I had one of these, “Wow, this is the race where I’m finally going to vomit at the finish line” moments was at the Bolder Boulder back in 2003 when a registration screw up caused me to have to start in a much later wave (without my friend who I went out there to run the race with) when the temps and humidity were both in the 90’s and I was so frustrated and mad that I ran my 10K PR. I was able to keep my breakfast down and stay upright in both instances, so it’s all good.

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They had coconut water at the finish line, which is GREAT for hydration and is less likely to trigger vomiting than ice cold water, so I slowly downed one of those while I waited for Carmel to finish.

It didn’t matter how crappy I felt, it was her first time and I needed to be there yelling my head off and cheering for her (with the obligatory high five as well) at the finish. (you always remember your first 😉

She came in with a great first 5K time.

My time was 33:54 which was a bit disappointing, but considering I had only logged in 38 training miles, was in a lot of pain and the heat was killer, is not all that bad.

This actually put me in 13th place in my division (out of 45) 47th out of 153 women and comfortably above the average finish time of 35:39, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad about it.

We met up with Caroline and wandered over to the beer garden for some cold, tasty Scottish Ale and enjoyed music, comraderie, and flybys from the SeaFair jets.

The heat must have taken quite a toll on me because when I noticed that I hadn’t turned my heart rate monitor off, I saw that almost 40 minutes after the event, my heart rate was still up to 122 bpm which indicated some pretty significant stress on my system.

I spent the rest of the day drinking water and coconut water (well, after two farm visits on my way home) stretching out my angry hip and hamstring, and resting up.

Luckily, the combination of softer surfaces kept the hip aggravation to a minimum and I felt better by the time I woke up this morning.

I felt pretty good on today’s run (I found some newer shoes and wore them), so it’s all good.

Next stop…

IronGirl Seattle 10K followed by the You Go Girl Half Marathon in Tacoma.

~L



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STP 2011 – 204 miles of undertrained fun with 10,000+ of my best friends

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I spent the last weekend biking it 204 miles from Seattle WA to Portland OR with 10,000+ of my best friends riding the STP (Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic)

I brought along Roady the duck who I found in a ditch on the Flying Wheels Century last month. I decided to bring a duck call and Leo made one out of a squeaky toy that sounded more like duck farts than a duck call.

I already posted my ride ref report to the Cascade Bicycle Club message board, BikeTawk and the Ride Ref list, so this will be my personal report…

I’ll start out with the “short report” and then ramble 😉

short report

Was grossly under trained and had no business doing this ride…

Did it anyway because I missed last year due to broken foot/big toe and I was committed to be a ride referee…

The weather was perfect! A far cry from any of my previous STP experiences.

Humor goes a long way in gaining cooperation from riders as a ride ref…

Duck calls make people laugh…

As my friend Kevin said, this year should have been known as the Tour De Crash”…

Left sleeping bag at home, got very lucky and scored a real bed in Centrailia…

Mile 174 is my nemesis… this is where my mind and body break down…

Stopping to render mechanical/medical/traffic assistance, restarting and pedaling like heck to make up time over and over and over is way harder than just riding it…

Really enjoyed no escorted mob ride over the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon; much more relaxing to make the descent in the bike lane not surrounded by riders of questionable judgment/experience…

Loved the new route over the St John’s Bridge in Portland…

Did manage food/beer at finish before boarding bus (big improvement over last time)…

Lost the bike truck lotto despite the rush to get bike on the most fully loaded truck, had to drive back to Seattle on Monday to get my bike…

Recovery takes longer when you’re not trained for distance…

Things I did well

Ate real food and ate it often (seriously why eat stuff I don’t like and don’t normally eat when pushing myself?)…

Rested and loaded up on nutritionally dense/high protein food before the event…

Although I tried to avoid “energy/race” food, I did have a couple packs of honey stinger chews (tastier/easier to get down than Cliff Shots) for dire moments when I really needed some quick carbs…

Drank bottled or filtered water, not nasty tasting hose water provide at rest stops (seriously, pay the $1 for a bottle of water that doesn’t smell funny); makes it easier to get down in the later stages, alternated with NUUN for electrolytes (never Gatorade or the like)…

