Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Last Horrah, for a while anyway....

Can it be? Has the summer whizzed by? It didn't feel like it this weekend and probably not for the next few days, but soon, it will be. No more races where it's warm and sunny ending with sitting around soaking in creeks or rivers and then eating good food and feeling comfortably warm catching up with people you haven't seen in awhile. However, being the cock-eyed optimist that I am, I'll focus on the fact that these occasions will be back and in less than a year. Just a few seasons away. And as soon as winter hits, well, I will just search for the joy in running in the wet and cold and maybe snow, layering and de-layering depending on the occasion. But, no sense in getting reminiscent of summer already, this weekend was AWESOME all the way around. Does it get much better than this?

To start off, I ran Cle Elum Ridge 50K this weekend and it was bee-u-tif-ful. It also was quite easy to follow, not too many turns which is great for me as I am directionally challenged. The weather was warm and sunny with great views 360* around. Marty and Chris put on a great race. They are so kind and enthusiastic. Marty even gave me a high five at the end, thanks Marty. Their son and co-RD, Kenenan, was quite helpful. He handed out the PCC bags with goodies insdie. He also made sure we turned left on the trail about mile 1.1 The course was challenging and it was fun seeing so many familiar faces. It was chilly at the start but within 5 minutes I was warmed up.

Glenn was at about mile 4 taking photos. Seemed like I had gone farther than 4 miles effort wise. Pretty much after the first mile, there was many many miles of climbing. At times, the incline was subtle and seemingly runnable without too much effort, but I hadn't turned on mu iPOD yet and I realized I was breathing kinda hard. So I turned on my iPOD and readjusted myself and kept climbing.

The climb seemed to go on forever. I had really been trying to work the climbs, walking fast at the real steep inclines and running as much as I could. By the time I got to the first full AS, mile 12, I was starving and out of water. I could hardly wait for boiled potatoes with salt. But unfortunately, there were no potatoes! I was kinda counting on that but instead I ate a bunch of Pringles. Not quite the same, but still potates, just flatr and crunchy. From here, it was more climbing for several more miles. I thought that from the AS at mile 12, there were only 4 or 5 more miles going up. But there were several false summits and that was somewhat discouraging. However, how discouraged could I really be....I was out running on this beautiful day and the scenery was gorgeous. FINALLY, I reached the Windy Pass. I was looking forward for some good downhill. What goes up, must come down, right? In retrospect, I feel I went more uphill than downhill. The course description said 6000 ft. elevation gain AND loss. The loss didn't seem as obvious as the gain. I had visions of me tearing downhill on the verge of being out of control with my arms flailing about to keep my balance so I don't fall and break my teeth. Sadly, that fantasy didn't come true. There was a few switchbacks but it wasn't quite like I envisioned. I actually fell twice and not even on steep terrain. And as Johnny says, I left property on the trail, (some skin!).
I was pretty dusty after the second crash. I was happy to see the creek so I could wash off a bit and also Glenn was there taking his awesome photos and so thoughtfully handed me 2 Paydays! Thanks Glenn! The AS was just right up the trail from the creek and I was excited to see that. I filled up with water and again, hoping for potatoes but settled for chips, pretzels and gummy bears. The funny thing is, I would never eat a gummy bear outside of an aid station. I like cookies and muffins for sweet things. A gummy bear? Never! But the little red bears were laying on their backs on the paper plate asking me to eat them. So I did. Trying to pick them out of my teeth kept me busy for about a half a mile. Only 9-1/2 left now. The remaining miles were rolling hills, my favorite. I had a good time with these last miles. I ran out of water and was getting pretty tired. I thought there were no more watering holes until I crossed a logging road and there was a nice man there with gallon jugs of water. I thought, wow, this is awesome, this guy is volunteering his time to sit in the woods with water to fill up our bottles. I thanked him after he told me, 'only 1.6 miles to go and IT'S ALL DOWNHILL!' Wow, all downhill, SWEET! I'm going tear down out of control to the finish! But, as I spent about a mile going uphill, I was cursing this guy. Why did he tell me it was all downhill when it has been all uphill from here? I bet it is more than 1.6 miles, if he was wrong about the downhill part, then why would he be right about the distance? Then I thought to myself, why should I question this guy, he's VOLUNTEERING his time to sit there with water for all the runners. That is when I knew that I was ready to be done. I wanted to be done running. And when I know I am ready to be done and that I am really really tired, then I know I have run my best. So all of these thoughts went through my head pretty fast, spinning and spinning. And the next thing I knew, I was running downhill for the last 500 yards of the race and then.....I FINISHED! I had no real goal for this event. I haven't really been training hard lately, just maintaining. So I can't really complain about my performance, but I certainly can critique it. I won't bore anyone with those details, that is if anyone is still reading this. After the run, a few of us soaked in the creek which felt so refreshing! Results are here. Photos of the race are of course all of Glenn's great photos. THANK YOU GLENN!

