Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh hello, running! I remember you!

My last run was about this time in November. Truly I have been sitting in the first-class cabin on the Slacker Express.

Eating and drinking WAY too much chocolate and egg nog.


So tonight's treadfest was short and sweet - 15 min. mile pace for 1.5 miles. Then I did 30 crunches (front and obliques). Stretched. It was enough to break a sweat, at least.

I might have actually burned two whole Hershey's kisses.

If I'm lucky.

Time to get a-crackin'.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. I really need new shoes. I can't afford them at the moment, but I am getting the same types of annoying little pains and aches that are common when the shoes are starting to wear out, so if I am going to keep training, they are going to quickly become non-negotiable. The thing about running is that relatively speaking, it's a cheap sport - but when you *do* have to buy equipment, it can really whack you in the knees. Especially if you like to do races, like I do. They add up fast!

2. The Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon is Saturday, and I am stoked! First of all, looks like the weather is going to be partly sunny and under 60 degrees for a high, which is ideal. Second of all, some of my favorite running peeps are all in too - Kim, Ronda, Jenn and Donna (Donna, you need to start a running blog!!)....  Fact is, every single one of them is much faster than me (except for Jenn, who is marginally faster than me, depending on the day and how we're both feeling, anyway...) so I will definitely be heading up the Rear Guard. Or the rear of the Rear Guard, one never knows. Jenn is shooting for a sub 3, but my goal is sub 3:15. I am a realist, after all.  In any case, I still think this is going to be a blast. Love running with people I know!

3. I am going to try and blog more and keep up with ya'll. I know I can think of stuff to write about if I just put a little more planning and time into it. And please feel free to "follow" me again, since I am no longer plagued with bloggy technical woe!  :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Very long overdue Portland Marathon post

Out from under the rock I must crawl, sez I.

The 2011 Portland Marathon is now but a memory.

 Nicholas did the Kid's Run the day before. He got a medal too!

This was my second marathon, and a great experience - especially as far as the weather was concerned. It rained for only about 10 minutes or so at one point early in the race, and the rest was cool temps and overcast skies....perfect for running, to be sure.

About 15 minutes to gun time. Charles was there with the boys (who were sleepy, grumpy heads) but I was very pleased that the family was going to be there cheering us on and acting as photographer/Gatorade replenisher/inspiration squad. It is so awesome to have such wonderful support from "The Fam."  ;-)

The week before marathon day, I started coming down with a cold. Perfect timing, naturally. All week I hoped and prayed it would go away, or at the very least, not become too deeply entrenched in my chest, but unfortunately, it had settled down there to some degree by Sunday morning. But I'd not developed any other symptoms that would have made it patently unwise for me to run, such as a fever, so I forged ahead.

The real bummer going in was that Jenn and I were both placed in the walking corral, even though we'd both explicitly stated we were running, not walking. So getting started meant dodging, weaving and marking time for almost the first mile and a half, which put a damper on our time. Also, all throughout the race my mucus-addled lungs made things more difficult that normal - the first two miles were particularly tough and I struggled to find my pace and get my breathing dialed in, and every once in a while I'd hack up what seemed like small unattractive pieces of my lungs.  :-P

About 4-4.5 miles in. Feeling pretty spiffy, despite the fact that we'd already had to hit the Honey Buckets two times.

And about those Honey Buckets. They had plenty of them out on the course, which was great, but there still ended up being significant lines for several of them, which threw another monkey wrench in our time. I ended up having to utilize them more for this race than I've had to for any other, including last year's marathon. It was a little odd, since I didn't shake things up at all in terms of either what I ate pre-race or on the course. Unfortunately, Jenn didn't figure out until about mile 15 that a primary cause of her particular distress was the Ultima they had at the aid stations, so after we crossed the St. John's, she switched solely to Gatorade and water.

This is pretty much the smile I had plastered on my face the entire time. What was cool about it was that I actually *felt* like smiling, because for the most part, I was having a really good time.

By the time we got over the bridge, about 17 and a quarter miles, we were definitely starting to feel it, but getting to that point was a huge mental shift for me. Even though we still had over 8 miles to go, and that a few parts and pieces of me were really starting to sing (in particular, my left foot, which was the foot that was injured a month before last year's marathon) it was a tremendous relief to finally get onto the other side of the river.

My family kept popping in at various points, which also kept my spirits up. Jenn and I had spent the last couple of hours watching our initial time goals slip away, and it eventually became a matter of just trying to get in under my previous time of 7:11.

20 miles. Oh yea. We got this! My calves and my left foot were kinda on fire by this point....

So on we slogged, getting sillier and giddier by the mile. Speed bumps became hills....."Up........and down!" There were probably about 10 speed bumps on one part of the course after the 20 mile mark, and people around us would either give us really weird looks or laugh along with us as we marked our progress over each of them. Jenn started singing and together (although she was much more prolific than I) we made up about 20 extra verses - somewhat morbid and graphic verses, to be sure - to "The Wheels on the Bus."  By the time we were getting close to the finish, the bus was on fire, the driver had hung himself and the parents were suing. It was epic.

Long about the 23 mile mark was the spot where last year, the family had unexpectedly showed up to cheer - from the top of a steep cliff on the left side of the road. Apparently, this area was supposed to be off-limits to spectators, but once again, they were there - and once again, it almost made me cry. I was so tired and so sore...and to have them up there, jumping up and down and yelling was just a huge, awesome shot in the arm. Or in the legs, as the case might be.....

From the "secret cheering spot." We have a good zoom lens on our camera. And yes, we're walking. So there.

Once past this spot, downtown was quickly approaching. Over the Broadway Bridge, looping around back down onto Naito and the homestretch. By this point, we definitely knew we needed to keep up the pace if we were going to make it in under 7:11, so this is when Jenn started in earnest with the singing and the mild threats of violence if I didn't get my ass moving.....well, maybe not quite that. But there might have been a few times where I was threatening violence, at least in my head, if I heard even one more time that "we were almost there."

Turning off of Naito and onto Salmon was a blessed event. SO close. I really poured on the juice then....

Remind me again, right about now, why I decided to do this again.....

And, one of the most intense race photos of me EVER:

There ain't much to say here other than.....GRIT. Pure and simple.

