29 December 2012

The Balanced Athlete Loop The Lake Marathon


In spite of doing pretty much everything you are not supposed to just prior to a long run I finished this event in reasonable shape. Once again I am impressed how the body adapts to this kind of stress and these days I am looking at a marathon like I would a 75 mile bike ride back in the summer. Hard but by no means impossible and okay to do even if you are not fresh.

The Loop The lake Marathon was put on by The Balanced Athlete and it's a great, low-key event that had about 60+ people running the same loop I have ridden on my bicycle countless times. We started in Renton at the store and went clockwise around the south half of Lake WA. Good people and good times.

What did I do that you are not supposed to do? Here you go.

  • I went for a depleting run two days ago meaning I was not exactly rested. And by 'not rested' I mean I was tired.
  • Not intentionally, I got very little sleep last night.
  • I had a bit of wine last night. Three glasses maybe?
  • I have not been stretching and my massage therapist called in sick yesterday... boy was I counting on that massage prior to this run. :(
  • I got a brand new pair of shoes and socks yesterday and decided impulsively to wear them today. Throwing caution to the wind.

I thought of you today @TeamSUCPlus, gonna run a marathon on brand new shoes.


27 December 2012

Cottage Cheese Ass loop on Tiger Mt

Oh man... today I asked for it and I got it.

Justin Angle was in town and fortunately for me we were able to connect for a run. It was great to catch up and it always makes me smile when I think about just how much talking goes on while running.

I was hoping for snow when we set out. And I got it. I also got slush, cold wind, frozen hands, legs that were so stiff I was not sure if I could get my foot back under me if I stumbled and beet red legs. And you know what? I had a blast! Good company makes all the difference. Big time.

Of course it would have been an entirely different story if I had not dressed as warm as I did or fallen but hey, I did and I didn't so there.

25 December 2012

I helped someone go for their first run!

So my brother-in-law Michael Reiter has this best friend David who lives in New York and I guess David has hit the treadmill a few times. He flew out to visit Michael for the holidays just like Shelley and I did and Michael was determined to get this guy outside for a run.

It worked.

We ran about one mile.

Since I had not charged my GPS after the last couple of days, no sooner did we leave the house then I got the low battery warning and then boom, white screen. White means no dice by the way. Oh well.

It was super cool to be out here with this guy that has NEVER run outside. It was an eye-opener about where some people are in terms of running (or cycling or fitness in general for that matter); that is something I forget all too often. Not ideal if are trying to minimize the asshole quotient. At times I was able to keep up by walking. But it was all good, David felt pretty stoked - and pretty sore - after we finished. The next day he opted out of running. Oops. I hope he can keep this up.

24 December 2012

Turtlehead Peak

Right then.

Yesterday was kind of a disaster except for the amazing scenery (which I am not discounting) so today I opted for a shorter route. Was it going to easier? I was banking on it but of course I didn't select some easy, flat trail, I wanted to get my money's worth! Instead I chose the most difficult hike in the Red Rock Canyon; Turtlehead Peak. And since it was only five miles I added on a couple extra.

I know what you're thinking, pure genius.

People (read: me) are idiots. At least I was smiling when I finished.


23 December 2012

Red Rock Canyon big loop


Shelley and I have been coming down to Las Vegas for the holidays a few years in a row now as her sister and nephew and brother-in-law live here. I usually try to squeeze in a ride or run and this year I got to drive myself to Red Rock Canyon and go for a run.

I was running up here once before and it was really beautiful and today I was hoping to tack on some extra miles to what I had done last year. Mistake? Maybe.

19 December 2012

Cougar 10

After all my running yesterday I was not sure how I would feel today but Edgardo Balansay was psyched to go and company makes (almost) everything better so I was definitely up for it.

We did the usual Cougar Mountain loop and it was SO beautiful out.

On the drive out it was raining and I was thinking great, nothing like mid 30s and wet. But one good thing about mid 30s and wet in Seattle is that it will be snowing just a few hundred feet higher and that's exactly what Cougar Mt is. YES. The mist in the parking lot turned to snow within about .5 miles and didn't turn back into rain until about 1.5 miles to go. At the high point we were running through about 3" of snow and it was awesome.

Not only is snow dryer, it reflects the light from your headlamp so it's MUCH easier to see where you are going. Fun, fun, fun.

The only bummer is I was super tired and tight but so was Edgardo. :) I got lost twice [You'd think I would know this route by now but no...] but found the trail again pretty quickly each time. If you look at my GPS file below you can see the biggest detour as the little out-and-back.

I'm really glad I got out of the house today, Running in the snow, when it's not covering a ton of mud, is a ton of fun. I so wished I had a camera with me today.

18 December 2012

Howe Street stairs | Fleet Feet run | bike commute

Nice. Today was a day of fitness.

In the morning I met Jim Kodjababian for a super stair workout, after work I joined my first Fleet Feet Fun Run in ages and I rode my bike to work, to the run and to home.

And now I'm tired.

17 December 2012


Got in a little core workout at home and even managed to make my own 'medicine ball'.

Home made fitness ball

That, my friend, is a musette bag I got from an Echelon Gran Fondo event with eight old ATA hard drives in it. I hung it on my bike scale and it comes in at roughly 11.3 lb. and I was using a 12 lb. ball at the gym so pretty much perfect. I just grab the one side/strap with each hand when I do my twisters. Reduce, reuse, recycle and all that.

16 December 2012

Mount Si

Up into the snow!

Yesterday the plan was to summit twice. Guess we all know how that went. :) I was just too tired from yesterday's run, and then Shelley and I went to a party last night where I exercised no control over my consumption of alcohol and rich food and in the end no one else from our group wanted to summit twice anyway so I would have had to push myself up the darn mountain solo the second time. Not today.

But maybe it was the right decision because I had a super time! My friend Edgardo Balansay showed up and that was a blessing as I ended up being the fastest person from the Seattle Running Club today so thanks to Edgardo I had someone to run and chat with.

There was a trace of snow in the freaking parking lot(!) and as we climbed the trace turned to a light covering and then substantial covering and at the top it was at least one foot deep. Awesome.


15 December 2012

Magnuson Series 15k

The Magnuson Series is pretty cool. It's a monthly run series at Magnuson Park and each month you have the option of doing a 5 or 10 15 km race. I'm hoping to go up Mount Si tomorrow with the Seattle Running Club so I didn't feel the need to do any hills today and the Magnuson loop is extremely flat. Perfect.

Yesterday was my first day running after four days off and it felt fine so I think I'm ready for some harder stuff? And another back-to-back weekend of running? You never know until you try.

My goal for today was 7:00/mile pace all the way.

14 December 2012

treadmill run

After four days off from running (I felt super unmotivated, lackluster, tight, tired, you name it...) today felt just fine. In fact, it felt pretty good! And I didn't even have any music to keep me company because my iPod died the other day.

I just took it easy and luckily that's how it felt.

On a whim I weighted myself before and after the run just to see where I was since I had not been on any scale in ages and I also counted my strides. Turns out that just like in cycling, keeping your cadence up takes stress off of your legs and transfers it to your aerobic system (heart and lungs) which recover much faster. What is the 'optimal' cadence for running? Well obviously that varies from individual to individual just like in cycling but I have heard 90 strides more than anything else. Interesting that this is the EXACT same number people talk about when they mention optimal cycling cadence. Coincidence? probably not.

13 December 2012

core | bike commute

Some good things happened today.

  • I did core again.
  • I rode my bike to work.
  • I got a massage.
  • It didn't rain on my while I was commuting.
  • I realized I still have a full week to blog before the end of the world.

Man did I need that massage... In fact, I need to go right back and get a dozen more. Back-to-back would be good. Sheesh, my body has been neglected.

ASIDE - these days I am seeing Jenny Dailey for massage and I can recommend her highly. She's always learning more, her rates are too low (guess that cat is out of the bag...), she knows what athletes need and she's fun to talk to.

