Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Marriage Equality Night with Judge Yu

Where to even begin? At the beginning, I suppose.

The day after Election Day, my friend Takao (and Judge Mary Yu’s bailiff and law clerk) responded to an e-mail and dropped this bomb:

Oh, and between you and me, try and be in town on December 9th. Midnight would be the first time for gay weddings and Judge Yu is thinking of putting together a mass wedding for the first gay weddings in Washington State. If we pull it off I would need help and I know you'd love to volunteer.


As it turned out, Judge Yu (who is amazing) didn’t host a mass wedding, but a series of 13 incredibly intimate and personal weddings for 26 joyful brides and grooms. And I got to be there for each one of them.

Judge Yu started each wedding by thanking the couple and their friends and family for the privilege of letting her celebrate their wedding with them and noting the history that was being made that night. I believe she was absolutely correct: I cannot describe how grateful and privileged I feel to have been able to share those moments with the 13 couples who were married in Judge Yu’s courtroom on December 9, 2012.

There was nothing but the deepest love in that room and the most immense joy. I cried for every single one of those beautiful couples, some who have been together for more than twenty years, just waiting for the moment that someone, anyone would declare that they were legally married spouses and partners for life. I cried because I was just so happy. I’m always happy at weddings: for my friends and for their families, but these were the tears of “we live in a better world than we did a minute or an hour or several hours ago, because YOU, perfect strangers, can get married in it.”

In the hours leading up to the weddings, I thought a lot about myself and why this night meant so much to me, as a heterosexual, cis-gendered woman. I remembered how civil rights and civil liberties have always just intuitively made sense to me. I think I was about eight when I joined the ACLU (I never renewed, but that’s because joining the ACLU meant getting spammed with solicitation mail from every progressive cause in the country…and I was eight), because I believed so strongly in civil rights. I remember my mom taking me to see Anthony Rapp (Mark in the Original Broadway Cast of Rent) when he visited a college campus in Indianapolis – I made her go so early that we were quite generously invited to the campus LGBT group’s private meeting with him beforehand and, when asked, I said that I didn’t know anyone who was gay (I’m sure this was a matter of me being naïve, rather than not actually knowing anyone who was gay). I still remember the acceptance and empathy my mom displayed though and how her heart broke for the young men and women whose parents had rejected them or who were too afraid to come out: she will always be my role-model. Now, I can’t even begin to imagine not having friends who identify at points all along the sexual spectrum.

Anyway, the couples. I like how Gawker did their recap of the mass ceremony at City Hall during the daylight hours of December 9, so I think I’m just going to copy them.

1. Sarah and Emily. 12:01 AM. The first same sex couple married in Washington State (or nearly…I think there were at least a few other couples doing 12:01 ceremonies), which apparently means sharing one of the most important moments of your life with a TON of media. The couple got the honor by contacting Judge Yu the day after the election; they wanted her to marry them, because she’d been the judge who completed the second-parent adoption for their (adorable) nine-month-old daughter (who was wearing a rainbow snuggly suit…*dies*). There wasn’t a dry eye in the courtroom at the moment that they were declared legally married and the CHEERS. It was like making it official that love and joy had friggin’ WON.

2. Brendan and Jesse. 12:30 AM. I didn’t really get to interact with them very much, sadly. I know they were one of the first couples to get their marriage license three days earlier and that one of them is a professor at Seattle Law.

3. Cynthia and Julie. 1 AM. I loved them! They brought their four-year-old twins, dressed up in the cutest matching purple shirts (and one of their moms told me that they had their PJs on underneath, because that way they could put them straight to bed when they got home). They’d even brought a miniature wedding cake that Cynthia had made that afternoon out of Mexican wedding cake batter (they had regular Mexican wedding cakes, too). Julie wore a veil that their neighbor had brought over in her nightgown right before they left for the courthouse: it was the neighbor’s mother’s veil and she wanted them to have it as their “something borrowed.” *tear*As they walked up to the “altar” hand in hand, one of their friends played “Marry You” from Glee on their iPhone. And the boys were reluctant to join in, even though they were the ring bearers. One of them played keep away with the ring when he was supposed to hand it over! They are the most beautiful family.

4. Vanessa and Daphne. 1:30 AM. I’d been tweeting with Vanessa earlier in the night, so it was exciting to meet her! These two are roller girls and they’d spent the day shopping at Goodwill for wedding outfits (which looked fantastic) and rings ($7.99/each: a steal!). I LOVE the expression on Vanessa’s face and her comment right after the wedding: “DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN?!?!”

5. Jenelle and Jodi. 2 AM. One of our biggest weddings. One of their friends had made felt hearts in different colors for everyone to wear. They exchanged rings on ribbons, because they wanted to wear them as necklaces, close to their hearts. Their friends blew bubbles. Jenelle had huge tears running down her cheeks. Someone had taken two wedding toppers, extracted the brides and joined them in a new wedding topper on a miniature cake. After the ceremony, they formed a huge circle to toast the newlyweds (with sparkling apple juice), which was lovely. It was quite the party!