Oh, Lord, I was hurting quite badly by this point. I was as close to puking as I've ever been in any race I've ever done, but I am very proud to say that I actually managed to more or less run the entire final mile, whereas last year I walked nearly every step after mile 22 and only managed to half run/half shuffle the last couple hundred feet. Where I got the extra sauce to pull it out this time I still don't really know. But it was really, really sweet crossing that finish line. And we came in at 7:10 and small change. So yeah, PR. A PR is a PR is a PR, so they say.

The medals were gorgeous. The finisher's shirt, very nice. They gussied things up a bit for the marathon's 40th anniversary, which was really cool.

Finally through the "Finisher's Gauntlet" - being greeted by Nicholas. I don't think he let go of that little medal of his even once for about three days.

Like I mentioned - really top-notch bling. This picture doesn't do it justice, but it will have to suffice.

So. All in all, a great run. And it was really great running with Jenn - I am so glad she decided to do this race with me. Solo running definitely has its place, and I do often enjoy running by myself, but in this case, having someone with me made a lot of difference in the outcome, even if it was only by one slender minute.

And now comes the question of "what's next?"

A couple posts ago, I mentioned that I really wanted to start raising the bar with my running - to commit to it whole-heartedly and make it a completely non-negotiable component of my life. Not that I haven't been serious about it up until now, but mentally I need to be in the game more than I have been, and physically, I've got to get some weight off and work on improving my speed. I know that speed isn't the be-all and end-all, but I really am quite tired of being passed by walkers. In fact, as far as setting goals are concerned, I have decided not to rule out the possibility that I might be able to hack a BQ sometime in the next 4 or 5 years. Truth is, I really don't have a clue as to what I am truly capable of, especially if I can get down to a good "fighting weight." And yes, in spite of my fondness for being a "Penguin" and quite proud of it, I really would love to run Boston as a qualified runner, just once. Call it a bucket-list thing.

Looking ahead, I think I am going to proceed with my percolating plans to make 2012 "The Year of the Half."  I am going to try and do at least one half a month, funds permitting, and really concentrate on making this distance a strong one for me as a foundation to support some serious work on my marathon distance in 2013. By 2014, I'd like to either tackle an ultra, or start working for a BQ. I don't know if I'll ever make it, but I owe it to myself to try.

I am up to the challenge! Who's with me?  :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hoppin' on the Three Things Thursday bandwagon.....

  1. Well. This morning's workout, albeit on a treadmill, totally rocked. I am definitely getting stronger, and slowly, second by second, getting faster. Being on the treadmill didn't really suck any less than it normally does, but whoa nelly - ! did I push it on through and work up a truckload of sweat, and I always feel seriously bad-ass when I sweat a lot. All body-parts - especially the legs - felt super-good and the cardio was right there along with them, playing nice.  I managed 5K in just under 40 minutes (39:50) which for me, is pretty darned good, and then 4 miles in 52:00, and then 5.3 miles in 1:10. Only 3 short walk breaks, about a minute/minute and a half long. My short-range goal (end of the year? End of January?) is to get to 5 miles in an hour - seems like I am well on my way.
  2. My current pair of running shorts - a crazy-comfy pair of cotton/spandex Danskins - is already developing holes along the inseams, and I've had them less than six weeks. This really ticks me off because a) they're barely used, especially by the standards to which I generally hold the running clothes that I buy and b) they are my single and sole pair of running shorts at the moment. And we are broker than broke. This is just not acceptable. No choice but to buy a new pair before the marathon, because no way, no how will my current shorts hold up through two more weeks of running (including an 18-miler) and then through 6+ friction-filled hours in one day. Either I need to find shorts with industrial-strength inseams, or I need seriously smaller thighs. Upon reflection, I know which option I would choose if I actually had a choice....
  3. And speaking of disintegrating running accouterments - the left shoe of my trusty Asics has developed a hole in the mesh lining near my big toe. I bought them in late April and they are wearing out fast - looks like I can take them through the marathon (like I have a choice - are we detecting a theme here??) and then I'll be looking at replacing those. I need a sponsor..................Asics? Brooks? Addidas?  Anyone? ..................  


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

Ahhhh, Sunday.

I love doing long runs on Saturday, because that leaves the day after open for sleeping in and not having to do anything at all. Long runs on Sunday mean being sore all day and then having to go to work the next day...ugh. Saturday long runs rock!

That being said, Jenn and I were slated to do 18 miles yesterday, but ended up with only 15 instead, as Jenn was having hip issues, and then developed a nasty blister. The weather, however, was glorious - cool, overcast, even some rain - which wasn't a big deal to me at all. Running in the rain - very familiar with that!

Portland is now only three weeks away. So, this coming Saturday will be 18 miles (non-negotiable), the following weekend will be only 8-9, and then the weekend after is "M Day." I am toying with the idea of taking the Monday after marathon day off...I have a feeling I'm going to be pretty wrecked after this one. This training schedule Jenn and I have been following has been very thin and somewhat rushed - our weekday mileage over the past several weeks has been inadequate due to several factors, and quite frankly, I would feel much better with two or three more 18-20 milers under our belt. But - it is what it is.

I am still determined to beat last years time (7:11) - but the margin of which I suspect we'll be capable of achieving has changed considerably. At first, I would have been really happy to get in under 6 hours, but now, I'll settle for under 7. I don't know....maybe I will be pleasantly surprised. After all, this time I'm not dealing with a foot injury which dictated I couldn't run for nearly the entire month of September like last year - and in reality, it was still injured on marathon day - thank God for ibruprofen and compressive foot wrapping! But Jenn is dealing with some lingering issues, so we're just going to see how it's going to go.

In any case, I am excited about adding another full marathon medal and bib to my Wall O' Bling. And speaking of bling, I am also hoping that Portland decides to really beef their medals up a bit in commemoration of the 40th Anniversary, because the current design is a bit....lacking.

Everyone run happy this week!  :-)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Eugene Women's Half recap...and a revelation...

Well, another half-marathon down. It was fun to race again, especially since I've done so few events this year, but it was hard. At least, the latter half was hard; I mentioned in one of my previous posts that it was predicted to be pretty warm, and suffice to say, the weather gods did not disappoint as far as that was concerned.

Saturday was packet pick-up day, and Kim from (Just) Trying is for Little Girls arranged for a blogger meet at the 5th Street Market fountain.

