Lake Sammamish Half Recap

The Lake Sammamish Half is a relatively small race with just under 2,000 runners, but it generated the worst traffic jam I’ve ever been in prior to a race.

After sitting on a freeway off-ramp for about 20 minutes as the clock ticked closer and closer to the race start time, I gave up on the car… and I ran.

Luckily, I only had to run about half a mile to the start line. I never do any warmup running before races, but maybe I should start, because this little jog felt great (although very stressful)!

I found Aaron’s parents and my family waiting in line for the porta-potties near the start — perfect. Aaron’s mom, Greta, had my packet, and my mom had brought my favorite running tank top that I had left at her house, so I changed in front of everyone in the porta-potty lines because whatever.

Aaron eventually parked and showed up in time to take a few pre-race pics. Greta and me:

And a big smile with my dad, my mom, and my mom’s fiance, Don! So happy that they all came out!

Greta and I made our way over to the start corral to seed ourselves. I hopped in at the 8:00-9:00 min/mi sign, and Greta went further back. I love how in sync we are in this pic. : )

After a few minutes of hopping around in the crowd to stay warm, the race began! We strolled ever so casually to the timing mat because the crowd was too thick to run…

…except I also did some lame, fake running poses for the benefit of my dad’s camera.

Yes, this is who I really am.

Here’s Greta! How sweet are her tights??

And then we were off!

I started in just the right place in the crowd, since I didn’t have to pass slower people or get passed by very many faster people. The pace around me felt a wee bit fast to start out, but I felt good, so I went with it.

I guess I should mention here that I didn’t really have a race strategy. My goal was to stick to at least 9:00-9:05 pace, and possibly start off on the slower side and finish faster.

Yeah, no. Didn’t do that. But I was incredibly consistent throughout the race! I’ll spare you the suspense and throw down all the splits right now:

You’ll notice there were only 19 seconds between my fastest and slowest miles. MAGIC SPLITS, these are!

I first saw Aaron and his stepdad, Mark, a few miles in. Apparently I arrived earlier than Aaron expected because his lens cap was still on as I approached, and he dropped his car keys while sprinting ahead of me on the trail so he could still get some photos! I somehow managed to scoop them up mid-run and throw them back to him as I passed.

Just out for a light power-walk with Aaron’s keys. Look at all those fools behind me running.

My dad also showed up not once, but TWICE along the trail, to take even more pics!

I quickly realized it took too much energy to say anything intelligible to him and just settled for a smile and a wave.

Although these photos don’t show it, I spent most of this race running right behind someone else. Like, I was a shadow to many different people, probably to the point of annoyance. It helped me to stay on pace, but not go too fast and burn out. I would simply stalk someone for a while, pass them when they became too slow for my liking, then settle in behind the next person.

Is drafting a thing in running? Hmm.

I took frequent sips from my Nuun-filled bottles and took a chocolate Clif Shot at mile 5 and mile 9. The course hopped off the gravel trail and onto a sidewalk at mile 8.5, and I was sooo happy to be done with the trail! Although, it didn’t really bother me at all while I was running on it. Those three long runs I did on the trail really paid off.

Everyone else around me seemed to really speed up once we got onto the sidewalk, but I seemed stuck at what felt like a very slow pace (although now I see that it wasn’t). I started to mentally struggle here, thinking I would just get slower and slower for the last few miles and miss my goal.

Then I head a familiar voice yelling my name, and it was my dad driving alongside me in his car!!! It was a complete coincidence that he found me as he headed toward the finish line, but it was so welcome because it gave me the mental boost I needed at that moment. 

Not even that boost could help me face this wretched ending to the course, though. WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS??

I really, really struggled with the last few miles as they wound, snake-like, back and forth. I really wanted to stop and walk for a while, or say “f*ck it” and just cut across some of those evil loops, but I knew I would be so disappointed with myself if I did.

