Who let the dawgs out?


This morning was the Dawg Dash 10k, held on the University of Washington campus (home of the Huskys.) M, T and I were all racing in preparation for marathon training, though for different reasons. T & I were trying to determine paces for speed workouts, M was trying to determine if she could run 6.2 miles without dying or having her mysterious foot pain get worse. My co-worker Reed was also doing the race in preparation for his first half-marathon coming up in December. So, as you can see, we were all very serious runners with goals and stuff.

The race ends on the track of Husky stadium, so we picked a post-race meeting spot next to the giant helmet:

Finish line festivities were already being set up. (Please note the wet track, bodes well for good race weather, right?)

While we waited to meet up with Reed, there was a real ladies room (no porta potties for us!) and some time for stretching:

And looking adorable:

People were allowed to bring dogs to this race, so there were tons of cute canines around. We teased T that he was going to have a hard time focusing on the race since he’s genetically unable to not pet/maul any dog within 5 feet. Eventually we met up with Reed and headed for the starting line.

There were about 4,500 people signed up for the race, split between 5k and 10k distances I assume. They had pacing areas up, which was nice, except for the part where they went: 5 minute miles, 6 minute miles, 7 minute miles, Joggers (!) 8 to 12 minute miles. What. The. Hell? So, as you might imagine, it was quite a cluster. We lined up as close to the front of the cluster as we could, next to strollers and dogs. (Not kidding!)

Dear Dawg Dash organizers, if you could add two more “running” pace corrals for 8 & 9 minute miles and then have the slower folks, that would be super.

My goal was to push as hard as I could, since I’m a fairly big wuss when it comes to actually pushing myself pace-wise. I’ve never done a standalone 10k race, so I was curious to see how fast I could do it, even if it did hurt like a mother. The course was very rolling, which didn’t help. Not to mention the dodging of dogs and strollers. (The 5k course weaves in and out of the 10k course, so you end up with slower and slower 5k-ers to dodge. Not fun.) This picture of Reed finishing really just says it all:

(And he finished about 10 minutes ahead of me!)

By the time I got to the finish line, folks were strolling along five abreast across the whole race course. This made me mad and gave me the last bit of oomph to hustle to the line, even though I really wanted to lay down and die instead. When I looked at my watch as I crossed the line, I was shocked to see a time of 56 minutes and some change. Unfortunately, it turned out to be because the course was nearly half a mile short. (WTF? On the 26th running of the race? Seriously?!)

Apparently, inaccurate run courses are my thing this fall… But despite all of the races shortcomings, I had a good time and was proud of myself for pushing through a tough race where I was hurting pretty much constantly. M & T also did really well. It was fun to watch M sprinting down the line and she ran the whole thing, looking strong both times I saw her.

Look out Lost Dutchman, we’re coming for you!

Big things on the horizon



Usually, I let my “off-season” from triathon training and racing be sort of unstructured and free-for-all. I try to stay active and sometimes I even pick a sport to focus on or something to challenge myself, but I don’t tend to do anything that requires structured training. This year will be different. This year, M, T and I are training for a marathon. (gulp.)

I’ve never really had the desire to do a stand-alone marathon. All that running seems daunting to me. But I know both T and M really want to do one, so I’ll have company on those long winter runs and their enthusiasm is definitely infectious. Plus, I’ll have a great running base when it’s time to start tri-training again. (Lord knows I need one!) But I can’t help but feel that this magnet is very apropos:

Wish me luck and get ready for some boring posts about running!

Weeby little pumpkin


M & J had us over for dinner, where M showed off the super cute little pumpkin she saw at the store. They called them “weeby little pumpkins” (not sure of the spelling, so you get my best guess… ) Here’s M posing with her super cutey new acquisition:

Per usual, the Grumpersons had really outdone themselves. Here was the delicious spread to accompany the insanely good cheese fondue:

After dinner, there was a viewing of Over the Top, a cheese-tastic 80’s movie where Sylvester Stallone tries to win his son’s love (and a brand new semi-truck) by winning the national arm-wrestling championship. (No, I’m not kidding… ) How I missed this classic when it was in the theatres, I’ll just never know! It was a very fun night with our friends.

My white whale


I’ve been wanting to do a blog post on some of my favorite creepy public art pieces for some time, but getting a picture of one of them has proved difficult. But today on my lunchtime run, I finally managed to get one. So without further ado, I bring you Pedophile Fountain!