 Me, Kim, Jenn and Laurie

Jenn, as most of you probably know by now, is from My Quest for a Smaller Chest, and my trusty wingmate. Laurie blogs from (Mis)adventures of a Jogging Stroller Mom, and she rocked this race big time.....I think she was finished, showered and actually headed out to the mountains for a camping trip before either Jenn or I got anywhere near the finish line.

A little later, we were joined by a few other awesome running bloggers:

 Jenn, Meredith, Kim, Me, Julie D. and Ashley

Here we have Meredith from Therapeutic Runnings of a Mom, Julie D. from The Finish Line Diaries, and Ashley from Inspired Miles of a Mom. All these ladies are wonderful and you should go check them out right now! (Or, after you finish reading this post, of course.....)

We wandered around the Market and chatted, checked out the starting line and traded war stories. Jenn and I were truly in some awesome (and fast) company. After a while, it was time to go check into our hotel, grab some dinner and watch the Ducks game (unfortunately, a loss) so we all parted ways with our cool goodie bags in tow.

Race day dawned with not a cloud in the sky, but unfortunately with a noticeable haze from the wildfires that were raging in various parts of the state (a few of them still are, I think.) It wasn't so strong that one could smell it, but it was very obviously there. The temps were great, but were expected to hit at least 90, so we knew that the latter part of our run was going to be in pretty warm conditions.

  Typical pre-race smiles! Seems like we should just get a jump on things and practice our exhausted, sweaty frowny-faces instead....

And then, we're off! Those smiles still plastered on our faces.....silly smiles! You will soon be gone....

Wave bye-bye to the nice spectators!

Over the hills, through the woods, to the finish line we go....only there weren't any hills (just a few bumps) and several water/Honey Bucket stations (which came in handy.......really handy.....twice.) There were a few woods, somewhat. We got stopped by a train just before the 1 mile marker, and they ended up adjusting the finish time by a whopping 8 minutes. Much of the first 9-10 miles were either not an issue due to the time of morning, or nicely shaded, and then the shade went away - about the time it really started to warm up.

Jenn and I stuck together until about mile 11, and then I just sort of faded and told her to go. So she did. Which was fine, because then I could just revert to my tried-and-true stoic "death-march" walking pace that has brought me across many a finish line in the past - with a few half-hearted spurts of "shuffle running" thrown in for good measure.

Right about the 13 mile marker, where I could see the balloon arch of the finish line and hear the music, Kim was waiting for me, having finished in an awesome 2:03 - and she instantly became my new best friend forever as she firmly coaxed me into a run towards the finish, dropping away just before I crossed.

So, yeah.

13.1 miles later:

See? No more smile. But at least I'm not crying. No, really, I'm not.

It was about 75 degrees when we finished. Not baking or broiling, perhaps....just a light sautee on the small burner. Thank goodness I'd (very) liberally coated all exposed skin with SPF 40, because even through that I'd started to get a bit on the pinkish side.

We got our obligatory finish line picture - notice the smiles are back - this was after lots of water, a bit of walking and some emergency carbs:

Once again, all is right with the world!

I was very happy to finish. And tired. And sore. And, well, feeling kinda like I'd been walloped by that train from earlier that day. All things considered, my time wasn't horrible, but it really wasn't all that awesome either. I've done better. I've done worse, but I've done better.

Which leads me to the revelation alluded to with my post title.

After every personally disappointing finish, many well-intentioned people always say the same thing (usually in a chipper, hopeful sort of voice): "Well, you finished! That's all that matters!"

I hear this every. single. time.

And like I said, I totally get the well-intentioned part of it all, and I would never chastise my friends and family for saying those sorts of things. But something fundamental has shifted in my thinking - and I can't really put a finger on it other than to say that quite honestly, "just finishing" is no longer sufficient.

In 2010, I finished the Helvetia Half in 3:07:15, which is still not overwhelmingly stellar, but was a slightly more than a full minute per mile faster than this race. In the Running Universe, this kind of gap is huge. Twelve years before that - which, granted, there was over a full decade spent doing all those silly things, like aging and gaining/losing weight, and not doing much running  - I finished my very first half marathon - the Hartford Half Marathon - in 2:43.  


The bar needs re-setting, my friends.

Yes, I'm getting out there and I'm running. Yes, I am finishing the races. Yes, I'm full of awesome determination and grit and yes, I hear the "Oh my gosh, I couldn't even run to my mailbox and there you are, running 6 miles and 13 miles and 26 miles!!"

But - and I know ya'll know this is true - it is totally within the realm of sane possibility for a 43-year-old me to run a sub-3-hour half marathon...and a sub-6-hour marathon - perhaps even a sub-5. This just has to be true, because these expectations aren't unreasonable, not for a healthy 43-year-old person who is dedicated and consistent and challenges herself with her training........

And guess what the answer is? I just said it in my last paragraph. 

More on this later.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five Things Friday

1.  Tomorrow Jenn and I are headed to Eugene, as Sunday is the Eugene Women's Half Marathon. I feel extremely unprepared for this, somehow. There hasn't been much running for the past two weeks. It's supposed to reach 90 degrees, according to the last forecast I saw. The race doesn't start until 8am, which means it probably will have hit 80 or even a bit higher by the time we're done. I have a feeling it's going to be a bit brutal.

2.  The first Ducks football game of the season is tomorrow. This is good. Pound those Tigers!! I know this has zero to do with running, but this is my list, so deal with it.

3.  Even though this half is going to be tough, I am looking forward to it. It's been a while since I've done a training run with benefits. (Bling and t-shirts, people!  Bling and t-shirts! Get those minds out of the gutter!)

4.  Even more ominous is the Portland Marathon, which will occur in 36 days. The longest current training run so far.....? 11 miles. Sunday will obviously bump that number up a tad, but from there on out it's white-knuckle time - two 16-milers, an 18-miler and a 10K chaser as the taper. I hope it's enough to prevent my untimely demise on Oct. 9th.

5.  Did I mention it's supposed to hit 90 flippin' degrees on Sunday...?????

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Sweat-Fest

Today was a plucky 11-mile run around Champoeg Park.

The weatherman promised 90+ degrees today, so we got a nice early start - about 7:30, although we would have started earlier if we hadn't had to wait until 7 for the gates to open. The park is a delightful place to run; it has a nice paved bike trail that runs from end to end, as well as a network of gently rolling single-track trail. It is a genuine Oregon park with plenty of towering pines and forest, and it almost compares to my favorite Tualatin Nature Park (but not quite.)

