Monday, November 30, 2009

Do Good December

Last monthly challenge for 2009. Donate either blood, time, money, or sperm (new this year) to an organization of your choice AND you must also BAKE something and share it with someone else. Yes FirstClass, pot brownies count too. 2 possible BRS pts.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Seattle Marathon 2009

Day #3 of the Triple. Sleep schedule all messed up from poor sleep hygiene, i.e. drinking too much then napping after the races only to wake up at midnight wide awake. Boy was I stiff at 2 AM; and I somehow managed to gain 3 pounds in just the last 3 days- I'm blaming muscle edema. Drove to Seattle Center very early to get a good parking spot, brought some charts along (AS IF....) as well as ice, blister shield, and more food. Fitful nap in car then decided I better head to porta potties before they ran out of TP.

Very quickly I met up with John is doing race #2 to qualify for MM. Last check there were 1988 Maniacs. Lily was the one who got me to join less than 2 years ago. Run 3 marathons in 3 months? Are you crazy?? .... Perfect day for running. I started running with them and realized my legs didn't feel at all like I had run over 54 miles the past 2 days. They actually hurt less running than walking. Still, was afraid to turn on the gas just yet.

I could feel the chafage burning (for those of you who have not experienced chafage for yourself, wrap a tight, wet elastic around your chest and rub it around for 4.5 hours. Repeat for 3 days in a row) but I figure, I could rest the next few days and let it crust over. Or maybe the rest of my body will finally achieve full amphibian status.

It has come to my attention that some of you may not know what BQ means, it means "Boston Qualifier". The Boston Marathon is one of the best and most storied marathons in the world (I can tell you, having run it bandit as my first ever road race in 2005) but so popular you have to meet speed criteria (see or raise thousands of dollars in charity $ to get in. If you qualify based on time criteria, that means you have a minimum level of credibility as a "real runner", as opposed to a "slow fat jogger" to paraphrase RB.

Saw many familiar faces in the early out-and-back portions, i.e. fast people going the other way, including Eric Gierke (of Orange Julius) and Janet (from Jungfrau) as well as the Prez, busily snapping photos but easily hanging by the 3:30 pace group. Later I ran into other Triple runners, runningguy, Larry Macon, and Monte who just had ankle surgery a few months ago, even glimpsed Bob Dolphin who is 80 years old and just finished his 456th marathon/ ultra, his 18th of 2009. He PRd (3:00) at age 58 and was still breaking 4:00 at the age of 73!

Once I got to past Arboretum and Interlaken at mile 22 I knew the end was in sight. Finished in 4:37:25 which is only 2.5 minutes off last year's time. Vvn (Maniac #780, whom I'd met when we got stuck on Snoqualmie Pass on the way back from the Yakima River Valley marathon) saved me some soup and hot cocoa, and her husband shot this photo:

80+ miles in 3 days (16+ hours running). I can't fathom how some people run 100+ miles in under 24 hours. But I can fathom doing a quadzilla next year. Or maybe a 50 miler? Or dare I utter it, an Ironman? For now, NO ICE BATH. JUST WILD TURKEY.

Signed, Maniac #748 (aka slow fat ULTRA jogger)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ghost of Seattle

Seattle Triple, Day #2

Due to messed up sleep schedule, have been awake since midnight doing nothing but eating (and blogging). Bowl of cereal, 5 egg omelette with Tabasco, vanilla pancakes, banana, leftover stuffing, gatorade. Still managed to be late for the early start of the Ghost marathon.

Luckily it was in my backyard, the Lake Washington Blvd/ Seward Park Loop, i.e. the flat part of the seattle marathon, done twice. Luckily they let slowpokes like me do an early start so they can finish and party with the fast people before all the post-race food runs out.

Found parking a block away, but kept forgetting stuff in my car so missed the early start and took off on my own, about 16 minutes after the early start folks, 44 minutes before the main pack. Then I started running in the wrong direction, had to start over and restart my watch. Hey, the arrows were only pointing in one direction, and I had no one to follow.

The first 5 miles I was amazed to be moving at all, and by mile 10 I started to think I could actually do this. I got to Seward Park and passed all the early start people going the other way, could feel them mouthing, "you're going the wrong way". Had I entered the park backwards? Geez, I've only run here like 50 times. I finished the Loop and started following the arrows, which not surprisingly, led me back for a 2nd Loop as I had erroneously done my first loop backwards. I found another runner wearing Maniac gear and decided to follow.

