Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Christmas Run

I think this was one of my best runs ever. It wasn't particularly fast. I didn't worry about my heart rate. I didn't even stick to my training plan, but it was absolutely wonderful. I never want to forget it and what it meant to me. I got to spend time with all three of my best best friends - two in the flesh and one in spirit.

I spent Christmas weekend with my dear, dear college friend j00j in Evanston, north of Chicago, and her family. It was absolutely wonderful: we baked cookies, watched Doctor Who, went for walks, attended late night services at the church where her family has been going for generations, and generally enjoyed just having time together. I took a big chunk of smoked salmon from Pike's Place Market and it was absolutely delicious. And there was duck! QUACKQUACKQUACK. Yes, I did walk around quacking. I think it's a sign when every single member of the family bought everyone else dark chocolate for their stockings. It was the perfect Christmas.

But, of course, marathon training does not take time off for Christmas and I had a couple of short runs and a long run to get in. I set off after brunch & present-opening on Christmas under beautiful, sunny blue skies for six miles. I know it was Chicago, but the weather was perfect: it was warm enough to wear long sleeves and a vest and it was completely dry. I set off from my friend's house toward Lake Michigan, which was almost exactly a mile away. I loved that my route took me along the water front, where there were loads of families out on walks and kids trying out new bikes. There are beautiful views of the downtown skyline. And, I was listening to the new Christmas Wittertainment podcast, which was hilarious.

My first stop was supposed to be 3 miles away, but with some meandering (read: getting lost), I got there in 4. My other best college friend Jules is a very, very devout Baha'i and her grandmother is in the hospital, dealing with high fevers that have stopped her from having a procedure that she really, really needs. She's had a lot of ups and downs over the last few years and it's been very hard on Jules' entire family, especially her mom. I knew it would mean a lot to her if stopped by the Baha'i House of Worship (the only one in the United States) and read a prayer for her. I've always been an agnostic, but one who I believe understands how important religion is in the lives of others, particularly Jules'.

The House of Worship is an absolutely beautiful building (see above), covered in amazing, intricate carvings. I've been several times and it always takes my breath away. I left my Garmin with the volunteer at the door, because I knew it would beep when it lost satellite reception and took a seat. I read the prayer that Jules had texted to me several times, trying to concentrate on her grandmother and on the things that I wanted for every member of her family. It made me cry, but eventually it was just so peaceful. Earlham might have given my a Bachelor's degree, but I also learned how to center myself and open my heart. I was so glad to be there and to do what I could do to help Jules and her family go through a very hard time. (Even better, j00j & I skyped with Jules later that evening!)

My last stop was another mile away at the childhood home of the husband of my third (although, first) best friend, Duchie. It was so awesome to essentially give her a big, sweaty drive-by Christmas hug! We live on opposite coasts (FOR THE MOMENT), but it seems like we're never very far apart, really. It was pure luck that her husband grew up so close to j00j and it made me so happy that I could see her on Christmas.

After all the detours, my 6 mile scheduled run turned into 6.2 for the Home for the Holidays virtual 10k into 7 miles because I didn't feel like walking back so far.

This was a run where I got to spend time with the three most important women in my life, who are so different from each other, but who always inspire me (and who are so patient and supportive, even though I'm sure all three of them are ready to muzzle me when I start talking about the marathon and training). That was the best Christmas gift I could have gotten. (Second best: the Christmas running mix j00j made me with a techno remix of C is for Cookie!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Marathon Training Week 2

Monday: 3 miles easy

Tuesday: Strength training
This kicked my rear AGAIN, although I didn't realize it full-force until Thursday. My legs, my legs! Had to miss the local bar association's Christmas party to go to training, which was a bit sad, but I knew marathon training was going to involve sacrifice, right? And there's always next year.

Wednesday: 5 miles easy
Did an outside run. w00t! Had to knock these out in order to meet up with a friend to go to the local running store's Christmas party. So, 25% discount and four pairs of shoes later.... What?!? I'm trying to figure out which shoes are going to get me through marathon training and they have free returns!