The fountain streams are usually covering one of the figures, which is why it’s been hard to get a good picture in all of it’s creepy glory. But seriously, naked man staring at naked child in fountain form is just not okay. I’m sure there’s some fabulous hippie-artist explanation of man gazing on his inner-child or what-not, but give me a break…

Adventure run


Once the racing season is over, it’s hard to find things to motivate me to run. So, when I got an email from Roadrunner Sports about their Adventure Run series, I was intrigued. Basically, it’s a sort of running scavenger hunt but instead of finding things you go to various places and pick up raffle tickets. Then at the finish line there’s free beer and a bunch of raffle prizes. They’ve been doing these since March, but somehow I hadn’t heard about them before.

We weren’t really sure what to expect when we got there, but there was pretty decent turnout:

You got double the raffle tickets if you bought the event shirt, so T & I went for it:

As we got closer to the start time, everyone gathered around the map, which was flipped over:

There was a pretty big crowd and a lot of excitement in the air (not sure what that dude’s deal is… )

Then they flipped the map over to show all of the places where we could pick up raffle tickets:

I snapped a few pictures on my phone and mapped the furthest point It gave out 20 raffle tickets, so the ROI seemed good. (Yeah, that’s right, I used ROI in a blog post… About running.) Then we took off with a big pack of people. We were running way too fast and zig-zagging across streets in a possibly less than optimal manner. It was crazy, but so much fun. Like running when you were a kid. Or being on The Amazing Race. At one point, I was running while trying to look at my phone for directions. It was crazy-talk. We saw a pack of people ducking into a Starbucks, so we followed them and scored some tickets that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

We got to the furthest point and then formed a strategy of where to go next. As we were heading for that point, we met up with a woman who asked if we were going to the secret Facebook location (They posted a place on one of their store’s Facebook page if you “liked” that stores page, but I couldn’t get it to work on my phone.) We told her where we were headed and she assured us that it was on the way, so we hung in with her. The Facebook location involved running up a couple of not so enjoyable hills, but what the hell… We ended up running the rest of the way with her, which was nice as it gave new conversational topics than T and I would have been able to come up with.

When we got back to the finish line, we opted to forego the beer for a seat on the curb (there weren’t any seats in the beer garden area and I did not want to stand around for an hour post-run.) T ended up winning TWO different raffles (pretty close to each other, which drew some good-natured boos from the crowd.) The funny thing was that they were from the same string of tickets, both from the Facebook location, so climbing those hills was worth it. His total haul from the evening: Gift certificates for a coffee place, a local restaurant and a large pizza/drinks from a Green Lake area pizza place. He also scored some custom inserts for his running shoes, which he can definitely use. The inserts alone made up for the cost of the event shirts, so we ended up ahead on the deal.

I would definitely do the event again. They have one more in November, which we’ll have to see what the weather does, but we’ll definitely keep this event on our radar…

The aftermath


I was very apprehensive about how bad the next morning was going to be. (I’ve never had a really bad hangover, and I certainly wasn’t looking to break that record… ) But “luckily”, I seemed to have gotten it all out of my system the previous night and woke up feeling pretty decent, just really dehydrated. Erin invited us for crepes at her place around 10, so we had a little time to drink coffee on the porch and relax for a little bit. We got to chat with a couple of other party guests from Texas/North Carolina, which was really interesting. I also got to take a few shots of the post-party scene:

I missed this sign last night, but how cute is this?

I loved this tree with all of the pretty glass vases/pieces in it:

Remnants of the Hootch Hut:

Crepes at Erin’s were superb, as always. Sitting in the sunshine, eating delicious crepes, hanging out with good friends, what’s not to like? In addition, Lucky dog was entertaining with his antics and they had a barn owl in their big tree. M & I had one last piece of Prosser business before hitting the road, going back to Chinook winery for some more wine. We’d enjoyed it so much from our girls weekend in Prosser, it was on M’s “must-do” list. We got there a little early and got to hang out with the winery cat:

M & J scored a wine barrel (for free!) from the winery (thanks to a tip from David) and ended up stuffing it into the backseat of the Jetta. (Sadly, I didn’t get to witness this spectacle so there are not pictures of that, since they had to go pick it up sans-passengers. Which is a shame, because I bet seeing a wine barrel stuffed into a Jetta is awesome.)