Ran most of the race with Maniac #122, whom I'd met before and was doing his 316th marathon, but only the double this time. Hearing tales about the local running scene as well as a lot of classic races passed the time quickly, and made me forget my stiff legs. His advice for doing triples? Eat little afterwards, stretch a lot, and don't run again (but do bike and cross train) for 3-4 days after the race. The rest stops were awesome- there was Coca cola, red bull, boiled potatoes with salt (as far as I'm concerned, the BEST rest stop food ever, marathoners can learn something from cyclists!), PB&J sandwich wedges, orange wedges, cookies, muffins, pretzels, water, gatorade, even gummy bears (though this last is a terrible race food, I think it was there just to make the Portlanders happy). Most everyone either knew everyone or at least gave high fives to fellow Maniacs.

I saw EatDrinkRunWoman ahead of me, she had already BQ'd earlier this year, and done the early start so she could meet her husband, "Thing 1" who was trying to qualify for Boston (yes, the Ghost is now a USATF certified race). I caught her around mile 23, but then she smoked me at the end. Sadly, Thing 1 missed BQ by 48 seconds. I would have to either PR by 15 minutes, or repeat my current PR 6 years from now to qualify. I recall lamenting this fact to a fellow Maniac at a pasta dinner once. His reply? That the only way he'd qualify for Boston was to have a sex-change operation.

I wanted to beat 5:00 today and met my goal at 4:55:25. Steve "the Prez" Yee (Maniac #1) was at the finish line handing out medals. Must say, the Ghost medal was even better than the actual Seattle marathon medal. Then the post-race food- hot chili and grilled hotdogs (your choice, regular, beef, or veg) with all the toppings, while other Maniacs sat in front of a fire.
I was anxious to get home to my ice bath and post-race meds (which today consists of Wild Turkey and Advil). I'm a little stiffer and my chafage is significantly worse (believe me, chafage is worse than any blister), but my legs actually hurt less than yesterday. Of course my stated goal is to just finish tomorrow. I'd love to beat 5:00 again, but realistically? It's a pretty hilly course. We'll see.....

Seattle Triple 2009

Today is the first day the # of marathons completed exceeds my age.

I remember when I used to think a marathon a month was excessive. It was only 14 months ago at the Montana marathon, I was talking with some more seasoned Maniacs about how I was a little worried about completing my first back-to-back marathons. I was referring to the fact that I'd run Nottingham 1 week prior. They were all doing their 2nd of the weekend! I ran a bit with "runningguy" (everyone on the Maniacs site has nicknames), a Canadian who is now retired and travels the world with his wife, doing marathons together (often doubles) nearly every weekend. I'm sure they've done over 100 apiece by now. Being Canadian, he advocated Galloway's run-walk method, which is what the pacers do up there. He even BQ'd walking every 10th minute. I tried that, but just ran even slower and thus felt more tired. The other thing he recommended, is the 10-minute icebath immediately following the race, followed by 2 hour brisk walk.

I figured I'd do a double (2 marathons in 2 days) someday, but it never happened. It wasn't just about the fact that just one marathon still hurts a lot (every time I finish, I think either, "now, go swim 2.4 miles and bike 112" or, "now run another one", in homage to Ironmen and ultrarunners). It was mainly logistical. Most marathons require you to go to the expo the day before to pick up your packet, and rarely are there 2 marathons in the same city the same weekend, so you'd have to spend 3 days off and travel to another state (i.e. be retired and independently wealthy, or at least a network of friends to pick up your packets and have a really good travel agent). Or, if you don't care about getting "credit", you could just do a 100k training "fun run" between your 100-150 mile races, like Van "Pigtails" Phan does.

Previously I had relied on to plan my race schedule, but I realized there was a goldmine of local small runs, mainly ultras, on the Marathon Maniacs site. That's how I heard about the Wishbone run, a 28 mile trail ultra advertised as the "first run of the seattle triple". I knew Seattle had a double, many races have a "ghost" marathon the day before just for those nuts who don't get enough for one marathon in a weekend, but the triple is more rare. I initially signed up for the Wishbone, thinking I'd have Saturday to recover for the actual Seattle marathon. Then I signed up for the Ghost Half, thinking, well, it's ONLY a half... then I realized, well, if I'm going to look/ feel like mincemeat the cat just dragged in ANYWAY, may as well go for the whole triple. It's the only logical solution. You can't just stop at 2-1/2M when there's a triple in your face.