This race came down to mental strength and stubbornness. I pushed and pushed and absolutely hated those last miles, but I knew I was so close.

Just a few more hairpin turns, then a bit of trail parallel to the lake, into the trees, then a loop around, and… and…


Somehow all the exhaustion melted away when I saw Aaron and my family waiting for me at the finish line!

Official time: 1:55:22 — 8:48 pace

Check out Greta springing like a gazelle to the finish line for a big PR! I screamed and yelled so loudly for her!

And of course we took many happy, tired pictures afterward. Half-marathon finishers!

With Dad (aka the most interesting man in the world).

Aaron (photographer extraordinaire!), Greta, and Mark.

Don, me, and my beautiful momma.

All of the above: Best spectators EVER!

Aside from the traffic/parking issues at the beginning and the torturous, winding last few miles, this was a fantastic race: flat, straight, and perfect for running a PR.

I’m awfully proud of myself for training hard for this race and sticking it out until the glorious end. It’s a huge confidence-builder as I begin training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon!

And, of course, it was incredible to have such strong support from my family at the start, the finish, and the whole way through. Plus, how fun is it to run a race with my future MIL?? Watch out, Chicago Marathon — we’re both coming for you in October!

I must mention that Greta treated us both to foot/leg massages (plus a pedicure for me) later that day!! Best idea ever. Thank you, Greta!!

Now… how’s about I start training for that sub-4:00 marathon?

11 on the course

Heyyyy-o, here’s what the course of my upcoming half-marathon looks like:

The East Lake Sammamish Trail is packed dirt/gravel, flat as a pancake, and flanked by multimillion-dollar lakefront homes. If I get bored during the race, I can just count the Range Rovers in the driveways.

I did my 11-mile run on this trail today to get a feel for it, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The first 8.5 miles of the race are going to be on this trail, and the last 4.51 are going to be on pavement. Today I discovered that I can flyyyyyyy on pavement after running on gravel!

The last two miles of this run were on pavement. Yessir.

My goal pace for the race will be in the 9:00-9:05 range. I’m getting nervous about my chances of actually achieving a PR (sub-1:59:46). We’ll see!!!

And speaking of nervousness… Aaron has his first mountain bike race of the season tomorrow! His goal is to WIN. He got second-place overall for the whole race series last year, so I think his chances are good. He has been working harrrrrrd this year!

And speaking of hard work… man, it was tough to eat all the food we ate last night at our belated Valentine’s Day dinner. 🙂

We started with a side of the BEST mac ‘n’ cheese I’ve EVER had. And that’s saying a lot.

Aaron had delectable beef shortribs over egg noodles.

I had filet mignon topped with crab, asparagus, and bearnaise sauce (WHAAAAAT???).

And we shared this stupid-huge ice cream sundae, which contained hot molten chocolate cake, caramel, vanilla ice cream, and homemade whipped cream. WHAT WERE WE THINKING.

Get yourself to Morton’s right quick if you want to go cray on some amazing food… and then run fast the next day.

Oh hayyyyy-ell no

I’m pissed, you guys. Pissed. Creepers be creepin’ EVERYWHERE!

First up, we have this news of an attempted abduction on Sunday night:

“The woman was walking in the 8500 block of Fremont Avenue North just before 8 p.m. when a male jumped out of a van and pulled the woman inside.

"The woman fought the suspect and was able to free herself before the suspect could drive off with her inside the vehicle.”

This did not happen in my exact neighborhood, but close enough to scare the hell out of me! Plus, I doubt kidnappers in white vans stick to strict neighborhood boundaries. Those creepers are still on the loose.


“A woman out jogging near Seattle’s Green Lake was grabbed by a man Monday morning, but a bicyclist chased the attacker away.

"It happened around 6:30 a.m. on the outer Green Lake Trail near Green Lake Drive and Wallingford Avenue.

"Police say the woman heard someone coming up behind her that she thought was another jogger. The man grabbed her and pulled her into the trees. The woman screamed and was able to fight the man.