Thursday: 3 miles easy

Friday: Strength training
This was a bit of a cop out. I couldn't muster the energy to go to the gym, even though my legs felt less tired after sleeping in my compression tights (all hail the compression tights). So, instead, I used my 5lb. weights and my own body weight and did what I could here at home. I still worked up a sweat, but definitely didn't do everything that I'd done on Tuesday. Still, I did something and I think that's what counts.

Saturday: Rest day/trip to Mt. Rainier
This was a change from the "official" schedule and one that I'm so grateful that I made. Saturday was stunningly beautiful and I think it was 100% the right decision to move my long run to Sunday and take today to go to Mt. Rainier with my roommate (see previous post). We didn't do enough walking to really call it cross-training, so I'd say my legs got a good rest in!

Sunday: 9 mile long run
More fun on the Burke-Gilman trail for me...trying not to die laughing over Mark Kermode's review of the new Chipmunk's movie on my Wittertainment podcast. I thought my peanut butter Gu was really tasty and my new Camelbak worked pretty well. I still need to do some adjustments, I think, because my left shoulder got pretty sore and needed to be stretched out and I got a bit of chafing under my left arm. Met my roommate for tea/light lunch afterwards, which was lovely.

Mount Rainier!

The summit view from Paradise (that's where one of the big visitor's centers is and an inn, although it was closed for the season):

My mentor at work has been very concerned that I don't get out enough around the region and has taken to telling me about new places to visit every time we talk. As a result, I talked my roommate into a trip to Mt. Rainier. We were so lucky to have absolutely beautiful weather - it was sunny and warm and just absolutely stunning. There was a bit of light hiking, an amazing waterfall, and I tried out my yaktrax for the first time (they're coils you slip on the bottom of your shoes for traction). And us Indiana girls spent the whole day going OMG, MOUNTAIN!!! LOOK THERE'S A MOUNTAIN!!! It was great!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week One

Week One is in the books and the first row of stars is on my marathon plan at work (blue for easy runs, yellow for strength days, red for pace runs, green for long). The week went really well. I thought Wednesday's 5 miles at marathon pace were pretty boring on the treadmill, but I was very proud of getting through them and nailing the pace right where I wanted it to be. It seems that treadmill running is just a bit less boring when you have hills to think about going up and down. Just a bit.

I felt famous during that run, too, because my "Rate Your Run" entry to Marathon Talk got read out in Episode 98, which I happened to be listening to at the time. I had a feeling they wouldn't be able to resist a race report complete with a mashed potato munch-off.

So, I've seen lots of other bloggers do a weekly recap this way, so that's what I'm going to try and do once a week during my training. Hopefully I'll have something else to say once in awhile, but it's a good minimum goal:

Monday: 3 miles easy
These were a little fast, because I was running purely on feel, but that's ok.

Tuesday: Trainer day
I really like my trainer, even though I still feel kind of guilty about having one. She's coached cross-country and run a marathon in the past, which I definitely like. I feel like her workouts are a good balance between complete-in-the-moment butt kickings and still being too sore the next day (because my hardest training runs, at marathon pace, will be every other Wednesday). Plus, she's from Indiana!

Wednesday: 5 miles at marathon pace
My ongoing concern here is that I don't actually know what my marathon pace is. I figure that I'm going to train at the paces the Macmillan pace calculator suggests for a 4:30 marathon (which I think is kind of a long shot) and then just enjoy myself on the day itself. I don't want to miss the experience of running London because I'm so focused on a time goal. If my half marathon experience is anything to go by, the first one is about the experience and then you worry about the times later (that is, of course, if I ever do this to myself again). Oh & the run was good, too.

Thursday: 3 miles easy
There's not much to say. It was cold and dark and I ran.

Friday: Strength
On Fridays, I repeat the workout that I did with the trainer on Tuesday. But, it never feels quite as hard as it does when someone's pushing me, even if I do the same number of reps. Or, in theory, I could be getting stronger. Got up early to do this one before making green bean casserole for the office Xmas party (yes, on my day off). Caught the end of the Harlequins game against Toulouse (*sad face*) and went to Ikea with roommate before picking roommate's sister up at the airport for our weekend of shopping, food and awesome.

