Sunday, April 26, 2009

After work

My first week of work was great! I love it. The people are great, the work is interesting, the office bldg and the area is cool, the hours are great, the commute is a breeze, everything. It's awesome! I'm so glad it worked out so well. The early mornings have been tough, but it's great getting off work at 3:30 and walking or bussing home and feeling like I've already accomplished so much, and still having the whole afternoon ahead of me.

I ran after work three of the four days of my first week. Plenty of time for the workouts and a leisurely dinner and then to bed early. I know my evenings will be busier as my tri training gets going, but I think it will work out well. I'm an afternoon runner by nature I think so it's perfect.

After a spectacularly productive week as an employed person, I had an equally productive weekend. The weekends used to just be another day, but now it is time to get out and LIVE! haha. Seriously folks, I'm jacked. :) Here's the stats from a week of after work and weekend! workouts. Then some pictures.

Monday: off (busy getting ready to start work Tues)
Watched and loved all the Boston Marathon coverage and stuff! Tracked my peeps: Chris, Ryan, Natalie, Jen, Francis, J Money, Steve, and Kara Goucher. Congratulations to everyone who ran!! I would love to do it again, it's so amazing. Great job you guys. :)

Tuesday: run
5.5 miles/48:16/8:47 average pace
Waterfront solo

Wednesday: off

Thursday: run
8.0 miles/1:02:41/7:50 average pace
Forest Park solo

Friday: run
4.0 miles/32:26/8:06
Waterfront with Zach

Saturday: run
10.5 miles/1:36:31/9:12 average pace
Hagg Lake

This run started off weird... you can either run around the lake via along a winding singletrack trail OR you can run along the shoulder of the very lightly traveled road. We thought at first we'd check out the trail. It was awful. I know some of you live for this stuff but it's not my thing. Maybe for a short run it would be fun, but yikes. It was up and down, sharp corners, big mud sections, rutted, rocky, branchy, ugh. A mile of this run/hiking took 11:29 and I was over it. We cut up to the road and ran the rest on the shoulder, which turned out to be quite nice. The hills were still really tough! The first several miles were all pretty slow, 9:10-9:20, but the last few miles I got the pace down, finishing the last couple at a sub-8 pace. My average for the last 9.5 miles (leaving out the trail mile) was 8:57. It was a killer run, I can't wait to do it again! There were also tons of cyclists (mtn and road) and we'll definitely be riding out there. In fact, we're doing an Olympic Tri out here in July so I would love to train on the course.

Sunday: bike
26 ish miles/2:30 or so
Forest Park mountain bike ride

It's about 3 miles up to Forest Park from our apartment, and it's quite a climb. Then the trail in Forest Park climbs gradually and then is rolling. The hills were hard for me, especially after yesterday's run, but overall it wasn't that bad. We took it pretty easy and enjoyed the scenery. We went 10 miles up the Leif Erickson trail for a total of 20 in the forest. On the way home we stopped off at a magnificent french bakery (St Honore, for you locals) for some amazing brunch and coffee. Soooooo good. A dip in the hot tub topped it off of course. :)

total miles for the week: 28

Photo time!

Trail portion of Hagg:


Sharks stay alive in series!
Forest Park Ride:

And this is for my mom- the gratuitous First Day! photo:

Thanks for all the support on the new job everyone! I sincerely appreciate it. :) Hope everyone has good financial fortune for being so kind to me. This has all got to turn around someday, so hang in there all my unemployed and underemployed brethren! I'm sure in a few weeks I'll be back to complaining about work but I'm loving it at the moment, so please bear with me.

I'm getting ready to start up a little Ironman training action in a couple of weeks... I'm kind of loving doing my own thing lately and not stressing, so I'm not really too excited. It is a very long training plan so I definitely have tons of time, but I need to get my plan set and in action asap. I have a lot of work to do and a lot of questions. I think at some point this blog might turn very Ironman-y.

Go Sharks

Monday, April 20, 2009

Big News

I have been kind of hinting at some exciting news and a lot of people already know what it is, so here it is.

Drumroll please!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I got a job.

I GOT A MOTHERF-ING JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I start tomorrow. It was a total whirlwind- I had a phone interview a couple of weeks ago, then an in-person interview last week and a job offer a day later. I would have shared the news earlier but with Zach's birthday and the race I already had much to post about. But there it is! Hooray!

It's going to be a pretty interesting job I think too. I will be analyzing property maps for a title insurance company. I have no idea what that exactly involves, but I know it involves maps, which I adore, and it involves a paycheck, which I deeply, deeply adore.

