It's been a long time since I felt like I've had a "normal" weekend with no big schoolwork obligations. I sent my advisor what I hope is my final draft of my degree project a week ago Saturday, so it feels like a great weight has been lifted (although I haven't heard back from him yet, so there could still be some rework to do).
Friday night a dozen or so coworkers and I rode out to Redhook Brewery in Woodinville, on the northeast side of Lake Washington. It's about 20 miles each way. We rode out and had a drink, and then some of the riders headed back while the rest of us (including some coworkers who had driven over) stayed for a second round and dinner. It started raining some time during dinner inspiring most of the remaining riders to take the "Enpei Express" (the huge circa-80's van driven by one of our coworkers) home. Two of us biked it, though, and had a very wet (and very dark last half) ride back to Seattle.
Saturday, Jeff and I had a tasty brunch and then he went to work while I did a little homework, some errands, laundry, and slow weekend-style cooking. I made pulled pork with a eastern Carolina-style vinegar sauce and cole slaw. I also made these, which were easy and addictively delicious. I didn't make the filling in the recipe; we chose to fill them with vanilla ice cream instead.
Yesterday, I woke up early and headed down to Olympia (~70 miles south) to run a half marathon. A friend of mine was looking for motivation to get back into running shape, so I said that I'd run this race with her. I was a little worried about the run. I've only done one 10+ mile training run and my legs weren't exactly fresh after the ride Friday night. Usually my pre-race taper strategy involves doing nothing two days before the race and a light workout (3-4 slow miles) the day before a race, something I didn't follow this weekend. I didn't have any specific goals, just wanted to make sure that I had enough energy to last the entire 13.1 miles. The weather was drizzly and cool (mid-50's all day), which made for a shivery start, but perfect running conditions after the first mile. I tried to run slow and easy the first half, which turned out to be ~ 8:30 pace. I was then able to pick things up for the second half, running closer to 8:10 or so for a 1:48 finish (8:16 pace overall). Since this race was a marathon as well as a half, I was hoping to see the leaders run by at some point in the race. Since the marathon began 45 minutes before the half, I was pretty confident that I'd see someone near the end of my run. Sure enough, as I was passing the Capital building with about .2 miles to go I was passed by a motor cycle with flashing lights and the lead car quickly followed by a guy in a yellow shirt speeding down the road. He passed me just before some photographers snapped his picture, probably trying to get a shot of the winner passing the capitol. Unfortunately for them, I might have ruined the photo op as I tried to stay as close to him as I could for as long as possible out of excitement (oblivious to the possible picture spoilage).
The rest of the day was spent in rainy-day recovery mode. A little more homework and laundry and then I made Mario's gnocchi with tomato sauce and pesto. Jeff and I tried to get through a movie, but the early wake-up, long run, pasta, chianti, and more cookies and ice cream all contributed to an early bed time. Life after school is looking pretty good! Only a few weeks left...