We are heading into spring… finally! Just when I had about had it with the cold, rainy, windy weather in Seattle, we got a gorgeous sunny 50 degree day. I went for a run in the afternoon, and it was perfect.
Two weekends Mike and I had a remarkably social weekend (for us… we really aren’t huge social butterflies and usually prefer a quiet evening with Piper watching Netflix than going out). However, on Friday night we were just getting back from the gym when I got a text from a friend of mine saying she and her boyfriend were in Fremont and wanted to know if we wanted to meet up with them. My first thought was that a hot shower, pajamas, and Netflix sounded pretty compelling, but Mike and I decided to take showers and go meet them anyway, and I’m glad we did. We had a fun time. Sometimes I think we just need a kick in the pants to get us out the door, and then we can be highly social with the best of them. 😉 That’s the great thing about this friend of mine… she is always one to give a last-minute kick in the pants and text me to come hang out or go to a yoga class, etc. She sits at the desk next to me, and it’s really fun having a girlfriend at work. That has (surprisingly?) not really happened to me much in over a decade of working.
On Sunday night we got together with several of my running friends. We had them over to our house and then went out to a restaurant after an hour or so. I tried very hard to be a good hostess and got cheese, crackers, hummus, wine, sliced fruit, and nuts, and made sure the house was very tidy. I think it was a success. The five of us had a blast and one of the friends is already thinking about turning this into a monthly get-together. Works for Mike and me!
Despite enjoying our social weekend, it meant that we didn’t get as many errands run as usual, so this past weekend we were ready for a quiet weekend in. I had a half marathon on Saturday morning, so we didn’t stay up very late. I got up bright and early Saturday morning, drove across the lake to Redmond where my race was, and proceeded to freeze while I waited for the race to start. It was projected to be a high of 68 degrees, but at 6:30am it wa 30 degrees. The half marathon itself was flat and we basically ran south through Redmond along the east side of Lake Sammamish until we hit 13.1 miles, and then they had buses to bring us back to Redmond and our cars. I knew that a group of friends from my running group were manning the water stop at mile 11, so it almost made it feel like all I had to do was run 11 miles rather than 13… I was almost thinking of that as the finish line and the last two as just the bit at the end. It ended up being a gorgeous day for running, and when the sun came up the weather started warming up considerably. I hadn’t run for two days before the race with the idea that I was going to run it fast (even though technically I’m marathon training and this is just another training run, not a race). I didn’t feel as energetic as I had hoped for the first mile because I was cold and my muscles were stiff and I realized I really should have run a warm-up mile or two beforehand. Typically I do, but it was just so cold that I wanted to stay in my warm car with the heat blasting until the last second. After a couple of miles, I settled in and found my pace and targeted a few people that I thought I could stay with during the race. With a marathon I’ve never had any luck doing that. At some point in the marathon, either you or the people you’re trying to stay with will get tired and need to drop back. But for a half it’s more likely both you and they can sustain the pace for the duration of the race. I was a little frustrated with myself while I was running because at no point did running feel easy. I keep waiting for that magic day when I go for a run and it feels like I’m flying and the whole process is effortless. I have felt that, but it’s usually not when it’s 30 degrees out, and it’s usually not when I’m marathon training. Anyway, I digress. I just kept plodding along… I was working to hold my pace, but I wasn’t dying. There’s a very fine line between working and dying. Basically, working turns into dying if you hit an uphill, but since this was a flat race I didn’t hit any hills so the working didn’t progress to dying. At the second mile marker, my watch showed that I’d gone 2.25 miles. Great. Just what I felt like… running a long course (one that was actually more than 13.1 miles). However, I just let the miles keep ticking off on my watch, counting down until I hit mile 11 and would see running group friends. There were water stops about every two miles and since the sun was out I was actually ready for water at most of the stations. When I ran through the mile 11 water stop I exchanged some high fives with running friends and I saw some inspirational posters the running group had put up by the trail. One said, “There will be a day when you can’t do this. Today