All in all, it was a good run. The last couple of miles were a bit of a challenge, but then again, the long runs always tend to be this way as we are slowly increasing our mileage every week. I was drenched, dripping, red-faced and a bit crampish - so it was a workout.

These long runs are important - the Eugene Women's Half is right around the corner, two weeks from tomorrow. Jenn and I figure we should be able to finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:05 -3:15; we shall see. I am hoping it won't be nearly as warm as it was today, especially since the race doesn't start until 8am.

After the run, it was off to Shari's for French toast and bacon. Then I scrambled home, took the fastest shower ever, and then Charles, Nicholas and I went off to the air show in Hillsboro, courtesy of my friend Christee who gave us a few free tickets that she and her family couldn't use. The air show was fabulous, but it was so bloody hot and we were sitting right out in the open and practically baked ourselves into the plastic of our seats. I ended up coated in a fine, salty crust once again, and in the course of our attendance, we probably ended up walking close to two miles, from having to park our car pretty far away from the gate to wandering around looking at all the cool planes after the show was over. So yeah, I probably did an actual half marathon today.  :-)

And now, I am bone-deep exhausted. I need to go take another shower and then curl up in my nice cool bedroom with the ceiling fan and find a Law and Order marathon on TV - you just know there's got to be one on somewhere.

Toodles for now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three Things Thursday

So, all my friends are doing it...I may as well jump on the wagon!
  1. Yes, I changed the blog layout once again. I'd never been very happy with any of the previous renditions, but this one's going to stick around...and with minimal tweaking of the template - love the colors, the background picture, the font, everything. Get used to it!
  2. Jenn and I did 4 miles this morning, and tonight I also did a yoga session. I thought I might be a little tired this evening, but I wasn't - in fact, I managed to twist myself at least halfway solidly into most of the poses, even the ones that have been really hard for me, such as Downward Facing Dog. After the session I felt incredible - I'd built up a dripping sweat - which I am coming to appreciate more and more over time - and the stretches felt so good. Even with just 5 sessions under my belt, I can already see an appreciable difference with how my hip flexors and my glutes feel after my runs, so I'm thinking yoga is definitely going to become a permanent part of my routine.
  3. Nicholas wants to sign up for the Kids Run Festival that is going down the day before the Portland Marathon. While we were looking at the web page together, one of the first questions out of his mouth was, "Will I get a medal?"  That's my boy - jonesin' for the bling!
Thus goes my very first Three Thing Thursday. Hope ya'll have a Fabulous Friday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Running Angst.....and a quick CATnip 5K recap

It could be that I'm about to do a bunch of blathering and carrying on about Things That Sound Awesome but that will, in practice, end up being Things That Don't Happen, especially when the person trying to do them is me.

This is what I do. I think about excellent and exciting goals I want to achieve, and because of either money, time or my enormous propensity for procrastination and rationalization, I never get to where I want to go. I am my own worst enemy (as I'm sure I've already mentioned about eleventy-thousand times on this blog alone.)

What triggered this latest round of angst, I suppose, boils down to envy. Recently, I've been checking out a lot of other running blogs with the intention of establishing connections with other runners and thus broadening my horizons a bit in terms of shared information and experiences, and if nothing else, to simply make some more friends, because I really like making new friends. The common thing I have noticed amongst many of these blogs is consistency - consistency in training, in dietary habits, and in posting. In other words, these runners are really serious about their practice, and it shows - in their PRs and their routines.

This had made me really pause and think about my own running practice. There are things I think I really need to do - Things That Sound Awesome. Like, for instance: become very conscious about what I fuel my body with, and how much. And make the running and other sorts of exercise a non-negotiable part of my day, rather than allowing it to be eliminated from my schedule as a casualty of poor time management. And....posting more - allowing my writing to become the method by which I ingrain my experiences, thoughts and feelings about running into the very fabric of my practice. In other words, all of those consistent habits that many of my blogging brethren seem to have incorporated into their routines - or at least, that's what their blog posts indicate!

Here's the thing: I like to think I'm a runner, but this isn't about whether I actually am or not, because the definition of "A Runner" is quite variable and broad. And I'm not all that concerned about what others might think. But it does have to do with how honest I am being with myself, and coming to understand what exactly I want to receive as a benefit of my running - and to a lesser degree, what my ultimate "running goal" might be.

There are some things I know are certain, and are NOT necessarily in order of importance:
  • I want (need) to lose weight. Other aspects will, I strongly suspect, fall into place if I can just get this done, finally, once and for all. 
  • I love the act of running.
  • I love participating in races.
  • I love the running culture and community.
  • I feel I need more discipline in my practice.
  • I am slow, slow, SLOW.
Then, there are some things that are a bit out there in my brain, again, not in a given order:
  • Regular participation in marathons vs. shorter distance events - since marathons greatly affect the shape and style of one's yearly training regimen.
  • Ultrarunning - and if so, how far is far enough? 50 miles? 100K? 100 miles? (See the above bullet.)
  • Working for a Boston Qualifier?
  • .....and running Boston?
  • Perhaps not bothering with marathons or ultra distances at all? I do indeed love the halves. And you still get bling, generally speaking.
  • And related to that: bothering at all to concentrate on improving my speed? Should I work towards running a nice, "fast" half?
All this stuff just rattles around in my head and quite frankly, it's the time of the month that generally dictates just how much I pay attention and how hard I chew on it (you ladies surely know what I mean there.) Were I not such a slave to my cycle (so to speak) - all this might be a little more clear, but.....oh well. I guess I'll just do what I can with what I've got and hope it all starts to fall in place, or at least make itself a bit more obvious.


Anyhoo, the CATnip 5K last Friday evening was quite warm, in the mid-eighties, and I didn't run well as a result. Or perhaps it's just that I wasn't meant to run well no matter what - who knows. I came in just under 45 minutes, which....well, it is what it is.

Jenn finished great, about three minutes ahead of me. I knew I was on my own in about the first 30 seconds of the race, but more power to her - it's so awesome to see her come back from that stupid stress fracture that kept her from the Vancouver Marathon this year. Our training for Portand in October continues to progress, and we have both agreed that we will stick together on marathon day, so that gives me a lot of hope to have a much better experience than I did last year.

