Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Goals for 2009

Well, welcome to another year. Here's hoping that in many non-running aspects, this year is better than last year. Or the year before that. Or the year before that. I have a bit of a streak going. As I seem to be "Even Steven" in the luck/karma department, one would think some good things are going to happen. Even with a bad economy :-).

But I mostly talk about running here, so let's do that.

Fingers crossed, I'll hit an interesting milestone in March: marathon #200. To be exact, it'll be #200 if I add my marathons to my ultras. I've run a whopping 14 ultras to date. Counting only marathons, I'll still probably get to 200 towards the end of the year. Which means, obviously, that I'm not planning on running nearly as many marathons this year compared to 2006 (36), 2007 (64), or 2008 (41). I think it'll be a lot closer to 20. I still have the wheels to do lots of marathons. And if I stay closer to home, I can still afford to do lots of marathons even with the crummy state of money right now. But I feel like shaking things up with my training. Also, I have a bunch of non-running things to do in 2009... and while running races all over the country is fun, the travel itself is a huge pain, and a big eater of time (and, not coincidentally, money).

This year, I've dedicated the first 6ish months to training differently. Essentially, I'll be following the Jack Daniels' Running Formula Marathon A-Plan, although I will throw in a few extra races along the way. My current PR is a 3:28, and my hope is that following this plan and not racing nearly as much will allow me to drop this into the 3:15-3:20 range by summer. As a 42/43 year old guy, this would allow me to BQ though that's not really my ultimate dream goal. It is, however, something new and different. This is good.

During this first six months, I will race a few 5ks, halves, and fulls along the way to help measure my progress. Then, starting in July (or August if my first attempt at 3:15-3:20 blows up), I'm going to focus on the shorter stuff. Although I'll keep my mileage high and run a few marathons as the days get shorter and colder, I want to get that 1:30 half that I claimed I'd run last year. Then I want to beat 19:30 in a 5k.

Heh. It feels kind of backwards, really. Most people go after the 5k THEN the half THEN the full.

I do have some specific races I'm targeting with this schedule. To summarize, in priority order:
  • I want to run a 3:15-3:20 marathon during the summer. My first attempt will be at Seattle Rock-n-Roll (6/27). If that doesn't work out, I will try again either at Missoula (7/12) or San Francisco (7/29). Seattle and San Francisco are very hilly; Missoula is not. Then again, Missoula has been HOT both times I've raced there, and I've had weird stomach issues both times. We'll see.
  • I want to run a 1:30 half marathon in September or October. I will probably try at Skagit Flats in mid-September. Not sure about other attempts, but I'll find something.
  • I want to run a 19:30-or-faster 5k sometime in October or November. The weather in Seattle can start to get dicey at the end of November, but I may look at the 5k associated with the Seattle Marathon.
As always, there are a few interesting races that I'm targeting for different and goofy reasons. These include:
  • The Yakima River Canyon Marathon. This is the 2009 Maniac reunion and I don't want to embarrass myself. Ok, not really... but last year, I was very sick and ran this race anyway. I probably shouldn't have. I want to run a 3:35-3:40 which will be an improvement of more than 30 minutes over last year's 26 miles of coughing. If I can do this, it will also show that my training is progressing for my bigger goal.
  • The new Illinois Marathon. Illinois is the only state where I've not run a marathon. I should be able to fix this situation in April, and then I'll be done with the 50 states.
  • The Tacoma City Marathon. Last year, I ran a 3:39 and finished right behind the 3:40 pacers (shouldn't I have been in front of them?). So this year, I will try for 3:30-3:35. As with Yakima, this lines up with my training for the bigger goal.
  • Although I will have completed a marathon in every state after the Illinois Marathon, there are 12 states where I have not beaten the mystical and made up 4:00 mark. I plan on going back and trying again over the next few years. Hopefully, 2009 will let me check this off for Arkansas (at the Little Rock Marathon) and North Dakota (at the Fargo Marathon). 3:59:59 will be a very conservative goal for these courses. I just need to get to the races intact.
  • The Seattle Marathon. I tried to run a 3:25-3:30 in 2008 and messed it up. If I do NOT try to run a fast 5k the day before, I'll try this again.
I have a set of streaks (races I do every year) to look at in 2009. One will end simply because it is impossible to continue: I have streaks at both Tacoma and Eugene, but this year the races are scheduled for the same day. Ooops. I picked Tacoma to continue the streak. Bye, Eugene. I also have a streak going at Missoula. This *may* continue... especially if I mess up Seattle rnr. I have a nice, long streak going at Kona. Not anymore. My eight year streak at Seattle will stay intact, hopefully. And my baby three year streak at Yakima. Maybe I'll start new streaks!