Another really cool thing about the job is that the hours are 7:00-3:30 which means I'll have long afternoons and evenings to do my training. Those are going to be some rough mornings at first but it'll be worth it.

So, I could probably write a book about things I've discovered about myself while being unemployed... ok it would be a short and boring book, but it would be a long and boring post, so I'm going to try to condense some main points.

Some reflections and statistics on unemployment:

I was unemployed for almost exactly 10 months.

I applied for exactly 50 jobs. I had only three interviews.

I received unemployment money from the CA government the whole time and will feel ok about paying taxes for a good long time.

Being laid off lead to Zach and I making the enormous decision to leave California and start over in a brand new city. I love it here and feel it was truly the right decision. I could write another short book/long post about how much I love Portland, but I'll chip away at that concept in every post for the rest of my life I'm sure.

Everyone in my life was wholly supportive of my situation and nothing but encouraging. I am surrounded by incredibly generous and kind people. Zach especially. He is such a great husband and friend.

I was never that career-motivated but I realize now the value of having a job. One of those things you don't really appreciate till it's gone. It gives you a sense of purpose, a reason to get up in the morning. It gives you responsibility and a sense of accomplishment. It gives you a group of peers and a chance to meet people. It gives you a paycheck.

Time "off" is only really fun for a few weeks. Then it gets boring. All the running, biking, swimming, volunteering, French studying, cleaning, etc... doesn't make for a very full day. I never really got depressed, but man was I bored.

Anyway, I know it's going to be a big adjustment, but I'm ready. I'm so ready! I bought probably way more new clothes than I realistically need, but whatever. YAY!!! I will definitely update after my first day (or week, we'll see) and let you all know how it goes. Thanks so much for being so supportive all this time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bridge to Brews 10k Race Report

I was surprisingly not worried at all about this race which was a nice change of pace from my usual pre-race stress-fest. I reeeeeeeally wanted to set a new PR but I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself. I figured I would just go out and have a fun run and see what happened.

With Zach's birthday on Thursday and lots of general celebrating and merry-making I was slightly run down, but not bad. I had a few good runs this week and my legs felt good. I knew there would be a couple hills in the race since we crossed over two bridges, but then again I knew I could fly down the downhills.

One thing I did differently this time (besides not stress) was wear my iPod. I put together a really good mix of songs that started off with some upbeat alternative rock (like Spoon) and then went into some fast paced hip-hop/dance music (Rihanna, Black Eyed Peas, etc) and finished with some fast tempo rap (Kanye West, DJ Kaled). It totally did the trick! It kept me pumped and also masked my heavy breathing.

We walked over to the start about 8:00 and made it in time to use the porto potties and do a warm up run before the 9:00 am start. We found Emily at the start line. I was feeling excited and ready to run! My current PR (set way back in December 05!) was 47:23, which is a 7:38 pace.

The course started off up a couple little hills and then gradually made its way up the Fremont Bridge on ramp. Mile 1: 7:49

We ran up and over the Fremont Bridge and then enjoyed a nice downhill grade. Mile 2: 7:32

Then we ran down a long gradual decline until we exited the freeway (weird), then it was kind of flat. I saw Emily at a turn around and we waved. Mile 3: 7:18

We zig zagged through Northwest and ended up back on Front St which is an industrial stretch (all the Portland races basically follow this route, it's already getting a little old). The sun was bright and I was a little warm but still running strong. My legs were feeling heavy but I knew I was over halfway done. Mile 4: 7:12

Still along Front St. which becomes Naito Parkway and is pancake flat. My legs were tired but my music kept me pumped and I knew I was in PR territory if I could keep it going. With no downhill to help me out in this mile I slowed a bit. Mile 5: 7:41

I was trying to do some math to project my time but at the same time I was trying to just focus on keeping up the pace. The final mile includes the climb back up and over the river, this time via the Broadway Bridge. It was a hill to be sure, but not as brutal as the Steel Bridge last time at the end of the half marathon. I slowed way down and my legs were pretty tired but I made it to the top and started heading back down. I was able to take advantage of this final downhill and picked it up a little, but the mile still came in slow. Mile 6: 7:50

I knew I was close to the finish but before I got there they had us do a pain-in-the-ass loop around the block to get in the distance. This included a short but steep hill and then a down hill, then the home stretch. I saw Zach and Emily cheering me on and sped past the finish line. Last 0.2: 1:39

Unofficial time: 47:03 (7:34 average pace)

A 20 second PR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOOOOO!!!!!

