Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Half Marathon

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Half Marathon
The half marathon started at Husky Stadium on University of Washington’s campus. There were a lot of people for this race. I’m not sure how many corrals there were but I was in 23 and there were people behind me! I snuck into 20 with Eric. The starting temp was 57 degrees and overcast. Besides the humidity, it was perfect. I ran the first 8 or 9 minutes before I took a walk break. The nice downhill helped with this. J I then went into my run/walk mode. I switched it up, not really sticking to one ratio. I mostly focused on my average pace for the mile I was in. When my pace got fast, I walked for a bit. When my overall pace would creep slower, I would run again. That worked well as most of my miles were consistent. For the first half of the race I wanted to keep my miles under 14 minutes and I was successful at that. I even had a mile that was under 13!  Mile 9 is when my pace went over 14 minutes. For the second half of the race, I wanted to keep my miles under 15 minutes. Again, I was successful with this even though I was close a couple miles. I was close to having another under 14-minute mile for the last mile but the course went up a hill at the end of mile 13 and my legs were shot so it came in at 14:20. Darn! My overall time was 3:03:44. Not my best, of course, but it was my most consistent. And that is my goal right now, consistency.

Rock ‘n Roll Seattle 5K

Perfect Running Weather!
This past weekend we ran the 5K and Half Marathon as part of the Rock ‘n Roll Series in Seattle. It was an overall great experience.

The 5K started and ended at the Flight Museum. It took about 45 minute by bus to get there. We got there with plenty of time to go inside the museum and use their bathroom. That was very nice! I got to see a few of the displays. I think it would be a very interesting museum. The race had about 2,000 participants. The course was straight and flat. We ran down a wide straight road, turn around and came back. Nothing too exciting to see except for some big planes but that was about it. The best thing about this race for me is I had negative splits. Each mile was faster than the last. That felt great. Also, all my miles were under 13. My over time was 39:50 which isn’t great but I didn’t to give it my best as it was a warm up to the half marathon the next day. After the race, they had the usual bananas, pretzels and water. The annoying thing was the bus ride back. A bunch of us waited at the temporary bus stop. The bus never came. We saw a lot of busses going the other direction. The temporary stop wasn’t really a stop as the busses were divert much sooner so we waited over an hour for a bus. ARGH!

Global Running Day

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

(aka the day I signed up for 7 races)

Wait, What? Yep, you read that right 7 races. The races added to my growing list for 2017 are:

- Lift Bridge 10K
- Esprit de She 5K
- Women Rock 2.5K
- Women Rock 5K
- Women Rock 10K
- Chocolate Frolic 10K
- Rock N' Roll San Antonio Half Marathon

And the best part is I got discounts on all of them except for the Life Bridge Race. Score me!

My coworkers think I’m crazy. HAHAHA, yes I am!

Now I need to go for a run to celebrate!

Lola’s 5K

Monday, June 5, 2017

Another race is in the bag for 2017. That was #15. I’m on course to hit my 40 by 40 goal.

The race was nothing to write home about. I only had 2 miles in me and mile 3 I just tanked. It didn’t help that the start of mile 3 is a long hill and as I’ve complained about numerous times I hate running uphill. I need to seriously train on hills. I always say I’m going to do a hill work out but then go on my usually flat route. Ha! Mile 1 was great if you consider my times lately. It was 12:18. I thought maybe I could do as good as I did at Donut Dash three weeks ago. Mile 2 made sure that didn’t happen when I finished it just under 13 minutes. Mile 3 was a death march. LOL! I barely got it under 15 minutes. What the heck is wrong with me? 

The weather was a factor. It was very warm (75 degrees at start) and a bit humid. I need to get used to this heat again. I thought last week’s 20KM in 90 degrees would have helped me but nope.

My time was 41:00 which is embarrassingly slow. I ran a long run on Sunday that was almost faster than that. Granted my long run only lasted about 4 miles before I called it quits and walked 2 miles home. I need to get out of this training funk! 

