Nothing compares to you

When I put on myΒ new Brooks Ghost 6 shoes on Wednesday night, I thought: “A-HA! This is amazing! Why did I ever think there could be anything better out there? I’m home!!!”

Aaron just got new shoes, too (custom red Nikes!), so we both took ‘em for a five-mile spin.

Errr, make that about 5.5 miles, since I accidentally left my watch running while I stopped to re-tie my shoe in the first mile and then stopped it when I resumed running, noticing my mistake a half-mile later. I ran a little extra just to get my Garmin to actually say five miles.

I swear there were lightning bolts shooting out of my feet. I could almost hear Sinead O’Connor singing in my head, “Noooothing compares… no-THING compares… to youuuuuuuuuu.” Aaron loved his shoes, too!

I went for a five mile “easy” run last night and ended up with almost exactly the same time and pace β€” whoops. That’s practically scientific proof that the Ghost 6s help me run faster, right?

They fit me so incredibly well and feel very light, but still cushioned just enough. They have none of the stiffness that I felt in the Ghost 5s when I first got them. It’s practically like the 6s are already broken in!

Call me crazy, but I’m going to wear them for my 20-mile run tomorrow (!!!) and for the marathon. I can’t even go back to the Ghost 4s at this point; the 6s are just too good, and haven’t given me any trouble so far.

I hesitate to recommend running shoes to people, since everyone needs and wants different things, but if you like a neutral shoe with some cushioning, I can’t say enough about Brooks Ghost 6.

This ain’t no paid review, either β€” I bought ’em myself, and I’ll probably buy five more pairs at some point before they disappear!

Special delivery: The brand-spankin’-new update to my favorite running shoe β€” Brooks Ghost 6!

The official release date is June 1, but apparently Road Runner Sports was like, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” and put them up for sale early.

I hope they’re as magical as Ghost 4. I sadly wasn’t a fan of Ghost 5.

Maybe, just maybe, I could break in these beautiful babies in time for the marathon.

Tonight… we dance.

Destination: Le Tour

Dear Internet friends,

I have a shameless request for your help.

Aaron has entered a video contest to win a really fabulous prize: a trip for two to see the final four stages of this year’s Tour de France!

And guess who hung out of the trunk of a car to film the video and gets to go with him if he wins?? πŸ™‚

It’s super-easy for you to help out:

  1. Click this link to visit the contest page
  2. Click on the video “My Life. My Dream. My Tour. – Aaron Pass”
  3. Press play to watch it (it’s only 30 seconds long!)
  4. Click the check-mark to vote for it

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That’s it β€” only takes 30 seconds! There’s no need to log in/sign up/sell your soul for anything, and you’ll help make one of Aaron’s biggest dreams come true.

Edited to add: The contest website sometimes doesn’t load his video the first time, even though I’ve used a custom link that should pull it up. If you refresh the page a few times, you’ll be able to find his video, watch it, and vote!

If someone asked me to do this, I might think, “The chances of him winning are so slim that I won’t even bother to vote because it won’t make a difference.”

But I’d be wrong! There are very few video entries at this point, and Aaron’s is BY FAR the best. He could really, truly, actually win this thing!

It’s a popularity contest to narrow the entries to the top four (both views and votes count), and then Specialized HQ will choose the winner. I think he’s got an excellent shot, and we’d love your help to ensure that he’s among the top four!

That’s all. Here’s the link to watch and vote one more time.

Please reblog/share this post if you feel compelled to help out even more. (No pressure, though. I’ll love you just the same either way.)image

Birthday zip-lining adventure!

Aaron did a great job in the Ski to Sea relay on Sunday! He got third place in the mountain bike leg (online results say fourth, but there’s no way the first-place guy could have done it in 19 minutes when it took everyone else 40+ minutes) and his team got ninth overall.

The team was on track to place higher, but the road cyclist got two flat tires on his ride. Still, they did an amazing job out of 450+ teams!

Aaron has zero photos from the race. Not even a single Instagram. Therefore, it’s like it never happened, and you get a zillion photos of zip-lining instead.

