Monthly Archives: December 2017

best of 2017 in running

Since it seems all I blog about these days is running, it probably makes sense to do an end-of-year summary.

Best Race Experience

Cosmo Girl 7K, bar none.  I didn’t go into the race with any particular expectations, but I came in 2nd of about 500 runners.  That’s my best race performance, well, ever, I think.  It’s mostly because the race wasn’t particularly competitive, but it was kind of awesome running down the main drag in West Seattle with only one woman and the cycling guide in front of me.  It was also my second-fastest paced race of the year, at 7:11 mpm with a 22:07 5K in the middle.

Best New Piece of Running Gear

This is a hard one, but I think I have to go with my GPS watch.  I avoided getting a watch for the longest time, but I finally gave in and got a Garmin 735XT, and I have to admit that I love it.  I don’t really look at it much when I’m running, but I like having it beep at the mile markers.   What I really like is reviewing the data afterwards.  I’ve loved using Strava and sharing my runs with the rest of my family and a few friends.  I love that the watch has a wrist heart rate monitor.  It doesn’t always work, but it usually does.  In addition, I definitely recommend Strava to anyone looking for a little motivation.  My entire family is using Strava at this point, including both my parents, and it’s been great following along with each other’s workouts.

Best Inspiration

There are so many options here.  I enjoyed re-reading Running With the Buffaloes and listening to Running: A Love Story as an audiobook.   How Bad Do you Want It? was great the night before the Seattle Half Marathon.

I’ve also enjoyed following athletes on Letsrun and Instagram.  My long-time favorite runner is Jordan Hasay; she displaced Shalane Flanagan, my former favorite runner.  However, at the end of the day, it’s impossible to beat Shalane’s amazing run at the New York City marathon.  So awesome!

Best Race Picture

I suppose it’s fitting that the best race picture of the year was from the one race I didn’t really race but ran as a training run.  I look horrible when I’m racing (see the above picture) and going all out, but I liked this one.  That is not the look of someone going 100%!

Most Fun Race

I loved doing the Lake Meri.dian Triathlon with several of my co-workers.  My co-worker and I won the men’s and women’s 35 to 39 age group for the (very uncompetitive) super sprint tri, which was just so fun.   If I ever do another tri, though, I am definitely getting a BLACK tri top.

Toughest Race

OMG, my first ever multisport race was BRUTAL.  The pouring rain left me shaking with cold for literally hours afterwards, despite running the heater in my car full blast during the 40-minute drive home.  I’m surprised I ever did another du/tri after that!  I learned that sometimes it really does make sense to forfeit your race entry and just go home.  When the weather is moderately bad and you’re prepared for it, it feels good to soldier through the rain.  But this was driving rain and I was not dressed for it.  The picture below does not begin to capture the extent of my misery, mostly because the misery didn’t truly being until the bike part of the race.


Merry Christmas to all.  We’ve had two videochat sessions with the fam, one on Skype and one on Google Chat.  The latter was more successful but still somewhat unsatisfactory.  I’d really like to take better advantage of today’s technology to improve our video chat sessions, but I guess some research is required.

The top of my left foot continues to bother me, and it’s snowy outside, so I”m taking today off, and I’ll probably try swimming tomorrow.  It’s not bad, but I’d really like it to fully heal so I can dive back into training.  I’ve been feeling an uptick in anxiety lately, which I’m guessing is related to the holidays, though it’s hard to say, but I do wonder if it’s related to taking two weeks off, and post-race letdown.  Who the hell knows.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do next year athletically, other than run.  To me, there are different area’s of fitness – cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility.  I made some inroads on strength last year by doing 5000 pushups.  It’s hard to say if and what that really accomplished, but I think it must have been good for me.  Right?

When I was younger, I could run fast, slow, whatever, and I never got injured in the slightest.  These days, it’s not that way anymore, and I think lack of stretching is a contributing factor.  I’ve spent a lot of hours stretching, in soccer, basketball, cross country, crew, and so on.  I always found it annoying and basically a waste of time.  But, maybe it’s not.  And even if it is, I find that I don’t like being ridiculously inflexible.  I have always been inflexible, but all that annoying stretching made me more flexible than I am now.  So I’m thinking next year, I’ll set a goal to do ten minutes of stretching at least three times per week, or something like that.  In addition, I’m going to continue what I’ve started over the last couple of months, stretching my calves while waiting for traffic lights.  (There is one nasty, long traffic light I run through twice on most of my runs.)  Wouldn’t it  be cool to actually be flexible?  I’m guessing I’d need more than 10 minutes three times a week to be actually flexible, but you have to start somewhere, right?

swimbikerun 2017

I have exercised more this year than any year since I started working.  It certainly helps that I’m not working full time, and both my kids are in school at least part-time.  And, as has been well-documented here, I have other reasons.  However, I’m interested in the reckoning.  How much did I really work out?  We have two weeks left, so it’ll change a little, but most of it is done.

Running: 958.3 miles  –> 19 miles per week

Biking: 1022.4 miles –> 20.5 miles per week

Swimming: 59,617 yards –> 1200 yards per week

I’m actually amazed at the amount of biking and swimming I did.  On the flip side, I thought I’d run more.  I’ll call 3 miles of biking equivalent to one mile of running.  That’s probably generous, but my 10 mile cycling loop is at least as hard as my 3 mile running loop, so we’ll start there.  As for swimming, I’ll call 1600 yards equal to 1 mile running.  So equivalent miles for the year would be 1410, or 28 miles per week.