Saturday: 8 miles long
Not a terrible day for a run. Ran from home, down through Volunteer Park, over University Bridge, on the Burke-Gilman train for a bit, then heading back. I timed the turnaround completely I didn't have to do ALL of the hills on the way back (so, depends on your definition of "wrong") before stopping to pry a bagel and mocha out of some hipster hands. When asked for opinions on whether I should get a hot chocolate or a mocha (it's hot chocolate milk, right?) I was given the "WTF, it's MORNING, drink COFFEE, you FREAK" look. I wanted to comment that "DUDE, I just ran 8 miles. I THINK I'm awake now," but I didn't. The run was nice & disc one of Justice Steven's book kept me company for the first hour. Nerd heaven.

The rest of the day involved haircuts, MOAR sushi, shopping, pizza, Bridesmaids, and Toddlers & Tiaras. It was glorious.

Sunday: Rest day.
I rested the heck out of this day with dim sum (omnomnomnom), visiting the Humane Society (we're thinking about fostering!), Theo chocolates, Sunday markets, a trip to the REI mothership (cannot WAIT to try out my new camelbak on a run), and yummy dinner at home. I was sad that roommate's sister had to go home today, because it was an awesome weekend.

Next week
Monday: 3 miles easy (done)
Tuesday: Trainer
Wednesday: 5 miles easy
Thursday: 3 miles easy
Friday: Strength
Saturday: 9 miles long
Sunday: REST

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Tomorrow, tomorrow...

Marathon. Training. Starts. Tomorrow!

I still think I'm in good shape. I did my 7 mile long run yesterday at world-record slow pace, but I did it. And it wouldn't have been QUITE so slow, if I hadn't chosen some really challenging hills to tackle. Was it my best run? No. Was it the worst? No. Would have I have done anything differently? Probably yes - I would have run today when it was beautiful and sunny, instead of yesterday when it was grey and horrible and I probably could have found a better pre-run fuel than chocolate covered Trader Joe's brand knock-off oreos.

I'm excited. I cannot wait to start sticking stars on my training plan to show which runs I've finished and I'm really excited that I have a running buddy who's training for Boston while I'm training for London. Right now, that start line feels really far away (albeit, not as far away as the finish line feels), but I'm ready for the challenge. I've just got to stick to my plan and run smart for the next five months. And I think I can do that.

In other news, I had a lovely day that started with My Week With Marilyn, which was totally fluffy, but very fun. I think Michelle Williams will be getting award nominations, that I didn't love Kenneth Branagh's performance (although I LOVE Kenneth Branagh, but this felt a little too much like an impression), Dominic Cooper is just WEIRD with an American accent, Judy Dench is awesome (as ever...and Quaker!), Simon Russell Beale's part was way too small (couldn't HE have been Marilyn?), and the actor playing Colin was kind of adorable. Did I mention that my local multiplex only charges $6 for screenings before noon? (Yes, I would have chosen not to go to the multiplex, but there were very limited options for this particular film and this was the one that was accessible by bus.)

Later, I wandered down to Pike's Place, via Westlake, doing Christmas shopping. I had several thoughts: 1) Seattle amuses me in so many ways and 2) thank goodness my employer decided to send me to a city that is as serious about it's clam chowder as I have always been. I capped the day off with a bus to Green Lake to return a pair of shoes and pick up a new pair. Didn't love the Brooks Pure Connect - felt too narrow and overdesigned, in general, but am hoping for better results with the Brooks Green Silence, which should be showing up at my door on Tuesday (my size was out of stock, so I get free rush shipping instead).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

143 days to go

Marathon training, per my slightly insane 5-month training schedule, officially starts on Monday, but I'm really following the same schedule this week, with the exception of a shorter long run. I know 5 months is crazy, but, to be honest, I just couldn't wait any longer to have a plan (A PLAN) to follow. I'm such a better runner when I have a goal to work towards and am not nearly as good at just forcing myself to get out the door and go for a run. Plus, the holidays can be a hard time to be really mindful of getting in the exercise, so it's better for me if I have a schedule that I'm going to try my hardest to stick to. And I'm trying to get back to a slightly lower weight, so exercise is a KEY component.