While Aaron was busy racing, my dad took my brother, Brandon, and me to Canopy Tours NW on Camano Island for a belated birthday adventure!Β 

I had been zip-lining once before in Puerto Rico, but my dad and bro had never been. This course was so much fun and decidedly less sketchy than the one I did in Puerto Rico.

Wheeeee!

We had lots of fun hooting and hollering as we zipped across the six lines between platforms perched up in trees and on land. One line was longer than the Space Needle is tall β€” EPIC.

The rain miraculously cleared up for the 2.5-hour adventure, and the sun even poked through the trees a few times. Loved being in the forest!

While we waited for the other members of our group to zip to one platform, we tested our safety lines and leaned off the platform. This was so much scarier-looking in person when you could see how high up we were! Dork face.

The final task was to descend straight down from the last platform.

There goes my bro!

We survived, and it was so much fun!

Thanks for an unforgettable birthday present, Daddio. πŸ™‚

Monday was a pretty lazy day in comparison, with the exception of a rainy five-mile run.

I don’t mind the rain when it’s warm out, particularly since it scares some people away from Green Lake and gives me more room to run. πŸ™‚

I had a super-duper lazy day today, since I worked from home so I could sign for a furniture delivery. Fresh air… I will get you tomorrow.

There should be a very exciting running-related delivery waiting for me at work tomorrow. I’ll post a pic when I have the goods in hand. Squeeee!

Rainy weekend

Seattle did not get the memo that it’s Memorial Day weekend, aka the unofficial kickoff of SUMMER. Quit it with the rain!

Yesterday was actually nicer, as the clouds parted during my 12-mile run and I wish I had put on sunscreen. I got a little color, but not burned at all β€” score.

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This run was kinda slow for such a short long run. Maybe because I exerted myself so much last weekend? Maybe because I ate pizza and ice cream on Friday night? Maybe because I’ve been feeling really behind on sleep? Maybe because I didn’t eat enough before the run? All of the above?

I’m not worrying about it. The really important run is next weekend’s 20-miler! For that, I’ll focus on good nutrition and getting plenty of sleep this week.

Today, Aaron is off doing a race and I’m home, cheering him on virtually. Just pretend I’m there…

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This photo is from a few weeks ago, obviously. That was the day we forgot the big camera and I had to iPhone it. This photo is courtesy of Jerry Gamez, the race director and same guy who took this photo last year! (Note that I’m wearing the same outfit… different color of the same Brooks shorts, different color of the same Old Navy t-shirt. Sigh.)

The race Aaron’s doing today is Ski to Sea, a multi-sport relay made up of cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, running, road cycling, canoeing, mountain biking, and kayaking.Β Aaron was recruited by a competitive, sponsored team to do the mountain bike leg!

You can see live results here, updated every five minutes. His team is Boomer’s Drive-In β€” Competitive Open division.

FYI, the running leg is about 8 miles with a 2,200-foot elevation drop. The runner on the leading team completed it in 34:59. WHAT. IS. THAT.

Meg is also doing the running leg of Ski to Sea, but on a different team from Aaron! Go Meg!

Meanwhile, I’m staying busy in Seattle. I went to an engagement party for my good friend (and bridesmaid) Sarah last night, and today I’m going zip-lining with my dad and brother! I hope the rain clears up soon…!

Birthday and the first runs of 26

I had a fabulous 26th birthday! My boss decorated my desk area with some fun stuff. πŸ™‚

Aaron sent me an Edible Arrangement of chocolate-covered strawberries!! YUM! My co-workers and I ate a few before I took this pic.

So good.

Aaron also treated me to a nice dinner at Purple Cafe & Wine Bar.

We shared the creamy basil pesto linguine and the pappardelle with lamb and prosciutto meatballs β€” both to die for. We also destroyed a few loaves of bread with whipped butter.Β Clearly, there’s no such thing as Paleo on my birthday!

I even had a glass of red wine. Oooh, cuh-razy! This was the first birthday in my twenties that I didn’t celebrate by getting drunk. Maybe that makes me officially old and boring, but I really didn’t miss it at all.

