Beat the Blerch Race Recap

On Saturday, September 20th I ran my 19th Half Marathon, Beat the Blerch in Carnation. Carnation is the boonies, with cows, horses and farms.

The website made it sound like parking was going to be crazy, so I got there at 8:10 for a 9:30 start time. I parked at the middle school which I didn’t realize was about a half mile from the start. There was no line at packet pick up or at the huge row of porta potties. I met the Half Fanatics for my first group picture then walked my stuff back to the car.

I met up with Lindsey at the start line. We chatted a few minutes wished each other luck then it was time to race.

Many people have raved about this race. I knew at the beginning I would not run this race again. 12 of the 13 miles were on a gravel trail. When you are used to running on pavement, gravel is not fun. I slowed my pace and tried to stay in the packed grooves. There would be no sub 2 today. Yes, there was cake and nutella sandwiches, which I did not have. I did take advantage of all 4 water stops. About 3 miles to the finish was the 10 K turn around and there were many people walking 3 and 4 wide. I was weaving in and out of many people for the last 3 miles, again not fun.

Awesome free race pictures!

Awesome free race pictures!

 

 

I finished in 2:03. At the finish they gave you got your medal, no water. My biggest pet peeve about races in the PNW, give me a bottle of water with my medal. Do not make me stand in line for a cup of water. The line for the food was massive. I got some water and began walking to my car.

 

 

 

This was just not the race for me. I do think the organizer’s had a fun atmosphere. I loved the number of porta potties, the shirt, medal and free races pictures. Not a fan of the gravel, 10k walkers the last 3 miles, cups of water and massive line for a banana.

Great half zip shirt.

Great half zip shirt.

 

 

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Our new pup, Cognac.

Everyone deals with their dog passing differently. For us our house felt empty and we wanted to get a new dog soon. I did not want a puppy, they are cute but a lot of work. We looked online and went to the Seattle Humane Society 3 times, a Rescue home and 3 adoption events. Although many of the dogs were great, they were not a good fit for us, then we saw Cognac online, last Sunday morning. Hannah and Emily left to wait in line at the Seattle Humane Society. They had 3 puppies and they were 2nd in line so we knew we would get one if we wanted him.

The 3 pups came from Hawaii. My friend Rebecca had posted that she was transporting 4 puppies from Hawaii to Seattle on Alaska Airlines. The puppies fly free if they have an escort otherwise it is $400. Here is the link if you are interested:

http://kauaihumane.org/volunteer/pettransfer

Cognac is a 4 month old lab mix. He’s active when he wants to be. He is almost house trained, when we pay attention to his cues. He’s crate trained and I only spent a few nights on the couch. He is getting better on the leash and did great at puppy playtime at Petco.

Can’t wait to take him on a run!

Playing ball

Playing ball

IMG_20140916_072632 (2)

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Chicago Marathon countdown!

The Chicago Marathon is three weeks away! I can’t believe that it’s almost here. My training has gone very well. With one small issue last week with my sciatic nerve. I have had an issue in the past with this, not from running. I made my desk a make shift stand up desk and it got better in a couple of days. I took one extra rest day last week also. It’s the first miles I have missed in 3 training cycles. It was the right thing for me to do. I had no problems on my 8 or 16 mile runs this past weekend.

For this marathon I stuck with my old standby, Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 plan. I have used this plan for my last 4 marathons. I did add the speed work from his advance plan for the first 12 weeks of the cycle which I have never done. I have also been consistently doing cross training and planks/crunches to build my core.

I’m getting excited. I purchased my favorite travel book, Top Ten Chicago. I cancelled my hotel reservation and I’m staying with Jamie in a studio she reserved months ago. It seemed silly to spend so much on a hotel just for me. My sister is running and my niece volunteering in the medical tent. It will be a great weekend.

I have Beat the Blerch Half on Saturday. If I had thought about it I would not have registered for this race, it is too close to my marathon. I will not be racing this. It will be an easy 13 miles. I will be running my last long run, 20 miles on the 27th. Then taper!

In other news we got a puppy last weekend! Cognac is great. I will do a post about him this weekend.

Cognac

Cognac

Any must do’s in Chicago? Anyone know a good Italian bakery?

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Labor Day Half Marathon Race Report

On Sunday I ran the Labor Day Half Marathon in Redmond. This was a last-minute decision. I had 13 miles on my training plan, and it was either a solo run at Cedar River or this race. The weather was near perfect for a race, cloudy and about 60. There was a little mist in the morning, but by the time I got to Marymoor Park is was dry.

I quickly parked, registered and waited for a running friend. We got in line for the porta potties and then it was time to get to the start. The race started right on time. Most of this race is on the Lake Sammamish Trail but some of it was on the roads. Everything was well-marked. I think there were 8 water stops which was plenty for me. Many of the volunteers were from my running club, Eastside Runners. It was great to see familiar races on the road.

I always want a sub 2 half. The last 2 half’s I ran in July and August were hot and humid and I did not meet that goal. I was thinking, maybe I can’t run a sub 2 half anymore. My plan was to run 9 minute miles for the whole race. It is a very flat course. And that is pretty much what I did. There were a couple of 8:45 and 9:12 miles but I finished in 1:58:20 and 12th in my age group.

At the finish they had bottles of water, bagels, bananas and Kind bars. There were a few vendors at the finish and I did snag a few chap sticks.

Overall this was a great race. Plenty of porta potties at the start, on time start, enough water stops, flat course, great volunteers. Long sleeve tech shirt and a nice medal.

