Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lakefront Ultra - it's as tough as you make it

Lake Michigan
"It's as tough as you make it", is what ran through my head the final out and back. The Lakefront Ultra is a friendly 50k on Chicago's Lakefront. About 165 of us started at 8:30am this morning in Lincoln Park and headed south along the lake to a turn around just past the Lincoln Park Zoo, 5.2 miles. Back and forth (3 loops) to make the 50k distance with a total of 20feet elevation change for each loop - FLAT! It was beautiful in a different way from the mountains and dirt I'm used to; running along with Lake Michigan on one side and the sky scrapers of the city on the other. There were so many fun and energetic people along the course and you get to know the faces with so many out and backs. I also loved how active the people of Chicago appear. In the 5.2 mile stretch we ran by a golf course, soccer game and baseball game. Numerous people were out in large groups training (kick off for Chicago marathon training groups are starting now). There was always something to look. Pat and Stewart (the RD's) organized a great event, Beth (Pat's wife) made an excellent pot of beans and rice for all finishers and the event sponsor, Fleet Feet hosted aid stations every 2.5 miles.

I ran with the Nathan Speed 1.5 and loved it. It was my first time in the pack and the stretchy belt didn't bother my belly and the 10oz flask was just the right amount of water when the aid stations were so frequent. Patagonia long sleeved silk weight, sage burner shorts, and ear warmer, Smartwool gloves and socks and Montrail Odessey Shoes. A little chilly at the start, but I'm glad I didn't take my dragonfly jacket.

The reason for my Chicago visit was to give a hydration/nutrition clinic at the Piper's Alley Fleet Feet on Friday night and while in town I figured why not run a race? Running a race is such a great way to experience a city. I was fascinated with Lake Michigan, the beaches on the shore... it just amazed me that I was on a lake. You can't see land on the other side!

Headed to the Blue Man Group show tonight! A great weekend in Chicago.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Life on the Road & Chuckanut Recap

I am fortunate that my “work” travel is enjoyable. I like the people that I work and travel with; I enjoy the places I get to visit and the topics of our meetings – running, sport and product. A highlight for anyone that travels for work is meeting up with a local trail running group and sharing in one of their favorite runs. While in California earlier this week I had the opportunity to meet up with a group of So.Cal runners and squeeze in a fun 1.5 hour morning run near Laguna Hills. Most of the runners could point to their houses as we snaked up the valley and then turned left on to a climb that led us to “top of the world.” A fantastic morning! Charlie Nickell has the, quote "dubious responsibility of providing fresh editorial (not accurate) for the OCTR web site." Here is his Wednesday run re-cap. If interested:

Also, I realize that I never posted about Chuckanut - I did put a quick race synopsis on the GBRC Chuckanut site and one of the GBRC members that ran the race also posted a story. And finally - my pictures. This photo links to 50 photos I took throughout the day.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mercer Island Half Marathon

On Sunday March 25 Jenny and I rode bikes to meet at the I-90 tunnel 8am sharp. Upon meeting we both commented that if we hadn't committed to each other, neither of us would have been there. Typical Seattle March weather, chilly and drizzly. We crossed the windy I90 bridge and kept convincing ourselves that bikes were the way to go; we wouldn't have to fight traffic or find parking; but the comfort of a car may have been nice. After gathering bib number and chip, locking up the bikes and switching shoes we headed over near the start to see the sponsors. Hot decaf Starbucks and a couple of Clif shot bloks made for a good prerace snack.

After warming ourselves in the local Rite-Aid we scooted over to the start of the Mercer Island Half Marathon with only a few minutes to spare and decided that our Patagonia shells were too much and ran them back over to our backpacks as the gun was going off... we were THE last two people to start the race. It made for a fun run though, working my way back up through the field of 2,000+ runners (there was a 10k & 5k as well). The windy, hilly loop around Mercer Island was entertaining (for a road race) and trying to maintain a speedy race pace challenged my heart rate and hamstrings. It was fun to get back to a road race, feel the "runner energy" magnified (because there are so many more people there) and and be done with a tough effort in just under an hour and a half.