Nicholas ran the Mouse Miler with my friend Donna, since I was pretty much wiped out at the end of the 5K and couldn't imagine trying to keep up with him for an entire mile, since as I predicted earlier, he was off like a bullet, and essentially "sling-shot" himself all the way through......runrealfast! stop. gasp. runrealfastagain! stop. gasp. gasp!-- etc., etc.  He crossed the finish in a bit over 14 minutes.  In retrospect, I might have at least kept him in my sights, but in any case, I was just glad that Donna volunteered to tag along with him because I was a sweating, thirsty, tired, hungry, cranky mess at the end of the 5K.

And the official pictures that just came out today? Ugh. Just.....ugh. Someday, I will smile, and will not look like I'm trying to run over a bed of hot coals, and my legs won't look like they should be on a bull elephant instead of my body.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sunshine and Rainbows and Cupcakes AND Unicorns!

Heh - well, how's that for a nice, syrupy-sweet intro...?

I'll tell ya, there's nothing quite like being able to start the morning with a nice 5-miler that energizes the body and the mind, "girding the loins" for the day! And all before 8am.

This week Jenn and I will do the CATnip Friday 5K in Sherwood, since we didn't do our usual 3 miles on Monday. I'm looking forward to it - finally, a race -!  Even if it's just a small, low-key local 5K.

Nicholas continues to show interest in running (which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy) and will do the "Mouse Miler" which is scheduled directly after the 5K. He wants me to run with him, but I'm pretty sure it will actually pan out to be something like this:

1. Gun sounds
2. Nicholas goes out like Rocket Man with his tights on fire, leaves mom in the dust
3. Mom catches up about an eighth of a mile later, finding him sitting on the curb gasping for breath
4. Nicholas and mom run together for about five yards before he's outta there again
5. Mom catches up, coaxes him up off the curb....or the ground.....
6. Lather, rinse, repeat several times...........

I did talk to him about pacing last night, and he nodded and agreed with me, but I think once we're there and he's all psyched up and then sees the pack fly off the gun and thunder on ahead, the last thing he'll want to do is pace himself. We shall see!

I'm just happy that at least one of my kids seems to like running. I hope to nurture this desire in him - encourage him to join the cross country or even the track team when he gets to middle school, which is only two short years away - plenty of time for me to work on planting a strong seed. Although I must say, I hope he chooses cross country instead of track.  :-)  Speed, schmeed - it's all about endurance for the long haul!

Anyhoo - run lovely and long, my pretties! Let the endorphins out to play!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dusting off the legs (and the blog)


I've not been blogging, but I have been running, at least for the last three weeks. So this probably makes me a bad running blogger, but not such a bad running runner. Or something like that.

The Timberline Half was my last race, at the beginning of June. I had really hoped to improve just a bit on last year's time, but it wasn't to be - I finished only about three minutes before the cutoff, which was a good 15 minutes more than before. This event was tangible proof that my training for 2011 overall has not been stellar. Between Timberline and the second week of July, I did zero running. Clearly, it's too easy to put running on the back burner whenever the rest of reality starts to close in. I imagine it's not an uncommon problem with many people. At least, it would make me feel a lot better if it is.

I've long since registered for Portland, so at this point, I have little choice but to start knuckling down if I want to finish. Thankfully, Jenn has managed to recover from the stress fracture she acquired a few months ago - the one that prevented her from running the Vancouver Marathon in June. It's great to have my running partner back, and as we've jumped feet-first into a very ambitious training regimen for Portland, running together been extremely helpful in keeping me accountable to the program. We're running three times during the week, doing Yoga sessions once a week, and holding our long runs on Saturdays.

Today was 7 miles on Fanno Creek - slow and steady, close to a 15-min. mile pace. My legs were crispy and well-done by the end, but as I sit here now typing this post up, about 8 hours later, I am feeling pretty darned good and the soreness is minimal. I really do love getting the miles in very early in the morning, even though I truly hate getting up, especially on a weekend. But it's all out of the way, for the rest of the weekend, and right now I'm strangely excited that it's Saturday, not Sunday - and I have a whole entire day before me to do whatever I want/need to do without worrying about fitting in the long haul.

This has been a pretty aimless post, but hey, better than nothing. Perhaps the spark that brought my running back to life will do the same for my blogging and other writing!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You know what they say about persistence...

There's a route in my neighborhood I mapped out some time ago which has always proven to be an excellent workout.

It's just a bit over five miles, doorstep to doorstep, and mostly rolling hills - with one or two that are (at least for me) the kind that turns my entire body into an sorry, oxygen-starved slug of lead.

This evening I graduated to a not-quite-as-sorry, slighty more oxygenated chunk of aluminum.

Oh, Progress.

Next up.......foam core? Balsa wood?  Perhaps!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This Is Why

Tonight's run - 5.63 miles in about 1:18 - was so amazingly awesome that it deserves a happy picture.  I took this about 10 minutes after I'd finished:

I almost didn't go, because generally speaking, workouts at the end of the day have never been very stellar. In fact, they usually suck. And it was very grey and cloudy and threatening to downpour at any moment. I knew I needed to go, though - I've got the Timberline Half looming on the horizon - and the thought of trying to grit my teeth through 75 coma-inducing minutes on the treadmill was literally the worst possible thing I could think of doing, so I dressed down, popped in the earbuds and headed out.

I have rarely been as glad as I was tonight that I decided to go. This run was one of those amazing experiences that literally defines in nearly every way exactly why I do this.

Legs = power from the toes up. Felt stronger than they have in weeks.

Lungs = wide open. Cardio Party for the win!

Mind = totally engaged, in the moment, no whining.

And - for the first time ever - I managed to run all the way up a certain hill that has kicked my ass every single time I've ever tried it, up until tonight. No walking, except for a 30-second stint when I got to the top!!

And speaking of walking...I estimate I walked for a total of 5 minutes or less  - and the only reason I stopped moving at any point was due to crosswalk signals. Five measly minutes of walking during a 5+ mile run is phenomenal for me right now.

I think the only downside was that for the latter half of the run, I kept wondering when the other shoe was going to drop - it was going too well, I felt way too good, something was bound to start bitching, cramping or just plain crapping out, because this has been a pretty common occurrence lately. By the time I hit mile 5, I was getting a small, hinky twinge in my glutes and hip flexors, but it was low-key enough so that I was easily able to just flick it off the radar, like an annoying little bug.