Labor Day Half

 

 

 

 

 

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Spokane to Sandpoint Race Recap!

Last weekend I ran my second relay of the summer, Spokane to Sandpoint. When I signed on for this race, I thought it was a way for me to see eastern Washington. I can’t say I saw a whole lot, but it was fun and I made it to Idaho. I was on team Sole Mates. The only person I knew was my friend, Amy. She knew a few of the team mates. Amy, Sophia and I left Seattle about 1 on Thursday. We stopped in Yakima to pick up our captain, Scott and drop off Sophia who was in van two, then headed to Spokane. It’s a very long drive.

We stopped in Moses Lake for dinner at Guido’s Pizza. The pizza was very good. And they had cannolis! They were the best cannolis I have had in WA.

Best cannolis in WA!

Best cannolis in WA!

We made it to Spokane, picked up our bibs and info. If you ever run this race, packet pickup is up the mountain about 30 minutes, pick up your stuff in the morning. We stayed at the Mirabeau Park hotel, which is the recommended hotel, but there is also a Holiday Inn and Motel 8 on the same road. We went to sleep too late for the 4:30 alarm. In the morning we met our 3 van mates. Rob and Katie are married and their friend Diane. We all headed over to Krispy Kream for he breakfast of champians.

Warm and delicious!

Warm and delicious!

Then we headed to the start line at Mount Spokane. Rob was our first runner, right at 6:30.

At the start line. Scott's picture

At the start line.
Scott’s picture

It was cloudy and about 60 in the morning both days. The afternoons did clear and got up to about 80. It was hot in the sun.
My first run was at 10:30 about 5 miles and I got lost. I am horrible with directions so I do look at all my legs and the turns. I got to one intersection and it did not feel right and turned around after about .25 mile and quickly got back on track. That was the worst thing that happened on a run.  All my runs went well. I had no issues. They were not in the best areas, a construction zone, a trail next to the highway and six miles on a highway with not a lot of shoulder.

After my first leg. Thanks Amy.

After my first leg. Thanks Amy.

Idaho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A two van team has a ton of downtime. I liked being able to sleep at night, but the other two breaks were long. After eating there was not a lot to do. We actually watched a movie on the first break. We did not have a lot of time to get to know the people in the other van. It felt like 2 separate races, not one team.

I had a great time. Spokane is a long way from Seattle. It was about a 5 hour drive. I did get to see Eastern Washington and Idaho. It’s a small relay, 85 teams compared to 600+ for Ragnar. You spend most of your runs solo. I like to see runners, to make sure I’m going the right way. Like Ragnar the teams were awesome about cheer for each other. On my last run I ran out of water and another team filled my handheld and gave me some cheez-its and gummies.

Finish line! Thanks for the pic Scott.

Finish line! Thanks for the pic Scott.

Have you run a relay? 12 person team or 6?

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Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon Recap

Last Saturday I ran the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon. I ran it last year and got a PR. My running has not been great this summer, so I had no expectations for this race other than finishing. Amy, Sophia and I headed out at 5:20. We parked up the hill from the finish and took the shuttle to the start.

Sophia, Amy and I before the race. Amy's picture.

Sophia, Amy and I before the race. Amy’s picture.

One big complaint about this race is not enough Porta Potties at the start line. It is a small race about 1,000 runners, but there were only about 12 porta potties. The lines were super long. And the race started late by about 6 minutes. Once we started I felt good for the first few miles. It was warm  about 70 and humid. This is a hilly course but the last 2 miles are down hill. About mile 8 the sun came out and with that I went for a 9:30 pace to a 10:30. I was very hot and walked a few hills. I finished in 2:08 which is slow for me. I did the best I could for the heat. At the finish I got my medal and a bottle of water. Jamie, who had a PR, got me some ice for my neck, which helped a lot.

Me crossing the finish line. Thanks Jamie!

Me crossing the finish line. Thanks Jamie!

Sophia and Amy also had great races. We had brunch at the Renaissance Café, which was ok, the owner is different, but the eggs were good.

Jamie and I with our bling!

Jamie and I with our bling!

Next up Spokane to Sandpoint Relay, it is going to be about 100 degrees. Have you ever run in super hot weather?

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The wait is over!

Pizzeria Pulcinella! We have found great pizza in Seattle. It only took 2 years. Larry found this pizzeria on his Delta points site. And after looking at Yelp reviews, which we do not put a lot of credibility in, we decided to give it a try. It is a small, cozy place and everything about it reminds me of Antico Forno in the North End. They have a large brick oven, which give the pizza that smoky flavor. We ordered 3 pizzas, Margherita, eggplant and Giovanni, which had peppers, onions, pepperoni and sausage. It was all great. They are about 12 inch pizzas. The sauce had just the right amount of herbs and garlic. The crust is flavorful and thin on the bottom and chewy on the edges.

Giovanni

Giovanni

Eggplant & Margherita
Eggplant & Margherita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also had cannolis! I was very leery about these, and they are no Mike’s but they were the best cannolis I have had in Seattle. They reminded me of the cannolis from Carlo’s Bakery. The shell was crunchy and full of vanilla flavor. The filling was ricotta, with a hint of orange flavor and chocolate chips. Much of this is a huge compromise on what I think is a great cannoli, but unless Mike’s opens a Seattle location, these are the best around.

Very good cannolis!

Very good cannolis!

We will be back. I also ran Tacoma Narrows Half this weekend. Race report coming.

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