Saturday, May 31, 2008

Les Smith, Portland Marathon Race Director...

So I interviewed Les Smith yesterday (well, actually I just wound him up and then listened for the next 20 minutes) for an upcoming RaceCenter magazine article and wow, what a nice, opinionated, extremely knowledgeable guy. Quite a difference from my interview with the other big NW marathon race director, who shall remain nameless...anyway hold your breath waiting for the August issue of RaceCenter so you can check out Les' wise observations.

And while you're holding your breath, go find a race and run one for me.


June 14 / Teton Dam Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10k and 5k / Rexburg, ID

June 14 and 15 / Blue Lake Olympic and Sprint Triathlon / Fairview, OR

June 14 / Roman Meal Sound to Narrows 12k and 5k / Tacoma, WA

June 14 / Helvetia Half-Marathon and Drop Top 10k / Hillsboro, OR

June 14 / Berry Run 5k / Marysville, WA

June 14 / Mt. Tabor Doggie Challenge 8k and 5k / Portland, OR

June 14 / Fall City Days 10k and 5k / Fall City, WA

June 14 / Pine Hollow Sprint Triathlon / Wamic, OR

June 14 / Run to the Border 5k / Blaine, WA

June 14 / Five Mile Lake Sprint Triathlon / Federal Way, WA

June 14 / Arc in Motion 10k / Vancouver, WA

June 14 / The Human Race 10k and 5k / Bellingham, WA

June 15 / Evergreen 5k / Olympia, WA

Thanks to Komissarov_a for the great Portland Marathon photo.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Personally, I'd just head for page 44...

...because that's where the new Lommers Writing Factory article starts. This one, found in the June/July issue of RaceCenter magazine, is titled " Get Out of the 5K Rut" and previews 10 unconventional-length running races. No 5k's, 10k's, half's, or full's to be found here. Instead, you've got an 8.6 mile race, a 13.3 mile race, a 4k, and other oddities.

Get out there and run one of them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The First Annual Ski to Sea Team Name Awards!

Yes, the 35th Annual Ski to Sea Race was held over the Memorial Day Weekend, and the usual teams took their usual first, second, and blah, blah, blah...what I'm interested in is the team names.

There's just something about the relay race that brings out the creativity in folks, and Ski to Sea always has some winners. Let's get right to the action:

-Almost Virgins and Better Lovers finished back to back...hmmmmm
-Not Fast Not Last was next-to-last (they actually didn't finish, but were listed next to last in the results)
-Team Doghair and Team Lintbrush did not finish back to back...but I wish they would have

I Don't Get It:
-49 and a Half Spots
-We're Not Your Mothers
-Last One With a Ring and a Kid Carries (carries what? the canoe, the diaper, the groceries? Help me out here)

Honorable mention:
-Well Hung Jury (they've been around awhile - a perennial favorite)
-Menaces to Sobriety
-I Am McLovin
-Yoda's Pants
-Lactic Acid Trip (they've been around a few years as well)
-Sub Prime

Third place:
-Kicked In The Nooksack (in case you've never been up North, the canoe leg of Ski to Sea goes down the Nooksack River)

Second place:
-A.A.R.P. of the Covenant

First place:
-Chuck Norris's Tears Cure Cancer

Monday, May 26, 2008

Need a Race?

Um, yeah, I think I found one here for you. Maybe two.

It seems like it was only a few weeks ago when I was struggling just to find two or three races to list on the race calendar - now you can choose from about 20 or 25 every weekend. It's a good time to be a runner!


