Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Visit From H

My friend H was in town from Denver last week and I had a wonderful time getting to spend time with her again. It is so nice just spending lazy, aimless, chit-chatty time with friends. It seems like it doesn't happen all that often anymore and I miss that. Because H says she only likes blogs with lots of pictures I will try to accommodate. Sadly, it turns out I didn't take many pictures last week and what I did take was pretty much food and drink oriented.

Sunday Mike, H, JB and I had a fabulous brunch at the Hi-Life in Ballard. Afterward we took advantage of the beautiful summer day and walked down to the Ballard Locks where we spent what felt like years of our lives watching them fill the big lock with boats.

After puzzling over how much some of the boats much cost we made our way up to La Cocina on Capital Hill for their famous (to us anyway) blackberry margaritas. This was on H's list of must do activities and one I was more than happy to participate in.

Wednesday night we got to check one more item off H's Seattle tourist list with a visit to Snoqualmie Brewery, home of H's (and Kevin's) favorite beers. More tasty food and beer was consumed.

We got to spend more time with H on Saturday at Crab Fest 2008 at Fishergirl and Fisherboy's lovely Bellingham home. Kevin and I got there really late because of Torchlight but everyone was nice enough to save some crab for us. The only downside to the day was that our dear friend Kathy was stuck back in Denver and had to miss the gathering. But I am sure the call at 1:00 a.m. made her feel right at home. A big "thank you" by the way, to the The Fishers for hosting. They are such amazing hosts and always make everyone feel so welcome and at home. Thanks for having everybody up and for catching all that tasty crab!

It was so good to have our little H back in the fold. It has been almost two years since she left the Northwest but it was like she never left at all.

Weekly Training: Week Four

This is not even really worth posting. There was very little training to write about last week. I was trying to go easy this week so I had fresh legs for the Torchlight Run on Saturday. I might have gone a little too easy because the race was harder than I remember it being.

Monday - 2.8 easy miles.
Week full of nothing. Nada, zip, zilch. Not even a hint of cross-training either.
Saturday - 5.0 miles at Torchlight Run (race report on its way; I know you can't wait).

Yep, that was it. I have only done two of my weekly runs this week and I have already surpassed this mileage total.

Total Mileage: 7.8 miles.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

A belated congratulations (I was waiting on a photo) to my sweetie for summiting Mt. Rainier on July 20th!! This was his fourth summit of the beautiful mountain. Now bring on Mt. Hood!

Monday, July 21, 2008

She Would Rather Have Had Jack in the Box

I have been reading the obituaries for years. It makes sense with the type of work I do now but it is truly something I have always done and kind of enjoyed in sort of a weird way. There are so many stories and so many interesting lives out there. So many people have done such amazing things and touched many other lives. It has always seemed like a nice way to honor someone's life.

However, in all my years of reading obituaries I have never run across something as . . . um, interesting as what I read over the weekend. Please allow me to share: "Longed to be preceded in death, yet was survived by ex-husband Jack. Penny was grateful for his current wife, Joann, who granted validation, heartfelt commiseration and a measure of peace."

What the hell?! What kind of S.O.B. was Jack? How bad did this Jack have to be to be called out in someone's obituary and to have someone clearly state their wish for you to die before they do? How awful must you have been to have someone need to talk about how your current wife validated her feelings and brought her peace about how she must have been treated? How tragic to carry such bitterness and anger to the grave with you. I will never know what happened here (but admit it, aren't you curious?) but I do know that carrying that much of a grudge and that much hurt must have been a horrible burden. I feel sorry for this woman. Of course there are three sides to every story and maybe she wasn't such a peach of a gal either.

Weekly Training: Week Three

This week was a bit of a regression (there's that damn word again!) for me. I was only able to make it out to run three times last week because of pressing social engagements such as eating cheeseburgers, watching the All-Star game and drinking beer and dinner and ice cream with friends. Not very conducive to running. Even so I was able to squeeze in close to the same mileage as last week. However, this was hard again. Every run was a challenge and a chore. Bring back last week!
Monday - Three miles; easy pace.
Friday - 5.3 miles with attempted tempo run. I don't even remember how far I got with the tempo part. I believe it was only 1.5 miles.
Saturday - 7 mile long run on the Burke Gilman. Long and torturous and short walk breaks were needed.
Needless to say, unless you count lifting burgers and beer to my face as cross training, there was no cross training this week. But they were big beers so that counts, right?

