Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Trail Note: 24 Weeks to Go

This week marks the first "official" week of marathon training. My current plan is to run the Royal Victoria Marathon on October 9th with a goal of completing under the Boston qualifying time of 3:40. I've said it; now I really need to do it. (By the way, if anyone knows anything about the Victoria Marathon, please let me know; I haven't registered yet, and I could still do Portland).

I have the mileage training plan. I'm using the book Advanced Marathoning, based off of a lot of recommendations I saw posted on a Runners' World bulletin board. This plan begins with 30 miles a week and ramps up to 55. I think I can count on one hand the number of weeks that I've run over 30 miles, and that would include the two weeks in which I ran marathons. So, that will be a challenge. I don't think that I'll get in all the mileage, but if I even come close, I'll be doing great.

The other thing, the harder thing for me, is watching my diet and losing some weight. 10 - 20 extra pounds really makes a difference if one is hauling it around for that many miles, so to save my knees and quicken my steps, I need to get serious about this. Any day now.

Anyway, I ran 9 miles on Sunday. I woke up feeling tired and moody with legs that did not feel fresh, despite the fact that I took two days off from running (one of those days I walked a lot, including up and down my hill twice). But my schedule said to run 9 miles, so run 9 miles I did. (This makes it sound as if I'm one of those people who always follows through on her idealistic self-improvement plans. Ha!) Once I got going it wasn't so bad. I deliberately tried to keep the pace slow, and I ran the Burke Gillman trail, rather than any number of hillier routes that I could have done. I timed 2 miles near the end of the run, and they were both at or just under an 8:40 pace, so I did make pretty good time. It's just about putting one foot in front of the other, I have to keep telling myself, and get those miles in.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ca'del Solo

A fun wine (great with our veggie lasagna) and website to match. Did I mention the screw top?
Full 'O Beans

Here's a very easy, very tasty, and very healthy recipe I learned from Jeff years and years ago:

Combine a jar of salsa with a chopped onion, a couple of chopped bell peppers (I like to use a red and a green), and a couple of drained cans of beans (I like using black and kidney) and cook for a while (an hour or so) until the veggies are soft and the flavors blend together. Add a bunch of chopped cilantro and serve like you would chili. We ate it last night with corn bread. Mmm...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

But what would Henry Higgens say?

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English

30% Dixie

25% Yankee

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

from Brigita
Trail Note: the unintentional BRick

While I've been taking a couple of classes at the UW for almost a month now, yesterday was the first time that I commuted via bike. The bus is quite convenient, but until I matriculate and get my cheap student bus pass, the $1.25 each way fare adds up pretty quickly. And when you add up walking to the stop, waiting for the bus, the actual ride, and the walk from the stop to class, it takes about half the time to bike (15 - 20 minutes vs. 30+, depending on timing).

It's been almost 6 years since I regularly commuted via bike. There's a large barrier to getting started: having the right bike configuration (water bottles, lights, saddle bags, chain that's not all rusted out, etc.), knowing what to wear (bike in clothes I'd wear to class? bring things to change?), figuring out the best route (I raced buses yesterday), and knowing the timing (note for future: allow enough time for the Freemont bridge to open and close). Once a routine is established, however, it's the best way to get to work / school. There are no worries about parking or traffic, no bus schedules to remember, and no long walks from car or bus: the bike rack is right outside my classroom. And it's fun!

Another great thing about the bike commute is the extra, almost accidental, workout. As I've probably mentioned many times, I live on a 13% grade hill, almost 400 ft up, so any bike ride home ends with a tough climb. After my ride yesterday, I went for a short run around the block. Normally an easy run, yesterday every little incline felt like a mountain, my calves burned, and my quads complained. It felt a little like the running portion of a triathlon. No longer will I ignore the impacts of the bike commute. From now on, inspired by a recent article in Runners' World, I'm counting those bike miles in my running plan.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

And in other news...