Waffles and Chocolates

Thursday, June 1, 2017

We packed up or bags and headed to the market for our fresh delicious waffles. These are the best waffles ever!  I was very happy to eat mine and part of Eric’s. 

After that we drove to the Chocolate factory to stock up on Kilos of chocolate. We made a quick stop at the house to repack our bags to fit our chocolates before heading to the airport.

We hugged Elizabeth good bye and made our way to our plane. The flight to Iceland was 3 hours and the flight from Iceland home was 6 hours. We had an hour layover in Iceland and boy is that airport a disaster when they have the gates so close to each other and all the flights were leaving within 30 minutes of each other. Nobody knew what line went where. We eventually go on the plane and we were on our way home. I was so glad to get back to the US. I had a great trip but I liked being home. We met DJ and Bonnie at our house and we went to Chipotle for dinner before they all left us and we were home along. Swirl would not leave my side all night. I think he truly missed us. 

The Battle of the Bulge

The last full day in Europe we went to Bastogne to see the site of the Battle of the Bulge. There is a great museum there with interesting displays and very informative movies. I really liked the place. 

After that we drove to Henri Chapelle US Cemetery to see where the US soldiers were buried. It was a very nice cemetery. 

It was a long drive back to the house with a stop at Pizza Hut on the way. Again, we finished the night eating chocolates around the table. 

Brussels 20KM

The race I have been looking forward to for two years had finally arrived and I was not ready for it! My training lately has been terrible and with the heat, hills and cobblestone, I was in trouble. We got up early and took the tram to Brussels from the house. We had to drive to the tram stop. There were 40,000 people running this race and there were not enough port-a-potties!  We stood in line forever. We meet a few people that spoke English but mostly it was just Eric and I. They had 6 waves and we were in the last one. They started each wave with a cannon shot. That was a bit freaky.

I wanted to have a good race, then my goal was to finish faster than my half marathons, then my goal was just to finish. This race was rough from the beginning. The first mile was mostly downhill which wasn’t bad and there was a lot of weaving around people who were walking. The first mile was going great but my legs started cramping and they felt like crap most of the way. I ended up with 13:37 for mile one but the next 7 miles were just crap. I’ve never had so many 15 minute miles so early in a race since I started running. I know the heat was the major factor, it was 70 degrees at our 10am start. Before the race it poured so it was also very humid. Yuck! It was a very hilly course as they kept running us down into tunnels and then back up the other side. We did that at least 3 times. I did so much walking because those uphill were kind of steep, short, but steep.

The water stops were well placed but they gave us actual bottles of water so there were bottles and caps everywhere! It was such a mess. The route was mostly shaded in the beginning, thank GOD! There wasn’t wind either so it was a hot, thick air race. We ran through parts of Brussels and in some nice parks. There was music throughout the course which helped, there was much crowd support but there was enough. You know it is a bad race when you are celebrating miles that are under 15. Haha. Somehow mile 9 was my second fastest at 13:51. I’m not sure where that came from but it made me happy. I finished the last two miles walking. It was up hill and there wasn’t much shade. My body had had it by this point and I didn’t want end up on the side of the road like some of the people I was seeing. I was never so happy to see a finish line and get my medal.

After the race, I felt pretty good. We took Michael and Juliette around the town to the Royal Palace, the Grand place and the peeing boy. 

We had Starbucks, ice cream and finally called it a day and headed back to the house. We went out for steak for dinner and enjoyed the night eating chocolates around the table.

Chateau Veves & Dinant

We had an early morning drive to Chateau Veves. It is a very cool castle. 

We drove over to France for lunch at McDonald’s again before heading to Dinant. The road to Dinant was scenic. We drove along the Meuse river. Dinant is home of Adolf Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. There are saxophone everywhere! 

It is also home of Leffe Beer. We learned all about the beer and the history of the brewery and sampled all sorts beer. It was a nice. 

