Seattle Half Marathon

High on the tails of my successful sprint triathlon, I thought it might be a good idea to run a half marathon. I know what you’re thinking, “Andrew, you are crazy!”

You would be correct.

But I did it anyway. I didn’t actually want to run a half-marathon, but there weren’t any 10K runs that were near anytime in 2010. My friend Shannon somehow convinced me that running a half-marathon wasn’t a bad idea, so I started preparing. Shannon told me about a book called Run Less, Run Faster1:


Finally, runners at all levels can improve their race times while training less, with the revolutionary Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) program.

Hailed by the Wall Street Journal and featured twice in six months in cover stories in Runner’s World magazine, FIRST’s unique training philosophy makes running easier and more accessible, limits overtraining and burnout, and substantially cuts the risk of injury, while producing faster race times.

The key feature is the “3 plus 2” program, which each week consists of:

-3 quality runs, including track repeats, the tempo run, and the long run, which are designed to work together to improve endurance, lactate-threshold running pace, and leg speed

-2 aerobic cross-training workouts, such as swimming, rowing, or pedaling a stationary bike, which are designed to improve endurance while helping to avoid burnout

With detailed training plans for 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon, plus tips for goal-setting, rest, recovery, injury rehab and prevention, strength training, and nutrition, this program will change the way runners think about and train for competitive races.

My biggest problem is that by time I got the book and decided to run, I only had about 8 weeks to get ready instead of the 16 the plan called for. So I just launched into the middle of the training program which more or less worked. However, the last few weeks my perfectly laid plans started falling apart as I couldn’t find time (and sometimes couldn’t even find motivation) to run — especially the long distances.

One of the more miserable running experiences involved a 5:50am wake-up for a 6am run around Green Lake in the pouring rain.

I did have fun running down Roosevelt, across the University bridge, down East Lake Avenue East (past KIRO), around the south end of Lake Union, up West Lake Avenue North, back across the Freemont bridge, and up Stone Way.

The last week before the race was particular difficult because it had snowed in Seattle and I was only able to run once around Green Lake (about 3 miles) on Thanksgiving day; and the ground was still compact snow and ice.

The night before the race I was at an awesome wedding (which I’ll blog about later). The problem here was the wedding was about two hours away, by car, and copious amounts of alcohol were present. I managed to hold my liquor and get enough sleep and woke up Sunday morning raring to go!

Shannon’s roommate, Laurie2, gave us a ride to the start line. A quick pit stop to drop off my stuff, a bathroom check, and off we went:

Off to a good start, running beneath the monorail. I started running about 10 minutes after the gun went off, mostly due to the bathroom line. Fortunately, my official time is chip based.
Running through downtown Seattle. I was grooving out to Explosions in the Sky on my iPod, which I felt was a very good mood setting music to start with.
I think this is the turn off from I-90. Rockin' it!
Coming down the finish line in Memorial Stadium. The astroturf felt SO nice on my feet and give me the extra energy to sprint through the finish line.

They even had video of the finish line.

Greenlake running champs. Photo © 2010 Shannon Erickson.
'I'm a winner, bitch.' I'm pretty sure that's what he said here. Photo © 2010 Shannon Erickson.

My finish time was 2:29, which was about 9 minutes over my target of 2:20. I blame the nipple chafing, and the fact that running any distance past 10 KM is just gratuitous and unneeded. By the way, nipple chafing is the top 20 reasons guys should not run a marathon3. I stopped by a med tent at about mile 9 and asked for some tape (thinking I would just cover my nipples). Apparently, Vaseline is the more appropriate solution and they had plenty of that just waiting for people like me.

My other issue was something I believe to tarsal tunnel syndrome and some pain behind my left knee which could be hamstring tendonitis — but I’m an engineer, not a doctor.

Gray's Anatomy FIG. 442. The mucous sheaths of the tendons around the ankle. Medial aspect.

My plan for now is to not run, probably for the rest of the year. Then start looking for a nice 10K to run next year and I think I’ll also run Beat the Bridge.