It's all very exciting: I have the schedule all taped up in my cube at work, ready to go. I even bought star stickers today to put on it when I finish a run. So, basically, as I told facebook, it's like potty training, but I get a medal at the end, instead of a Barbie wedding dress (yes, that is what I requested and received as my official potty training reward...).

So far I've logged a whopping 8 miles this week. OMG, call the Olympics. I know, it isn't that much, but I've got two more runs planned and that should take me up to 17-18. Again, it doesn't sound like that much, but in my running career I honestly consider four runs and more than 15 miles to be my weekly goal. I rarely meet it, so I feel like things are off to a good start.

Today's run was a 5 miler that I was planning to run by heart rate, up until the point that my Garmin told me it had a low battery when I turned it on. Oops. So, that ended up being a five miler run on nothing but how I felt and measured by my iPod, which is also probably a good thing. Also, w00t for having Nike+ installed as a Garmin backup system. I'm still having some issues with tightness in my right Achilles when I run, but it did loosen up after about 3 miles. I think I need to do more stretching back there and continue to concentrate on not tensing up when I run. I also ran in my Minimus for the first time in awhile and they actually felt great - even better than the Hattoris on Monday. I still think that the Minimus are amazing shoes AS LONG AS there are no rocks in your path! I know they're supposed to be trail shoes, but they HURT.

I think the running downtown after work thing is working out really, really well. I love that I don't give myself the option to go home. In fact, the quickest way to get home is to get my butt out the door, finish my run, get my things, THEN catch the bus. It only becomes slightly awkward when other people work late and I feel like someone's going to catch me coming out of the bathroom in workout clothes. The only downside is that I run along the waterfront and it's FLATFLATFLAT. I'm missing the hills and the stamina that I'd built up doing hill repeats in my neighborhood, but I still think it's too dark to think about doing those until the days get longer. Or on the treadmill. *poutyface*

Finally, there was a really beautiful sunset today. The clouds cleared just enough so we could see it and the Olympics. Stunning. My office has the most spectacular view and I'm grateful for it every single day. When the sun goes down, I'm rewarded with the handiwork of whomever decided to decorate the top of the Space Needle to look like a Christmas tree. Brilliant and adorable!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Green Lake Gobble 5k

In the recesses of my mind, I knew that I had a fast 5k in me. Ok, I didn't really keep that to myself - I think all of my friends knew that I really wanted to just bust one out before marathon training started and I got down to pushing out new distance records every week. I mean, don't we all just like to GO sometimes, instead of worrying about whether we have the endurance to last or whether our heart rates are too high, etc.? And, I think the 5k is a really good measure of fitness, especially for me, who tends to be conservative, even in races, over long distances.

So, earlier this week, I signed up for the Green Lake Gobble, a 5k around one of my favorite places to run in Seattle. Green Lake has a beautiful paved trail all the way around (~2.8miles) and they add on a tiny out and back to the sidewalk to bring it up to the 5k distance. I picked up my bib, chip, and true turkey of a race shirt yesterday and MAY have gotten sucked in to trying yet more running shoes. *hangs head in shame*

This morning started out really badly. I was up before my alarm and killed time drinking tea before my zipcar reservation. 45 minutes later, after two zipcars that simply wouldn't GO when I pushed the gas (new note: NEVER reserve a Mini Cooper zipcar ever again), I took a cab to the race start. It actually ended up being the right amount of time, because it was SUPER cold this morning and I had just enough time to use the potty (real potties!) and do a couple of brief warm up trots. Seriously, this was the first time since I moved to Seattle that I've seen frost on the ground, probably because it was a beautiful, sunny, and clear day. The only real loss was to my long run, because I'd originally planned to leave my stuff in the car and go for another lap of the Lake after the race. But, oh well.

