Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I spent a second weekend in a row at in-laws where I shot this photo of a beautiful sunset on Sunday night. Great thing about Seattle, even in mid-August the sun is out till 8:30 or so. Daylight is being shaved off the clock faster then my hairy Italian face but I'll take it while I have it. I put in a 6 miler on my normal Rhododendron loop while I was there. Took the first few miles including the huge hill fairly slowly and then turned it on to tempoish pace for final three. Felt great. My hammy had been stiff for about a week and a few days off did the trick. Not even a twinge with the all out pace at the end of this one.

My wife stayed at the in-laws with the kids and the dog and I took advantage of my rare bachelor freedom to join the group for a track workout tonight. 10-15 people showed up and after a few minutes of trying to decide what to do I steered the group into a ladder workout of 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400. All with 400 recovery.

The key is getting past the 1200 and he rest is easy. I aimed for my now horribly routine goal pace of 5:40/mile or 85 seconds a lap. There was a wide spread of running abilities and several guys stayed with me the first 400. Through 800 I had one guy who finished ahead of me. On the 1200 I passed him and finished the workout somewhat alone. It is the track so I still was running with the group albeit not at the same pace. Having run this pace for a few years nearly every set was within a second or two on either side of my goal. I had a little left in the tank for the final 400 in 76 sec.

This workout felt perfect. I was mostly spent at the finish but still with some pep. Carried this energy straight through the evening getting a laundry list of to-dos (or maybe that is honey dos) done around he house and even writing in the blog after 11pm, something I almost never do.

By the way. Seattle is now 3 weeks into 70-80 degree weather with absolutely no rain. In a word, perfect. I am trying to mentally capture as much of this awesome weather as possible to carry me through the dark Seattle days of November through May.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The summer is flying by and I haven’t blogged at all. Is anybody keeping up with this thing? There has been a lot going on in life and just haven’t had the time nor the desire to put anything down about running or anything else.

Heather delivered a beautiful baby girl on June 15th. Mae Marguerite Wesner. She is doing very well. Now that Heather and I are used to having our lives ruled by kids it wasn’t so much of a shock to throw Mae into the mix. Sleep has been decent and I’ve even been able to keep running/Crossfit fairly regularly by mixing runs into my commute home from work and workouts at our tiny gym during lunch hour.

No races or insane workouts but I am keeping at it. Up weeks and down weeks but I just concern myself with getting out there as much as I can without sweating weekly mileage or paces. I haven’t measured or paced a workout in a few months and I feel fine.

My quest to break 3 minutes running up the steps from Golden Gardens still has not been met. 3:08 is my best mark to date and after finishing I couldn’t imagine squeezing 8 more seconds out of my legs. It doesn’t really mean anything but I like the challenge and for some reason I enjoy the anticipation of my 3 -minutes of pain as I approach the hill.

Seattle does have spectacular summer weather for running. The worst day here for running is better than the best summer day in Philly for running. We’ve only broken 80 degrees a few times and have hit a high of just 84 degrees for the summer. The evenings are cool and breezy and almost always require a light jacket or sweathshirt. I don’t miss the heat at all.

I’ve also been kicking around the idea of a spring marathon. Eugene has a flat fast race at the end of April and it finishes on Hayward field. That could be a great race. I’d still be gunning for a sub 3:00 hr marathon if I could get myself in decent enough shape to start training in January. However, Heather and I have a bid in on a piece of land to build a house in Seattle and if that comes through I’d have a boatload of extra work on my plate between now and that race. It would really squeeze any time for doing a reasonable training program and probably put my plans for racing on hold. I sort of feel like time is ticking for a 3:00 hr marathon. I’m 35 now and I’ve noticed that my racing results now have an age graded curve. I have no doubt with great training I could do it even at 40 but the training is the hardest part. Each passing year just makes it slightly more difficult to get there.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The beautiful weather in Seattle continued right through the weekend and it truly was awesome. To be in the mid 70s with nary a cloud was spectacular. My appreciation of the Beatle's ode continues to grow. Got out Saturday morning with the group for 10+ miles around town. The three guys I was running with jumped off the prescribed 10 mile course and wandered closer to Lake Washington and around the University of Washington campus.

The path led us behind U of W stadium or as everyone calls it here Husky Stadium. The university has a large horticultural area back there which abuts the lake. The grass and trees were the foreground for a magnificent view of Mt Ranier. I am still utterly amazed by the mass of it. The peak is so head and shoulders above anything else in the area that the view is almost surreal. As usual the view was also fleeting and we soon were passing some wetlands, with a lineup of turtles sunning themselves on nearly submerged mossy log. Apparently the turtles were in the need for a few rays too.

After this is was back across campus and towards Green Lake where the runs start and end. Easy pace the entire way and we finished somewhere around 90 minutes for 10+ miles.

Decided to skip the run on Saturday and spend time with family outdoors. I did have 30 minutes to sneak in a crossfit work out.

30,20,10,5 reps of thrusters with a 30lb dog food bag, 21" box jumps and pushups. The pushups were easily the limiting factor as everything else was completed un-broken. I am going to have find something heavier than the dog food to make this type of workout more difficult. I timed it but not sure where my watch is at the moment. Maybe 9 minutes.

