27 June 2007

Out Like a Light

Please observe a moment of silence as tonight is the last night I will have all my teeth.

(moment of silence)

Thank you.

To commemorate the pending loss of these four teeth of wisdom and the expected loss of running days I have run each of the last 5 days. I think that's some kind of record for me. :) Soon my smileys will look like this :x So I squeezed in 17 miles this week. This was a scheduled cutback week that called for 22. I'm happy with the 17.

Yesterday was a wonderful 8.5 mile run on the wheat field dirt roads. The sun was setting and it was a wonderful site. It's the latest I've been out for a run since the season of the sun began. This run is a very hilly run and I noticeably struggled on the first few hills before catching a second wind. It's a great feeling to finish a run strong. Sadie has been a bit under the weather for a couple days but charged along with me.

Today I capped off my 5 consecutive days with a nice and easy 3 mile Shasta run. I wish I didn't have to have my teeth pulled but it will be nice to have a few days rest. (See, I'm trying to trick myself into thinking good thoughts.)

I'm out like a light.

Hope to see you on the road sooner rather than later!


25 June 2007

Rest Day and the Complete Removal of My Wisdom

So (gulp) today was a scheduled rest day. How did I spend it? Doing my 5.5 mile Headwaters Loop on Moscow Mt. I had no choice. Really. I rested about 90% of the day - does that count? I can explain....

For years (how old am I?) I've been putting off getting my wisdom teeth taken out. Well, six months ago my dentist told me it was something I needed to do soon or I'd regret it. SO, since this week is my cutback week I decided to schedule the removal of all four wisdom teeth. If I'm going to miss a few days from running I might as have as little impact on my running schedule as possible, right? And I definitely want to get this done sooner rather than later. It is scheduled for Thursday, so for me to get SOME miles in this week I HAVE to run today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. See, no choice. Then I'll have a nice little "break" to really rest up.

I'll be honest with you, I'm a wuss when it comes to needles and scalpels and tooth pliers and slick haired guys with funny blue masks. I'm not looking forward to it at all. Three of my younger siblings have had theirs pulled already and each reacting differently and had a different recovery time. I'm expecting to be the worst case, of course. Permanent nerve damage, facial deformation, dry socket. Whatever. (I'm actually getting a little queasy just writing about it...) I'll probably be in bed for a month. AAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

think happy thoughts

So, nice trail run today and then probably a couple easy ones the next two days. My body feels good and I still want to run right now. It was a beautiful day to run.

Hope everyone else can have beautiful running weather this week!


24 June 2007

Early Morning on the Palouse

My running highs last for a couple days after the race (read yesterday's 10k race report). I want to just go out and run and never stop. And since I am following my training schedule fairly closely today I had to go on my long run: 12 miles. Yesterday's 10k was just my easy Saturday run. :)

As much as I talk about Pullman being hilly there is one path that is flat. It's a stretch known as the Chipman Trail. It was built on an abandoned stretch of railroad track that links Pullman, WA and Moscow, ID. The main (flat) stretch is 7 miles long, with only about a hundred foot gain in elevation from Pullman to Moscow. It meets up on both ends with other paths.

I usually do not run this path because it is by far the most popular recreation trail in the area. During the winter I run it a lot when it is snow covered because no one else goes on it. But during the sunny months, especially on weekends, it gets quite busy, especially with bikers. And when it gets too busy it's not real safe for Sadie to be off her leash, so that's why I avoid it most of the time.

This morning, however, we got up early and I thought I would give it a shot because I was in the mood for a flatter run the day after the race.

Sadie and I beat the crowd and during the first 6 miles to Moscow we were basically by ourselves. My legs felt good. I wanted to take it easy just because I didn't know how my body was going to react to a 12 miler the day after a race. I would run to each mile marker and then walk for about 30-45 seconds. This seemed to be a good strategy and I felt strong all the way through. The bikers were out in droves on the way back so Sadie got some good "stay with me" training on the go. She did well and only jumped in front of one biker. :) (sorry to the guy in the funny red shorts).

