Sunday, May 27, 2007

Redmond Watershed 10 miles

Current Mile total: 671.75 miles

I met Jessi this morning at the Watershed. It was lightly raining but overall the conditions were good. The tree cover protected us from the majority of the rain but by the time we finished I was soaked. It was just the two of us so we just chatted it up a bit and took it casually. When we got to the second side of the run the usual trail was closed off and we had to take an alternate route. We figured it would eventually cross paths with the other but it never did and it ended up being a bit of a guessing game. Around that time I felt an uncomfortable pinch around my toes of my right foot. I ignored it thinking probably a blister. When we did finally meet up with the usual route Jessi offered for me to go on ahead and finish strong but I declined. But then after a little bit I decided that there was only about another mile to go and I wanted to pick up the pace just a little so I did end doing just that. Afterward we decided to get breakfast at the local pancake house where we ogled our hostess and waitress. Hey, we're two single guys and that's what we do. When I got home and took my sneakers off I then recognized that my right shoe was stained with blood. Apparently the blister took care of itself. That's what it ended up being and fortunately it looked and sounds a lot worse than it felt.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Discovery Park & Ballard Locks 8 miles

Current Mile total: 661.75 miles

I hadn't really planned on running today because Jessi from the eastside had asked me to run on Sunday over at the watershed. But Lane from the westside group mentioned they were running 8 so I decided to be social and get some extra miles in. I'm glad I did. Discovery Park was a great place to run. We started at the Ballard Locks. As seen in the pic to the left its a canal that allows ships to move from the fresh waters of Lake Washington to the salt waters of the Puget Sound. It also allows the salmon safe access through a series of ever increasing salt exposure. Very interesting. So anyway, we start on one side of the canal and run over it southward and into discovery park. Discovery park is the largest park in Seattle that covers 534 acres of land that used to be the Fort Lawton military base. I took my camera with me(obviously) and chose to run slow most of the time allowing myself to stop and snap pictures off at a moments notice. So I'd be chatting with someone and then be, "oh, gotta stop, keep going, I'll catch up". And I did, it was fun. The weather was OK, a little overcast and cool. I did feel my hip flexor again on a down hill and I get the feeling that fella is gonna stick around for a while. Afterward the group headed out to breakfast and I couldn't because I left home without my wallet. I'll have to remember that next time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Powerline Trail 8.5 miles

Current Mile total: 653.75 miles

So tonight felt tough on everything. My left ankle felt weak and of course there's the inklings of shin splints on that side too. I think a week off would be great but I not ready to commit to that yet, maybe after the 31 miler(wouldn't it be best before, he thinks). It was Heidi's birthday tonight(actually Monday I believe but we celebrated it tonight). She's this great runner. Really in the elite class if she wanted to be, but she's just so low key about it all. Very classy gal. I again tried to run conservatively tonight and managed to do so until Heidi and Andre decided to add another leg of course. I really didn't need the extra mileage but I said what the hell. And I managed to hold back on that extra as well but then there's the down hill to the Powerline Trail. When it started I said my infamous words "I really got to take it easy" and I swear I really mean it. But I just let the run dictate my speed. And going downhill is just too easy. I really tried to go slow but the hill gets so steep that its harder on you if you resist it. I was almost to the bottom and my right hip flexor produced a very sharp pain. It made me buckle a bit and I had to change my style of running (hmm, you mean you kept running, wouldn't it be best to just stop?). Once the hill was over it didn't seem to be an issue but clearly the biking I did really stretched me thin and I need to be very cautious for a week or so. Even with that mild scare I managed to get back to the finish minutes before Heidi Andre and Mindy. I guess I'm really the only one that flies down that hill. I'm honestly not trying to race ahead so far, its makes me feel like an ass but I have to run what's comfortable. Anyway's the feeling of being an ass was swept away by Sean's sugar cookies that he made for Heidi and boy were they good. We all then headed over to Jamba Juice for a bit.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Capitol Hill 6.25 miles

