Five Things Friday: Fun Reading to Help You Get Through/Avoid Your Final Workday of the Week – TGIF!

1. I graduated! From physical therapy, that is. I’m actually a little sad. I mean, where else am I going to talk/brag/overshare about running. Oh…wait…


Gonna miss my PTs, Karin and Chris at Pacific Balance in Seattle.
Thanks guys! Hope I don’t need to see you soon!

Mel and me on a lunch run in March.

2. Wednesday was speedwork. I love speedwork! And it’s super fun when it’s with a friend. I wasn’t sure if I could squeeze in 5 miles during my 60-minute lunch, but I can! My plan called for the 5 miles with three of them at a sub-8:40 pace. It sounded challenging, which I love. Mel (Tall Mom on the Run), who created my sub-2 training plan, met me at my office at 11:35 and we were off. (Thanks for running with me, Mel!) Here’s what I wrote about the run on DailyMile (are we friends yet?):

Speed work! With my coach Mel. Five miles with the middle three at a sub-8:40 pace on the schedule. I’ve been doing my speed runs before work on Wednesdays, but knew I could probably squeeze it in at lunch if I wanted to sleep in.

Today (Wednesday), Mel met me at my office and we took off for a nice, relaxed first mile, then my watch beeped and we were off. She talked and kept track of the pace and I just ran, which was awesome. Maybe a little too awesome since she had to reel me in a couple of times. She gave me a “tour” of the trails near her office and she even used an official tour guide voice, which cracked me up!

At one point, I noticed my bangs were flying free. My headband! My sparkly one Chelsea gave me! It was gone, but Mel said we’d take that way back and look for it after we were done with our loop. Eventually, we turned and went down the creepy trail she sometimes runs; it’s an extremely wooded area that goes under a dark bridge for a bit. She said she’s always afraid someone’s going to jump her just after exiting the bridge, so I busted out a karate move just in case (channeled my inner Jess A. Ninja!). On the way back, Mel spotted my headband. Yay! Together again! Next thing I knew, Mile 4 beeped. Then we parted in front of Mel’s office with a high five and I had a little over a mile left to get back to my office. I wasn’t really sure what time it was, so I floored it. When I past a walking co-worker with about a quarter-mile left, I slowed down.

Holy cow, it was humid. Back inside, it was challenging pulling my jeans on my wet legs! I felt like Ross in that episode of Friends where he can’t get his leather pants back on. Remember that one?


3. Did you see that my friend and running buddy, Chelsea (Will Run for Food), was featured at runjodirun HERE? If not, you should head over and read her Q&A. I got a little verklempt.

4. I did my 4-miler last night. I don’t know what it is, but I am GASSY on my night runs. It’s so embarrassing! Luckily, there’s not a lot of people out running at 8:30 p.m. But I need to get my evening/night runs on to practice for Hood to Coast!

My super flourescent shirt is great for evening runs!
And I brought back the double buns. Love double buns!

It wasn’t a great run. I had earbud issues and ended up ripping them out. Literally, ripping them out. I was so annoyed. I stashed them in my Running Skirt pocket and ran in silence. It was kind of nice, actually. But I also forgot to wear anything on my eyes and I kept getting bugs in my face and spider webs. Gross. The run was a nice and easy 4-miler. You can read more about it HERE.

5. Speaking of Hood to Coast. My team, Nuun Platuun, is trying to match the creativity and awesomeness of our sister team, After-Nuun Delight. Check this out!

Wow! So, guess who’s trying to make a Nuun Platuun logo? Um. Me. I have some graphic design software (using Illustrator) and a little experience, but I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of practice. We are kind of modeling it after the M*A*S*H logo: N*U*U*N. Got any ideas for me?

Make It Happen

Monday, I wore my workout clothes all day.


Well, I slept in (I needed it!) and knew I would have to squeeze in my hill workout when I could find the time. Having my workout gear on meant I would be ready to go when that time came. But the time kept on slipping away, as Steve Miller would say.

I wore my workout clothes on my errands, to play with T Junior and, eventually, I found myself cooking dinner in my running skirt and technical t-shirt with an apron on to protect them. And, yes, my running shoes had been on all day, too.