That's a lot of goals; all of them have time-based components. Even Illinois, which is more of a checkbox goal... because I need to beat 4:00 there, or it'll show up again further down the list. I do not chase the clock in all of the runs I do. As you can see from some of the races in the second list, even a race with a time goal may or may not map to "run the fastest time I can".

But sometimes it does. And that's ok too.

Running is supposed to be fun. M22 of a marathon usually doesn't feel fun. Same with M2 of a 5k and M10 of a half that I'm trying to run fast. Completing them is fun, though. Hard work IS fun.

I just want to keep it fun. If I don't have fun, I reserve the right to change my goals. Besides, they are my goals and I'm probably the only person reading (and certainly caring about) this.

Mostly I want Real Life to normalize, regress to the mean, and Even Steven.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2008: The Year in Review

Marathons and ultras completed in 2008: 41

This is quite a bit fewer than the 64 I completed in 2007 (65 if measured from 1/7/07-1/6/08). 41 was certainly better for my bank account. Over the past two years, I ran 105.

That's a lot, but let me change your frame of reference. My friend Larry Macon also ran 105. Except that he did that in one year. WOW. In fact, in the same two years that I ran 105, he ran something like 200. A few others have also run somewhere around 105 in two years. Maniac Van Phan is one. And her races included more than a few 50 milers and some 100 milers. I can't even comprehend a 100 miler. So WAHOO to Van and Larry. And my friend Little Leslie. Hello, Yolanda Holder. And my friends Coconutboy and Coconutgirl who run tons and tons of races as a couple. Except for when she smokes him. Heh. And some others who I could mention, but the more that I mention, the more it will seem like I'm intentionally stiffing someone I accidentally leave out.

And big props to those of you who ran two. Or one. Or took that first set of steps out the door to prepare for your very first 5k ever. Running is hard work, and hard work can be fun. It is for me. Even if some days don't feel like that, it is.

Real life barely allowed this year's 41. 2008 also included one biopsy (me), two cancer scares/tests (someone else), one broken elbow (same someone else), the death of someone I admire greatly, and two dog surgeries.

Also, I lost all the skin off of my right heel at a 50 miler in July. This made the next month of racing somewhat painful. And slow. Finally, I had a bunch of races packed into the end of December, but the two feet of snow that shut down Seattle for two weeks and trapped me at home took care of those. And helped make January 2008 "the month of being out of shape."

I PRed at the marathon distance once and at the half marathon distance twice. I ran three 50 milers (well, one was actually 51.3)even though I said "never again" after 2007. Never say never. Although, well, even after three more of them, I *still* didn't really like 50 much. So maybe I can say never again. Or not.

A "double" is what I call a weekend where I run two races of marathon distance or longer. In 2007, I ran 14 doubles (plus a triple and the elusive quadzilla). In 2008, I only ran one double. I was actually planning on none, but a fellow Maniac set up a Saturday ultra in support of breast cancer research. I couldn't pass that up even though I had a full scheduled for the next day.

Of the 41, 7 were ultras. Of the remaining 34 marathons...
  • I beat 3:30 1 time - a new PR of 3:28:17.
  • I beat 3:40 (inclusive) 4 times.
  • I beat 3:45 (inclusive) 13 times.
  • I beat 3:50 (inclusive) 19 times.
  • I beat 4:00 (inclusive) 29 times.
29 out of 34 marathons on the low side of four: I am pleased with that. Each of the remaining five has its own reason for being on the high side. I ran a 4:11 at Cowtown while trying to help a friend beat 4. Ooops. I ran 4:12 a month later at Yakima while trying to beat a bronchial infection. Bad idea. My 4:12 at Rattlesnake Lake was the second day of my double on a course with 13 miles of continuous, relentless uphill. My 4:30 at Haulin Aspen is a huge frustration, but I'll come back to that. Finally, my 4:02 at Park City was simply a weird race. It has 10ish miles of continuous, relentless uphill AND the race is up very high... but really, the reason I didn't beat 4 was because I didn't think I had a chance of beating 4. Until I finished at 4:02 and realized that I just should have tried harder.

