Thursday, January 31, 2013

Back of a Starbucks Wrapper

Beautiful view of Lake CdA - I would
love this room Ironman weekend
Years ago, my friend Jenn and I had a tradition where we’d drive from Seattle to Coeur d’Alene to run Bloomsday and also have a little weekend getaway. At the time, we both worked in public accounting, so a long weekend in early May, was a much needed respite. Her dad is a manager at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, so he’d get us a fancy room with a view, we’d each have our own comfy bed and pretty much just vegged out, ran, hiked by Lake CdA, sipped wine, visited Gonzaga’s campus, and raced the famous 12k Bloomsday route.

On our drive home in 2005, we decided to list out some “bucket list goals.” And since it was a road trip, the only thing we had to document our list was a greasy Starbucks wrapper. Some were funny, some were serious, some were within reach, while others might take a lifetime to attain. The following years, we’d bring that list along with us and cross off the goals that were reached or add some new ones. As I got more into triathlon, I’d bring my bike on the trip and ride the Ironman course and eventually cross off the goal, “complete an Ironman.” The years wore on, schedules changed, and we’ve stopped making this trip. But we still get together about once a year to update our wrapper. It’s a great touch point for our friendship and fun to see each other reach new heights and make new goals in life.

Here’s a picture of our Starbucks wrapper:

We need to update the list!
Looks like it's been since fall 2010
I made my own list of goals for 2013 and wrote them out on a clean Starbucks pastry wrapper:

Have you written down your goals for the year?
Have you shared them with anyone?
Seven and a half years later, I’m excited to be crossing off another goal this month: buy a condo. I move in tonight! I realize it’s something a lot of my friends have done already. Some of my friends have also bought houses and become doctors or had kids. But it took me time to feel like it was financially the right decision to buy a place on my own and also know that I was comfortable enough in my life to want the constant (golden handcuffs?) of a mortgage. So long dreams of becoming a ski bum or joining the Peace Corp. Oh well, they weren’t on the Starbucks wrapper anyway.

It’s not a big house with a picket fence, backyard, personal maid, and lots of rooms for future rug rats (good grief). But it’s plenty of space for me and my bikes and other sports gear. And maybe someday a +1 and his bikes. It’s smart, clean, simple, has a lovely patio with a view of the Olympic Mountains, and is a short jaunt to Greenlake (perfect for Seattle runners). And it's all mine (with help from the bank.) I’m happy to be crossing this goal of the Starbucks wrapper. I feel more stable, established, and grown-up. It also allows me to start focusing on the 2013 wrapper.

Goals from the bucket list: clockwise from top left - One of the many
sports bra marathons that summer, winning a race and qualifying for
Kona, a peak of the new place, and my first sub-3:15 marathon

Monday, January 7, 2013

Fast Ass 25k "Race" Report

Saturday morning I was smartdumblucky…able (we’ll go with able) enough to run the Tiger Mountain Fat Ass 25k trail run. There was an option to run two loops to make it a 50k, but unless someone paid me a large sum of money that wasn’t in the cards. I ran this “race” a few years ago and liked it so much I wanted to do it again. I love the no frills set up: no pre-registration, no awards, no ugly shirts, no FEE(!!), and somebody brought donuts to the finish. It’s basically show up, write your name down in the notebook, keep track of your own time and then record it at the end. And it’s on the beautiful trails of the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest. Boom! Check out the map, elevation profile, and course description here.

One of the main reasons I like this event is that the course is mapped out in Christmas tree ornaments and there are enough runners in front or behind you, so you don’t feel lost. I really like trail running, but part of the reason I don’t do it all that much is because: a) I haven’t figured out how to fit it in to a busy IM training schedule, and 2) I don’t like getting lost in the woods. When I run, I often prefer to know where I am and how much longer I have to go.  I know that really isn’t the “Zen runner” mentality, but my neurosis sometimes trumps the free feeling of getting lost. I think I feel “free” enough when I’m pounding the pavement on a route I know and love. Anyway, I digress.

There we were. I convinced a few friends to join me and we all met at the start. Gerry (the BF) and I drove out together and I paired up with my best friend Sydnie to run with me. I figured it was good girl talk time with Syd, since we weren’t planning on running hard and based on the terrain, there’d be a fair amount of hiking. And if Gerry broke up with me because I convinced him to do this stupid ass run, I had a ride home. We had a great start - lots of chatting, nothing too fast, no sprained ankles or wet shoes. About 90 minutes in, we saw some snowy patches. And about 20 minutes later we were on a trail that was covered in at least a foot of old, icy, slippery snow. As inexperienced trail runners we left our Yaktrax at REI (meaning I’ve never considered buying them). That left us walking and sliding for about 45 minutes. Seriously, I wanted a sled or lunch tray or garbage can lid or something. This is where the delirious conversations started (you know, when you’re deep into a long workout), the guy behind us started ranking Sydnie’s falls (there were a lot), and we determined that I would need someone to pay me at least $500 to run a second loop or buy me a new computer + iPad.

After the snowy part, we had about 3.5 miles downhill to the finish. There were some slick parts, but it was mostly fun to be flying downhill and smiling the whole way. We also determined that trail running is made up of mostly “nice old guys” and had a lot of fun chatting it up with them on the downhill. I’m pretty sure Sydnie and I were the 2nd and 3rd women to finish (we finished together), but it’s hard to say with no “official” results. Plus there weren’t many women there, nor did we really care. Gerry was waiting for me at the finish for my finish line hug.

We all had a great time and took a pretty good beating to the legs. Check out my favorite post-race video to see examples of how I look gimping around today. Sydnie and I determined that we are, admittedly “Boston Marathon” sore. I did a 45 minute shake out run this morning and pretty much cursed every handicap curb on the sidewalk. No joke. But I’m happy I ran this “race.” It was a good way to dust off some of the off-season, remind myself that I have leg muscles, and just get out for a long, fun workout to jump start the training.