Tag Archive | running

Seattle Hot Chocolate 15K 2018

On March 4, 2018, I ran my first ever Hot Chocolate 15K.  Two of my girlfriends, Katie and Katy, went with me, and we had such a fun girls weekend!

Katy and I drove down on Saturday, picked up Katie, and the three of us went down to the Seattle Center to pick up our race packets and go to the Expo.  They had a lot of great vendors, and some great freebies!  We had some hot chocolate, posed for some photos, and got our race gear!  The race had some really nice medium weight pullover fleecies; I love it and have been wearing it on my road trip when I need something more than a t-shirt, but don’t want something too warm.  Katy treated us all to 15K shoe bling too – girl power!

We stayed at Katie’s house the night before the race and got up really early to head into downtown Seattle.  The traffic at 5:45 in the morning!!!  It was sooooo cold the morning of the race!  I knew we would warm up and be fine once we were running, but waiting for the start was very chilly!

Waiting to start

The course was ok; to be honest I wish it would have been more scenic.  It winds around downtown Seattle, and they closed off the Battery Street tunnel for runners to run through – how many Seattle-ites can say they have run through the Battery Street Tunnel?!  Sadly, there are a lot of dirty, littered parts of Seattle.  It reminded me that I am more a small town girl.  The highlights are definitely running across the Aurora Bridge, and heading back in toward the finish line and seeing the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project Museum (although I think they might have changed the name of this iconic museum?) brightening up the view at the end.

The race has some really amazing volunteers – it is sponsored by Allstate Insurance, and their employees manned water stations and cheered us on.  I love when a race has a good cheering section.  Along the way, there were some really cool Seattle residents who got up early and had the music booming from their decks and yards – it really gives a boost to my motivation.

There are definitely some tough hills on this course!!!  However, the fact that it is only 9.3 miles meant that I wasn’t as fatigued as I would have been on a half-marathon with the same hills.  I felt like I still had energy at the end of the race – the 15K distance was good for me!

I ended up finishing in 2:05:45, or a 13:30 minute mile pace.  I was happy with that, considering I really hadn’t trained at all for this race (which has become all too common on my races lately!).  I knew I could do the distance with muscle memory!

After the race, we got our hot chocolate goodies.  A cup of super-rich hot chocolate, and a melted chocolate dipping sauce with a banana, pretzels and cookie to dip in it…  Sooooo good…  It was just what we needed, with a little hot chocolate sectioned cup to take home after the race.  We couldn’t linger too long though, because it was still so cold!

Post Race Hot Chocolate

We headed out from downtown Seattle, and avoided the departing traffic by stopping in Ballard for brunch at the Portage Bay Café.  A mimosa and avocado toast really hit the spot for me – this place did not disappoint!

Brunch and cocktails!

I am so blessed to have such amazing girlfriends.  They love me, they build me up, I can share both my trials and joys, and I get to feel the incredible bond of girlfriends.  I LOVE these ladies!  This was another example of the wonderful life I get to enjoy.


2016 Woodinville Wine Half Marathon

On September 17, 2016, I completed my 8th Half Marathon!  The race was a repeat for me, another chance to do the Woodinville Wine Country Half Marathon – in it’s 2nd year.  You may remember that I got my personal record in this race in 2015!  Or maybe only I remember things like that…

At any rate – Katie and I were back for another round, with our friend Shelley cheering us on.

The weather was not our friend – a steady drizzle that pretty much stuck with us the entire race.  My shoes got squishy…  I usually don’t get blisters when I race, but the wet socks and shoes were a different matter…  Thankfully, they weren’t too bothersome and I was able to make it through…  My clothes were soaked through – I guess it doesn’t much matter if it’s sweat or water!

The good thing is that despite the rain, it wasn’t windy and the temperature was perfect for heavy exercise.  The course is awesome – fast and flat, and most of it runs through woods and along the river for some really pretty views.

I struggled a bit with my shin splints at the beginning, but was able to really find my groove thanks to the Nine Inch Nails I had on the IPod – a little ragey music to get my heart rate up!  And in the end I got a new personal record!  2:53:50 – for a pace of 13 minutes 16 seconds per mile.

The post-race beer and wine festival was good – the rain had stopped by the time we made it to the finish line – but it was a little cold once we stopped moving!  And again this year it seemed like some of the wineries were already packing up and heading out by the time we got done…  Frustrating!  We did find enough to keep us satisfied and get a happy buzz on, and made some new friends too!  I cannot remember this man’s name, but he was super-funny and very kind – it was his first half marathon!