Rode/Paced to my comfort level not against a speedometer/clock/ride partner…

Sunscreen application well timed; no burn at all…

Things I need to improve on

Did I mention I was grossly under trained? Longest ride in the last two years, 65 miles. Longest ride this year, 1 30-miler, a couple of 20-something milers-next year, do the mileage it will hurt less in the long run…

Waiting until the night before to pack/gear up lead to panic, sleep deprivation and forgetting my sleeping bag-next year, suck it up and do it early (maybe take that Friday off)…

Did not sleep enough before or during the event; I need more sleep to stay healthy…

Waited way too long (50 miles) for first application of chamois butter-next year apply at first rest stop… (why no Leo, your groin is not supposed to burn when you put it on…)

Tape my wrists if/when they start to hurt (of course, proper training might prevent that)…

Add extra meal between Riverside stop in Longview WA and St Helen’s OR to prevent physical and mental breakdown at mile 174…

Drink even more water, alternating with NUUN of course…

Take more pictures…

Save the money to get a motel room in Portland for Sunday night; it’s no fun to have to rush for the long bus slog back to Seattle; I want to enjoy the finish line festival/beer garden with my friends after the ride…

The long, boring, gritty details

I was up bright and early (4:30 AM) to pick Lynn up in Renton, stop at Starbucks and head to the start line.

I got a fruit and cheese plate to eat while waiting in line to get into the UW parking lot, but didn’t have to wait, so I stuffed it in my jersey pocket and off we went (after fussing with gear, ride ref supply pickup and a lot wait for the portapotties)

We stopped briefly at Seward Park so I could make a phone call, because along Lake Washington I realized I’d not packed my sleeping bag which was going to make for a very cold night of camping. Normally, I’d bypass that stop as it wastes more time than anything else.

Leo started a bit later and caught up to us after the hill climb out of Seward.

The REI rest stop is always lots of fun and we always stay too long. This is where I “should” have applied my first does of chamois butt’r and where I did eat my breakfast (which should have been a 2nd breakfast)

There were many ride ref duties attended to between Kent and Sumner; everything from flat tires, to falls to multi bike accidents.

We stopped at McDonald’s for “first lunch” I don’t normally eat there, but a burger and fries helped power us up the hill. I’m pretty surprised that Leo didn’t hurl his milkshake on the side of the road.

At the Spanaway stop, I snarfed down a chicken wrap and a jamba juice (2nd lunch) This is also where we discovered that the 50 mile mark is too long to wait for the first application of chamois butt’r. Leo came out from behind his hidey place and said, “Is this supposed to burn your groin when you put it on?” Uh… “No Leo, and I didn’t need to know that.” Yeah, my nether regions weren’t happy either…

Next was negotiating the always dicey Highway 507; lots of accidents, thankfully, none involving us, despite the idiot woman between Roy and McKenna that jumped out into traffic in front of a big red truck then screamed and almost took me out. Had I not been in a Ride Ref uniform, I’d have said more to her than, “You need to look before you pull out in traffic, and you need to call out when passing” after she said, “I’m going to get killed out here”.

It took every ounce of self control I had not to react when she got snotty with me. Hey, cool! Break the law, endanger yourself and others, and then cop an attitude on the person you almost knocked down an embankment. No Bueno!

I was still twitching by the time we got to the McKenna rest stop where we refilled our water bottles. We rode another couple blocks and got ice cream.

The Yelm-Tenino Trail was a relief as it got us off the carnage filled highway. Since they got rid of some of the worst roots (there are still a couple doozies) and pulled those darn posts out; it’s a lot safer than it used to be.

This is where I finally had some room to safely get down on my aerobars and kick it up a notch. It felt good to get into a different position..

After a break in Tenino, we rode those last long miles into Centralia. Last time we rode this, I bonked here, this time it was Leo. He responded well to my honey stinger chews (which saved me the next day) and we made decent time through the rollers and into town.

This is also where I picked up the “stealth drafter”.

Seriously dude, if you’re going to ride that close to me, you should buy me a drink or at least introduce yourself. Better yet, say “On your wheel” so I know not to stop or swerve suddenly and have you take us both out. Even better… offer to take a pull rather than having me pull you all those miles without reciprocating. I tried to shake this guy by slowing down, speeding up and glaring at him, but he was not getting off my tail. I guess the ride ref jerseys say “Take a free pull” on the back. I could smell beer garden so I wasn’t going to pull over.

