Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Things Have Gone Topsy-Turvy

YIKES. So, as of noon, I found out that I'm moving to Newark on Sunday and I start my new job on Monday. Keep in mind that I finish my old job in Seattle on Friday (OMGSOMUCHTOGETDONE).

I'm kind of a mess right now: I have a plane ticket for Sunday, I have already booked to have my car shipped to New Jersey, I have a plan for the cat. I do not have a place to live (correction: several lovely friends in NYC have offered me places, but I'd really like to try and be in NJ, to make the commute and apartment hunting easier). That's obviously making me very anxious.

Actually, the move to New Jersey is only temporary: I'll be there for three weeks until I go for more training outside of DC. I'm very excited about that - I'm really looking forward to training, meeting new colleagues, and being near my DC friends. Plus, it all works out pretty perfectly for running the Army 10 Miler and the Philly Half. Volunteering at NYC is a bit crazier, but I think I'll find a way to make that work, too. There are trains and buses and friends with spare beds, right?

So, REALLY, I'll move to NJ after Thanksgiving - anything I can't fit in two suitcases will be staying in Seattle until then, which means I'm going to have to do some very careful packing. I figure one bag for running clothes and one for work clothes, right? Roommate & I have already decided that she's going to keep the small foam roller and, in return, we'll go halvesies on a bigger foam roller that Amazon or RRS can deliver to me out East.

Everyone, even complete strangers are being really, really lovely. I've already got dinner plans with a friend of a friend for next week (and she's being absolutely amazing in helping me with the housing stuff) and the NJ/NY Oiselle Team ladies are going to let me crash their get-together. Other friends are already plumping for drinks. There's a 5K put on by the running club that I think I'd like to join on the 29th, so I think I should go and see what the club is like. My college friend is coming up the weekend after to help me look for apartments. I am so grateful for everyone's support, because I am very, very sad to leave Seattle and my friends here.

I'm trying so hard not to dwell on leaving Seattle. It hurts so much to think about it, even though I know I'll be out here at Columbus Day for Operation Move Cat East and for Thanksgiving. Still, I wish I'd had time to tell my friends and this city a better goodbye now. But, I'm grateful for this new opportunity and I will make the best of it.

Plus, I promised myself long ago that I could buy an iPad once everything was happening for sure. or original size?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Week One

I have a lot to write about right now, including recaps from the Disneyland/Dumbo Double Dare Expo/10K/Half and the Lake Chelan Half and two much more serious posts on Syria and political heroes. I'm hoping I can get to at least one of those tonight. They're just draining topics, ya know?

In the mean time, I will use this very short post to mark the end of the first week of half marathon training. I mean, I know exactly which half marathon I'm hypothetically training for, but I haven't actually signed up for it yet. In large part, that's because my life is in such turmoil right now. I think I'll feel comfortable registering as soon as I get a start date for my new job and feel like I can begin planning my life after the next two weeks. I hate the feeling of being on hold.

ANYWAY, this week's training (plus a cheat from last weekend):

Saturday: Disneyland 10K. A PW by almost 10 minutes!
Sunday: Disneyland Half. A PW by 5 minutes!

Monday: Session with my trainer. My arms got killed.
Tuesday: #hitreset with Jasyoga. Amen.
Wednesday: 3 easy miles
Thursday: Another session with my trainer (we're trying to fit in our remaining sessions before the move).
Friday: HOLY CRAP REST DAY (mostly because we were driving to Chelan).
Saturday: Lake Chelan Half Marathon. I pushed HARD. It felt AMAZING. My friends are great. (more later)
Sunday: Cowbelled the heck out of the Women of Wonder 5/10K. I might run later. I might not. I had to go beg bandaids from the first aid tent for my cowbell injuries.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Grumpy (herein Joyce explains why she is currently all emo)

I feel that I should preemptively warn everyone that I am in a severely grumpy mood. And, the bad news is that I don't see it getting much better over the next month.

1) My job ends on Sept. 20. My current job has always been scheduled to end on that date. It isn't a surprise. But, I'm surprised by just HOW much I have left to accomplish in the next month. I've been very consciously and steadily working on my to do list for at least the past three months, in an effort to get it under control. But, it feels like no matter how many projects I manage to finish, my "bosses" (who I dearly love) give me more. I'm also trying to make sure that I get the complicated stuff off the "to do" list of my replacement, so that she can ease into the role. If I think too hard about it, I start having minor panic attacks. I truly love this job and this work and I am devastated to be leaving. But I am starting to fail to see how I am going to get it all done and it is really getting to me.

And, I'd note that being really, really sad to be leaving isn't helping. I love that my work is on the cutting edge of my field. I love that I have to react to huge changes in the law, sometimes on the very day that courts hand down decisions. I love that it's hard, interesting, and challenging work and that I can spend half a day turning a puzzle over and over again in my head. I adore my colleagues, both onside and offsite. I grew up at this job: I've been transformed from a baby, fresh-out-of-law-school lawyer into a reasonably confident one (I wouldn't say I've mastered my practice, at all, but I can feel how much more comfortable I am with everything). I hate that this might be the most interesting job I ever have and secretly (or not so secretly, since I'm admitting it) worry that everything from here onwards will be less exciting. So, I'm not surprised that the impending end of my term (two years went SO QUICKLY) is contributing to the general funk, aside from the pressure to finish everything up neatly.

2) I don't know when I'm starting my new job, so I don't know when I'll be moving. I also don't know where I'll be living. I feel like I have to wait for a start date to make decisions. If all goes well, my transfer will be immediate, but I'll have some time off to move before I actually have to report. I have no idea how long I'll have, so I can't start coordinating the move and everything else that goes with it (roadtrip? shipping car? fly out to find a place to live first? when do I fly back to Seattle to collect my cat? will I even have enough time to find a place to live? when do I go to training? who will watch my cat while I'm away for almost three months?). I was ok with waiting on all of these details, up to a point, but the closer the end of September gets, the more this freaks me out. To make it worse, people keep asking me what's going on and I have to resist the urge to scream at them. If you run into me: DON'T ASK. Don't worry - as soon as I know details about the move, I'll probably scream them from the treetops.