Current Mile total: 645.25 miles

Let's see, its becoming increasingly harder to write about my runs, for two reasons. One being I've just been so busy lately and two being there's only so much you can write about running? Blogging to help stay motivated with running? Or running to help stay motivated with blogging? Which one is it? Well, fortunately there's plenty to write about Tuesday's runs. The SRC club is quite the social group. The run itself was alright. I did manage to keep myself from running too hard which is a good thing because I think the biking I did over the weekend really hurt me. It didn't feel like it but when I went to run it I found that the ole parts ain't working like they should. They're really worn thin. Its all that spinning, my joints aren't used to it. Suppose that's what I get for doing too much too soon. I made it up the staircase this time though. Felt good too. Wait, let me rephrase, cause it surely didn't feel good, in fact it felt like shit. When I got to the top my legs were literally screaming. I swear, I could hear the steam whistling from my knees like the little engine as he's cresting the hill. That staircase is just brutal but I get the feeling it'll make me that much better so I'll gladly accept the challenge.

K, so the run was good, its getting warmer and I'm having to think about hydration more, although this week I was more prepared. I'm thinking right now about how I finished near the front of the pack and I'm slightly ashamed. I think I have a problem with competition, hehe. I laugh, but its the nervous kind of laugh. I don't know how to run with others and not make it into a race. When I run solo I have a great time just relaxing, and I think when I run with just one other person I'm OK, but as soon as you add a third person it becomes a race to me. I'm a terrible social runner. I think part of it is due to the fact that I really have a hard time hearing anything anyone says out there. I mean I'm nearly deaf as it is but as soon as you add the heavy breathing and wind rushing by I really don't hear much out there. Its tough to be out with a bunch of people and yet be unable to connect. So I generally find an in between spot where I can run solo, yet with the company of others. Well, the hearing thing is one aspect, I suppose being a twin is the stronger factor. The need to compete is so much a function of my social behavior its shameful. GOT TO WIN!!

Alright, this is a very moody entry, going to move on. After the run it was pizza and beer again. Met a few more nice runners and then headed out to the bar afterwards for more drinks. Good times, good times.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sammamish River Trail 7 miles

Current Mile total: 639 miles

So Wednesday's run was pretty simple, not much to it. Although getting there was a challenge. My company sent a fed ex package to my old address and the management there said they had it so I decided I'd pick it up before the run. This meant me having to drive through traffic down the 5 to 90 and all the way to the Sammamish Plateau. Even without traffic this takes almost 40 minutes. That day it took 1 hour and 5 minutes and when I got there, 5 minutes past the time when I should be leaving to be on time for the run they couldn't find the package. They had no idea where it was so they said the fed ex guy must have picked it up. Very upsetting. What's even more upsetting is calling fed ex the next day and them saying they don't have it and then most upsetting is driving back there on Saturday to find that when the lady went to check for it, it was exactly where her co-worker said it was all the time, she just for some reason didn't see the only item on a bare desk in a empty room. Unbelievable. But I'm a silver lining kind of guy so I was just happy to find the package and have it over with. So back to the run. I ended up calling Footzone and talking to Andy on my way to the store. I told them to head out on the run and not to wait for me but to tell the clerks at the store what course they were going to run. I get there and find that I must have missed them by maybe 3 minutes. I drop off my keys and head out. Too fast but at least I have cause. I caught the group by about three quarters of a mile with my lungs a little tired. It was just a easy out and back run. Andy and Jesse were recovering from their Kirkland Half marathon the previous Sunday so I hung back with them for a while. But eventually I caught my breath and their speed was a little slow for my good so I ran ahead. I honestly ran a conservative run that night. I think I could have and probably should have gone a little slower but I felt good and kept my effort at somewhere around 80%. Everyone else on the other hand took it very slow that night and on the way back in I ran alone. After the run I purchased a new pair of shoes and then met up with a few of the runners at Jamba Juice.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Capitol Hill 6.25 miles