Today was also the first day that I did core at home. Recently I purchased a mat and it has arrived. We already had an inflatable exercise ball and so now I am good to go. Will Martin be able to sack up and do core at home without the 'gym vibe' and shitty piped-in Clear Chanel music to spur him on? Stay tuned and find out.

12 December 2012


Made it to the gym! Hallelujah.

But damn was my head not into this workout. :( I started to do my push-ups and quit after three. Thank goodness I tried again when I was done with everything because by then I had come around somewhat and managed to get them done.

Oh yeah, everything was hard, I deserve that after so many days off from this.

11 December 2012

Howe Street stairs | commute

Stairs baby.

I felt pretty flat going in but in the end it turned out to be an okay workout. For sure I need to stretch/get massage/use a foam roller as my legs are wicked tight these days. Tight like guitar string I say.

But 'okay' doesn't mean great and although the second runner felt better than the first, the third felt like total crap and I had to back the pace off a bit to finish the fourth. Oh well. I did get my heart rate kinda high, that's worth something. :)

I manage to hop on my bike and roll to work, that always feels good after something like this.

09 December 2012

Cougar Squak Cougar trail run

This was supposed to be an awesome run... and I guess in a way it was but in a much harder way than I was hoping for. For the first time in ages I went for a real bike ride yesterday and I was hoping it would leave my running legs pretty fresh for today. For the most part it did but I didn't exactly execute as planned.

For only the third(?) time ever I connected with the Seattle Running Club for their regular Sunday run. This outing was advertised as a run with a 10-mile and 18-mile option so I figured perfect, I'll go 18. Win Van Pelt was the event organizer and our pace is very similar so I was psyched.

I got to the start and no sooner do I get out of the car and mingle with the group than I hear most of the bunch is going short. This left just Win myself and some woman. No worries I thought, she was all decked out in compression socks, a cool racing vest with hydration bladder and fancy shoes - let's go!

Did I mention the other woman? She was a hairdresser who had relocated to Los Angeles but still flies back here for some loyal clients every six weeks. I'm guessing she is doing all right. She also had on white socks and some brand new pink shoes. When someone commented on her shoes she replied, "I don't run when it's wet..."

This was going to be fun.

08 December 2012

May Valley and Mercer Island ride

This one is for you Jeff Reed.

Today was just like the old days. I have been itching to go for a real ride meaning something other than just my six mile commute and with the dry forecast and a solid run planned for tomorrow today was the day. As it turns out, because the route I chose is used by tons of teams for group outings I saw loads of people.

As I was getting ready this morning I was laughing at myself. I have forgotten how long it takes to get ready for a bike ride! Especially if you have not ridden your bike in a while. I had to air up the tires, oil the chain, put on twice as much clothing as when I run, find my cycling GPS, the list goes on and on.

ASIDE - if you look at my GPS data below you will see that at one point I had turned on the auto lap feature so I could see what my pace was while running and five miles into this ride it was driving me nuts so I turned it off.

ANOTHER ASIDE - I got my heart rate much higher than on Wednesday's run! And except for the last effort when I was sprinting up a hill it did not feel as taxing. The perceived effort of these two activities is still different for me.

05 December 2012

Cougar 10

Fortunately for Bryan Estes and myself the weather forecast was wrong again! What was supposed to be a horrific day ended up being an incredibly nice morning. It was clear, the trails had drained well, it was not too cold and I felt better than expected. Bonus.

To top it off, for the first time in recent months we managed to finish this loop in a time close to 1:30 and that was with three nature breaks along the way. Nice.

I also had my brand new Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp on which is way better than what I used to use. In fact, it has almost twice the lumens of my old light... only now do I realize how inadequate my old light was and this new light isn't even half as powerful as what some folks strap on.

We started out very slow. At first I thought today was going to be quite leisurely but then about half way in I felt better and sped up just a little. It wasn't much but because I could see where I was going and because I was feeling a little better the speed never fell off so for a change we finished strong instead of just finishing.

04 December 2012

Howe Street stairs

Another day at the stairs and another day where I thought I would be very slow but came relatively good instead.

Once again I ran both Saturday and Sunday on the previous weekend and although I took Monday off I was still tired. For this reason I have been trying to get here before Jim in an effort to warm up and it sure paid dividends today as the first few flights were like chopping water-logged lumber.

Four runners today! As usual the first one was awkward - even with the warm up - but the second one was better and the third better still. Then they start to fall off and today the fourth one was hilarious. And by hilarious I mean I probably looked hilarious to the casual observer as I neared the top. My movements could only be called running in the loosest sense. :)

Thanks to Jim Kodjababian and Bradlaugh Robinson for company. No way would I be running these alone.

02 December 2012

Cougar Mt run

Day two of the Strava Challenge! Thanks to Bradlaugh Robinson I got in exactly half of the required miles yesterday and today I was hoping that Bryan Estes would drag me with him long enough to complete this.

Turns out I did! Yeah for me.

OMG - I completed my first Strava Challange. Barely. Thanks Brad and Bryan.

01 December 2012

Magnolia loop + Discovery Park run

I have entered several Strava challenges and to date never completed a single one. :( Boo hoo.

Usually I just ran out of motivation (bad weather, etc.) or I would sign up for a challenge that conflicted with some other event.

Undaunted I signed up again, this time it's The North Face Ultra Challenge - the goal is to run 50 km on the same weekend of The North Face Endurance Challenge at San Francisco.

29 November 2012


Got to the gym and then opted to take the bus to work because the forecast looked miserable. Turns out it was mostly dry but no regrets, I got to read a book on the bus which I love doing.

28 November 2012

Cougar 10 trail run | bike commute

Yes! I finally got in a complete loop on Cougar Mountain. Thanks go to Bryan Estes for keeping me on track. I ran in front all morning but he would tell me when I made a wrong turn, there were only two times that I hesitated. The fact that it was not foggy out really helped.

When I got home I wolfed a quick breakfast and got on my bike and headed to work. Bonus. Riding after running seems like the perfect way to keep the legs loose.

27 November 2012

Howe Street stairs | bike commute

Stairs baby! Oh man, I think this is the first year I am actually looking forward to these workouts...! What is my problem? Getting up at oh dark thirty is another matter.

In the past I would usually do stairs but dread them. I think I started because some old-school cycling person (read: mentor) told me they would be good cross training and then I continued because they were great for skiing. Now I'm running so they are excellent!

Today I barely managed to squeeze in my extra flights before Jim Kodjababian showed up but I did it. Nice. Then we did seven flights (lucky 7!) together. Next week it gets serious with four runners.

Riding into work has been fun, it's cold and dark but mostly dry. Even riding at night on the way home has been fun, I attached a second headlight and taillight to my bike - safety first!

26 November 2012

core | bike commute

I got to the gym for core today! Seems like this is a rarity these days. Whatever.

It felt great to ride my bike after yesterday's run, I think I need to get out on a 'real' ride pretty soon so I don't forget how.

25 November 2012

pacing Lucca at the Seattle Marathon

As I type this bit while watching some live cyclocross and eating my breakfast I'm hoping I didn't bite off more than I can chew...

A couple of weeks ago my sister Lucca announced that she had entered the Amica Seattle Marathon at the last minute and so just as impulsively I announced that I would pace her. During the entire race! Lucca is hoping to go sub 4-hours and that seemed entirely doable to me so I told her I would carry gels for her and carry sports drink for her and when you combine that with some food and drink for me (since I am not entered and can't use the aid stations) suddenly I am feeling like a pack mule. Not so fast in other words.

Did I mention I also volunteered to carry her phone so we can take pictures along the way? Yikes.

At least the forecast is for 40 and clear. Rain would have sucked. Besides, what are siblings for? To be honest, I have been looking forward to the day when I can really truly support Lucca at an event like this.

[Time passes while Martin and Lucca run the Seattle Marathon...]

How did it turn out for Lucca? PR baby, by OVER THREE MINUTES. Nice.