The photo is at about the 4 mile mark looking east toward Idaho with Moscow Mt. in the background.

Scheduled rest day tomorrow, though I really want to run. We'll see what happens...

Keep running!


23 June 2007

Kootenai River Run (10k) Race Report

A new PR!!!

The great thing about running a distance you've never run before is that you will automatically set a new PR. So I think my new goal in life is to only run races in distances that I've never run before so I can only set PRs. :)

The Kootenai River Run is held in Bonners Ferry, Idaho - the northern reaches of the state. I traveled with fellow blogger Jen, her husband Shane, their 2 year old human boy, and their 3 1/2 month old English Mastiff (who is already nearly 40 lbs!). The 4am start to my morning threw off all my normal morning "routines" and I was a bit nervous that race time might be rather unpleasant. The sun is already out that early and the three hour drive to Bonners Ferry was beautiful. It is not uncommon to drive by moose that early in the morning, but today we had no sitings.

We got there with plenty of time to check in, stretch, and play on the playground. My last race was the Bloomsday 12k in Spokane, WA which has over 40,000 participants easily. It was clear on arrival that this race would be just a bit smaller. :) Jen and I were running our first 10ks and Shane was on toddler/mastiff duty. We were a little nervous while checking in when we asked the ladies at the check-in table where the starting location was and they looked at each other hoping the other one knew. They pointed in a few directions before calling someone else over who seemed sure it was "beneath that large willow tree over there."

There was also a 5k that started along with the 10k. At the starting line (yep, under that willow tree) there probably weren't more than 200 runners. Jen and I laughed that maybe we would be able to take a ribbon in our age group. "Ha ha ha." The weather was mildly cool with a stiff breeze.

I knew it, everyone started out like rockets. If there is one thing I've learned about my couple lifetime races it's not to get caught up in the beginning adrenaline filled sprint-like pace. So I hung back a bit and let whoever wanted to to fly by me.

The first mile was slightly uphill and I came in at around 8-min 10-sec, about what I was hoping for. My goal was to break an 8 minute mile for the entire - so around 48 minutes. After about a mile and a half the course split between the 5k and the 10k. I think I was a little surprised to see so many people making the sharp left for the 5k. I notice that not many people were actually ahead of me on the 10k course. Hmmm, this could be interesting. My second mile was mostly downhill with a slight tailwind and I ran it around 7-min 05-sec! Slow down, slow down. For the next half mile I couldn't stop looking at my watch even though the seconds ticking off don't mean anything unless I have a mileage marker. I was concerned I was going too fast and the watch was becoming a bit of a distraction. So I made the decision not to check it again, and I didn't until near the end. The turnaround point was absolutely beautiful. Yellow canola fields blowing in the wind. It crossed my mind to take a walk break just to make the scenery last. But I didn't, because at the turnaround point there were less than 10 people in front of me!

The last half of the race was mostly uphill and into what seemed like a very stiff wind. I think my hill running in Pullman paid off because I was able to catch and pass three runners on the uphills. One of the runners was this guy who ran the entire race in the middle of the road and wouldn't move to either side when cars were coming by. I couldn't help but laugh as some of the drivers displayed their knowledge of sign language, but he was not fazed at all. The road was his.

I'll be honest, I was feeling the adrenaline rush at this point. 2 more miles! Less than 1 miles! 1 more mile! The last bit was downhill and I felt like I had something left so I pushed it a bit more. I felt good going through the finish line. It wasn't until nearly a minute later that I remember to look down at my watch to see what my time was. So I had to wait until the names were posted to see my official time. And it was pretty exciting to know I finished near the front and had a great chance of actually placing in my age group.

The times were posted and I placed third in my age group! Sure it was a small race, but how cool is that? I forgot to look at my overall finish but if I counted correctly on the run it was maybe 7th or 8th place. My time was 45-min 44-sec. A 7:22 pace. So I'm very happy with that. My pace at the Bloomsday 12k was 7:55, so I think that was a nice improvement over a month and a half.

Jen came in a little behind me and ended up placing 2nd in her age group. Congratulations Jen! So the funny ha ha joke at the beginning actually came true. "Ha ha ha."