6. Anthony and Andrew. 2:30 AM. Can I be completely biased and say that this was my favorite wedding of the entire night? Andrew and Anthony had two guests: a couple with their very new baby. Well, three: they used FaceTime so that Anthony’s mom could watch from Minnesota. I held the phone so that she could watch and, because of that, I was the only one who could see her. I cannot begin to describe the emotions I went through watching this ceremony: Anthony’s mom was sitting by herself in a dark room, wearing a corsage, where it was 4:30am, drinking a mug of tea and crying tears of joy as she watched her son marry the love of his life. I just can’t…it makes me cry: I was just so happy for them.

7. Stephanie and Margaret. 3 AM. They picked 3 AM, because that’s the first time they could do after Margaret finished her shift driving a METRO bus. Their story is INSANE: they met because Margaret was driving by Stephanie’s apartment building, stopped when she noticed it was on fire, rescued Stephanie and her dog, and started chatting after Margaret’s car got blocked in by the fire trucks. Also, Stephanie’s dress was friggin’ adorable (and definitely the most “traditional” of the night.)

8. Groom A and Groom B (whose names I can't seem to find). 3:30 AM. Our only bilingual wedding of the night, these two were so much fun! They’d driven up from Portland for the wedding and made the comment: “Yeah, this is basically like going to Vegas for us!” Best yet, they opted for finger puppets instead of rings, which was pretty much the best thing ever, even if it hadn’t been 3:30 in the morning. We were treated to some great lines: “Do you have the finger puppets?” “With this finger puppet…/Con esta muñeca…” So cute!

9. Thomas and Kevin. 5 AM. Sadly (or happily), we had a break from 4 to 5:30. Next up were two lawyers, one of whom teaches immigration at UW Law. This was special because they’re good friends of Judge Yu, so it gave the ceremony just a little extra sparkle. I loved that they had matching wedding ties. And OMG, the little girl who was their ring bearer was so excited that she couldn’t sleep the night “before” the wedding, although she was a little confused because she thought she was supposed to be the ring BEAR. From somewhere, Judge Yu produced a teddy bear and gave it to her!

10. Jessica and Joyce. 5:30 AM. This was their third “wedding,” since they’d had a commitment ceremony in 1994 and were married when one county in Oregon briefly issued licenses to same sex couples in 2004 (those marriages were later invalidated). The white dresses they wore at both of those weddings are now on display in a museum in Oregon. Their joy at FINALLY having a wedding that was legally recognized was overwhelming.

11. Caitlin and Glow. 6 AM. Small world: these two are actually friends of my roommate’s, so that made this extra special. So sweet! One of them said: “My cheeks hurt from smiling so much” and I could hardly contain myself watching their faces during the ceremony, there was just much emotion. Adorably, they had “just married” sashes to wear as they left. I didn’t realize until then that Judge Yu was writing a personal note to each couple on a copy of their vows, which I thought was really lovely. Before they left, they were sitting in the hallway on a bench. One of the guests for the next wedding told her son (maybe two-years-old) to go tell them congratulations, so he walked up and handed them his precious toy truck. It was the most heartwarming and sweetly innocent moment in an evening full of them.

12. Leanne and Rachel. 6:30 AM. Another couple whose second-parent adoptions had been completed by Judge Yu and felt that she was the only person who could marry them, since she was already such an important part of their family. I loved this wedding because it was so clear that Leanne & Rachel have surrounded themselves with an intentional community: one that is bursting with the life and energy of young children. I overheard another mom saying to a bride: "Your message said 'we're getting married, but it's at 6:30 in the morning.' There shouldn't have been a 'but,' it should have been an 'and.' We would never miss your wedding!" They held their daughters’ hand throughout the ceremony, punctuated by little kid noises, and hugged them right after hugging and kissing each other. Judge Yu thought it would be ok if all four of them signed one of the marriage certificates.

13. Bride A and Bride B. 7 AM. This was an older couple, who brought a few close friends with them (and requested that they not have media attention). They were so adorable in their coordinated sweaters and each one wore a black hat, to which friends had affixed matching flowers. I think they’d been together for more than twenty years, but still: one of them clapped with absolute glee when the marriage was finalized. It was so cute. I love these couples, who have withstood so much to be their true selves and may have thought that they would never be able to marry the person they love most in the world. Afterwards, the brides, their friends and Judge Yu took a photo where they were all jumping, per bride family tradition. (Also, when I’m old, I still want to act like a little kid with my best friends.)

And with that, the night was over. It was hard to believe and I think we would still have been there marrying people if Judge Yu hadn’t had a 9:30 flight booked long anyone knew when same sex weddings would be legal.

