Monday, November 27, 2006

13.1 (It's the .1 that Gets You)

There is a virtual tour of the route for the Seattle Marathon on the official web page for the race. It shows Seattle Center and the Experience Music Project "building", a wide open and sunny 5th Avenue, beautiful images of fall foliage along Lake Washington and in the Arboretum...What they don't show you is the blinding rain, gusty wind, and nasty old dudes puking on the sidewalk in front of you.

I ran the Seattle Half Marathon on Sunday. 13.1 miles of pure weather. You know what sucks? Rain. You know what else sucks? Cold. In my book there is nothing worse than 33 degrees and raining. Either snow or rain. Or be dry. But almost cold enough to snow? Sucks.

Mrs. Math Dude and and I drove to Seattle for the 7:30 start, arrived at 7:29:58, and started the race without so much as a little stretch or a trip to the porta-john. And even then it was only a little miracle of a parking spot JUST big enough for the A3 next to the EMP that let us get there on time. Nice way to start. And here's the thing about an early morning start in Seattle in the winter. It's dark. I mean, we could see and everything, but the headlights would have still been on in the car.

The course (Map Here) goes south through downtown on 5th (2.5 miles or so), onto I-90 and east through the Mount Baker Tunnel (the first climb), north along the shore of Lake Washington, back west up Galer and Madison Streets (brutal climb up Galer) and then through the Arboretum back to downtown. The finish is 3/4 mile of pretty painful climbing, especially if you are trying to kick at all. The finish in Memorial Stadium is great (running on the padded astroturf is very welcome after 13 miles of pounding pavement). It rained off and on but was never too bad while I was on the course. In fact, the little rain that there was kept my temperature about right for most of the race.

My goal pace for this one was 8:45 per mile, hoping that I could maybe run 8:30s. I didn't know the course and had no idea how much the hills would slow me down. Thanks to a little miracle called the Garmin Forerunner and MotionBased, here are my splits for the course:

1. 8:20
2. 7:46
3. 7:40
4. 8:00
5. 7:50
6. 7:50
7. 8:08
8. 8:17
9. 7:34
10. 7:33
11. 7:33
12. 7:35
13. 7:12

I had set out thinking I would try to run 8:30 for the first 9 miles and then see what I had left for the last 4. Race pace always surprises me, and I am mostly just glad that I didn't burn out on the hills. Overall I ran at 7:58 or so by my chip time, 7:43 by my GPS pace. Either way, sub 8:00 makes me happy. Official time: 1:44:33.

Mrs Math Dude ran a very nice 1:54 and RPD ran at his goal: 1:59:40.

Next up, the Vancouver Marathon Marathon on May 6th. Yikes.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Philly Reflection

RPD and I are set to get on an aging jet plane and head back west. Here, in list form for the prose averse (this means you, Towse), is a recap of our week in Philadelphia:

1. There’s a lot of meat in this town. It’s like the whole town is catered by Applebees: bacon on everything. Even the Vegetarian soup has chicken in it, baby. Eatin' good in the neighborhood. Yum. Let’s just say that the cuisine here is not worth the travel. I’ve lost weight. "Can I get the Vegetarian Pizza without the sausage? Thanks.
2. Leaving Seattle for anywhere else in the country is a lesson in bad beer. Seattle bars are stacked with great beers. Here? Don’t even ask. At least they stock decent gin.
3. Al B drove his ass up to Philly on Friday for a nice 10 mile run (8:30 per mile, Al, in case you want to log that) and some beers.
4. I somehow ended up logging over 40 miles on the shoes while I was here. My legs are feeling it.
5. We tried to sneak into the Philadelphia Marathon route today, but didn’t. Still, we did a nice 12 mile route alongside the marathon route this morning (8:40 per). There was a lot of human wreckage en route. Paramedics and tragic limping. Here's a clue, folks, marathons are hard.
6. There might be more dead white men memorialized in bronze statuary in this town than anywhere I have ever been.
7. How important is cheap real estate to you? Move to Philly. A 3 bedroom downtown condo on a great street in an updated brownstone? 285k. The same joint in Seattle would be 600k easy. Still, you’d have to live in Philly, and Philly ain't close enough to NYC to make it worth it.
8. As I post this, the waiters in the lobby bar are grousing over their Philadelphia Eagles losing their asses to the Tennessee Titans. They really seem to care. Why? I have no idea.
9. Home. Time to go home. To the rain, to the weirdness. To a short work week. To a meat-related holiday. How much was that condo again?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Emerald City > Brotherly Love