That 3:45 section is interesting. 9 of 2007's races were specifically between 3:40:00 and 3:44:59. Of these, 4 of them were just on the edge of going into the next fastest category. I ran a 3:40:31, 3:40:26, 3:40:36, and a 3:40:53. I'd like to have the first three back because I am sure I could have pushed each one 30-45 seconds faster. Sure of it. The last one is my flame out at Seattle. I was trying to run somewhere between 3:25-3:30, I was on pace for the first half, and then my body had different ideas.

I PRed in the full at Eugene in May. This was a bit of an accident, really. I just showed up to do a long run. The day before I had sushi and "the large Sapporo" for lunch. I ate Wendys for dinner. But the day went perfectly, and I felt great. It wasn't like I finished that race merely on blood and guts with nothing left. I finished tired, but really pumped. A great day. Which didn't translate directly to future races. Heh. Maybe I really did finish with nothing left.

Let's talk halves. Originally, I was going to focus on halves in 2008. I wanted to run a 1:30. Well, that didn't happen. I managed five halves, and the trend was not towards 1:30. I ran a 1:36 (PR) at Disney in January, a slightly faster 1:36 (PR) on a hilly course in March, a 1:37 in August, a 1:41 in September, and a 1:55 on the last day of the year. That 1:37 was at the race I fondly call 'Taco Man', seven days after White River beat me up and took all the skin off my right heel. This might have been my 1:30 chance, but I got a wee bit aggressive with my schedule. The 1:42 was at the Super Jock-N-Jill half, four days after a muscle biopsy in my back; I ran the race with a stitched up hole. I call it 'my gunshot race'. I think I can cut myself some slack on that one. And, for the record, one of those exactly-3:40 marathons was the following weekend when I still had stitches. Wahoo. But really, I didn't train to focus on halves, so that 1:30 goal went back on the shelf. As for that 1:55? It was New Year's Eve and I wasn't really racing. Plus, probably seven miles of this race contained very icy sections of trail that freaked me out. I didn't fall, but I slid around a lot. I did see lots of falls!

Now, let's talk about the goals I had set for 2008. I promised that I wouldn't travel as much, and I didn't. I spent about half as much on race-related travel.

I had several prioritized goals.

  • Run a 1:30 half. Hmmm. At the beginning of the year, this was my top priority. I decided to focus on other things. DELAYED.
  • Run a 3:30 full. DONE with my 3:28:17 at Eugene in May. But I didn't get close to that afterwards. My 3:36 at San Antonio was more like a 3:32 factoring out the portapotty stops (bad day!). Had I really been closer to 3:32, I bet I could have beaten 3:30 again. I tried one last time at Seattle, and as I wrote above, I bombed miserably.
  • Run 3:45 or better in the Kona Marathon. Not my 3:30 target this year... but my best previous time here is 3:52. NOT DONE. I ran a 3:51, which is still my fastest Kona Marathon to date.
  • Run a sub-20 5k. NOT DONE. I only ran two 5ks and didn't come that close (20:50).
  • Finish the states. NOT DONE, but I'm close. By adding Mississippi, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, I'm at 49. The one remaining state is Illinois.

My goal races for 2008 were:
  • I wanted to try for 3:30 at The National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer on 2/17. Second chance was Eugene on 5/4. The first race was simply too hot. It is interesting to me that I had written 'Eugene' when I set these goals, because when I was IN Eugene, I had no plans of treating it as a goal race. But I beat 3:30 anyway. Go figure.
  • Kona and 3:45 on 6/29. Close, but nope.
  • Skagit Flats is a full and a half in mid-September. I wrote, "I don't know yet whether I will try for the 3:30 full or the 1:30 half there." I ran a 3:40 full with a stitched up hole... so it didn't remain a goal race. I added November's San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon as a replacement attempt for 3:30. Then, when that didn't work out, I added Seattle. Strike three.
  • I also wrote, "I need to find another couple halves in the fall." I added one on labor day weekend... ok, officially summer. This would have been my best chance at 1:30. The biopsy changed things.
Like Kona, there are a couple other races where I attached a goal time. I wrote, "Unlike Kona, these aren't quite as important to me... but they'd still be nice to achieve." These were Lake Youngs Ultra in June ("beat 5") and Haulin Aspen in August (4:15). I *did* beat 5 at Lake Youngs. Twice! But that 4:15 at Haulin Aspen didn't work out. I ran it with the skinless right heel and although I ran it as hard as I possibly could, I barely managed 4:30. On a goofy side note, this was only one minute faster than my HA time in 2007. And in 2007, I ran it the day after Crater Lake, which is what I consider to be the hardest road marathon in the US. In 2008, I did not run this race the day before. One whole minute faster.