I am soooo happy. I haven't set a PR in any distance since my December 2007 marathon and it's not for lack of trying. I was due for this PR and I'm very pleased with myself. Hooray!! It was an awesome run and I'm so proud of myself and everyone else who ran. Pretty sure all my Portland runner friends got PRs, which is awesome. Well done everyone!! We all met up after and enjoyed our free brews and some food. It's a gorgeous day out there, supposed to get up to the upper 70s today so I'm on top of the world. Life is good.

Thanks for reading! :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

quickie post

Tomorrow is the Bridge to Brews 10k which I'm only moderately excited about. I haven't run a 10k since December 2005, but I really don't think this is a guaranteed PR. I need to run better than 7:38 pace to PR which sounds hard! We'll see. It's been a while since I PR'd in any distance and my ego could use the boost. I'm going to run my guts out and see what happens. I will have a race report up asap!

Here's the summary of my week so far. I am not super motivated this week but ended up having some good runs.

Monday: nada

Tuesday: run
6.0 miles/53:22/8:54 average pace
easy run in Beaverton on the Fanno Creek Trail

Tuesday: swim
1000 yards/21:12
quick swim after the run

Wednesday: run
5.0 miles/no time data for this run because I ran sans watch! Definitely was an easy pace.

Thursday: bike
10.5 miles/40:01/15.7 MPH
Lovely ride outside on the Springwater

Friday: run
8.0 miles/1:05:32/8:12 average pace
Forest Park with Zach. Started off rough (a tiny bit hungover and generally not into it) but ended up feeling great:

first 4 miles in 34:56 (8:44 pace) - first uphill mile a sluggish 9:20
last 4 miles in 30:36 (7:39 pace) - last downhill mile a smokin 6:42

Today (Saturday) was a rest day and tomorrow is the race.

Thanks for reading! Hope everyone is having a great weekend. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Birthday Party Pics

Dinner at Piazza Italia

Party at Henry's
Sarah and Emily:
Alisa and Justin:

Me, Sarah, Emily:

me, Justin, Emily, the Hipster, Deana:

Jazz hands! (for Maritza)

Me and my twin, aka the future Mr. Emily:

Emily, me, Sarah:

Josh and Emily:

Deana and Dana:

Zach is very excited about Amy's gifts: homemade vanilla extract and apple butter!

Tres chic:


Looking at the neat map/art Emily and Josh gave Zach:

Zach's dad, William:

Zach and his proud Dad:

me and Zach's stepmom, Melanie:

No, you!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes and comments for Zach! He had a great day and has decided 30 isn't so bad. :P More news/updates coming soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Zach

I have a lot of really good stuff to share and I'm tempted to jam it all together into one post but I will resist. I am going to put off all training updates for the week until later, it's nothing too exciting anyway. Also stay tuned for the race report for Sunday's 10k race. All this and more, right here on Running Stories! (said as Rod Roddy)

But today I have only one topic: Zach is turning 30 tomorrow. Let me just quickly summarize my favorite things about this 3-decades-old gentleman and then I'll post some pictures. My goal here is to totally gush and embarrass him. :)

Zach is a textbook example of someone that improves with age. He is better looking and in the best shape of his life. He is smarter, wittier, and more interested in learning about the world than ever before. He is also more sensitive, more empathetic, and kinder than he was when he was younger. And I can say all these things because I have known him since he was a teenager and have been in love with him since he was 18 years old. He was always cute and clever but let's just say I'm very happy with my investment. I have no doubt he is just going to continue to improve for decades to come. Meanwhile I will ruin my body by bearing his children and get duller with age. (kidding!!)

Some amazing things Zach has accomplished in his three decades:

- Backpacked, kayaked, hiked, caved, and generally explored much of the Western US with his parents.

- After dropping out of high school, he earned his GED and went on to get a degree in Business from the University of Montana.

- Has excelled in every job he's held and generally has a very successful career in finance/accounting. Everyone at all of his jobs has always loved him (aka he is a brown-noser) and he is incredible at financial and other quantitative analysis (aka he is a numbers geek). He is a prodigy in Excel. He's not exactly working in finance now (he works in pricing analysis for the power company) but is kicking more career ass than ever.

- Speaking of finances, he has handled our financial situation like a pro and kept us out of debt and has us saving saving saving. He's got a whole strategy for the recession and even with my unemployment didn't miss a beat. I have no doubt we will be financially sound for all our lives. He has helped a lot of our friends and family with their own personal finance questions. Seriously, if you need help setting up a budget or picking investments, shoot him an email.

- He ran track in high school and held (however briefly) a state record for pole vault. After the common "freshman fifteen" years he whipped himself into ridiculous shape in the blink of an eye. It pissed me off to no end. He has ran a marathon, won his AG in triathlons, and is just getting started. I don't doubt that he'll be in Boston and Kona at some point in his life.