3) I hate packing. It's one of my least favorite things to do. I have to do it. This makes me unhappy. Thankfully, it shouldn't be as bad as when I left DC, since living in a room the size of a shoebox (this has also really gotten to me over the past six months, because there's hardly any storage and the size magnifies any clutter) has meant I've accumulated less stuff than I otherwise might have done. I also never bought a lot of basic household items when I moved to Seattle because my roommate already had them, which is at least less to move, donate, or sell. I am excited to downsize, but the idea of actually doing it freaks me out.

4) I haven't been able to run this week. I think I could actually deal with all of those other things, if I could run. I've taken the week off thanks to a flare-up of sciatica in my left hip, which made it really painful to even walk (it's loads better now, thankfully, but I haven't tried running on it yet...maybe later today). So, I haven't been able to resort to my favorite stress-relieving activity, which is NOT helping my mood one bit. I'm also worried about my upcoming race schedule. I WILL do Disneyland, no matter what, but Eugene is almost certainly out (the race that I really wanted to PR) and Lake Chelan is iffy. Which sucks. A lot.

I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that I WILL get through this. But, it's just always hard to keep trucking when you're in the middle of a perfect stress storm. There are very exciting things waiting for me just down the road (baby brunch club! new friends to run with! a new ice skating club! volunteering at the NYC Marathon! hopefully seeing my friends in the UK!), so I just have to keep remembering that it will all sort itself out soon enough. But, please know that it isn't you, if I seem grumpy.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Disney Princess Half Recap (or...MY BEST FRIEND IS HAVING TWINS!!!)

(Yes, I KNOW this is like six months late. Oh, well. In my defense, I couldn't actually write this recap at the time of the race anyway, because the things that made this race special to me were not public knowledge....)

I will start this by stating, for the record, that I met absolutely none of the goals that I’d set out for myself at Disney Princess (well, other than my goal to beat my time from 2011). But, the memories from that race are ones that I will cherish forever.

Rewind to Thursday morning in the main dining room at Port Orleans Riverside, when I’m BARELY coherent after getting in very, very late the night before. My best friend (Duchie) & her husband had flown in the night before from Chicago and I hadn’t seen them yet. Cue the hugs and squealing as we reunite. I notice that they exchange a “look” and I knew SOMETHING is up (seriously, I’ve known this woman for 16 years: I know when something is up), so I demand to know what’s going on. At which point she shows me an ultrasound of two tiny blobs. Cue MAJOR SQUEALING. And HUGGING. And tearing up. And then she says: “did you see how many there were?” And ZOMG, MY BEST FRIEND IS HAVING TWINS! They’ve only just found out themselves and she’s about eight weeks pregnant.

My original plan was to run the half at marathon goal pace (I was in training for the Eugene Marathon at the time). We started off at that pace, more or less, but it wasn’t super easy for either of us. The humidity always kills me (although I know I could have pushed and done it) and…she was 8 weeks pregnant. I think there was a moment, around mile 5 (I remember that we could see the backside of Space Mountain), when it was obvious from her breathing that she was having a tough time. Like way tougher than it should have been for her at that pace: she’s a 2:06ish half marathoner and we were on pace for 2:15. That was the first time I really realized how big an impact this pregnancy was going to have (and already had had) on her body. I think we both realized that in order to finish the race in whatever manner was safest for her and the tiny, precious cell blobs growing inside of her, we were going to have to throw “goal paces” out the window, slow down, and listen to what her body was saying.

Duchie kept telling me to go ahead and leave her. I told her there was no fucking way that I was leaving her. For one thing, if anything happened, I needed to be there to help her (and I knew that her husband and family were counting on me to get her through this race). And, I kind of already knew that this was going to be our last chance to run together for a really long time (indeed, her doctor told her NO MORE RUNNING at her appointment the following week). No way was I going to sacrifice this last run with my best friend and best running buddy for a chance at a PR. No PR means more than friendship.

From then on, we slowed down. We took some long walk breaks to get down gels and when her energy was down. We did a potty stop. We filled up our water bottles at least twice. We ran pretty slowly, but steadily. We chatted & laughed & strategized. But, we STILL didn’t stop for photos (although I told her that we’d HAVE to stop if Rucifee was out on the course…), because…it’s a race, not a meet & greet.

My absolutely favorite moment was when a little boy along the side of the course pointed at us, in our matching yellow shirts and Skirt Sports skirts and yelled: “TWINS!” Oh, kid, you had no idea!

For the record, Duchie later admitted to me that she hadn’t told her doctor that she was planning to run a half marathon. She DID tell him that she was going to Disney World, but might have accidentally on purpose omitted the reason for the trip. I’m really glad that she did! That race made me so, so happy. I have no idea what our final time was (2:27? 2:26?), but I’ll never forget running through the Castle and across the finish line hand in hand, with our arms raised in triumph. Duchie is one BAMF. And I do mean “mother.”

Thursday, August 08, 2013

My Best Tips for the Disney Princess

I’ve run in quite a number of races where you pull up in a parking lot, grab your bib and t-shirt, and start running. They’re low key and don’t take a lot of planning. Princess is NOT that race. The logistics are complicated. And a little bit of knowledge can go a long way, so here are a few things that I’ve learned:

DO get a bus as early as possible. The first year we ran, we stayed in All Star Sports. The line wrapped through the main building and all the way around the pool. I think we were in line for about half an hour, but the trip itself was pretty quick. This year, we stayed at Port Orleans: Riverside. Remember that the race buses will pick up at all of the shuttle stops at POR – we just walked to the nearest one and caught the first bus that stopped. BUT, a ton of people came behind us and I don’t think they all got on that bus. Traffic was horrible: it took us nearly an hour to get from the hotel to Epcot (a bus lane would have been a hella good idea, runDisney). Then, it was a long walk to bag check (and potties). It’s another long walk to the corrals. We were on one of the first buses of the morning and we got to our start corral with about 5 minutes to spare (and we’d been hurrying!). You’ll have a lot more of a time buffer if you’re starting further back, but do NOT underestimate how long it can take you to get to the start line.