It was an amazing night. I loved that the couples were nervous and a little unsure about what to do with their paperwork: I’d imagine that’s what all soon-to-be married couples do. I loved that we had lots of random strangers who stopped by, just because they wanted to be part of these moments. I loved that many of the couples wrote their own vows, but all pledged to join their lives together. I loved how many of them replied with “absolutely” to their vows, instead of “I do” or “I will.” I love that people have marriage certificates that document that they were married at three o’clock in the morning. Best of all (because I’m a lawyer), I loved seeing people receiving their full rights under the law and the joy that this recognition gave them and all of us.

Two other quick things:

1) Two freelancers from NPR spent the night with us and have put together an incredible audio slideshow. Be prepared to cry:

2) If you’d like my full album of photos, they’re on FB at

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thinking about my 2013 race schedule...

When I'm bored, I think about and research races. I do this A LOT. Which is one reason why I wind up  running a fair number of them.

Of course, marathon training is a VERY good excuse to sign up for races, as well. While I know the benefits of doing long runs without being in a race (and please don't misinterpret: I cherish those long runs and the time they give me for contemplation, catching up on podcasts, and proving to myself that I'm tough), it's fun to throw a few races in your schedule as well.

So, at the moment, I'm contemplating/signed up for:

No, I never get tired of this photo.
1. Disney Princess Half Marathon (Feb. 24/Week 8): Yup, registered for this one back in July. I'm so excited to return to the scene of my first half marathon with my best friend in the entire world. It remains to be seen whether we're racing this one, whether we're doing it purely for fun, or whether she'll be sacrificing and pacing me to a new PR. Lots of factors affect our plans & weather is a HUGE concern.

2. Lake Sammamish River Half Marathon (Mar. 9/Week 10): My running club is doing this. It's flat (FLAT!!!). But, it's only two weeks after Princess and I've got an 18 miler on the schedule. Frankly, if we're taking it easy at Princess, I want to run this one as my serious practice half. If we're running Princess hard, I don't particularly want to do it. The problem is that it sells out, so I feel like I should try to make a decision reasonably soon.

3. Birch Bay 30k (April 5/Week 14): I did this one last year and, once again, it's scheduled for the same day as my last long run before taper. It's a beautiful course, a well-organized race, and it's nice to be able to do your last long run with other people (admittedly, not very many of them) after so many months of solo runs. In fact, all those emotions I thought I'd have when I finished my first marathon - I actually had them at Birch Bay, because I knew that I'd done my training, stuck to my schedule the way I wanted to, and that I would be fine on race day. Yup. Cried quite a bit. Anyway, I definitely want to go back.

4. Something else?!? All or only some of the above???
TAPER TIME!!! (BB finish line last year)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Days 5 & 6

At this point, it's pretty clear that I need to stop pretending that I'm participating in a running "streak," considering that I also missed yesterday's run. (For the record, I ran 1.5 miles tonight before hitting the gym. It was cold but DRY outside and I had to give my brand new "I cashed in all of my Amazon points, so it was free" Garmin 610 a workout!)

I CAN, however, tell you that I was significantly more sore after the Seattle Half (or as my friend quite accurately described it, the "racewhereyourunupallthegoddamnhills") than I was after my first marathon! Those hills really pounded my legs: my hips and my right adductor, in particular, are unhappy puppies and I've been tottering around the office like an 80 year old. I may have had on my compression tights under my work trousers on Monday.... Word on the street (ok, facebook) from the rest of my running club is that everyone else is pretty much the same as I am.

Seattle 2:15:50
In a strange way, feeling this sore actually makes me feel better about my race on Saturday. I have desperately wanted to get under 2:15 for nearly a year (although, I should note that I haven't wanted this desperately enough to actually do any specific half marathon training). In fact, I'd really like to go sub 2:10 sometime soon...ish. I think my sub 1:30 15K really shows that I'm getting close to having the speed and the endurance to crank out some serious half marathon PBs. The fact that I'm still sore today signals to me that I really, really pushed for that 2:15 and that I should own it and be proud of what I accomplished.

ANYWAY, I can think of three major problems standing between me and a fabulous half marathon time:

  1. Lack of specific training - I'll be the first to admit that ever since I trained for the marathon, the half isn't such an intimidating distance anymore. I think that's super awesome. I love that I can kind of pull off a half decent half (ha!) on the spur of the moment. However, I know that I'd do a lot better if I actually did some consistent training to a plan. Thank goodness that I've been pretty good about going to track night and popping out a few longer runs here and there.
  2. Mental toughness - I hate it, but I think I really underestimate what I'm capable of doing as a runner. Sure, I'm not going to go to the Olympics or even run a BQ, but I suspect I could already be punching out faster times if I could fully commit and stop my brain from telling me why I can't. I need to push through and I don't seem to be able to do it. It might be a confidence issue.
  3. Columbia Gorge, 2:18:something
  4. THESE CRAZY HILLY COURSES THAT I KEEP CHOOSING. But, SRSLY Joyce: if you wanted to PR, you probably weren't going to do it at Columbia Gorge or Seattle. You didn't pick them because they're PR courses, you picked them because you love running in this part of the country, they sport stunningly beautiful scenery, you wanted to support locally-organized races, and so you could run with your friends. In fact, you should be incredibly proud of your performance on both of those incredibly hard, hilly courses! You were only 25 seconds off your PR on a course that involved 4x as much climbing (yes, I went and checked)!!
So, I guess those are all things I need to work on for next year...because that 2:15 just needs to go away!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

RW Days 2-4

Right, so, errrr, um, days 2 and 3 might got consolidated into a single 2 mile run on the treadmill. Oops. It's in the right spirit, right?