June 6 / Fremont 5k / Seattle, WA

June 7 / Nike 5k for Kids / Portland, OR

June 7 / Duvall Days 10k and 5k / Duvall, Wa

June 7 / Eugene Challenge Mile / Eugene, OR

June 7 / Rainier to Ruston Rail-Trail Ultra 50m and 50k / Tacoma, WA

June 7 / Clackamas YMCA Run Into Summer 10k and 5k / Happy Valley, OR

June 7 / Great Urban Race / Seattle, WA

June 7 / Maritime Gig Festival Fun Run 5k / Gig Harbor, WA

June 7 / Dog Island 10k Run / Guemes Island, WA

June 7 / Race Beneath the Sun 5 miles / Bellingham, WA

June 7 / Granite Man Triathlon, Duathlon and Trail Run / Jacksonville, OR

June 7 / Moses Lake Family Triathlon, Olympic, Sprint and Mini Distances / Moses Lake, WA

June 7 / Flight for Sight 10k and 5k / Everett, WA

June 7 / 3 Rivers Race Marathon, Half-Marathon, Century Bike Ride/ La Grande, OR

June 8 / Footzone Dirty Half Half-Marathon Trail Run / Bend, OR

June 8 / Run for CARRA 5k / Portland, OR

June 8 / Split 10 Cane 10k Run / Tigard, OR

June 8 / North Olympic Discovery Marathon and Half-Marathon / Port Angeles, WA

June 8 / Furry 5k / Seattle, WA

June 8 / Clear Lake Memorial Half Marathon and 5 mile / White Pass, WA

Thanks to Kristi Coy for the photo. I thought I'd post a "canoe leg" photo since their leg was canceled in yesterday's race, due to the raging Noosack River, which is at or near flood levels due to heavy snow melt. Sorry, guys! And "Good Job!" to all the racers in the other legs, which went off as planned.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Ink Squared...

Something new with the latest bit of writing: I've got an article in the latest (Summer) issue of Adventures Northwest Magazine, and Jen (the wife) also has some of her artwork in the same issue! My article is titled "Can a Poor Triathlete Compete?" and Jen has got the back splash page all to herself with a mash-up of a number of different paintings she did with the Ski to Sea race as inspiration - she did one painting for each leg of the race, seven in all.

Since I know that you all can afford a copy of Adventures NW, even you poor triathletes, as it's free, get out there and grab one and check out the new stuff...and the wife's new stuff.

See ya out on the roads.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Tunes for Your Run...

As a huge iPod-while-running-believer and Nike+ user, I just want to give a quick "get bent" to the UST&F, who outlawed iPod's (and any music or cell phones) a while back, and a big "THAT'S what I'm talkin' bout!" to the Portland Marathon, who said they'll allow iPod's in their race no matter what the UST&F says. And which marathon am I training for this year? That's right, the Portland Marathon.

If you're looking for new music to run to these days, I've got a couple of good ones for you. They're not brand new or anything, but they're pretty recent and great for running.

First up, the always fast and easy-to-run-to-beats of Bloc Party. Try to run to "The Party," it's got a great, heavy beat that will keep you going.

And for the women out there, try Kate Nash and "Foundations." If this anti-boyfriend anthem can't get you going, then you obviously need a cross-training day to rest your legs. "Dear God, I hope I'm not stuck with this one." Sing it, Kate!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Summer will be reduced to two days this year...

Yes, yes, I realize we're not even into the actual true summer dates yet, we're still a month away, but, and I mean BUT, after this horrid spring, when summer weather actually comes, you have a certain expectation, a demand really, that it stay longer than two days! But it wasn't to be. After two sweltering days over the weekend, it was back to a steady, if humid, rain today. Blah.

But the weekend! Wow. I was over at the 'rents place in Wapato and mama mia, it was toasty. When I ran on Saturday morning, at about 11:00 am, it was around 94 degrees. I was running on Orchard Way, a little strip of two lane road that's almost exactly a mile long from start to finish, which makes it nice when you're going for a four-mile run.

Yes, it's a dead end.

No, there was no shade to be found. None.

But there was a bunch of absolutely gorgeous wild roses.

Hopefully, it will warm up again for the weekend's races. Get out there and run.