RPD and I left rainy, windy, nasty, cold Seattle at some ungodly hour this morning to travel to The City of Brotherly Love for some work-related (WR) purpose. I still don't know what that purpose is. I'll find out tomorrow when they slap a nametag on my new Calvin Klein shirt and force me to carry around a lame bag with logo on it...

Anyway, even though I am in another time zone, NOAA keeps sending me weather updates for the Seattle area. I love the color map when it looks like this. Something is going down somewhere at home. High winds, rain, nastiness.

Here in Philly? Overcast and 65 degrees. Sorry folks. If it's any consolation, they showed "You Me and Dupree" on the flight out here. Ugh.

RPD and I did a nice 4 miler today through town and along the river. Nice place to run.

Tomorrow is WR stuff and then an 8 miler in the afternoon, assuming this third martini doesn't kill me...


Monday, November 06, 2006

2 by 2

Building me an ark over here. The "Flood Warnings" are coming in from NOAA, updated every few minutes:


Still, the Seattle Half is on the horizon and I need to keep my legs moving. Did a 5 this morning in sideways rain and ankle deep gutter wash. This afternoon I am headed to the New Balance store to get a second set of shoes for the rainy season, because there is no way I can get one pair dry by tomorrow morning. Here's my mileage plan for the few weeks remaining before the Half:

This Week: 35 miles
Monday: 5
Tuesday: 8
Wednesday: OFF (Swim)
Thursday: 10
Friday: 5
Saturday: OFF (Cycling)
Sunday: 7

Next Week: 33 miles
Monday: 5
Tuesday: 5
Wednesday: OFF (Traveling to Philadelphia)
Thursday: 3
Friday: 8 (Al, are you paying attention? You're on the hook for this one.)
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: 12

Race Week: 17 miles
Monday: 7
Tuesday: 4
Wednesday: 3
Thursday: OFF
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 3
Sunday: Half Marathon.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Halloween Hangover

It’s the 11th month already. November is here, full of its bizarre academic schedules, painful family holidays, and the lull before the December finals barrage. With 2 months to go in 2006, here are 11 Things for No Reason:

1. Halloween in Suburbia is a trip. We’ve never really done the full-blown Halloween thing with our kids since we’ve never lived with them anywhere but out in the country. In our old “neighborhood” there were four houses, and they were so far apart that it took an hour just to get to them all. But the New Casa GVB is smack dab in the middle of suburban nuclear family paradise. Kids everywhere. And it’s the type of neighborhood that parents from other lame parts of town bring their kids to trick-or-treat. Still, the parents in our ‘hood just don’t do this right. We need to pick one house in the center of the development and make Adult Land: a safe place with comfy chairs and nice drinks where we can escape the chaos of costumes and candy and get the sort of buzz on that one needs in order to survive Halloween. It was a good chance to check out the reclusive neighbors, though. I think the two couples on lots 12 and 13 are swingin’…
2. The Seattle Half is This Month. I am trying to get back on a decent training schedule, but life keeps getting in the way. I’ve managed 16 miles this week so far, 8 of which came on a great loop around Edmonds and Lynnwood. Details here. . Why is it that some part of the body always goes shithouse on long runs? If it isn’t the legs, it’s the feet. If it isn’t the feet, it’s the lungs. If it isn’t the lungs, it’s the brain. This week? The gut. At mile 7 the whole system when down. Not good. Still, I managed an 8 miler at race pace (8:45), so I’m thinking the half will be doable. I’m trying not to have RPD’s race in my head for this one.
3. Some Things are Always Good. Example? Ok. How about Leonard Cohen’s “Light As A Breeze?” Give it a try sometime. Also? Shawn Mullins’ “Sunday Morning Coming Down”. Seriously.
4. Snow Cap. The Winter Ales are out and pouring. Every year I get excited about this and EVERY YEAR I drink one too many Pyramid Snow Caps the first night I discover them. Nothing says “headache” like too much winter ale…
5. Cash. With the insurance money for my golf clubs that were stolen from Mom GVB’s house, I could replace my clubs at full retail. OR, I could buy any of the following:
- A new spinnaker and jib for The Hood
- A totally decked out Apple MacBook Pro AND 30 GB Video iPod
- A first class trip to Kenya
- A new Scattante Triple Carbon Race Bike
- Half of a used Catalina Capri 22 (Cap’n? You in?)

