Last week was a recovery week, and it was a very good thing it was, since I was hardly at home at all. I did some run-juggling, and got some bonus miles in, and had a solid overall training week! The only thing missing was pretty much any cross-training. At all, whatsoever – womp womp. Win some, lose some.
As you may recall from last week’s post, I managed to slam my toe against the bed the evening before an 18-miler, and had to bag said 18-miler less than a mile in. Well, I made the right choice, and bounced back fast. Early last week, I was in my hometown in Cleveland, Ohio, so I could catch my brother, sister-in-law, and cute-as-a-button four-month-old nephew, who were passing through town after a wedding. I arrived Sunday evenign in advance of their Monday arrival. The 5 a.m. alarm was a bit cruel, but I knew I wanted to get started working as early as possible (I couldn’t afford the time off so I worked remotely) and get in as many hours as I could before their arrival. And 5:30 a.m. run start means one thing – visibility!
Yeah, I tend to wear it over a hat regardless, which – yeah – causes a shadow, but prevents annoying headlamp bouncing. I have another, better headlamp but have yet to find it since the move (it’s…somewhere. I swear it is). I was still a bit wary of my toe – which was still taped, and by Sunday night was visibly black and blue, but it felt fine to walk on and I figured I’d cancel the run a the first sign of trouble. Ran an old standby 3-mile route in my mom’s neighborhood, and had no issues! The dark had the added effect of slowing me down, since night vision always seems to make you go faster than you think you are, and I kept trying to slow down. Perfect for a recovery week.
Being in Ohio led to other temptations though, like craving my hometown(ish) pizza. Which I caved to. No picture – I wolfed it down. Worth it.
Tuesday morning I decided to squeeze in my 5 miler, a little less in the dark but still pretty dark – 5:30 wake-up. I ran past my old high school on a familiar route (gotta love being home and remembering your old loops) which was pretty quiet since it was maybe like 6:20ish when I passed it. Had a cop look at me funny as I ran past the front office on the sidewalk, but otherwise it was uneventful, and still at a perfect recovery pace.
Wednesday I thought about getting in another quick run, but sleep won out after two days of too much work, not enough sleep, and being wiped out from hanging with family (not complaining. I mean – THIS FACE). I headed back to the ‘Burgh that night, sleeping in the next morning but heading out for a 6 mile easy run on Friday on a really pretty morning. NF was rocking his 12 miler head of his bachelor weekend, so we got the first mile together before splitting off. I pretty much kicked this run’s ass, despite being all uphill the first half, and aided by the downhill second half. It was a good way to start my last real Friday of summer, working a half day before heading to the airport to journey to SEATTLE!!
I wanted to pack light, so opted for just my Brooks Launch, which are still – far and away – my favorite shoe, especially for speedier stuff, but holding up great over distance, including 26.2 I got a long weekend’s worth of stuff – including 3 full running outfits – into an overnight case and a backpack. BAM.
After my two-hop journey, I landed in Seattle around 11:30 and was picked up by my college bestie and run buddy, Abby, whom I had not seen since graduation (because I am the Worst Ever). We were instantly psyched to see each other but also pretty exhausted, so we crashed pretty hard that night, and were woken by the sun around 8ish. First item on the agenda – fun run! We did a 4ish mile loop of hers – nice and easy – through an arboretum near her Capital Hill digs. She’s bouncing back from a hip stress fracture and tendinitis, and these were bonus miles for me, so we were quite content to enjoy the sights and each other’s company and not give an ounce about our pace. It was an exquisite morning – sunny, breezy, and I think in the low 60s. Pretty typical Seattle summer weather, evidently. Zero complaints here!
We then walked our feet off all over Seattle to the point where I had to don compression sleeves to ease my cramping shins. Phew! I unfortunately didn’t document all the legit post-run fueling we did (read: total food bombs) but we did have an awesome brunch at Skillet Diner – scarfed down the most amazing Breakfast sammies ever. And how cute is this joint?
I was generally impressed with this city’s ability to cater to restaurant patrons’ food needs. I’m sure it’s mostly catering the veg/vegan/gluten-free-diet-plzkthx folks, but Abby can’t eat lactose (gives her migraines) and not only were they thorough in making sure she didn’t have any, including swapping out the brioche on her sandwich, but gave stellar suggestions of good replacements. Two thumbs up.
Sunday morning was long run day – I had a 12-mile run scheduled with 4 miles at half-marathon goal pace (8:00-8:15). Since Abby’s still ramping back up, we figured we’d run the start together, she would walk or hang out during my race pace miles, and we’d run back together (doing an out and back path, natch). I figured I’d bring my iPod for the race pace miles and just keep my headphones in my pocket til I needed them. Then I tried to turn my iPod on – “please connect to power.” D’OH. No music motivation. I was a little nervous at this point, but figured I’d get in the miles and have fun, regardless of whether I could nail race pace.
First off, Abby lives on a massive hill, so both our runs from her place started off running down this monster:
After that, we had a short but steep climb, followed by a long downhill along Madrona with a stunning view. I didn’t take any shots from up there, unfortunately, but trust me – it was gorgeous.
We did I think the first 3.6ish miles together before her hip started barking at her and she wisely backed off to a walk. We’d been going pretty easy and enjoying the views that I wondered at my ability to pick it up, especially without the aid of music. I figured I’d give it a shot, at least pick up the pace a tad, and just enjoy myself. I hit 4 miles and just eased into it. What happened next shocked me.
I began the first race pace mile in the low 8:30s – not great, but not bad. I figured I’d just roll with it and enjoy myself. But as the views whizzed by, and other runners and walkers and cyclists passed by with waves and smiles, things started to click. I got through the first two miles in 8:13 and 8:11, respectively – it felt hard, but doable. I stopped at the turnaround to snap some photos and soak up the scenery, then eased back in… and threw down the hammer.
I wrapped up the race pace miles in 7:57 and 7:54 and felt on top of the world. I waited for Abby at that point, but she told me to go ahead and I hopped back into easy pace, ending VERY easy getting up those gnarly hills. Here’s the elevation chart for an idea of what I was contending with. I kind of loved it though.
Abby and I scarfed down a quick breakfast – peanut butter toast for both of us, bananas, apple slices, and Greek yogurt with honey between the two of us – showered up, and headed to the Honey Hole to pick up sandwiches and hang out at Green Lake for a picnic and a walk. My legs were getting some serious love! We also stopped by Super Jock ‘n Jill – where I drooled over some pretty new Oiselle threads, but resisted buying (for now).
We also found some time later in the day – between exploring and taking in some gorgeous views – to refuel with some ice cream at Molly Moon’s.
Monday morning we headed to Seward Park, which I had fallen maybe like a half mile short at the long run turnaround. And MAN what views! It’s hard to tell where the clouds end and where Mt. Rainier begins!
We walked a loop of the park – a little shy of 2.5 miles – before I decided my legs felt good enough for a run, and I really wanted to cruise along and see the sights that way. It’s funny how different things can seem walking versus running, and it’s great to see it both ways.
Still in our semi-sweaty clothes, we caught some scrambles at Both Ways Cafe – a great, quirky little hole-in-the-wall type place, before we decided to crash for the afternoon and do things like laundry and pack before cooking a delectable and super-clean dinner. With, um, beer. Duh.
So, yeah, this definitely bled into week 9, but it was necessary! My love affair with running got a major boost this weekend, and I fell completely head-over-heels in run-love (and everything else-love) for Seattle. May have to move there someday… just maybe…