It started to rain as I headed back up my street for the last ten minutes or so, but it was great. There was absolutely nothing that could ruin this run, short of taking a face plant in the middle of the street. The little (but steep) hill right before my house forced me to walk a bit, but by then I was so pleased with the whole experience that it didn't even matter.

I owned it, totally owned it this evening, and this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I run.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Just Doing It

After I got home from work today, I was feeling pretty wiped out. I've been up late every night this week and it's catching up to me.

I'd decided before I left the office, however, that I really needed to get in a run today since I've done nothing since Saturday's epic 14-mile crampfest. Nicholas had Taekwondo class tonight, and I had to play chauffeur, so I didn't get home until about 6:45. I went straight from the front door to the bedroom, draped myself somewhat unceremoniously on the bed and let the debate bang around in my head for about 15 minutes or so before I finally decided to get out there and do it.

The initial plan was to do my usual 5-mile circuit to the Bany roundabout and back, but it didn't take long to figure out my legs weren't really feeling up to par, so I only went to Murray Blvd. and back - a bit over 3.5 miles. In this case, caution really was the better part of valor, in my opinion.

I went out with no watch and no iPod, which was nice - every once in a while, it's good to just get out there and go with no mind towards time or distractions - just you and your breath cruising on down the road. Unfortunately, the legs were complaining just enough to keep it from being one of those awesome Zen runs, but I know that sometimes, it just goes with the territory so I've learned to not let it be an issue.

I'm very much looking forward to my 5K this Sunday - Nicholas is also going to do the Kids Mile and he's very excited. I am hoping I might just be able to turn this kid into a runner, so I'm crossing my fingers that this is going to be a positive experience for him.

Speaking of Nicholas - last evening when we were sitting on the couch together, he snuggled up to me, gave me a big smooch, and said, "I love that you're a runner, mom."

It was quite possibly the most awesome thing anyone has ever said to me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One Tough Run

Oh, if only my Saturday long run with Jenn ended up as beautfiul as the weather was.

We were blessed with glorious weather, and we got a bit of an earlier start than normal (although it would have been earlier, had we not decided to have a little "bagel party" at Jenn's house before we left.)

The Burnt Bridge Creek Trail in Vancover is gorgeous - it was Jenn's idea and it was a great one! The run started out fantastic - not too hot, not too cold, and mostly overcast. The hills were gentle and most of the scenery very much worth the drive. We got a great start, and I did pretty well up until about the time we hit 7 miles and the planned turnaround - by then, I was starting to feel a few bits and pieces really start to complain and I silently wondered at that point how well I was going to finish.

Somewhere between 9 and 10 miles was where it started getting iffy, and the walk breaks grew more frequent and lengthy. I was plagued with leg cramps - not the kind (at least) that were completely incapacitating, but ones that traveled to different spots - quads to shins to calves to hamstrings and then back around again. I managed to stretch a bit a couple times but it really didn't do any good at all.

By mile 12, I was in serious pain and about a half-mile later, I was completely finished with any and all running and gimped my way back towards the car. Jenn had gone on ahead at mile 12, which was perfectly ok with me, because I was feeling bad that I was holding her back...she's training for the Vancouver Marathon which is only 5 short weeks away, and she really needed to get in a solid run. She came back for me when I was about a quarter mile from the car; I was glad she did because I needed a big distraction from my muscle woes.

So, I got back to the car, and we stretched out as best we could, but I was just trashed. I am pretty sure that the main problem in this case was dehydration, and of all things, too-tight shoelaces. If I'd been smart about it, I would have stopped at least at the halfway mark to loosen them up, because I did the entire run with that niggling little thought in the back of my head that they were too tight. Jenn suggested this might have contributed to the cramping because of circulation issues, and she's probably right.

And for the Love of Pete - H Y D R A T E!

Here's what hydration *should* look like: steady, serious fluid intake every single day. Not drinking much for two or three days, and then slugging it down like a drunken sailor the afternoon/evening before the run just doesn't cut it.

Anyway, lesson learned.

Next Sunday I've signed up to do Run Like A Mother. Only a 5K, which seems a bit anti-climatic consdering the distances I've been putting in for the last several weeks, but Jenn is doing the Cinco de Mayo half - I would do it too, but I refuse to pay $100 (WITHOUT a shirt, for crying out loud!!) for the registration....and I really want to do *something* other than run by myself this weekend, and it's appropriate for Mother's we go! 

Besides, I'm thinking it's time to really pull out the stops for a race. Normally, I treat races like training runs - I never go into them with a "racing" mindset. I'd like to see what I can do if I really push the envelope speed-wise, and a 5K is the perfect way to test those waters.

We shall see how that goes.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

One Fine Saturday

It'a been a long time since we've had truly decent weather around here. Yesterday was absolutely stunning - clear sunny skies and mild breezes - the best kind for running!

So Jenn and I set out on the Fanno Creek Trail, feeling pretty fine and just enjoying the fact that we weren't cold, wet or both. The intent was to do about 12 miles or so, and it seemed like it was going to be a relative piece of cake - except that we hadn't counted on the fact that neither of us were accustomed to running in warmer weather and we both ended up deflating like a couple of pinholed balloons. Fortunately, we found water along the way so we were able to stay "juiced up" and that helped a lot.

The run was really great, but we should have started a lot earlier than we did, so we only ended up doing about 10 and a half. We retired to Shari's for a ginormous brunch,so all in all it ended up good. Next weekend I hope we have similar weather (although I'm not going to hold my breath) and I think we're definitely going to push for at least 14 miles.

Jenn's got a marathon coming up in mid-June so there's no time to waste!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Catching Up

Saturday was Tilikum 10K day at Champoeg Park. The weather held out (no rain) and the temperature was just about perfect.

My colleague and friend from work, who unfortunately hasn't been doing as much training as she would like, was also slated to run, and so we set out together, nice and gentle-like.

I was determined to run the entire course without walking, and because we went out slow, stayed slow, and finished slow, I was actually able to do it! Other than a couple somewhat protracted water stops, there was no walking during the race.

My wonderful friend, in spite of the lack of training, did great - we finished together and then sort of hobbled off to where the rest of the runners had gathered. Unfortunately, we were the very last two through the gates, and we didn't get our number tabs into the kitty for the prize drawing - oh well.