Day 4 was the Seattle Half Marathon! What an incredibly hard course that is: so many hills, so many hills! I think I paced it badly to boot: I had some lovely fast miles in there and a bit of a blowup in the second (hard, hilly) part of the race. I felt like my legs were moving as fast as they possibly could and was still barely running 11-minute miles. So, final time: 2:15:50. I'm glad I still got a 2:15, but MAN do I want to hit 2:14! Considering that I hadn't specifically trained for this race and it was a hella hard course, I REALLY, really want to find out whether I could crank out a good PR on an easier course!

BUT, I did love this race. I loved meeting up and starting with tons of my Seattle Green Lake Running Group friends. The medal is pretty awesome and I am happy to support my hometown race. Everything was well-organized and the course was very well supported.

SPEAKING of well-supported, my roommate came out to cheer! She made awesome signs and took some super adorable photos of me! She even stayed down there for over two hours cheering people (and got told off by some guy who said there was too much cowbell. HOW CAN THERE BE TOO MUCH COWBELL?!?!). Yay!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

RW Holiday Run Streak

With a one-mile run on the treadmill at the gym at 10pm, day one is complete. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I signed up for another marathon. Eugene, here I come. I'm a little relieved to be off the fence that I was sitting on deciding about whether or not to sign up, but also a little appalled with myself. Work is so crazy and insane right now (my co-worker left, so now I am doing the work that the two of us used to split between us and will be for the next year) that I'm already starting to wonder how I'm ever going to find time to train.

So far this week, I have managed two 2-mile runs. Clearly I am ready for this. *scared face*

Monday, June 11, 2012

A few random Monday thoughts

Random thoughts, which I think I'm better off just writing down, because then (hopefully) I'll be able to sleep...after a few more pages of Chrissie Wellington's autobiography (and, as a side note, is she just not the happiest-looking person in the entire world?)

1) I did my FIRST ever track workout tonight with the Green Lake runners. It was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be, actually. Because, you know what: I've run two marathons and I am one tough cookie! Track workouts involve a lot more milage than I thought they would, though! I hit 5.5 miles. For some reason, this surprised me.

The Cat needed a cuddle before I went to
running club.
I joined with the "short-distance group" (by group they mean: "here's your workout - go do it") and we did 200m, 300m, 400m x 3 with an equivalent distance rest in between. I honestly had no idea what to expect, so I'm actually pretty pleased that my splits stayed fairly consistent and my last 400m was the fastest of the three! Go me! (I'd go look at the exact splits, but that would involve getting out of bed.) Anyway, it was pretty cool and I'm so glad that I feel like I've started to get to know people in SGLRG. There's another event tomorrow with Scott Jurek leading a short run from Fleet Feet and a book signing afterwards. It's going to be epically huge.

2) I put a Hammer Gel through the washing machine. Post race, kids, check your pockets. However, it appears to be fine.

3) I watched an episode of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition when I got home from the track. Man, that stuff is emotional pr0n. But, it was also really interesting because I saw a lot of what I feel in myself in them. I mean, I was never their size, but I used to be bigger than I am now (fun fact - not that much bigger, but my body shape is completely different...and, yes, marathon training totally did equal weight gain). And when last night's transformee talked about being amazed at finding out what her body could do when she pushed it to do more, I knew exactly what she was talking about. I know what it feels like to be an "adult-onset athlete" (hat tip: John "the Penguin" Bingham) and to find out what I'm capable of doing. I know how empowering it is to be a fat girl and figure out that you can be an athlete. It's pretty awesome. I'm still slowish, but I'm pushing myself to be a better runner than I was last year; last month, last week. And that sense of accomplishment only gets stronger.

Also, they totally made me feel lazy, EVEN THOUGH I'D JUST RUN 5.5 MILES. So, I did some core work while I watched.

4) Hard = fun. Oddly enough, I'm starting to think that when I say something is "hard," I kind of mean "fun."

Friend: Joyce, how was that marathon?
Joyce: It was hard! *looks at medal & grins*

Friend: Joyce, how was that trail race?
Joyce: It was hard! *thinks about splashing through mud puddles and grins*

Friend: Joyce, how are your intervals going?
Joyce: HARD! *grins and concentrates on not puking*

Dear god, I'm turning into an endorphin junkie. Good thing there's track night EVERY Monday!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

North Olympic Discovery Marathon

It’s no secret, at least among several of my friends, that I was disappointed with my performance in London. I’m still incredibly glad that I ran my first marathon there - the experience is absolutely amazing - but, I was annoyed that I didn’t have the race that I thought I was capable of running. I thought 4:45 was a reasonable goal, so to be more than a quarter of an hour over five hours was kind of horrible. Even worse was hitting the wall so hard at mile 16 - I just KNEW I was better trained than that! I wanted my race to reflect the work that I’d put into my training and was sad when it didn’t.

