15 September 2013

East Coast, West Coast, and Base-Building

There are a lot of differences between living on the east coast and the west coast. After being east for six years, it's taking me some time to remember what it's like living on the west. Here is what I've noticed.
  • Driving. Massachusetts drivers are not-so-affectionately called "Massholes". They really earn this nickname every time they get behind the wheel. They cut you off, they flip you off, and they gleefully dent your car at every parking opportunity. In Seattle, the drivers are friendly and considerate. If the light is green but the traffic is backing up ahead, they will stop at a green light rather than enter the intersection and possibly block it for the cross traffic. It's kind of weird. At first I found myself cursing the drivers in front of me who wouldn't go through a green light, but then I realized they were actually thinking about other humans besides themselves. What a concept!
  • Encounters. People in Seattle enjoy greeting their fellow humans. They greet you on the street, on the bus, in the elevator, and while waiting in line. They enjoy interacting, conversing, and connecting. In Mass, people pride themselves on pretending that there are no other humans, anywhere, ever. There's no eye contact, no conversation, no acknowledgement.
  • Weather. It's like, perfect here. It's 60-75 degrees and sometimes it sprinkles a little. Mass weather = hot & humid or snow & ice. That's it. 
So it's obvious that I like it in Seattle, but there are some strange things about Seattlites. I heard someone refer to "that Seattle passive aggressive thing" the other day, and I think I know what they mean. Everyone pretends to have affection and high regard for their fellow wo/men, but as soon as the fellows are out of earshot, all bets are off. You hear a lot of pleasant almost-saccharin tones, followed by a great gnashing of teeth. So basically you can't quite trust that anyone likes you, no matter how nice they are to your face. But I can live with this. It's pretty close to how I naturally operate anyway.

Okay, running. This week I ran 27 miles, my highest mileage week in FOUR months. It feels great to get back to training. I did some core and strength work twice this week, and I'll increase that to three times this week. I'm going to start doing The Dozen, which I heard about from Sarah, another local Oiselle Volée runner. This morning I ran 10 miles with Sarah, which was awesome, amazing, and slightly intense. Fortunately I didn't die in front of her. She kicked my butt, but in the sweetest possible way. We did around a 9:00 pace, which is just a bit slower than my last half marathon. I typically do my long runs around 9:45, so this was fun and fast. I am so tired right now. I'm trying desperately to focus on the Seahawks game (and writing this post) but my eyes and ready to be done for the day. Is it just me or do your eyes get tired after a hard run?

I enjoyed reading You (Only Faster) and I am doing the 12-week half marathon training plan on 4-5 days/week of running. You're supposed to take the basic plan and customize it, which seems relatively straightforward, but I haven't had time for the customization part yet. I don't think it matters until week 3 or 4 of the plan, so I think I still have time to get it dialed in. This coming week is a base-building week, so I have about 32 miles of easy running. (Last week was a "prep-hills" week, so I did one hill workout in addition to my long run.)

When I knew we were moving to Seattle, I decided I needed to do a much better job of socializing. I'm pretty antisocial anyway, and Boston didn't help. This week I met two local runners, Joyce and Sarah. It's so nice to chat and run with women who are as psycho about running as I am. Yesterday, we went to the Puyallup Fair with our friend W and her son C. Sean used to babysit C as a newborn, and he is the sweetest kid ever. W is so fun to be around, and I love that she seems so relaxed about everything. I definitely need to spend more time with her. The Fair was so much fun! We rode rides, got dizzy, ate carnie pizza (yum!) and won stupid stuffed and inflatable toys. We saw all sorts of 4-H creatures like draft horses (huge!), pygora goats (fuzzy!), and every breed of dog ever. My favorite part was riding the Extreme Scream, which is one of those awesome hydraulic column rides where you have a 20-story freefall and a 3G return trip up to the top, with a bunch of ups and downs in between. Best $10 I've spent in years.

Do you have any impressions of east coast vs. west coast culture? I'd love to hear them.

08 September 2013

Settling In

Life in Seattle is amazing. It's better than I thought it would be. My job is great, our temporary place (for two more weeks) is fun, and Maple likes her school. Sean sprained his ankle really badly, but he's the happiest hobbling person I've ever seen.

Since we got here (only a month ago!), we've been exploring the crap out of the area. We went hiking at Rattlesnake Ledge in the Cascades:

We ate at our all time favorite restaurant, Trinacria in Olympia:

We went to see Snoqualmie Falls:

And saw some amazing views of Mt. Rainier:

We spent time with some of our favorite kids:

I did some shopping:

I've been feeling better and better each day, and this week I ran 24 miles! This is the most I've run in one week since early June, when a bad 5k knocked me off my game. Then came the move, and some preoccupying health crap, but the good amazing awesome news is that I'm back, and I feel incredible!

Tomorrow, I start my training for the Seattle Half Marathon on December 1st, and today I registered for my first ever trail race; a 5k in three weeks in Bonney Lake. It will be my first race as a Oiselle Volée runner! I'm beyond excited to don my new race kit and do some off-road racing.

I do most of my runs either on the Elliott Bay Trail, which is right outside our apartment and goes along the sound for miles and miles, or on the Green River Trail which is close to my office. I'm so lucky because both places are great for running, and specifically for getting back in shape. They're completely flat and traffic-free, and also very pretty.

Today's 10-miler was amazing. I decided to take the first 5 miles easy, and speed up towards the end. I ran an 8:40 last mile, which is speedy for me. Yesterday I did a fartlek run, which I never do since they are far too free-form for my Type A number-crunching brain. I like to know my paces all the time, and with fartleks you kind have to of let that go. Anyway, it was a perfect run. Sometimes I felt like going fast, so I did. Then I got tired and slowed down. Imagine that!

I don't know exactly what my training plan will bring this week, since I'm still working on it, but I know that I'm taking tomorrow off and I have a date with You, Only Faster, to plan my plan as it were. I'll keep you posted!

Are you training for a race? Or are you running in the moment? I'd love to hear about it!