Overall, I had a great time. I had a few moments of darkness and that rarely happens to me. I think it is a sign that I am making the right decision to take it easy the next couple of weeks while I am in Greece for Spartathlon. This trip is coming at a good time. I can rejuvenate and when I return I can re-focus on what I want to accomplish with running and other aspects of my life.

I woke up this morning, a little stiff and wobbly, and the sun was shinning. Another beautiful day. I took full advantage of this. I went to friend Bob's house for a delicious and enormous breakfast of homemade waffles with fruit and lots of coffee. Then for a walk with the dog and a swim in the lake. The swim was iffy. Bob and I got to Seward Park and on the north side it was breezy and cold. We felt the water and it felt COLD!
We decided to warm up on the south side and what do you know, we got hot enough to go for a swim! The water was pretty cold and shallow. I was looking for fish but I only saw plant life as I swam along the shore. We warmed up and then I dropped Bob off at this car in Leshi. I decided to get the NY Times and read it on the beach with Struth. I threw him the ball while I read the paper.
My friend Matt called and was driving by so stopped by to hang out a bit. We all went off the T-dock, included Struth. Struth looked shocked when he came up from under the water after jumping off the dock, but as soon was he came up and realized he was fine, he looked for his ball. Funny Struth. I didn't get a picture of that, but I got one of Matt doing a flip off the dock!
A great late summer weekend in Seattle. I'm lucky to be headed to Greece to finish off the summer!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Well, at least that is how it used to be. Whenever I would take Struth to the vet, he would freak out and not be himself. He was hard to handle and would get notes in his chart that he was "difficult" For all you Seinfeld fans, you know where notes in the chart can lead....
So today was Struth's day to go to the vet and get his vaccines and also get micro chipped. Poor guy. I made the appointment for 10 so that I could get him tired before the appointment. I took him to Genesse Dog Park. There he played with another black and white dog. After that, we headed to the VET....
First off, he got weighed, 52 LBS. I was thinking, Oh, my boy is in such good shape with all the trail running he does. He is a lean mean running machine. Well, much to my dismay, the vet told me he was 6 lbs. overweight! Can you imagine? My dog is over-weight! It is never easy putting an animal on a diet, (humans included), and for those of you who know my dog, it is beyond difficult to cut down on Struthie's food. Then the vet left and said she'd be back in a few. While she was gone, (it seemed awhile), I took some shots of Struth in the exam room. He goes from looking calm and very cute:

to looking a little apprehensive:
But I was there to comfort him!

In the waiting room, there was a picture of a dog which was made up of many tiny pictures of dogs. Have you seen this? I was checking it out up close and it just made me crack up. I think of all the photos I take of Struth and each one seems unique to me and I think, 'oh, he's so cute here', or, 'oh, look how tired he is', or 'how funny he looks wearing my sunglasses', and the list goes on. So it just cracked me up seeing all the little photos of dogs in the same poses that I take of Struth and in the end, we all love our animals and make fusses over them and go on and on about who's cute. Then, the vet returned to the exam room and Struth got hit up with the thermometer, (ouch!), teeth exam, (didn't like that either), and 2 big needles poked between his shoulders. The vet techs who delivered the shots commented on what a champ Struth was during all of that and I think I might have marked down his good behavior in his chart. Then he got lots of treats and pets from the vet techs and of course from me. What a good babe.
As a huge treat, he got to go for a walk with one of his favorite people, Hallie, and her babe Tika. I forgot to take photos then. But after, he then got to romp around the trails of Seward Park with Patty Colleen and EP.

