The Handsome Man with Athletic Thighs
Running In Circles
Saturday, May 19th
Crossroads Street Scramble

I competed in a Street Scramble this morning. I don't think I maximized my points versus distance ratio. I managed to cover 10.5 miles competing in the 90-minute foot division. With better route planning, I think could have scored more points over a similar distance. Maybe I should stop making my routes up on the fly and actually use the planning period for more than going to the bathroom and eating breakfast.

I didn't encounter any troublesome clues like I did at the U-District Scramble, nor did I have trouble staying on course and finding controls. I enjoyed running on the jogging path past Larsen Lake (I saw Red-winged Blackbirds) and I managed to mostly stay off busy roads and out of traffic. Near the end of my time limit, I was waffling whether to go after a 30-pointer. I'd started my watch late, though, so I wasn't exactly sure how much time I had left. I decided to skip it. If I'd gone after it, I think I would have netted some points, as I had three minutes to spare. Note to self: start watch correctly next time.

Here is my route.
Sunday, May 13th
Tacoma City Half Marathon

Good golly, did this race start early. I dragged myself out of bed at 5:15 a.m. and was out the door ten minutes later. I stopped at Safeway for coffee, Gatoraide, and a light breakfast. Only half the lights were on, so I thought they were closed at first. Just after 6:00, I arrived in Tacoma, parked, and headed to the start area.

After using a sani-can, I started warming up, just a little light jogging to loosen up my legs. The starting area was right in front of a soup kitchen, which made for some interesting pre-race conversations. As I was bagging my sweats at the clothing drop, I saw a pacer go by with a 4:30 sign. I figured this was Jon Yoon, since I knew he was working as a marathon pacer for the four hours and thirty minutes group. I went over and introduced myself. Jon is the first person from the internets that I've met who I didn't already know first. And to think I've only been doing this for seven years.

I didn't have much time to chat with Jon—he was busy, and I needed to get closer to the starting line. Moving my way into the second row, I hoped I wasn't too close to the front. When the starter sent us on our way, I realized I was in the perfect position; everyone around me was going my speed. I went out a little faster than I wanted to. I thought a 7:30 mile would fit the bill, but between tucking into a couple of guys' draft to stay out of the wind and having sprightly legs, I cruised the first mile in 6:55.

My pace settled down a little bit after that, but I was running a hilly part of the course. Some downhill greeted me around mile four, and my pace went up without any extra effort. Before I knew it, I was running 6:50s. By the time I hit the long flat stretch near the water, I was cruising, and it felt pretty easy.

I had a little trouble getting through the aid station at nine miles. It was after the turn-around for the half, and I was fighting my way through a crowd of slower marathoners and half marathoners coming toward me. There was such a crowd around the water table I had to come to a complete stop to avoid running into people. It irritated me a little, and I had to control myself to keep from sprinting off in anger. I didn't want to blow my good pacing.

At mile 11 I thought I had a sub-seven minute pace in the bag. I was even entertaining the idea of going under 90 minutes. Then the hills started. The last mile-and-a-half was a series of short, steep uphills broken up with short flat sections. It was brutal. I thought every hill was the last hill. It seemed as though the finish line would never come. The last tenth of a mile was pure downhill, but it was such a twisty bit of road it was hard to keep a high pace. I managed to finish in 1:31:41. Sine 1:31:42 is a seven-minute pace, I managed my sub-seven after all! Technically, I should round my 6:59.9 up to 7:00, but I'm not going to.

My calves started cramping immediately after I crossed the finish line, so I may have overdone it a bit. I guess time will tell. All things considered, this was the first half marathon performance I've been happy with since the 2003 Capital City race. Angie said she likes it better when I'm happy with a race. I have to admit, I do too.

My splits:
Mile 16:556:55
Mile 27:2314:17
Mile 37:2221:39
Mile 47:0228:41
Mile 56:4335:24
Mile 66:5442:18
Mile 76:5349:11
Mile 86:5456:04
Mile 96:471:02:50
Mile 106:521:09:42
Mile 116:471:16:28
Mile 127:141:23:42
Mile 137:221:31:04
Last 0.10:371:31:41
Thursday, May 10th

I felt surprisingly good during my run today. All of my workouts for the past six months have been easy, base-building jogs, so I expected to feel sore after the effort of yesterday's hard 5k race. Not really a problem. It's astonishing, really, what a good solid base will do for a runner. Now I just need to get some speedwork in.
Wednesday, May 9th
Mother's Day 5k

I ran a 5k race tonight. Afraid I couldn't best 21 minutes, I surprised myself with a 19:28. I felt strong the whole way. I could tell I was running right on the edge of lactic blowout, but I never crossed the line. When I get a little speedwork under my belt, I might start posting some fast times again.

My splits:
Mile 16:126:12
Mile 26:2212:34
Mile 36:1718:51
Last 0.10:3719:28
Sunday, May 6th

I didn't have any time to run today, because I spent five hours at the car dealership. I traded in my truck for a minivan. Its name is Homer.
Saturday, May 5th

I intended to run today, but I had solo duty with Little Dude, who decided to take a long nap during prime jogging time. Also, Angie and I were supposed to ride the Dinner Train with Liz and Jim, but we got a call that there was track maintenance. We decided to reschedule for a time when the train would make it all the way to the winery. So, we dined in, instead, then headed to the Dog n' Pony for drinks.

The Dog n' Pony used to be my favorite bar in all the land. It was totally non-smoking and had an excellent selection of beers. The wait staff was personable and fun, and it was close to home. Now that the state smoking ban has passed, there are plenty of bars with a great beer selection I can go to and still breathe clean air, so that's no longer a distinguishing trait. The wait staff has been reduced to one rude, surly bartender, who appears to return to work from his smoke breaks without washing his hands. And while it's still close to home, I don't think I'll be going back.
Friday, May 4th

Since I needed to work late and had evening plans, I ran in the morning today. Initially, I planned to run five miles, but a late start and a groggy head compelled me to cut it back to three. I ran in a new pair of shoes, and my foot felt fine. It's really too bad that Brooks seem to break down after 300 miles.

In the evening, Liz and Jim came over and we dined on pulled pork (with homemade BBQ sauce) and played Pinochle. We're hoping to make Pinochle a weekly thing, and I hope it happens, because I had a lot of fun.
Thursday, May 3rd

I went for an easy eight-mile jog today. With the exception of my left foot, I felt great.
Wednesday, May 2nd

Depressed by grim weather and general tiredness, I choose to skip my scheduled run. Perhaps it was for the best, as my left foot is still bothering me.
Tuesday, May 1st

I jogged an easy six miles today. My left foot hurt a little, which concerns me. My feet have given me all kinds of trouble, and usually the only thing that makes them feel better is time off. During my run, I saw a ton of cool birds, including an Osprey and what I think was an American Bittern. A crow was harassing a Cooper's Hawk, but the hawk pulled off some mid-air acrobatics and gave the crow a smackdown. It was pretty cool.
Sometimes I feel like I'm breathing underwater.