Now, I still think that my training was the reason why I recovered so incredibly quickly from the race. Two days later, it was like I hadn’t run a marathon at all. The Saturday following London, I took a minute off my 5K PB at the Top Pot 5K and, later that day, I decided that I was in good enough shape to throw caution to the wind and sign up for another marathon. I was actually really glad that this worked out - I was looking for races in the Seattle-ish area about a month to two months out and realized that the North Olympic Discovery Marathon was perfect. I had actually thought about doing the half, but dismissed it because it was so soon after London (but now, I think I’ll do the half next year!). It is EXACTLY the kind of race that I’m finding I love - small, locally run & beautiful scenery.

So, after taking an easy week post-London, I googled "six weeks between marathons" and found another Hal Higdon plan that I could use. I liked that the long runs never got incredibly long (12/14/16 miles), but they were on Sunday after a fairly long run on Saturday (6 miles on the schedule, but I did a 5 mile trail race one week and a 15K race another week). I was very good about getting in four runs each week. I think it was a good plan. :-)

I’ll talk about some of the other aspects of my trip to the Olympic Peninsula in a different post and stick to the race itself here.

The race expo & packet pick-up was held at the Red Lion Hotel, just on the edge of downtown Port Angeles (note to self for next year: book early, so you can get a room there!). It was all very easy & well organized. You stopped downstairs to get your bib (#1 again!) and then went upstairs for the shirt. The shirt is awesome: long sleeved, half zip, red & clearly marked "26.2." They also gave us a water bottle with the NODM logo on it, which I like a lot and have now been using for two days straight. The expo was small (I mean, honestly, there were only 350 people in the full marathon and 1000 in the half, so I wasn’t expecting anything massive), but nice - a few booths selling things that you might need for the race & clothes. I also happened to be there when one of the veteran runners gave a course preview talk, which was interesting and useful the next day. I did ponder whether it was appropriate to wear my London jacket, but I felt less awkward about it after I saw so many people wearing their Boston jackets!

After the expo, I decided that I would go for to the pasta party, too, since I definitely needed pasta and could save myself the trouble of having to figure out where to get it. And, although I am very, very fond of carb loading that involves pho and pad thai, spaghetti sauce and meatballs have tended to be my go-to "night before a long run" food of choice (so much so that after London the thought of one more plate of it made me suddenly lose my appetite). Walking toward the Catholic church hall, where the Sons of Italy were providing the food, I could seriously smell garlic from half a block away. It was nice and I had a fun time chatting with some of the other runners - in fact, I sat by myself originally, but then inflicted my company on another lonely runner. Then, it was back to the hotel to pack up, lay everything out, and try to fall asleep early (with some rather mixed success).

I set my alarm for 5:30 and actually woke up about 5:25. The last bus for the marathon start (point to point course, you see) wasn’t leaving until 7:45, but I wanted to give myself plenty of time, rather than rushing - I find that having plenty of time to do everything really helps me calm down before a race. I was out the door just before 7:00 (I was live streaming WAMU and the warning that Click & Clack would be on at 10am EDT was just the push I needed to get out on time). I parked downtown, walked a few blocks to the buses, grabbed a tea and a banana (the bagel was already packed) and got on. They were nice buses, too! Like, city buses, rather than school buses and well labeled to make sure that you didn’t go to the start of the half marathon, rather than the full marathon. I sat next to a lovely woman from Seattle who is actually a running coach (oddly enough - second running coach I’d had an opportunity to chat with this week and BOTH of them told me how many of their clients are lawyers and how much they LOVE working with lawyers). She planted the fantastic idea in my head that a quick ice bath in Puget Sound would be a good idea, post race.

We continued chatting when we got to the marathon start, where there was a lovely building with tons of tables, chairs, water, and real bathrooms for us while we waited. Absolute luxury, especially compared to the half marathon runners who apparently start in a big field. I also met the woman who had volunteered to be the 4:55 pacer. I had actually chatted with her a bit before, as well: it turns out that we both listen to the fabulous Marathon Talk podcast, so we’d exchanged a few words on the forums there in advance. She’s a pretty awesome ultra runner (as is her husband, who had to pass on pacing the 5:10 group after running 150 mile race last weekend) and did a great job with the pacing.

The start was so, so low key, because there were only 350 or so of us (320 finishers). Someone blew an airhorn and we were off! The first section of the course involved a five-mile loop around the start line and then we were off on a short tour of the streets of Sequim, before we finally got on the North Olympic Discovery Trail, for which the race is named. I actually quite liked this section, for all that it involved running on city streets. I love it when businesses change their signs out front to wish the runners luck and there were several groups of supporters that we saw over and over again (they must have been cheering someone near me, because I saw one family 5 or 6 times and I want to THANK them for being there and going nuts for EVERY runner...the tutus and the red wig and the pompoms were fabulous).

