2017 Kirkland Shamrock Run 5K Race Review

2017 Kirkland Shamrock Run 5K Race Review

My husband, who is going to hate this blog post, used to—and quite honestly still does—make fun of my running. So, you can probably imagine my surprise when he, himself, began running this winter…and then told me he wanted to sign up for a 5K. Remember how you felt when you found out Donald Trump was really, truly running for president and it was like a serious no-joke thing? That’s how I felt when the hubs asked me to sign us up.

A Little Background

As you may know, I have been immersed in the world of crazy runners since I started this blog in 2009. And by crazy, I mean obsessed people. My interests have bounced between 5Ks and marathons, and weightlifting and yoga. I even once considered an ultra. Once. Considered. So, I will say that I was sort of wondering how long it would take my husband to get on board the fitness train with me. Judging from his attitude about my running endeavors, I guessed the answer to that would be never. But then it happened. It was last year around this time, actually. Just 7 short years after I first began my health journey, he fully committed to his.

My husband started small—which is how everyone says to do it—something I, myself, completely ignored by jumping straight into training for half and full marathons before my body was ready (thus getting injured). He began walking on his lunch hour. He had a step goal. Not 10,000, but instead a number he thought was more achievable for his current fitness level. Then he started buying salads from the work café for lunch. Then he started bringing salads from home for lunch. (Full disclosure: I make these salads.)  Next, he increased his step goal to 10,000. Just by making those small changes, he lost nearly 60 pounds in about 9 months.

Next thing I knew, he began training for a 5K before Christmas, and he asked me to sign us up for a race so he could have a goal to motivate him. As it turned out, the 2107 Kirkland Shamrock Run was the exact right timing for his training, so I signed us up. (Full disclosure: As an ambassador for Orca Running, I had free entries. As always, I promise to be honest in my review of the race.)

The hubs confessed he was nervous the night before the race because he’d never run 3.1 miles consecutively. I reassured him since I knew he’d been running consistently—which, by the way, was much more than I could say about my own training. Beyond the Metabolic Effect weights workouts I like to do, I’d only been sprinting once or twice a week, and occasionally going for a longer, slow run on the weekend—and only if it was sunny out! He’d been running in the dark after work, in sleet and rain. He’d become a crazy runner.

The Day of the Race

The morning of the race was way calmer than it normally is when it’s just me, which is super surprising, since it was Jamey’s first time getting ready for one, and we also had to get our son up and ready to go over to a friend’s house. Probably because the race didn’t start till 9, which is in my opinion, about the perfect time for a race to start. And also, the hubs picked up our bibs ahead of time.

Another nice thing was that it wasn’t raining, and it had been (and has been) raining a lot here—even more than normal in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, after we arrived in Kirkland and found covered, free nearby parking in the metro transit parking garage, it started to rain. Luckily, it was just a light rain for our short walk to the start line at Kirkland Marina. (You may remember Kirkland Marina from me and my friend Chelsea’s stand-up paddleboard adventure…in a summertime downpour.)

The best thing about starting a race at Kirkland Marina is the public bathrooms. You KNOW us runners are port-o-potty connoisseurs, and when we luck out with public bathrooms at a race, it’s like we’re living a life of luxury. Oh, and the line was extremely short—and the bathroom had toilet paper and soap! I might as well have been carrying around a four-leaf clover.

Afterward, we wandered to the start line. We were excited to see bagpipers on stage, but they weren’t playing. (Fun fact: My husband is also a bagpiper.) I wanted a start-line photo, so I asked a random man to take our picture.

2017 Kirkland Shamrock Run 5K Race Review
The hubs wasn’t thrilled. Also, this is what you get when you ask a dude to take your photo. Next time, I’ll ask a woman. Sorry, dudes, but c’mon! The ladies behind us look cute, though.

Thanks…I guess. Dudes, you guys need to step up your photography game. In the age of Instagram, this is unacceptable! Then it was time to line up for the start of the race. I love small races, everything is so relaxed, and everyone is so nice. We found a spot in the back of the first wave since it was 11:15 pace and under. There were just two waves.

The Actual Race

Then it was time to count down and the bagpipers played us across the start. We set off like a typical race—slower since everyone is just trying not to trip, and even before we hit a quarter-mile, we were all spread out. There was plenty of room on the road to find your own pace. But we were about to hit the first hill. Being in Kirkland, we knew there’d be a couple hills—I think there were three in all. They were steep, but not super long. We took our time and we were smart about the hills, walking when we needed to. By now it was raining in earnest.

One thing I noticed, or did not notice, was mile markers…or rather, the absence of them. Now, that may have just been me not being very observant, but I didn’t see any, and I was looking. I did not wear my Garmin and it would have been helpful to know about how much of the race we had left. It is also useful for writing race reviews. So…I think it was after the first mile that we turned onto a flat dirt path.

The path was thinner than the road. I thought there may be some dodging and weaving, but it wasn’t bad. The only trouble we had was with people with dogs a couple of times. The race allows dogs, which I appreciate, but runners need to keep their doggies a little closer when they run so they don’t trip anyone—we had a couple of close calls.

The course wasn’t spectacularly scenic, but I enjoyed the cute neighborhoods we ran through. I also appreciated the police and volunteers who were standing in the rain and taking care of traffic along the course. We saw one driver who was not happy (and throwing a bit of a tantrum), but an officer calmly told her that there had been signs up about the race for a week. So, yeah. Calm down, lady.