PR by over THREE MINUTES! Sub 3:56 baby. Awesome.

22 November 2012

Squak Mt dawn patrol | Lake WA Blvd run

Bonus. I got in TWO runs today. Who says you have to be lazy on Thanksgiving? Plus, there's plenty of time for that later in the day. :)

This morning I got out with the Seattle Running Club for a few miles on Squak Mountain and then about an hour after I got home I went for another run with my brother-in-law Michael Reiter. Good times.

21 November 2012

core | Discovery Park run

We have family in town and my brother in law Michael Reiter happens to be a runner (that just logged his 5000th mile!) and so we decided to hit some local trails. And what could be more local than Discovery Park? Not much. Thank goodness for me Michael is not avers to trail running.

We ran three counter-clockwise laps of the Loop Trail and on the second lap I managed to talk Michael into going all the way down to the beach and then up the climb to the bluff. I broached the detour option again on lap three but he declined. :)

Michael is running his third (or fourth?) marathon in 2.5 weeks and is hoping to go under four hours. Go Michael!

Oh yeah, I managed to squeeze some core in before we took off. About time too.

I still have a cycling hero and his name is Greg LeMond

Most people idolize some person or some athlete when they grow up and I was no different. I used to read VeloNews cover-to-freaking-cover back when it was a tabloid-sized newsprint magazine and of course I purchased all the World Cycling Productions films I could afford.

The person I idolized was Greg LeMond. I'm not sure if it was because he was American (probably not) or because he used to be a skier and then became a cyclist (as did I) or because he was the perennial underdog (probably). Whatever, watching Greg attack, win against all odds, come back from injury and show the establishment what could be done was incredibly inspirational.

I was reminded of Greg when I happened across this video today.

The Rapha Continental: Carson City, Nevada with Greg LeMond from RAPHA on Vimeo.

Which of course reminded me of this video.

Which in turn prompted this post.

Say what you will about Greg's reaction to the press doping in cycling has received recently or to the establishment or the way he lived his life since being a professional athlete, the dude seems like a straight shooter to me. If he has gotten into a jam, it's perhaps because he lacks the best filter and says what he thinks? Then again, I don't know the half of it and am just armchair quarterbacking it here.

Thanks Greg. For making this sport called cycling that much more magical to me. Your inspiration and this sport has served me well for most of my life.

17 November 2012

run around Mercer Island

Just last year I was riding across the I-90 bridge gabbing with a friend and I swore up and down that I wouldn't be caught dead running across this thing.

I mean how un-scenic can you get? 1.5 miles of concrete with loads of cars right next to you.

Well today I was that guy - the one that is running across the I-90 floating bridge. Here's how that came about.

16 November 2012

treadmill run | bike commute

Okay, today felt better than yesterday.

I got to the gym, did a reasonable run and then rode to and from work. My legs and my breathing actually felt okay on the treadmill. Hooray for me.

15 November 2012


Core. Work. Home.

Not even a cycling commute today. I think I felt like reading on the bus. It's hard to read while riding.

Did I mention that I can hardly do 10 push-ups now? Yep, this is me now; just call me 'Mac'.


14 November 2012

Cougar 5

Well. I no longer have any excuses (but you're going to get some anyway because that's more fun). I have run this loop plenty of times now and sure it was dark and sure it was wet and sure it was foggy but I also should know the way.


Here is what the Red Town Trail looks like on a nice day.


Now take a big, black Marks-A-Lot and color the entire picture. Then take the picture into a steam room. Then turn the temperature down to 45. Then put a bunch of rocks and roots on the ground. Then try to run out of the steam room. Oh, and occasionally you'll need to throw glitter in the air and turn on a strobe light so it reflects off all the sparkly bits. That's kind of what today was like. And I am so not exaggerating.

13 November 2012

Howe Street stairs

After running both days last weekend I took Monday off and then tried to hit the stairs today. I'll just say that it is a DAMN good thing I have made a habit of showing up early and walking some flights before I try to run.

One word: tired
Two more: tired legs

There were more leaves on the ground today, the stairs looked sort of like this. Except it was really dark.


11 November 2012

Bellingham Trail Marathon

Nice. Sometimes there is truth in advertising and the Bellingham Trail Marathon does a good job of connection two major trial systems with a minimum of boring stuff in between. Yes, there was a two-mile section of pavement we had to run (twice) to make the connection but in hindsight it was not that bad.

Today I accomplished some firsts and some seconds for me.

  1. This race was the day after a longer (for me) run on Saturday. It's the first time I have done two long runs back-to-back and it went surprisingly well.
  2. For a change I exercised patience and started slow. This is only the second time I have had the discipline to do this (Chuckanut was the first) and it paid dividends in the end.
  3. Even after two substantial runs my joints were not kaput! This is HUGE. In the past, every time I finished a longer run my knees and leg muscles would be toast from the impact and limping around was pretty much the norm. This time I was tired but not sore and only a little stiff. Ditto the following day. My body is adapting to running!


10 November 2012

Tiger Mt Cottage Cheese Ass loop trail run

Oh man, today was a true bluebird day, just without the snow.

Bryan Estes and I got out for a lap around Tiger Mountain and the trail conditions were just outstanding. Out-f'ing-standing.

If only my mood matched the weather and trail conditions. I was feeling much better but still feeling the after effects of my meltdown yesterday. Oh well, it's getting better. Lucky for me Bryan LOVES to talk and he chatted me up one side of Tiger and down the other. But in a good way. We talked about running (just a little), the local tech start-up scene, various technologies, how smart phones are changing our lives, what makes a good baby stroller, how not to pee on your bottle and all kinds of things I can't recall anymore. I gotta say, it's great to run with someone that has the same interests!

08 November 2012

run commute

Oh man. Today was a new low in so many ways. :( Not to get overly dramatic and drag this mostly upbeat and sarcastic blog into the swamp of emotion but today I had some family shit hit the fan and it just killed me running home.

See what I did there? I took something heavy and made it light. Light, light, light; let's keep it light.

But we'll start at the beginning.

07 November 2012

Cougar 10 trail run | bike commute | core

Nice. I love these dry fall days. Today I got in the fitness trifecta if you will, a trail run in the morning, I rode to work and I squeezed in my core workout at lunch. And I think today is the absolute peak of the fall leaf-falling season, the colors are absolutely eye popping.

I met Todd Morse Tucker and Bryan Estes at the Red Town trailhead on Cougar Mountain at the completely ridiculous hour of 5:30 AM (experience has taught us that traffic coming home sucks if you start later...) and we had a great run.

Except for the part where I got lost. I was in front and still don't have this darn route memorized and my light is underwhelming and I missed a turn (see GPS data below). At least we figured it out quickly and got back on track. With the end of Daylight Saving Time [It isn't 'Savings' people, we're not 'savings' time, we're saving it! C'mon.] we had some light at the end of our run which was also nice.

Since the weather was so fantastic I rode in to work again. Yes.

Core at lunch was wickedly hard; especially the side plank (which I did for the fist time in ages in lieu of the ball leg lifts). As were the hip adductors - holy cow! As in they have never been that hard. Ever. What gives? It might be time to stop pretending to do core work and actually do core work; especially more than like once/week.

06 November 2012

Howe Street stairs | bike commute

It's that time of year again...! Say hello to the Howe Street stairs.


I think Howe Street has got to be the most famous stair climb in Seattle. Oh sure, there are some that are longer (but have flat sections) but this is the longest sustained climb that I know of. I've been doing this workout for years every winter and this year won't be any different. :)

Once again I was doing the stairs with my trusty companion Jim Kodjababian - I am SO glad he is up for this year after year.

Last year I started showing up early to get in some warm-up flights and it worked meaning I was more prepared to run once Jim showed up. I managed to do that again today and will try to keep it up. Officially (read: once Jim got there) we did four flights today. We'll add one each week until we get to 15. We alternate walking one flight two at a time with running one flight two at a time.