Total mileage: 15.3

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Walt Disney Is A Genius!

After hearing that today was the 53rd anniversary of Disneyland I got to thinking about my family's trip to the happiest place on Earth in 1977.

I was only six but I remember so much about this trip. I remember eating Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes for breakfast and watching the fireworks over the park from our hotel balcony. I remember room service lemonade and driving the cars in Autopia. I remember Dad being almost giddy with excitement and having so much fun; maybe even more so than us kids. It was hot and I wanted to go back to the room and change out of my green polyester pants with the appliqued frog on the front of the lower leg. Dad had other plans and we had to go on the Jungle Boat Ride (which I found very realistic as a child) before I could change into shorts and get comfortable.

I remember my first plane ride ever on the now-defunct Western Airlines and the stuffed aristocratic yellow bird leaning back on a pillow named "Wes" that my brother got on that trip. I still recall the plastic Pluto toy that we bought as a souvenir for our poodle Jacques and the small stuffed turtle (instead of a Disney character) that I wanted for my souvenir. Still have the turtle. I remember being terrified on Space Mountain and refusing to go on the Matterhorn with everyone else after that experience. While Angie, Matt and Dad rode on the Matterhorn, Mom and I ate my first onion rings and watched Snow White and some of her dwarfs walk by. We were enthralled by the Electric Light Parade and were thrilled to meet the costumed characters.

I remember the animatronic Mr. Lincoln and the Country Bear Jamboree. The Haunted Mansion and the Pirates of the Caribbean, which I recalled had a HUGE, exhilarating drop towards the end of the ride. When I went back as an adult I found this not to be the case at all. I remember the submarine ride and the small leak in our submarine that I found unnerving.

My favorite memory and one that lives on in our family lore is of my mother. She, like everyone, was in awe of the park. Everything was perfect. The animatronic people and animals were so lifelike. Every detail had been attended to. This attention to detail amazed and impressed my mother to no end. One day we were standing on a foot bridge overlooking a small pond with lots of other people around us and she was expounding on the beauty of the birds swimming in the pond. "Look at how lifelike they are," she said. "How can anyone make them so real? I just can't believe this place. Walt Disney is a GENIUS!" On and on she went, raving about the genius of Disney . . . and then the birds flew away. Even at the tender age of six I knew my mother had just said something ridiculous and hysterical and we all dissolved in pools of laughter. We still kid her about this to this day. I had my own much less public "Walt's a genius" moment of my own years later involving what I thought were fake flowers. My friend Vicki likes to remind me of this on occasion. The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree I guess.

It was a wonderful trip and I loved my trips back as an adult for my sister's secret Pirates of the Caribbean wedding and the trip with my friends Vicki and Bill a few years later. It truly is a magical place and might indeed really be The Happiest Place on Earth.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Lutherans Got a Good One

I had the pleasure to attend the ordination of a friend of mine this weekend. As you are probably all too well aware, I am not a religious person and have in pretty much decided that atheism is where it is at. That being said, it was an honor to be invited to witness such an important event in the life of a truly wonderful person. If there is going to be religion in the world at least there will be kind, honest, open, non-judging, intelligent people like my friend Kendra helping to lead the way.
Having never attended any church service other than for weddings and funerals the whole experience was a bit strange to me. I kind of felt like there was a blinking light above me that flashed "Non-Believer, Non-Believer" over and over again so that everyone could tell I didn't belong in there. There was one point when everyone spontaneously got up and started shaking hands with each other and going to other pews and greeting people. They were saying things involving words like "peace be with you" and something about "blessing" and all I kept thinking was "what is going on here?" and (most importantly) "Don't make eye contact. Don't make eye contact. If you don't look at them they won't come over here!". I saw one parishioner out of the corner of my eye look like he was going to try touch my hand and say church-y things to me but my deft use of uncomfortable body language and the lack of eye contact saved me from interaction. Needless to say this interacting with your neighbor thing made me a little uncomfortable. Come to find out, this happens at services all the time. I was totally unaware.
Oh, and the Pastor referred to the non-baptized (hello, sitting in one of your pews) as "enemies of the church". Nice to know I have a title.
Seriously though, I wish Kendra all the best in her calling. I admit to jealousy that someone feels so strongly about something she is willing to devote not just her career but her entire existence to a particular calling. I wish my path in life were that clear. Rarely do we get a chance to celebrate those kinds of moments in our lives and I am proud to have helped Kendra celebrate hers. You Lutherans got a good one here! Treat her well.