There were a couple of short, steep uphills somewhere in the second mile…I think. Also, it might’ve been around the end of Mile 2 when my husband said to me, “You talk a lot.” Why he thought I would be different running than I am any other time, I don’t know.

2017 Kirkland Shamrock Run 5K Race Review
TBH I never thought I’d see a photo of us like this.

Mile 3 was great. It started (again, I think it was the beginning of Mile 3 because there were no mile markers), on a steep downhill. My shoe came untied, so I told the hubs to go ahead and I would catch up. This was great because I got to fly down the hill, which I love to do. I even got to sprint a little at the bottom. I am such a nerd.

Anyway, most of this mile was near the water, so we had a nice view of Lake Washington. It was really raining pretty hard now, but we were almost done.

2017 Kirkland Shamrock Run 5K Race Review

Soon enough, we were rounding a corner into the finish-line chute. Is it just me or do you love corners right before the finish chute? It feels awesome, right?

I told the hubs to go ahead and I would follow his lead because it was slightly crowded. And then, what does he do? Like father like son because he totally takes off in a sprint and cuts around a group of people, so I could not catch him. No cute finish line photo for us.

This might be a good time to talk abut the photos. As you can see in the hand-holding photo, the quality isn’t too great. I will cut them some slack on that because it was raining pretty hard. My biggest complaint is that there were only like four total photos of us (I am only in two of them), and we passed at least four photographers. There were no photos of us at the finish line. Not one—I even scanned through all of them in case our bibs weren’t visible. The nice thing, however, is that the photos are free. So, how can I complain? I’m just being nit-picky now, really.

One thing that I thought was really cool was that Orca Running had a PR bell set up near the finish line! I wish all races had that. Hubby got to ring it as it was his firt race and, hey, automatic PR!

2017 Kirkland Shamrock Run 5K Race Review
The hubs got to ring Orca Running’s PR bell! Yeah, I was jealous.

As you can see from the photo, it was very wet by the end, so we did not stick around for any festivities. We really only stayed long enough to get a quick picture in front of the backdrop, which I appreciated. (Again, age of Instagram, people.)

2017 Kirkland Shamrock Run 5K Race Review
The Shamrock Run medals were huge and awesome. The shamrock spins, too. Well done.

The medals also were really well done and very big, especially for a 5K. They have a cute shamrock in the middle that spins around. Very nice bling indeed! In addition, the race shirts came in both male and female cuts, so that’s a major plus because I hate unisex shirts, and I think most women would agree with me.

Overall, the race was very well organized. There were good snacks afterward, too (I had Red Vines!), and I also think there was an after-party in the pub nearby, but we had to get home to pick up our kid.

Thank you Kirkland Shamrock Run and Orca Running for a great first race for my hubs!

Our times:

  • Jamey: 33:13
  • Me: 33:16

Captain Jack’s Treasure Run 5K 2016 Race Report

Captain Jack's Treasure Run 5K Race Recap

Blimey! It’s 2017 and I still haven’t written a recap for the Halloween race I did last year. I also never cleaned my garage, but…

My son asked me over the summer if we could run a 5K together. He’s run kid races (like 1Ks and stuff), but never a 5K. I was not worried about him not having formal training since he is constantly moving, running and jumping around. The Captain Jack’s Treasure Run seemed to be the perfect race to do with my active 8-year-old.

A 5K option? Check. A pirate theme? Check. Dressing up encouraged? Check. Medals for every participant? Check. Free photos? Check. Beer garden? Check. (Okay, we passed on the last one. What do you think this is, Europe?)

Another reason I chose this race is for the later start time—a lovely 10 a.m. I know some of you parents drew the short straw and have kids that wake before the sun, but my kid sleeps in to a reasonable time. Getting him up early is actually chore. So, we rose at a normal time, put on our pirate costumes (my son wore his old Disney Captain Hook Halloween costume here) and headed out for the race, which is about 45 minutes from our house.

Parking was free and not too far from the venue—Red Hook Brewery—so we found a spot and walked to pick up our race bibs. It was a little chilly in the upper 40s/low 50s, so I wished I’d thought to bring warm jackets for before the race. Mom fail. But, hey, it’s all part of the experience, right? I’m usually standing around freezing before races, so my son was getting to see what the real deal is.

After we got our bibs, we jogged back to the car and warmed up. Along with the bibs, we got awesome race shirts, which I ended up wearing (wish they had a kids size, though, for my son) tattoos, stickers and eye patches.

Back at the pre-race festivities, pirates wandered around handing out treasure (free toys for kids), and a lively crew put on a fun and funny warm up that my son enjoyed and made me participate in.

Captain Jack's Treasure Run 5K Race Recap - start
Us with a random pirate.

The start area was a little narrow, I thought, but they started us in waves based on how fast we thought we’d run and so it didn’t up being that bad. Also, the race was small enough that it wasn’t that much of a factor. A pirate had an old pistol to shoot for the start, which was fun, but a little scary. It wouldn’t work and then, blammo! I thought he was gonna blow the man down for a sec.

