running documentary

This is a fabulous documentary on the lives of Kenyan runners trying to make it in Europe.  I don’t have much insight into the lives of the poor around the world, but for me, running is a small connection.  American distance runners are far, far from rich.  Well, perhaps the best make good money, but the vast majority are either dependent on spouse or parents, or more often, making a living at the local running store.

The comparison, though, to the extreme poverty of these African runners is extreme.  American runners have good coaching, sponsorship that provides gear and the like.   They train carefully for target races and rest.  These African runners are so driven by the need to earn winnings at races that they have to make training and racing decisions based on payouts and short-term needs.

This documentary is a bit heart-breaking, but I loved it.  I love that it makes a real person out of two of the many African runners I always see at the front of the various marathons.

last week’s workouts

  • M: 4 mi / 10:45 mpm
  • T: Rest
  • W: 7.4 mi / 9:29 mpm (hilly neighborhood run)
  • R: 4.0 mi / 10:38 mpm
  • F: 4.0 mi / 9:28 mpm with two tempo sections, one on Newcastle Elementary loop and the other on up the first hill coming back home
  • S: 15.0 mi bike ride / 13.1 mph on Cedar River Trail
  • S: 11.0 mi / 8:53 mpm

I was pleased with my effort at a tempo run on Friday, and Sunday’s long run went well.  The air was smoky and nasty on Saturday, but it cleared up by Sunday.  I had a terrible time motivating myself for my long run, and it felt harder than last week, but I maintained the same pace at the same heart rate, so I think it was just mental.  11 miles feels like a very long way.

Next weekend, I’m planning on running the Orca Half Marathon as a training run.  i haven’t actually registered yet, so I may still chicken out, of course.  It’s supposed to be flat, and I think it would be good practice to run a race, even if I don’t actually race it.

Briony started preschool today, and I cried.  She is so grown up.

last week’s workouts

  • M: 6.9 mi / 9:54 mpm
  • T: 5.1 mi with 6 x 12 s hill sprint
  • W: Rest
  • R: 3.2 mi / 10:39 mpm
  • F: 5K fun run at work
  • S: 10.4 mi bike ride
  • S: 10 mi / 8:53 mpm

Forest fires in Washington and Oregon made running miserable on Tuesday.  Ash was literally falling on me from the skies.  I probably shouldn’t have run at all.

The only other run of interest was my long run on Saturday.  I’ve now more or less decided to run a half marathon this fall, preferably sooner rather than later to avoid running it in the rain, and so I’m trying to go for longer runs at the weekend.  Saturday’s run was flat, and I wanted to run at about 9 minute pace, starting slower, then increasing.  I felt quite comfortable the whole way, so I was pleased with it.

a 5K at work

I ran the inaugural company 5K at work last Friday.  The race was at 3:30 pm, and I headed down to the locker room at about 2:45.  I was surprised to find it empty.  A few minutes later, another women named Andrea came in, who, it turns out, used to work with Sarah and Becca.  Very cool!  After changing, we headed out to the paved trail, and gradually some other people began to show up.  In the end, I think there were maybe 100 people there, probably 85% men, but I’m terrible at estimating numbers, so take that with a grain of salt.

It was hot and humid by my standards, given that I usually run in the morning when it’s in the mid 50s, and the sun is still coming up.  Friday afternoon it was around 70 and humid, not terrible but not awesome either.  The event was totally informal, and eventually the women who’d organized it stood up on a table and said, “go!” and off we went.

We started out WAY too fast.  I tend to start out a bit fast usually, but this was nuts.  I was trying to stick with a guy who’d told me he ran a 24 minute 5K.  As the lead woman disappeared into the distance, I glanced down at my watch, and even though I’d already slowed down, saw that I was running 6:15 pace.  Ouch!  No wonder it felt to hard.  My GPS watch informed me afterwards that I’d gotten a “best 400m effort,” not want you want in a 3 mile race!  I let the lead woman go and tried to stabilize at a reasonable speed that I felt I could sustain.  I ended up running 6:52 for the first mile, which is a bit fast for me, but not crazy.  Still, I wasn’t feeling awesome.  The course was almost completely flat, just out and back.  The turnaround seemed to take forever to come.  I passed one guy at the turnaround, and then ended up running with another guy all the way back, until the very end when I couldn’t keep up.

It was kind of cool on the way back running past so many people I knew.  I probably knew 25% of the people there (which is kind of crazy, considering I used to know 100% of the people at my company), and they were all cheering for me or giving me high fives as I past.  The guy I was running with seemed to know a completely different group of people who in turn cheered for him.

In any case, I was really dying by the third mile, due to having gone out too fast.  My second and third miles were 7:15 and 7:35.  I sprinted a bit across the line and then tried to regain my composure before the rest of my co-workers finished.  The woman who beat me actually was only 1 minute exactly in front (thank you Strava for telling me this), so I guess she started too fast, too.

Afterward, they served beer and Gatorade, and I must say, I think there is a lot to be said to post-race drinking.  (My last race they served Cosmos, also nice.)  All in all, it was a good time, and I’d do it again.  My run was good but not great, but you can’t have a PR every race.

a week of running

It’s funny how quickly my interests can flip.  After thinking of nothing but triathlon and cycling all summer, now that the tri is over, I’m ready to run.   In theory, I’m planning to run the company 5K Friday afternoon, but apparently it won’t be timed, so my interest in it has waned a bit.  I’m also considering a few other upcoming races:

  • 9/16: Rave Gre.en Run 5k / 9k
  • 9/24: Orca Half Marathon (possibly / probably as a training run)
  • 10/7: Fall City 10K / Half Marathon

I’m using Faster Road Racing as a training guide.  It’s written by Pete Pfitzinger, who is generally accepted as one of the better coaches in history.  I’m following the lowest mileage 8K to 10K plan.  In general, my plan is to take a mile off any runs that I do around my neighborhood, since it’s so hilly.