Friday, June 03, 2011

The weather in Seattle is finally matching the brochure. Endless blue skies, warm sun, light breezes and low humidity. Today I was itching to get out of work for a run home. I can't really change the majority of my route home but the section that cuts throughout the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle allows me to mix up the route a bit as long as I don't mind adding a little distance and hitting the hills. The whole of Magnolia sits on a 350 ft high penisular plateau with the Puget sound to the west, the Ballard canal to north and the river like set of train tracks to the east. The middle of the plateau is scooped out, leaving hillsides facing each other across a flat mid-section. The train tracks make it sound industrial but they are way down the hill. It is an extremely residential area with beautiful homes, quiet streets and for many, stunning views.

I attacked from the west on a killer climb which I took extremely slow. I topped the ridge and kept heading north towards the canal. I had peekaboo views of both the cascades and the Olympics completely unobstructed by any clouds. I could definitely get used to this. Eventually ended up on 31st street and that lead me to the foot bridge across the railroad track and to the locks. The locks were bumping with tourists and I gave up any hope of running across them due to the crowds. Took a breather and looked for some migrating salmon on the fish ladder. The little migration chart told me it was early but by July there should be fish aplenty. Maybe I can jump in like a bear and paw away until I nab one mid-air. Sushi for dinner.

After the locks it was the usual hill up to my house which I am all to familiar with. 98% of the run was into a stiff headwind but on a beautiful day who cares. I am running home from work in the time it used to take me to drive home, I should be happy in wind, rain, hail, sleet and anything else thrown at me. 6.8 miles untimed.

Baby update: still no baby

Thursday, June 02, 2011

All day I was dreading the run home. I could of taken the bus but I might not be able run Thursday and Friday so I had to run right? Even as I was getting changed in the handicapped bathroom stall I still wasn't sure I was gonna go through with it. But before you know it I was popping open the door to the back alley behind my building and heading down to the Olympic Structure park for my run home.

The dread was mostly due to the incredibly sore calves I have from Monday's workout. Sore to the touch, tight after sitting and I just didn't think they would be up for 6.5 miles home. I was wrong. I quickly settled into the faster end of easy pace and and old G. Love album on the iPhone. The weather was overcast but dry and dare I say it, almost humid. I think an afternoon in Philly would recalibrate my definition of humid but today, for Seattle, it was humid.

My run home takes me through the Interbay section of Seattle which is composed mainly of fishing industry, a huge bus parking lot and an enormous train yard. I run along this train yard for at least a mile and get an up close and personal look at the locomotives and all jockeying involved in getting these trains set. I can only imagine the logistics. Track after track of different train cars and scores of locomotives. I'd like to work there for a day just to get a better idea of how it works.

51 minutes which is relatively fast for my slog home.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A nice memorial day weekend it has been. Two meals off the grill and the third of baby back ribs is currently cooking, decent weather, which at this point really means no rain and highs above 50 and two good runs.

Saturday I joined the group for 10 miles. This group has really exploded, from 20 or so when I first started in October to 45 on Saturday. We migrated out of the parking lot on a loop that would lead back towards my neighborhood of Ballard and within a block of my house. Started with 45 and lost people along the way to different routes or different speeds until it was just me and Pete for the last few miles. Pete is much like me in the fact that he has shorter races (5k - half marathon) that indicate he can easily run a sub 3 hour marathon but just hasn't been able to put it together on race day. In fact his PRs solidly beat mine but still just barely missing. I wish him the best as I know how frustrating this can be. The marathon is tough to figure out.

The 10 mile run was just under 8 minute pace and but felt like I had only run 5 or 6 miles when I finished. A nice morning.

I took Sunday off and joined the group once again on monday for a hill repeat work out. There is always some type of interval workout on Monday mornings at 6:00 am that I never can get out of bed for but today due to the holiday the start time wash pushed back to 9:00. This afforded me the chance to grab breakfast with the family and still get a morning workout in. About 20 people. We warmed up with a mile on the track and then made our way over to the hill. A moderately steep, wide gravel path along 50th street. The incline was constant and just long enough for a workout. I almost never do any interval work with other people so kind of a new experience. We lined up and took off en masse at just short of a full sprint and increased the pace from there. Whew. 10 of these were going to hurt. 18 seconds on the first trip up but I poorly split the rest. I am betting they were all around 19-22 seconds with 2-3 minute recoveries as we walked back down and lined up. A real sprint workout.

Having 20 people ahead and behind me encouraged me to push much harder than I normally would. There were a few guys that were clearly better at this than me which was all the better. 10 trips seemed over in no time but definitely kicked my ass. Cooled down with a jog back to the track and another mile or so at a very easy pace. I should note some tightness under my left foot that is still lingering right now. Not pain but more like light cramping. I am guessing it is due to the hard workout combined with the lighter trainers. I'll have to lay off racing flats a it until my feet adjust.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I was able to knock ofwf work at 4:00 and have a leisurely run home. I was feeling slow even before the run started and didn't push the pace on the trip. I take the precaution of placing my wallet and phone in a ziploc bag and it has paid of more than not. Light showers for the second half of the run but that point I was plenty warm and the wind was at my back.

It's odd, these commuting runs really do feel like a commute and not just a normal run at any other time of the day. I wasn't even rushing home to some family plans, it just feels different. Unfortunately, there are only two options for a route home and one involves a very busy road so I always opt for the other. I think this will really get old but I have no choose unless I want to add 2-3 miles to the run.

My route does take me across the locks and today it was busy with boaters headed out to the sound for memorial day weekend. May off to some destination or perhaps just to cruise the many water ways in the area. So many pleasure boats, I was a bit jealous of the boats and some exciting plans for the weekend. I will be laying low with the family, getting yard work done and cleaning around the house. Nothing to exciting but there will definitely be some beers and some barbecue.