Friday, June 26, 2009

26.2 miles with 25,000 of my closest friends

Tomorrow is the inaugural Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon. 26.2 miles of rock and roll, crowds, runners, tired legs, sore muscles, blisters and bleary-eyed smiles. Okay... that's just my personal experience. But... I'm looking forward to it. Okay, right now I am a nervous nelly and thinking about tomorrow makes me want to puke. I am looking forward to mile seven. That's about when the jitters go away and I find my groove. The crowd will be somewhat thinned out by then and my brain will find that happy place where I flit from thought to thought as my feet and legs take on a life of their own and just follow the course.

My mom and sister will be at the finish line cheering me on. They can walk on the ferry and then walk to the finish line to see me. I let Blaine off the hook because driving into the city and finding parking during an event of this size would be a sheer nightmare for him. There's a live band every mile along the 26 mile course and a huge celebration at the end, followed by a concert at Marymoor Park. I'm thinking that the one thing that will get me through the last three miles will be the free, cold beer at the end. Seriously, a cold beer at the end of a run like that is AWESOME.

I am incredibly proud of my friends Randi and Janet for running the half marathon, their first ever. They've trained hard (harder than me I think!) and they will be awesome. I am sorry I won't be at the finish line to cheer them on, since their finish line is my halfway point. I expect to see pictures, gals! The weather is supposed to be sunny and mid 70's. I am bummed about that. I was hoping for clouds and a few sprinkles. I run MUCH slower in the sun.

Okay, off to obsess over the course map and elevation chart a bit more.

Happy Friday!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Adventures in Running or... How Not to Piss Off Momma Bear in the Woods

I ran my favorite Beaver Lake Preserve trail loop this morning. It's a 1.2 mile loop through some really nice woods. I've always considered it a safe loop because it doesn't go too deep into the woods and you can see the backyard of a house and a golf course on part of it.

I was on my fifth and final loop when, through the music in my head phones I heard a very large snarl/growl. Right in front of me (about eight feet away at the most) was a black bear and her cub! DAMN! Thought I was a goner. The cub scampered up the tree right in front of me and the momma bear ran behind it but didn't leave of course, because she couldn't leave her baby. I slowly backed away then bushwacked through the woods to someone's backyard (I just happened to be at the part of the trail that was near someone's yard). Then I SPRINTED down their private road to the Beaver Lake road and made my way back to my car. My legs were all bloodied from bushwacking and my hands were shaking so bad I couldn't dial my phone.

Okay, so chances are slim I would have been attacked but when you are alone in the middle of the woods and you piss momma bear off, you never know, and there's no one around to help you!

So, I learned a couple of things from this experience:

1. When your life is in danger, your actions DO revert to Hollywood slow motion.
2. When your life is in danger, parts of your life DO flash before your eyes.
3. When you are running from a bear, you will not feel the pain of blackberry bushes shredding the skin on your legs until long after you are safe (and then you will be puzzled by the blood all over your knees. It will take several moments to put the pieces of that puzzle together).
4. You will definitely forget how to dial your iPhone.
5. You will sound like an idiot when you talk to the Department of Fish and Wildlife (Yes, I know now that there is a Website that documents recent bear activity and I know now that there were bear sightings in that area recently, but I'd just passed a woman and her poodle, for God's sake. I assumed it was SAFE, officer!)
6. Running with headphones in the woods is pretty stupid. Running without a bear bell and bear spray is even more stupid. Yes I own those items, Officer Wildlife, Yes I will bring them with me next time. Thank you Officer Wildlife.

I love wildlife and understand when I am in the woods, I am running in their territory, so I'm not at all incensed at this encounter. Just feeling a tad stupid for literally stumbling upon and scaring a momma bear and her cub. I DO know better than that.

I guess the silver lining would be that by the time I made my way back to the road, I had to run an extra mile or so to get back to my car. So maybe I can skip my run tomorrow?