About 30 feet from the finish line.....

Yep. We were slow, but we finished. Before they took down the gate.

In other news, over the past several weeks my diet has been damned near pristine, I've been running fairly consistently, and the weight is coming off, which makes me seriously happy. It's great to finally be back on track, and hopefully I will soon stop kicking myself for not carrying through in the latter part of 2009 and all of 2010, where my progress completely stalled out because I simply let the diet go to hell in a handbasket once again. I can only imagine where I would be now if I had kept going. In any case, the silver lining (yes, there is one!) is that at least I didn't gain too much of it back - about 20 lbs. or so, and now the interest is gone and I am back to working on the principle, so to speak.

The last couple of runs (even on the treadmill) have been pretty intense. I think I can already notice a difference, just with the 20 lbs. gone. I went for a 5 miler this afternoon after work, and at least according to the Jog Log lady, I hit a couple points doing a sub-12 minute mile...and at one particularly giddy moment, she said I was doing sub-10. To be honest, though, I think Jog Log lady was a tiny bit on crack about that one. I know what sub-10 feels like on the treadmill, and there is just no way in the world I worked that pace today. So naturally, I have to take Jog Log lady with a few grains of salt. It's ok...I know I worked hard today, and I can dig the sub-12.  ;-)

I'm starting to think about higher and more challenging possibilities when it comes to the running. I suspect that as I get closer to my goal weight, my abilities are going to improve exponentially. Fact is, I haven't been at a "normal" weight since about 1987, and definitely not when I was running - and I am completely unaware of what I would be capable of at optimum weight. I look at it this way - I've been training and training at the weight I'm at, and even higher, which stands to reason that while the extra poundage is definitely not healthy, it has helped build the kind of stamina that should be pretty amazing when the pounds are gone.

So what could I do? Ultras, for sure. I would love to finish a 50K sometime in the next two years. I know for a fact that this is a goal for Jenn, and I am more than happy to join her in this venture. I might even consider the possibility of a 50-miler. I don't, however, think I'm quite crazy enough to do a 100-miler - I'm thinking that kind of punishment just isn't prudent and definitely isn't necessary.

And then there's Boston. They've tightened the standards recently, so now it is extra-challenging. This obviously would require some serious attention to my aforementioned pace. If I could do it just once, though....not as a charity runner, but as an owner of a bona-fide BQ race time. Just once.

Who knows? I can't wait to find out.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tangent of the Dietary Type

I've not talked much about my weight issues on this blog, but undeniably, it is an aspect of my health that makes my running life a constant challenge.

I am, by most (if not all) standards, significantly overweight, and at this point in my life, I am no longer interested in minimizing the situation or trying to downplay it in any fashion - fact of the matter is, I need to lose 100 lbs.

While I've not had this pronounced of a problem all of my life, I remember being concerned about my weight as far back as junior high school. At that point, it was perhaps only an extra 10-15 lbs. extra - but irregardless of the amount, my weight and my attempts to deal with it have been part of my existence for the majority of my life.

The latest battle in my neverending war on the excess fat cells camped out on my person has been taking place since January of 2009, where I found myself at my absolute highest weight, ever. At that point I decided the madness was going to end, and I started working to re-establish the running life I'd let disintegrate about 7 years before.

So, in the past two years, I've lost roughly 60 lbs., but somewhere in the mix I also lost my motivation - or rather, the hard, strong edge of it - while I've managed to at least not really *gain* any weight, I've bobbled up and down, up and down without actually getting anywhere.

Tonight, I got a little angry. Lately, the whole thing has seemed like the ultimate exercise (pardon my pun) in futility. I don't even know what in particular got under my skin, on this particular evening, but I went on a mental (and verbal, to myself) tirade about how much I hate the fact that food has always been such an anathema while also being such a comfort and an enticement. People talk about "love-hate relationships" with food; I feel like I have the granddaddy of all those relationships, past, present and future.

More than anything, I couldn't overcome the thought about how unfair it is that I cannot indulge in the foods that I really, really like without jeopardizing my weight loss progress. Many think that it's simply a matter of moderation - just take one bite. Just have a few chips. Just have a spoonful. Well, for me, with a lot of a different types of food, that's simply not possible. It's like for me, when it comes to moderation, there simply is no such thing. And salad? I hate salad. No matter how you might dress it up - and when you're trying to be "good", there's not a whole lot you can safely dress that salad up with - it's just not appealing to me. And it doesn't do squat in terms of satisfying my appetite.

Perhaps that's a cop-out, perhaps I am simply rationalizing yet again, dodging the true responsibility that blossoms when one simply stops blaming their problems on external causes. But really and truly, trying to moderate my intake of foods such as warm french bread and butter, whipped cream, pasta, tortilla chips and melted cheddar cheese when it is available and within my reach is sort of like trying to quit breathing. And that makes me MAD.


After the tirade, and after (I confess) a tiny bit of binge eating involving some dry cereal and an english muffin, I put the big girl panties back on and determined once again that I'm not going to give up.

Just gonna hafta kick it up a notch. Or two. Perhaps three........more running, less (or perhaps just better quality) eating. Strength training, consistency. Water, water, water.


Friday, April 1, 2011

The deed, it is done!

Bib #5216.
Portland Marathon - the 40th Anniversary Edition.
October 9, 2011

It's all in.

Oh, please, Mighty Running Weather Gods, let it be mostly cloudy and about 55-60 degrees with no rain.


Sunday, March 13, 2011


So far this year, it's been pretty dismal in terms of races. I just haven't had the funds to sign up for everything I would have otherwise (at least 2 or 3 other races), so other than the New Year's gig and the Fanconi 8K in February, the Shamrock Run is the only other one I've run this year.

Yesterday, Jenn and I made it just in time to grab our race packets from the Convention Center. Disaster was narrowly averted when a nice race organizer decided to let Jenn sign up when it was discovered her original registration attempt back in January never went through. The race had already filled up at least a week ago, so it was very fortunate that she got in. It would have been a serious bummer if she'd not been able to run. Afterwards, we headed out to meet up with Ronda and her friend for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory and get in some good, old-fashioned carbo-loading.

Race morning was wet and grey, but fortunately, not overly cold. We were pumped and ready to go.