The race isn't super big, but I was a little concerned because the pathway can get very crowded on a normal day and isn't incredibly wide. But, the non-racers were awesome about stepping off the side to wait for us to pass, and the racers got strung out really quickly, like within the first quarter of a mile. I was running mostly on my own, but ran next to another woman for at least the first half of the race. She told me afterwards that she was trying to keep up with me (and lost me when I pulled ahead), but I thought I was keeping up with her! Dueling rabbits! Still, it was a really sweet thing for her to say! I did get passed a bit, especially in the first half of the race, but concentrated on picking people off in the second half.

So, my goal for this one was to come in under my current PR and finally break 29:30. Apparently I was not ambitious enough, because my official time was a WHOPPING minute and a half faster than my PR at 28:07. HOLY CRAP. I ALMOST BROKE 28?!?! That's INSANE. WHO TAKES THAT MUCH TIME OFF THEIR 5K TIME? Well, me, apparently!

Obviously, I had to make some phone calls (Me: GUESS WHAT I JUST DID?!?, Best Friend: Um, can you give me some context?), hydrate (mmmm, nuun & hot cider) and snatch a few snacks (bonus points to the cinnamon bread chunks from the Great Harvest Bread Co.). My only criticism was that there were random prizes for the 14 people who managed to beat the really fast turkeys to the finish line. But, um, those people are all or almost all going to win age group or overall prizes, too! What about the rest of us? I love how the DC races have random bib number draws for everyone! I left before the mashed potato eating contest, alas, to catch the bus home.

And, the extra bonus is that my gym finally opened today and I had my free training session. I'm SOOOOOO glad that I didn't do those extra three miles this morning, because I was feeling the burn anyway. But, it was also a confidence booster, because I'm tougher than I think I am, especially if someone else is pushing me. I'm signed up for personal training sessions, which was something I'd planned anyway, to help me get into marathon shape (and better shape afterwards, in general).

I'm just going to spend the rest of the day basking in the warm glow of my endorphins. :-)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011



I also need to do a recap from Columbia Gorge. How about this weekend?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I am so, so tired and bed is imminent, but I thought it was about time for a quick check in here.

I've got one last short run before the Columbia Gorge Half and I'm still feeling pretty excited about the race. I know that hills aren't my strongest thing and that this course has lots of them, but I'm definitely more prepared than I was before I moved to Seattle and pretty much HAD to start running hills if I wanted to actually get anywhere. Living on the top of the hill can have some disadvantages, but I know they're great training.

Today was a nice, easy 4.5, which I really enjoyed. I especially enjoyed finding, when I finished that my "easy" pace was only 5 seconds slower than my absolute dream half marathon pace for Sunday. So, that was nice. I feel confident that I will be able to do better than I did at the Princess, because I'm better trained, not going in injured, there won't be a sudden heat wave to adjust to, and I'm NOT going to forget to eat anything during the race! Sadly, I will not be running with my best friend, nor will there be a castle. Still, there will be an iPod, probably playing Wittertainment or my new favorite, Marathon Talk, and a Garmin that I'm finding I need to look at less & less. I still like analyzing the data when I'm finished, but I am loving the "no pressure" running of just waiting until it has done the requisite number of beeps to indicate the miles I've finished. I seem to run so much better when I can run by feel, rather than by Garmin. Doesn't mean I'm going to run without it, though! Then I couldn't overanalyze my pacing and splits. :-)

So, goals: my A goal would be to get under 2:15. My B goal is to be under 2:25 (my PB from Princess is 2:28). My C goal is to finish.

And, after that, it's on to a good rest and training for London! I met a woman for whom NYC will be her 7th marathon last night at the Sounders game. Needless to say, we both kind of forgot that there was a game on and spent the entire 90+half time+injury time talking about marathons. Awesome. It was fantastic and super helpful! However, we both realized that Boston, for which she'll be training next, is conveniently timed for making up training support teams, since Boston is the day after London. That would be nice, even though I'm still very much in awe of people who can run fast enough and training hard enough to earn BQs.

Right, falling asleep a bit now & must give in!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

And now for some VERY big news....

I'm running the London Marathon!

I'd be completely lying if I didn't admit that I'm pants-wettingly scared about this fact AND so over the moon that I want to shout about it from the rooftops!