Overall, a good day for him! I'm glad his chart at the vet is not all marked up with bad behavior. He has come a long way since I got him almost 4 years ago. I'm so lucky to have him!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Some things I did on Labor Day Weekend

I had a 4 day weekend for Labor Day and I was set to go through some of my crap at home and possibly purchase some new items to spiff up my house. Before that, I thought I'd go for a run at Cougar on Friday. After last weekend's urunnable run at Cascade Crest, I just wanted to get out and run with Struth. I headed out to Cougar and set out for a 3 hour run. I started with a friend who only wanted to go an hour so I looped back around with him and refueled my bottles and watered down Struth, said goodbye to my friend, and headed back out. I was running along and out of the corner of my eye I see a black thing move. Anything that moves right off the trail is always and eye catcher for Struth so he was ready to pounce. But since the movement appeared to be black, it caught my eye. YIKES, a BEAR! A bear at Cougar! Whoa. It was right on Indian Trail before you get to De Leo Wall. I called Struth back and he actually listened to me and came right over. Me thinks he had a sense of the behemoth animal that stood just a few feet from us. I looked at the big black bear and it looked at me. It didn't move, but I can tell you, I did. I called Struth to follow me and off we were running backwards to make sure we were not being followed by something much stronger and much more wild than we could ever be. It was such a rush! WOW, A BEAR! I was feeling kinda eerie and wondered if there were more. I didn't see any more, just a couple of people who were lost so I helped them find their way. I got back to my car and dammit, it was broken into and my bag was stolen with my wallet in it. My credit cards, debit card, ~70 bucks cash and yada yada yada. I looked around for it in the hope that whoever took it just took the cash and threw the rest on the ground. But I couldn't find it and I knew I needed to get back in town to go to the bank and cancel everything. I had no gas because I was going to get it over there and now I not only had no gas, but no $$ and I knew there would be traffic. It could have been worse I kept telling myself. I made it back to town and to the bank and did all things you do when your stuff gets stolen.
On Saturday I got up early to get to the Dept. of Licensing to get a new license and be the first one there. I checked the website to make sure they would be open on the holiday weekend, they were, said the website. But when I got there, they were closed and I was irritated. But I kept telling myself, it could be worse. So I took the opportunity to take Struth to Lincoln Park and walk around. I stopped at the Bakery to get coffee and a pastry. Um, good. I leisurely walked around Lincoln Park with Struth and noted that it was a nice change to getting up and hurrying and scurrying to do this and do that and blah blah blah.
So I get home and go nuts cleaning and going through all my crap. I do this for a few hours and then decide to hit the gym. I call my Strength Training partner and he comes to pick me up and head out to do some ST. But first I snap a shot of him and his new doo.
After ST, I continue my rampage cleaning and organising my house. I filled up my entire car of stuff to give to GoodWill. What a great feeling. Since I had no debit card, I couldn't really purchase anything new and exciting for my place, but it was still a relief to clean it up.
Sunday Glenn and I returned to Denny Creek. The first time we were there it was sunny and beautiful. This time it was cold and rainy and foggy. I had a hard time sucking it up and enjoying myself because it was slippery and technical and I just wanted to run. But it was still fun.

I was pretending to be an Olympic Gymnast here.

And with such a wet and rainy day, Struth had some serious muddy paws.

Later that day, after a nap, I went to a friend's house for dinner and wine. Gorgeous view of the sound.....would love to live there!

On Monday, I headed out with good friend Bob for a final swim and the most awesome pool in Seattle; COOLPOOL. Bob was sporting his swim stuff, he looks like a natural swimmer.....

So overall, the weekend was so rejuvenating that on Tuesday when I got up for work, I only hit snooze a few times. From Sunday to Monday, I actually slept 12 hours. Wow, I haven't done that since I worked in the bars!
So now, it's back to business. Work, running, keeping up on the clean house and seeing friends, trying to finish my book, listening to the Republican National Convention, (arg!). That is enough to keep me busy for the week.