Thursday, December 22, 2005

Trail Note: 12 K's of Christmas

I traveled to Kirkland on Sunday morning to run the 12 K's of Christmas run with friends. It was only because I'd made plans to carpool that I managed to wake up before 7 am on a cold and dark Sunday morning with a head cold after a late night out (not a crazy night out, but a nice evening with friends in far off Maple Valley that was late due to the long drive home).

As always, however, once awake and on the road, I was glad that I didn't just turn off the alarm and roll over. The day was dawning very cold (for Seattle - below freezing) but very clear, with amazing views of snowy mountains in every direction.

I've only been to Kirkland for races, really (one 10K, one triathlon, and a bike ride around Lake Washington), so while I couldn't tell you the best place for coffee or lunch, I knew what to expect when it came to the course terrain. Hills. 12K is ~ 7.4 miles, so I wasn't quite sure how to pace myself: faster than a half marathon pace, slower than a 10K pace, but making sure to reserve enough energy for the climbs. Since I was still a little sick, I decided not to push it and stick with a half marathon pace (which I know is 8 minutes/mile; I haven't run a recent 10K, so wouldn't even know what that pace is). As I got to the race start, the pace markers were marked with both minute per mile and minute per K paces; a big help, since I didn't always see mile markers. Fortunately, 8 minutes per mile is just about 5 minutes per K; very easy to remember.

Each kilometer was marked with a child's drawing that corresponds to the number in the Christmas carol (5 gold rings, 2 turtle doves, etc.). Every time I passed one, I sang the verse of the carol out loud, hoping that others would join in. Ha! This was the quietest race I've ever run: very little pre-race chatter, almost no cheers at the start of the run; very little cheering for the course leaders as they passed by on an early part of the course that was an out-and-back. So, there was certainly no one else singing. The nice thing about watching clicks rather than miles is that they come really fast. I ran a little faster than expected (I felt surprisingly good), so I knew that after I passed one marker, the next would be less than 5 minutes away, and you can push up any hill or run a little faster for only 5 minutes. I ended up finishing just over 58 minutes, with just under a 7:49 pace overall.

We didn't linger long at all at race end (other than to grab a couple cups of coffee) because it was so cold, and had a delicious brunch at Cafe Flora on Madison. Mmmm.... cheesy grits. All in all, a great morning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Seattle food and beer lovers unite!

I just discovered (yes, a whole week working 9-5 and I've been surfing just a little lot more than usual) that there are a lot of Seattle food blogs. One gem from the Accidental Hedonist:

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Benjamin Franklin

I love this town.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Catch Up

Last Wednesday, I finished and turned in my last final.
Thursday, I spent the day in Federal Way facilitating my youth leadership program.
Friday, I woke up with the beginnings of head cold.

My body really does know timing: I was all ready to relax and catch up on things like work hours, knitting, running, holiday shopping, wedding planning, going to the movies, not-for-class reading, etc., and the cold hit. Fortunately, it's not lasting too long, and it never got too bad.

Now, I'm trying to bank up hours at work to get a head start on next quarter and will try to wrap up that holiday shopping... The unread (by me; Jeff did pretty well on them) library books will get returned and maybe we'll catch one movie this week before heading out for Crazy Christmas Travel Week. (Crazy in a good way: Jeff gets to be caught up on the 3 months of wedding planning my mom has been doing in Virginia). We return, and classes start January 2nd! I really need a longer break..

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mark time: 12/14/05 12:20 pm PST

I have officially become tired of eating.
"Into the Mystic"

Max has linked a great thread asking what song or artist was playing when you were stopped by the cops. I'll never forget that Van Morrison was playing the first (out of only 2) time I got a speeding ticket. It was on a mix tape a friend had just given to me, and every time I hear that song or drive through Mecklenburg, VA, I think about that ticket.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Hold My Hand, Let's Trampoline

I was seriously thinking about leaving work (despite needing the hours) and going home out of pure boredom. Note: my job is not boring in the slightest; nor are my coworkers. This was truly a case of being a boring person today, and thus finding what I was doing boring.

Then I turned on the iPod (total random, rather than 2000+ or 2004+, which is what I usually do). If hearing Tori Amos followed by the Gin Blossoms and then the Pixies can't put a smile on your face, what can?