- He has been a great friend to his friends from Missoula and has made many new wonderful friends since we left Montana. I always have greatly appreciated the fact that he is pretty much as close to all my girlfriends as I am and would do anything for all of these people. He lost one of his very good friends a few years ago and I know he thinks about him every day, we both do. It makes us both want to be there for all the great friends in our lives and do what we can to make sure they are happy, healthy, and safe.

I'll wrap it up here with a few pictures of my amazing man. Please wish him a happy 30th birthday either here or on his blog. Thank you very much for reading!!

College Graduation, Missoula MT (May 2002):

Canyon Lake, Bitterroot Mountains, MT (Summer 2002):

Wedding Party, Helena MT (August 2003):

Snowshoeing in Tahoe (January 2005)

New York City (December 2007):
Santa Cruz Triathlon (Summer 2008):
He's going to kill me for this (taken last month):

Happy Birthday Zach!!!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

friday saturday

Happy Easter! Just a quick update on my last couple days. No biking or swimming, just a couple of awesome runs. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

Friday: run
6.0 miles/51:47/8:38 average pace
Forest Park

first 3 miles in 27:00 (9:00 ave pace)
last 3 miles in 24:47 (8:15)

Saturday: run
10.0 miles/1:21:54/8:12 average pace
Banks-Vernonia state trail

first 5 miles in 42:51 (8:34 ave pace)
last 5 miles in 39:03 (7:49)

Pictures from Saturday's run:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

catching up

Thanks for all the nice comments about my race! I really appreciate the encouragement. Amazingly, I never did feel that bad about my non-PR and am actually pretty proud of my performance. Onto the next one!

I have had a really strong week so far. I took Monday off of course and enjoyed the sunshine and lots and lots of food. Tuesday I was back at it. Here's the recap:

Tuesday am: run
4.0 miles/33:59/8:30 average pace
Waterfront run solo. Legs were a little tired but nothing painful.

Tuesday pm: bike
12-13 ish miles on Mountain Bike in about an hour
I wasn't feeling like getting all spandex-ed up for the road bike so I just hopped on the Gary Fisher and jammed down the Springwater. I got a great workout and enjoyed the nice weather.

Tuesday I also did my pushups (started on Week 5 finally) and some other strength training

Wednesday am: swim
2000 yards/45:04
Here's the workout I did:

500 swim (alternating strokes)
500 kick
100 easy
500 pull
150 intervals (2 x 25 in :20 seconds, 1 x 50 in :44, plus recovery laps)
250 swim cool down

Wednesday pm: run
5.0 miles/38:14/7:39 average pace
Track workout with Emily, Zach, and Joel (awesome local runner and new blogger friend!) coached by Shawn. It was Awesome!

1 mile warm up in 8:20, 2 miles of intervals in 13:26, 2 miles cool down in 16:27

Here's a breakdown of the intervals:

1200 in 5:09 (6:54 pace)

400 in 1:33 (6:14 pace)

1200 in 5:12 (6:58 pace)

400 in 1:31 (6:06 pace)

The whole thing was incredibly fun. It was hard but I think I held back a little because I knew it would hurt if I went all out. Not that I could have gone that much faster... I don't know. I was definitely working hard. It was awesome to be joined by Zach and Emily all doing the same workout (Joel was doing something different). At one point we were spread out by about 50 meters with Zach in front, f-ing melting the track, Emily zipping along not far behind and me bringing up the rear. I love having super fast people to train with! Check out their blogs to see the ridiculous paces at which they run. Amazing. I looked back and saw that I did the 400s a few second than I did the first time I did the track work with Emily. Very encouraging!

Thursday am: bike
1 hour on the trainer
I did a circuit type thing where I rode for 5 minutes at a time and then hopped off and did my pushups. My heart rate stayed pretty high (I wore Zach's HRM) during the pushup "breaks" so I think this was effective. I was pushing pretty hard on every other bike interval too. I did 40 pushups on my last set (the last set is always "Max") which is a tie for a personal pushup record!

I was going to go swimming this afternoon but got caught up in some job-searching stuff and didn't have time. Oh well. Tomorrow I'm going running in Forest Park I think then Saturday we are going running out at Hagg Lake. Lots of hills in my future. :)

Just for fun, here are a couple pictures from last weekend that Emily took when we walked over to meet her on the Steel Bridge. I really like these shots. We are kind of dressed alike which we often do and is quite embarrassing, but what are you gonna do.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Race for the Roses Half Marathon Report

The Race for the Roses is in the books! I will spare you the suspense and let you know that I missed the PR. I got pretty close though and am ok with it. I'll try to keep my report short-ish!

