Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Race Report

Race Report: 12Ks of Christmas

Ran the 5th Annual 12Ks of Christmas race today in Kirkland. Here are 12 Things About the 12Ks of Christmas:
  • First Thing: I know you want as many people in your race as possible, but on a 35 degree morning how DARE you delay the start by 10 minutes after getting everyone in the chute. I shed my layers with 5 minutes to go before the stated start time, only to have to stand there shivering for 15 minutes while they let the last minute stragglers make it through the sign up lines.
  • Second Thing: When you know your course is narrow in the first .5 mile, it would be nice if you didn't start the walkers and runners from both events at the SAME TIME. How hard is it to start the two distances at different times? How hard is it to put the walkers in the back of the pack?
  • Third Thing: Dear runners and walkers. Stop lying about your pace. It's chip timed. You don't need to start at the front of the pack. And if you do start where you shouldn't, don't run 3 abreast. Oh, and when several people have to brush past you and give you stink-eye in order to pass, take a fucking hint. Move.
  • Fourth Thing: Close the course. Is it that much of a burden to shut down a couple of streets on a Sunday morning? Once we left the starting area, the course was basically relegated to the shoulder of the road, which of course slants to the gutter and makes it so that you're running on an uneven surface, including slippery storm drains for most of the course.
  • Fifth Thing: Seriously, 10K and longer you need more than one water station. Come on now.
  • Sixth Thing: I love short steep climbs ONLY when they are followed by long, gradual downhills. This course was perfect that way.
  • Seventh Thing: When people ignore the posted No Parking signs and park their Escalade on the fucking course, TOW IT. Shit. (Happily, the start announcer joyously encouraged everyone to spit on the car as they passed. That thing was COVERED with Gu packs and other nasty bits).
  • Eighth Thing: I realize it is a course measured in kilometers, but everyone in the race is on mile splits. Can we mark both? Pretty please?
  • Ninth Thing: I HATE it when I go to Starbucks and Meghan/Melissa/Michelle/Molly tries to sell me up to the seasonal beverage ("Would you like to try our Eggnog Peppermint Mocha Latte today?"). Worse? Sprinting to the finish of a race and finding that the first comfort station is STARBUCKS! What the fuck?!? I just ran 7.5 miles all-out and you are putting a tray of peppermint mochas with whipped cream in front of me? No wonder I threw up.
  • Tenth Thing: Oh yeah. I threw up a little at the end of the race. I haven't been feeling well lately (some sort of asthma related chest pain thing) and I really did go a little harder than I should have for the last mile, so when I took a big swig of water at the finish my stomach didn't really like it much. I'm feeling much better now, thanks.
  • Eleventh Thing: Hot Dogs? Cake? What the hell? Can I just get some Gatorade and a banana and get out of here?
  • Twelfth Thing: The results. 51:29 overall. 6:50 per mile. 47th place overall and 12th in my division. Granted, it isn't a huge field (935 finishers) but still I feel pretty good about it. Fastest mile 6:28 (mile 2). Last mile 6:41.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Snorkel the Animals!

Can You Say "Climate Change"?

You might recall the first snowfall of the year from Saturday last. Well. As predicted, we now have the first floods of the year. And these aren't the typical big river floods that "shock" the residents of the communities on the river deltas every year. These are flash floods, urban style.

Those cute little creeks that wind through the neighborhoods near The Palace have been raging rivers for the last two days, swallowing yards and flooding porn collections everywhere. The usual 15 minute trip to drop the Eldest Colleague Offspring at school took almost 40 minutes on Monday morning, as every side street I know was covered in several feet of water. For the record, the A3 doesn't like deep water.

The picture above is real and it is from Monday. Last week I ran right past that sign on a nice cool evening. We're used to "wet" around here, but unless you are on a hill, this place looks shockingly like the midwest during flood season. Here is a nice shot of I-5 between Seattle and Portland. Oops:

Still, I've managed to get out and put together a start to another full week of training. Today I surveyed the flood damage in Woodinville. Scary stuff. The flooding. Not the run. The run was good. I hid my watch from myself and just ran, hoping for negative splits. Worked out.

Student finals are rolling in as I write this. Save me, Gay Jesus. Save me.

Stay dry out there. Is it Aloha Friday yet?

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Crazy is the Forecast, All Week Long
-Jason Mraz

Seattle weather forecasters have a nearly impossible job, I realize. The mountains and the ocean and the Puget Sound and that thing called the Convergence Zone that everyone in the region talks about but no one really all makes forecasting here little more than voodoo.

So I am amazed when the things they predict actually happen. On Wednesday this week they started predicting snow for Saturday, so naturally I assumed it would be warm and sunny.

Saturday morning it was cool and overcast, but certainly not ominous. I lounged around the house with the kids and The Colleague. We decorated our non-denominational plastic evergreen tree. The kids had nuggets and tots for lunch. A normal day.

And then around 1:00 I geared up, stuffed a few GU packets in my pockets, and headed out for a planned 10 miler. A few flakes blew by as I waited for the Garmin to acquire some satellites.

Off I went. At the 1/4 mile mark I checked my pace (a 9:00 goal pace today) and turned west toward Kenmore, the land of all things evil and stupid. Well, every other week, anyway.

(ed note: at what age are you too old to actively maintain a MySpace page? I'm going with 25.)

Uh oh. From the top of the hill I can usually see southwest to Lake Washington and sometimes see the high rise buildings of Seattle. Today all I saw was a wall of dark gray clouds moving FAST up the hill toward me. At the 1/2 mile mark the heavy snow started, and visibility dropped to about 5 feet. Good times. The snow held on and picked up as I ran. By mile 5 I was leaving fresh tracks on the Sammamish Trail. It was all pretty fun, actually. Then, at mile 7 I stepped in a puddle up to my ankles.

By the time you read this, the snow will probably be gone. When it started falling the aforementioned forecasters were already issuing flood warnings for tonight when the snow than has fallen gets washed away. Welcome to December in Seattle.

Here is my run plan from this morning:

And here is what the GPS actually says I did:

10.75 miles @ 8:39 per mile. That brings me to 43.8 miles for the week.

Except for one little hitch I added out by UW Bothell, I actually stuck to my plan. Shocking.