Current Mile total: 632 miles

I'm a little behind on my posts this week. Its just been a busy one. Tuesday the Seattle Running Company club, Wednesday the Redmond Footzone club, Thursday babysitting Zinn, Friday going out for the evening and then yesterday was just full of errands. So I'm going to do my best to remember this Tuesday night run. This was my second time running with this club and I actually managed to get there on time. I still had to park quite a ways from the store but still managed to be there long before everyone headed out. I begged and I pleaded with myself to take it easy but when the run started 5 guys ran ahead and something inside of me needed to stay with that group. This is certainly not the same person who loves running the long distances, but the jackass that can't stand to be left behind, the guy that loves hanging with the fastest of the bunch. So I stuck with them for about 2 thirds the way when that first group began to slowly break up. I managed to maintain my placement and eventually passed John when practically falling down a hill. I wish I hadn't because I kinda flew by him by just letting gravity take me and then I felt like an ass because the rest of the run I was so stretched thin. Let me say that this run marks the first time since I moved to Seattle that hydration has occurred to me. It was 82 degrees out there and my mouth was bone dry. It was brutal. In this run we go through this park that has a very steep length of steps that's quite fun running down(almost dangerously fun) but coming back is extremely daunting. I made it about 75% of the way up without stopping but finally gave in to the pain that took over my legs and lungs. It was disappointing but sometimes when you get a look from a passerby that screams, is this guy going to have a heart attack?, you have to wonder, am I pushing it too hard? My heart rate must have been something like 190. So anyways, I get to the top of the park but its still not the end of the hill. In fact it goes on for another half mile at least. But I mustered up the will to slowly jog on and as soon as the down hill came back I recovered and by the time I got to the finish I felt great again. I managed to finish 6th( I think) out of over 20 runners(maybe closer to 30) and it felt good but at a price I think. I really should not have pushed myself that hard on what really should be my rest day. After the run the group went out to Piecora, the pizza parlor where I met a couple more runners( I think its going to be a while before I know everyone from this club) and then after pizza about 15 of us headed over to a bar where we stayed until 11:30. Well, where I stayed until 11:30. A small group was still ordering drinks when I left. Crazy.
Overall it was a tough run and I was glad to finish it. I did think to myself during the run, WHY are you running so hard to keep up with the lead group? What was all that talk about the journey and how speed ruins the enjoyment. I recognized this as my heart screamed for mercy and my lungs desperately struggled to grab air. But I guess when its all said and done, I very much enjoy the chase too. There's just something in me that needs to prove that I'm as strong as anyone else, that I may not be the best but I'm someone to be reckoned with. Someone to take notice of. Its the "pre" in every runner, what compels us to go out and achieve our goals. Without him we'd all just meander through life without purpose.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Burke Gilman 26.25 miles

Current Mile total: 626.75 miles

What a day. Yesterday is what living is about. I was suppose to run 24 and when I started I honestly didn't know if I'd make 10. But as they usually do, things works themselves out. And I thought to myself at mile 15, "I feel better now than I did in the first 8 miles". Lately with all the long runs I've been doing its almost as if my legs go into auto pilot so when I got to mile 18 I started flirting with the notion of doing a full marathons distance. I kept telling myself it was a silly idea and that although I felt good at the moment, the 20s would arrive and I'd feel differently. But I never did. So when it came time to turn off the burke gilman I said, what's another mile and a half? And I swear, I was laughing inside at how good it felt to push on. And I made a realization about what I've been missing for so long. A new long distance. Andy from the Redmond Footzone running club and I were talking last night about how back when you first started running, each time you'd go out it would be your longest run. I have not had a longest run in over six years. So my goals have been speed. But speed changes running, takes away enjoyment and turns running into something entirely different. It becomes about the goal itself. A selfish, narcissistic goal based on this idea that you're a better runner if you can somehow manage to cross the finish line faster than you did before at the risk of injury. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy running fast just as much as the next person, and I have that inner "pre" that compels me to chase down the rabbits ahead of me. I have speed goals that will never go away, not at least until I qualify for Boston. But my paradigm has shifted. And I've recognized that running, as in everything, is not about the finish line. How is it that I could be a runner this long, and not recognize the overwhelmingly obvious analogy that is the marathon to life? So focused are we with the finish line, when there are 26 miles out there to enjoy. The old adage, its the journey, not the destination, is so evident in the world of running. Yet we all are out there pushing ourselves beyond our thresholds to chase down these crazy PRs. Oh, I'll still be attempting to qualify for Boston, one good running day can't shake that goal, but I think as a runner, I've reached an enlightenment. I know, strong words to declare one's own enlightenment, but I haven't been this excited about running in a long time. And I owe it to the 50k. I've got the running bug again and it feels great.