Leo, Lynn and I agreed to proceed straight to be beer garden when we pulled into Centralia and we did, even bypassing the creamsciles. We ran into Kimiko, Harry, Damian, Mongo, Brian, my friend Dan from Seattle who just felt like stalking me that day and a host of other biker types where we enjoyed music, sunshine, pizza (first dinner) and free flowing beer. This was very welcome after 100 miles of stopping, riding hard to make up time, stopping, over and over and over again…

Running out of beer has been an issue in the past, but not this year. There was plenty of pizza and beer. The beers started magically appearing without us even getting in line. It was most definitely the royal treatment. We liked it.

On the way in, Rocky (the house with the mister set up out front) recognized (seriously, I can be picked out of a crowd of well over 10,000?) and yelled at me. I went over to ask if I could pay him and Patsy to use their shower as I wasn’t interested in a cold trailer shower. As it turns out, they hadn’t advertised any rooms because it had been a crazy year of traveling etc… so they invited Leo and I to stay in their spare rooms. Real shower, fabulous dinner of elk lasagna, organic salad from the garden and garlic bread with friends I hadn’t seen in two years, and a real bed. This was made of awesome. (Lynn’s husband had brought blankets for me so I was covered either way)

The next morning I shoveled down a bowel of cereal (1st breakfast) and headed out to Chehalis for the Soroptomists breakfast in the park, while Leo pedaled off to figure out where his stuff was. I had a lovely 2nd breakfast of eggs, sausage, pancakes and orange juice and headed out a bit of ahead of Leo to get up that darn hill to Napavine and because I was freezing.

I encountered a guy with a bent rim and another with a broken crank on the way up, but they had folks coming for them.

We regrouped in Winlock and headed off to Vader for an espresso break. (espresso line in Winlock was too long, Soroptomists breakfast served [gasp] Folders with powdered creamer)

It was pretty funny to watch the (very nice) folks who run the store trying to help us through the lines more quickly by offering a 2nd line for just plain coffee and or ringing up store items. Nope, we were all staying in the espresso line.

After the guy made several offers, I piped up with, “They did tell you we all rode from Seattle right? We are latte sucking stereotypes ;)”

We had some fun at Castle Rock. I was in the portapotty and Leo walked up and blew his little squeaky toy duck fart call. I responded with my real duck call form inside the porta potty. Dead silence from the crowds outside, then peals of laughter.

The ride to Riverside was non-eventful. I had a turkey sandwich, some fig newtons and fruit for (1st) lunch and then walked over to the taco stand for a couple of asada tacos… (2nd lunch) then we headed off for the dreaded mob ride across the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon. I picked up another stealth drafter who was just someone who did not know better than to get too close and who crossed skewers with me, so I pulled over to let her go past.

But back to the bridge, they queue us up, then stop traffic and the fabulous Goldwing folks escort us over. This always makes me nervous as it’s a huge mob of people who are not used to riding in crowds and poorly secured water bottles and pumps fly off bikes on the downhill side when tires hit the expansion joints.

For some reason, we got lucky and they just waved a few of us over the bridge and we got to safely ride single file in the bike lane rather than wait for the road closure. MUCH BETTER. I also didn’t have to listen to Leo’s annual “We’re all gonna die” speech about how dangerous the mob bridge crossing is.

Highway 30 was highway 30 many many miles of long rolling hills, fast highway traffic, and unsafe passing. One set of women were riding two abreast taking up the entire very narrow bike lane on the most dangerous stretch causing riders who wanted to pass to hit a dangerous edge and go out into the single lane highway traffic. We asked them to please ride single file; they gave us a snotty look but complied (no duck call for you).

I always hit my mental and physical wall about mile 174 coming into Deer Island/St Helens Oregon and this year was no exception; it was even worse than normal because of not doing the distance, my wrists really hurt and my right knee was acting up.