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Proposal

Jeff and I had been talking about going to Victoria for a couple of years now. We had both been before, but it had been a long time ago, and there had been articles in the local paper about great brewpubs and bike rides in Victoria (separate articles, but we thought it would be fun to combine them). We've been pretty vague about wanting to go, however, planning for a trip "one of these days." At some point last summer, however, Jeff suddenly became insistent that we go this year, and as our open weekends were limited, we scheduled a weekend trip in September. His urgency provoked my first suspicion that something might be up.

We biked to the Clipper in downtown Seattle early the morning of September 17, without much time to spare, so we were a little cranky as we found seats (not together) just before the boat left. It was cold and grey with very low visability for most of the journey, but as we pulled into Vicoria Harbor some blue sky was starting to appear through the clouds. The day was looking brighter. We biked the easy mile or so to our guesthouse, charmed by the room (availabe early), the service, and the chocolates. We stashed our stuff and went on our bike ride.

It was a beautiful afternoon and a lovely path winding through the woods and along a river. The leaves were just starting to change color and the Canadian maples were a lovely gold color contrasting with the deep green pine trees. We took a photo at the turnaround point. Not too long after we turned back for the return ride, I noticed that Jeff was no longer next to me on the trail. I looked back, and he yelled that he had a flat tire. I turned back and found him working on his bike next to a bench just off of the trail overlooking the river. I asked if there was anything that I could do to help him fix the flat, and he asked me to get a patch out of his patchkit in his saddlebag. I opened the patchkit and a shiny diamond looked up at me. I looked up, startled, thinking that I just saw something that I wasn't supposed to see (until later?). Jeff then came over, got down on one knee, and asked if I would be his wife. I started laughing (from surprise) and then crying and shouted yes at least once or twice. Fortunately, I had remembed to bring tissues along on the ride. Needless to say, the rest of the weekend was very special.

Update: I forgot to add that pictures of the weekend can be found here.
Weekend wrap-up

This weekend I:
- ate Ethiopian food, drank martini(s), and breathed second-hand cigar smoke to celebrate Jeff's brother's birthday
- celebrated the fact that Washington bars and restaurants will be smoke free next weekend
- ran 5K with 1000+ divas
- won a prize at a friend's baby shower (we're going to more and more of these of late)
- watched Navy win big in Snohomish with many USNA alums
- cleaned glass and beer out of my car
- laundered many loads of clothes (living with a BEAST means lots of laundry)
- ran 8 miles during the brief period that the thermometer read > 40 degrees
- ate risotto with pancetta and mushrooms
- briefly attempted my econ homework
- organized my holiday, wedding, and school to do lists

Every weekend I wonder why I don't get more school work done. Only one weekend left before the quarter is over!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

For such as smart girl, you sure can be pretty stupid sometimes...

About a month or so ago, I finally discovered the beauty of growlers. For the uninitiated, growlers are 64 ounce jugs that you can take to breweries and pay to have filled with draft beer: cheaper than normal bottles (sort of; definitely cheaper than pints out), environmentally responsible, and you get to have draft beer from great breweries at home. I had a meeting down south on Friday, so I took my two empty growlers along to have filled at Georgetown Brewing on the way back north. At first, all seemed great: a very quick trip off of I-5 and I had two growlers filled with Manny's for only $10 (that's less than $1/beer)! I put them in my trunk and headed back into town. A few minutes after I got going, I started getting a little nervous. Apparently one or both of the growlers had tipped over and was rolling around the back, getting foamy or even worse, starting to leak! There was no good stopping place, so I just drove as carefully as possible. It was the last traffic light before I stopped the car that the sounds became more ominous: a big clanking sound, followed by no more rolling around sounds, and was that beer I smelled? Sure enough, when I parked and popped the trunk, I was greated with a very damp and smelly trunk. I found one growler intact (but halfway filled with foam) and the rest of my trunk filled with 64+ ounces of beer and broken glass. Two days, lots of hosing, scrubbing, and airing, and I think it's all cleaned up. (The beer in the surviving growler was pretty flat by the way.) So, not such a great deal after all. This time.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's snowing!

I would be a little more excited if I didn't have to bike home from school at 9 pm tonight...