Monthly Archives: July 2007

a good week

A couple of really good things happened this week.

First of all, Kris and I planned a trip back east to do the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC this October.  The kids will stay with my parents for four days while we enjoy this adventure.  It turns out that 7 other people from our running club are planning to go too, so we’ll be able to enjoy the company of friends while there. 

It’s really nice to have a race on the horizon again.  Although, as I’m also ramping to do a couple of triathlons in the next couple of months, things will be very busy.

The other nice thing that happened was that I was able to run my fastest mile in months on the track.  Kris and I joined the Eastside Runners track workout on Wednesday evening for a 4 mile tempo run.  I did the first three with her, and then stepped it up for the last mile – completing it in about 6:45.  It was challenging, but I also didn’t feel impossibly winded.  When I feel confident in my leg’s ability to withstand long mileage, I might reintroduce speed workouts.

This weekend I’ll try stepping my long run mileage up to 18.  If I can do this without pain, it constitutes an important milestone.  I I do have pain, it’ll be a long marathon in October.

Back to triathlons for a sec … I’ve become interested in them while cross training this year.  I’m regularly biking up to 30 miles, and have done a bike/run workout that includes 30 mile bike/6 mile run, so I figure I might as well get credit for doing this. 

While at Seabeck last week, I did some lap swimming in the lagoon.  It was a mixed bag – I was able to swim laps for about 30 minutes.  On the other hand I struggled to take in enough air and swam like a clumsy, out of shape dolt.  I know I’m in shape to swim that long, so this is simply needing to work on form and cadence.  I also had some apprehension about swimming in open water (murky salt water at that).

I did an 1800 meter workout yesterday in the pool at the gym.  This went better than the lagoon swims.  I was able to keep a pretty steady pace (although still got slower the more I swam).  I warmed up and cooled down with some kicking, and mixed in some breast stroke to recover.  Kris has suggested some coached swim workouts for the next three weeks to get me over the training hump.  We’ll see.

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unwinding, the old-fashioned way

Last week the Solem-David family returned to the shores of Hood Canal for our annual visit to the Eliot Institute at Seabeck.  This is a gathering of Unitarian Universalists (also anyone else who is interested), drawing people predominently from the Pacific Northwest.  In the four years we’ve attended, people have come from Michigan, California and other places.  We’ve also drawn attendees from other denominations interested in learning about what UU’s are all about.

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The Eliot Institute consists of four camps each year.  The Seabeck Christian Conference Center on Hood Canal in Washington hosts two summer sessions and one winter session.  The Naramata Center on the shores of Lake Okanagan in British Columbia hosts an additional  summer session.

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The best way to describe Eliot is as a diverse intentional community.  Many types of individuals and families attend the camp.  There are traditional families, same-sex couples and parents, and people of all ages.  It is not unusual to see three generations from a family attend.

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Each of the camps has a morning adult program that focuses on a guest speaker, and associated small group discussions.  There are children, youth, and young adult programs that run concurrently.

Afternoons are filled with sports, board and card games, swimming, tie-dying, and enjoying the company of good friends. 

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The July camp at Seabeck includes a nightly singalong, featuring many camp songs you’ve heard, and others you’ll never hear anywhere else.

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My usual rhythm at the camp is to ship the kids off to their morning program, and then enjoy a nice run or bike ride during the morning lecture before heading to a small group discussion.  This year was different however, as I’d volunteered to help out with the middle-school kid’s program, which turned out to be a lot of fun!

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We spent mornings playing games like "Murder" (a card game in which you have to discover who the "killer" is), Capture the Flag, and Blob Tag.  The group also did a trust exercise in which the counselors and some of the kids led the others around the camp (and over many obstacles) while blindfolded.  The kids also put together a worship service, featuring a dramatization of The Frog Prince Continued.  One evening during the week, I helped to make pizzas for their sleepover, which included a late-night walk in the woods looking for the elusive Seabeck carnivorous bear.

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Rachel reports that the preschool kids spent time doing crafts and playing outside.  She also enjoyed running around with her friends, playing in the water and getting badges for her swimming bracelet, and learning how to weave ‘gimp’.