We stopped at Burgerville in St Helens for chocolate milkshakes (fast calories and sugar that will stay down) and then began the last 30 mile slog up the rolling hills into Portland. My wrists were hurting, my butt was hurting and my knee was hurting. Leo could tell that I was in a bad way because I was super quiet; he made mention that he could tell I was in my own “personal hell” and let me just deal with it while being there for me. (I tease him a lot (well he is kind of a pain in the butt), but he is a good friend and a good ride partner)

He pulled up next to me (on the part of bike lane which was as wide as a lane and next two where the highway was two lanes) to tell me about something, when one of the gals we had talked to before rode past me and snarked about how we told her not to do that (uh yeah, on the dangerous part of the road where you were causing a problem…) I decided to just wish her a nice day. (once again, displaying remarkable restraint considering that at this point I was in what Penguins (my running group) like to call “the bite me zone”)

Just before the St John’s Bridge, I noticed yet another stealth drafter. I was about done with people I don’t know/trust riding inches off my back wheel, so I just pulled over. He pulled over with me; I took a drink of water, gave him “the look” and rode off without him on my tail.

Seriously 20-something dude…. you really need to be pulled by an out of shape woman who is nearly 50 years old?

The windy hill to get up to the St John’s bridge (a change from recent years’ routes into Portland) looked worse than it was, and in my opinion was a fabulous way into town with a stunning view of Mt Hood and the Columbia River (way better than the slog through the industrial zone). Of course the red lights when we got downtown were a pain, but I still think it was better…

By this time, my knee and wrists still hurt, but I could no longer feel my butt.

I was quite happy to cross the finish line. Kevin as there to greet us and take our photo (the duck too) I rushed to get my bike on the fullest truck (the full truck leaves first) so that it would be in Seattle when I got there, grabbed a Gyro and headed to the beer garden.

I got to visit with friends long enough to snarf down the food and one beer before it was time to get my luggage and get on the last bus. (next year, no rush, I’m staying the night in Portland)

Our bus driver went all road ragey in Seattle and almost caused a huge accident under the convention center on I-5 when he lost it and started to bully a little blue car (not once, but three times). Yes, I reported him to his company and Cascade; State Patrol wouldn’t take a report the next day.

My bike was not there (I lost the truck lotto and the other truck left first) so I had to go back up and bail flash of out “bike jail” the next day. At least I made an enjoyable trip out of it and took my friend Francine with me for lunch and a beer on the waterfront.

What a crazy thing to do (over and over again) I’m sore, tired and my cells are swimming in lactic acid.

I’m already planning next year.

~L

Mood: Tired



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How to be a Cascade Bicycle Club Ride Ref

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Rule number #1 for ride reffing for Cascade Bicycle Club events

You ARE the “dancing bear”

people respond to humor.

We “encourage” safe and courteous riding by EXAMPLE. Don’t get “into it” with anyone, it’s not worth it; call the police, rat them out to CBC, but don’t be an asshole

TAKE the horn offered to you in training (take two if you can get away with it).

HONK the horn

HONK the horn as often as possible.

Coordinate obnoxious horn honking with a ride partner.

Tell bad jokes (best if at the expense of a CBC volunteer you’re riding with.)

Sing bad songs.

Military cadence….

“LEFT…. LEFT… Passing on your LEFT….”

“When you Ride the STP….”

Filk showtunes

“Stopping and going and going and stopping…”

When someone displays safe and courteous and safe riding. HONK YOUR HORN!!! Celebrate it! Call them out and THANK them!

Tell bad jokes

Harass your CBC volunteer ride partners…

overheard on the 2008 STP while leaving the REI rest stop..

[Leo – wearing a ride ref jersey] Hey, see that star of life on her jersey? That means she’s a professional proctologist in real life.

[Lisa, wearing medical jersey] Better than being an amateur procotologist like you are Leo…

[Rim Shot]

[Lisa, totally gloating over the perfectly timed BURN] Thank you folks, we’ll be here all weekend.

Stop for every flat tire, blown chain, blister, splinter, road rash, person sitting on the corner staring at map completely clueless as the where they are.

Be one of the last riders into Portland because you have stopped for every person who needed it (and some who didn’t), either in pouring rain or scorching heat, have no time for beer, haul butt to get your bike on the last truck and hop on the last bus without showering.

Love every minute of it.

Chilly Hilly 2010 020

STP 2009 033

~L

Mood: Amused



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Swim Sistah Swim!!!