DO plan where your spectators will be. We had a rough idea of where we’d see Duchie’s husband and my cousin, based on where he’d been two years before. Even so, it was pretty obvious that there were a lot more spectators than before and we had to do some searching. It really helped to know approximately where they would be and what they were wearing/what their signs looked like. It isn’t a half bad idea for them to have a balloon or something, too. If they’re good, they can catch you at least three times on the course! Make sure they sign up for runner tracking, too, but tell them not to be too alarmed if it doesn’t work (it's buggy).

Related: DON’T tell your spectators to go to the start line. They’re going to be on the other side of a four lane highway with a berm down the middle. There’s no way you’re going to see them or they’re going to see you. Just tell them to go to wait outside Magic Kingdom (and get a coffee while they wait), instead.

DO think about breakfast. Plan out what you’ll be eating/drinking before the race. POR has coffee makers in the room, so our morning tea/coffee was sorted. When we stayed at All Star Sports, we brought our own kettle to boil hot water for tea and oatmeal. I think we both just bought an extra bagel and cream cheese the day before the race this year and stashed them in the room to eat on the way to the race. Do not count on the quick service to be open for you to get food the morning of the race: it won’t be. I also spend a lot of time fantasizing about my post-race breakfast while running. Mickey waffles and bacon are the breakfast of champions. FACT.
DO bring your own fuel. Disney only gives out energy gels once along the course (around mile 8). Unless you’re fast (and this is Princess, so, honestly, the chances are that you aren’t…even I’m “Disney” fast and I’m not fast at all), you’re going to need more than one of those little puppies. Bring it. I think I did three gels this year: one before the start, one around mile 4 and the one at mile 8. Plan this, practice it, and don’t just think that what’s provided out on the course will be enough. Also, if you aren’t used to heat & humidity, think about carrying your own water, too. I carry this water bottle, but do whatever works for you...

DO hold hands. If you want the photographers to capture that moment of you and your best friend running through the castle/crossing the finish line together, HOLD HANDS. Otherwise, they’ll crop you out of your friend's photo. And that would suck. We got pretty awesome photographic results with the hand holding method!

DO plan how to meet up with your family and friends afterwards. We’ve found that right outside the baggage tents is really good (bag check is better at Disney than anywhere I’ve ever seen), because they’re sorted by last name. As long as you checked a bag: you WILL be exiting through a specific tent “door.” That way, you can’t miss each other.

2011 - but for an idea of the engraving...
DO pack some cash. If you want to get your medal engraved, they have someone who will do it on site. I think it’s $20 and that it’s money well-spent.

DO wear your medal to the parks. This serves a dual purpose: showing off your awesome bling (the cast members are super cute and will ooh and ahh over you) and jump-starting your recovery with some gentle walking. I wore my compression tights (under a dress…yes, I’m super stylish with recovery wear). Hey, whatever works. But, you know what: we CLOSED down the Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom that night. It was amazing (no, I really have no idea how we had the energy for it).

Monday, August 05, 2013

Ragnar Northwest Passage Recap

I appreciate the irony of the fact that race recaps are my absolute favorite thing to read on other peoples’ blogs, but that I’m absolutely terrible about posting them on my own. And, it’s especially ironic that the races I feel most passionately about are the ones that I haven’t recapped: it’s as though they’re intensely personal experiences that I want to keep close and am reluctant to share with the world. BUT, I promise that I will try to go back over a few of the big races from the first seven (SEVEN!?!) months of the year, if only so I can look back here in a few more months and smile.

But, I’ll start with Ragnar.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the relay races that have swept the country in the past few years, Ragnar runs a series of 36-hour events based on the same general concept – 12 people, two vans, and 200 miles (ack, look at lawyer Joyce, automatically following Bluebook rules on writing out numbers, even in her blog). Basically, everyone’s assigned a number (Runner #1-12). The first six runners (Van #1) run their six legs in order, passing off the magical slap bracelet “baton” at exchanges. Then, Runner #6 passes the baton off to Runner #7, who kicks off Van #2’s legs, while Van #1 has 5-6 hours to rest, eat, and generally recuperate. This process continues until everyone has run three legs.

A few weeks ago, I ran Ragnar: Northwest Passage, a 196-mile (or more, depending on whether you got lost along the way) race from the Canadian Border to Whidbey Island. Back sometime in the spring, I was asked to join the Ladies of the Green Lake team, which needed a few new members to make up for people who hadn’t returned from last year. I knew a few of the women and, after they assured me that they didn’t care about my pace (I was definitely one of the slower members of the team), I signed on. BEST choice EVAR.

Ragnar Tip #1: if you have the option, joining an experienced team is kind of great – they know how things should be done already and can calmly deal with all of your “OMG, I’M SO NERVOUS/WHAT IS GOING ON/WHY DID I SIGN UP FOR THIS/WHAT IF I GET LOST” freakouts. Thanks, guys!