Last week, I did the following:

  • M 6 mi
  • T rest
  • W 5.5 mi
  • R 4 mi
  • F 3 mi
  • S 9 mi (8:46 mpm)
  • S 1600 yd swim

The long run went really well.  I drove out to a flat trail, and I felt quite comfortable at 8:46 pace.

So, yeah, we’ll see how long the inspiration lasts.  Tomorrow will be a tough, early morning.


I’m not sure what to write about Houston, except that I’m really in shock.  I really can’t remember when there’s been a natural disaster in a place I knew, where I had friends and family.  What’s happening to Houston is really mind-boggling.  The graphic on the front of the New York Times sums it up well – unbelievable rainfall right dead center over Houston.  So many natural disasters, even New Orleans, seem avoidable or preventable or fixable in some way.  All I can think in terms of Houston is mandating that all future homes be built at least 3 feet above the ground.

The worst affected person I know is Jonathan’s sister.  She and her family have evacuated – been rescued by boat – and are staying in a hotel with their pets, as of today.  Prior to that, they were staying with a neighbor, as their single-story house in central Houston is under several feet of water.  Their neighbor’s house is built three feet up and has multiple stories.  Right now, Leslie doesn’t think they will ever return.  Perhaps they will move into an apartment.  While this will be financially devastating for them, he is a well-employed lawyer, and they will likely figure it out without having to resort to FEMA trailers like some others may need to do.

The worst story I heard was Sarah and Jose sheltering in closets with their family during a night of repeated tornado warnings.  I’m so glad they were only warnings, but wow, that sounded truly awful.

It’s odd being here in sunny Seattle, completely unaffected, living life as normal.  One day ‘the big one” (earthquake) may hit us, and the rest of the country will look through their internet windows in horror while continuing with their lives.  Hopefully not any time soon.  I was struck at one point that it was lucky it was my SIL Leslie and not my SIL Elizabeth going through this as E is expecting a baby any day now.  (She lives in Virginia.)  But of course, there must be hundreds of mothers on baby watch and hundreds more with tiny babies in Houston.

Cosmo 7K Seattle 2017

I ran the Cosmo 7K this morning.  It appealed to me for two reasons.  First, it’s a women’s race.  Second, it’s an odd distance . . . guaranteed PR!  From the start, the day went well.  The race didn’t start until 9:30 am, so I had a leisurely morning at home before heading to the race and arriving at maybe 8:45.  I picked up my shirt and free “Tito’s Vodka Cosmo 7K” glass – yes, the race was sponsored by a liquor company – lined up for the potty, and then warmed up.  I ran maybe 3/4 of a mile warm-up, nice and easy, and a few strides.

We all lined up for the race, and then they announced the race would be starting in the other direct.  I figured I’d be one of the faster runners and had been near the front but now found myself before a large contingent of people who obviously did not plan to run quickly.  I carefully elbowed my way closer to the front, at which point a women informed me that she and her friends had been lined up for some time and would be starting at the front.  I was polite and friendly, but mostly mystified as to why these obviously slow runners wanted to start at the front.



Anyway, finally, the race was off, maybe 10 minutes later than projected gun time, not bad.  I quickly found myself in third place, and then a young girl passed me, putting me in fourth.  I had glanced at my watch and noted  pace in the low 6s, so I was worried I was going to fast, but I didn’t want to lose any more places.  The first mile went by in 6:53.  I was feeling OK, but not great.  Half a mile later, we passed the 5K turnaround, and two of the three people in front of me peeled off, leaving me in 2nd place in the 7K.  This was pretty cool.  They’d closed the street, and ahead of me I could see the bike escort and the leader.  She was pretty far ahead, so I didn’t think I could catch her, but I really wanted to keep 2nd place.


I passed two miles in 7:06, and then it was time for the turnaround.  At the turnaround, I could see that I wasn’t that far ahead of 3rd place, less than a minute, certainly, so I really focused on keeping my pace.  It was cool when we started passing the main pack and people started cheering for me – you know the way people do for race leaders?  I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced that before.  Usually there are so many men ahead of me, I’m pretty far back even if I’m doing well relative to the other women.  I was definitely hurting, though, and it was getting hotter.  I passed the 3-mile marker, and it seemed like the race was going on forever, and THEN my watched beeped 3 miles.  Ack!  The marker was in the wrong place.  Mile 3 was in 7:23.  At this point, I could see the finish area.  I started glancing at my watch periodically, and the tenths of miles were just ticking by excruciatingly slowly.  Mile 4 was in 7:22, so I was doing a good job of maintaining my pace.  Finally, I crossed the finish line – in 2nd place!


(No smiles at this point.  The runners around me are 5K runners.)

Except at the awards, they called me out in 3rd.  Was I passed and didn’t notice?  I think this is unlikely.  I met the woman who had won – we both though she had won, and she had a bicycle escort, so it seems very unlikely she was passed.  I think most likely the woman called out as the winner had signed up for the 7K and run the 5K.  I just wish I knew!  Oh well.  One way or another, it was a great race for me.

Update: The results came out, and I looked up the women who won on Athlinks.  Given that her fastest 5k ever was 27:xx, I think it’s pretty certain she didn’t run a 7K in 28 minutes.  Therefore, I’d say she ran the 5K, and consider myself 2nd.

4.2 miles, 30:14, 7:11 mpm

I’ve never run a 7K before, but my fastest post-college 5K was at 7:09 pace, so I’m pretty frikking happy with the time.   On to the next!