May 31 / Born to Run Challange 15k and 5k / Eugene, OR

May 31 / Falcon 15k Relay, plus 15k, 10k and 5k runs / Hillsboro, OR

May 31 / Monroe Country Fun Run 10k and 5k / Monroe, OR

May 31 / Issaquah Sprint Triathlon and 5k / Issaquah, WA

May 31 / Newport Marathon / Newport, OR

May 31 / Edmonds Rotary Waterfront Festival 5k / Edmonds, WA

May 31 / Keybank Starlight Run / Portland, OR

May 31 / Gleneagle Community Fun Run 10k and 5k / Arlington, WA

May 31 / Hockinson Run Run 5k / Brush Prairie, WA

May 31 / Portland Sprint Triathlon / Vancouver, WA

June 1 / Run for the Hills 8k / Corvallis, OR

June 1 / San Juan Island Marathon and Half-Marathon / Friday Harbor, WA

June 1 / Hagg Lake Open Water Swim 4000m, 2000m, and 800m swim / Forest Grove, OR

June 1 / OHSU Tram Run 5k / Portland, OR

Friday, May 16, 2008

Diary of a Standardized Test Scorer, Part II...

...Or, Were I but a Werewolf, I wouldn't know where to live.

OK, let's review. "Were" and "Where" are two different words. They are not pronounced the same, they're not spelled the same, and they're sure as hell not interchangeable.

Elementary teachers of the world, please take note.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fifty-four degrees today, but...

in two days it's supposed to be up to the mid-80's! A 30 degree swing in two days, that's all good! As I may have noted before, I am a bit of a weenie when it comes to running in the cold, and even worse when it's raining. But there's nothing I love better than running on a nice, hot day. Bring it ON!

Get out there and work up a good bead this weekend.

May 24 / U.S. Half Marathon, 12k and 5k / Ketchum, ID

May 24 / Mazama 10k and 5k / Mazama, WA

May 24 / Spring Festival 10k, 5k and Duathlon / Moses Lake, WA

May 25 / Coeur d'Alene Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5k / Coeur d'Alene, ID

May 25 /Duck Bill Thrill Olympic Triathlon / Lewiston, ID

May 25 / Forest Park Trail Run 50k, 30k, 20k, and 10k / Portland, OR

May 25 / Onion Man Olympic Triathlon / Walla Walla, WA

May 26 / Heart of the Valley Sprint Triathlon / Corvallis, OR

May 26 / Ridgeline Ramble 20k and 10k / Eugene, OR

Thanks to Cal/Berkeley for the sun.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Damn you, Merriam-Webster!

(or, as Bullwinkle would say) "or, Diary of a Standardized Test Scorer, Part I"

So apparently, Merriam-Webster, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to include the word "ginormous" in their latest edition. And don't think that elementary students across the country don't know it. I've seen the sad results.

Now, it's one thing for a new word to be coined where there is a need, and no decent alternative already exists, but it's a whole different ball of wax here...

big, huge, enormous, giant, gigantic, massive, gargantuan, large, behemoth, colossal, immense, jumbo, mammoth, mighty, monster, monumental, monstrous, prodigious, mountainous, stupendous, titanic, tremendous, vast...

Enough with the "ginormous" already.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My health is protesting the lack of sun...

The lingering crappy weather seems to be affecting (and I'm showing the effects on) my health. Or lack thereof. I'm sick. And it came on fast. Coughing, sneezing, wheezing, hacking, spitting. But not running. Or swimming. Or biking. Just sitting here getting fat.

Go run a race for me.

May 17 / Famous Idaho Potato Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k and 5k / Boise, ID

May 17 / Jog for Jim 5k / Eugene, OR

May 17 / Down and Dirty Mud Run 5k / Fort Lewis, WA

May 17 / Lebanon Sprint Triathlon / Lebanon, OR

May 17 / Run for the Hill of It 8 Mile / Lewiston, ID

May 17 / St. Francis Friar Trot 5k / Sherwood, OR

May 17 / Mosier Twin Tunnels 12k and 5k / Hood River, OR

May 18 / Up The Crooked River Duathlon / Prineville, OR

May 18 / Nordstrom Beat the Bridge 8k / Seattle, WA

May 18 / Old River Ramble 10k and 5k / West Linn, OR

May 18 / Capitol City Marathon, Half Marathon and 5 Mile / Olympia, WA

May 18 / Rhody Run 12k / Port Townsend, WA

Thanks to Trojan Llama for the great photo. That's the way to run...get those lazy hounds to PULL.