I was Runner #3, so I was in Van #1 (which I picked because a vet told me that the first van has a more normal sleeping schedule). My three runs were:
  • An 8.3 miler at 12:45pm, so I was completely exposed to full sunlight, no shade, in about 80-degree heat. Oh. And there were hills. And I got passed by a million fasties (your start is based on your team’s anticipated pace; we started relatively late, but I was one of the slowest on the team). It was HARD. But there were stunning views of Mt. Baker!
  • A 6.6 miler at 10:45pm. This one was pitch black and flat flat flat flat flat. It was actually kind of cool. I spend the first four miles of it tucked right behind another guy. Every time I got close enough to pass (that’s called a “kill” in relaying), he’d speed up juuuuuuuust enough to stay ahead of me. But, at about 4 miles, his legs fell off and I got around him. I can’t say that I managed to maintain my early pace for the rest of the leg either, but I had more than enough to never see him again. Oh. And my calf started cramping again, like it did at Lake Sammamish. Apparently my legs actually hate flat running. Pity. Most of the run, it almost felt like I was drunk (I definitely wasn’t) and it felt really hard to keep running in a straight line, which I chalk up to running in the pitch black with pretty low energy reserves.
  • 2.4 miles at 8:30am. Which I killed. Not gonna lie. I paced the first two runs cautiously, knowing that I had to hold something in reserve to get me through all three legs. And, since I didn’t have to do that anymore, I turned on the burners for a smokin’ run.
I feel like there is SO MUCH more that I could say about Ragnar. I did really enjoy the experience, especially getting to know my vanmates and OMG COWBELLING AND YELLING FOR EVERY SINGLE RUNNER WE PASSED ALONG THE WAY (note: lots of vans didn’t do this – they just drove past you. Which is LAME and ought to be against the rules)! But my biggest takeaway from the whole thing was: “It was HARD.” I’m proud of the runs I pushed out and knowing that my teammates were waiting was both exciting and came with it’s own kind of pressure. I enjoyed and hated that at the same time.

Ragnar was also special in another way: about two weeks before the race, I’d taken over Seattle Green Lake Running Group’s defunct twitter account (@sglrg, hollah!). We’d had one for a while, but no one was manning it. And that’s not cool in social media world: we definitely needed to make sure that someone could at the very least, answer any questions that someone might have about the group or one of our runs. There are some amazing social media/twitter users out there in the running community (oh hai, @oiselle) and I felt like I’d been watching them long enough to get a very, very basic sense of how to use twitter to engage with current and potential members. I knew Ragnar would be a big opportunity for us on twitter, so I spent a lot of time during the race (with some help) sending out updates and retweeting things that our runners had posted (btw, a really small percentage of our runners have twitter accounts and most have no idea how awesome twitter is…I need to spread that gospel). The social media aspect of it was really fun and I definitely learned a lot about how to use it as a tool for promoting our group!

Ragnar Tip #2: Take your phone. And take a photo of your leg map. It makes you feel a lot less anxious about the possibility of getting lost and it might just help your team avoid adding an extra 10 miles to the race, therefore finishing fifth in your division, instead of first. It will also help you avoid being the girl who got lost and ended up running on I-5. That really happened. No, it wasn’t me!

I would, hands down, say that SGLRG MADE Ragnar for me! We had about 150 runners out there, including 11 teams made up of our runners exclusively. And it was the coolest thing, when we’d run into each other out at the exchanges or running. There was a lot of friendly smack talk and a lot of van “tagging” going on and it was just so much fun to see everyone! Ragnar felt like a big old party to hang out and act like little kids! It was just so awesome.

Ragnar Tip #3: Take a sleeping mask for the gym where everyone sleeps at the major exchanges. There’s a lot of ambient light and the mask blocks that out. It also helps if you manage to still have the ability to sleep anywhere, as long as you’re lying down. Even a little helps you feel less like a zombie. The free coffee is even better for that, though.

Finally, I’d like to list of the things that kept me sane and running through Ragnar, in case it helps anyone else plan for a future relay (or just so I can refer to it next year):
  • A warm cozy hoodie and sweat pants. It gets cold.
  • PILLOW. I mean, you need a sleeping bag, too, but the pillow is KEY. I couldn’t believe that some people thought that they didn’t need it!
  • Snacks. Obviously. My favorites were peanut butter pretzels and pouches of banana applesauce from Trader Joe’s. And my shelf-stable chocolate milk “juice boxes.” The milk and the smoothies were great for when I didn’t feel like eating real food right away after a leg: I could at least get those down to start the recovery and ensure that my fuel reserves didn’t get too low.
  • Foam roller and stick. The stick was great, because you could do it even when you had to hop in the van immediately after finishing your leg, because the next one was short (usually you had at least 5-10 minutes before you needed to book it to the next exchange). Jasyoga’s vanyoga was also a hit. Legs up the seat in front of you!
  • Jugs of water. It was great to refill as often as we wanted to, from our own reserves, rather than having to worry about finding water along the way. I also carried water on my two longer runs – I couldn’t believe that a fair number of people opted not to carry it on that long leg! I knew that ifI started the race by dehydrating myself, the next 24 hours were not going to be fun.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Eugene Marathon Date Change

Well, the big running news of the day (aside from the announcement of the Oiselle team...) from the Pacific Northwest is that the Eugene Marathon changed its date from the end of April to the end of July.

Now, that's not as crazy as it sounds out here, because our weather is basically amazing all year 'round. And, if anything, it's helpful from a running perspective, because it'll happen after the local runners have had a chance to acclimatize to the heat (or, you know, what we call heat), rather than running the risk of an early hot day when we aren't ready for it.

BUT, I'm seeing some very mixed reactions on twitter, which basically fall into two categories (and now I've perused facebook, I'd say that it's actually overwhelmingly negative):

If you live in the PNW (so MOST of the people who have run/were planning to run Eugene): "OMG, that's the same weekend as San Francisco and a week after Ragnar Northwest Passage and there's NO WAY that I'm doing that double! And it'll be way hotter than April! This stinks: we just lost our favorite spring marathon. Guess that I'll have to go run Vancouver this year."