Great fun. I did indeed have great fun in 2008.

How about 2009? I'll write up some goals in my next post.

Look! I'm an old man.

Friday, January 02, 2009

12/14/08 Honolulu Marathon

The guy on the left is Marathon Maniac El Presidente and founding member Steve Yee. The guy on the right is more recognizable in pink and with less hair. No. It isn't a toupee. If it was a toupee, it would look better.

The Honolulu Marathon has never been one of my favorite races. It has a number of interesting aspects that attract people: the ocean, city running, and... probably most importantly... the chance to run in warm weather in December. It's Hawai'i! And attract people it does: this race brings in 25,000-35,000 each year. The big swing in attendance has to do with economic situations, primarily in two countries - the United States and Japan. Hawai'i is obviously a locale for the 'destination vacation', and when one ain't got no money, one stays home. And when one is rolling in dough, one (and one's family, of course) come(s) for longer. But even in a down year, that number is still 25,000. Way big for me.

And for a race this big, oddly, they do almost nothing above and beyond the basics for the runner. The expo is small. The shirt is cheap (though this year's wasn't quite as basic). The medal is a key chain. There is no seeding at the start and walkers seem to be proud of starting up front. The finish area is held at a nice place, Queen Kapiolani Park, but with tens of thousands of people trudging around, it can be a muddy disaster zone. And the food after the race? The runner gets an apple and two cookies. Not three. That's it; move along.

Unless you are Japanese. One of the really interesting... to me in a good way... aspects of this race is the amount of folks it draws from Japan. Of the 25,000-35,000, 60% or more come from Japan, and the race very much caters to them. The Japanese approach marathoning differently, and most people seem to come over as part of big tour groups and teams. Each of these groups hosts a lavish banquet at the finish. And sometimes before the start. Alas, as an American, you get to smell the barbeque and the wonderful fish, but you can only satisfy yourself with an apple and two cookies. Not three. And don't try to crash the party.

Nevertheless, the race pulls in figurative boatloads (ok, airplane-loads) of people each year. For the record, the race is the appropriate length, the course is well marked, and the aid stations are plentiful. The volunteers are uniformly friendly. The organizers even shoot off fireworks at the start.

Plus it is December in Hawai'i. That counts for a lot :-). It's hard to complain, but then again, it's also hard to get very motivated by the experience.

So as I said, I've never been a big fan. There are several great races in mid-December which I usually do. The last time I ran Honolulu was 2002. I finished with a 4:25, which at the time was my second fastest marathon. I got to run with local celebrity 'Cowman' for about six miles, and in the last mile, I got passed by a guy wearing Pacific Islander warrior garb and a spear (and no shoes). Then a guy dropped dead at the finish line right after I crossed. Fun day that turned sad at the end. I didn't feel like eating my two cookies. Not three.

For various uninteresting reasons, I decided to run it again this year. I came over a few days early fully intending to do lots of city running and even more beach reading. Alas, my plans were waylaid by typhoon-strength rain and wind that went on all week. Sideways rain so thick that I couldn't see across the street. Sigh. When tourists complain about the almost daily afternoon showers on the islands, I remind them: this is why it is green! But. Come on. This was ridiculous. I felt really badly for families who came over for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday and had to spend it stuck in their rooms. It was raining so hard and for so long that all the attractions and activities were closed.

I picked a most convenient hotel for the race expo and the starting line: The Ala Moana Hotel. The Honolulu Marathon starts at 5a, so starting line convenience was a high priority! The pleasant side effect was that Ala Moana Hotel is next door to Ala Moana Mall and down the street from Ward Center. With Typhoon Week in full swing, my running and beach vacation became more of a shopping adventure. I really got to know Ala Moana Mall very well.

The Friday night before the marathon, the local Maniacs held a big gathering at Buca Di Beppo... and treated Maniac El Presidente Steve and me to family fun, loads of food (which they wouldn't let me pay for), and gifts. Cool! The ring leader of the growing group of Maniacs in Hawai'i who I've dubbed "the Hawai'ianiacs" is Maniac Les. Remember that, I'll mention him again later.

