Friday, July 20, 2012


I have them!  Excuses, that is.  The month is disappearing and my blog challenge hopes along with it.  A quick update so you know I'm alive!

I ran in a tunnel. It was dark. It was 2 miles.  The Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon was on July 15th and after finishing - I'll report soon - my daughter and I drove to her future college for orientation for a few days.  That will get a post as well.  And after barely being home, I'm off to have a 24+ hour slumber/running party with 11 other women at the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage.  The CN Honey Badgers are ready to make some kills!

Do you have fun summer vacation plans?  Do you ever find yourself away from home so much that the cats are mean and scold you before accepting you back into their furry lives?  Are you living out of slatted spoons and funnel cake pans because all the dishes are dirty?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Seattle Rock & Roll Marathon - 6/23/12

Seattle Rock & Roll Marathon - 6/23/12

Jeff and I signed up for this event the last year at the expo for a discounted price.  We found a hotel 2 blocks from the starting line, which would be at the Seattle Center instead of Tukwila as in the last years.  The course originally started in Tukwila and finished at then Qwest Field *now Century Link Field* (I keep calling it Qwest just like I find myself calling Macy's the Bon Marche).

Some runners balked at the idea of squeezing thousands of runners into the already congested downtown area.  I was thrilled!  With a 7 a.m. start and riding a bus to Tukwila, you had to get up so early, some would argue there was no point in even going to sleep.  Last year's bus fiasco left me hating race morning.  The lines  made a circuitous route around blocks of buildings and when we finally boarded a crowded bus, my bladder was screaming during the long bus ride.  I knew I would have to wait in a huge porta-potty line once I got there.  Yes, starting and finishing the race in the same location has advantages.

We drove to Seattle later than anticipated on Friday for the expo.  Rock & Roll marathons are anal about packet pickup in that you have to show your ID and no one can pick your stuff up for you. And there is no day of race pick up.  This makes it rough for people who don't live close to the expo and, you know, work! Traffic into downtown was horrible, adding at least 30 minutes into our commute.  We found a parking spot and trekked to Link stadium and entered expo heaven.  Once we claimed our race packets, we perused and sampled lots of vendors and scored lots of freebies.  The days before the race, Jeff told me to not let him sign up for next year's race.  I signed up for next year's race at a not-as-big-a-discount-as-last-year's- price and Jeff nudged me and told me to sign him up for the half.  I rolled my eyes and reminded him about what he said.  He told me to do it and I did.

After finally escaping the expo, it was nearing 6:00 and we still hadn't checked into our hotel.  Italian restaurants would likely be packed at this time and I don't like eating too late the night before marathons.  The Pyramid Alehouse was across the street so I thought that would be better than waiting in line forever at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  We had a great dinner and we made our way to the hotel.

Race Start 
5:00 a.m. Wake up and get going.  We left the hotel room at 6:45!!  I loved that.  I will definitely stay at the start again next year.  I couldn't seem to get my body...moving...if you know what I mean.  We arrived at the start, the weather muggy but not super hot.  No need for any extra layers today.  The air was electric with anticipation in a super crowded field.  I squeezed into corral 3 after wishing Jeff a good race.  We decided to meet at the "A" (for awesome!) in case I couldn't find him at the finish.

We ran through streets in downtown and just as we hit mile one, I saw an lone porta potty calling my name. I made a quick stop - something I rarely do - and got on the course within a minute. When you gotta go...

It was fun running through the city!  Some don't like it but I enjoy the distractions of people, potholes, huge buildings. I don't get to Seattle often so I did a little window shopping along the way.  My goal was to do the best I could while having fun.  The reality is I was not in contention for an award given the size of this race, plus I was not exactly running on "fresh" legs.  I figured I could probably get a BQ out of it and be happy with it.

The humidity had me soaked within miles.  I was feeling good but not super speedy.  We hit an uphill heading towards Lake Washington and I heard these two comments.  "Is that all you got?  I that ALL YOU GOT?!?" from a guy running past me.  A girl said (edited), "_ _ c _ you hill!" as we crested the top. You can figure out the blank letters.  A steep downhill deposited us near Lake Washington. About mile 5.5, the marathoners headed toward Seward Park while the halfers continued north along Lake Washington.  Miles 6-12 were less crowded with just the marathoners.  We saw the front runners coming toward us and the first female was not that far behind the lead men.  I'm sure others tried not to think about how many miles they were in front of us.

Along Lake Washington, honoring our military
Back on Lake Washington Blvd., we were once again side by side with the half marathoners, a barrier separating the different distances.  It was a good feeling for me to be passing the slower half runners, giving me some energy.  I hope that doesn't sound terrible!  I was on mile 12.5 and they were nearing 6.  Many started a long time after I did based on their corral numbers.