Finally, after dinner, after dishes and dinner clean-up, after T Junior was all tucked in and Mr. T was home from work, I snuck out the door to run some hills. On the schedule — 4 miles with 8×200 of that being hill repeats. (See workout HERE.)

I hate to say “hi” then “bye” to my husband when he gets home, which is why I normally get up early to exercise, but sometimes a day doesn’t go according to plan. (And, as it turns out, me slipping out for a bit gave him time for a treadmill workout of his own.)

Exercising — whether it’s running, walking, riding your bike, hiking or doing a Jillian video — is not always easy to make time for.

But sometimes you just have to make it happen.

What did you make happen today?

New Scenery, New Running Buddy, Old Stories

Sometimes I just need to change things up.

I’ve sorta been bored on my flat straight Cedar River Trail route lately. Except for Wednesday’s coyote scare excitement, it’s been…meh.

Me and Michelle back at the beach at Gene Coulon Park
along Lake Washington after 8 miles.

I suggested a new location for a 10-miler and Zoë was game. I posted that we were looking for a new route on the Women Runners of King County Facebook Group page and Michelle responded with a cool-sounding run along Lake Washington. She also was up to run with us! Sweet! The more the merrier!

I left the house at 6 a.m., eating my PB&J in the car, to meet the ladies, but Zoë texted and said she needed sleep. She’s sleep-training a baby, so um, I totally understand that. But Michelle would be there. Suddenly, I was nervous. Zoe and Michelle had met before, had run together before. But I’d never met Michelle.

How would I recognize her? What would we talk about? But when I pulled into the parking lot, I know who she was because she looked like a runner! And we had NO problems in the talking department.

We synchronized our watches and we were off — leaving the parking lot of Gene Coulon Park and heading to Lake Washington Boulevard. We shoulder-ran, but this is a very lightly traveled road with just the local homeowners driving on it basically. I think we saw more cyclists than cars. We even got a “woo-woo” from one group of male cyclists. That’s a first for me for sure.

What’s great about a new running buddy is that she hadn’t heard all my old stories yet. Michelle hasn’t run with a buddy a whole lot so she’s not used to chatting and running. She apologized that I had to do a lot of the talking. Ha! Guess what? I talk a lot anyway so I didn’t even notice. (I listen, too, though. I’m just really, really good at keeping the convo going.)

Things we discovered:

  • I grew up in the city right next to where her husband lived when he was in high school (in California). In fact, I know people who went to the same high school he did.
  • We both have three-year-old boys.
  • We are both afraid of Canadian geese. See? I’m not the only one!

We ran some rolling hills along Lake Washington Boulevard and then met up with a paved trail that runs alongside I-405 for a bit. One portion had a lot of trees and a bald eagle even swooped across in front of us. Pretty! The sun was shining, the air was cool, but not cold, and the lake views were gorgeous. Perfect morning for a 10-miler.

Michelle had just raced on Sunday, though, and wasn’t feeling completely recovered, so we turned around at about Mile 4. On the way back, in that same treed area, we stopped in our tracks when we spotted a bald eagle (the same one?) sitting on a low tree branch above the trail.

I took pictures of course and he (she?) watched us. Then watched us walking closer, then under, then walking away. He was huge. Michelle was guessing about 40 pounds. But maybe looks are deceiving with all those feathers? Michelle was freaked out, which was great because usually it’s me freaking out about wildlife!

It seemed like, all of a sudden, we were back at the car. We’d just been chatting and chatting. Time flew by. I dropped her off at about Mile 8…after a picture, of course!

Then I ran the short lakeside trail to pick up two extra miles. Since the first eight we just ran and didn’t worry about pace, I decided to try for my goal race pace for the last two. I wondered if I could hit my goal time after already running 8 miles.

Guess what? I can! Mile 9 was only four seconds off with an 8:49 and Mile 10 was an 8:40. Hello, confidence-boost. If you are interested in all the splits, you can go HERE.

Sometimes meeting someone new, running somewhere new can feel a bit scary, but it almost always pays off! After all, I met Zoë on a blind running “date” back in 2009 during a training run for our first half. And we just ran our first marathon together.

