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.