But everyone was safe and running. We started in the back of our pack, so we had a slow start. Also, my son’s feet were cold and hurt with each step, so it took us a little bit to get warmed up. The course was nice and flat and paved if just a little narrow (simply a normal biking path). This would actually be a total PR course as long as you start in the front. Starting in the back will make it tough to get around people. The scenery was really pretty with the river and the valley’s green grass and fall foliage, and everyone was in good spirits (which is totally fitting since it’s at a brewery).

My son did the typical kid thing—sprint, then walk, sprint, then walk. And it worked for him. I gave him advice about running races, such as look before you pass someone since a runner might be coming up behind you, and don’t just stop running right in front of people, pull off to the side (that is my biggest pet peeve about races). He also ran the entire race with an eye patch on.

Toward the end of the race, he started to run more steadily. His pace was much quicker than I thought he could do for that long. Proud mom. He enjoyed racing a young girl maybe a year or two older than him for about a quarter mile till she gave in and walked. That made me laugh inside because I would’ve been that girl (No stinky boy is gonna beat me!). With the finish in sight, I asked, “Do you want to hold hands over the finish line or…” I didn’t get it all out because he took off in a sprint to beat me.

Finish Line - Captain Jack's Treasure Run 5K Race Recap
I mentioned the free photos, right? Love this one!

I had to run fast to catch up because I wanted to see my son get his medal. He looked so proud of himself. We then got some water and a banana. Another fun thing this race had was a treasure box. We lined up and then my son chose from three doors to reach into. He got an awesome Brooks trucker hat with a skull and cross bones that I immediately stole.

My son's prize that I wear now.
My son’s prize that I wear now.
Captain Jack's Treasure Run 5K Race Recap - medals
Our fun medals.

I loved this race and plan to do it again next year with my son and maybe even my husband because he started running last month. If you’re interested in signing up for the race on Oct. 29, 2017, don’t forget to use my code MOMVSMARATHON to save 10% on your entry. The earlier you sign up, the cheaper it is. Right now it’s only $30 for the 5K and $35 for the 8K. So worth it for all the free stuff you get, from swag to photos, and don’t forget the free beer ticket thanks to Red Hook!

Avast! Read my disclaimer: As an Orca Running Ambassador, I had free entry into this race. I’m not good at lying (clearly not a real pirate), however, so all my opinions are honest and truthful.

2016 Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Race Report

Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon 2016 Race Report
Tiffany, me and Cynthia in Brooks Running’s cute Snapchat booth.

So it’s been a month since the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, and I’m finally publishing my race recap. Better late than never, though. Unless you’re talking about diseases, terrorism or any of the people currently running for president.

It can also apply to running fitness. For example, during last month’s Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll half, I asked Zoë, “You know how you know that you’re a distance runner? When you finally feel warmed up at Mile 10.”

A nearby runner didn’t appreciate my observation. I swear it wasn’t a humble brag, though. I was just really, really surprised!

Every time I thought about running the half in the days leading up to it, my stomach turned. I’d done absolutely zero training. At least with other half marathons I haven’t trained for (bad habit), I’ve had some sort of solid base, but my longest run was six miles more than a month before the half. Sure, two weeks before this, I ran a relay, but my legs were each only 4 miles, and I had lots of rest in between.

I had a tough time at the expo on the Friday before the race, picking up my full marathon bib. That’s right. I was registered for the full because I registered right after my Beat the Blerch TRAIL marathon experience, and thought it would be a good idea to get redemption on the city streets of Seattle. But that was pre-shingles and pre-fatigue and pre-not running.

Anyway, this year, RnR Seattle had race jackets for full marathoners. You could try on your size at the expo and then pick up the jacket at the finish. Oh man. That just made things worse. I was fine with not getting a full medal, but a piece of clothing?! Actual wearable bragging material. That about did me in.

Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon 2016 report
Me, Tiffany and Cynthia picking up packets.

I knew I could not run the full. I didn’t even know if I could do the half! But that jacket. Zoë said, “It’s just a jacket.”

She’s so smart.

The only thing that kept me from DNSing the half was that I knew I was strong…and also I’d agreed to run with people. I’ve been consistently lifting weights and doing HIIT workouts since the end of March. I have my strength. I hoped I could muscle through it.

This is also not my first time at the rodeo, and I know that one needs more than strength to get through 13.1 miles on foot. Luckily, I also had Zoë, Tiffany, Cynthia and Alyssa, and they all promised we were going to just run for fun.

There’s no better way to run a race than with friends in my opinion…unless you are going for a time PR, then that’s a whole different ball of BodyGlide.

Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon 2016 report
Headed to the race with Cynthia, Alyssa and Tiffany.

Race Morning

I met Tiffany, Cynthia and Alyssa in our usual meeting spot for driving into Seattle at 5 a.m. Doing that meant I got up at 4 a.m. Ouch. But I went to bed early the night before, so I had a solid six hours, which is pretty good for me the night before a race.

My only issue was food. This year RnR Seattle changed the course back to a point-to-point, starting at Seattle Center near the Space Needle and finishing in SoDo (south downtown) at Century Link field. We would be driving to the finish and catching the shuttle to the start.

My usual pre-race smoothie would have to be consumed before we got on that shuttle because I don’t own disposable smoothie cups. Who does? So, I drank my breakfast at about 5:30 a.m. on the drive into Seattle, thinking we would be starting the race right around 7 a.m.