If you don't live in the PNW: "AWESOME! I've always wanted to run Eugene and now it doesn't conflict with all of the other marathons (Boston), plus I won't have to train through the snow and ice! It's a summer marathon without stupid hot, horrible weather! I'm so in!!!" ...except for the people who are like "OMG, it's way too hot where I am to train for a July marathon..."

My running club definitely seems to be in the first category, since Ragnar is one of our favorite & biggest races of the year.  I'm lobbying hard already for our new target spring race to be North Olympic Discovery, which I think is the best and most perfectly organized race anywhere in Washington. And I was hoping to fly back for NODM already, so getting to meet up with my SGLRG friends would make it even better.

I totally get why Eugene is changing dates. I think they want to be more of a national marathon and I definitely think that this will help them attract more people from outside the Pacific Northwest. But, I think it's kind of a shame that we've lost an amazing spring marathon. (Ask me again in October: I might feel differently if I get into London this year.) And given the negative reaction I'm seeing, I'm not convinced it was a very good idea.

Finally, and dear Eugene Marathon organizers: I might be a lot more excited about the race coinciding with the "Celebration Expo" if I knew what the heck that was...and no, google doesn't know either. Is is the IAAF World Juniors? Anyone know?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Apparently, I like the random thought lists...

Three random thoughts for today:

1. I took over the Seattle Green Lake Running Group twitter account. It's been really fun to try out what I've learned by watching the social media experts and to connect to other runners. It's a small start, but I know I've already recruited at least one new runner for the group! I'm also pretty excited to see how we manage the twitter beast for the Ragnar Relay this weekend...I'm working on coordinating it with our fearless group leader.

2. Rangar is this weekend. I'm not going to lie - I'm pretty nervous. I'm not sure I'm in shape for it and the heat (heat is a relative concept...80 is CRAZY hot for Seattle) is not my favorite thing to run in.... But, I'm really hoping that I'll get there and be with my van-mates and it will be amazing. KEEP THINKING HAPPY THOUGHTS!!!

3. My job ends the third week of September. I've got a page and a half list of specific projects that I need to finish before then (and more could always be added). It's starting to freak me out, especially since there are so few weekends when I'm in Seattle and can cram in a few more hours to work on getting things done. I am going to have to have a laser focus on getting everything done as efficiently as I can, as well as managing my summer interns. I love working with interns, but it does generally take a lot of work to get them up to speed.... I just have to keep on repeating, just like we did in high school, that IT WILL ALL GET DONE.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Few Random Thoughts

DUDE! I had an AMAZING progressive tempo run tonight!!! The theory (courtesy of Mr. Higdon), is to gradually build up to 10K pace throughout the course of the run, starting slowly and then working back down to super easy pace (like a pyramid). So, my goal was: 5 minutes at 10:45, 5 minutes at 10:15, 2.5 minutes at 10:00, 5 minutes at 9:30, 2.5 minutes at 10:00, 5 minutes at 10:15, 5 minutes at 10:45. And, I was kind of hitting that, but it felt SO much harder than I thought those paces should!

As it turns out, Mr. Garmin was set to show me average pace, not lap pace. So, for example, during my fastest interval, I was going fast enough to bring my average overall pace down to 9:30, not running at 9:30 pace. I'm just impressed with myself! What I thought was 9:30? WAS AN 8:18 PACE! (Which is a minute faster than my 10K pace, btw. I think it's faster than my 5K PR pace, too.)

And, then I went to Jasyoga and it was awesome. And now I'm relaxed and stretched out.

Other thoughts:

1. Oiselle and their criteria for the "flock:" awesome. Go read it on their blog. These are the kinds of things running SHOULD be about. As I've said before (not here) about Oiselle: come for the t-shirts, stay for the ethos.

2. Speaking of Oiselle: SAMPLE SALE! July 27!! OMGOMGOMG! And, brunch with other bloggers afterwards! It'll be fun to meet people who I chat with on twitter, in person!

3. Rucifee actually ate a can of wet food! He has always sniffed his nose at wet food! Maybe I've just accidentally been starving him? I'd really like to move him off dried food, to some extent, so I think he'll be getting half and half, if he shows interest in a few more cans of wet food.

4. I might expand on this later, but I'm tired of gimmick races. Stuff it, corporate color/mud/obstacle/zombie/bad prom dress/cosmic/light/whatever runs. After the Dumbo, I am only paying to run races put on by local promoters and charities. The money stays in our communities and they're generally smaller, more intimate, more awesome races anyway.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Firecracker 5000

I'll go ahead and say it: I love the Firecracker 5000, Seattle's local Fourth of July (ok, so it starts at 11:55pm on July 3rd) 5K! I'm an evening runner, so I'm pretty happy on late night runs ( the spirit of true disclosure, I had to pre-game with a latte, because midnight is WAY beyond my bedtime). Plus, it's just a little wacky. And involves glow sticks! This is also my roommate's favorite course and it's fun to have company.

I mean, not that I was "alone," because there was a very healthy Seattle Green Lake contingent at the race:

Yes, I KNOW this photo is atrocious
Woooooo, SGLRG! We had some amazing performances and it's always SO fun to see my running buddies!

So, roommate & I got down to the Seattle Center around 10:45 and had no trouble finding street parking. Next order of business: bibs - which went so much more smoothly than last year, when they lost Shana's registration. The shirt, however, was pretty atrocious. Just as an aside - they moved the race from the stadium to the area around the big fountain at the Seattle Center this year. While the first little bit of the course was still way too crowded (WTF, lumping the 8-12 minute milers all together and calling us JOGGERS?!?), I definitely think this was an improvement. Then, off to the SGLRG photo.