I keep reading blogs from previous Londons and getting chills about the whole experience. And then, a split second later, wondering how on earth I'll cope with the training, the wall, getting the nutrition strategy right (am I the only person who wonders about this obsessively?). I realize how well I already know the course and how much better I'm going to know it soon. And I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have the support of friends who are going to be cheering me on the whole way (in tiaras!).

So, I'm just getting started - I've ordered several books from the library and am going to have to sit down and make a plan. (A PLAN!!!!) And, then, of course, comes the hard part - sticking to it. I'm going to plan for four runs a week. That's more than I manage now and will be quite a challenge, given that I work from 7:30-5 and it's dark so early in Seattle. I think more runs that I'd like will be in my gym, once it's finished and opens, on a dreadmill. Ew. But, I'm also looking forward to the cross-training and definitely planning to do a yoga class each week.

I'm definitely not starting to train now. I've still got two weeks and a bit until the Columbia Gorge Half and am technically in the taper for that race. However, I am so, so grateful now that I'm signed up for that race and really got my training in gear over the past couple of months. The news about London came off of a really good training week and an 11 mile long run that was definitely hard, but not utterly exhausting. I can feel the improvement, even from a few weeks ago. My body feels strong and I love that feeling. I am in no way, shape, or form underestimating the challenge that running the marathon will be, but I feel like I've at least given myself a good shot at getting through this in one piece, because I've already built a solid base to train from.


Monday, September 19, 2011

I started my new job today. It was lovely - the people are lovely, I have a colleague where I didn't expect to have one, and the views are utterly fantastic. I'm as stoked about it after the first day as I was leading into it, which is a huge win in my book. While I'm a little jealous of the waterfront views that much of the rest of the office enjoys, my cube looks straight out at the Space Needle, so that's still rather nice. I'm still getting used to the idea that I'm a lawyer (well, almost...*crosses fingers and vaguely contemplates making sacrifices to the NY Board of Law Examiners*), but, then again, I NEVER want to be that lawyer anyway, so it very possibly doesn't matter.

A big highlight of the day, after I'd pounded up a few of the hills in downtown Seattle (dear god, I don't understand how a city can survive with the hills this city has between 1st and 5th Sts.) was stopping by the gigantic central library to get a library card and a healthy stack of books. Being an idiot, I'd only packed two books (aside from a couple of reference/textbooks) to get me through until the pod arrives next week. And, obviously, I've finished them. STUPID. So, now I am restocked and must remember to go and place a few things on hold. Apparently everyone else wants to read Hunger Games, Mao's Last Dancer, and Born to Run, too. Lame. Still, it was glorious and even better is knowing that going to the library doesn't even require a detour from my commute.

Plus, I saw Mt. Rainier!

Finally, a bit on the running. Last week, in between a trip to the Social Security office and the DMV, I visited the mothership and signed up for an REI card, just like a good little Seattleite. I also bought two pairs of shoes - another pair of New Balance Minimus (the original version - for some reason the update didn't feel quite as good, so I decided not to mess with success) and a pair of Saucony Hattoris. Now, I'd been looking at the Hattoris for quite some time, ever since I saw them reviewed on The Running Moron's blog. I'd even go into the running stores in DC and pick them up and think about how comfy they looked. So, last week, I FINALLY tried them on. And they feel amazing. So they went home with me. And then went for an 8 mile run on Sunday*. And, despite having killed my forefoot the day before in the pair of Minimuses that are now officially retired, the Hattoris were lovely and comfortable. And blue. They really do feel like you're running in slippers.

As for the run, I enjoyed checking out the Arboretum and the shore of Lake Washington. I got lost a fair amount, but my phone helped me. I had to walk some of the hills, but I was really, really proud of getting to 8 miles, even after giving myself permission to poop out after 7. I've got a ways to go before the half marathon, but I think I'll survive, at least.