Aaaanyway, on to the running! My eight-mile run on Wednesday was kind of a strugglefest. You’d never know it by the splits, but I had to bargain pretty hard with myself to not call it quits at five miles.

I wore the Cumulus 15s and they just didn’t feel quite right. I had to stop several times in the first three miles to re-tie them because they felt too loose, then too tight, then too loose… urghhh.

I finally got them tied correctly, but then I couldn’t relax for the rest of the run. My shoulders and upper back were super tense for some reason. Maybe the shoes were throwing off my whole body? I’ll give them one more run, and then probably return them. Sad times. 😦

For tonight’s hilly run, I went back to my trusty Brooks Ghost 4s.

Yup. That elevation chart looks about right for how my legs feel. I skipped hills for two weeks, so it was a little rough returning to them.

My left ankle (the one I sprained a year ago) has been giving me a little trouble lately, too. I don’t feel it while I’m running, but it feels swollen after I run. Time to party with some ice, methinks.

Rest day tomorrow. 12 mile run on Saturday.

Did you know I only have three long runs left before the marathon??

12, 20, 12. Then I taper. WHAT.

Excited! Nervous! But mostly excited!

Twenty-six

Last night I did a “recovery run” of five miles (quotation marks because the level of recovery I achieved is doubtful):

I just ran by feel and didn’t look at my watch until it beeped with each mile split. My legs actually felt great! My quads have been sore due to the 19.3 racing/running adventure on Saturday, but they caused no trouble on this run.

Today is a rest day because it’s my birthday!!! I’m 26, although you’d never know it from the maturity level demonstrated in the photo below.

I’ve already celebrated my birthday twice β€” last weekend with my mom, Don (her fiance), and my brother, and on Sunday with Greta and Mark (Aaron’s stepdad) β€” so it feels odd to now have the actual day here when I’ve already blown out candles and eaten epic Peppermint Patty cake.

Who cares? Let’s celebrate again!

I just got a 20% discount code from Nuun yesterday to share with everyone (not related to my birthday, but let’s pretend it is), so here you go! Get 20% off of Nuun through June 7 if you want!

I’ll be using the discount to get some watermelon Nuun (new flavor!) at least. I might just go nuts and get one of everything.

FYI, I don’t get any cool-kid benefits if you use the discount β€” it’s just for fun and sharesies.

Happy birthday to me. Happy Nuun-day to you!

Seattle’s Best 15K recap

Unlike the nightmare of getting to the start line of the Lake Sammamish Half, it took us exactly seven minutes to drive on nearly car-less streets to Gas Works Park and easily find a spot in the regular parking lot for Seattle’s Best 15K. Huzzah!

That’s the beauty of a race with only 415 participants (309 for the 15K, 106 for the 10K).

I had plenty of time to hang out in the car, eat a Clif Bar, use the restroom, and decide I definitely needed to wear arm-warmers for the 7:30 a.m. start. Brrrr.

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I wore my trusty Brooks Ghost 4 shoes with brand-spankin’-new (as in, made the night before) custom inserts from Road Runner Sports, hoping they would help my shoes feel better than they had in the last few weeks. They didn’t disappoint!

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What’s that on my quad, you ask? Why, a temporary tattoo of a lion leaping through flames, of course.

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I picked it up at a restaurant last weekend and thought it was kind of hilarious. And fierce. Rawr.

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There were no official corrals; a man with a bullhorn just asked us to organize ourselves by pace. He had everyone who planned to run sub-7:00 miles go in front, followed by the sub-8:00 milers, and so on.

I jumped in near the back of the sub-8:00 milers, and it felt weird to be so close to the front of the pack. Then again… small race.

Soon enough, we were off!

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I was worried about starting off too quickly since I knew I was surrounded by speedy people, but my legs and lungs felt great in the first mile (8:06). I realized I kind of, sort of, maybe belonged with these people.

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I do enjoy a nice power-walk.

Aaron did an incredible job driving around and meeting me at various parts of the course. I saw him four times! By the fourth time, I threw my hands up in the air, like, “How the eff did you get here so quickly??” Black magic.