Too bad I didn’t wait until we got to the freeway exit because it took us an hour to get off the freeway and parked in a spot at Century Link. That’s not even a mile, guys. We thought the traffic would be so much better having everyone go to SoDo. We didn’t even get onto a shuttle till after 6:40 a.m.

Finally, we got to the start. I don’t know my way around Seattle Center that well and we had trouble locating Zoë. Also, we all needed to use the potties, but the lines were so long they made Disneyland ques look small. So we did what anyone else would do. Took pictures!

2016 Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon Race Report
That’s the potty line behind me.

Then Zoë found us and told us to get in a damn line for a potty. Total mom move. We got a hot tip that the lines were a lot shorter in the armory, which is a building in Seattle Center that’s warm, has cafés and real bathrooms. Great tip!

The Race

I realize I’m more than 700 words into this post and I haven’t even started talking about the race yet. But I’m ready now, so if you’re still with me, here goes:

At the expo, I had my corral changed to reflect a time closer to what I would run if I were registered for the half. I moved up from 17 to corral 7. Because of the shuttle-and-potty fiasco of 2016, we missed our corral start, but were able to hop into 9 right when it started, which I thought was pretty great. I’m not a big fan of being in that big herd of people shuffling along inside barriers. Moo.

Right away, we became known as “the tutus,” since we were all wearing them. The start-line MC pointed us out. Alyssa is getting married next month (uh, this just happened), so she wore a white tutu and we all wore blue ones. I wore mine upside down because I’m an inexperienced tutu wearer. This is typical me.

The first few miles flew by. We stopped often to take pictures. We spent quite a few minutes in front of the ferris wheel on the Alaskan Way Viaduct around Mile 2.

2016 Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon Race Report
Zoë and me with my upside-down tutu.

We took our time and decided to stop every other mile for photo ops.

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Zoë, me, Cynthia, Alyssa and Tiffany at Mile 4.

Guess what? Things are about to get way less detailed because I didn’t realize I hadn’t written this entire report yet when I opened it up in drafts. This is a good thing because it means you will have actual time in your day to do other things than read about our boring race.

Not kidding; there wasn’t a ton that happened, guys. The new course was great. Definitely better than the past few years. It reminded me of how it used to be when it started in Tukwila and ended at Century Link.

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Tiffany and I liked this graffiti background.
Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon Race Report 2016
Shameless flexing race photo.

We ended up making more stops than every other mile, of course. I was hungry earlier than I wanted to be because of the smoothie thing. But I had some really delicious gluten-free Honey Stinger waffles to look forward to. (Best things ever.) Also, we were alllll under trained, and we had some chafing issues, some potty stops, braid snafus, etc.

Zoë's gotta go.
Zoë’s gotta go.
Rock n Roll Seattle half marathon 2016
Real friends fix your messed up braids.

But whatever. We had a blast…and took lots of groups selfies until Tiff’s selfie stick broke around Mile 8 or so.

Around Mile 10, I started to feel really great. And I even thought that maybe I should’ve run the full. Of course, that changed by Mile 13.

I also discovered that my strength work and sprinting did benefit my running fitness, although I still think I would’ve felt stronger if I’d known I was anemic and had been taking iron before this race. Oh well. You live, you learn about Ferritin.

Even though this race is a giant pain in the ass to get to, it’s still buttloads of fun with all the people and music. My favorite were the Japanese drummers under some random overpasses at like Mile 5. I wanted to stay there.

Of course, the Blue Mile with all the photos of fallen soldiers and American flags along Lake Washington brought me to tears again. It’s heart-wrenching, but beautiful.

We finished the race together holding hands. I’ve yet to see those photos, although they must be done by now. Here’s the one we took post-race:

Rock n Roll Seattle half marathon 2016 report
Tiffany, Cynthia, Alyssa, me and Zoë post-race.

The only “con” of this whole race was getting back to our car. We had to walk around the Century Link parking lot forever even though we were parked in the Century Link garage on the other side of the stadium.

WTF guys? The only way to get back was to wander back next to the finish chute? Seems like you’d want to spread things out. Instead, we opted to walk on a needle-strewn non-sidewalk next to a busy road to get back. We’re total rebels. (See upside down tutu.)

This concludes my 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon Race Report because I don’t remember anything else and because I’m simply boring myself, which is not good for you. This has not been a shining example of a race recap, and I apologize. But I did still manage to write more than 1,500 words, so I feel like I got something done today.

Is this recap better late than never? I don’t know. It’s better done than never, and that’s good enough.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Report

Team Honey Buckettes turned 5 this year!

This was our fifth year running the Rainier to Ruston Relay, a one-day 51-mile relay. I hope we are still running it when we are old ladies.

This year, we had some changes. Mel’s friend, Jami, joined our team, and we became a 6-person all-female team. In 2012 and 2013, we were a 4-woman team. In 2014 and 2015, we were a 6-person co-ed team. Other changes: I drove my minivan, and we opted to decorate the van up at the start of the race to make sure we got there in time. Last year, we practically threw Tiffany out of the car as the 8 a.m. start was happening.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Decorating at the start line is the way to go.


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Me, driving the team in my minivan, AKA The Black Pearl.

The start of Rainier to Ruston is always exciting because you never know if you’ll get to use the Honey Buckets before the race begins. It’s such a rush! This year was even better since the race is bigger now and the line was longer than we expected.

Luckily, we made it out on time and Mel started us off with the 8 a.m. crowd (there are four start times now–there were three when we first ran the race in 2012).