Weekly Training: Week Two

Finally! A string of runs that actually felt good. It has been awhile since I have had that and I gladly welcome the return of "The Runs That Do Not Suck".

Monday - Easy 3.1 miles.
Tuesday - Speed work. Five miles including one mile warm-up and one mile cool down with three miles of 400 meter intervals. Two good speed work sessions in back to back weeks. I think I have learned to pace myself appropriately so I don't tire myself out so much I can't complete the scheduled miles. Only took me a year.
Thursday - Easy 2 miles.
Friday - Cross Train. Swam 22 minutes of laps at the pool. This fatigued my noodly bookkeeper arms something fierce. Clearly time to work on some upper body strength.
Saturday - 6 mile long run. This was meant to be a 7 miler but the left foot numbness that has been plaguing me on and off for a year reared its ugly little head big time and actually caused me to stop at mile 4 and sit and let the feeling come back into the foot. After my rest break I managed to cobble together another two miles but it was tough. I had lost the good rhythm so there were a few stops along the way. Other than the foot numbness and then pain the run was actually feeling good. I have self-diagnosed this issue as a Morton's neuroma. My doctor's appointment in a few weeks will hopefully come up with a way to make it stop and make sure I am not damaging my foot in any way by continuing to run on it.

Total mileage for the week: 16.10

The running is starting to gel again after two months of feeling like a big, slow, lumbering Yeti. Now if I can get this foot issue under control...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekly Training

First off let me say that I know these soon to be weekly training reports will be of no interest to almost anyone who might read this blog. If you aren't interested in running you will not hurt my feelings by ignoring them completely. I am posting them to keep me motivated, keep me honest and for the few people I know who run and might be interested or willing to offer insight into my training highs and lows. Besides, I have been reading a lot of running blogs the last few months and find these sort of helpful. So here goes...

Sunday - Cross train. Three mile round trip hike to Rattlesnake Ledge with 1100 foot elevation gain. Much easier than last year!
Tuesday - Four miles including two miles tempo. First successful speed session in a long time.
Wednesday - Easy two miler around the neighborhood.
Thursday - Race day! 3.1 miles in the Firecracker 5000.
Saturday - 4.4 miles that were supposed to be seven but my legs were a little dead. Disappointed I couldn't turn this into the long run it was supposed to be.

Total running mileage for the week: 13.5

I wanted the mileage a little higher but I am pleased I finally worked up to four times a week.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Firecracker 5000 Race Report

I am regressing. Not sure how that is possible but I am actually getting slower when I run. Kevin and I ran in the Firecracker 5000 on Thursday night and had a great time in spite of the not so great times.
We decided to run this race on a whim Tuesday night and I am glad we did. The main draw is that the race starts at 11:55 p.m. "How often do you get the chance to run a race at midnight," we said? We had to do it for the experience. It was also refreshing to go into a race without any particular goal and to run it just for the fun. The course was around Seattle Center and was a little hilly but the only serious hill was within the first mile of the race so I still had good energy for it. Mile two felt really strong as we ran by the inebriated folks on Queen Anne Ave. Definitely feeling tired during mile three but overall I felt good and felt fast but the clock said something very different. I finished in 32:51 which is a pace of 10:36 per mile. I have only run two other 5K races in my life slower than this. I even finished this year's Furry 5K 1:17 faster than this race and I even had to walk part of that race because of the hill. What the hell? My reasoning for the slower time is 1) I ran on Tuesday and Wednesday nights trying to get in my four days a week and my legs did feel a little tired going into the race, 2) hilly course and 3) warmer temps (even at midnight) than I am quite used to yet. Or perhaps I just suck. Always a possibility.
One positive note; this race had Clydesdale divisions (men over 200 lbs. and women over 160 lbs.) and I decided to enter myself as a Clydesdale because maybe all the faster big girls would stay home this year and I could have a strong divisional placing for once. Sadly, there were a few much faster big gals but I did place 7th in the Athena (female Clydesdale division) division. Hooray! I am the seventh fastest fat girl in Seattle !!!(who chose to run this race)