The course itself is largely flat and quite beautiful, although there were some pretty steep hills where the trail dips down to cross streams (and some impressive bridges where they do so) or go under the highway. There were three of these and a number of small rollers through the middle section of the course. I stuck with the pacer until the second of these two big hills, when her power walking was too much for me to catch up to after also walking to take a gel. I kind of wish I’d held on, but I’m also so proud of how I ran this race that I don’t mind. However, I absolutely do think that having a pacer was a fantastic way to get through those early-mid race miles where you still have SO FAR to go and can’t imagine why on earth you’re putting yourself through this kind of ordeal (again). For a good portion of the race, it was the pacer, me, and another woman from Canada, who had done several (8?) Ironmans and was pretty awesome. She attests that stand-alone marathons are harder than Ironman marathons, although I can’t see how (something about how, by the time you get to the marathon, you know you’re almost done, so there’s a huge mental advantage).

So, from somewhere between mile 16 and 17 until the end, I was pretty much on my own (but with the iPod). Although I’d pass other runners and walkers, there wasn’t really anyone to chat with. Even, still, I cannot emphasize enough how much better this race felt than London. In London, I hit the wall HARD at mile 16 and I was constantly stopping to try and work up the momentum to keep going. I kept needing to stick my head between my legs. Here (and I am SO PROUD of this), I NEVER STOPPED. I walked, but I never stopped completely. That was my goal for the day: forward motion at all times. Sure, I was tired and my walk breaks came more frequently as the miles wore on, but I KEPT going. I think if I’d managed that in London, I would have been happy with my performance, no matter what the clock said at the end of the race. I don’t even mind that I missed my sub-five hour goal by 14 seconds and probably could have nailed it with one less walk - I am proud of what I did on that course.

Nutrition-wise, I tried to change things up from London a bit. The diagnosis has been that I might have had some dehydration issues, so I decided I would carry my camelbak, just to make sure I was drinking enough. I actually filled it with Heed drink, after finding that I really liked it in the Seattle’s Best 15K: two packets are enough to fill my camelbak’s reservoir. I also switched to Hammer Gels, because that’s what they were using on the course. I took one about 5.5 miles, another one around 10.something, and a final one at 16.something. Ask me why I didn’t take a final one and I haven’t got an answer for you - clearly, I STILL need to work on making myself eat when I’m exhausted in a race. I did also pick up some orange slices and watermelon at aid stations.

With five miles to go, I was absolutely sure that I had already nailed my sub-5 time target. Maybe being so sure meant that I let myself take it easy those last miles? Would I have actually achieved it if I hadn’t been so sure? Or was I just being unrealistic about the pace a fairly new runner and novice marathoner can sustain through the final miles of the marathon? No idea.

That red fencing - the finish chute
With a mile to go, I knew exactly how close it was going to be - I needed to hit paces that are usually easy run pace for me (10 minute miles), but not so much at the end of a marathon. I had a couple of guys in my sights and worked on speeding up to pass them. And, with the finish line in sight at the 26 mile marker, I sprinted as fast as my little wobbly legs would carry me. It wasn’t quite enough - if only I’d started a little bit sooner! But, oh my goodness, I put everything I had into getting myself across that line. The photos are going to be hilarious: Joyce’s best "gasping desperately for air/fish/race face," I’m sure. I am proud of that, too. I didn’t let up when I knew that my goal had just slipped out of my grasp: I kept running my hardest to make sure that I still got as close to it as I could. Because, you know what: I’m still a 5-hour marathoner now. 5 hours and thirteen seconds! (and, ahem, that’s more than 16 minutes off my London time).

Another amazing feature of the race is that you get your own personal escort at the finish line, who hands you a cold bottle of sports drink immediately (cap already off) and walks you through the finish chute. Given that I’d just had the sprint of my life, he was a little worried thzat I was so wobbly, so we walked really slowly. That was very, very nice. I did kind of miss bag pick-up, since there were so few left by the time I got there, but I eventually found it and the food (chocolate milk! and chicken noodle soup!). And, yes, I did take an ice bath in Puget Sound or at least waded in up to my waist. OMG, it was so cold that I thought my feet were going to fall off - but at least everything stopped cramping! (As a side note, the finish line festival is supposed to be awesome, but it was cold and overcast and people weren’t really lingering, especially given that 95% of people had finished long before I got there.)

View from the finish area
I have to say that I felt a lot worse, physically, after this race, than I did in London. Everything in my body wanted to cramp and be cranky (maybe I do still need one salt tablet along the way?) and my feet were particularly unhappy (one of them still is). I was definitely doing the marathon shuffle (and I still kind of am - this marathon is going to involve some PROPER recovery time, I can tell). I had to call my poor friend j00j to have her talk to me and distract me as I shuffled back to the car (and she was helpful enough to tell me what I should do next, i.e. shower). I know the YMCA was open for showers, but I’d noticed that there was a branch of my gym across from the motel, so I went there. My brain didn’t want to figure out where the Y was. Lovely hot shower was lovely, as was the quality time that I spent with the foam roller before I got back in the car to drive to the ferry. After a stop in Bremerton to have dinner with my favorite running friend, I got on the ferry for a sunset cruise back to Seattle and FINALLY saw the mountains!