And maybe a few other photos:
Finally, we got into position and took off! So, the original plan for the weekend involved another 5K in Montana, so I'd decided to take this one easy and pace Shana (I'd also done a session with my trainer earlier in the evening, so an attempt to push the pace super hard probably wasn't on the cards anyway). We went out WAY too fast with a 10:31 mile, so the next two miles involved me chugging along slowishly and prodding her to keep running when she took walk breaks. She was definitely hitting some walls, but never came to a complete stop and didn't hit me upside the head when I told her that it was time to pull it together and keep running.

Somewhere on the last major hill, on one of the walk breaks, we got passed by a...larger...gentleman in a very tight neon green shirt who berated Shana for not going "slow and steady." Which...F--- OFF! I'm sorry, but there's no place for criticizing other people's runs! You can do it in your head all that you want, but don't actually say anything mean to another runner! I mean, if that was his mantra and his goal for the race was to run the whole thing, then awesome, but you don't tell other people how to run their race (without their express permission, obviously). It was obnoxious. Needless to say, that gave Shana a little extra push to pass his butt and stay ahead.

I was super proud of her - she got a 20 second PR and came within a whisker of doing a sub-12 pace for the race. SO CLOSE! And she was totally going to puke at the finish line. Job done! (And for my own satisfaction, I POWERED up the stupid Mercer hill that I hate so much, which felt amazing.)

Oh! And Mr. Slow and Steady: TOTALLY came up to us as we were retrieving my fabulous Oiselle spike bag from gear check and made some comment about how "slow and steady always wins." To which Shana replied: "too bad I beat you....," which I thought showed remarkable restraint on her part (because no blood was spattered).

Of course, several days later we both BURST out laughing when I told her to just keep it slow and steady, on one of our hikes through Glacier National Park (STUNNING photos to come).

So, yeah. Another Firecracker 5000 in the books, another glow in the dark t-shirt in the drawer, another PR for my roommate. Not a bad night at the races!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lawnerd 4 Life

My goodness, I've just had the nerdiest day possible AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

The morning started off, of course, with a healthy dose of SCOTUSblog. I'm going to have serious withdrawal symptoms after tomorrow morning, until next summer. What? You don't spend your morning bus ride SCOTUSblogging? Ugh to the Voting Rights Act decision. Much love to RBG. #lawnerd for life

Later, some colleagues and I went up to the Ninth Circuit, who are sitting en banc in Seattle this week. (Usually, when the Circuit, which is the Court just below the U.S. Supreme Court, hears cases, they do so in panels of three judges. After the panel has issued its decision, the Circuit can decide to hear a case "en banc," or in a panel of 11 judges. It's a big deal and very few cases are granted an en banc hearing. So, it was a pretty exciting and rare opportunity to see the Circuit sitting in Seattle.)

Almost all of my work is governed by the decisions that the Circuit issues, so in my head they're the "high overlords on the hill." Another one of my friends refers to them as the "tallest trees in the forest." They're a BIG deal and it's FASCINATING to go see the judges in person, after spending so much time reading and rereading their opinions.

We observed a case about the circumstances under which the border patrol has reasonable suspicion to stop and search a vehicle. So, it was a pretty fun set of facts and a reasonably easy issue to understand, thank goodness, since this falls outside my specific area of expertise. The plaintiff's lawyer was dreadful and the Government's attorney was awesome. And the judges were SO FUNNY and SO SNARKY. It was way better than the panels that I've seen. I loved the sparring that was going on between them and the Government attorney: I was literally grinning from ear to ear. It's times like this, when I'm so happy watching a really, really good argument happen, that I know I'm in the right profession!

Afterwards, we all had lunch before going on a second field trip, which I'm not going to go into detail about, but it was also great. I love asking questions and getting a better perspective on how my work fits into the larger picture.

And, then, tonight, I spent an obscene amount of time watching the filibuster proceedings in Texas. In my past life, I did a LOT of Model UN, so I'm actually very, very good at parliamentary procedure. It's amazing how much you can accomplish by knowing those rules! I never thought, however, that it would mean I had some basic idea of what was going on in the Texas Senate. My political nerdy heart was oh so happy! I just swoon when people start quoting out of big books of rules. Again, this is why I'm a lawyer. I also grew up around legislators (my mom worked for the Indiana legislature for ~30 years) and I forget how much I kind of love that world. Maybe I should think about going to the Hill someday...

I know. I'm a nerd. This post isn't about running. But, I do like to remember that there are things I'm passionate about, other than running! LAW!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Joyce's Ice Dancing!

I'm working on tracking down photos from the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Half (AWESOME). Short version: pacing was the best thing ever and I absolutely loved it.

Until then, by all means, please enjoy this video from the "ice show" my adult ice dance class was in...I'm the lead dancer in the group that starts to the right of the camera - that my roommate managed to follow most of the time. I'm rather pleased at how well it turned out - it looks a lot more like it did in my head than I ever expected!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

3 Mile Tempo & Spirit of the Marathon

I am really terrible at this blogging thing.

So, just wanted to comment on tonight's run, really...I'm into week 2 or so of official "I'm GOING to PR a half marathon this fall, which will involve me actually training for a half marathon for a change" training. Tonight was my first official tempo run at goal pace (I'm not saying what that is right now).

It was only three miles, but I'm torn between being cool with having finished it with each of those three miles at or just under goal pace (with some hills thrown in, because this is Seattle and even the flat routes have hills) and harrumphing because it felt so hard. (I am also harrumphing because the 18 pound cat has decided to sit right on top of my arms as I'm typing. RUCIFEE!) I think I need to focus on the positives here, but there's a little part of me that's a little scared, because I know that my goal for Eugene is ambitious. And, besides, that's what training's for, right?

BUT, the part that really, really sucked is that some asshats threw fireworks out their car windows at me WHILE I WAS RUNNING. Sure they were "just" those little poppers that explode when they hit the ground, but it was friggin' scary. WHO DOES THAT!? Especially on Capitol Hill?? Fuckwads. I shouted at them, because there wasn't much else I could do. I was less scared than I could have been, because lots of other people were around and heard it happen, so I didn't feel so vulnerable. Still, I'm glad that I don't do much running with music these days, because I might have been less aware of what was going on.