Pre-race stretching

Canola field near turnaround point
(yes, this is a real photo)

Finish line

And I should have received some kind of award for
my ribbon acceptance cartwheel, don't you think? :)

Me - 3rd in age group; Jen - 2nd in age group
(we rock)

Yes, a fun race and an all-around great day.

Keep running!


21 June 2007

Long Day

Wow I was tired today. Longer than usual day at work which ended with a dinner commitment. I don't like running after I've eaten a full meal. But it was later in the evening and the temps were nice and cool - so I guess there was something good to come out of it. The run was a thumbs down though. First of all, it was a Shasta run and I spent the first 10 minutes waiting on her and helping her pick out stickers from her paws. Sadie will run 15 miles on three legs with a splinter the size of a 2x4 jammed into one paw. Shasta stops and lays on the ground looking at me like she is going to die with only a thick piece of grass stuck between her toes. It was kind of funny though.

The highlight of the run was when a fire-engine passed by with its sirens blaring and a pack of coyotes in the field next to us went crazy howling along with the siren. The sun was still out and they were out in the open and just howling away. They were far enough though where Sadie and Shasta couldn't see them over the tall grass even though they were freaked out by the howls. On the way back I saw the billowing smoke that the fire-engines were responding to and from a mile or so away it looked like it was in the exact location of our house. But it wasn't (PHEW).

Yesterday's run was about the same as today only much hotter. So hot that Sadie stopped dead in her tracks (on the leash) just to sit in some shade. What a wuss. But that made me think. Am I running her too much? A couple people we know have recently mentioned to Jeanie (but not me...) that Sadie looks too skinny and maybe she shouldn't run so much. So I did a little research about Border Collies and basically found that working Border Collies (farms, ranches, etc) can easily run 50 and can sometimes run nearly 100 miles a DAY! So I'm not concerned about her at 25-30 miles a week right now. I am starting to carry extra water for her on the midday runs.

Stats - Yesterday 3.25 miles - Today 3 miles

Easy run today and rest day tomorrow in preparation for the race on Saturday. Now I need some sleep...

Keep running!


19 June 2007

hills schmills and a new race on deck

My schedule called for a few short hills today, but since Pullman is ONLY hills anyway, I decided to call today a short farlek. The only flat section in Pullman is the long table down the center of Rancho Viejo, our favorite Mexican restaurant - and that is even wobbly and not flat half the time. The run went well, I threw in some sprints (maybe 85%) toward the end just to stretch things out.

Total - 2.5 miles

Also, I've finally found a June race to run. This Saturday is the Kootenai River Run 10k. Even more exciting is that my friends (Jen and her husband) will be going too. It's not a short drive but it's the closest thing less than a 57 mile ultra that I could find this month. It should be a fun trip to Bonners Ferry, Idaho. We'll be a long way from civilization...

The weather is great today and I'm signing out early to go do some grilling. Yum!

Keep running!


17 June 2007

Spring Skip Summer and Fall Here's Winter

45-degrees and rain this morning at the start of the run. Ahhh, springtime. How lovely. Went back to Moscow Mt. to hit the trails again. I know I shouldn't do all my long runs on the trails as I build up for Portland, but I figure I can every couple/few weeks.

I'm not sure exactly how long today's run is. I do the 5.5 mile Headwaters Loop plus some. I'm guessing it is definitely at least 10 miles, which is what my training schedule called for today. Probably longer than 10, but that's what I'll call it. I was messing with my nifty barometric altimeter on my watch and the beginning of the run started at about 2,950ft. The high point of the trail was at a place called Paradise Point, 4,550ft. On the map to the right (click to enlarge) you can see the Headwaters Loop on the bottom left. The other trails lead up to Paradise Point, which is shown in red. I've been looking into these GPS watches and I think it would be great to have one but I keep hearing how unreliable they are without direct line-of-sight and I wonder if it would be worth even getting if I spend a lot of time on the trails. I guess for now I'll have to rely on my uncanny ability to read the sun's positioning to tell me my exact location. :)