*Yes, I do realize you should probably break shoes in first, before taking them on very long runs. But they just felt so perfect out of the box (and didn't cause any problems)! I'm SURE it helps that I've been running in shoes with a 4mm drop for months, so going to zero drop didn't really feel any different. It actually felt better because my foot felt better cushioned in the Hattori.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A few first ramblings about Seattle

Well, I've moved across the country and have started settling into my new life. This life involves a LOT of Ikea furniture. It also apparently involves me playing with my stamps a lot. So far, I've made a massive spreadsheet of all of my Yugoslavia and put them in chronological order - which is a really good idea, when the plan is to eventually accumulate enough to do a fairly decent rate study. I was shocked by how many of them I've managed to accumulate in a relatively short amount of time, given that they seem to trickle in a few at a time. Of course, this also encouraged me (as if I haven't spent enough this week already) to decide to start targeting some of the online auction sites a bit more aggressively.

So, if you're a stamp dealer who happens to have any Yugoslav covers mailed between 1988 and 1999ish, please give me a buzz!

I've also sat down and spent a bit of time thinking about how to revise a paper that I'm working on about the Thatcher Ferry Bridge stamp error litigation. What I mostly decided is that I want to go through the DOJ files at the National Archives as soon as I can - it's annoying that I LIVED in DC and never made it (granted, I was a bit busy this summer) out there and now need to plan a special trip across the country.

But, so far, Seattle is nice. I LOVE the weather, which is just as much like London as everyone always told me it would be: overcast, cool, sometimes a bit drizzly (I've been assured that soon, it will ALWAYS be drizzly), and so humid that you're sweating after five minutes. I love the house's location - living within a three-minute walk of a Trader Joe's AND a crunchy, granola co-op is just about the most wonderful thing that could have happened to me after so many years of it being hard to get groceries. I've managed to see a bit of the city while running errands; so far, my favorite thing was the crumpet and tea shop at Pike's Place Market. And, yes, I did stop to watch them throw the fish around. I can't wait to see more of the Market & try a lot of the food options. Plus, new housemate has been super awesome about taking me out places and making suggestions.

I've been running several times now. The local running store is only a 10-minute walk away and has running groups twice a week. I went on Thursday, which is the night that involves a post-run trip to the bar. That was lovely. I also ended up being the only person other than the organizer who showed up for another, Saturday, run around one of the lakes. Both runs were great, but I'm definitely slow compared to these other runners. I'm not ashamed of that and I know running with them will make me stronger, but I do kind of wonder where the other Penguins are? Do they not join running groups? Do they run with other groups? Or, are there fewer "recreational" runners in Seattle?

The other thing that will make me stronger (if they don't kill me first) are the hills. Dear god, the hills. THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM. AND THEY ARE SO STEEP. I WILL NEVER MOAN ABOUT DC'S CAPITOL HILL EVER AGAIN. I had to walk a good number of them on this morning's run, but I was pleased to make it 8 miles without falling over. It puts me more or less on track for the half marathon in October, by which point I will hopefully know what my spring racing season looks like - some runners from here are doing the Hollywood Half, which sounds pretty amazing, but we'll see...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The idea of a streak went down in flames when I realized that it really was not the best idea for me to keep pushing every day to run, even when I was still recovering from injury.

I've run several times since my last blog post, but yesterday was particularly memorable/stupid.

I had a form that needed to be turned in at school, a mile away, by 5:00. At 4:50, I left my house and, after waiting for Mr. Garmin to find some satellites, booked it in 80 degree weather, when I haven't been properly hydrating or feeding myself for several days (What? It's finals?). And then I felt like I was going to pass out when I stopped running. So, obviously, I walked for a bit, then started running again.

I was running along the sidewalk beside the Capitol reflecting "pond," when one of the sidewalk joins decided to leap up and trip me and I bit it hard - as did my iPhone, which now has a nice little scuff on one corner, but is otherwise happy. My knees and palms, not so much. I've got some huge sore spots just below my knees, but at least the bruising seems to have been avoided by the rapid application of frozen peas. God bless my special "only for injuries" bag of peas. And, of course, I still wanted to pass out from the heat, dehydration, and running too fast. But, I made it all of 2.25 miles before I ran into a friend and decided it was time for me to be done running.