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Kayla tells me that she spent her time building paddleboats, planes, and launching rockets made of 2 liter soda bottles, water, and kitty litter into space!  She also enjoyed meeting friends (new and old), weaving gimp, and doing the polar bear swim.

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Kris spent her time catching up on sleep, running and riding her bike through the surrounding countryside, and tie-dying shirts for her appreciative family members.

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I enjoyed reconnecting with friends we see each year, playing games, and working with some talented and interesting kids.  And as always I came away feeling inspired by the generous spirit present in the community.


hot

Very very hot in Seattle today.  Particularly for Seattle.  Driving home, I heard that the temperature was 96.  I don’t know whether that was the high though.

Naturally, we decided to observe the occasion by going for a run.  At around 2:30, Ben, Rob and I set out for a nice easy run on the trails and through the neighborhoods around work.  I was glad I’d grabbed a bottle of water before going, because I needed it.  The run itself wasn’t notable.  It was very warm, but we ran slowly, even moreso when going uphill.  We ended up going about 4 1/4 miles, including a nice jaunt through Ardmore Park.  Despite the frequent griping about the heat, and the concerning shortness of breath, it was much nicer to be outside than stuck in a meeting at work.

After finishing, I went over to have a shower.  Today was a big day as both towels and hot water were available.  While dressing something completely new happened.  I went to apply deodorant, and was surprised when, upon opening it up, to feel something like very hot wax dripping down my arm, leg, and all over my clothes.  Apparently the deodorant stick melted while waiting patiently for me in the car (which is black and was parked in the sun).  Wow – that hurt.

Pretending to be unruffled by this, I splashed a bit of the molten liquid into each pit (again – ouch) and dressed.  As I walked into my next meeting I noticed a sinister looking waxy buildup on my pant leg.  If anyone noticed, they were too polite to mention it.


70.3 Miles? Are you nuts?

This morning, the girls and I drove up to Lake Stevens to watch Kris and some of our friends do the Lake Stevens 70.3 Triathlon.  That’s a Half Ironman for the uninitiated.  For the initiated, it’s the culmination of months of multi-sport training, involving early morning swim workouts, long weekend bike rides, and a variety of running workouts too.

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The selfish guy in me always breathes a sigh of relief after one of these events, because it sometimes means I gain some additional training time that I’ve lost in the weeks leading up to it.  But then a moment like the one I spent with my daughter while putting her to bed last night happens.

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We conspired to surprise Kris on the course, hatching our plot last night.  We’d leave by nine, and watch her come in from the bike ride (56 miles), and set off on the run (13.1 miles).  Kayla said to me : "Dad, I’d like to do an Ironman someday".  I can imagine some kids say that, but have no idea what really goes into it.  Our girls do, because they see Kris training.  They see us supporting each other’s goals, and balancing family and personal needs.  So when Kayla shows an interest, it makes me feel very good.

You athletes reading this should also recognize the positive impact you’re having on the folks around you – particularly children.  Taking on big challenges and seeing them through good days and bad is such an important life lesson to impart.  It’s also important to take pride in making your best effort, knowing that the journey (not the time results) is the real reward.

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If our kids stopped to think about it, I’d guess it’s not first on their list to wait on the side of a road for an hour to watch their mom fly by on her bike.  But when Kris came by, and gave us a big smile and wave, all of the fidgeting and waiting was forgotten.  The promise of a lunch consisting of grapes and popsicles helped too.

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We always tell the girls they can do anything.  It helps to have a mom who believes she (and they) really can.

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This wasn’t Kris’ fastest half-iron.  But as she’s been working through some injuries, it was a pretty meaningful one.  She felt her swim time was a bit off her best, and wasn’t sure why.  She was pleased with her run time, especially as her long run had only been 8 miles (kids – don’t try that at home!).  The bike leg was tough for her – tired legs.  I think she felt good about getting out there and challenging herself with the distances again.  Naturally, the girls and I are very proud of her, whatever her time was.  You can check out the official race results if you’re interested.