The cool thing about the rain today is that it keeps most people away from the trails, so it felt like Sadie and I had the entire mountain to ourselves like we did yesterday. And man did I feel good today. I'm really feeling the progress I'm making, especially in the downhill sections. I think those two weeks of quad burning during my vacation built a nice base because today I was cruising through a lot of sections that just a couple months ago I would labor through. I like this running thing! One uncool thing about the rain today, along with the temps, was that my shirt was wet and heavy and (ouch!) my nipples were being rubbed to the point that the front of my shirt was covered with blood by the end of the run. My brand new awesome running shirt that I bought in Santa Fe!!! I want to note that this has never happened before so I was less than prepared. I doused it (my shirt) with my water bottle at the finish and I think it will be okay. Ouch!! (again). And yes, I'm blaming it on the rain.

So, in Santa Fe a few weeks ago I picked up some running gear. Along with a couple shirts and a pair of shorts, I got a much needed hydration belt and a very cool pair of socks. So, after a few weeks of use I just wanted to give both of them a huge thumbs up! The belt I love because it spreads the wealth around the waist and it is so versatile - long runs you can use all six bottles and shorter runs you can take out what you don't need and just carry a couple. My dad wears only these socks and I've heard a few other people rave about them and I have to tell you that they are great - no toe blisters yet. They're especially great when they are wet on my trail runs because that's usually when I would get blisters.

In other news, today was the running of the Comrades (Ultra) Marathon in South Africa. So, I have exactly one year to get ready for the next one...

But first, a rest day tomorrow.



-Photo 1 - Heading to trailhead
-Photo 2 - Map
-Photo 3 - Rained on Sadie
-Photo 4 - Taking a break at Paradise Point

16 June 2007

On the trail again

I'm training for a road marathon, something I feel I need to do - and really want to do! But when I get on those trails...man, I don't ever want to run on asphalt or concrete again.

According to my training schedule, today was supposed to be a 3 miler but I felt I could bend that a little. And I needed to get to the trails. NEEDED TO. Getting out on the trails sure breathes new life into my mental runnning engine thingy. Not that I've needed it, though. It's just nice, like a mini-vacation.

So Sadie and I headed out to our old reliable - Headwaters Loop. We got there early and had the trail to ourselves (it gets semi-busy during weekend afternoons). The air was cool and my legs felt good. The loop is basically a climb to the mid-point and then back down. I wanted to run the entire thing today but decided to take a couple walk breaks on the up part to save a little for my long run tomorrow. Sadie doesn't like it when I walk. She keeps looking back like "Uh, hello? I thought you said we were going on a RUN today." I felt good the entire way and Sadie found every water hole to plop down in. The creeks were running pretty low and I'm guessing that soon I'll have to start carrying water for Sadie, too.

The first three photos are from today's run. Everything is so green and many parts of the trail are bordering on being overgrown by the underbrush. But that never lasts long with the dry summers we have here.

I'm still on the lookout for an ultra-small camera that I can carry with me. Right now I'm carrying my camera phone and it has been fine so far but it doesn't have the best image quality or a zoom feature, which would be really nice on these trail runs. I'm not desperate for anything, just interested.

The bottom photo is one I took yesterday after an hour of Frisbee and fetch with Sadie and Shasta. That's our cat Damian. Sadie sure loves him. If he's in the house Sadie has to make sure he's doing okay. And it's so funny how when Damian is meowing on the front porch and the door is closed Sadie will ring her "I've got to go to the bathroom" bell to let us know he needs in. Our other cat doesn't get along with the pups quite as well...

Until tomorrow!


14 June 2007

Enough Running???

So I'm having a hard time following my marathon training schedule. I feel like I can and should be increasing my weekly mileage more than it is currently calling for. I feel that then I could just maintain a higher amount up until October. Right now the schedule has me between 25 and 30 miles per week for the next few weeks but I feel like I could be around 30-35 right now. I know these schedules can be tailored to fit individual needs, but I guess I'm a little worried that maybe my anxiousness is just asking for injury or prolonged fatigue.