All of this bodes very well for my 5K this weekend, but I will, of course, be drinking lots of water between now and then. And going for a few more runs.

If anyone is actually reading this, I'd really appreciate any donations you might be willing to make to Cancer Research's Race for Life this year. My page is at: It's my fourth year, out of the last five, running, and I'm still grateful that this is the event that first introduced me to running and let me channel my sorrow at losing my mom and dad into something that keeps me happy, balanced, AND helping other people. Thanks.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 4, 6.5 Miles

Another late night, minimum-length run. But, another mile for my streak, so I'll take it.

I decided to try running in my regular trainers, instead of my barefoots. Sure enough, the tendon in my groin that has been SUCH a problem didn't feel as good as it does in the Minimuses. That's totally fine - I'm happy to keep working on upping my milage in the Minimuses, because the regular shoes felt SO SLOW and I went back to feeling like a plodding elephant. Still, I'm a little sad because I think my other shoes are really nice looking (yes, that's vain). And, because it doesn't bode well for me, at some point, deciding that I cannot live my entire life in barefoot running shoes. I haven't worn anything else, except for when I'm wearing my work flats, for a good two weeks now. And Duchie helped me buy some really, really cute heels for graduation! I think I may still need to try some PT, or at least do another few weeks of strengthening exercises.

In happy news, I got to talk to my favorite Australian today and that was lovely!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 3, 5.5 total miles

As I could have predicted, tonight's run was a bit crap. It's cold, it's raining and it's late. So I only did a mile. Meh. It's supposed to be beautiful tomorrow. I might take my regular trainers out for a "long" run to see how they and my injured bits will do. 4 miles? It's kind of pathetic, but I'd rather be safe than sorry (and can always go longer on the day).

Hmmm, am I going to have to run first thing on Sunday, in order to be ready for an Easter cupcake feast?

Well, it's been awhile...

I can't believe that I haven't done anything with my blog for a very, very long time. It was easier to post every thought on facebook, but I kind of wish that I had kept a better record of the last three years, now that law school is drawing to a close. It's been interesting to go back and read through some of my entries and sometime's it would be hard to remember how many different Joyces I feel like I have been in the past...six years!

Anyway, I'm really only here because I'm embarking on a new thing. We'll see how long I last, but my new goal is to run at least a mile every single day. I'm the queen of "I'll run tomorrow," so there's a new urgency that accompanies the need to run every day. Or at least it has over the past two days (because that's how long my streak has lasted since I decided to have one). I'll get a few miles in tonight after I get kicked out of this coffee shop, where I am supposedly writing a paper comparing the treatment of forced marriage asylum claims in four countries (and I'm stuck on the UK, where the asylum system is so, so, so bad that it has reduced me to spontaneous tears at times). But, my legs are tired from a hard effort yesterday and a morning strengthening session that involved lunges (seriously...why do they hurt so much), so I think it will be a nice, relaxing slow run.

So far:
4/21: 2.5 miles, including 6 minutes of hard running (two Eurovision songs, if you must know how I'm timing these)
4/20: 2 miles
TOTAL: 4.5 miles

I know, those are super short, but I'm just coming off an injury that's been with me since before the Princess Half at the end of February and I'm easing into something that resembles barefoot running (New Balance Minimus). Which, to be honest, hasn't been that hard of a transition - it would appear that I was a forefoot striker all along. But, I LOVE THEM and feel like a gazelle, instead of a plodder.

Plus, my most immediate upcoming races are all short 'uns: May is going to involve 3 5Ks. But, soon enough I have to work up to a trail 10K on June 5 & the Baltimore 10 Miler on June 18. It'll be fine. :-) But, man do I want to PB at Baltimore & beat my time at the Army (we're not even going to talk about the Cherry Blossom, which I enjoyed SO MUCH, but ran very slowly), so I'm going to have to do some serious work between now and then.

Finally, I need to give some thought to the new Tinkerbell Half at Disneyland. Since I'm planning to be on the West Coast, this becomes completely doable in a weekend - and I like the idea of being part of a brand new race! I feel that I need to kick a half marathon's butt after the Princess, which I'm pretty sure kicked mine!