OK, well, that's just too heavy. So what was so great about yesterday? So I woke up thinking the run might be a bad idea because my joints felt a big achey. I went into the run knowing I might have to turn it around at anytime. But I only felt better and better as the miles went on. I headed over to the burke gilman and chose to run north. I ran all the way until the trail turns into the Sammamish River trail and actually turned around when I reach 405. Along the way I passed historic Bothell where I was all too happy to find a bathroom. HALLELUJAH!! It as a gorgeous day out there and the trail was packed with people. I ended up adding the couple extra miles to make my first non race marathon distance, I milestone I've always flirted with. After the run I got cleaned up and went on a date with a new girl(seems really cool) and played golf for nine holes at greenlake. Then I had just enough time after that to take an hour cat nap before I headed out to a party at Jill's house(runner in both clubs). SO yeah, marathon, good first date, party with friends, that's a complete day and it doesn't get too much better.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Burke Gilman 7.5 miles

Current Mile total: 600.5 miles

ooooooo, I made it to 600 miles, grrr, like 5 years ago I did. I feel like I should go back and guess-timate my mileage, I'm so cheating myself out of my hard earned glory. Oh well. So I had taken 3 days off to give my body a chance to rest. It did a world of good and I felt amazing. I kinda pushed it a little harder than I should even though I really didn't push it all that hard. I'd say I was running at 85% and I was maintaining a 7 min mile. Even with the big hill in between I ended up having an average of 7.5 min/mile. I think if I was to do a 5k this weekend I could easily break 20 mins, maybe get close to the 18 min mark. That would be nice.
OK< enough bragging. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, in the 70s when I ran, sun shining. I just went over to the burke gilman and ran a couple miles north and back. I didn't take any pics because I've posted burke gilman pics before. I've got a long run this weekend, 24 miles is what I'd like to do but I have a party to attend Saturday night. Ahh, the balance between enjoying oneself and risking the next day's run. Should I limit my fun and leave early or should I just have a good time and sort it out on the run the next day, showing my toughness? It'll most likely be somewhere in between, I'll feel like shit when I wake up, I'm sure, but then be ok through most the run and then start hating myself around the 20's. Well, until then.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Burke Gilman 22 miles

Current Mile total: 593 miles

This morning ran the Burke Gilman again. I almost didn't run today as yesterday I felt a slight pain in my left Achilles tendon. Go figure, it would be the least of my problems. Don't get me wrong, look up at the title, it says 22 miles. But toward 16 miles my right knee started to ache a bit. And after the run it took a couple hours to work itself out. I thought earlier that I'd most likely not run Tuesday or Wednesday and take a good rest but right now I feel fine so we'll just have to wait and see. I really enjoyed this run, and running in general lately. I've been running solo again, like I used to before I came up here. I love running with the clubs but I miss the solitude of running.

I've been running(cheating) with my i-pod on these long runs and it makes the runs so easy and enjoyable. Running alone with music is like being a kid again when I used to close my bedroom door and be alone and crank up the music for hours. On these long runs I have hours to listen to music. When do you get that luxury as an adult aside from being stuck in traffic? I find myself waving to everyone and in such a great mood. And the right song will put that extra jump in your step.

Something that I've noticed is the lack of connection between people on the trail. And I find this everywhere in society. I think our society has got too internalized. Nobody looks up. When two people are walking toward each other, instead of acknowledging each other they look down and hide, afraid to make eye contact. What has become of us as a social animal. I find it very sad. I consider myself a fairly shy person but I still look acknowledge every passerby. OK, enough social commentary.