Today was the Wishbone Ultra, a 27.8 mile trail run in the Crescent Forest in Gig Harbor. Luckily I started early because I got lost twice and it took me 90 min to get there; iPhone told me to take a road that no longer exists. Anyway, it was a perfect, cool cloudy northwest day in the mid-40's. There were probably 30-40 people there, nearly all doing the triple, nearly all Maniacs. Lots of familiar faces, and new faces whose names I recognized from the Maniacs site, with names like, "Roadkill" and "EatDrinkRunWoman". .

I was "smart" and wore my trail shoes this time, even spent 50 miles breaking them in. It was 4 x 7 mile loops shaped like a figure 8 through the forest. As advertised, the path was well-marked, but I still managed to miss the first turn off and do an extra 1/4 mile or so before I saw runners going the other way and realized I had made a wrong turn. As advertised there were a few "small patches" of watery mud from the rain the day before. I asked Roadkill, who has done over 222 marathons in the last 30 years, how ultrarunners keep their feet dry. His answer? They don't. Sometimes you have a creek in front of you and no bridge, the only downside is that the water is 35 degrees and you have 8 more hours to run in wet socks. Then there was the woodchips getting inside my wet shoes every 5 seconds. EatDrinkRunWoman (so named because she is a personal chef) advised me to invest in some DGGs (Dirty Girl Gaiters). She cautioned me not to forget to type in the "gaiters" or I'd be getting a whole nuther set of web links unrelated to trail running. She had done the double last year and advised me to eat as much as possible immediately after the race (no problems there). Note to self, long tights much better than knickers for avoiding scratchy shrubbery.

The first 2 loops were a real Zen experience. Cool, quiet, nothing but me and the trees. The arrows at the figure 8 crossing pointed to the first (left) and second (right) loops. Naturally it made me halt in my tracks and think about my life. Which loop was I on? Which way should I go? If only there were arrows in my daily life that would tell me where to go...

I had the pleasure of meeting the famous Larry Macon, Guiness Book of World Records Holder for most marathons in a year (105 last year at the age of 64, total of around 600 lifetime marathons), who is every bit the cheerful and unassuming guy he seems on the video. Check out this runner's world video:,8052,s6-21-0-7,00.html?bcpid=2888992001&bclid=1508311825&bctid=26423738001

Even though I was way behind 90% of the group, I did manage to get some huckleberry pancakes (YUM) before the 4th loop. I think I finished 4th to last with a time of 5:46:40. My ankles were pretty sore and there was a large hotspot on my right arch, but I think the legs are OK. The ice bath sure hurt, even though I made sure to add the ice after getting into the tub. Now I'm good to go for marathon #2, which starts in less than 3 hours.

BikeRunSalmon Photos 11-15-09

I don't know what made me bid on the Alaska King Salmon for 20 package at the Parkinson's Project auction in September, but for the first time ever I won something. Then I realized I haven't cooked in 5-6 years and this fine salmon would run the risk of wasting away, unappreciated. The solution? Give it up to people who will make good use of it, preferably at a dinner where I can just show up and mooch off their culinary artistry.
Salmonfest at Hacienda Spiz was like being a guest on Iron Chef. Salmon Salmon Salmon. Salmon sushi, salmon cakes, grilled salmon, braised salmon, pecan crusted salmon, salmon everywhere. No salmon ice cream though, there was vanilla and pumpkin homemade in a serious ice cream maker (complete with infrared temperature detector) .
Then beautiful plating on snazzy plates , almost too pretty to eat, but tasted even better. Thanks to the BRS chefs

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Love my Ducks!!!

So Team Joe Camel is the current reigning Davis Challenge Champion, BUT...

Are these the type of folks that we want representing a BikeRunSwig major? No worries, the DC Steering Committee has just called an emergency meeting. All I have to say is thank GOD I live in Washington State. I'll let y'all decide...

I don't give a god damn about UW's record. Thank goodness I live far away from Eugene!!!


Friday, November 13, 2009


The Majors are over. There are no situps to be done. We all have a craptonne of NMN tunes to listen to. Oh, and Gerald won 'King Salmon for 20' at a recent benefit auction.

Hopefully a new annual tradition, this Sunday at the Furnace Hacienda, you are invited to join us for BikeRunSalmon. Show up at 6pm, bring your own swig.