The ride into work was a nice way to finish everything off.

05 November 2012

bike commute | core

Managed to get to the IMA at lunch today for some core. The IMA has so many rooms/facilities but they don't have all of the same equipment in each space, turns out the room I chose had exercise balls but not the leg machines I use for hip abductors and adductors, oh well.

I am really liking my 'new' route home. Instead of staying down by the water (Lakeside Ave) I go up and over the hill on Lake WA Blvd. Less traffic and I don't have to paperboy that super steep block from the water to our house.

04 November 2012

USATF Pacific NW Masters Cross Country Championships

Oh man... what did I get myself into? On a lark I signed up for the USATF Pacific NW Masters Cross Country Championships.

Last time I checked cross country runners are f'ing FAST. Martin on the other hand? Not so much.

Still, the Seattle Running Club (the running club that I joined) has a small contingent of folks that enter cross country meets every fall and so I figured I would give it a go. Besides, this race is very close to home, gotta like that. It's supposed to be a 2 km loop in Woodland Park and Masters run this loop three times. How hard can 6 km be? See below.


03 November 2012

Lake WA Blvd run

After puttering around the house all day doing various projects...

Finally getting to all my computer projects!

I finally got outside. And you know what? It was a really nice day. It was in the mid 50s, mostly dry (just a light mist on the way home) and there were loads of other people out riding and running. Nice.

There were also some aggressive dogs out.

02 November 2012

treadmill run | bike commute

Okay, today was "use the treadmill at home" 2.0 and it went much better. As you might recall, the last time I ran indoors at home I activated our house alarm and woke Shelley. Not so good. This time I planned ahead by turning off our alarm before I started and I even grabbed a fan to augment the open windows. Much better.

I was hoping to go a little faster as I have entered my first Cross Country running race Sunday but it didn't really work. And really, it was to be expected. I have done exactly zero (real) speed work. As I increased the pace it got harder and harder to breath and I never was able to go as fast as I had hoped I would be able to. Oh well.

When I finished running as was cooling down with a few minutes of walking I suddenly remembered that some people use treadmills to power hike so I thought, "Hey, I'll give this a try too!" I cranked the incline up to 10% and that felt fine at 3 mph. Then I upped it to 12% and that still felt okay. Then I increased the speed to 4 mph and it was not easy.

So now I have a goal: maintain 4 mph at a 12% incline for an extended period. How long is 'extended'? I'll start with 15 minutes and see if I can work up to 30 perhaps? We'll see.

Since it was dry I hopped on my bike and rode to work. Wow... it feels like ages since I have ridden anything. I need to go for a real ride (on a real road bike) here and soon.

01 November 2012


Oh man... the procrastination monster got me today. :(

I made it to the gym in the morning but I had to leave work early so worked through lunch and did not get in my noon run. No problem I figured, I'll do it when I get home. After hanging out while a locksmith addressed our locks it was just about time for Shelley to get home. Did I still want to run? Not.

Oh well. I need this time of year to be about fun so should not beat myself up about it.

I did mix it up a tad today. On my last long run my adductors cramped up a bit and I think it's because I am not riding as much as I used to. Cycling works these muscles plenty (all that gripping the saddle action) so I never had to worry about it. Now that my cycling has tapered off drastically I might need to supplement? We'll see. Good to see my adductors are still much stronger than my abductors anyway. I kept it light so I would not get sore.

31 October 2012

Cougar 10 trail run

What a nice weather surprise!

This morning I met Bryan Estes for the usual loop on Cougar Mountain and in spite of it looking horrid out the temperature was strangely warm and by the time we started running the rain had also let up some. Nice.

It was so warm Bryan started in just a short sleeve shirt with no gloves, etc. I wish I had too.

Running in the dark (and wet on slippery roots and leaves) is still something that I am not super comfortable with so we were not exactly racing along. That was okay though, we talked a TON. About all kinds of stuff from Lance Armstrong/doping to running long distances to family to how our wives feel when we do ridiculous stuff like this to you name it. Good times.

Half way in I was steaming up so with about three miles to go I stopped to take off my outer shirt and gloves.

So what does Martin do as soon as he removes his hand protection? He hits the deck.

I mean c'mon... I have fallen how many times while running? TOO MANY in my humble opinion. This time I scraped the knuckles on my left hand, my left knee, my right knee and my right elbow. Nice. Not.

I managed to recover and after a minute of walking was jogging again and then was able to run it in. Whew. Not a fast time in the end but whatever. I'm glad it was so balmy out! And that I didn't seriously hurt myself. The culprit this time was a big rock in the trail. Bryan jumped over it and I never saw it. Maybe I was gabbing too much.

30 October 2012

treadmill run

In theory having a treadmill in your house makes it so easy and convenient to use! Plus you get more sleep. In practice it will take some fine tuning...

Today was my first indoor run at our new house. I'm realizing the treadmill is the equivalent of the indoor trainer for a cyclist and you can do all kinds of things like intervals, hills, active recovery, you name it. I got the thing into position, got my towel and water bottle, my iPod, shut the (solid!) room door so as not to wake Shelley, GO.

Man do you get hot running in a small room! Within about 10 minutes I knew I was not going to last so hopped off to open a window.


Shit. Did I mention we have alarm sensors on our windows? Oh yes. We do.

In a word the alarm is piercing. Intensely so. I leapt away from the window, jumped over the still running treadmill, threw open the room door and ran down the hall to the alarm keypad to turn it off. So much for not waking up Shelley. :(

With the window finally wide open I got back on and resumed my run. Turns out one measly window is not enough and next time I'll need to open both and/or crank up a fan! By the end I felt like I was running in a sauna. Note to self: this might be good heat training. Except I was dripping sweat all over the house for what felt like ages after I stopped.

On the up side Shelley said she could barely hear me running.

28 October 2012

SCOTT Cougar Mountain 20 Mile trail run

No official results yet but I had to get this down on 'paper'.

Excellent weather, awesome trail conditions, a much faster field than last year for the SCOTT Cougar Mountain 20 Mile and I prepared by partying last night. Oops...

Cougar Mountain is right in my back yard and it has some of the most incredible trails. The Seattle Running Club (which I recently joined) puts on a trail run series in conjunction with Northwest Trail Runs out here and because cycling has always been my main focus I have only ever done the last/longest one. Today you had the option of running 50 km or 20 miles. I judiciously opted for the shorter distance. And by 'judicious' I mean strategic. And by 'strategic' I mean I was hoping to repeat my victory from last year. Plus racing 50 km just sounds HARD right now.

My good friend Todd Morse Tucker showed up today for his first 20 mile race. Nice.

Last night Shelley and I went to the BUMP! (photos coming soon) and it was a blast but it also meant I didn't hit the sheets until 1:00 AM. Luckily I at least limited myself to three beers all night. Still, when that alarm went off at 6... ouch. I ended up doing okay, here are the spoils of victory.

This is what you win at running races. #timetogetfat

26 October 2012

bike commute

Flat city. If your city has a population of two that is.

No sooner had I fixed one slow leak that I had milked home the last time I rode to work then I got another flat. As I was inspecting my tire it was pretty damn obvious that I need a new one what with two duct tape boots and numerous other slices here and there.

Did I replace it? Of course not.

RIDE IT DOWN TO THE THREADS I always say. And if you didn't know that I always say that now you do.

25 October 2012

core | Howe Street stairs

My new mantra: stop thinking about it and go do it

Lately I have felt like it's a monumental effort to go to the gym in the AM, get my shit sorted so I can run in the AM, you name it. And the funny thing is, I have way more energy in the morning than I do in the evening. Once I actually start whatever it is I have been putting off I feel fantastic. So what's my problem? I don't know.

Core was not easy today but like I said, it was good to do it and I felt great after. Need to remember that feeling...