Anyway, yesterday evening I had a nice little 3 mile run. I was a bit sore after my Tuesday fartlek run, but I still felt I had a few more miles in me. This morning, since I didn't have to show up to work until 9-ish (yippee!), I went on my scheduled 4 miler. Again, I felt like I had a few more miles in me. Both runs I took Shasta with us. (I guess two consecutive Shasta Runs makes me feel like I haven't been running enough.) It's fun to watch her run. She keeps up with Sadie for the first mile or so and then after that she is right at my heels just making sure she doesn't run any extra than she has to. But she has so much fun. My Shasta Runs are along a short section where I can always have the dogs off the leash. No way I could run with both of them on leash. Sadie always has a great time. She bounces through the tall grass like a kangaroo, trying to scare up ANY unsuspecting animal or bird victim.

Off day tomorrow then I think I'm hitting the trails on Moscow Mountain over the weekend. I've been running all roads since returning from vacation and I'm having withdrawals.

Keep running!


12 June 2007

Fartleks (hee hee hee)

They say you can tell real runners apart from your average "other" person by who snickers at the mention of fartleks. Real runners can say it with a straight face. Non-runners can't help but snicker.

Fartleks. (hee hee hee).

Well, maybe I'll be a real runner someday. I went for a 4.5 mile fartlek filled run. (I'm not even sure how to use it correctly in a sentence). And I'm exhausted. I think I ran too many fast sections without enough recovery sections. I have to admit, everyone time I kicked my pace up a few notches I had to giggle at the thought of what I was doing. It was fun though. A nice change of pace (literally and figuratively). Sadie couldn't figure out what I was trying to do. "Make up your mind already" she kept barking at me (literally and figuratively).

Oh, and I decided that I'm only going to wear my watch on my weekend long run. I tried wearing one for a week and I felt trapped by the tick tick ticking away. But I think it will be nice to keep track of my long run times.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Keep running!


10 June 2007

Pullman covered in rain

Got up early today to get out on the road before the rain showers hit. The roads were wet from all the rain last night and there was a very nice coolness to the air. And no rain during the run! There were quite a few runners out on the roads and over half of them were running with a dog too. Which was nice to see, but all of them had their dogs on a leash so I kept having to put Sadie on hers. I usually only have her leashed when we are in the downtown area and let her run off in the other parts. So for my 8 mile run today that translates to about 2 miles on the leash and 6 off. But after I had to stop and leash her up again for the fourth or fifth time I just kept her on. I don't think there is a better running dog than her. Anyway, it was a nice run and I felt like going farther but I'm going to stick to this training schedule for now.

Stats: 8 miles - 1h 07m 55s - 8:30pace

Oh, and I've been tagged by the cruel cruel Marcy and am required by some sort of internet law to list six weird things about myself.

1. I have a semi-bionic toe on my left foot.
2. I have a near deathly fear of squirrels.
4. I've (admittedly) cried at only one movie EVER - All Dogs Go To Heaven. (but get teared up during any movie where the main character is an unathletic kid named Rudy who wants to play football)
5. I shave my head so I don't get motorcycle helmet-hair.
6. I don't believe in the idea of infinity.

So now you know my deepest darkest secrets. I have nothing left that is my own...


09 June 2007

Saturday Shasta Run

Good Luck to my Dad at the Holcomb Valley 33-miler tomorrow morning!! (and afternoon...)


So the schedule I'm keeping to hard and fast calls for a short run on Saturdays to proceed Sunday's long one. So I'm going to call my Saturday runs Shasta Runs. Shasta is our 9-pound Pomeranian, and boy does she ever love to run run run, so she'll get to come along on these short runs for at least a few weeks until they do get a bit longer. Too bad for her she has short legs and can't keep up for too long, but she does fine on runs under 4 miles (and hikes up to 12 miles so far). Really. She may be the most exercised Pomeranian in history, and she thinks she is Sadie's twin Border Collie sister.