Jeff's site is back up! Photos of the trip coming soon.

Kristen successfully completed her MS 150 ride (180+ miles in 2 days), beating her fundraising goal and making amazing time.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Running on the Road

Whenever I travel, I make what I think to be realistic plans about the running I will do on my trip. They inevitably (in retrospect) turn out to be less-than-realistic.

For the Japan trip, I packed 2 sets of running clothes for the 8 day trip, figuring that if I did laundry halfway through I could run 4 times in clean clothes. I usually run 4 or 5 times a week, so 4 runs on a vacation was, I thought, a reasonable goal.

Umm, right.

We had a fairly tight schedule of morning trains and afternoon sightseeing / activities in our itinerary, and when there was some time to spare, I was often so footsore from walking and tired from humping my overpacked luggage, there wasn't the energy to run. I ended up running twice during the trip, pretty evenly spaced throughout the week.

There was a small part of me that was getting upset about the lack of miles, starting to worry how this would impact my overall training and running fitness. Then the pragmatist jumped in. While I wasn't running, I spent hours every day walking, exploring the country; my fitness was not an issue. We ate well (in Japan, after all); I was not gaining weight on the trip. And what kind of obsessive freak misses sightseeing, or loses much needed sleep, while on a 1 time trip across the world?

So, I ran twice and felt good about it. I went for a 5 miler today (okay, yesterday really; I'm still somewhere between Seattle time and Tokyo time) and felt strong. I'll try a longer, flatter run tomorrow (today?) and see how I do when less rested.

Next time I travel, I'll still pack the running shoes, but maybe only 1 pair of tights. Okay, maybe 2.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Back from Japan!

I think that Jeff and I each took over 100 photos on the trip, so we'll take a few days to organize and caption them, and then we'll post with notes. Above, I'm pictured outside Nijo castle in Kyoto.

In short, it was an amazing trip. We saw some beautiful and interesting things, ate delicious (and interesting) food, spent time in city and country, stayed in a temple, a ryokan, and an old private home, bathed in a cave, mastered (yeah, right) the train system, and saw cherry trees galore. Now, it's time to catch up on sleep, rest these tired feet, and eat some good ole' greasy American food.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Trail Note: Shorts!

The indoor/outdoor thermometer at the house said it was 66 degrees when I dressed for my run yesterday (I knew it was off, but wasn't sure by how much), which is well in my shorts range. To keep my knees warm, I wear tights if it's below 60 degrees out, even when that means I'm wearing a short sleeved shirt.

I felt pretty good on my run. I'm gradually ramping up the miles, and am starting to feel like a runner again. I'm remembering what it feels like to train for a marathon. There were a couple of days last week where I didn't feel like running, was tired or sore or whatever, and a few weeks ago I would have used that feeling to take a day off, but instead I got out on the trail and ran anyway. I had a few bad runs where I never shook off the tired feeling, but I've had a couple good ones where once I got going and loosened up, I felt fine and enjoyed the run. I was reminded about how the tough part of running a marathon isn't those 26.2 miles on race day, but rather those dozens of training runs where you don't feel like starting, or don't feel like you can finish, or you don't feel up to the long run, but you do it anyway, despite heat or cold or rain or sore muscules. And then you do it again the next day.

Friday, April 01, 2005

"You get what you pay for": round 2, deja vu, electric boogaloo, can't-learn-can-you?
Once again my 'bargain' webhost bit me in the rump... they 'transferred servers' last weekend and lost all of their non-business-tier client data in the process. Now I have to re-upload everything, restore my posts, and (possibly) change webhosts yet again. I'm guessing I won't get to this before our trip next Thursday, so I'll be posting here if anywhere...
How did you meet Jeff?