Spirit of the Marathon II

Went to Spirit of the Marathon II last night, just like every other runner in the country. It was a fun outing with my running club besties, but I didn't love the movie (and I do dearly love the original - I've watched it more times than I care to mention and it STILL makes me tear up). Mostly, the narrative structure didn't work for me in the same way.

In SOTM I, you meet the runners as they're training and see their build-up, which is simultaneously building up to the emotional climax of the movie - the race itself. Here, we met the runners on race morning and the directors cut their stories in amid footage of them running the race. I just didn't feel like this structure built the same emotional connection with the runners, nor did it feel like we were on a journey together. It was more like: "here are people running a marathon...yay!" It lessoned the impact of the race and, frankly, ignored what I have learned, over two marathon training cycles, which is that the training is where you learn to be a marathoner. It isn't actually about the race at all, but the journey to the start line. SOTM II just didn't capture that for me the way that the original did. But, I'm glad I went and I'm glad to have seen it (like everyone else in the world, I now think the Rome Marathon course looks AH-MA-ZING)!

Yay SGLRG Movie Night!

Monday, May 20, 2013

SIFF, So Far

One of my resolutions for the year was to do more cultural things and one of the biggest things on my list was to make sure that I took advantage of the offerings at the Seattle International Film Festival this year. SIFF runs for 25 days in May-June and it kicked off last Thursday. To force myself to commit to choosing and going to movies, I bought a six-pack of tickets. They work out to $9.50 each, as opposed to the usual single ticket price of $12. I LOVE that you can buy tickets in advance and I've loved the energy of the festival. (I've only ever been to one other film festival, when I happened to be visiting my sister during the Telluride Festival - I think it cost $25/movie if there were even any empty seats after the passholders were admitted. I didn't do much of the festival between spending my time with my adorable nephews and niece, rather than standing in lines, and the price. It was all very industry and the crowd was pretty old, so it just didn't feel all that exciting.)
Film #1: Much Ado About Nothing
This is Joss Whedon's new film, filmed in 12 days right after he finished The Avengers. I really liked it, although there's a full blog post coming about it as soon as I finish re-watching the Kenneth Branagh version. It is absolutely hilarious - Whedon's actors are fantastic comedians, although both roommate and I struggled to understand them. I think this is the film's fault, rather than our ears, since I'm really not having any problem with the Branagh version. More to come, but it was pretty cool that there was a Q&A afterwards with the stars! My friends were super nerdy jealous.
Film #2: Five Dances
I'm a sucker for a dance film. The dancing was incredible. But, you know, I really like structured narratives.  This film didn't have that, although it did have wonderful characters who I enjoyed getting to know. It was very film festival and I did enjoy it. I also enjoyed the Q&A afterwards with the director (BEST thing about film festivals is that people come to talk about their work). I wasn't displeased with my choice, but it wasn't the best thing ever, either.
Film #3: Our Nixon
I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. Yes, I know. Only I would choose to spend my Sunday afternoon with a documentary about Nixon, but I've really enjoyed Nixon/Watergate history ever since I wrote my IB Extended Essay on Watergate press coverage back in high school. (And, frankly, although the details are a bit fuzzier now than they once were, it was really helpful to have some background knowledge going into the film).

Apparently, three of the men who were most important in the Nixon White House and who all ultimately served time for their role in the Watergate cover-up (H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Dwight Chapin), obsessively took home movies on their Super 8 video cameras throughout their time on the campaign and in the White House. The tapes were seized by the FBI as part of the Watergate investigation and the producers of this film paid for the restoration and preservation of those films after they were unclassified a few years ago (yay for historical preservation!). All of the footage and all of the dialogue in the film was archival, a combination of the Super 8 tapes, news reports and other television footage, and recordings from the secret taping system. Most, but not all, of the music was also archival.

This was incredible. I loved the stories that it was telling - about life in the West Wing (and it was very reminiscent of The West Wing), the personalities and relationships that made something like Watergate possible, and the rise and fall of the Nixon presidency. I loved seeing the footage: this made the 1970s and Watergate feel so much more real than it ever had before (the footage of the trip to China is absolutely fascinating, in particular). And, frankly, it humanized the three "characters" who were at the heart of the Administration and Watergate in a way that was actually quite tragic. We're so used to these men being the villans that I was quite surprised to feel sorry for them by the end of it. And, finally, it was actually a rather funny film, as well: if the opening credits don't have you giggling, then there might be something wrong with you. A fair warning, however: YOU WILL SEE HENRY KISSINGER IN A BATHING SUIT. BE PREPARED.

Luckily, CNN will be showing Our Nixon sometime in August. Don't forget to watch!

Beat the Bridge

My trainer talked me into running the Beat the Bridge 8K at the last minute. I know 8K isn't very long (in the grand scheme of, say, marathon training - it's a HUGE victory for others and I don't mean to discount that), but it would be longer than I've run since Eugene. To say that I've been very cautious/lazy about my recovery and amping back up the miles would be...generous.

After stopping by Safeway for a bagel, I hopped the bus over to the University District from my house, although the bus was diverted, so we actually ended up walking quite a ways. I didn't mind, but I was glad that I'd left with plenty of time and, after seeing the traffic back-ups, I was pretty darn glad that I'd opted for taking the bus - even with the detours! I had no problem signing up and getting my (large) bib. I even managed to find some SGLRG'ers for a pre-race photo!
Then I raced over to the start line for another photo with the peeps from the gym, before squeezing somewhere into the corrals. When asked about my game plan, I think I said that I was aiming for 10:30s the first two miles, then to drop down to 10:00 for miles three and four, before laying it all out there for the last mile.