I got to visit with some of the Hawai'ianiacs that I see at all the races, I got to meet spouses, and I got to meet the newest Maniacs-to-be. Fun times. As a special bonus, I sat across from a lady I've met at the Kona and Hilo Marathons many times: Maniac-to-be Marie. Her brother is the sponsor of the Kona race. Interestingly, I talked to several breast cancer survivors in this group, including Marie and another very nice woman who had recently finished treatment. It is amazing when I randomly meet people who have endured the experience, and I am always moved by the almost universal positive attitudes and outlooks.

Ok. The race.

The Honolulu Marathon course is technically a point-to-point because the finish line at Queen Kapiolani Park is about 2.5 miles from the the start. This meant that my hotel, while great before the race, was a bit of a liability afterwards. There are no post-race shuttles. And in order to score a free flight, I had to leave the afternoon of the race. My marathon day would actually be a bit of an ultra. I'd need to run 26.2 miles, eat my two cookies, not three, and then run a few more miles. Great fun!

Ok, a point-to-point. More accurately, the course is a seven mile point-to-point tour of pre-dawn downtown Honolulu and Waikiki. After passing the finish line, the rest of the race is best described as a 19 mile out-and-back with a tiny loop through the Hawai'i Kai neighborhood at the turnaround. For the most part, the course is slightly roly poly. There's a big hill at M7, which repeats on the way back at M24. Lots of people describe this hill as "climbing Diamondhead", and while it is indeed the base of Diamondhead, the course in no way goes near the top. It's just a hill.

Because the race starts at 5a and it doesn't get light until 6:45ish, runners spend between 7 and 18 miles in the dark. The city and Waikiki sections are bright enough, especially with various Christmas lights and decorations, but the rest is quite dark indeed. This is an interesting aspect. Lots of people do this race because of the sights, but you can't really see much for a good portion of time you are out there.

And you are out there with tens of thousands of your closest friends. For the midpacker, the course stays crowded pretty much the entire time. It's not awful, actually, EXCEPT for heading up the Diamondhead hill at M7. The organizers squeeze everyone over into one lane so that the other lane is open for the first crankchair athletes and the phalanx of official vehicles coming back. This part of the race is just no fun. Especially in the dark.

Race day started extra early for me. I generally get up early, so for a 5a start of a packed race, this meant that I needed to get up at 3:45a. I had a friend staying in my room with no such pre-race process; he was going to sleep in. No prob. I figured that I'd simply get up and go downstairs to the ballroom floor of the hotel and complete my process down there. Plenty of room to eat, and a giant bathroom to enjoy. Except for one tiny thing. I didn't know that my hotel was the center of the universe for several of the Japanese tour companies. Giant buses were arriving, basically all night long, packed full of folks. And they all waited on the ballroom level and stood in a quarter-mile line to use the bathroom. Ooops.

I decided to head out to the starting area. On the way over, I spotted a sea of portapotties in the mall's parking garage. A blessing! But not for me. "Sorry, sir, this is for a private party." Konichiwa, sucker. After awhile, I did find a small cluster of portapotties right at the start. In ankle deep mud. Ew. But I did what needed to be done.

I lined up in the sea of humanity at the start, well, NEAR the start, and waited. Randomly, I spotted two friends - Maniacs Coconutboy and Coconutgirl, so I went to hang out with them. The drizzle began. As it got closer to 5a, the drizzle turned into rain.

How about a race goal? I had no need nor desire to truly race. I decided on "beat 4" simply because this would be a nice long run pace and it would be about 30 minutes faster than 2002. Plus, it was just seven days after my 50 miler at Sunmart. A bit of a recovery run.

Finally, at 5a, "home of the brave..." transitioned directly into the fireworks and the start of the race. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. Over the line, finally, and off we went in the pouring rain.

In comparison to the long lead-in above, I don't have much to say about the race itself. As expected, it was dark and packed with people. And very, very wet. I noticed quite a few spectators, which I didn't remember from 2002. As we ran by the closed bars in downtown Honolulu, it was obvious that some of the spectators hadn't been to bed yet :-). I ran near the Coconuts for most of the first seven miles, but after checking on Coconutgirl somewhere around M7 (she had pulled over to the side for a second, but she was fine), I lost track of them going up the hill. My last Coconut sighting involved various volunteers and police gently asking Coconutboy to get the hell on the proper side of the road. Which was clogged with both people and deep puddles.