Here were this year’s leg assignments:

Mel: Legs 1 and 7

Rainier to Ruston 2016 - Mel after Leg 1
Mel, after crushing the first leg of the race.

Zoë: Legs 2 and 8

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Zoë being her cute self.

Me: Legs 3 and 9

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Report
Waiting for Zoë at the Leg 3 exchange.

Tiffany: Legs 4 and 10

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Tiffany, AKA the official team photographer, front and center. She takes the best pics! (Here, we are in the Beast Mode bus at the finish.)

Alyssa: Legs 5 and 11

Rainier to Ruston 2016 - Alyssa
Alyssa having the post-race sillies.

Jami: Legs 6 and 12

Rainier to Ruston 2016 - Jami
Jami rocking the sparkle.

As of this year, I’ve now run leg 2 (twice), leg 3, leg 4, leg 5, leg 6, leg 9, leg 10 (3 times), and leg 11. Everything I know about 1, 7, 8 or 12 is from driving it or hearing about it.

Let me just cut to the chase and get into the legs of this race. Now that it’s been 5 years, I feel qualified to discuss each one.

The best legs are: 1-4.

Leg 1 is the start and it’s among the trees and your team drives by and is all excited and honks and screams and plays loud music. (It’s possible that’s just us.) Leg 1 is not on trail, it is on the road, but it’s still really pretty and you can run it fast other than one tough hill. (Of course, this is all according to my teammates since I’ve never run it–but we do drive it.) Mel crushed Leg 1 this year and even surprised herself at her speed.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Report
Go Mel!

Leg 2 is the toughest leg, but it’s amazing. You get single-track trail, you get mud, you get to run with the Carbon River rushing below you. It’s a longer leg, too. You get all the glory! Leg 2 is especially tough if you get stung by a bee on your lip, as Zoë did this year.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Report
There is a place about mid-way through Leg 2 where you can climb down and cheer your runner. This is where we found out what was taking Zoë longer than expected. She’d been stung by a bee on her lip. She’d never been stung before and didn’t know if she was allergic. Luckily, a nearby runner also happened to be a medic, and he stayed with her for the entire leg. That’s right, she refused to quit and she finished the leg, which is over 6 and a half miles long.


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Report
Mel and me waiting for (and worrying about) Zoë.

Leg 3 is pretty. It’s really downhill, so you can run fast. In fact, I surprised myself with a pace in the 8-minute-per-mile range. It’s mostly trail and in the trees. It’s a little rocky, I turned my ankle a couple times. It’s also tough to pass in a couple places of single-track trail surrounded by giant bushes. No river views, but you’re out in nature, and it’s only 4 miles. It’s the kind of leg you can push yourself on. The last half-mile or so is on asphalt and there is a killer turn at the end.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Report
Here comes Zoë, finishing Leg 2 after being stung by a bee! I’m happy to see her smiling, and I’m ready to run!


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Leaning into the 180-degree turn at the finish of Leg 3!

Leg 4 is like legs 1, 2 and 3 mushed together. It’s beautiful trail, some of it near a river, and then there’s some road running at the end, which I always forget about because the first part of the leg is so beautiful. Tiffany reminded me (read: scolded me for not telling her about the road part, which is also a giant winding hill with no shade). Oops. The fact is, Leg 4 connects the dirt trail to the paved Orting Trail. I ran this leg in 2014–the year I didn’t write a race report. I just remember absolutely loving this leg. It was fun, tough and fast.

20216 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Tiffany during the pretty part of Leg 4.


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
This is what the end of Leg 4 looks like. Me in 2014.

The other legs are good, but they’re no 1-4.

Leg 5 is pretty, but it’s on paved trail. The good news is that it is slightly downhill and you can crush it. You also get to run over some cute bridges and be near the river.

Rainier to Ruston Relay
Me running at the start of Leg 5 in 2015.


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Alyssa finishing a speedy Leg 5 this year.

Leg 6 is another super speedy leg. It’s short (less than 3 miles) and super fast. Jami was at the exchange before we were ready for her!

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Jami finishing a fast Leg 6!

Legs 7 and 8 are on the Orting Trail. I don’t know much about them, except that they aren’t that eventful. They are on the Orting Trail. I think Leg 7 is mostly on the trail running next to the highway. Leg 8 has no shade.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Mel toughing out the heat and rocking Leg 7!


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Zoë finally getting some shade at the end of a very hot Leg 8.

Leg 9 gets you off the Orting Trail and onto the trail next to the Puyallup River. It has a couple of transitional type areas, first through farms and then later through a neighborhood. It has quite a bit of shade along the river and there were tons of families out the day of the race.

By the time I was running Leg 9 it was in the mid-80s. Luckily, I decided to bring my big Nuun bottle full of ice water because I needed it, as did several other people I encountered on the leg. One woman, I’d seen running Leg 8 already, and she didn’t have water! I shared with her. Another guy was an ultrarunner that just needed cooling off, so he got some water on his head and neck from me.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Can you tell I’m hot?

I ran almost two minutes slower than I ran on Leg 3 that morning, but that’s just how it goes. I’ve been practicing mindfulness and being positive, and that really came into play during this leg. My music stopped working, my knee hurt, it was hot…but I tried to notice the good things (beautiful day, happy families, enjoying my hobby), and let go of the negativity. It worked. I had a great time. I also gave myself permission to walk. Just giving myself permission helped, and I didn’t end up needing to.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Happy to be done, but worried about Tiffany heading into Leg 10. It was her first time running that leg, and I have a lot of experience with it.

