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Keeping in tradition of writing race reports for all my races…here’s the rundown on the Mercer Island Half Marathon (1/2 marathon race report, I know kind of boring).

This was my first race of the 2011 season and my longest race since Ironman. This half marathon course is around Mercer Island, this is a route I ride on my bike frequently, however, I had yet to run it. The elevation profile tells the whole story, its either up or down…nothing flat.

Mercer Island 1/2 Maraton Elevation Profile

The weather had been total crap leading up to race day but we lucked out and it was a sunny and relatively warm morning. The other bonus was the later-than-used-to 9am start.

Being that its a hilly race my plan was to be really conservative the first half and see what I could do on the second half. I was shooting for a 8:00/mi pace for the first six or seven miles, however, the pace ended up at 7:30/mi. I was still able to negative split the race and ended up with a an overall average pace of 7:15/mi.

Its a good race, I’d suggest it to anyone looking for an early season 1/2 marathon thats not afraid of some hills.

Race Time 1:35:19 (Personal Best)  

Div place 28/139 overall place 157

Holy $%^*…along with everything else that’s happening this year I’ve been able to put together a modest race schedule that I’m excited about. Guess I better renew that USAT license.

2011

Mercer Island Half Marathon
March 20th, 13.1 mile run (event web site)

Mount Rainier Long-course Duathlon
May 1st, 5.1 mile run – 28.8 mile bike – 3.8 mile run

Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon
June 25th, 13.1 mile run (event web site)

Rev3 Portland Half-Ironman
July 10th, 1.2 mile swim – 56 mile bike – 13.1 mile run (event web site)

Seafair Olympic Triathlon
July 24th, 1 mile swim – 20 mile bike – 10 k run (event web site)

Hopefully another race or two in September…

My morning breakfast can have a big impact on the days workouts. Oatmeal is my go to but I eat it out of function rather than enjoyment. However, I’ve put together a custom oatmeal waffle recipe that’s pretty tasty. It even  uses coconut oil rather than butter. Warning, these aren’t light fluffy waffles however they are full of fuel.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs – slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

1/3 Cup melted coconut oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step 1. In a large mixing bowl  sift in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Step 2. Stir in oatmeal,  make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed well and set the bowl aside.

Step 3. In a smaller bowl mix eggs, milk, coconut oil, vanilla and brown sugar until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Step 4. Now add the liquids to the flour mixture and mix until the mixture is smooth and the waffle batter is done.

Step 5. Cook some waffles!

Step 6. Eat some waffles!

Google search here for the nutritional benefits of coconut oil.

Riding indoors on the bike trainer is a necessary evil in many parts of the world. Anyone who has spent time on an indoor trainer knows just how boring (and most of the time painful) it can be. I’ve tried everything to pass the time, TV shows, DVD’s, books, books on tape and maybe the worst of them all…Spinervals…I really detest Coach Troy and his stopwatch.

Luckily I stumbled across The Sufferfest, these videos combine a kick-ass workout, great race footage, new music and some and some unexpected surprises. Every time I hit the play button I know I’m in for a bike workout that will make my teeth hurt while still being entertained. The latest Sufferfest video “The Hunted” promised to have some longer slightly less intense intervals. Training for triathlons rather than road racing I was looking forward to The Hunted.

I’ll admit it, my first go at The Hunted was a failure. I setup my bike outside on the patio on a day the was 14 degrees, the combination of the cold and going out too hard led to blowing up at about the 30 minute mark.

Last week I jumped on the bike determined to conquer The Hunted. I was able to make it through all 60 minutes sticking to the perceived efforts and outlined cadences (other than the five minutes 110+ cadence at the 40 minute mark). While this workout does focus on longer intervals it finishes up with with a tempo/sprint combination that just about made me vomit (thanks David).

Bottom line…all the Sufferfest videos are great, they have impressive production value and an even better price point $10.99 USD.

(For the record I’ve paid full price for all The Sufferfest videos in my collection, there has been no compensation for this review)

#132 Owl Attack

I promise I’m not neglecting my blog, there just hasn’t been much to cover lately…that is until my run Tuesday evening.

After work I headed out to make the most of the beautiful weather with a run. Being tired of the same old loop I decided to mix it up by going in a different direction. A couple of miles in I was running up a path in the Mount Baker Park (South Seattle, not the actual Mt. Baker), it was still light out and there was plenty of visibility. I heard a strange noise in the trees that I attributed to a dog whining from a house that borders the park. A few seconds later an owl buzzed me from behind. I’d say the wing span was about three feet and it was light brown in color. After the pass it landed on a tree branch about 15 feet up in the air. I turned around and walked backwards up that past to get a really good look at the bird. We made eye contact for about 15 seconds seconds and it was obvious there was some serious attitude here.

I turned around and continued running up the path, about five steps in the owl hit the top of my head. I never sensed it coming, first I felt its claws then the weight and force of the bird. It scared the hell out of me and was really exciting at the same time. After pass number two I decided not to turn my back on the bird again.

On the way out of the park I let a couple people know about the owl, one person mentioned that the owl frequents the area but they had never heard of it actually hitting people. Not sure if it was trying to chase me away or thought I looked like a good dinner…

After doing a little research online I’m pretty sure its a barn Owl. Needless to say I’ll be running the same route tomorrow!

Barn Owl in flisht

Barn Owl

Photo Credit: Jürgen from Sandesneben Germany (Creative Commons 2.0)

I just remembered I have a blog…

Summer has been really slow to arrive in Seattle, so has my motivation to get back into a regular training. I have finally got consistent with daily workouts and have even had a few double workout days. My race schedule for this year isn’t all that impressive but I have some sprint and olympic distance races planned. If everything goes well I’d like to add a half ironman in September and possibly a winter marathon (someplace south).

Since being back to training one of the things I’ve noticed is that I don’t hate to swim like I did last summer. I think (last summer) I was too worried about that Ironman swim that I couldn’t enjoy my time in the water. So far this summer swimming in the pool and lake have been much more pleasant and my swim fitness didn’t loose as much as I feared it had. My bike is ok up to about the 50 mile mark and my run is fast up to about 8 miles. Another bonus from consistent training is an overall improvement in my mood.

Harmony and I have settled into what we’re calling the “lake house”, our new place is a couple blocks off Lake Washington. Being right by the lake and having a small yard for the dogs has been a great chance after years of city apartments.

While this (racing) season will be over before we know it I’m already thinking about 2011. I’m not totally sure what’s in-store but I do know I want to get faster than I was in 2009 while achieving a balance. I’m not sure how that’s going to happen yet but I guess that’s part of the adventure.

#130 Holy Hiatus

I know…this break got a little out of hand. While its nice to be 100% physically (nothing hurts) it was really a mental break that I needed. Two training sessions a day for just under a year took a toll on me in ways that go far beyond physical. The year also was hard on Harmony. While my current motivation level in picking up…looking back I still don’t know how I stuck to the work last year.

Last weekend I swam for the FIRST time since Ironman, it wasn’t as ugly as I expected but no matter what distances I race this year I need to spend some serious time in the pool. I still haven’t finalized a race schedule for 2010 but there is a list of possibilities, as soon as its final I’ll get it posted here. However, you can count on one thing…half Ironman will be the longest distance for me in 2010. Hopefully there will be a 2010 race schedule posted in a week or so.