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.

14 September 2012

bike commute to work retreat

We had a half day work retreat for all staff today and since I had to run an errand downtown in the morning I got to ride from downtown to the venue. Nice. Especially since it was a fantastic day.

Managed to hit the gym in the AM too. Bonus.

Good thing too because we had an open bar after the retreat... danger! My ride home was probably a tad longer than it needed to be.

12 September 2012

Cougar 10 | bike commute

Old familiar. It's good to have a benchmark loop and for trail running this 10-mile ish loop on Cougar Mountain is mine.

Yes it was dark at the start but it was also dry and relatively warm. I'll take it.

Getting home from this run is a bit of a rush. I have to hit the showers at full speed and then jump on my bike and jam to work. On the upside, the ride helps loosen the legs after the run.

11 September 2012

run commute

OMG...! My first commute via running.

This is all part of the grand plan, get some extra running miles in by commuting and this was the first test. How did it go?

Well... my pack did not fit quite right and I'm not used to the weight on my back and the pack pulls my shirt up in back so the bottom of my back keeps getting exposed but I'll figure it out hopefully.

Oh yeah, running home after spending all day on my feet was not nearly as much fun as running in. :)

On my in to work I saw Ryan Dean and Greg Kauper heading out for an early ride. It felt VERY strange to be running while my friends were riding.

10 September 2012

core | bike commute

Swung by our old house on the way home today. I love that there is a lid and bicycle path on top of I-90.

09 September 2012

Crescent Bar to Gorge Amphitheatre trail run

Nice! I love new trails. A LOT. Throw in incredible weather, some awesome views and it's just that much better.

Shelley and I were in the Crescent Bar Resort with some friends to celebrate a pair of 40th birthdays and I just knew there had to be a trail half way up the cliff. I talked to a local and sure enough, he gave me directions.

ASIDE - the directions sucked! It took me one freaking hour to find the trailhead which was about 10 miles from the resort... But I was determined and figured it out. Yes!

There is a plateau about half way up the canyon wall which is a couple of hundred meters wide and goes for ever seemingly. The trail runs down the middle of this plateau. I was sort of wishing it was closer to the edge so I could look down and see the river but this was still super cool. The scenery/foliage here is so different from Seattle! It was s thrill just to be here.

I ran along looking at the rocks, plants, insects and tiny animals marveling at the quiet when suddenly up ahead there appears the Gorge Amphitheatre. One minute it's all dry and dusty rocks with no sign of civilization and then there is this huge venue with an enormous hill of green grass. If you pretend that you are miles and miles from civilization (I like to let my mind wander) then it was like coming out of the wilderness and seeing where the aliens landed and dropped off their technology. Sort of. It was a really cool sight anyway.

I enjoyed the view, ate my gel and turned around. Heading back to the car was just as scenic.

I guess this trail runs MUCH further, it would be fun to run all the way some day.

07 September 2012

bike commute

I'm noticing that this route feels 'heavier' than my old commute...

My old ride to work was almost literally all downhill. Just one bump under 520 and then up through campus. My old ride home was up a much bigger hill for sure but it was the perfect grade for the gear on my town bike as I could stand and not have to kill myself.

I don't know, need to figure this out. Or stop thinking about it. :)

06 September 2012

bike commute

Rode to and from work. Funny how moving/riding a new route makes ALL the difference. I'm seeing new sights, figuring out the intricacies of theses streets, good times.

05 September 2012

core | bike commute

My second bicycle commute from our new house!

Now when I ride to work instead of coasting practically all the way in I have to climb up from the lake. HUGE CHANGE. It's also almost two miles longer each way. HUGE CHANGE.

I also went to the gym for the first time after moving to our new house. The drive is now much more convolute and takes about THIRTY (probably really only 10) MINUTES LONGER EACH WAY.

My love for hyperbole has obviously not diminished.

04 September 2012

bike commute

I rode to work from our new house for the first time today but because we just got done (we're not really done...) moving I could not find my GPS and hence was not able to record the ride.

I know... if it's not recorded it doesn't exist. For all you know I'm lying through my teeth.

02 September 2012

Lake WA Blvd run

My first chance to get out and exercise in a couple of days and my first road run in ages and I did okay!

Shelley and I just moved(!) so the last few days have been all about hauling van load after van load of boxes to the new place. Exciting shit let me tell you. So this afternoon I took a break and hit the bricks as they say to enjoy the sun.