I went off with the third wave, but I have no idea what pace that was meant to be - the people with the signs had long-since disappeared. I wasn't super slow or super fast for the people I ended up running with, so it must have been ok?

The theory with Beat the Bridge is that you're trying to get to University Bridge before they raise it (it's a drawbridge), approximately 20 minutes after the last person crosses the start line. I knew this probably wouldn't be an issue for me, but I really, really felt like my pride would be hurt if I didn't beat the bridge. Silly, I know! I heard from other people later (ok, twitter and facebook) that they thought the bridge was raised way early, but I definitely did beat it and was long gone before it was raised. I did think it was amusing to see just how many people clearly burned up a ton of energy getting to the bridge - there was a pretty big "walk break" brigade just on the other side of the bridge!

I enjoyed this route, too. I run a lot of those streets or their adjacent trails pretty regularly, so I felt like I was familiar territory (although I'm usually on the sidewalk, not running down the middle of the street). I mean, it probably isn't going to win any awards for beauty, but they're places that I enjoy running, so I liked it. I liked that there were a few little rolling hills, because I like forcing myself to keep pushing up them and I enjoy feeling strong when I do! One of my favorites is the long ascent up the far side of University Bridge - I've run that a lot and have felt pretty pathetic doing so at times, so it was awesome to keep chugging past all the people walking it.

SO. I have to say that I was SO PLEASED with my run, which was faster and stronger than I could have imagined. My splits were 10:03, 10:00, 10:03, 9:28, and 9:04 (or it would have been, if it were a full mile), for an average of 9:44. CAN WE SAY "NEGATIVE SPLIT?!" It was a huge confidence booster to be able to drop my pace like that after a not-even-super-conservative first three miles. I mean, if I can work on my endurance, I think the speed is definitely there for a great end of summer half marathon! I think I'm absolutely guilty of underestimating my own abilities, so to run a race where I didn't get intimated by the paces and where I had the confidence to tell myself to just keep going, rather than backing off, is really, really exciting.

Although, my official time was 48:13 and 9:42 pace.
Clearly, I couldn't figure out which timing mat was the start line.
Afterwards, I met back up with the gym crowd, briefly, before fighting my way out of there, grabbing my gear, and finding the bus home. The whole post-race thing was super badly organized and a complete mess. Plus, there was hardly any food. I had to fight for a water and then, were were given a reusable shopping bag (very nice!) with a single mini Clif bar. And there were bananas. But, nothing else. I was so grateful that I still had a third of a bottle of nuun and an extra bagel in my checked bag, because there definitely wasn't enough post-race fuel for a race of this length. I don't know that I'd run it again, but, since I'll be in NJ this time next year, that really isn't much of an issue.

Oh! And it was a rather huge PR (even though it's hardly a fair comparison - I ran my only other 8K purely for fun, the day before a half marathon) by 6:24. I would have won my age group, instead of placing third, if I'd run this fast at that race! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

An update on the tendinitis

After I ran the Eugene Half, one of my friends on FB commented: “blog post or it didn’t happen.” For her sake, I apologize for the fact that this isn’t that recap, but I’ll get to that soon. I suppose, instead, it’s everything else that’s happened lately and since the last time I bothered writing about my running!

The good news is that for the first time since April 1, I was cleared to start running again for reals (and not just because I refused not to run races for which I had registered before the injury). I’m only supposed to do 2-3 miles at a time, on dirt wherever I can, and take things easy. I’ve only done one run so far and I felt super sluggish, but my leg felt perfectly fine. Hurrah! Run #2 will be tonight – I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve almost been a little scared to run, because I didn’t want to find out that I wasn’t all better.

The PT has been fantastic. I mean, it hurt, but it gave me a near-weekly excuse to start my day with Seattle’s best lattes (Vivace, if you wondered), so I didn’t mind so much. There were plungers involved, which, if you’ve never experienced that particular joy – hurts a heck of a lot. ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY USE THE MINI, IT’S ACTUALLY A BEE STING KIT, PLUNGER ON YOU. It was nice to “feel” my leg healing, by which I mean that I would think to myself “hmmm, this doesn’t hurt as much as it did last week…WINNING!”

I’ve continued to do a lot of work to strengthen the back of my legs and hips. I do a lot of ball raises for my hamstrings, monster walks for my hips and glutes, and one foot/one arm raises with a 10lb. weight for my lower leg stabilization muscles. I haven’t particularly noticed whether that’s all made a difference to my running, but I can tell you that the evil ART machine definitely did get easier with repeated use. AND, a magical thing happened at skating on Saturday. Before I got hurt, I was having the hardest time with my jumps. I could take off and do the rotation, but when I landed, I would just collapse. Like, literally, my leg would give out and I’d end up on the ice. This week, for the first time since the tendinitis started, I tried jumping and OMG, I CAN LAND THEM!!! Like, all of them – at least all of the ones that I could ever do (so…singles only and no axel). It was really exciting and, to think, all I needed to do was strengthen my hamstrings and backside!

So, I guess the big question is “what’s next?” I’ve got a goal half marathon for the end of the August that I need to start working towards, but first, I need to work on building my endurance back up. I’ve made a schedule and everything, because schedules are key for me – telling myself that I can run when I feel like it simply doesn’t work. I’ll start with 2-3 miles several times this week, before launching back into an official plan at the beginning of June. I’ve also got two more halves planned for June – I’m going back to North Olympic Discovery and I’m pacing the 2:30 group for Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle. Wow – those two races could not be more different!

If all goes to plan, I’ll have qualified for the Half Fanatics with 6 halves in 6 months – Princess, Lake Sammamish, Mercer Island, Eugene, NODM, and RnR Seattle! I swear, it’s a disease. grin

And, THEN, sometime in late September or early October, I should be moving to New Jersey for a new job!