The course was lovely. It had just a gentle climb in the early miles but otherwise downhill/flat (with one major exception, described below). It was the most beautiful day ever with blue sky, sun shining, flowers everywhere, birds chirping. We ran over two beautiful bridges with great views of the river and the city. There was a boring industrial section but it only lasted a couple of miles. The race started at 7:00 (Ouch) so it was nice and cool the whole time we ran. It's about 70 out right now but it probably didn't hit 50 during the race.

I started off strong and easy and enjoyed the scenery. We started the climb after a couple of miles but it was not that bad at all and was over quickly. Then we ran down a gentle grade for a couple of miles through downtown and then it flattens out in Northwest. I was feeling strong still, but didn't feel like I could pick it up. Our splits were ranging quite a bit but we were averaging 8:00.

As the miles ticked by I stayed mentally strong but my legs and everything started to get tired. So the latter part of my strategy didn't really work out... the whole "picking up the pace" thing. It wasn't horrible pain or anything, but I just couldn't run any faster. Finally we did the last turnaround at mile 12 or so and I was able to speed up a little.

Unfortunately, we had to climb about a quarter mile up a steep pitch to cross the Steel Bridge at the very end of the race. I gave it all I had but that hill sucked my energy and slowed me way down by the top. I tried sprinting to the end but there was just like .1 mile left so there was no time. That last bridge crossing definitely cost me some time because I usually am a strong finisher. That's what I'm telling myself anyway! I saw Sarah, Amy, and Emily right before the finish and then I saw Deana and Dana as I crossed the finish line in 1:45:12.

I was so excited to see Deana and find out about the 5k! She had a blast and ran very strong. Her finish time was an incredible 27:29!! I'm so proud of her. Emily did awesome too and just missed placing in her AG. We finally strolled across the river back to our house for a quick shower then headed to brunch. Alisa and Amy and their husbands, Emily, Sarah, and Julianne all met us at Mother's for a super delicious brunch and cocktails. We had a blast! Then, Emily and Zach and I strolled down along the waterfront and through a street fair. Portland is freaking out with this great weather and everyone's just got sunshine coming out their asses, it's awesome. I'm completely zapped now but it's been an amazing and wonderful day. Missing the PR is not even close to ruining this day for me. Life is good.

Here are some nice little lists for your enjoyment:

Things that sucked:

- No PR.
- Getting up early and being so tired.
- That bastard sonofabitch Steel Bridge crossing in the final half mile of the race.
- Couple of blisters.
- Sharks lost last night (I'm superstitious about that, even though I try not to be).

Thinks I am happy about:

- Gorgeous spring day with friends.
- I didn't blow the race by starting off too fast.
- I didn't give up at any point, and I didn't walk at all. Good mental strength in rough parts.
- I didn't have any side cramps or tummy troubles.
- I took two Gu's while running without choking.
- I made a point to enjoy the scenery and Zach's company.
- Running my 3rd fastest of 10 half marathons (range: 1:43:40-1:54).
- Getting a second chance in Eugene in 4 weeks.
- Sharks are the best team in the NHL heading into the playoffs. :)

My splits are all over the place but I think the mile markers were off a bit. Zach kept his Garmin on autolap and they look a lot smoother.

mile 1 8:09
mile 2 7:19 (short?)
mile 3 8:10
mile 4 8:32 (hill)
mile 5 8:04
mile 6 7:49
mile 7 7:42
mile 8 8:13
mile 9 7:36
mile 10 8:13
mile 11 8:08
mile 12 8:05
mile 13.1 9:04 (8:12 pace) (bridge)

Official time: 1:45:12 (8:01 average pace)

17/255 AG (25-29)
87/1401 Females
342/2123 Overall

Thanks for reading! Congratulations to everyone who ran today here in Portland and all over the country. I'm looking forward to reading race reports! Thank You to Zach for running with me and helping me run strong. :)

Picture time!

Fuel for the two of us:

good luck flowers from Mom:

Soooooo early! (6:10 ish)

Temporary Tattoo from OMSI. It made me feel tough, yet was also educational:

Waiting inside Oregon Convention Center before start:

Alisa's hubby snapped this great picture at the start:

He also took this one on Broadway around mile 6:

After the race: Deana finishes 5k!!

Runner buddies:

On the walk home in the beautiful weather:

Medal and number:

Brunch at Mother's Bistro and Bar downtown:

Me and Amy:

Sarah and Julianne chatting in the cute bistro:

Alisa and Justin:



Having a beer with Emily at the street fair in the afternoon: