Hot Hot Hot

It’s still bloody hot here. Not sure what the actual high was today, but it was pretty darn close to 90, if not higher. G and I woke up bright and early to start Seafair at 7 am. They had some snafus with the shuttle buses to the start and I was very glad we didn’t rely on them. As it was, they started the race about 15 minutes late. I was anxious to get going before it got too hot!

The course was new this year and started by crossing the 520 bridge over Lake Washington. It was a stunning view and just starting to get pretty warm. After the first few minutes, I ran the whole race solo. G had a great time for the half (about 1:46). My split times were nearly identical: for each 1/4 of the race I ran 1:02, 1:03, 1:03 and 1:04. The whole thing took me about 4:13. Official results here. Not half bad, all things considered.

I liked the new course, although they clearly had some issues with the organization. I’m not sure what the temp was when I finished, although the bank I ran past said it was 90. In any case, it was REALLY hot. Fortunately, there was lots of shade in the early parts of the course. Miles 21 and up, though, were rough. Full sun, no breeze.

Anyway, I felt great (if hot) for the most part. G surprised me and jumped in to run the last half mile with me. It was great to see him there since I had no other support on the course. After I finished, we didn’t linger long and started the journey back to Seattle to get Lucy.

After a quick stop for lunch we picked up the girl and came home for showers and some down time. We then attempted to go out for a) ice cream (shop closed due to AC malfunction) and b) margaritas (restaurant not open). We finally ended up at Tutta Bella where we couldn’t even get a draft beer (their CO2 was broken). Geesh! Ah well, we managed to down some pizza, salad and gelato and are now firmly ensconced in our Adirondack chairs. As G said, “I feel great, as long as I’m not moving!”

Super duper thanks to Phillipa and Tim for watching Lucy (and at 5.45 am, no less!).

Western States

This coming weekend marks one of the biggest races in the trail running world, The Western States Endurance Run. It’s one of the most grueling and challenging races out there; 100 miles up and down the Sierra Nevada mountains on rugged trails. Yikes. The thought of it has me shaking in my muddy mizunos. This race is WAY out of my league. Nonetheless, I know a few folks who are running it and find the whole thing fascinating. I stumbled across one guy’s chronicles of his training and race experience for his local paper. His blog has 6 posts in the series so far. Check out Part 1, “Journey of 100 miles” and Part 6, “A Moveable Feast”. Some points he touches on that resonated for me: 1) yes, 99.9% of people think ultra-runners are crazy. This fact hit home last weekend when I was called “psychotic” and “sick” after recounting my latest ultra adventure. But really, it’s such a great community of people that I’m thrilled to have plugged into this past year or so. And do I look psychotic to you? (Feel free not to answer that). 2) the sheer number of calories needed by your body to finish one of these races is incredible. And damn, PB&J never tastes so good as it does after a long race. I read recently that some of these guys consume 2 gels (100 calories each) per hour throughout a 100-mile race, or something like 40-60 gels to help them get to a total of 12,000 calories!

I’ll be running the lowly Seafair marathon this weekend (I AM registering today), but will be cheering on all the brave folks who even attempt this race. In particular, I’m pushing for Brian Morrison, one of my coaches for last year’s 50K, and a bit of a legend in the ultra-running world. Go, Brian!

Hot Time, Summer in the City

OK, so it’s not that hot, but summer has FINALLY arrived in Seattle. Last night we attended the first barbeque of the year. In keeping with the season, I made a strawberry rhubarb crumble and fresh ginger ice cream. Both came out well, and will likely get repeated around here. I’ve become too lazy to make pie crusts, so crumbles/crisps will be more likely to appear on my table this summer. These recipes are great together, but both would stand alone very well too.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

note: I did 1 1/2 times the recipe and filled a 9 x 13 pan. I added a heaping 1/4 t of ground ginger to the topping. Next time I’ll add a bit more as the flavor wasn’t very noticeable.

For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar, or Sugar in the Raw)
Zest of one lemon
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 quart strawberries plus a few extras, hulled, quartered
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
Pinch of salt

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.
2. Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, flour and pinch of salt in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. (I used an oval dish this time, because they fit better in the bottom of a shopping bag.)
3. Remove topping from refrigerator and cover fruit thickly and evenly with topping. Place pie plate on a (foil-lined, if you really want to think ahead) baking sheet, and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Fresh Ginger Ice Cream
From: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Makes about 1 quart

3 ounces of unpeeled ginger
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks

Cut ginger into thin slices. Place the ginger in a medium, nonreactive saucepan. Add enough water to cover the ginger by about 1/2 inch and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain, discarding the liquid.

Return the blanched ginger slices to the saucepan, then add the milk, 1 cup of cream, sugar and salt. Warm the mixture, cover and remove from the heat. Let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Rewarm the mixture. Remove the ginger slices with a slotted spoon and discard. Pour the remaining cup of cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice maker according to instructions.

The No Game

G and I have been getting a huge kick out of Lucy’s overuse of the word “no”. A typical exchange:

G: “Hey Lucy, would you like some banana?”

L: “No.”

G: “How about some water? Are you thirsty?”

L: “No.”

G: “Lucy, do you know what the word ‘yes’ means?”

L: “No.”

G: “Will this game ever get old?”

L: “No.”

Lake Youngs Report

I guess I better write up my race report before I forget it all. Last Saturday, I joined about 130 others for the 4th annual Lake Youngs Ultra. I woke at the bright and early hour of 4 am. After a quick cup of coffee and some oatmeal, I headed off with Laura to Renton. We took the early start option and set off at 6 am with a dozen or so other runners. Jenn, Tracy, Laura and I started the race together, but Jenn and I quickly went on ahead. We spent nearly all the laps running together. So yeah, the course was comprised of 3 laps around a lake, which you basically never see. Weird. Each lap was 9.6 miles, for 28.8 total. It’s mostly flat with some rolling hills and the surface is nice and soft. But boy, is it dull.

I felt really good through the entire race, and was actually running faster towards the end. I even had the energy to run up some of the last hills. I did leave Jenn behind at about mile 23 as she was hurting and doing more walking at that point. I finished in about 5 hours, 18 minutes (Official results here). Compared to the one other ultra and 2 regular marathons I’ve run, I think I felt best during (and after) this one. Very little soreness and not even that tired! I haven’t been training very hard at all, so I’m thrilled I finished at all, but am pretty surprised how well it came together.

Jenn came in just a few minutes behind me and it was her first ultra. She was thrilled! There was even a runner there who was running in her 100th ultra. Wow! Anyway, it was really a great event. The race director did a fantastic job (and all at a bargain price of $35!) and pulled together a yummy BBQ after the race. The vibe was very laid back and the weather cooperated perfectly. I would highly recommend this event for someone interested in running their first ultra. It’s about the shortest distance possible (just 2.6 longer than a marathon) and very easy as far as the terrain goes. Just be prepared for the world’s dullest course. But that’s not much to complain about!

Ballard Growth Explosion

You’d have to be living under a rock not to have noticed the rampant growth in Ballard the past few years. The Seattle Times had an article about it this week and then MyBallard got in on it. My bus this morning even had a TV crew about how crowded the commuter buses are! I don’t so much mind the growth/change, though I wish it was done in a more sustainable, attractive, etc. kinda way. And yeah, the services just are not keeping pace.

The Role of a Parent

I’ve been feeling mushy enough as it is, and then I had to go and read this post! This guy writes a great daddy-blog, by the way. His take on the role of a parent: 1) take care of your child and 2) teach your child to take of him or herself. And all this other stuff about not wanting your kid(s) to grow up. But he says it in a much more eloquent way. Go read it.