And now for the stats:

Course Elevation

Run Profile

Overall Place4: 5911th (out of 7618)
Men Place5: 2794th (out of 3237)
Men 20-24 Place6: 220th (out of 246)

Average Pace7: 7:06 minutes/KM
Average Speed8: 8.5 KM/hour
Time9: 2:29:39
1st split10: 1:11:10
2nd split11: 1:18:29

Finishers Certificate

  1. Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, Ray Moss, et al 

  2. Kickedsarahinthefacetwice 

  3. hat tip to Katelyn Hackett 

  4. based on chip 

  5. based on chip 

  6. based on chip 

  7. based on chip 

  8. based on chip 

  9. based on chip 

  10. based on chip 

  11. based on chip 


One month ago I decided to run a marathon…a dash…a run. Something.

Today I picked up my race bib (#9885), my timing chip, and my shirt. I also calibrated my Nike + iPod by running over to Roosevelt High School and running around their track a couple of times. I also finalized my iPod music, which has been carefully and scientifically calibrated to be awesome:

Action This Day Queen Hot Space
Paranoid Android Radiohead OK Computer
Riding The Waves Afro Celt Sound System Volume 2: Release
The Piano Knows Something I Don’t Know Panic At The Disco Pretty. Odd.
Dirt Off Your Android (Instrum Jaydiohead Jaydiohead Instrumentals
The Middle Jimmy Eat World Bleed American
I’ll Do Anything Jason Mraz Waiting for My Rocket to Come
Just a Dream James Fate Nate James is James Fate
The Hands That Built America {From Gangs of New York} U2 Best of 1990-2000 [Bonus Tracks/DVD] Disc 1
Kashmir Bond Shine
Gamble Everything For Love Ben Lee Awake is the New Sleep
Go to Sleep Radiohead Hail to the Thief
Flower Moby Gone in 60 Seconds
Wheels Cake Pressure Chief
Such Great Heights The Postal Service Give Up
The Electric Co. U2 Boy
Human The Killers Day & Age
Circle Of Life Various Artists The Lion King

In terms of running, here’s a synopsis of what I’ve been doing:

My goal is to run the entire thing with under 8 minutes/mile (about 5 minutes/kilometer) and I think I can actually do it! All that’s left to do is go run! Sunday morning, 8:40am, Belltown, be there.

Update: I created an iMix for iTunes: Run Mix 1

Running a Dash

I signed up on Wednesday to run my distance first race ever1. I’ll be running in Henry Weinhard’s St. Patrick’s Day Dash, a grueling 6.11km race taking place on March 14th in the Queen Anne area of Seattle.

The race starts (3rd and Mercer) and finishes (5th and Harrison) by the Seattle Center and follows this route:

Some other people from Convergence are also going to be running it, including JoEllen, who I went to Haiti with and who sent out the original email, and Robert, and maybe Rebecca? Dad is also running it, which should be fun.

With only a little more than four weeks to go, I thought I’d better start practicing now (cramming doesn’t work as well with races). I devised an aggressive, but hopefully achievable plan for training.

Week Thursday Sunday Tuesday
Week 1 5/1 x 4 7/1 x 3 10/1 x 3
Week 2 12/1 x 2 15/1 x 2 17/1 + 12
Week 3 20/1 + 10 22/1 + 5 25/1 + 5
Week 4 27 30 35

5/1 x 4: Run five minutes, then walk one minute; repeat four times
17/1 + 12: Run 17 minutes, then walk one minute, then run 12 minutes
27: Run 27 minutes

I broke out my Nike + iPod Sports Kit and set out on the first day of training:

I think one of my biggest problems right now is keeping a consistent pace. Based on how I ran, my goal is to run about a 5 minute kilometer (about an 8 minute mile). In order to keep pace, I determined that I need to take 167 steps per a minute2. I already have many the estimated BPM data for many of my songs in iTunes. Thus, for Sunday’s run, I’m going to try running to songs that are in the 160-170 BPM range and hopefully that will help with consistency.

  1. I ran 330m hurdles in high school a couple of times junior year…seven years ago 


Mount Falcon Hike

I went on a hike/run today with Corinne, Ben, Michael, Kendra, and Kevin. It was about a 10km hike up Mount Falcon on the Turkey Trot, Castle Trail, and Walker’s Dream Trail.

Yellow: Route we went on once
Red: Route we went on twice

It was fun to get out and we left early enough that it wasn’t too hot outside. I was also felt pretty in shape, especially since I haven’t been as active as I’ve wanted to be. Hopefully this will be the first of many hikes this summer.

Kevin took some pictures and I’ll update this post after I get copies.

See also: Mount Falcon Park page at Jefferson County Open Space