Me and Zoë in November 2011. You can see that my
self-portrait skills have not improved since then.

Here’s to new running friends and routes!

What Do a Coyote, Physical Therapy and Potty Training Have in Common?

They were all part of my week…

1. I skipped Monday’s hill repeats since it was the day after the half. Recap HERE.

2. Tuesday, on the advice of my PT, I did not make up the hill repeats and rested as scheduled.

Me at physical therapy with my PT. They posted this pic, from a couple of
weeks ago, to their Facebook wall.
Credit: Pacific Balance and Rehabilitation Clinic

3. Wednesday morning before work, I had an awesome fast run: 5 miles with an average pace of 8:38. The last mile should’ve been slower than an 8:15 pace, but a coyote popped out on the Cedar River Trail and I ran as fast as I could without hurting myself back to the car. Read about that run HERE.

4. Thursday…I don’t have words. One of my Top 10 worst days ever. Even a 4-mile nighttime sanity run did not help. I did hit below my goal pace for the two middle miles without much problem — even seemed easy on the flat straightaways. You know what’s not easy? Potty training little boys. Read more about that run HERE.

5. My friend, who has a son with autism, sent me this run that sounds AWESOME! It is called The Amazing Race to Understand Autism. Let’s just say you need running shoes, a camera, a phone and a buddy. Check it out HERE if you live in the Seattle area.

Motto e Motto: See Jane Run Half Recap

My motto these days is: I think I can fit that in.

This has, however, become increasingly difficult, especially over the last two weeks partly due to my in-laws visiting from Florida. See Jane Run Half and surrounding festivities had been planned for months: Saturday evening, we would hit the expo and then go to dinner. Sunday, run.

But my family wanted to go to the Sequim (pronounced skwim) Lavender Festival on Saturday. Sequim is two-plus hours away on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula (where the North Olympic Discovery Marathon starts). I have never been to the festival and heard its lovely, so I was excited to go. However, my family consists of late-risers, and we did not all congregate in Sequim until after 1 p.m. I needed to be back in Seattle by 5 for the expo, which meant I needed to leave Sequim by 3. (My husband and T Junior would ride back after the festival with my in-laws.)

That gave me two hours at the festival. But the festival is spread out over many lavender farms. The first farm we went to, which was nothing more than about 100 lavender plants, a cash register and a Honey Bucket (thank goodness because I’d been hydrating for the race), was my favorite because T Junior was able to explore between the tufts of purple flowers. I also taught him to take pictures with my phone.

Second attempt.

What Mr. T looks like to T Junior.

He wanted to take a picture of the butterfly.

This has to be one of my favorite pictures of us ever — and T Junior took it.

I felt guilty leaving my family at the festival. Like panicked guilty, but I’d had these plans for a long time. Of course, I stayed a little later than I should have – about a half hour – and that meant I was still a half an hour away from the expo when I was already a half an hour late. Got that?

Luckily, I have awesome friends and Chelsea (Will Run for Food) picked up my bib. Turns out the expo was lackluster anyway, so missing it was not that big of a deal. I did, however, feel awkward at the semi-fancy Il Fornaio in my Superman shirt (T Junior and I wore matching shirts to the festival).

Lisa’s hubs, Lisa, Chelsea and Mike, me, Jayne, Mel and Zoe.

There were eight of us at dinner – a really nice number for conversation. I stayed away from dairy, something I learned from Alma (The Average Woman’s Running Blog) – and had the cappellini al pomodoro (basically spaghetti), a beer and lots of bread. Too much bread, really, but it was so good. I love bread. I’m a bread fiend. I love it toasted. I could eat toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My favorite part of the dinner was people-watching:

  • A disheveled-looking man in a stocking cap pulled down over his eyebrows at a table with an otherwise clean-cut family. Once, I looked over and he was smoking. Um, we have a smoking ban here. Mike, Chelsea’s boyfriend, informed me that there are such things as electric cigarettes that produce steam instead of smoke. What?! I’d never heard of these.
  • A man who looked just like Vizzini from The Princess Bride. Inconceivable!
  • An older man, probably in his late 60’s, on what looked like a date with a much younger woman, probably in her early 20’s.