I loved this race: it was so different from London and no less enjoyable. It was well-run and I loved the support that we got from the community. I am almost certain that I will be back next year to run the half marathon!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Yeah, so I ran another marathon....

North Olympic Discovery Marathon: 5:00:13 & I'm very, very happy!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Race tomorrow...

I have a race tomorrow. Most people don't know I'm running it and the few who do have been sworn to secrecy. I'll let you know how it goes. *grin*

What I DO know is that I had the most random & fabulous adventure today and finished up with best darn pre-race pasta party. It was held at and cooked for by the Sons of Italy/the local Catholic church and I could seriously smell the garlic a block away. Omnomnomnom.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pick us, pick us!!

Hi! We’re Carolyn & Joyce and we’ve been best friends since the first period on our first day of high school, when we met in Mr. Pappas’ world history class. Not that we’re that old or anything (and, for the record, Carolyn’s older), but we’ve finally gotten to the point that we’ve been friends for more than half our lives. Eeeks!
Junior Prom!

Joyce: You should probably know that I pretty much only and always call Carolyn, “Duchie,” because she was in madrigal choir in 9th grade. Her choir “name” was Duchess Knifeinbach…and I’ve never stopped using it!

Carolyn: Yup! We grew up about five minutes apart in Indianapolis and, after high school, went to college on opposite sides of Indiana. Then, Joyce kept leaving the country and I moved to Chicago, but every time we got together again, it never felt like we’d never been apart.

WE DID IT: our first half marathon!
Joyce: The day that Duchie and her husband decided to move to Washington, DC, where I’d eventually landed, was one of the happiest of MY life, because it meant that we were going to live in the same city for the first time since high school graduation! It was the most wonderful gift: living in different places means that you really, really appreciate that there’s nothing like being able to see your best friend when you need to rant or cry or celebrate or just watch trashy tv together.

Eventually, it also meant that we got to run together…a lot!

Carolyn: When I was a kid, my dad always seemed to be running. I can remember him coming home from runs all drippy and sweaty, and trying to get us to hug him (that never went over well). We traveled as a family to watch him run some races, and I thought it was cool, but it was never something I was interested in.

As a kid, I half-heartedly ran some races, and went through phases where I really wanted to run with dad, but none of it really stuck. I’d putter around the neighborhood, or slog miserably through a race, but it was never really something I wanted to do.

Joyce: When I was younger, I was a figure skater. Not a good one, mind you, but I stuck with it and I still miss the feeling of flying that you can only get on the ice. After college, I started running so that I could participate in Cancer Research UK’s annual women’s only 5Ks, Race for Life (I was living in London then).

At the time, my god-sister was in the final stages of battling melanoma. My mother had fought gallbladder cancer for two years and passed away just before Thanksgiving, 2002. My father was by her side every step of the way and was the world’s most devoted caregiver. I really think his death, officially from a heart attack in May 2003, was the result of a broken heart. Raising money for a cancer charity seemed like something I could do to support my godparents and to honor my parents’ memories. My running “career” went through several fits & starts after that, but was launched for good in summer 2009.

Carolyn: I noticed that Joyce was getting more excited about running and we’d toyed with the idea of doing a race together, but we didn’t really follow through with it until 2010. That year, for the first time since graduating from high school, Joyce and I lived in the same city again. We signed up to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon together, and started running together several times a week.
Joyce: Duchie wasn’t a runner at all when I first suggested that we train for the Princess and I think I’d only gotten as far as a 10K. So, it was a huge challenge for both of us.

Carolyn: Running became a way for Joyce and me to spend time together that was just ours. It was our chance to talk about what was going on in our lives—it was running therapy! 

Law school graduation - that degree was half Duchie's!
Joyce: It’s SO true. Without Duchie and our regularly-scheduled morning runs (which were a HUGE deal, given that she loves to sleep ‘til noon), I don’t know how I would have made it through the stress of law school and studying for the bar exam. I think we’ve always brought out the best in each other, as well as our inner children, but now we also make each other better runners, too. 

Carolyn: We successfully completed the half marathon, and several other races together, but once I started running of my own volition, my dad was so excited that we had this experience to share. Now, visiting my parents almost always includes a run with my dad. I’ve even gotten my husband to run (occasionally)! Running has become a unique way for me to interact with many of the important people in my life.

Joyce: Last fall, I got a job and moved all the way to Seattle, leaving Duchie behind in DC. It was really, really sad for both of us.

Carolyn: We’re both still running, and we talk on the phone together, but I miss our running therapy!