It was a nuthouse downtown - record participation this year, and it was elbow-to-elbow people. 7,500 in the 15K, not sure about the 8K, but 11,500 or so in the 5K. It seemed very chaotic and disorganized, and after waiting in fairy quickly-moving lines for the porta-potties and the bag check, we just sort of milled around waiting for them to announce our start. When we finally did get going, it was pretty anti-climatic, as we were far back in the pack.

The first couple of miles are always the hardest part. For me, it's like trying to start a motor that just can't seem to catch and sort of sputters to life - slowly. By the time we hit Terwilliger, I was feeling good, but then it was the Climb That Never Ends. Well, obviously it does end, but when you're operating under oxygen deficit, it's practically eternal.

I was OK until I hit about mile seven. Then, every muscle from the waist down turned into one crampy hot mess. Jenn was a couple minutes ahead of me, and Ronda was long gone, and once again, it was an exercise in lonely and determined perseverance. My finish time was 2:19 and change, about 15 minutes slower than last year. I'm not too happy about that, but as with every race that turns into a serious challenge, I was happy that I finished before they started taking everything down. And, they didn't run out of medals this time.

I was soaked. I met up quickly with Jenn and Ronda, we took some pictures and then wandered around a while. I really needed to just keep moving at that point, as all those crampy muscles were tightening up like clock springs on steriods. Ronda and her friend parted ways with Jenn and me, and the two of us went back to our cars, wriggled into some dry clothes and headed off to breakfast. After I got home, there was nothing else except for a delicious hot shower and lots of dozing and lounging.

Soreness is lingering; I'm hoping a good night's sleep will help combat that. All in all, one more bib number and medal for my Wall of Bling, and one more race, fought for and won.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Terwilliger Blvd. Love

Sunday's run entailed almost 6.5 miles on the local roller-coaster known as Terwilliger Blvd. The hills certainly lived up to their reputation; I surprised myself on just how well I managed. I wasn't quite the rockstar powerhouse on the ups, but if I wasn't running, I maintained a pretty strong walking pace. Besides a little residual soreness, I felt great.

The Most Excellent Jenn and her friend Nikki accompanied me; it was very encouraging to "pep-talk" each other up and over the steep parts. I really enjoy running with friends and I hope Nikki decides to join our weekend runs on a regular basis. It's exactly what I need.

This coming Sunday is Shamrock, and Jenn and Nikki and I are going for the 15K. We hope to not to be part of the sweeper crew leading up The Rear Guard; with any luck we'll power through it just like we did yesterday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The following will not be impressive, or even relevant to the majority of the running universe, but whatever.

For the first time since the late 90's, I actually ran a 12-minute mile.
5.0 MPH on the treadmill, for exactly 12 minutes.
One mile, at 5.0 MPH.
12 minutes!

It was an interesting study in motivation and just how capable I am of actually drawing a line in the sand and getting it done - because it really wasn't the physical part that was hard - it was that voice in my head that kept sniggering and whining and rationalizing - "You can't do this. You will need to slow down soon and walk for a bit. You can't do the entire 12 minutes at 5.0, you will hurt something. Or you'll puke. Or..or..or..or.."


The first four minutes just sort of went by, then began the raging battles in my head. It was about all I could do to force myself to stop looking at the timer - and for the most part, I totally lost that fight. Then there was the constant, nearly overpowering sense of boredom - I'd already been going for about 20 minutes; I didn't have my music with me and the dullness was so thick it was chewable. And of course, there was The Voice. That stupid &$%*@%! voice, it needs to take a very far leap off a very steep cliff onto razor-sharp boulders, preferably surrounded by boiling pools of lava. Maybe that's the sort of mental image I need to keep in my head when I've decided to challenge myself.

Getting to 6 minutes meant the halfway point, and looking forward to 7, then 8, and then 9. The entire time I literally had to keep telling myself, over and over, that this is what I had decided to do - a 12-minute mile - and come hell or high water, I was going to do a 12-minute mile. There wasn't going to be any backing off, or lowering the bar, or talking myself into something else, or walking or stopping. So many times during so many workouts in the past, I have set a speed or a distance goal, and then within minutes or even seconds changed the goal to something easier, because for whatever reason, that effing Voice convinced me that I either shouldn't or couldn't do it. But this time, I just flat-out refused to play the game.

At one minute left, I knew it was in the bag, and then - and only then - that stupid Voice finally shut the eff up.

One mile.
12 minutes.

Hell yeah.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Attitudes, Better Altitudes

I won't bother commenting on my protracted absence from posting (and therefore running); it is sufficient to note the date, re-focus and move on. I refuse to allow running to become yet another phase I have moved through and truly, it is time to get on with it.

At least I can say I haven't been a total slacker. I did the First Run 5K (midnight on New Year's Eve) and then turned right around and did the Resolution Run 5K only 10 hours later on New Year's morning. Both were very fun events, and my most excellent running bud The Cilley Girl did both races with me, and then my friend Christee from work (whom I've recently managed to suck into The Great Running Vortex) did the morning race with the both of us. It was bitterly cold, but quite sunny and we had a great time. We then headed on over to Mother's Bistro where after about a 45-minute-very-well-worth-it wait, sat down to a delicious hot breakfast - eggs benedict, biscuits and gravy, sausage, Earl Grey with cream, gooey cinnamon rolls. Not very diet-friendly, to be sure, but it was New Year's Day, we were rosy-cheeked and quite proud of ourselves for doing something many people would never even feign to do on a "hung-over holiday" and - best of all, it was the best breakfast I've had in ages!

Now it's time to sit down with a calendar and figure out what I'm doing next! Off the cuff...? Definitely the Shamrock Run, Race for the Roses,the Helvetia Half Marathon, the Timberline Half Marathon, the Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon, the Great Columbia Crossing and oh yeah, the Portland Marathon. I imagine I'll do some 10K's and a few 12 and 15K's sprinkled in here and there. One I would really like to do this year is the Pear Blossom Run - mostly because it's in my hometown and I can imagine making a really great weekend out of it.

I might take a stab at this one as well: Forest Park Trail Run (20K). More trail running, absolutely. Silver Trail Falls Half, anyone? How about the Multnomah Falls Trail Run? Give me some dirt, lots of trees and the tranquility of the Pacific Northwest wildnerness, and I'm a seriously happy camper.

Oh, the possibilities......