And then Chelsea made a map of where we were to meet before the race on Sunday. The spoons are trees, the sweetener packets are parking.

I went home to get ready knowing I needed to be at Zoe’s by 5:30 the next morning so she could drive us to Chelsea’s by 6:30 at the latest. I set out my blue and pink “ice cream” tank from last year’s You Go Girl! Race, my white Nike running skirt, my pink RunLove socks from RunningSkirts and my sparkle headband Chelsea gifted me from RazzyRoo. I went to bed feeling like something was bound to go wrong since I was way too relaxed.

In the morning, I got dressed, made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat right before the start, and headed to Zoe’s. I transferred to her car and then spent the next 15 minutes laughing at her trying to drive while melted peanut butter dripped from her toasted waffle and PB sandwich. It was all over her face and it was pretty freakin’ funny at 5:45 a.m. …or any time, really.

Then Zoe and I just chatted and we both agreed that pop songs should not bring back saxophone solos (Lady Gaga’s On the Edge and Katy Perry’s TGIF).

Anyway, we got to Chelsea’s (after walking through a few spiderwebs – yuck!) and I had to go potty. That’s when I discovered that this would be a very, very, very bad day to wear a white skirt. Luckily, I had supplies.

Mike drove us all to the race…after a quick stop at Starbucks for Chels. Zoe and I w
aited in the car like their children and then took pictures of ourselves.

Mom and Dad…er, Mike and Chelsea.
After several attempts at a self-portrait, Zoe had enough and took over.
I’m sort of famous for bad self-portraits.

Mike dropped us off at the race start in Gasworks Park, and I was suddenly nervous. (Technically, this would only be my fourth half marathon, so…) It was like the opposite of the full marathon just a few weeks ago. In the days leading up to that race, I could barely speak, I was so nervous, but once I got to the actual race, I felt calm. This time, I was relaxed and then nervous.

I felt like maybe I had to pee, but the lines for the potty were so long. I chalked it up to nervousness, but really, I just did not want to wait in that line.

Chelsea’s suggested meeting place pre-race was perfect, and easy to find thanks to her sugar-packet-and-spoon map. Diana in a super cute argyle RunningSkirt managed to find us even though she had not seen it, but then she left to get in the Honey Bucket line. Poor Diana. It was a little chilly, so we stood around freezing and being silly for a bit till Mel (Tall Mom on the Run), her hubs and her sister Jayne, who would be running her first half just like Chelsea, arrived.

Tested out a new ‘do: two buns on top of my head.
It was great because it held my bangs back, too!

Running buddies.

You can see my buns. Hehehehehe.

Jayne, Mel, me, Zoe and Chels. Thanks Tall Dave for the pic!
They’re posing in honor of Jill (Running to Sanity) since
she wasn’t able to make the race.

As we headed for the start area and to get our wristbands for post-race Champagne, I saw a homeless man wandering toward our meeting area and I wondered what he thought about all these crazy women dressed in tutus and sparkle skirt in his “house.”

Over at the start, we got to meet many of our virtual buddies, including Jenn (Runner…Maybe?), Janna, Photina (My Running Tales), Katey (I Run on Purpose) and Megan (My Marathon Diaries). Then the pre-race warm-up began. I’ve only been to one other race (my first race, a 10K at Issaquah Salmon Days) that had a pre-race warm-up like this. They played dance music and people did aerobics. It was silly and fun, and we joined in.

Okay, maybe we were not taking it seriously.

Then I suggested doing a Charlie’s Angels pic, but someone changed it to Ninjas and forgot to CC Mel.

Charlie’s Ninjas? Hollywood, call me.

After that we stood around wondering how more than a 1,000 women were going to fit on a 5-foot-wide trail just beyond the starting line. We predicted mass chaos.

We were right.

The first two miles were slow-going. We had to take teeny-tiny steps to make sure we didn’t trip on any feet around us and watch out for low fence posts and potholes. Chelsea wanted to stay loyal to her 5:1 run:walk plan, and “pulling over” to walk was virtually impossible. Somehow, we managed to, but it was not easy.