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Saturday, I was up at the buttcrack of dawn to get up to Genesee Park to watch the sun rise over Lake Washington.

And a lovely sunrise it was.

Swim Sisters!!!  Trek Womens Triatlhon 2010 003

Saturday was the 2nd annual TrekWomen triathlon which empowers women, encourages health & fitness and raises money to fight cancer.

In addition to being a Swim Angel for the Danskin Triathlon, I also volunteer as a Swim Sister for the Trek triathlon.

Our job is to support and encourage the women on the swim course who might be nervous.

One’s first triathlon swim can be very scary and intimidating.

Seriously though, it is scary the first time, especially for those new to swimming, new to events or new to viewing themselves as an athlete. We also have women who are cancer survivors and/or in active treatment.

A woman who is experiencing anxiety or is just unsure of her ability can request a swim sister to go around the course with them. We also go out behind each wave to make sure no one who didn’t think they needed one of us might change their minds once they’re out there a while.

I finally got to spend some time with my good friend Julie (we’ve had a difficult time connecting this year)

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We all squeezed into our wetsuits did the morning briefing thing and waited for the first waves to start.

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There was some fun music playing at the start line and I started doing a crazy dance with my noodles. Much like this awesome sister…

Swim Sisters!!!  Trek Womens Triatlhon 2010 004

Ardis grabbed me and a few other silly sisters and we headed up to the start line where there was a Zumba demonstration going on.

So there we were, a half dozen women in full wetsuits (some of us with halos, tiaras and silly hats on) waving swim noodles around doing a Zumba dance performance.

It was hilarious and I hope, made the women waiting to start a little less nervous.

For what it’s worth, I do not recommend wearing a full wetsuit for this type of activity. I couldn’t wait to get into the lake and let some nice cool water into my suit.

After a turn working the start line, Julie and I got to go out and swim behind the last wave.

I LOVE the last wave!

Just after I passed the first bouy, Sally Edwards swam up behind me as asked how I was doing. Yes, she is as nice, down to earth and caring as she comes across in public appearances.

My reply was, “Well now I’ve been passed by Sister Madonna and Sally Edwards on a triathlon course, so pretty good.”

We chatted for a bit and ended up spending the last third of the swim course with an awesome 12 year old girl, Mikayla who was doing the triathlon with her great aunt.

The water was cold as we haven’t had any sunny weather to warm it up and the poor thing’s teeth were chattering.

But she kept going and going and going…

I made sure her aunt knew to make sure she dressed warmly on the bike course (and that her mom needs to get her a wetsuit for next time) and out of earshot, to tell her what signs of hypothermia to look for just in case.

This little girl was AWESOME and she finished that swim, cold, exhausted and smiling; seriously, she was all determination, no complaints, no whining, what an inspiration!

Sally went back out for the last swimmer.

Sally is always the last swimmer, rider and runner in a triathlon.

No woman will ever be in last place in one of her races.

We created a tunnel on the exit ramp with our noodles and did some “voguing” through it while waiting for the last swimmer (the race photographers were loving us for this and our pre race zumba performance.)

As the last swimmer came in, we chanted the “official” call of TrekWomen“YOU GO GIRL FRIEND… YOU GO GIRL FRIEND…”

She came in, just ahead of Sally, tired and smiling, and off she went to finish the event that would change her life and make her a triathlete.

All the women were awesome.

But there is always one who becomes your hero.

This time around, it was Mikayla.

I checked the results page and she finished. She was,the youngest person in the race and was bordering on hypothermia in the swim. She even finished 11 minutes ahead of her aunt.

Once again, I am inspired by those who put on and participate in these events and I am left with a warm feeling in my heart after having been involved.

~L

Mood: Happy



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When (swim) Angels Squee…

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Welcome to “things that make me go Squee”.

After “cleaning out the pipes” yesterday by venting for WTF Wednesday, I’m ready to “squee with glee”.

In honor of Pop Fiend’s attempt at decreasing drama for at least one day a week on LiveJournal by promoting “Drama Free Thursday” (for those who aren’t aware, my blog is crossposted to LiveJournal, my self hosted WordPress blog, Blogspot, and Facebook), I offer up my own “special” (in a rode the short bus kind of way) contribution, “Things that Make Me go Squee!!!