The worst legs are: 10-11.

Leg 10 is 3 miles in sand. The trail is lined with tall grasses and blackberry bushes, vegetation that would be in a riverbed. And, if that’s not enough, the trail is down in a canal.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Tiffany was smart and took a picture during Leg 10 of the evil sand.

There’s no crowd support. There’s no shade. It’s 3 miles essentially on a beach except you only get a few looks at the Puyallup River, which is I mean, no ocean. There is a place where teams can stop about mid-way through Leg 3, but we never see anyone stopped there. We always stop, and this year we had some extra water, so we filled up ultrarunners’ water bottles and dumped water on runners’ heads. It felt good to help out. I know I always appreciated it.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Report
Water girl.


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
You guys. Poor Tiffany. It was so hot.

Leg 11 starts in that same sand, then spits you out in industrial Tacoma. You get to run by empty office buildings, through a freeway construction site and past sketchy bars and shady people who ogle your sparkly skirt. This year, this leg was rerouted a bit at the end, and it seems like it would be better. It’s a long leg at almost 6 miles, but they shortened it a bit since years previous, and they get you down near the waterfront quicker.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Alyssa pretending to be scared of Leg 11.


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Report
The Honey Buckettes always meet their Leg 11 runner a couple miles into the leg. Alyssa took one for the team and did Leg 11 this year.

Leg 12 is hot, but it’s the final leg! You get to run along the waterfront in Tacoma, but you also have to weave around lots of people who are just out enjoying their Saturday, and other race participants. You also get to photobomb wedding and prom pictures.

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Jami ready to bring us home!

After the race this year, in addition to the group photo…

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Team Honey Buckettes finished 6th in our division (open, female 6-person team) with a time of 8:53:13.

…there was free beer and hot dogs in the beer garden. They also had the Seahawks Beast Mode bus to check out. Of course, we had post-race dinner and beverages, but we were all pretty beat by then.

Let me know if you have any questions about this race. It’s my favorite race every year, even with the bad legs.

If you want, you can click on the years to read my 2012 (leg 2, leg 6 and leg 10), 2013 and 2015 reports. I still don’t know why I didn’t write a 2014 report. You have no idea how much that annoys me…

2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Can’t run a race without a flexing pic! This is me getting ready to start Leg 9.


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Zoë is the official team artist.


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Goofing off with Alyssa, Zoë and Mel.


Rainier to Ruston 2016 - Mel
Cheers, pretty Mel!


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Cute Tiffany in the beer garden.


Rainier to Ruston 2016 - Zoe and Jami
Zoë and Jami looking fab in the beer garden.


2016 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Yay it’s 5:30 a.m.! (Pre-race before leaving for the start.) Front, from left: Tiffany and Alyssa. Back, from left: Mel, Zoë, me and Jami. Love my teammates!

Seahawks 12K Run at the Landing 2016 Race Report

Seahawks 12K 2016 Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon
Mel’s friend, me, Mel and Zoë pre-race.

I was all prepared to not do this race this year. I’d accepted that I would most likely suffer from FOMO and embraced sleeping in and drinking all the coffee and maybe even making some pancakes. (Protein pancakes, of course, let’s not get crazy.) But then I ran the race anyway.

I suck at not doing races!

My neighbor is awesome and agreed to an 8 a.m. play date for our kiddos so that I could go to the race. (The hubs was out of town.)

For me, this race is all about the outfit. And I couldn’t decide on a shirt, so I got a pair of scissors and altered the race shirt, which is not a gender-specific cut. It says short sleeves, but they’re practically 3/4-length on women.

I really should have taken pictures of my process. Why do I never think of that? Here’s the video I used for guidance:

I ended up just making a tank. NBD. It was easy, but I did practice on a couple of T-shirts that I don’t wear anymore to get the hang of it.

The same day I picked up the shirt and race packet, I went to the Seahawks Pro Shop and purchased a few things. They gave me free Seahawks shoe laces and wings. Dude. I had to use them.

Seahawks 12K 2016 Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon

You guys, there’s really no racing this race unless you plan to start at the front of the pack with the dudes in singlets and short shorts. I’d rather run in my Sparkle Athletic skirt with my friends and enjoy the atmosphere of the 12s.

In case you aren’t familiar with Seahawks football, the fans are called 12s, as in the 12th Man, aka 12th Fan, etc. I can’t afford tickets to Seahawks games so this race is the closest I’ll probably ever get to the players…and, oh boy, did I take advantage of that this year!

The Seahawks 12K Course

But first, the course:

Like the title of the race indicates, it starts at The Landing in Renton. The actual start/finish is in front of the LA Fitness. Seahawk KJ Wright kicked off the event. Runners turn out of the parking lot and head north onto Logan Avenue N. (toward the Red Robin). Then you turn south onto Park Avenue N., the road that threads Target and Dicks Sporting Goods. Turn left (east) onto N. 8th Street and go around the back of Frys, then go left (north) onto Houser Way N. and now you just keep heading north onto Lake Washington Blvd. N. paralleling I-405 on your right and Lake Washington on your left.