Kristen had this idea for a meme about how people met Jeff. She was originally referring to a particular Jeff who must know everyone in Singapore, but my first thought was about how I met my Jeff. Everyone, after all, probably has an interesting Jeff in his/her life, or at least an interesting meeting or encounter with one. So, I'd love to hear your story about how you met Jeff. Here's mine:

Short version: we were in the same SWOS (Surface Warfare Officer School) class in Newport, Rhode Island.

Long version: I showed up in Newport in September 1994, a couple months after I graduated from college, lonely and nervous about my first real Navy assignment. Within hours of my first day at work, I met 3 women with whom I became great friends over the next 6 months. Marta and Melanie were looking for a house to rent with two of Mel's classmates from Stanford. Emily was determined to live alone. I also lived alone during SWOS (coincidently enough in the same house where Brigita and her Mister rented an apartment many years later).

Emily and I went on to have some terrific adventures together, with road trips to Boston, Provincetown, and Salem, lots of vegetarian dinners, and we threw a most excellent party together: Days of Wine and Roses (guests were asked to bring roses or champagne) complete with love potion from the witch of Salem on the invites.

Oh, and of course Jeff was one of the Stanford guys who moved into the church that was converted into apartments a few blocks away from me in downtown Newport. That church was my second home. I was there at least once a week to do laundry and watch Melrose Place (I didn't have a washer and dryer or cable). We all went out every Friday night together, usually dancing at the GAP. There is still a song that I associate with each of the housemates from those GAP nights. And Jeff was always around. He was a nice guy, and different from most of my ensign classmates with an easel in his loft bedroom and the biggest computer screen for his Mac that I'd ever seen. He and his roommate Brad were both from Colorado and they'd do crazy stuff, like swim in the very cold waters off of Newport Island in November, or rappel down their apartment wall.

We all went off to our ships in March of 1995. I went to Bremerton (WA), Jeff to Long Beach, and Marta, Mel, and Emily went to San Diego. Jeff and I exchanged holiday cards, but that was about it. In the fall of 1995 I was invited to interview to become a nuke. I remembered that Jeff was a nuke, so when I got my orders to Nuclear Power School, I wrote and asked if he'd like to live together. We had a great time in Orlando with a fabulous group of friends, and found that we were very compatible as roommates. I was still a vegetarian at the time, and out of respect for that, Jeff didn't cook meat at the house. We both commuted to school by bike, and there were a couple of times I'd got to patch a flat on my bike and find that he'd already done it.

We, along with our "gang," moved to upstate New York for Prototype, and we lived in separate apartments in the same big house halfway between downtown Saratoga Springs and the Saratoga race track. We both got orders to ships in Bremerton, WA and lived within a mile of each other in Seattle and commuted to work by bike. With different deployment schedules, we didn't see each other too much during the time that we lived there, but still hung out, went on a few hikes, bike rides, and shows together.

Summer of 1999, we got out of the Navy, Jeff moved back to Colorado for grad school, and I eventually moved back to Virginia to work for Capital One. Spring of 2001, Jeff was finishing up grad school and talking with a mutual friend of ours in Boston about returning to Seattle and buying a house together. I'd been missing Seattle, and wasn't happy in Richmond. My job was good, but the company did have a site out in the Seattle area, and what did I have to lose by seeing if I could find a job out there? So, I managed to get transferred (very lucky timing in retrospect), and Jeff, Dennis and I bought a house together in Queen Anne in August 2001.

Jeff and I spent a lot of time together that fall and winter, alternating cooking duties, snowboarding every other weekend, going on bike rides and road trips together. Eventually it became uncomfortably clear that there was more going on than just friendship. So spring of 2002 we made the transition from friends to something more.

Long story, but long friendship.
You know you've been watching too much food channel when...

... you dream that you're on 30 minute meals. The 30 minutes were almost up, and I'd forgotten to start the artichokes. They take at least 30 minutes to steam alone; I was supposed to start them first!

(So of course tonight, I'll make Rachael's Open Faced "Calzones" with Spinach and Artichokes.)