"A bicyclist heard the woman screaming and chased the man away.”

WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK. Thank you for ruining my favorite running route, creeper.

Aaron is going to accompany me on my run tonight and, starting Wednesday, I’m going to run during my lunch break in broad daylight until it gets light enough that I feel safe running after work again.

I get super-sweaty when I run, so it’ll be interesting trying to rinse off/figure out what to do with my hair and makeup at work post-run (we do have showers in the building, but I’m not exactly fast at showering and getting ready).

It’s better to be a little awkward-looking at work than dead in a van or a bush, though (UNDERSTATEMENT).

Anyway. Thank God both of those women were able to fight off their attackers. I hate to think of what those headlines would say otherwise.

EDIT: But wait, there’s more! Here’s a THIRD news story from Friday night:

“Police say at about 7 p.m., the victim was walking home from the Northgate Mall area when she was jumped by an unknown male and pulled into a weeded area. The victim fought with the man as he sexually assaulted her.”

I actually have no words.


Rest days are usually boring, meaning I have nothing to post about, but today I have lots to share!

1. I officially registered for the Lake Sammamish Half-Marathon on March 9. It’s a “flat and fast” course that is “perfect for a personal best,” so I’ll aim for sub-1:59!

Fun fact: The race directors are a married couple named Roger and Yumay, and they also organize a bunch of mountain bike races that Aaron competes in! I hung out with Yumay and helped out with finish-line stuff a few times last summer while Aaron was racing. It’ll be fun to be the one competing at one of their races instead of spectating.

2. I joined a local running group. I was Googling for a discount code for the race and stumbled upon a Green Lake running group. The members meet up on Saturday mornings for long runs of various distances, plus track workouts, casual runs, and more throughout the week. A bunch of them are currently training for the Lake Sammamish Half!

I signed up and RSVP’d to tomorrow’s long run (and also used their discount code for the race… heh). It looks like a few other people have 8 miles to do (I have 8.5, but I have some distance to run to the meeting point), so I’ll check it out and see if I can make some new running buddies!

3. There is a TRACK right next to Green Lake. OMFG. Mind = blown.


According to Seattle Parks & Recreation, it’s a verified 400 m synthetic track. Ummm…. what have I been doing with my life?? Running around the goddamn lake for speed workouts, that’s what!

4. I got new Under Armour running tights! Thank you, Aaron, for another belated Christmas gift! : )


(Apparently my mirror is really dirty…) I got my current running tights in Dec. 2010 and they’ve been worn and washed to the point of ill-fitting saggy-ness. Not cute.

I ordered these Under Armour tights off the Interwebs without trying them on in a store first, and the medium fits perfectly! (I am 5’6" and 144 lbs, for reference.) They are sooo soft and comfortable; I can see myself just wearing these around the house! Can’t wait to test them out tomorrow.

5. Is that it? I think that’s it. Now, I kick back with a beer and get my weekend on!


“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

I’m running my first 10K in less than 10 days. The starting line of that race is the end of my comfort zone.

I’m injured right now. My legs have been swollen for the last two days, and even the few seconds that I ran to the bus yesterday were painful.

So I may not be running the 10K. But whether I run, walk or hobble/crawl 6.2 miles to the finish line, I’m doing it.

Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I could give up all hope of doing this 10K, sulk in my room (like I’ve been doing for the last few days instead of cross-training) and feel comfortable doing what I’ve always done, which is absolutely nothing. I could remain idle for fear of failing.

Or I could suck it up, put on my I Am Made Of Guts t-shirt and give this 10K the best damn shot I can.

Joining the DetermiNation team and pledging to raise money for the American Cancer Society as I train for my first half-marathon is another huge step out of my comfort zone. Honestly, I don’t make friends very easily — I’m more inclined to spend time by myself than be social — and I generally feel uncomfortable asking people to donate money. But I was tired of saying “no” to things and decided to say “yes” for once. I decided to see what was on the other side of my hesitation.