The view of the lake is gorgeous, especially on a clear day like Sunday was. The Olympic Mountain range was in the background and there were bald eagles soaring above the trees.

At about 3.5 miles, you get to a split where you stay to the left on Seahawks Way and then into the parking lot of the Virginia Mason Athletic Center or VMAC (which here we pronounce Vee-Mack).

Seathawks 12K 2016 Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon
Zoë and I at the VMAC during the race.

This is the Seahawks practice facility. The water stop is lakeside between the VMAC and the water. One side always features Nuun and the other side is water. Seahawks players and coaches, as well as volunteers pass out hydration.

Loop around the VMAC and next to the practice field, and then up and out of the parking lot to head back to Lake Washington Blvd. N., this time going south. I like an out-and-back course because you get to look for friends and at costumes going both ways. Continue south on Lake Washington Blvd. N. until you get back to The Landing. This time, though, you turn right onto Park Avenue N.—no need to loop around the business like before. Stay on Park Avenue N.—it becomes Logan Avenue N. as you continue south toward the start/finish line. Next thing you know, you’re turning left into The Landing parking lot in front of the LA Fitness!

I rocked the course this year. In fact, as I was running, I sort of wished I could race it. It’s not a flat course—it has rolling hills. Last year (which you can read here), it felt as if I was running uphill both ways, but this year, I enjoyed the ups and downs. That probably has something to do with the thousands of squat jumps and switch jumps and new jacks I’ve done over the past couple of months.

Click here to see a map of the 12K and 5K course.

New Things at the Seahawks 12K This Year

They had a couple new things this year:

They did away with shoe timing chips, which caused a huge backup at the finish line last year. This year, throw-away chips were attached to race bibs. This was a huge improvement. Good job, guys!

Seahawks 12K 2016 Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon
Mel, Mel’s friend, and me post-race.

They integrated timing chips with finish line video, which is super cool. Click here to see Zoë and me finish—she’s in the blue sparkle skirt and I’m right behind her in the silver one.

I also did something new this year. I decided I was going to hug the Seahawks players. I’ve never even high-fived them in the 3 other years I’ve run this race, so it was kind of a big deal.

I never recognize who the guys are without their jerseys and helmets on, as they are usually not the most famous guys from the team. I don’t really care about that. These guys have worked hard to play at the highest level, and the athlete in me respects that. Also they are huge dudes with big muscles. The two I knew of are Drew Nowak and Tharold Simon. (At least, I think these were two of the guys.)

“Should we hug them?” I asked Zoë when we got to the Nuun stop at the VMAC, and because Zoë has a bit of a crazy streak in her, of course she thought we both should.

We apologize for the disruption we caused at the water stop. But, dang, it was worth it.

Professional football players are not squishy. These guys are solid muscle, which quite frankly, would not make them very good cuddle partners.

My 7-year-old son describes the best hug as a light squeeze. Want to know what it’s like to hug a professional football player? Find a tree with a trunk a little wider than you, place your arms around it and give it a light squeeze.

What I Learned

You guys, running less works for me. I guess I didn’t so much learn this as be reminded. I know this, but I get caught up in reading about mileage, mileage, mileage. I can’t do that. I get injured and fat. Running less might not be for everyone, but for me, it works for…better running. I know that seems weird.

What have I been doing? Focusing on HIIT/strength 3 times per week doing Metabolic Prime workouts, then sprinting/tempo/fast intervals 2 times per week, and one rest day and one long run at an easy pace.

Seahawks 12K 2016 Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon
My signature pose these days.

I didn’t have to push myself much at all during the race on Sunday. We ran at an easy sub-10:30/mile pace and finished the 7.6-mile course in 1:19:51. We even stopped for pictures a couple times, and of course, hugs. We walked through water stops, too.

Glad I got to run this race again this year. I guess I’ll keep the tradition going next year.

Now…I don’t have another race till June, but I think I’d like to do a 5K race in the next few weeks, if I can. Any suggestions?

My Better Half Marathon Race Report

Lately I run half marathons like a boss.

I give someone else my bib and they run it for me.

Sunday, however, I ran a half like what I really am: a lowly desk jockey.

But everyone knows the truth: Underlings have more fun.

Okay, I don’t actually think that’s true. I feel like we’re going to have to let this analogy go. We’re phasing it out. It’s a matter of copy editing cuts.

Okay, I’ll stop. I should’ve quit while I was ahead.

Okay, okay. Seriously now. I’m done with that analogy, but just know it will be all I’m thinking about for the rest of the day, and by not writing my thoughts down, my brain won’t be well-suited for anything else.

Why am I here again?

OH yeah. To give a race report for the My Better Half Marathon, which took place on Valentine’s Day 2016. See? I’m really getting down to business now.

The plan was to wear Tina Fey and Amy Pohler shirts with Mel in honor of Galentines Day.

My Better Half Marathon 2016 Race Report
Mel and me in our sweet shirts at Sisters.

But you know what they say: The best-laid plans of mice and men often have to go ask for directions.

The problem was A) we didn’t know how our non-running shirts would hold up in the rain, and B) where the hell would we pin our bibs so that you could still read the big text on the shirt? We couldn’t answer these questions, so we had to go to our back-up plan, which was there wasn’t one.

This is why in the picture below (Exhibit A) Mel is wearing a green jacket and I am wearing the race shirt. We ran with our friends Tiffany and Alyssa, who as you can see, are obviously  better at matching outfit back-up plans than us.