Friday, May 2, 2008

When I grow up, I wanna be...

...just like Matt Simms. Ya know, how once in a while you meet someone and you think, "if I had any ambition, energy, talent, and/or any life skills of any sort, I'd probably be just like this guy." Well, that's exactly how I feel every time I talk to Matt Simms of Langley (Whidbey Island), Washington. This guy is really amazing. I mean, it's enough that he's just an incredible runner, with many, many...many wins and top five finishes in races all over the NW, but that's not all. The guy is also one of those "giving" guys that I've never been able to understand (in that I've never been much of one myself). A few weeks ago, I sent Matt an e-mail begging for some "elite runner" comments on the QT, as I was waiting until about two days before my deadline to write my article, as is my usual procedure. So, of course, Matt sends me, like, a three page, well thought out, perfectly meaningful, e-mail covering all of my questions. Then, finally, there's the service for our country in Iraq, which I surely am not envious of, but I admire and appreciate all the same.

So, of course, when Matt felt his hometown could use another local run...he just decided to set up the Langley Half Marathon.

Or, in his own words:

Langley (and South Whidbey in general) has a history of races but events have fallen away in recent years due to lack of willing organizers. Through a series of fortunate events when I was mobilized over in Iraq, I had the incredible opportunity to direct the first ever BolderBoulderBaghdad. It was that experience that changed me forever as a runner. To that point in my running life I’d done maybe 1000 events but had never organized a single thing. Then I saw 650 people sign up for and race BolderBoulder and watched in amazement as my ragtag team of never-done-this-before volunteers show up at 2AM for a 5AM start, working like crazy to get everyone to the starting line with numbers on and all the water and gels to the water stops and t-shirts to everyone afterwards and awards to the overall and age group winners and the million other things that go into pulling off a race. And then I watched those 650 people from all walks of life, from 30 or so countries, some with fitness and training and some just out there to be out there, race a hard 10k in a blazing hot sandstorm. And then for the next month afterwards I kept hearing about it. I’d walk past two people in a conference room waiting for a meeting to start and they’d be saying something like “I never thought I could break an hour but that tailwind at mile 5 was great! 57 minutes!” Or someone would stop my walking to work and say “Are you the one who organized the 10k? I really wanted to do it and I trained for it and all my buddies did it but I was working that night and couldn’t be there. Are you going to organize another one?” Or, I’d hear someone sitting at a dinner table telling a story about the race and someone else down the table a bit would say to a friend “I could never do something like that. I don’t think so, anyway. Do you think maybe I could do one of those?” And I realized a race like that mints runners. And in my humble opinion, more runners in the world is a good thing. So I took on the Baghdad Ten Miler, Peachtree Baghdad (where we had almost 1000 runners!), the Baghdad International Marathon (as an assistant to the race director), and the Baghdad Marathon. And I raced them all too, either in the actual race or in the volunteers run I organized the day after each one of them. So then I come back home last year and go back to normal life and about 6 months later I started feeling like I ought to be organizing something. And so I tossed out the idea to my local running group on a Sunday long run and it took about 10k to sort it all out but, eventually, the Langley Half Marathon was born. But not so fast. 6 months of permits from the this and the that and the the other and approvals from this high council and that set of grand poobahs and and and THEN it was finally a go.

Now all we need is a field.

Hey, he needs a field. I said, "HE NEEDS A FIELD!" So get over there and enter up already.

Matt says "thanks". That's just the kind of guy he is.

thanks to Linda Wong for the photo.