Miles 15-20 were spent along the Mercer Island bridge and tunnel.  I lost satellite reception in all the tunnels but it did keep track of my total time.  The Mercer tunnel was so cantered, I could not wait to get out of it. I thought it would never end.  It was fun seeing the runners in front and behind me on the out and back sections.  Terry Sentinella, the 3:30 pace leader for the first half, had passed me somewhere along the way and he broke free to run his own race after his pacing duties were done.  I would have to run super fast to get a 3:30 at this point.  I didn't feel like that would happen and was just thrilled that I didn't have any muscle cramping like the last race.

Safeco Field as seen from the Alaskan Way Viaduct
I don't know where this was!
Miles 20-26.2:  I really enjoyed this course so much better than previous years.  Some complained it was hillier (?).  I didn't really notice.  I thought it was great to not run so close to the finish line when I still had miles and miles to go.  We stayed separated from the half-marathoners throughout the race, giving us a lot more room to run than what they had.  We ran past Safeco, Century Link, could see Puget Sound and the new "Wheel" along the Seattle waterfront.  I was passing lots of runners in the last miles.  I was leap-frogging with a female runner - not in my age group - but we were definitely feeling the same energy level.

New Wheel along the waterfront
The last mile and me and runner girl had an unspoken "race on!" agreement. She would surge, I would surge. She'd get ahead on an uphill, I would push myself to catch up.  The crowds had been thickening and that pushed me harder up the hill.  The finish line was just a couple blocks ahead and I put my head down and went for it.  She did the same!  I dug deep and was able to outrun her by a few steps just at the finish line.  The clock read 3:37 but I had 3:35:46 for a chip time.  Very happy with my time and that I had no cramping, had fun, and got another BQ.

After making my way through the finish line area, collecting food and drink in my aluminum cape which I turned into a bag, I found Jeff waiting for me.  We enjoyed the finish line food and entertainment (Gym Class Heroes), collected my Pacific Peaks Medal that all Portland 1/2 and Seattle runners earned, and got a chance to catch up with Tony Phillippi in the Michelob beer garden.

Rock & Roll gets a bad rap for being overpriced and crowded.  I can definitely understand this and appreciate those who don't wish to run this kind of race.  I do think there is some price gouging going on, as it is in many other races. As long as people are willing to pay, the prices will continue to rise.  I am looking forward to next year's race!

Gym Class Heroes at the finish line

Hanging around with MM #2 Tony Phillippi

Half Marathon medals

Full marathon medals

Steven Yee (#1 MM) spies me - probably near Mercer Island

  • Overall: 289 out of 3092
  • Division: 8 out of 180
  • Gender: 50 out of 1435
  • 5 Km
  • 10 Km
  • Half
  • 17.6 Mi
  • 20 Mi
  • 25:16
  • 50:13
  • 1:45:03
  • 2:22:23
  • 2:44:13
  • Pace
  • Chip Time
  • Clock Time
  • 8:14
  • 03:35:46
  • 03:37:37

Avg Pace

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Parental Wisdom and Other Nonsense

I recall hearing, "Well she doesn't butter both sides of the broomstick!" when I was younger from a parent and I inherently knew what it meant, ridiculous as it sounded.  I knew I had the parenting gene. I tried to use this saying with my family when my daughters were young, but it didn't feel right so I dropped the forced saying.

This post is dedicated to all the worn-out, frazzled, discombobulated parents who, when forced against a wall, will squeeze out some ridiculous or borrowed saying from generations of parents.  And when we say, "Because I told you so!", we mean it!

  • Close the door!  Were you raised in a barn?
  • I suppose if _______ were to jump off the Empire State Building (or insert any really high point), you would too.
  • I am not made of money!
  • I am not a money tree!
  • For the millionth time...
  • Don't make me pull this car over!
  • Knock it off!
  • Get back here!  I'm talking to you!
  • Stop yelling! (this is almost always yelled)
  • Stop your crying or I'm gonna give you something to cry about.
  • Keep it up, missy (or mister)!
  • I don't like this any more than you do.
  • I hope you have children just like you. Payback!
  • Listen up.  All men are pigs!
  • Don't eat THAT!
  • Your face is going to freeze that way!
  • Just try me.  See what happens.
  • Someday you'll understand.
  • Go outside and play!  
  • If you're bored, I have plenty for you to do.
  • When I was a kid, we spent all day outside and never got bored.
  • Get off the computer!
  • If I have to tell you one more time!
What do you remember your parents saying when you were young?  Do you find yourself saying the same things to your children?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Photoshop this!