So here I am, on the edge of my comfort zone, demoralized by my injury and unsure if this is all worth it. It would mean the world to me to know that some of you guys have my back.

I’m going to get all crafty and make a sign to pin on the back of my Guts shirt as I run/walk/hobble the 10K on April 17: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” If anyone chooses to donate any amount – $5, $10, whatever – to my American Cancer Society fundraising efforts between now and April 16, I’d love to add their name or Tumblr name to that sign. You can visit this page to donate.

I don’t want any pity donations, but I’d love your genuine support. If you have my back, I’ll put you on my back, and I’ll crush 6.2 miles in whatever manner I’m capable of.

Even if you can’t or don’t want to donate, encouraging words are plenty welcome. Right now, anything helps.

So whaddaya say? Meet me at the end of your comfort zone. Let’s run/walk/hobble this one together.

I’m in love.

Lately I’ve been experiencing shin pain while running – something that hasn’t bothered me since I very first started running – and I realized that my shoes were completely shot. On the advice of a Seattle Do Lifer (robscomeback, perhaps?), I spent some quality time at Super Jock ‘n’ Jill tonight and found myself a new lover: a pair of Brooks Defyance 4 shoes.

I took them to the gym for 3 pain-free miles in 29:13. For the first time in a while, I felt “in the zone” and basked in all the ways I love running. I can’t wait to take them outside. I’m stupid-happy right now.

And, hey, the Do Life: Seattle video is thisclose to hitting 2,000 views. Word!


This GPOYW is a two-parter to show that I’m not a freak, since the second photo is kind of freaky.

Part 1: Standing normally.

Part 2: Caught in mid-landing after jumping off that rock for a super-cheesy photo. (Ignore the gross facial expression and red marks on my shoulders from the skydiving harness).

HOLY QUADS. Not exactly ladylike, but they were carved out by miles and miles of pavement, so I’ll take ‘em.

St. Patty’s Day run at sunset

My training plan called for 2 miles + strength, but I decided to skip strength since I’ll be cleaning our bathrooms tonight (which’ll take strength!). Midway through my planned two-miler along the Fremont canal, the gorgeous sunset and cool evening air convinced me to make it three. I love, love, love running outside.

Much to the chagrin of TanaDoesLife and myself, the lovely new splits feature on the Nike+ Web site has disappeared! I found a thread in the Nike+ forum about it and the response from the official Nike+ forum moderator was this:

“Hi folks,

Thanks for letting us know you noticed the split feature on your Nike+ GPS runs last week, liked the feature, and wanted it back. I’ve relayed your impassioned pleas to our site team.

The feature was unintentionally deployed before it was fully ready, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to bring back that feature, or something very similar, as the site continues to evolve!" 

Booooo. Why is a feature so basic taking so long for such a huge company to launch?

I love my Nike+ because it’s small, basic and easy to plug right into my computer, but I’ll probably look into getting a Garmin at some point. It would be nice to have both to choose from, depending on what type of run I plan to do. If anyone has used both a Nike+ and a Garmin and has thoughts on the pros/cons of each, please let me know!


GPOYW: “Crossing the finish line of my first 5K” edition.

I ran it in 33:32 and was dying at the end. Not sure how I managed to look so nice and carefree! Probably because of all the adrenaline that instantly got me hooked on racing.

Yes, my t-shirt says, “This Girl Can Party!”

(I’ve shaved 7 minutes and 7 seconds off that time, by the way. Yee-haw!)

Awesome running music resource!

My co-worker sent me a link to, a site that has a whole bunch of running songs and information about which pace each song is best suited for based on its beats per minute.

You can build playlists to suit the pace you want to hit, or the length of time you want to run. You can browse others’ playlists and map your runs, too!

I’ve only browed this for about 5 minutes, but it seems pretty great! Check it out!