Next year, I’d love to get in 25 miles per week of actual running and maintain the swimming and biking.  I’m not sure that’s realistic.  We’ll see where it goes, I guess.  Tomorrow it’s back to the pool because my left foot is still hurting.   I can’t believe I actually swam nearly 60,000 yards this year.  It’s so monotonous, and the lane-sharing thing, and getting into the water and so on.


12Ks of Christmas 5K

I was not in the mood for this this morning. After two weeks of not running, my foot was hurting last week, and I just didn’t feel like racing today. Nevertheless, after paying the 12K entry fee, I felt committed. I decided to switch to the 5K and just do the best I could. I knew the course was hilly and not PR material, but I hoped all my half marathon training might help me run faster than expected.

At the start line, I was looking around for fast runners and really not seeing many. The thing is, most faster runners run the 12K at this race. That’s definitely the main attraction at this event. We started out with a downhill, and then immediately hit the first uphill. Fine, I was expecting hills, but I tried to stay with the pack. Immediately, I started to feel like I was going too fast. Looking at my splits, I actually ran a fairly even pace through the race, so who knows. The first interminable hill ended, followed by I think some flat and downhill, and then we hit another brutal hill. The first mile was definitely the worst. 7:20 (6:59 GAP), and I was dying and wishing I’d never signed up for this stupid race.

Mile two was flatter. i was getting left behind by the front-runners, and no one was catching up to me. I ended up running most of the race alone. Maybe the second big hill was actually in the second mile? Pace 7:54 (7:32 GAP).

When I finally got to the 2nd mile marker, I started to feel that an end was in sight. I also knew I’d climbed enough hills at that point and not gone down the same amount, so there must be some flat and downhill. And there was – lots of lovely flats and beautiful downhills. Mentally, though, I just wanted it to be over. I tried to hang with a couple youngish teenage boys that went blasting by me, but I struggled to keep up with them on the downhills. Usually I’m a pretty good downhill runner, but apparently not today. Pace: 7;23

Strava says my 5K time was 23:15. Race results say 23:24. Either way, not great, but definitely not terrible. I really want to break 22, but today was definitely not the day for that. Bike ride yesterday afternoon plus sore foot plus margarita at dinner last night plus bad attitude equals slowish running, I guess.

On the plus side, I surprisingly came in first in my age group out of 70 runners, and 5th female out of 500 runners.  The 12K was the main event, and faster runners tend to do that race.  I probably could have run the same pace in the longer race and not placed nearly as well.  Still, it makes me feel better about the race.

reflecting and planning

I’m continuing to ride high on my Seattle Half Marathon race result.  It’s a crazy thing.  It seems to irrelevant to run a half marathon in 1:47.  It’s a middling to slowish time.  Faster than most people can run, slower than pretty much any college cross country athlete could run without training.  Fast for me.  And for whatever reason, I just feel so excited to have run that time.

It’s easy to enjoy thinking about running fast when thinking about training is off in the indefinite future.  Well, the definite future.  As of Sunday, my next half marathon will be thirteen weeks away.  I have a 12 week training plan that I’m planning to follow.  I very loosely followed the 10K plan, sort of, leading up to the Seattle half.  This time, I’m planning to follow the lowest mileage half marathon plan.  It ranges from 31 to 47 miles per week.  I had several weeks at about 30 miles a week, up to 35 miles per week, on my last training cycle, so this seems achievable.  In general, I subtract a mile from all the recommended run distances if I run around my neighborhood, due to the hills.  This means that generally speaking, I subtract a mile from most of my weekly runs.  That lowers the mileage to more like 25 to 40 miles per week, which is definitely achievable.

I’m watching a documentary on the Boston Marathon, Boston,  I haven’t watched the movie specifically about the bombings, and I don’t plan to, but I can’t ignore not watch a running movie.  It’s great.  Makes me want to run the Boston Marathon, of course, but that would require, you know, running a marathon.  Actually, running at least two – running one fast enough to qualify (which would require running not much slower than my half – for a full), and then of course, Boston itself.  It does seem like a bucket list sort of thing to do.  Someday, maybe.

In any case, running starts again on Monday.  It’s also time to start cycling.

Running and a Turkish fir

So, my original plan had been to run easy last week,  then maybe do some speed work and have a go at the 12ks of Christmas.  (Yes, that’s a 12k.)  However, I’ve been continuing to feel lousy and haven’t been doing exercise of any kind.  I’d planned to take two weeks off running at the end of the year, but I guess I’m going to take it off now instead.   That means no running this week and only other exercise as the mood strikes me for one more week.  I’ve had two very lousy nights of lots and lots of coughing,  so the mood to exercise hasn’t been striking me, and I’m ok with that.

After not getting into the half I’d wanted to run, I registered for all the races I had planned for the rest of the year, including the 12k.  I could transfer my registration to the 5k, an option I’d told myself I’d take if I pr’d the Seattle half.  That’s what I’m leaning towards now.  If I hadn’t pre-registered, I think I might skip it altogether.

I’m also thinking about my first goal race for 2018.  I’m leaning towards a half marathon in March, the Lake Sammamish Half.  It’s flat, and so I think I can better my time at the Seattle Half if conditions are decent, and I’m healthy, and, and, etc.

I did pull myself together sufficiently to get our tree yesterday.  We had a very pleasant outing.  It’s so much better with no baby!  Or rain.  We got a Turkish fir.