After we got back to Jim and Elizabeth’s place we ordered pizza, my prerace ritual and went to bed. We had an early morning with the race and it was still HOT!

Off to Brussels, Waterloo & Leuven

We all had breakfast at the hotel the last day in Paris. We had to catch the 10am train to Brussels. It was a very nice quick ride to Brussels and we met Jim and Elizabeth at the train station. It was so nice to see them again! We went straight to the park for packet pick up for our 20KM race. We stopped at McDonald’s for lunch and went to Waterloo. They have a new museum and it was very interesting. There were some great information films that were in 4D so that was interesting. We walked up the 200+ steps to the lion mountain to see the view of the countryside. That was a work out! We went to farm to see where the British were and watched another interesting video.

After Waterloo, we headed to the house to drop off our stuff and freshen up. We then headed to Leuven for dinner. We saw the “new” library at the university. The old library was burned down in 1914 when the Germany’s torched the city. The new library was built with funds from Herbert Hoover and university students in the US. The place is amazing!  

We had dinner at a local pub/bar. I had chicken pot pie, it was delicious. We walked around the streets and stopped for ice cream before leaving. It was seriously the best ice cream I’ve even had. It was amazing. 

Overall it was a great day!

Palace of Versailles

We got up sort of early and headed for Versailles. It was so HOT! We stopped at the Tunisian Bakery for breakfast before boarding the train to the city of Versailles. It was a very long, hot ride. We finally arrived and after a bit of spat, we headed to the castle. The line for entrance was so long. We stood in line for almost 2 hours to get in. I’m not sure I would ever do that again! The place was cool but we wasted so much time just waiting to get in. And it was hot!

After walking through the place, we went out to the gardens and fountains. The gardens and fountains were beautiful but it was just too hot to enjoy. We stood in another long line for a sandwich and drink. We walked around the gardens and I got lost and our trip to Queen’s Hamlet took way longer than it needed too. Again it was HOT and I was miserable. We eventually got to the farm, that was cool to see the animals and somehow ended up at the Queen’s hamlet. I was never so grateful for the fresh orange juice guy. It was exactly want I needed! We did a lot of walking and eventually found our way to the train station, it was over a 3 mile walk! We walked 10 miles that day in the heat, it was almost 90 degrees. It was a miserable day. We all pretty much wanted to just call it a night when we got back to our hotel at like 6pm.

I took a shower and just relaxed in bed watching a British children’s cartoon. Eventually I took Grumpy Pants (Eric) out for dinner. After dinner, I got my first chocolate croissant and he got some ice cream and we walked to Notre Dame and sat by the river eating our treats. On the walk back to the hotel, we stopped at the St. Michel Fountain. There was a street performer there and he was great. I actually saw Eric laugh for the first time that day. It helped that the temperature had gone down a lot and it was a great performance. We went back to the hotel and spent some time just sitting on our balcony watching the crowds below. It was a great end to an awful day.

Touring Paris

We started the morning at Starbucks for breakfast before walking around Paris. Our first stop was Notre Dame Cathedral. We walked through there, the wait wasn’t horrible. We walked from there to City Hall and the Metro station. We stopped at the Louve to see the glass pyramid. We walked from there through the gardens to the Arc de Triomphe.  We walked down Champs-Élysées, stopping for lunch at the Hippopotamus. LOL! It was good, I had steak, not Hippopotamus. Once we got to the Arc, we climbed up to the top. It was a great view at the top, but man it was HOT.

After that, we went out to the stadium for Paris Football (Soccer) team. It was a bit of a ride but we got there eventually. We did some shopping at the store before heading back to the hotel. We ate at Chipotle, yes, it is in Paris! And walked through the Luxembourg Gardens. We took the subway and funicular to Sacre Coeur Cathedral (Sacred Heart). The view was great! We stopped at a fancy Starbucks by the Opera house before heading back to the hotel for the night.