We parted ways with M & J, since we had to pick up the dogs and what-not. On our way back, we stopped in Yakima to try Sonic. It was quite the cultural experience. (I was reluctant to take pictures, since it was sort of a red-necky area and I didn’t want to draw too much attention to ourselves.) I can’t say I’d recommend the food, but it was a fun “road-trip” thing to do.



So, after our day of fun, we had a few hours to chill and get ready for the party. It was pretty convenient to be staying at the same place as the party, talk about an easy commute! Everything looked beautiful, especially the newlyweds:

And of course, many beverages:

This punch was delicious:

The lovely bride:

Erin had asked her married guests for a wedding picture, which she printed out and hung on this clothesline. It was really adorable and fun to see all of the different photos:

The calm before the dinner is served…

This place would be trouble later on (foreshadowing!)

But for now, it was entertaining the menfolk…

M & J clean up pretty nicely, I must say (even if J does have a drinking problem, tee hee!)

Then we had to take the mural for a spin, before it got too dark to take decent pictures:

Jenn & Bryan arrived and we had a good time chatting with them and meeting some of Erin’s other friends and family. Then we were joined by Erika, a woman I know from tri camp and her husband Bill, and she was ready to party down! (Again, foreshadowing… )

There was a ton of delicious food, some not too embarrassing toasts and some wine.

Then there was more delicious food, including some ridiculous desserts and why yes, since you asked, some more wine. We moved into the tent, as it was getting a little chilly out.

We tried to get a tri-camp ladies picture, but the Hipstamatic wasn’t quite up to the task:

But I did get a great shot of the brides new cowboy boots: super cute, right?

As the wine kept flowing, the pictures got a bit more… entertaining. There were these great Winnie the Pooh stickers that M & I had to grab and stick on as bracelets. (Funny story about that later… )

The kids also had these great foam swords and somehow we ended up with one. (There’s probably a story there, but I didn’t hear about it… )

Then the obligatory bad dancing:

It was at this point in the evening that the Hootch Hut happened, where some shots might have been done and a little too much may have been consumed by yours truly (cough… understatement of the year… cough… ) T was in charge of my phone/camera at this point in the night and I really wish I knew the backstory to this photo:

Let’s just say the evening ended with some praying at the feet of the porcelain god and the desire to sleep on the bathroom floor. Poor T is a very good husband and didn’t let me sleep on the bathroom floor. He took very good care of me. Who’d have thought that he’d have had to deal with drunken bathroom shenanigans from his 41 year old wife of almost 15 years. (Which just goes to show you that marriage is always full of surprises! Take notes, kids… )

Oh, and the funny story about the Pooh sticker I mentioned earlier: I woke up with it still on my wrist and expressed surprise that it was still there. To which T replied that I’d been very insistent that he not take that off. It cracks me up for some reason.


Behind the scenes


l woke up early, as I frequently do when sleeping in a new place. M had also gotten up early and already gone for a run when we got up. T & I were chilling on the porch drinking some coffee when she came cruising in.

The chickens were out in the yard, thus putting us over the edge for ridiculous bucolic splendor:

Watch out chickens, here comes M…

Then we headed over to the Prosser Farmer’s Market to meet up with the rest of the gang. There was a stand with some amazing breakfast burritos, but since we still had a run of our own on the schedule, we resisted temptation. (Well, T scored half of J’s but managed to save it for after the run… ) There was also a really cool guy who’d built his own espresso machine (which produced pretty awesome lattes, I must say.)

After that, we met up with Khai for a little run. We’d offered to take Lucky with us, which turned out to be like strapping a rocket booster to T. I think their opening mile pace was somewhere around a 6:30. But eventually T managed to reign Lucky into a brisk, but manageable pace. It felt pretty good for being the first run post-Grand Columbian.

Erin had arranged for us to take a tour at the Mercer winery with Jenna (who we’d met last year during the giant Jenga game.) It was a gorgeous day.

Our group:

We got to go into the tank room, which was very interesting:

We got to try an early Sauvignon Blanc, that tasted like a slightly alcoholic grape soda. It was surprisingly delicious.

Then we headed into the barrel room:

Where we got to try some more wine in process. This time it was various kinds of red, that were a little further along:

Afterward, there were some yummy snacks and some more wine out on the patio. This is the life…

So far, this is a pretty sweet way to spend the day before a big party…