5th post!

Seventeen magazine is just the latest company caught with it's pants down in the Photoshop controversy.  A 14 year old girl called out the magazine's overuse of digitally altered images and 84,000 people signed a petition agreeing with her.

You can find a plethora of web sites showing you the not-so-ugly truth that models are gorgeous without altering their images yet not good enough in the editor's eyes.  The biggest issue most have, along with myself, is how this affects how we view ourselves, especially our young kids and teens.  Who could live up to the images that inundate our mailboxes and mock us as we check out in the grocery store as we hide the Ding Dongs and pork rinds from their judgmental eyes.

This got me to thinking about pictures taken at races.  If anyone needed a digitally altered picture, it is the runner at mile 20.  Listen to me, Mr. Photographer, I have run 20 miles, my quads are on fire, my hair is trying to make an escape from my scalp, gu is dried on my upper lip, salt stains my temple and those light colored shorts now look like I've peed myself.  Yet I throw my arms in the air (shoot, I forgot to shave!) and give a huge smile for you.  It comes out looking like I'm escaping a psychiatric ward, eyes mostly closed, mouth askew as if I'm saying, "Fluff!"

Fellow Maniac showing us how to pose for mile 20 pictures
So go ahead, good on ya for getting the magazine to fake their commitment to unedited pictures.  But please, if Photoshop is ever introduced to race day photos, there will be millions of happy runners!  Trust me, Runner's World doesn't show what REAL runners look like on the run.  Well, not most of us, anyway.

Photoshop, where are thou?  
Are you a runner? Do you have any bad photos you want to Photoshop?  Do you think the false images are having any effect on our society or is it all phooey?

Maui Marathon - 2009

First night on Maui

Race start!

4th post!  Here's my recap of the BEST VACATION EVER that also included the Maui Marathon.  Picture an azure blue sky, breeze blowing gently across ocean waves, tropical flowers blushing at how beautiful they are as I lounge on the deck overlooking the beach.   This post is exclusively about the marathon.

Aloha from the magic isles of Hawai'i! It's the day after the marathon and now I can put my experience in writing with some new perspective. 

Jeff and Jessica ready to run!

Jeff and Jessica ran a 5k the day before and ended feeling way overheated.  Jess won an age group award!  
Jessica with her awards

We awoke at 3:00 am, which wasn't so difficult as the time difference between Washington and here made it feel like 6:00 am, and I was anxious to start the day. Slept terrible in a different bed, different sounds. Planned to leave at 4:00 am, but instead leisurely left at 4:20ish. Not a good start as I was already nervous.

Roads were a little slow getting around the Mario Andretti Driving School of orange cones splayed along Highway 30. I'm glad Jeff was driving. We finally approached the general area of the start, but really didn't know the EXACT way to get there. Uh-oh. I assumed there would be a big sign for a mall, but I've learned in 3 days that signs aren't necessarily a given here.
After the 5k the day before the marathon

After circling some areas, we came upon a couple police women. We followed their general directions and finally saw Macy's, the parking area for the start. 5:20 am. Ran out the door to the porta-potties, a MUST before running 26.2 miles. 
Jeff and McNoodles the frog chillin' in the deck

I think I was THE LAST person to use any porta-potty there. Seriously. Waited and waited, and finally it all cleared out as the hordes of runners paraded to the start. Ran in the porta, ran out and ran to the front of the line miraculously with 3 minutes to spare. This is not chip-timed, so I wanted to get as close to the front as I dared. 

The horn blew and away we went running like crazy people in the dark. I was worried about running into a pothole at one point as there was a convenience store ahead with lights that blinded my sight directly in front of me. Running by faith for a few minutes.

The starting weather was about 76 or so. It really wasn't bad as there was a nice breeze. I don't remember running in the dark very long. Cruising along about 7 to 7:30 pace for the first half. Met some nice guys to run with from mile 4 to mile 9. I anticipated losing them on the hills, which I did. Hills and I have an ongoing battle. I peered over cliffside and saw a rusty smashed vehicle that had apparently not made the curve. Hoped it was not an omen for me.

After the rolling hills, nothing too steep, I caught up to and passed 2 of the 3 guys that I had been running with. They were slowing down, but I think I was too. At this point I think I was the 3rd female.

Sun is up, and the heat came with it. Started pouring water on me at every aid station. The sponges helped but they were not at enough aid stations. And only 2 times were they ice cold. 
Run fast!

Jeff had been following me throughout the first half of the race, giving me water and any support I needed. The first place woman begged him for the bottle of water in his hand, but he saved it for me :) My hero. I just found out that this support is against USTAF rules. 

