Sunday, November 26, 2006

Trail Note: The Seattle Half Marathon

I ran the Seattle Half Marathon this morning with several thousand other crazies. I woke up today (early early after a very bad night of sleep) to a cold and dark mix of rain and snow. How fortunate that race day fell on one of the coldest days we've had this year (it's certainly the coldest wet day). I biked the mile or two down to the race start (braked is a better description for what I did, as it's all downhill and I was worried about slick roads) and by the time I arrived my hands were numb. I met up with some friends in the Seattle Center, though, and by the time the race started I'd warmed back up.

It doesn't seem like the race is set up to handle the large crowds. After a last minute port-o-let stop, I had to wait several minutes after the race started to even get out to the course. The roads were extremely crowded for at least the first 4 miles (I decided not to dodge around people to save energy and reduce the chances of slipping) and at one point the whole field was slowed to a crawl as we entered a narrow highway onramp. I think the runners were catching up to the walkers at that point. Water stations appeared without warning and the tables were very short, meaning I had to stop and wait for water rather than being able to run along until a free cup was available.

But the volunteers were cheerful, the crowds motivating, and the runners in good spirits as we slogged through the rain and the hills. After running the first half much slower than planned, I picked up speed around the 6 mile point and felt really good up the hills I'd been fearing. This was one of my slower races, but today really felt more like I was fighting the course and the weather rather than the clock. And the coffee and Mexican food with friends afterwards warmed up any remaining chill, making it a good run.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

While the People are Away...

I came home from class tonight to find a dark house with the distinct sound of men talking: very scary. I wasn't too alarmed, however, as something similar had happened when I went downstairs first thing Sunday morning and heard a conversation that seemed to come from the living room. Both times I found the audio to the television set on. Sunday morning it was Tyler Florence cooking; tonight it was a sports show. Seems the cats have figured out how to get sound, but not video with the remote control.

I guess they miss us when we're not around (or not conscious).

Monday, November 20, 2006

Weekend Report - Birthday Edition

Saturday was my birthday, so I took the day off from school work and tried to spend the day as if I wasn't a grad student with looming degree project-related deadlines.

We went to see Borat, having heard that the audience reactions were part of the movie-going experience. Since there were about a half dozen people in the audience including ourselves, there wasn't much interaction, but someone did walk out about 15 minutes into the film. I'd also heard a lot of the highlights, so wasn't surprised by much. It was still very funny and thought-provoking, however.

I then got my hair cut at a place my brother-in-law discovered last year when he was staying with us. It's an Aveda cosmetology school and the students provide extremely inexpensive services. There's a certain risk, I suppose, to getting a haircut by a student, but they've all been very professional and are very well supported. The only down side is it takes about twice as long as a normal cut would take, but considering you pay less than half a normal price, I'm okay with that.

For dinner we checked out the Union Square Grill for very tasty and extremely large steaks. Near the end of the meal a large group of very loud and excited husky fans, about the age of our parents, entered. They'd obviously been watching UW win the Apple Cup, and were pretty wound up. It was fun seeing their excitement. Since I moved to Seattle in 1995 just after it was making headlines for grunge and some software company, and most of the people I know here are transplants, I tend to forget that there are a lot of Seattle natives who have been die-hard husky fans for more years that I've been alive.

Instead of getting dessert at the restaurant, we decided to try a new dessert spot that we'd read about in the paper. Coco la ti da lived up to the hype and is a charming spot with absolutely delicious and beautiful desserts. Jeff had the restaurant namesake, a chocolate and coconut confection that was like an extremely fancy and amazing mounds candy bar. I had a lemon tart with lemon sorbet which was the perfect end to a rich meal.

Sunday I spent the day trying to work on my degree project, but really just playing a massive amount of jigsaw sudoku online. Not very productive.

Now it's back to real life and the work week, but with sunshine!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's Official

My cat has mastered the Jedi Mind Trick.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Trail Notes: New York, New York

Lance Armstrong finished his first marathon today in just under 3 hours. Apparently it hurt a little bit. While he ran 20% faster than my fastest race, reading his comments about the pain he went through and how he felt during the race makes me feel like we have that experience in common. It sort of humanizes a man who seemed beyond human in his athletic capacity.

The article also notes other celebrities who ran today; I couldn't resist looking up Bobby Flay (a respectable 4:10) and Tom Cavanagh (a speedy 3:29).

With this race Dean Karnazes (3:00) finished his 50 marathon in 50 days. He says he's going to keep going...

As I read these accounts of peoples' experiences, it reminds me why I'm not done with marathons and such events. There is such an amazing feeling of accomplishment, not just in finishing the race, but for the entire training cycle. The hardest part isn't that 26.2 on race day; it's the 5 days a week, every week, that you get out on the trail. It's about spending every Sunday morning for a 6-month period running, rather than sleeping in and lazing around with the newspaper. The race finish is the payoff and worth every drop of sweat and ache and pain that happened along the way.

Next up for me: the Seattle Half Marathon. Then, Jeff and I are considering doing a half ironman tri next summer. I'm also flirting with the idea of running the Marine Corps Marathon next fall. We'll see how things go...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pumpkin Seeds

At first so tasty: salty, crunchy, nutty, ...

Chew chew chew chew.... chew chew chew chew....

There are still shells in my mouth

Chew chew chew chew.....

Still shells

Chew... chew...