* Things that make me go squee!” may has become a regular Thursday spectacle production because “Squee” rhymes with “Drama Free”, and I’m trying to do my part.

I think that almost everyone occasionally forgets to celebrate and share good things. I know I do.

So in the spirit of putting “good juju” out there, here are the current things that make me go “SQUEE!!!”

Last Sunday, I had the honor to once again be a Swim Angel for the Seattle Danskin Women’s Triathlon. This is a huge beginner triathlon and many women have never done an open water swim before. Many are cancer survivors, some in active treatment. One’s first open water triathlon swim can be quite intimidating.

I swam sweep on two waves and picked up swimmers that needed encouragement/help. The first one was having heart rate issues (too high, something I’m all too familiar with), but I got her to relax, kept her near the boats and she finished just fine.

The second woman was difficult to keep up with when she was doing a crawl stroke, but she’d get winded and briefly need the noodle to rest. It was a super choppy day out there, with some good sized waves at times, so I’d see her come up and gasp for air and hand her the end of the noodle. She also finished strong.

After my 2nd wave, there were no more waves starting, so I swam back out from the finish, helped some women in (often they don’t need the help or encouragement until the end of the swim course when they get tired) go back out and do it again. I lost count of how many times I did this.

One woman said that when she becomes a stronger swimmer and triathlete, that she’d like to come back and be a swim angel some day. I hope she does.

I missed Karen and Jenn, but did find Alisa and Robin doing just great.

As I headed back out for the last time, swimming into the sun, I could see the silhouettes of the kayaks, lifegards on surfboards and halos and swim noodles of the other angels coming in with the final swimmers. It was then that “Ride of the Valkyries” started running through my head. I laughed so hard. Then got unceremonially hit by a wave and sucked in a bunch of lake water. That will bring one back to reality quite quickly.

The last woman in the last wave (who was not the last finisher BTW, I checked) was the one I remember the most. She was not built like an athlete. She was someone who was out there changing her life and working very VERY hard. These are the women who (other then the survivors) are the most inspirational.

With all the kaykers, lifeguard and swim angels with her, she kicked her way to the finish, laughing, smiling and knowing that she was doing something extraordinary.

We angels were chanting “Jennifer… Jennifer… Jennifer…”

Soon, the lifeguards were beating out a cadence on their surfboards as were the kayakers on their boats.

The dumming and the chanting were contagious. Jennifer laughed, we all laughed. It was awesome.

The swim angels lining the exit ramp, noodles in the air joined the chant, as did all the spectators and race staff on the shore.

“JENNIFER… JENNIFER… JENNIFER!!!”

I’m telling you, the first place finisher at the Boston Marathon does not get this kind of reception.

I think more than one of us cried tears of joy when she hit the swim finish accomplishing what months ago she probably never dreamed she could.

This race always makes me cry.

You can see me in this picture, I’m the one with the halo and the sparkly pink princess sunglasses

Here’s the first pink swim wave, which consists of cancer survivors taking to the water.

Here’s what swim angels look like on dry ground

How can you tell that you shop at Home Depot too much? (other than having the folks in the garden department ask, “See you tomorrow?” when you leave.

I got a $50 Home Depot gift card in the mail yesterday as a thank you… It was a great surprise.

I am so happy that my wonderful chickens, MaryAnn, Ginger and Lovey provide me with healthy, safe and fresh eggs

House and Garden July 28 2010 060

I don’t have to worry about the massive egg recall (380 MILLION eggs as of this morning) due to salmonella contamination.

Perhaps this will make more people consider backyard chickens, farmers markets or at least supporting small local farms instead of factory farms where this sort of thing happens due to crowded, unhealthy and inhumane treatment of these birds.

And let me tell you… with chickens and a compost pile, NOTHING goes to waste from the kitchen or garden.

Speaking of urban farming, my garden continues to grow like mad.

garden update 08-18-2010 007

My first Juliet tomato is finally turning red.

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My corn is getting tassels

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And I have cucumbers…

garden update 08-18-2010 005

I also have squash, green beans and apples that are almost ready to pick.