Later in the afternoon I connected with an old friend for some stairy goodness. And what gooder place to go than Howe Street. None. But I forgot my Garmin...! Oh no, crisis! I didn't even have a regular watch on so I have no idea exactly how long I went and I didn't even count the flights. Taking a vacation from technology I guess. :)

I tried a new pair of shoes today, damn are they light. Not sure if I would ever go running in them? We'll see.

24 October 2012

run commute

I got a text late last night from my faithful Cougar Mt buddy and he said he was bagging out on our usual Wednesday morning trail loop. Rats. So not wanting to tackle that trail in the dark all alone I opted for the run commute. It's about the same distance.

In the morning I felt pretty darn good! And when I got to the IMA I plunked my pack down on the scale and it said I had been carrying 14 lb.! I gave myself a little pat on the back for that effort.

The run home was slower, much slower. About half way there some guy popped out onto the sidewalk about 50' in front of me and so I figured I would try and close the gap. No dice. He just pulled away from me and all I could muster was a 7:30 pace. I was done.

Home. Shower. Dinner. Beer. Chocolate.

Open Letter to Pat McQuaid from Greg LeMond

This letter was posted on Greg LeMond's Facebook page earlier today. He asked for help in spreading the word. I'm happy to oblige him. Do I think that Greg was clean? Who knows. For sure I want to believe he was clean but I also wanted to believe Tyler and Floyd and even Lance. I do agree the UCI is messed up. BIG time. And knowing how hard it is for people to change (just look at all the professional cyclists that lied for all these years) I agree with Greg that the UCI leadership should go away. Far away. One thing though, I don't think you should forgo buying a USAC license, not entering local races isn't going to fix this problem. Still, as far as rants go, this is a pretty good one. Enjoy.

Can anyone help me out? I know this sounds kind of lame but I am not well versed in social marketing. I would like to send a message to everyone that really loves cycling. I do not use twitter and do not have an organized way of getting some of my own "rage" out. I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to f##k off and resign. I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycling's history- resign Pat if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport.

Pat McQuaid, you know dam well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign.

I have a file with what I believe is well documented proof that will exonerate Paul.

Pat in my opinion you and Hein are the corrupt part of the sport. I do not want to include everyone at the UCI because I believe that there are many, maybe most that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling, they do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.

Pat, I thought you loved cycling? At one time you did and if you did love cycling please dig deep inside and remember that part of your life- allow cycling to grow and flourish- please! It is time to walk away. Walk away if you love cycling.

As a reminder I just want to point out that you recently you accused me of being the cause of USADA's investigation against Lance Armstrong. Why would you be inclined to go straight to me as the "cause"? Why shoot the messenger every time?

Every time you do this I get more and more entrenched. I was in your country over the last two weeks and I asked someone that knows you if you were someone that could be rehabilitated. His answer was very quick and it was not good for you. No was the answer, no, no , no!

The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.

You can read all about Webster's definition of corruption. If you want I can re-post my attorney's response to your letter where you threaten to sue me for calling the UCI corrupt. FYI I want to officially reiterate to you and Hien that in my opinion the two of your represent the essence of corruption.

I would encourage anyone that loves cycling to donate and support Paul in his fight against the Pat and Hein and the UCI. Skip lunch and donate the amount that you would have spent towards that Sunday buffet towards changing the sport of cycling.

I donated money for Paul's defense, and I am willing to donate a lot more, but I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling. The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen- if this sport is going to change it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!

People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling- change it now by voicing your thought and donating money towards Paul Kimmage's defense, ( Paul, I want to encourage you to not spend the money that has been donated to your defense fund on defending yourself in Switzerland. In my case, a USA citizen, I could care less if I lost the UCI's bogus lawsuit. Use the money to lobby for real change).

If people really want to clean the sport of cycling up all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is.

Don't buy a USA Cycling license. Give up racing for a year, just long enough to put the UCI and USA cycling out of business. We can then start from scratch and let the real lovers in cycling direct where and how the sport of cycling will go.

Please make a difference.

23 October 2012

treadmill run

Lame day...

I procrastinated away the gym in the AM and then kind of fell apart on my little run at lunch. Oh well.

I got on the treadmill thinking I would try for some speed but as I ramped up the pace it got harder and harder to breath and with about three minutes to go I had to back it down. I just didn't feel like pushing (and it was hard to get a lung full of air).

22 October 2012

core | bike commute

Man... today was my first wet ride in I don't know how long. Glad to get that shock to the system out of the way. :|

I almost didn't make it to the gym this morning. I found myself dorking around on the computer and talking myself into just five more minutes several times. Finally I RAN to the car and drove (too quickly) to the gym. Whew. Glad I made it.

For some reason all my core exercises were brutally hard today. Okay, that' just a slight exaggeration but man was I weak. And just 16 push-up?! I. Am. Not. Strong.

I am also not sleeping enough! By the time I get home I am just beat and so I hit the sack early but then I wake up at the completely stupid hour of 3:30 or something. Repeat. Kinda frustrating.

Rainbow Bingo at the Senior Center of West Seattle

What is Rainbow Bingo? It's FUN; that's what. Shelley and I got invited to this a few days ago and I will be back.

The evening was a fund raiser for the Senior Center of West Seattle. Turns out it's a pretty popular night and the West Seattle Blog had some details. Plus, we had the most entertaining caller ever and Jell-O shots(!), what's not to like? Nothing, that was rhetorical. Good times.


20 October 2012

Tiger Mt Cottage Cheese Ass loop trail run

What. A. Great. Day.

Todd Morse Tucker and I connected for a lap around Tiger Mountain and the fall colors were BLAZING. Not only was it a visual treat, the trail surface was freaking ideal! It had rained the night before and the some the day before but not this day so everything was spongy, grippy but not slick.

The only hiccough was I said let's start at 7 and boy was it still really, really dark at 7... so we sat in the car until 7:15 and then took off.

18 October 2012

core | run commute home + Howe Street stairs

Okay, I got the core out of the way and then spent all day thinking about those darn Howe Street stairs!

I vividly recall one day about two years ago when I met some cycling teammates at the stairs. One of them was Justin Angle (who was just getting back into running after an injury) and he had run down to the stairs from his house. We then proceeded to complete 10 flights, half of them running, and then he ran home! At the time that seemed to me to be the epitome of studliness and it also seemed totally unfathomable.

Now I am starting to fathom it...!

For sure I did not run nearly as far each way as Justin did that day (5 miles each way) and I only did half the number of flights and I walked all of them today but it's coming. Slowly.

Walking the stairs actually felt better the more I did but I also realized that I was getting tired so quit after five. I had to walk two blocks after reaching the top of the last flight before I was able to ease back into a jog but once I got back down to 19th Ave. my pace started picking up. I realized after a bit that it was because this is ever so slightly downhill but it still felt good.

As I was running across the I-90 lid this guy fell in behind me. We passed an older Asian woman going for a walk in the other direction with her cane and she flashed us this big smile and took the time to give us TWO thumbs up. That was pretty cool.

Did I mention I had my The North Face Angstrom 30 pack on while running? That's starting to feel a little better too.

17 October 2012

Cougar 10 | bike commute

Todd Morse Tucker and I met up at the Red Town Trail for our usual Wednesday morning 10-mile loop. Only problem is neither of us knows the route very well yet. Plus it was pitch black.

At least it wasn't foggy or raining too because we made more than one wrong turn.

The biggest detour was really only a few hundred meters but in the dark it felt much longer. The other detours were very short or just consisted of us standing at an intersection thinking about which way to go for a few seconds.

In the end it was a super fun run! The leaves are falling en masse and the ground is getting covered with all different colors. This week and next week should be the peak of this and it makes me want to get our here during the day as it's incredibly beautiful right now.

We got to the half way point about five minutes behind schedule and we reached '20-minute tree' about seven minutes behind schedule. But I managed to pick up the pace some from there and Todd didn't complain so we scooted home those last two miles. Nice.

My ride to work was - predictably - slow. :)

I think I have a new favorite route home, I head up Lake WA Blvd instead of staying down on Lakeshore and this way I get to avoid more cars. That's a plus in my book.