The best part was running back out on the course to meet friends Jeanne, Jenny and my spin instructor Eli, cheering runners on as I went. The funny smiles I got and looks of relief when I told them it was "all downhill from here" were entertaining and spirit lifting, "runner energy". Jenny and my results don't reflect the late start, but experience is what we were after, not the time. The sun came out right as Jenny finished so our bike ride back into Seattle was much more enjoyable and it was another experience where we were much happier to have done it, even when initially turning off the alarm sounded more enticing.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Chuckanut is THIS weekend!

bag stuffing
I'm really excited for the event this year! There are 337 registered runners. Bib numbers are assigned, porta potties are ordered, the trail is marked, the race goodie bags are stuffed and many more little details that go into pulling together an event are falling into place. One thing that amazes me about pulling this race together is the fantastic help I receive from friends and family and the NW ultrarunning community. This is my 5th year as RD of the race and every single year without fail my Mom, Dad, Portia (best friend since 7th grade!), founder of the race Doug McKeever and many others have helped me in the weeks leading up to and on race day. Local running stores Fairhaven Runners and Seattle Running Company host the goodie bag pickup. Sponsors donate great goodie bag fillers and prizes for the random drawing at the finish line. On race day volunteers come out of the woodwork to make the event what it is. It is a lot of work, but ends up being a fun day filled with tons of positive energy. There are so many rewarding moments as an RD; watching the volunteers take care of each runner, seeing friends and family out to support their loved ones and cheering in runners as they come across the finish line exhausted and elated from their accomplishment. Results and race report will be posted on the race website.

Miracle of Life

In the last week I have had the opportunity to spend some time with lots of little ones. I feel I am at that point in my life where nearly everyone around me has or is having kids. It is such an amazing and mind blowing thing for me to watch my girl friends go through the whole pregnancy process and even more-so watch them raise these little beings. Being a part of the children’s’ lives is so precious and watching them change and evolve into their own independent little beings… again is amazing.

jackson knowles booher

One week old in this picture is Jackson Knowles – he joined Ellie and Chris and is slowly easing them into the parenting process as a mellow, yet alert little guy. Born at 7lbs, 5oz with a full head of dark hair he is healthy and still so little!

Up north in Burlington, where I grew up, I got to attend Noah’s 2nd Birthday party. My friend, Jonna who I have known since high school track, is now pregnant with Noah’s little sister (due 3/19!). The other two little girls that show up in the pictures frequently are Brenda’s girls (another friend from HS track).
the birthday boy balloon room! girl buds

Spending time with friends is always important and I am so thankful for the long term friendships I have built. You know the kind where you may not see each other every day, and at some point (college for me) perhaps a year goes by, but it doesn’t matter. From the moment you reconnect it’s like you went for a run together the day before and haven’t missed a beat.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Last Howl

last day
Originally uploaded by kmoehl2000.
Call it a cult, call it a group of crazies… the Coyote 4 Play event made its tenth and final run this year in the traditional stomping grounds of Ojai and at Pt. Mugu State park just south of Oxnard in Southern California. (February 20-26). The traditional C4P is 4 days of running – Thurs- 7 miles, Fri- 50 miles, Sat- 40 miles, Sun-30 miles. For those seeking more, you can join in the Scrub Run of the Backbone trail which adds about another 70 miles – Tues- 38 miles, Wed- 29 miles. Each evening is filled with a group dinner and entertainment: bowling, talent show, awards (not for running).

For the last four years C4P has been a great getaway; get away from the gray and wet winter of Seattle for some fun running in the California sun. Each year stands out in my mind for something different and each provides a variety of memories. The first year was my break through year – I learned very quickly how much the mind controls your ability to move forward. There was the poison oak year, the rain year, the year I finally ran all the miles, the sexy trail markers year (wait that happened more than once!), Barb twirling the baton, the year of the Canadians, boner miles, the year I got to help make grilled cheese at the base of butt crack rock, the twirly hats, this year I added the scrub run to all the miles. Four glorious years of running mixed with socializing with a super fun, super positive group of people that love the trails.

C4P has been a key event in my calendar for 4 years and many more for others in the group. It’s a time to renew why we do this, why we run. It’s not competing, but about sharing trail time. About doing what we love. It breathes life & resets the clock. I would like to say thank you to all involved, for each personality there makes the event what it is. The head guys Chris and H’ard bring together a helpful crew; they arrange evening entertainment and provide the grounds for a variety of entertainment to occur. This event will be missed by many; it is best put by Roch, there will be a hole in the 2008 ultrarunning calendar.