At about the 1.5 mile mark, I tossed Aaron my arm-warmers. They had done their job, but I had more than warmed up in mile 2 (7:56 <— first sub-8:00 mile since 2011, whaaaat!).

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This part of the race was an out-and-back along the Ship Canal. I remember haaaaating this part two years ago, since it lasts a few miles, and then you still have all of Lake Union to run around.

This year, I just appreciated how nice and flat and straight it was β€” easy-peasy stuff to take me through miles three and four (8:06, 8:10).

Then, I realized mayyyybe I’d gone out a little too fast. My legs were starting to feel a wee bit tired. Nothing crazy, but I knew I’d need them to be strong for a few hills later on.

I ate my chocolate Clif Shot at mile 4.5 (I brought it and two bottles ofΒ NuunΒ in my fuel belt so I could skip the aid stations), and slowed down for miles five and six (8:17, 8:17 <— completely accidental consistency).

I saw Aaron again in mile seven (8:09) on Fairview Avenue and sped around that guy in the gray shirt so Aaron could get an unobstructed photo. Hey, I’ll take motivation in any form!

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This is where things started to get tough. The small-to-begin-with crowd of runners had thinned out loooong ago, so I was pretty much running by myself with only one or two people in my sights ahead of me. It was weird to not have other runners from whom I could glean some energy.

Also, mile eight (8:42) brought a few hills. We had to work our way from Fairview Avenue up to Eastlake Avenue in order to cross the University Bridge, and that involved some short, steep hills.

At one point we went up a steep hill only to go down again (which I did verrrrry slowly because I didn’t want to slip and fall on loose gravel; it was that steep) and then go up again. I felt like this up-and-down nonsense was entirely preventable with just a slight course change, so I was all like, what in the actual f*ck!

The positive part was that I passed a few people who really had trouble with the uphills, which I just attacked without a second thought (not that they didn’t hurt, but I wasn’t afraid of them). Thank you, hill repeats. And flaming-lion tattoo.

I picked things back up for the last full mile (8:16), as one does, but I felt so much slower than that. I was really feeling tired and ready to be done.

I’m super-proud of my last 0.3-mile kick at 7:37 pace. There was no one right ahead of me and no one very close behind me for the finish, so I got some nice cheers just for me and the announcer even said my name! (He pronounced it wrong by saying Dev-ON instead of Dev-IN, but I do realize it’s spelled Dev-ON, so I’ll forgive him.)

A smile for Aaron before the finish.

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And a hand over my heart for Boston.

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Plus, the WORST part of ANY race β€” when they make you stand still to cut off your timing chip when you really just want to flop onto the grass.

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Oh, here we go. This is good now.

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Official time: 1:16:13 β€” 8:12 pace

I eventually came back to life and actually put on my medal. Wheee!

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Garmin splits:

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Overall, this was a great race and I’m proud of my time! I really, really wanted to run at least one sub-8:00 mile (although it was probably not ideal to do that in mile two), and I PR’d by just under seven minutes.

Plus, I ran 10 more miles afterwardΒ at a very decent clip. Even though I’m training for a marathon, and running 19 miles in one day is kind of standard, that sh*% is still crazy.

Perhaps I should change my blog tagline to, “Just crazy enough.”

Scenes from today’s final race of the Singletrack Cycles West Side Mountain Bike Series.

Aaron’s dad, Dwight, and stepmom, Maggie, came out to spectate, which was awesome! I see so much of both Dwight and his mom,Β Greta, in Aaron, and he has all of their best personality qualities (of which there are many) as well. Maybe I’m biased, but seriously, I really won the in-law lottery with both sides of his family.

Aaron capped off his epic domination of this race series with another win, plus the most hilarious podium jump, which was instigated by Joey in the plaid shirt. I love how they all just went for it β€” absolutely no hesitation. I can’t stop laughing at that photo!

And, of course, Aaron snagged first place in the Cat-1 20-29 age group for the entire series. Whoop whoop!!! He won a bit of cash, some tires, chamois cream, homemade cupcakes, and a sweet award.

Plus glory. Endless glory.

Did I mention I get to marry this man??