16 October 2012

treadmill run | bike commute

Still a little congested and my eyes have been itching like crazy! Colds sure manifest themselves in interesting ways.

The goal today was to run twice and both of them fast but I sorta ran out of energy around noon and that plan was shelved big time. Oh well.

I started out on the treadmill feeling confident and the intent was to keep ramping up the speed all the way to the end but 20 minutes in I was sucking wind and the second five minutes at 6:00 were a real chore so with five left I backed it down and caught my breath. Sheesh. Hope I can do better next time.

15 October 2012

core | treadmill run

Got to the gym for the first time in several days and actually did the plank for the first time in MONTHS. And you know what? My leg lifts on the ball that I had to do because of all my scrapes and bruises are an excellent substitute. I won't say the plank was easy but it was not that difficult. Nice. I might just switch to the ball leg lifts for good.

At lunch I went down to the IMA and got on the treadmill for 30 minutes and I felt okay considering I was sick all weekend with a cold and did squat. I did forget my iPod though so had to stare at everyone else on the cardio machines to distract myself. Luckily it worked.

Today was also my first time taking the bus to and from work since moving to our new house and let me tell you, it takes significantly longer that it used to... Rats. First of all I have to take two buses/transfer and secondly the first bus only runs like every 20 or 30 minutes.

Oh well, I'm already getting up earlier, what's a few less minutes of sleep.

14 October 2012

2013 race schedule

Disclaimer: this is tentative...!

But what the heck, right? It's fun to put stuff out there because it serves as a motivator. So, with all the fanfare that is appropriate for a random nobody aspiring ultra runner like myself, here is Martin's 2013 list of races.

4 February - Orcas Island 50k
This is supposed to be a NW classic! I have hiked on trails around Mt Constitution/Moran State Park and it was beautiful. It's a pretty sloppy time of year but this is in the 'rain shadow' and February is usually nicer than January and March so you just get mentally ready for wet and go anyway.

16? March - Chuckanut 50k
The old web site for this event is down and knowing how busy Krissy Moehl is who knows when there will be a new site... or if I even get in. Last year was a special occasion for this event and they opened it up to many more people than usual. Normally it's a lottery and sells out pronto. I did this race last year for the first time on relatively short notice and had a stellar day. Here's hoping I can improve just a little.

20? April - Yakima Skyline Rim 50k
Lucca ran here this year and it looks like no other course out there. Words like 'stark' and 'exposed' only begin to describe it. It's also all up and down with pretty much zero flat. Not easy but it should be cool to do at least once in my life? And it is on the east side of the Cascades so probably dry and hopefully even warm.

15 June - Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic 50 Mile
Never heard of it, haven't been to MT since I was in my teens but this looks awesome. Justin Angle recommended it to me and it happens to be at a better spot on the calendar than the White River 50 Mile race which I really wanted to do but might have to postpone until the following year. The Bighorn runs sounds remote, super scenic and has lots of trail (meaning not much dirt or paved road). My only concern (other than the distance!) is that it's at elevation and I don't do so hot up in the clouds. One word: adventure!

24-25? August - Cascade Crest 100 Mile
Martin's big goal for 2013! I chose this event because it's 1) close to home meaning I can sleep in my own bed the night before and 2) it's a really honest 100 meaning it's NOT easy so it will help me prep for my ultimate goal. I hate that some of these events are such a crap shoot... this one also appears to be a lottery and you now have to qualify for it. Luckily qualifying just means completing a 50 mile or 100 mile event prior to starting so if I can finish the Bighorn race I'll be good to go. And you don't need to have the qualifying finish in hand to enter the lottery; whew. If I don't get into this I'm honestly not sure what I'll substitute.

13 October 2012

Thanks to Amazon, I am rich.

I just got an email from Amazon today.

Dear Kindle Customer,

We have good news. You are entitled to a credit for some of your past e-book purchases as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states and territories, including yours. You do not need to do anything to receive this credit. We will contact you when the credit is applied to your Amazon.com account if the Court approves the settlements in February 2013.

Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have settled an antitrust lawsuit about e-book prices. Under the proposed settlements, the publishers will provide funds for a credit that will be applied directly to your Amazon.com account. If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books. While we will not know the amount of your credit until the Court approves the settlements, the Attorneys General estimate that it will range from $0.30 to $1.32 for every eligible Kindle book that you purchased between April 2010 and May 2012. Alternatively, you may request a check in the amount of your credit by following the instructions included in the formal notice of the settlements, set forth below. You can learn more about the settlements here: www.amazon.com/help/agencyebooksettlements

In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to set e-book prices. We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future.

Thank you for being a Kindle customer.

The Amazon Kindle Team

You're welcome Amazon.

Looking back at my Kindle purchase history I have purchased exactly 20 items since I got my Kindle back in March of 2011 so that means I could potentially reap TWENTY SIX DOLLARS AND FORTY CENTS.

Most importantly, where oh where will I sock away all that cash?

Of only fleeting importance, what's the backstory about all the publishers that had to cough up this dough? Here is one hypothesis.

Publisher #1: "OMG, how do you spell cash cow? E-BOOK my brother. We better jack up the price so that people equate their value with a printed book."
Publisher #2: "Sounds good to me!"
Queue Mo Money Mo Problems.

Attorney General: "Not so fast guys..."

11 October 2012

run commute via Howe Street stairs

When I woke up I thought I'd try a slightly longer run home today and heck, why not throw in a few flights up the Howe Street stairs while I'm at it. Let's go!

Originally the plan was to do at least five flights, maybe even 10 (how quick we forget the pain) so I caught a ride in to work from Shelley. But, as the day wore on I started to get sick... You know the feeling, when the tickle in your throat turns into a real sore throat and by lunch time I was already sneezing and hating life with a headache on the horizon. What to do?

Knowing the weather this weekend was going to suck I gave it a shot anyway. I had that vaguely lightheaded feeling as I ran south but other than blowing my nose a lot and going a little slower than I wanted I did not feel as terrible as I thought I would. Until I got to the stairs that is. That's when I realized I was pretty empty.

Oh well, my intention had been to walk them anyway so I adjusted my goals to three flights and got busy. And who should I meet at the top of flight number one but an old friend Scott Gaudette. Scott was out getting in a quick run before the VP debate and was also doing three flights so we finished up together. Nice.

At the top I jogged south a bit with Scott and we chatted until he turned west and I turned east to go home. I tried to increase the pace a bit for these last couple of miles but I really was not able to. The only time I was when I was going downhill. :)

I wore my pack with a water bladder and it was fun to be able to drink but water weighs a lot! This is a route I'd like to try more often for sure.

10 October 2012

bike commute | treadmill run

Today was more of Martin trying to remember how to (learn how to?) run fast.

At lunch I hit the IMA for another go at the treadmill and was surprised that going a little faster than yesterday was manageable. I gave myself a little pat on the back for that.

Of course translating this 1) to road and 2) to longer runs will be a challenge but one baby step at a time thankyouverymuch.

My ride home was slow... funny how even a 30 minute run can take it out of you.

Red Bull has so much money

We all know about Red Bull. They're the company that turned a somewhat oily, vaguely grapefruit-flavored drink with caffeine into a gazillion dollar enterprise.

Turns out the margin on flavored sugar water is pretty healthy and these guys have truckloads of cash to spend on whatever the hell they want. Like sponsoring pretty much every extreme activity under the sun. What's that you say? 'Every' is a bit of a stretch? In support of my claim I give you the Red Bull 400.

"If I fall down, I go 100 m backside."

This is a 400 m 'run' (or crawl depending on your fitness), up slopes that hit 45 degrees! Use of the handrail is encouraged lest you fall backwards.

Of course they sponsor motocross, mountain biking, BMX, etc., etc. but did you know they also sponsored Felix Baumgartner in his attempt to break the record for longest free fall of all time?

What's left to sponsor? Extreme eating?

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All caught up!