It was great to see some friends on the course as well.  I got pictures of some of them : they’re available in a smugmug album dedicated to the event.  Big shout-outs to Kurt, Anne, Amy, Bob, Meg, Rebecca, and Shawn !

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back in the saddle again?

… or at least back in my running shoes again.  I hope.

I did a reasonably strong 13 miles today out in the Redmond Watershed (trailmap here to compensate for the city of Redmond’s lame page).  I kept things simple, two 5 miles loops, followed by a simple 3 miles ‘lollipop’ route to round things out.  Those 5 milers run clockwise from the south parking lot up the Trillium, Pipeline, Collin Creek, and Siler’s Mill trails before returning on the Pipeline trail.  I tacked on a route up Trillium, over the Pipeline Connector, then north on the Pipeline trail as far as the Siler’s Mill Connector, before coming back on the Pipeline trail to the south parking lot.

It was a nice warm day, with surprisingly few runners on the trails.  The Seattle Prep CC team was out and running.  Other than that just a few hikers.  Maybe everyone else wised up and headed for the beaches.

Still have a bit of pain in my left leg.  I’ve been taking a prescription anti-inflammatory for about three weeks now, and ran out this morning.  I can get it refilled again, but think I’ll try going without for a few days to see how I am.

I’m going to try to fit in two or three bike workouts per weeks too now, to continue with cross-training.  Might even try a ‘tri’ next month – although I don’t feel very confident about my running speed right now.

In any case, great to get my feet on the trail again.  This is my second 20+ mile week in a row.  I’ll attempt to add miles to my long runs now to see whether I’m okay to marathon again.  I’ll try doing a 15 miler next week, and see how it feels.


happy fourth

Today was a full day, with many instances of relaxation planned.  

Kayla had sailing camp today, which seemed unusual until you consider that spending the fourth sailing is exactly what you’d want to do anyway.  Kris, Rachel, and I rode over to Sand Point on our friend Marv’s boat to pick up his daughter and Kayla.  It was a beautiful warm day, and you could see the sailboats for the camp from all the way across the lake.

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It was very cool watching Kayla sail.  Something about seeing your kid master a completely new skill (that you haven’t mastered) is very affecting.  I enjoy Kayla’s new confidence and passion too, even if she’s using lots of words I don’t understand, about different types of boats, parts of boats, and puns about parts of boats.

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After sailing, it was time to enjoy a ride back on the "Super Mable".

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To top it all off, Mount Rainier was out today!

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After hanging out for a while at Laurian and Marv’s house, watching the kids splash around in the lake, I hopped on my new bike and rode from Juanita up through Kenmore, south to Redmond, then home.  I found that I’d dropped by key when I got back, so I passed some time by going for a run in Bridle Trails State Park.  As fun as it sounded at the time, I think I overdid it a bit.

When I got home, all I could do was lie down.  Something about all that biking and running in 80 degree whether must’ve done me in.  Fortunately I recovered enough to eat some dinner and clean up for a party at Sinclair and Deepak’s – they had great Thai food, a water slide for the kids, and a wonderful view of the fireworks.

 All in all, a great holiday.  I need to rest before I go back to work though.


learning to whistle

This past weekend I tried to learn to whistle.  Not the wistful, melodic whistle of Gene Kelly in "Singin in the Rain" mind you.  No – this was to be a stern, traffic halting, hair raising, eardrum piercing type of whistle.

It all started when several of us were chatting at the beginning of my daughter’s sleepover party on Saturday.  The topic turned to how loud some of the Boston Red Sox fans had been at Safeco Field last week, when our friend Jackie told us how she stopped a gaggle of them dead in their tracks.  Apparently she’d learned The Whistle of Doom from someone earlier that week.  You know the one – it’s what your unfavorite uncle used to hail you from the eighth floor terrace, five blocks away.

Below, Jackie demonstrates the ‘pinch’ that helps to produce the sound.

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Here, Jenny demonstrates the proper embouchure :

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The effect is truly startling.  What would be even more startling would be to actually produce something more impressive than a hollow ‘whoosh’ sound that makes me dizzy.  Kris claims she’s a more accomplished ‘whoosher’ than I am, but that’s arguable.