After we did some day-drinking, we walked down the street to a burger joint and had a delicious lunch and lots of water!  You have to hydrate!

What a fabulous day!


Note: It seems that the Woodinville Wine Country Half Marathon is no more – after two years they packed it in.  I’m sad…  I liked the course and it was a convenient location for us.  I guess I can say I did them all…  All two of them…


Ski to Sea Fanaticism

I know this blog has been a little quiet for several days, and I apologize.  After my last post about our wine tasting party, I got a sinus infection and was down for the count, plus it has been insanely busy at work, and then there was that little thing called Ski to Sea.

Ski to Sea, if you aren’t familiar, is our town’s version of a spring festival.  It’s a two week long celebration that includes a kiddie parade, a Grand Parade, a Carnival, a kiddie race, an adult race, and a Beer Garden.  I think the Beer Garden is the best part!  Anyway, Ski to Sea has been part of the tradition since I was a baby, but the last several years Jon and I have done what wise locals do and ske-daddled out of town for Memorial Day Weekend.  However, this year, Jon and I are saving up for a nine day vacation that is coming up (a first honeymoon of sorts – since we haven’t had one yet), and we decided to forego our Memorial Day wine tasting trip and stick around home for a change.

The groundwork had already been laid for staying home when Jon got a text from an old friend of his a couple of weeks ago asking if he was going to be around, and if Jon would consider taking over the running leg for a team in the Ski to Sea race.  The friend has gotten injured and wasn’t sure if he would be healed by race day.  Jon said he would, thinking the friend would surely heal up by the time of the race.  Alas, it was not to be.  So that’s how Jon came to be running in the Ski to Sea race 2012.  Again, a bit of background for the unfamiliar.  The Ski to Sea race is a 93.5 mile relay race consisting of 7 legs and 8 team members.  It starts at the ski area on Mount Baker and goes all the way down to the bay.  Cross country skiing, downhill skiing, running, road biking, canoeing, mountain biking and sea kayaking.  If you are wondering why 7 legs and 8 people, wonder no more.  The canoe is a two-person canoe.

So, now Jon is on the team – little did he know this commitment would basically require the entire weekend.  Saturday night was the pre-race party and logistical meeting.  Yes, they have to coordinate timing, carpools and “who needs to take whose stuff” so they will have warm clothes to change into after the race.  Then the final sentence.  To make the start of the race, they have to leave town by 4:45 am.  So Jon had to get up at 3:45 to get ready and be at his friend’s house at 4:30 to get to the other friend’s house by 4:45.  Yikes.  I considered going along for the ride, to be a supportive wife and cheer him on, but I was secretly elated when I found out the carpool car was full.  Well, maybe not so “secretly”.

You see the trouble with the early legs of the race is that they close the road to the mountain.  So even though Jon’s part of the relay would likely start at 8:30 – 8:45 am-ish, he had to be at the top of the mountain with the carpool at 7.  Then after the running leg of the race (which took him about 45 minutes), he had to wait until they reopened the road so the carpool could come back down the mountain to pick him up.  The road reopened at 10:30, so Jon had to wait another hour and a half after he was done running (hence the need for the warm clothes logistics).  All in all, Jon left the house around 4:20 in the morning and didn’t get back until after 1 pm.  All to run 45 minutes!  You can see why I so gracefully bowed out!

Jon did well, but says the running leg was brutal.  8 miles down a mountain – a 2280 foot drop in elevation.  Another team member calculated that with an average man’s running stride, the drop was nine inches per stride.  Ouch!  Jon was sore in the quads for days – actually a week later he is still a bit sore.  But the bright side is that their team got 2nd in their Division, and 20th overall (out of 500 teams)!  Yay Jon!  Not bad for a last minute substitution and no practice running downhill!  And I got a rather quiet day all to myself!  If I didn’t give you enough of a preview, and you want to read more about Ski to Sea

Jon’s 2nd Place Win Plaque!

After the race, in the evening, we went to a party at one of the team member’s house.  These were folks who were very cool, but didn’t seem to like wine, so sadly I had a weekend of drinking beer.  It’s been a long time since I had a Bud Light…  It reminded me that there’s a reason I don’t drink them – micro-brews and wine are much better!