So anyways, I ran all the way down to Gasworks Park. This park was featured in the movie, Ten Things I Hate About You. Its a very cool looking structure. Its this deep red orange rust color ling in a bright green field sitting next to Lake Union. And it has an amazing view of the downtown skyline. I had thought I was going to turn around here but it wasn't the half-way point yet so I had to keep running on. I almost ran out of trail to run on but ended up being just fine. It was an overcast day and the temperature was in the 50s. As this is the Burke Gilman run, it ends with my big hill. Again I powered up the hill without stopping. By the end my knee was really aching but I managed to finish without any real injury. Just going to have to start being smarter on my shorter runs and take it easy. Or it may just be time for a week off. We'll see.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Burke Gilman 11.25 miles

Current Mile total: 571 miles

So today I headed south on the Burke Gilman. It was a beautiful evening and a good run. Right where I decided to turn around, at about 5.5 miles, there was a pizza shop. Right off the trail, maybe 30 feet. I GOTTA bring money with me next week and grab a slice on the run. NOW THAT"S RUNNING!!!

Over all I felt really good during the run although I did recognize that my body is taking a toll from all the mileage. On the way back I have to run back up the big hill. I LOVE THIS HILL. For lack of a better term, it gave me my balls back. For too long I've been a wimp when it came to hills and this hill has giving me my confidence back. It hasn't stopped me yet although it is as big a hill as any I've ever run(well, maybe not Hurricane point at Big Sur). So I love to climb it. Sure and steady, and its transformed me back into the runner I was when I first started. A tough cookie who doesn't stop running regardless of how I felt. So much of running is in the heart and mind and to be able to believe in yourself is worth much more than fitness. Eventually the fitness gives way and you're in pain, and its up to your will power to continue. Without the heart and mind to push through, your done. SO thank you big hill, you've given me my balls back.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Sammamish River Trail 7 miles

Current Mile total: 559.75 miles

Tonight I was back on the east side running a simple 20 minute tempo run at a 5k pace. These never end up simple. We ran out easy to the 2 mile marker and started from there. Andre has really been pushing it lately and he headed out strong. I took a guess and let him go. I flt he was going out too strong and ended up being right. He slowed down about half way out and allowed me to catch him. When we turned around at 10 minutes we were exactly 3.5 miles out, so I was headed for a completing a 5k under 20 minutes. There was a strong headwind going back. Andre pushed ahead again and I teased him by drafting. He's a larger man than I and easily shielded me from the wind. I only did this for about 30 seconds before I jumped ahead and tried to share the lead for a bit. No sense in making him break the wind the full time. Only thing is that Andre didn't want the lead back and I was too proud to fall back myself.
So I forced myself to keep a strong pace and was practically hyperventilated by the time 20 minutes was up. I did make it back to the 2 mile marker before the time was up, maybe 20 seconds before so who knows, maybe I could have broke 20 minutes in a 5k had it been a race. Look out 5k, next time I enter one I will most definitely break 20. Afterward we ran a cool down back to the store and all went to Jamba Juice. It was overcast tonight and finally started raining just as we were leaving Jamba Juice.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Capital Hill ~4 miles

Current Mile total: 552.75 miles

Tonight I attended my first SRC (Seattle Running Company) Tuesday night run. It started out a bit chaotic. I thought 20 minutes would be more than enough to figure out parking but nope, apparently 35 was. So rookie mistake and now I know where to park. Fortunately for me another runner also showed up late I we caught up to the others together. The run was short, maybe four miles, maybe more, who knows. I think we ran north through Volunteer park and then up into Interlaken Park then back to the store. It was an easy run until we caught up with the others and turned around. Then I felt the need to try to catch up with the only runner I really knew, Jill, who runs with the East Side runners. So I ran like a jackass and almost got lost. After the run all the runners head over to a pizza place where they have a large table waiting with beer, salad and bread sticks. Because there were so many people there I only got a chance to talk to a few of them but they all seem like a real nice bunch and I think I'm going to have a great time on my Tuesdays. I didn't bring the camera tonight as I didn't want to creep people out the first time they met me so tomorrow will have my first running pic.