And I’m pretty sure Towse is going to hook me up with some wholesale clubs anyway…Right Towse? Who’s your brother?

6. Go Huskies Ugh. Here’s the thing…I’d MUCH rather the UW Huskies Football team suck ass and lose by 30 points every week. But no. They’re JUST good enough under Tyrone Willingham to ALMOST beat USC, Cal, and Arizona State, only to lose each game in heartbreaking fashion at the last second. Hell, they even hung in with Oklahoma for 3 quarters. But the overtime loss to Cal almost killed me. Come back to tie the game on an improbable last second 43 yard touchdown heave from your backup quarterback? Then lose in overtime? I hate to second guess the best coach we’ve had since Don James, but seriously, Ty? Go for two and the win on the road when you are a 23 point underdog. Go for two. We can only take these “almost” wins for so long. Still, as I am sure DVB and others will support, just beat WSU in the Apple Cup and all is forgiven. Oh, and congrats to Math Dude’s OSU Beaver Believers for finally proving what we all knew: USC is all hype. The Pete Carroll era has officially started its downslide. In 5 years that dude is out of a job.
7. Go Ex-Huskies. As I write this Brandon Roy has just schooled the Seattle Supersonics as a rookie starting his first game in the NBA. Nice. The dude is a total stud and will make me a Trailblazers fan before he’s done. If he isn’t he prohibitive favorite for Rookie of the Year, something is wrong. His line for the first game of the season: 35 minutes, 10/16 shooting, 20 points, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 steals, 3 turnovers.
8. The GVB Tattoo. I am officially getting my first tattoo at the end of Fall Term. I have two basic ideas and designs in mind but am now officially taking suggestions. Two tat rules: It must be on a part of the body that will not sag into unrecognizable ooze as I age (see The Colleague’s ankle tattoo for example), and it must be readily visible to the general public. Hiding a tattoo on your ass (Towse, this means you) is not acceptable as a midlife choice.
9. The Trainer I finally broke down and bought a trainer for the Fuji today. Winter is coming and I need to keep the legs going since Cap’n Ron is dragging me on the One Day Seattle to Portland ride...I bought a nice CyClops fluid trainer with a solid footprint and nice smooth resistance. But after an hour of assembling the trainer and setting up the bike I realized it was sunny and 40 degrees outside. Duh. So I sprinted a nice 10 mile ride outside instead. I was going hard, as evidenced by the peak heart rate of 192. Oops. A great ride despite the fact that I forgot my gloves. Brrrr.
10. Cheese Steak. RPD and GVB are headed to Philadelphia for a conference on collegiate honors programs. This can’t go well. BUT, Al Bangorhard is braving the 45 minute train ride from NYC to consume alcohol and not be gay. Good for Al.
11. Friends. To Cap’n, NPAW, Al, The Colleague, DVB, and RPD: Thanks. You know what I mean.