A few more updated garden photos are available by clicking here

I received my pasta extruder (a manual crank, no fancy electric for me) and I made my first batch of yummy home made pasta. It’s easy (the hard part is letting the dough sit for an hour) and WAY better than the dried crap you get at the store.

making pasta 005

My blog post about said pasta making is available by clicking here

I went on an AWESOME hike up to Spray Park at Mount Rainier National Park on Friday.

Spray Park MRNP August 2010 160

More photos are available by clicking here

I went on an AWESOME hike up to Snow Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness on Monday

Snow Lake August 2010 091

More photos are available by clicking here

And here are little smilies for all the squees left unsqueed



And of course, the greatest squee of all…

I am blessed to have really GREAT friends in my life

And you can see a lot of them here… (if I don’t have a picture of you here, send me one)

Insert “squee” of your choice here

I wish everyone a happy and drama free Thursday, as well as lots of things to go “Squee” over.

SKA-WEEEEEEEEE

Now, I’ve got to get back to work, I typed this up last night and posted on my break, (which is now over).

~L

Mood: Gotta Squee



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Runnin’ of the Green (part two)

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After a crazy day celebrating the green on Saturday, I joined 15,224 of my best friends to run the St Patrick’s Day Dash in Seattle.

This is not “just” a run; it’s an event; it’s a giant street party; it’s the thing to do in Seattle.

KOMO News footage (did you see me? I’m the one wearing the green 😉

There’s a Seattle PI photo gallery here

It was a BEAUTIFL morning in Seattle. No rain, no snow (like last year) still cold, but sunny.

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 007

I headed over to Gene’s house bright and early to carpool up with he and Michael. (earlier than usual since we just turned our clocks forward for daylight savings time)

We were joking that Michael looked like an “Irish Pimp” in that hat. I just looked crazy in my blinky pin, glasses, mylar streamered deely boppers, bling and snoopy shamrock shorts (more on the shorts later)

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 001

We got up there in plenty of time to get parking, check gear and meet up with friends. I very briefly saw Tori in traffic (I recognized her runtoryrun.com logo on their car)

We found Kathy, Jon and Maggie in short order.

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 010

Oh, those shorts? The best part is the back. Normally, I make fun of girls who draw attention to their (often really large) butts with lettering on the back.

I could NOT resist the shorts that said “Feelin’ Lucky” BWAAHAAAHAAA

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 008

Of course, since it’s all about the butt shot, Kathy decided to be a flasher.

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 009

We split up after that, Gene and Michael got closer to the front of the green (first and fastest timed) wave and I got to the back of that wave, wanting to take it easy after running the Tacoma St Patty’s Day run the day before. Kathy got towards the front of the (next) red wave. Jon and Maggie cheered us on.

The starting line was the usual chaos, but we got off and running on time.

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 015

Sadly, the route no longer goes through the Battery Street tunnel and up on our ill fated viaduct. It runs up hwy 99/Aurora Ave. (it was nice to not need shuttle buses and to end at the Seattle Center which is a much better place for a party than the parking lot at the stadium.)

stpaddysdaydashseattle2010

There were all sorts of crazy costumes (which is one of the main points of the race)

Here was a pot of gold

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 018

and then there were the “underwear boys”

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a big favorite was the “green men” (yes, they ran the entire 4 miles like this)

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 026

Once again, I didn’t look at time (I only wore the Garmin to track the new course) and just tried not to inure myself. It wasn’t very smart to not run for a month and a half and then do two back to back events.

After I finished, I wandered back to the fountain to meet Gene, Kathy, Michael, Jon and Maggie.

We were treated to a concert and mini parade.

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 021

I also made some new friends 😉

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After a bit of celebrating, we headed up to the Blue Star Cafe in Wallingford for breakfast. Bill came up to meet us. Kathy was flashing guys in the bar.

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 030

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 032

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We walked around the corner to Archie McPhees to check out the rather extensive devil ducky collection.

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 038

We dug through the “tub of duckies”, someone would pull one out, I’d say “I already have that one”, Gene would say, “I KNOW” and we’d all laugh. I did add a pink devil ducky, zebra devil ducky, yin/yang devil ducky and a dead ducky to my collection.

After that, I hopped in Bill’s car and we headed up to Magnolia for the bike expo.