is not that day. KEEP GOING!” I loved it… exactly the motivation I needed to finish up the final 2 miles. I was not able to give a final kick in the last quarter mile to the finish line, which was probably a sign I was already maxed out. I was able to hold my pace though and just had to deal with those hotshots who want to blow by you with 100 yards left until the finish line. My previous fastest half marathon was 1:42:42 (~7:50 min/mile pace). My dream goal for this race was to break the 1:40 mark, and as I turned the final corner and saw the finish line clock up ahead, it read 1:39! I held my pace, and ended up with a final time of 1:39:13 (~7:35 min/mile pace). Although knocking 15 seconds off your per mile pace doesn’t sound huge, it actually is. That’s something you have to do each mile for the whole race. And I broke the 1:40 barrier! I’ll take it! Afterwards, I got on the bus back to Redmond, got back to the car, turned on the heat full blast, turned on the overhead dome light to locate my ear buds, gel, and other race paraphernalia, and then drove back across Lake Washington to Seattle. (The dome light will be important later in this story.) Mike was just waking up when I got home. He was sleepy, but not too sleepy to have followed my time via the live tracker for the race, and he complimented my speed. It was a good race. I’ve had honestly a lot of pretty bad races. It really makes me appreciate the ones where everything lines up.
For the rest of the day Mike and I ran errands (kitty litter, groceries, etc), and we ended up going to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner. They accidentally put Mike’s order in wrong and were really apologetic, but honestly we were just enjoying hanging out at the restaurant talking and didn’t have any problem with them taking the time to put in the order a second time. On Sunday, it was literally the nicest day we’ve had since probably last August! 70 degrees and sunny! Mike puttered around the house, putting silicone on the bottom of the railings on the deck and things like that. I did some cooking and laundry and enjoyed laying on the couch in the sun with Piper in my lap. (I think the half marathon was catching up with me.) Then in the evening Mike and I watched the first episode of Horatio Hornblower. Mike’s dad mailed us the DVD’s, so we started watching them. I remember really liking the shows, but I saw them years and years (maybe 20 years??) ago. Interestingly, there were still specific parts that I remembered. Strange what your brain thinks is worth remembering.
I was at work on Monday morning when Mike texted me that our car wouldn’t start. I instantly remembered turning on the dome light after the race. I had been very careful to make sure that I turned it off when I got back to Seattle, because I actually have drained a car battery by leaving that dome light on in the past, and it’s not a pleasant experience. So I wasn’t sure how it could have been me leaving the dome light on… but maybe I somehow thought I saw the light go off, but it didn’t actually?? Regardless, we also had the original battery still in a 10 year old car, so we figured it should be replaced anyway. Mike was initially worried that it might be the alternator, but the fact that we didn’t drive anywhere on Sunday and then the car wouldn’t start on Monday seemed to indicate that the battery wasn’t capable of holding a charge without the alternator (or I had left the dome light on). Mike jumped it Monday night after work, and sure enough, the dome light was on inside. Face palm. Although it was a little weird, because the passenger dome light was on, and I turned the driver’s side dome light on after the race. It also seems a little suspicious that we drove around all day on Saturday after the race and apparently neither of us noticed that the dome light right in front of our eyebrows was on. Or else one of us bumped and turned it on while we were putting groceries in the car or something?? Anyway, very strange. But the upside is that we replaced the battery, and there’s nothing wrong with replacing a 10 year old battery anyway.
As it turns out, Mike is going to China at the end of March, so we selected some luggage for him. We were very fortunate and got it extra on sale at Macy’s. There was also an additional deal that if you bought it but didn’t pick it up until March 18, you got an extra 30% off. (This seemed like a very strange condition for a sale, but the sales woman told us having these type of “VIP pre-sales” was actually very common in retail. So there you go. You learn something new every day!
So anyway, not a lot of very exciting things going on here. Mike’s work on the house continues, our busy-ness at work continues, my marathon training continues (although I’m over halfway done!), and our hanging out with Piper continues. Difficult to complain, so I won’t. 🙂
And spring is coming! Any day now… Mike and I are ready for it!