Joyce: Me, too! We haven’t been for a run together since January, when you dropped everything to come and see me in Philadelphia after my grandmother’s funeral. I know it was just a treadmill run in the hotel gym, but having you there made everything feel better.

Carolyn: Don’t forget that time when I totally dreamed that I was chasing you around the course of the London Marathon screaming “YOU CAN DO IT!!!.” 

First thing I did after my first marathon -
Call Duchie!
Joyce: I wish you could have been there in person! As usual, you were the first person I called when I finished it.

Carolyn: Joyce is easily distracted! Ahem….

Having the chance to go to the Totally Trials weekend together would be a fantastic chance for us to visit and catch up, while watching some truly inspiring athletes. We’ve bonded a lot over running, and it would be amazing to have a weekend together, sharing something we both enjoy.

Other than seeing Joyce, I am most excited about watching the hurdles. There’s something so graceful about watching the runners fly around the track and then float over those hurdles—it’s beautiful!

Joyce: Our amazing weekend at the Trials would involve some serious run time, right? In between the 5,000 and 10,000 meters? I can hardly wait to see who will make up the rest of the US “long” distance team – will it be a frustrated marathoner who came up short in Houston? I love these distances because I’ve, obviously, run them myself. It makes what the athletes do even more impressive!

Thank you so much, Oiselle, for the Totally Trials opportunity! We’d LOVE to come spend the weekend with you, our future Olympians…and with each other!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Soaring Eagle 5 Mile Trail Run

What a FABULOUS day!

A VERY happy Quins fan
First, I have to explain my clothing choices. When I signed up for this race, I had NO IDEA that my beloved rugby team, the Harlequins, would be playing in the championships of the English Premiership. For all the Americans - basically, it was the rugby Super Bowl. So, I got up at 7am to watch the first half, thinking that my friend would meet me at 7:45 and we'd head out to the race. Said friend pulled out, which meant that I got to watch the first 15 minutes of the second half, too, but had to PUUUUUUUUULL myself away from the match. I'm not saying I didn't think about staying, but I remembered how excited I'd been about this race for ages and thought I'd really regret it if I didn't go.
Let's just say…you haven't lived until you've frantically refreshed the Premiership Rugby app on your phone at EVERY stop to see how things are going. And BOOM! They WON!!!! I had my own mini celebration blasting the team song in the car and hugging my mini Harley Bear mascot. I was wearing my Quins jersey over my tech shirt, but made the last minute decision that I WAS going to celebrate by wearing it for the race. I mean, surely non-tech fabric couldn't kill me for the only 5 miles, right (spoiler alert - it didn't)? Awesome choice!

So, this was a pretty small race, although I got the feeling that it was bigger than some of their other trail races (fair enough - the weather was gorgeous and I think the relatively dry week convinced people that a trail race seemed like a good idea). Plus, it was only $28 for the 5 mile race, if you registered in advance (there were also 10M, marathon, and 50K options). Bargain! We had a pre-race briefing, which was kind of a first for me. Basically, we were told: follow the orange flags…and we were off!

My poor Sauconys! I had to do some pretty
serious scrubbing on my legs later, too.
And, I have to say, that was SO MUCH FUN!!! And, it was SO MUCH WORK!!! Five miles on the trails are so much harder than five miles on the road. We were on the fire road for the first 0.75 miles and then for the last mile and on single track in between. It was quite rolling, which was a real test for my legs - but a good one. And, of course, there were pretty steep sections on that last mile, too. There was mud, as well. I tried keeping my shoes clean some of the time, but at some point, I just had to give up! Glad I wore black socks and old shoes…because, really, I wouldn't have missed the fun of sloshing through the mud. I can't remember the last time I laughed gleefully during a race, but the mud was pretty awesome. I'd note that this was a DRY week - I suspect this course gets really sloppy when it's wetter!

This was my first real trail race, other than the extraordinarily tame North Face 10K in DC last year. I was really looking forward to seeing what this whole other discipline of running was all about, particularly in an area of the country where there are so many beautiful places to run off the roads. I have even more respect for trail runners now - it takes so much more concentration to watch your footing and the terrain is so much more challenging. Those little ups and down really took it out of me (even more proof that I need to do more of this kind of running, because it'll make me so much stronger). I absolutely see more trail running in my future. I've heard Cougar Mountain has some lovely trails. :-)

I would also firmly endorse the people who put on this race - Evergreen Trail Runs. The entry fee was just right, the organization was great. The trails were clearly marked, there were plenty of volunteers making sure we didn't get lost and the post-race spread was very nice (even though the jalepeno and Nutella bagels were an interesting choice - I don't think they knew they were jalepeno bagels, to be fair). I even liked the Zico coconut water that the company was passing out - I don't even usually like coconut water, but I drank one before and after the race (it was pretty hot & I was sweating up a storm). But, my favorite thing (aside from meeting some really nice people)? They took race photos and put them on Facebook! I will take that ANY day over a t-shirt (which were available for an extra fee), especially since some of them were pretty darn cute.
I found a Stade person! (They're our big European rivals)