I saw lots of friends from Cascade, including Claire who I don’t get to see very often.

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 041

and spent some time at the Tacoma Wheelmen booth visiting with Calra, Peggy and Christie

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 040

After that, we headed down to the University district for beer at the RAM

St Paddy's Day Celebration in Seattle 03-14-10 042

When I got home, I discovered just how bad running on that “hot spot” on my arch was.

I had a nasty NASTY blood blister on my right arch.

This is what it looks like this morning; it’s actually already looking better. I plan on leaving it intact as long as possible so that it remains sterile and heals.

blister update 3-15-10 003

I headed over to South Sound Running to show them my blisters and get some ideas one where to go from there.

As it turns out, the arch support in the Asics 2150s is more aggressive than the support in the Brooks Adrenaline GTS that I’ve been running in for the last nine years. The fact that wearing thicker socks and using bodyglide for the 2nd event didn’t help indicates that this structural difference is significant enough that it’s probably not the shoe for me. (and they black ones were so pretty)

I’m back in the Adrenalines. I’d rather have to buy shoes more often than have them tear up my feet.

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THIS is why I always recommend that those starting a running or walking program go to a REAL running store (Footlocker, Big-5,etc… are NOT real running stores) owned and staffed by runners to have their gait analyzed and the proper shoes presented for try ons and test runs.

Today is a rest day (for the most part, I have things to do)

~L

Mood: Tired



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Sister Clubs Bike Ride

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Today I went on a bike ride with several groups from the Bicycle Alliance (comprised of the Tacoma Wheelmen, Cyclists of Greater Seattle, BIKES of Snohomish County, West Sound Bike Club and the Capital City Bike Club)

Carla from the Wheelmen organized one of the rides as a social tour of Tacoma and Gene took a faster group out to do the Steilacoom Spin.

We started and ended our ride at the HUB.

It was raining lightly (and it was wind and butt cold) when I left my apartment (apparently it poured last night, but we were all to busy yakking, laughing and drinking wine to notice) I figured that I might as well get used to riding in crappy weather.

I had breakfast and a latte at home, but went ahead and had a biscuit and a cup of decaf so that I could sit with the breakfast crowd and socialize a bit.

We headed out through the streets of Tacoma and hit the Scott Pierson Trail

Tacoma Wheelmen Bike Alliance Sister Clubs Ride 001

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We of course, took a ride across the Narrows Bridge.

I warned the riders from other areas to be careful of the cross winds on the bridge. It’s common to fly down the ramp to the bridge and get hit by a sudden, unexpected nasty cross wind which can cause and accident.

I mean come on, wind (and bad engineering) is what took down the 1st Narrows bridge, our own ill fated, infamous Galloping Gertie.

Here’s an old newsreel complete with fabulous narration. (although the Tacoma Narrows is not a “river”; it is an extremely treacherous passage in the Puget Sound)

We got onto the bridge in the cold wind without incident, but one of our visitors was blown down about mid span on the bridge. Luckily, he was slowing down to stop, so it was more like an unable to unclip at a stoplight fall than a high speed crash.

He was fine. Here’s the view from mid span on the bridge.

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Tacoma Wheelmen Bike Alliance Sister Clubs Ride 007

We headed back to Tacoma for more touring and a view of our waterfront.

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After a flat tire…

Tacoma Wheelmen Bike Alliance Sister Clubs Ride 009

We headed back to the HUB for appropriate food and beverages

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Tacoma Wheelmen Bike Alliance Sister Clubs Ride 019

I came home, fixed my toilet (some handyman service on twitter offered me a $25 coupon to fix my toilet… Uh, scuse me… I can fix my own darn toilet, it’s not rocket science. I tweeted that I was going to go to Home Depot not that I was some wussy girl that couldn’t fix her own toilet. Dorks)

I ran a couple of errands and came home to finish cleaning up after last night’s party.

Tomorrow, I’m getting up early to meet Janet for coffee before boarding the Vashon Island Ferry for a ride that’s probably hillier than I should be attempting as out of shape and off training as I am right now.

I don’t care, it’s going to be a beautiful day tomorrow (albeit a bit cold) and I want to go out there with my friend.

I’ll post pictures of our adventure tomorrow.

~L



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