Splish splash and onward. The lead crankchairs came by me right around M8 (their M24). Wow. The lead marathoners started passing me about M12 (their M21).

I hit the halfway point at 2:02. 2:02! The crowding, the two potty stops, and the rain had worked together to slow me down. That and the residual effects of my 50-miler seven days before. I had legs of lead. Hmmm. To beat 4, I'd have to run a negative split. It wasn't out of the question, but I'd have to work for it. Between that and spotting people I knew as I headed back on the out-and-back, at least my brain would be occupied.

I saw founding Maniac Tony coming back about M15 (his M18). He looked strong. I did not. Legs of lead. And I started craving my two cookies, not three. Oh man, that meant I was running out of gas. Fortunately, as I cruised through the little Hawai'i Kai loop, it stopped raining. Unfortunately, the sun came out and it got steamy. "Great," I thought, "that should assist me with my negative split attempt."

Throughout the race, I spotted people I knew. Also lots of (mostly Japanese) people in costume. A guy with a tall white bird's head - I think he was a crane. A guy with a monkey hat. Two ladies dressed as Playboy bunnies. Lots of superheroes.

And some dude in pink.

Oh wait. That was me.

Sweaty, sweaty, sweaty. I had managed to get my pace where it needed to be, and I passed M20 at 3:06. Usually, I have to be closer to 3:00 at M20 to ensure a 4:00 finish. Although that leaves me an hour to do a not-speedy 10k, races where it takes me 3 hours to run 20 miles are usually races where I'm slowing as I go. Here I was at 3:06 and I needed to NOT be slowing. Actually, more usually, I hit M20 between 2:35 and 2:45. Sigh. Is ok.

I was winding around people, especially at aid stations where some folks would come to a dead stop. YOIPS!

Tick tick tick tick. Legs of lead. I had probably sweated off 5-6 pounds, but I had not actually lost that weight because it was clinging to my clothes and shoes. The splish splash of the rain had become a squish squish in my shoes.

Back over the Diamondhead hill at M24. I saw some of the last walkers still headed out (their M8). This was the same perspective that the crankchairs had had of me much earlier. Except it was dark and raining then. And there's no chance they saw me, even in the pink. I was passing lots of people. They had slowed, which is the typical Hawai'ian race day experience. I was speeding up. I said hello to Maniacs and good morning to my new Japanese friends ("Ohayou Gozaimas!"). At M25, I started hearing the finish line announcer. My watch showed it would be very close to 4. Which side, I did not know.

At M26, I spied a guy running in a USPS uniform. Maniac Les! He crossed the finish line; the announcer commented on his uniform. Apparently, he had tried to run the race carrying a package too... but the rain had other ideas and the package dissolved.

I looked at my watch. .2 to go, and I still didn't know if I was going to make my goal.

They didn't announce me in the pack of finishers. Lots of us were trying to beat 4.

By the official clock, I did not. But it took me a long time to get over the starting line.


Woohoo! I haven't been so happy to beat four since the very first time I managed to beat four. I can run a 3:30-3:40 marathon fairly regularly, but beating four in this race felt like a BQ.

Oh, and it was a 2:02/1:57 negative split.

I wandered through the Queen K muck to get my shirt and my keychain. I got my two cookies. Not three. I didn't want my apple. Then it was time to head back, and head out. Maniac Tony caught me and we walked back together. Only at this point did I learn that my plane was going to be 6 hours late. Usually that would suck. Not today. A small subset of the Hawai'ianiacs (Les, Johnny, and Scottish Heather), Tony, Maniac El Presidente Steve, Maniac Sue, and I hung out and drank beer. It was a great ending to a soggy, steamy day.

Even if it was at the local Hooters.

Life changed when I got back to Seattle. Snow and ice storms moved in, and I barely made it out of my house for a long time. I ran less than 9 miles over two weeks, and those were 9 snow/ice miles. THEN, when that was over, my little dachshund ruptured a disk in his back and had to have major surgery, with a six week recovery time. Who knows when I will run steadily again.

Next up: I was supposed to run the Run to the Ranch Marathon in Springfield, Missouri on 12/28. I couldn't get to the airport. Then I was supposed to run the Last Chance Marathon up in Bellingham on 12/31. I managed to run the half there, and then I had to bail to be with my dachshund at the animal hospital. Sigh.

I'll be back Real Soon Now either with a quick report for Last Chance, or my 2008 annual recap. And 2009 goals too!