On 27 September, after about six weeks of inactivity I figured I would try to fill in the gaps. I just finished. Hooray for me.

Who cares? No one else. :)

09 October 2012

bike commute | treadmill run

First time on the treadmill in quite a while. The things you do to improve.

My goal here is to gain some speed without pounding myself into the ground. I hope it works. Interestingly, when I tried to run this fast on the road the other day I was absolutely hating it. Then again, now that I think about it, I was trying to run even faster that day.

08 October 2012

bike commute

My legs felt surprisingly good after yesterday's run, gotta be happy about that.

Looking back I guess I was not able to go that hard yesterday hence my relative freshness today.

On the way home I dropped off my donation to FareStart for their annual gala auction. This is one cool charity.

07 October 2012

Icicle Ridge trail run

Nice! Martin finally gets out to the Leavenworth/Icicle Creek area for a run as the Larches change colors.


Was it beautiful? Yes.
Was it a nice day? Yes.
Was it an easy run? Absolutely not.
Did I get any sleep last night? Nope.

06 October 2012

Lake WA Blvd run

My Brother in law was in town and lucky for me he loves to run!

We headed south on Lake WA Blvd via Mt Baker Park and then on the way home cut up through the woods for added variety. It was just another fabulous day out and we talked about all kinds of stuff.

My legs were feeling fine (finally!) but the pace was also sedate so who knows how they will feel tomorrow when I have something longer and harder on the agenda. Anyway, good times; thanks for the run Mike!

05 October 2012

bike commute

My legs are starting to feel better after the drubbing they got last Tuesday and Wednesday. Whew.

And it was warm out...! I wanted to take a nap in the sun. A long nap.

On the way home I stopped at Trader Joe's for some much needed dark Belgian chocolate and they were out. OUT. I almost cried. Don't you hate it when you have a craving and go to get just the thing you need and it's not available? Makes you feel like a junkie for crying out loud.

We can only dream that our kids will be like this...

The video and Malcolm's words say it better than I ever could.

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04 October 2012

bike commute

And NOTHING else...!

I'm still reeling from how bad I felt yesterday so I tried to ride super slow. On purpose. :)

It kinda worked but I'm learning that single speed bikes are NOT the best thing to be on when you want some active recovery. Unless you live in a very flat neighborhood. I don't.

03 October 2012

Cougar 10 | bike commute

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Yesterday (or a combination of yesterday and the previous weekend) has destroyed my legs. I thought I could bounce back today with a moderate run but the answer to that question was an emphatic NO.

I was at Cougar with Todd Morse Tucker and Daniel Paquette and Dan didn't exactly go fast up the first hill but in his words, "I wanted to get it over with." I was off the back within 200 m.

Things didn't change much for the next eight miles. Twice I had to walk for a few seconds, once I had to ask these guys to simply wait up. Lucky for me they did. With about one mile to go Dan scoots by and says something like, "Okay Martin..." Todd was right on his heels and they disappeared down the trail until they were literally out of sight.

I was so shell shocked I had to walk again. After pulling myself together I decided to see if I could increase the pace knowing I was very close to the car. I managed to up the tempo for perhaps half a mile when I saw them again! They must have slowed down because I caught them and managed to hang on until the bridge. Oh man was that hard. My legs are wasted. To top it off I felt like I was bonking those last two miles. Totally. Empty. Yes, I had a big dinner last night. Whatever.

What's hilarious is we ran this loop in almost the exact same time as we always do, it just felt 10 times as hard. What's also (sort of) hilarious is it was kinda cold out on the trails today! There were sections that were noticeably cooler than the parking lot and this meant my circulation-impaired hands got really stiff and I lost coordination. Apparently so much so that I did not turn my GPS off properly at the end of the run. Damn. On the upside I am getter better at editing my GPS files to fix these problems. I guess it's time for gloves when you start running at 5:45.


02 October 2012

bike commute | Lake Union lunch run

I got my ass handed to me on the proverbial silver platter today.

At lunch I went running with Edgardo Balansay who I'm going to call 'the natural'. I originally met Edgardo cycling a few years ago and back then he could drop most people on any incline. According to him he just started running about two months ago and all I have to say is look out.

The guy is about 5' 7", 140 lb. and he wears these wafer thin, minimalist shoes with no socks that make a slap slap slap sound as he runs. His stride is the epitome of efficiency, he doesn't bounce around or swing his arms much or anything, he just scoots forward.

Did I mention that I'm 6' 2" and 180 lb.?

Today he peeled away any fa├žade/pretense I had of being a 'runner'.

01 October 2012


Oh man, I have been lax (as in 'lackadaisical', I hear that's how the kids say it these days) when it comes to working my core. Must. Not. Let. This. Slip.

It was kinda tough, but that's to be expected when you don't go regularly.

30 September 2012

Squak Mt trail run

Two days in a row running on trails! I know!

Yesterday I ran most of the Bridle Trails Beer Ultra and today I got out with Daniel Paquette and Jon Robinson for some up/down/up/down on Squak Mountain. Squak is right across 900 from Cougar but the trails are different. There are fewer people over here and so less use, less maintenance and the surface is softer. I like it here.

On the first climb I was pretty winded to say the least but I got warmed up and/or the pace slowed down and by the end I was hinging with less effort.

This route was almost literally up, down, up and then down again. I'm guessing maybe one mile was flat.

It was a pretty uneventful and pleasant outing except for two things.

  1. Dan did his best imitation of a very dull axe.
  2. I fell down.

29 September 2012

Bridle Trails Beer Ultra

For a few years now the Seattle Running Club has put on a super fun, very low-key event known as the 'Bridle Trails Beer Ultra' or the 'Fat Glass 50k' like it said on our numbers.

Did someone say beer...?!

Oh yes. Here are the rules.

  • There are two start times. When they say GO the first time you start drinking. When they say GO the second time (5 minutes later) you better be done so you can start running.
  • At the end of each lap you drink another (16 oz party cup) of beer.
  • Your time for each lap is recorded after you finish your beer.
  • The route is a 5-mile loop through Bridle Trails Park and you can run up to six laps.
  • I found out later that being a teetotaler is optional.
  • The beer was a 6% IPA. Very tasty. Thank you American Brewing!

Hello my name is Dmitry Gunda

The cycling team I belong to has the standard 'contact us' page on our web site and we get a fair number of messages from that form. Yesterday we got a great one.

Message:*: Hello my name is Dmitry Gunda
I'm a cyclist from Ukraine
i am 19 years old
stable rider
the season finished in the top 10
I'm looking the team to continue their careers
  In Ukraine, there is no future for the rider
I've been to the European Championships and even various events in Europe
I ask you to consider my request for membership in your club
Thank you.

I am still cracking up.

Who cares if this is spam, it's hilarious. What was Dmitry thinking I wonder? Did he mass-mail every cycling club in the US in hopes that one of them was a legit team and would pay for his plane ticket over here?

Also, what the heck does 'stable' mean? And top 10 in what? People amaze me.

One the one hand, go Dmitry! On the other hand, get a clue.

28 September 2012

bike commute

One more glorious day but my schedule was all f'ed up so no time for anything other than dashing to work and then two hours later dashing home to meet the ADT technician who was finally supposed to fix (for realz this time) our house alarm.

ASIDE - it has taken no less than four visits by various ADT employees to get our alarm working properly. Is this rocket science? I think not. The previous tech was named "Button" (no lie!) and as he left our house a smoke detector started to chirp. He assured me it was not the ADT smoke detector and got the hell out of Dodge.

Of course it turns out it was a faulty ADT smoke detector. Where do people get off? The malfunctioning unit was chirping every 60 seconds. Yep, good times... As of right now everything is working and our house is being monitored. Here's hoping that situation does not change. It took a large dose of self-control to not let the tech endure an extended rant.