Today called for a 3 mile jog. It does feel good to run in the morning and not after work. I'm often worn down after work and sometimes the runs are brutal. But since I have to be at work at 7:30am I haven't built up the courage to try the super early morning runs like many of you swear by. But no work today so I went out at about 8:30 and it felt great. I felt like I had a little more bounce in my step after a day off yesterday (and no margaritas). The one thing I see that I have to work on since I started wearing a watch, especially on these short runs, is to not start off so fast and feel like I'm racing the clock. This morning I felt I started out way too fast - but it felt pretty good. The one thing my training schedule doesn't tell me is how hard I should run.

Should I push all my runs to the point of exhaustion at the end? Run like I'm racing? At this point I don't have a real good sense of how I should be pacing. I'll try to do a little research - but any tips would be welcomed.

As for the run. 3 miles - 24m 47s - 8:16 pace

I know I know, I'm such a speed demon...

Happy Saturday!


07 June 2007

no más margaritas (por favor)

did go on a run today. same route as yesterday. quick trip to the dog park where sadie and i met shasta the pomeranian and a number (like 4 or 5) other energetic dogs.

then...for some mexican food and a pre-birthday celebration for jeanie. her birthday is this weekend but she'll be gone away at a conference. no más margaritas, svp. si? oui? no no no.

stats: 4.25 miles - 37m 18s - 8:47 pace (am I getting slower this week? si si si....)
margaritas: si!

sleepy. i'll dream about running though i promise.


06 June 2007

A Date with Scarlett?

Starting today I am following a marathon training schedule. I'm 18 weeks away from Portland and figure I should start getting serious about my running stats. (we'll see how long that lasts...being too serious may take the fun out of it.) I'm going to try to follow the plan as close as I can without going crazy.

Since I'm being so serious today I thought I should throw out my goals for the Portland Marathon.

1. My main goal is to simply finish. How embarrassing would it be to have the fancy blog with all these cool people watching me and not even be able to finish?...

2. My secondary goal is to finish under 5 hrs. This is the time that will officially qualify me for the Comrades Marathon in June '08 (my ultimate ultimate running goal).

3. My I think it may be doable goal is to finish under 4 hrs. 4 hrs looks so studly, doesn't it?

4. My out-of-body experience goal is to finish under 3 hrs and 11 min. This will qualify me for the Boston Marathon.

5. My I've been smoking crack today goal is to finish under 2 hrs and 46 min. There's no significance to that number at all, but it looks like a good, round crack number.

6. My Scarlett Johansson will go on a date with me (and pay the tab) goal is to finish under 2 hrs 4 min and 55 seconds. This will qualify me as the fastest marathon runner - EVER.

So, there it is.

Today's run was through a light rain in a windy low 50's.
Stats: 4.25 miles - 36m 37s - 8:37 pace

Have fun and keep running!


04 June 2007

Back to Reality

The mountains are a bit farther away. The air is a bit thicker. The wheat fields are a bit greener. I had to mow the lawn.

I haven't run since my last post on Wednesday. We had a long long long few days driving from Santa Fe back to Pullman (our route was just over 1,600 miles). A few stops (Yellowstone National Park!!) and an incredibly aching body. It's official, I have car lag. We didn't get home until near midnight last night thanks to a couple of turn off your car and take a walk accidents on Interstate-90 and I was back to work at 7:30 this morning. I was ansy to get out and run once I got off work and my motivation far exceeded my body's pleading to stop and rethink this whole running thing. I went out for a 10 mile loop but when I had the chance to cut a few off with a short cut I took it. Boy I was tired.

I did, however, accomplish two things on the run that I'm very proud of:

1. I wore a watch and timed my run. I figure with just over 4 months until Portland I need to start structuring my training a bit more.

2. I stopped worrying about unriding my upriding shorts when another runner or car passed. What a monkey off my back. :) I feel liberated not being so self-conscious about the exact location of every seam on my shorts. Whew, what a relief!

7 miles - 59m 40s - 8:31 min/mile pace. Now I have something to build on, I guess.

I'm glad to be back. Maybe not as glad as I would have been to have another two weeks away, but oh well. Keep running!


PS I've enjoyed catching up on everyone's blogs. Congratulations again to those who had very successful races!