We got to the first water stop and they were not ready at all. Looking back, I wonder if that stop was supposed to be for people on the “back” portion of this first “out and back,” and that’s why they didn’t have anything ready. They thought they had more time. Not sure, but it was a disaster.

Then, just as we were all getting into a groove on the trail, we heard yelling and suddenly the women in front of us were moving forward as bikes approached with some really fast women runners (the leaders) behind them. How frustrating for them! They had to run upstream. Maybe next year, they can have some chalk lines on the trail so people know to keep right.

I did like the out and backs, though, because we got to see people we knew and we got to people-watch. There were some fun outfits. My favorite were two women in pink camo tutus. And having Mike along the course for moral support for Chels and with his trusty camera (and water) was awesome!

I don’t actually remember a lot about this race because I was very focused on Chelsea and my Garmin. (Chelsea’s recap is really good, so go check it out HERE. And Zoe remembered a bunch of things I forgot HERE.) I was in charge of keeping track of 5:1. I wasn’t sure how much talking was helpful, and how much was annoying, and I kept asking her questions and then kicking myself because she needed to concentrate on breathing and not talking to me! Duh!

Action shot!

Around Mile 12, there was a sharp turn, but we were due for a walk break. I moved over to the right to get out of the way before I stopped running and a spectator wearing a red satin prom dress accused me of trying to cheat. Um, yeah, I wasn’t going to cut the corner, just needed to get out of the way, crazy lady. Sheesh. But it did irk me. I let it go since we were so close to Chels finishing her first half. Nothing could get in the way of the excitement of that. We made plans to hold hands in victory at the finish. (You have to plan these things.)

My first half in 2009 was sort of uneventful. I ran, I hurt, I finished, I had to pee. I didn’t really feel any different. I felt like I needed a potty and some food. To be brutally honest, I didn’t really feel proud of what I’d done right away or that anyone cared. I had no spectators or family there (my fault, I told them to stay home). My first half recap is HERE. Don’t worry, it’s not a total downer or anything.

Self-portrait post-Seattle Half in November 2009.

I did get to meet Amanda (5 Miles Past Empty) afterward, though, and that was awesome.

Me and Amanda in November 2009.

But I think this is why I wanted to be with my friend Chelsea for her first half. I wanted it to be fun and I wanted her to feel different when she was done. Running 13.1 miles is a pretty big deal, and I wanted her to feel like that and be proud of herself.

And Chelsea did amazing especially considering she had to stop training for several weeks because of a hip injury. She hit some rough patches, and she had some pain, but she pushed through, and even found her kick at the end (even though she told me she’d have no kick).

She’s kickin’ it in!

As we came around the bend to the finish, she said, “Here we go,” and freakin’ stepped on it! “Oh yeah!” I said and sped up to stay with her. We saw Zoe and Mike with their cameras. I waved, but Chels was all business. She was about to finish her first half!

As we approached the finish line, we grabbed hands and raised them up as Chelsea began to choke up. Seeing her get emotional made me choke up as I remembered my first half, so our finish line pictures should be interesting. After we crossed, she broke down obviously so proud of her accomplishment and this just made me so happy.

This is the reaction I had wanted for myself af
ter my first half, and I was so glad I got to be there with her. I hugged her and then we got our cute medals.

Then Mike was there with flowers, hugging her as she cried. I felt so proud of my friend. She was with Mike and I wandered over to First Aid to get some ice for her troubled hip (whom she named Mr. Hippy), but they were out. They were also out of water, which baffles me.

Soon, all the girls were there and Chelsea choked up again. Hugs all around! The rain started to come down and Zoe’s lips were blue, but we all headed for the Champagne Garden anyway. Other races should take note: Champagne and chocolate at the finish is the bomb! The combination of the sweet and dry was awesome. I went back for seconds on the Champagne…and thirds.

Cheers to the two new half marathoners, Chelsea and Jayne! And to Zoe on her PR!

On the car ride home, I said a few funny things that I will never hear the end of. But that’s nothing new.

*ahem* Running fun is fast. *ahem* (Or something like that.)

Hey, maybe that should be my motto.