27 September 2012

exploring stairs | bike commute

Our new house is right by a long flight of stairs that go from 36th Ave S all the way up to Lake WA Blvd. Every fall I train stairs with a friend and traditionally we have gone to Howe Street which is the quintessential stair climb in Seattle but these are so darn close to home I wanted to test drive them and see if it would be a good substitute.

Not so much.

The stairs by my house are 1) split into two sections and the sections are too far apart for my liking and 2) although there are lights none of them were turned on. It was dark! Oh well, it will work during the day but as we all know, the days get preciously short in the winter.

Today I just walked the stairs. Running comes much later. :)

On the way home - since it again was such a beautiful day - I opted for the long way/my favorite way. Nice.

Is anyone home...?

What's that you say? Oh yeah, I guess I do have a blog.

It seems work got a bit hectic and we had to hire a person then there was this whole new house thing (Shelley and I finally moved!) and so lesser leisure activities (read: posting about my workouts) fell by the wayside.

No promises - it seems that every blogger that fades away and then professes to come back is proven to be a big, fat liar - but I really enjoy writing so here's hoping I can get back on the horse.

At least my love for metaphors has not been diminished.

And isn't it funny how people need to reassure/motivate themselves...? This post was for me only. Picture me with pompoms standing next to my desk where the other me is sitting in front of a computer trying to decide whether to watch some YouTube or compose a post.

26 September 2012

Cougar 10 | bike commute

Nice! Trails are fun
Today I connected with Todd Morse Tucker and Daniel Paquette (from Fleet Feet Sports) for our usual Cougar 10 loop and although we started slower we closed faster.
ASIDE - seems there is a controversy about the actual distance of this route. Traditionally it has been 10 miles but it never measures that long. Bill Huggins swears it's 9.2 and my GPS (which is notoriously short on pretty much every run) has it at about 8.6. Whatever, the name will never change, it will always be 'Cougar 10' to me. It's the way I was taught.
It was dark! And I'm still not used to that. I recall when I went on my first trail runs ever with Justin Angle and friends a few years ago it was always dark. Now I seem to be a fair weather runner? Bringing along a light is so not ingrained that the last two times I forgot mine and only figured it out a few blocks from home and had to turn back. You just can't operate without a light on these trails.
We started slow 1) because I was in front testing myself to see if I finally had this route figured out and 2) because this is rarely a fast run. The idea is to keep the legs turning over and to be on trails.
I took two wrong turns (luckily Dan knows the way) but did come around by the end of the run. I felt super slow at the start and our half way split was slower than last time but we finished quicker. Nice.
Then I hopped on the bike and rode to work.
The weather is still holding out! Enough so that I only had to wear short sleeves.

25 September 2012

core | bike commute

Rode to work, rode home.

Like I said the other day, not a bad deal at all.

Oh yeah, and I got to the gym for my core routine in the morning.

24 September 2012

run commute

Another attempt to commute via running. I gotta say, it is getting easier although in very small increments.

Once again the AM run felt faster and I felt fresher but the PM run was faster even though I felt slower and more lethargic.

I realized today that The Bush School is almost exactly half way. Now I have a landmark.

23 September 2012

Bicycle Sunday ride with Shelley

I love Bicycle Sunday! How cool is it that the city closes a road - a beautiful road at that - to cars and only allows bikes and pedestrians on it all day? That's rhetorical, it's fantastic.

Since moving into our new house we live right at one end of this road (Lake WA Blvd) and so were able to roll down the hill, past just one intersection and boom, we're away from traffic. Nice.

Did I mention it was sunny? That we also looped Seward Park? That we were riding incredibly hip single speed 'townie' bikes? That we talked the whole way? Oh yes, good times were had.

22 September 2012

Tiger Mt Cottage Cheese Ass loop trail run

Today was my second(?) ever attempt at this loop solo and although I did more than a couple of long double-takes I think I have it wired now.

I also felt pretty slow but my time is not bad at all! Interesting how that works. But... there might be a contributing factor. Namely I did not manage to correctly turn off my GPS when I got back to the car. This resulted in a 35-mile route, half of which was travelled at about 60 mph. I had to edit my file and re-upload it. It looked correct but I have been told that this route is 19 miles and my GPS usually measures it at around 17 or 18 (which seems normal as it's always a little short) but 15 does not seem right. So I'm guessing that my time is also messed up. Oh well.

The weather was muggy but NOT sunny. On the drive to Issaquah I got dumped on but by the time I parked it looked like it might clear up and felt significantly warmer so I left my shirt in the van. Of course it started to rain as I started to climb and at the top I'll just say that it was not conducive to being shirtless. And I felt kind of silly. But I kept moving and did not get too cold except for my hands which seem to numb up at the drop of one degree these days. By the time I got back to the car it has warmed up again (it was like Tiger Mt had a cloud/rain cap that I ran in and out of) but my hands had not quite recovered and it took me some time to get my key out, unlock the van and do anything that required dexterity like untie my shoes. Not good.

Run nature boy, run.

Just add this to the list of not-so-smart things Martin has done.

In spite of feeling slow I did manage to 'run' the entire loop including the wall to the second summit. The only times I stopped were to pee and the figure out which way to go.

21 September 2012

bike commute

Rode to work, rode home.

Just as I was typing this thinking, "How boring..." I am reminded that it's pretty cool I am able to ride to and from work. I need to remind myself of this every time I feel this is an insignificant day. Think about it, I cold be stuck in my car for 60 minutes (or more) each way. those are some wrist slitting thoughts my friend.

20 September 2012

bike commute

Had to run an errand downtown this morning so bike commute it is.

My 'errand' was my first eye exam in who knows how long... In the process I had my pupils dilated and guess what I forgot. My sunglasses. Ouch. Never in my life have I had to squint so much and never in my life have I been that blind riding a bicycle. It seemed light was reflecting off of everything! Building windows, cars, water in fountains, paint stripes on the road, shiny blacktop, you name it. And of course it lasted for several hours so after making it to work - alive luckily - I had to stare at a blurry computer screen until the eye drops wore off.

Note to self - bring sunglasses next time.

19 September 2012

Cougar 10 | bike commute

Just another Cougar 10! And boy did this one feel slow...

It seems that when you run at one pace all the time (WHAT MARTIN IS DOING), it's hard to adjust and speed up. You'd think it would be good to tuck that bit of knowledge away somewhere.

Still, great to be out on the trails with friends.

And I took my Brooks PureGrit shoes for a spin - fun to try new equipment! They were great.

18 September 2012

run commute

Oh yeah... I ran to work. And back. That part is a little harder.

You'd think that waking up in the morning and getting a head of steam up would be more difficult but after all day on your feet, the run home feels slower/heavier for sure. In the morning I feel much more alive/awake. Coming up the Lake WA Blvd switchbacks is still not easy. :)

I stuffed my The North Face Angstrom 30 a little fuller today and it fit better! Heavier is not necessarily worse. Lesson learned.

I also discovered that I can put a bottle in one of the side pockets of my pack. I can't exactly yank it out while moving but I can at least grab it at intersections when I have to wait for the light, etc. Nice to know I don't have to hold it in my hand.

17 September 2012

core | bike commute

Core. Commute.

Sometimes I feel like this combo needs an acronym, sort of like GTL. Maybe I just need to add a third activity? Preferably one that negates the positive effects of the other two?

Took the long(er) way home, it was another nice day.

16 September 2012

Cougar Mt trail run w/SRC

I went on my first group run with the Seattle Running Club in ages and it was a blast. The group consisted of just five people and the pace was quite moderate and we had to stop to check the map/directions more than once but it was a very nice day and I felt okay.

We basically did the Cougar 10 loop that my friends introduced me to but in the opposite direction and with the addition of one extra leg. It was nice to recognize most of the trails.

It was not cold out - I took my shirt off about three or four miles in - but there was this one young guy in the Air Force from McChord and he showed up in full tights under these long gym shorts and a turtleneck...! He took his turtleneck off before I took my shirt off and he most likely regretted his choice in leggings. Super nice kid, I hope he shows up again.