And then the second half. Now I really anticipated the heat. And I felt like I handled the heat really well. I stayed hydrated and cool with water. I didn't feel overheated. Really. EXCEPT for the legs. Somebody lit a match in my quads and hamstrings and kept the fire burning the next 13 miles. At mile 16, I did something that I haven't done in many marathons that I've raced. I walked. And I walked when it wasn't even an aid station. This is difficult to admit and feel as though I should attend a support group. :) My pride will recover from this in time. You can send me condolenses via flowers and chocolate.

Finish! And that guy is in the 1/2 marathon, btw!
Jeff and I loving the Maui sunset
So each mile from 16 to the finish seemed further and further apart. I passed the last guy in the original group at mile 18 as he was walking. So it wasn't just me. He encourage me as I shuffled by him. To take my mind off the embers slowly roasting my legs, I would watch the waves and look over to Molokai. Beautiful flowers, hula dancers, drums, dead cats on the road (that didn't help). 

Running through Lahaina with about 4 miles to go was nice. It wasn't as hot as I anticipated, and there were few spectators. Wishing my legs would cooperate because the course is awsome and the terrain has the potential for a good time as long as the heat doesn't get to you. 

I started passing the half marathoners here walking. They has also started at 5:30 and so they have been on their course as long as I have. One older man was walking with arm braces and reminded me to stop being such a whiner and realize how fortunate I am that I can run.

Two miles to go, usually by now mentally and physically I'm ready to fly to the finish even if I'm tired. Not today. Kept shuffling and in the last .5 I managed to pick it up just so I could finally be done. 

3:30:34 on my watch. Was on pace for 3:10 - 3:11 the first half, which would have blown away my PR of 3:17. I had expected 3:20, but there it is. 

After the race, we walked through Whaler's Village seaside and I jumped in the ocean - ah, sweet! No injuries, finished my 26th marathon in Maui! Jeff said, maybe I can try again next year now that I know the course. You are my witnesses :)

Time for vacation! And the chocolate covered macadamia nuts are delicious! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Memories

This is my third post for July and I'll be catching up with my challenge of 31 posts in 31 days before I get overwhelmed.

If you hid in our home and listened in on our family conversations (that would be so creepy...don't do that!), you would often hear us say, "Do you remember when..." and tell the same story again, embellishing events and adding color to unwilling characters in our family stories.

Tonight my daughter has a sore throat.  As we flung every kind of "quil" and "fed" out of the cupboards looking for just the right cure for the night, we again time traveled back to a summer vacation memory.  It went something like this.

The year was 2004 and Silverwood Theme Park was the destination.  Crystal not surprisingly was sick just before we were to leave. We made a quick run to the doctor who informed us she was probably having a bad reaction to the pollen.  The van was loaded and we hit the road for Idaho.

As we arrived in town, Crystal pointed out an Urgent Care on the main strip and noted it was good to know where it was "just in case."  Oh yes, it definitely was.

Now my memories are a little hazy about the order of things so bear with me on the details. We had 3+ day passes to the park which included the water park.  Crystal was really feeling sick with cold symptoms and lacking energy.  I think we had fun the first day.  Pretty sure.

Second day, I'm dragging.  Start getting itchy throat, swallowing, coughing, runny nose.  Medicine for me to keep symptoms hidden.  Played at the water park, rode the big slides, bathing suit wedgies, surfed the wave pool.  Lots of fun!

From here on out, I don't recall exactly how long it took things to progress from sick to Urgent Care sick but we ended up there twice.  I had an ear infection on top of the worst cold of my life and Jessica got pink eye and was also sick.  Jeff escaped the worst of it but did get the cold.

You might think this was a horrible vacation.  We've had worse.  We stood in the kitchen laughing tonight thinking about one particular aspect of our trip.  No, it wasn't trying to get eye drops in Jessica's eyes on the side of the highway while she screamed in horror.  She was 8.  Dropping anything in her eyes might have been scary.

The funny incident:  we left our huge Costco towels along with our USED water bottles on a grassy area while we went on slides or tubes.  When we returned, a middle-aged bikini/speedo clad couple were lounging on our towels, DRINKING OUR WATER!  We quizzically approached them and told them we thought they were lying on our towels.  They instantly got up and apologized and said their kids had the same towels and were going to meet them in the same area.  I told them, "I'm so sorry to tell you this but you are going to get the worst cold in your life." and wished them luck.

That is how evil our family is.  We laughed at the thought of another family suffering through what we did.

Do you have any terrible yet funny family vacation memories?