My Better Half Marathon Race Report
Exhibit A.

The rain did stop about the same time as the race started. Of course, it got windy because we hate being warm in the Pacific Northwest. Luckily, there was a nice big tent that was warm inside. We huddled in there till it was time to start.

The race was a matter of loops. Each loop was about 2.5 miles or so, except for the first one that took us up a hill and off the main trail for an extra half-mile or so, presumably to get us out of the way for the 5K and 10K racers or so. If you’re a list-maker, you might like the loops as I did. Also if you you have three fun friends to chat with.

The trail ran along the shore of Lake Washington, and it turns out, it was only windy on the park side where the start was, so we were all rather comfortable for most of the race. The paved trail was also plenty wide for the number of racers, so it never felt congested, except for the start.

At the end of the loop, there was a steamy “Tunnel of Love” (don’t worry it was a fog machine, what were you thinking?) stocked with running-themed candy hearts and chocolates. Right after was the water stop, which we took literally.

On our 5th loop, we were done and excited to get back to that warm tent where smell of soup had been taunting us each time we ran by. Obviously, it was lentil, which as you know, is the tauntiest of the soups. Seriously, lentil, get over yourself. (It was really good, though.)

Other good stuff:

-The candy hearts were actually pretty freaking good while running. Plus, I helped come up with some of the sayings so I felt special and also that I should just try to eat all of them.

-Free Clif-Shot Gels for us dum-dums that forgot to bring our own.

-Running along the water.

-Lots to look at even on a loop, like the gatrillion-dollar homes across the lake.

-Flat, except for the first loop, so if you’re into that sort of thing.

-Cute shirts that work well, too. I wasn’t wet, too cold or hot. Oh, who am I kidding, I was totally hawt!

My Better Half 2016 Race Report
Start-of-race hawtness.

Oh, and FREE photos. So you know we were posing for all the shots.

My Better Half Marathon Race Report
Blowing a kiss to…whomever.

Thank you Orca Running for putting on a great race. You can check out upcoming Orca Running races here.

I decided I won’t be quitting half marathons quite yet. And I won’t be running them like a boss.

I’m gonna OWN them like a muthafuckin CEO.


2015 Santa Runs Tacoma Frosty 5K Race Report


Santa Runs Tacoma Frosty 5K Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon
Me, Alyssa, Mel, Goober and Giblet, and Zoë at the Frosty 5K last Saturday.

It was weird not to feel nervous about a race.

Normally, I put a stupid amount of pressure on myself to run fast in races—especially at Santa Runs Tacoma’s Frosty 5K because (usually) you get a cool mug if you finish in the top 100 runners.

I knew that wasn’t going to happen this year. I haven’t run much more than a mile here or there since the marathon in September. And I’ve put on 5+ (okay fine, it’s closer to 10 pounds) by eating cookies and drinking eggnog every day since Thanksgiving.

Yes, I’ve been working out, but I have not been eating well, and so I’m putting on muscle…and fat. Good times.

Luckily for me, most of my friends have been on a running break, too, so we all planned to run together. Zoë even brought her kiddos (Goober, 5, and Giblet, 1) to ride in the double-jogger!

We didn’t have a specific theme this year for the race. Two years ago, we all dressed as snowmen.

Santa Runs Tacoma Frosty 5K Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon
Alyssa, Chelsea, Tiff and Me. Mel took the photo.

We have been running this race since 2010…

Santa Runs Tacoma Frosty 5K Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon
Total Santa race noobs.

…which was my son’s first race…

Santa Runs Tacoma Frosty 5K Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon
Little runner guy.

…in 2011, we matched and Kim was here…

Santa Runs Tacoma Frosty 5K Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon

…then I missed 2012…and Zoe missed last year…

Santa Runs Tacoma Frosty 5K Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon
Will and Tiff, Mel and Me. Where’s Alyssa? She was there, I promise!

…and, sadly, Tiffany missed this year. It happens.

Santa Runs Tacoma Frosty 5K Race Report | Mom vs. Marathon
Selfie credit: Mel’s amazing arm! 🙂

This year, we just Christmassed out. Nobody could’ve topped the ladies that dressed as nutcrackers. They had awesome costumes. It was raining a little, so I didn’t get to wear my Christmas tree glasses.

I ran with Zoë, Mel and Alyssa (and Goober and Giblet), and it was so much awesome. We took it pretty easy and chatted and joked for 30 minutes and 45 seconds, letting Zoë and her stroller set the pace.

The Frosty 5K is flat, except for one small overpass hill, which we had to walk about half of because of the heavy stroller, even though Goob let us know that we better get running again. Little coach in training!

I wasn’t pushing anything, but I definitely felt the extra weight I am carrying. Despite that, the pace was perfect and we even passed a lot of people, including some other strollers at the end of the race, and we finished four-wide across the finish line. (Hopefully there will be a cute picture.)

Afterward, we went to breakfast, of course, where I had about ¼ of my mimosa before getting buzzed, listened to Goober tell me hilarious nonsensical jokes, and then losing my Debit card (which I found in my wallet after Zoe paid for me—I swear I didn’t plan that!).

Pretty great morning. Running with friends it the absolute best—even better than PRs and mugs*.


*Our fasty friend told us no mugs this year. Hopefully, they’ll be back next year.