Half Marathon

Yesterday, I ran my first 1/2 marathon, the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon and 1/2. I really decided to do this because the gym was offering a half marathon training class, so why not?

My official time was¬†2:13:18. My personal goal was 2 hours, even though I knew that 2:10 was a more reasonable goal. Through 10 miles, I was actually on pace to finish in 2:06. That’s sort have been my problem, I run the first few miles way too fast (7:30 – 7:45 pace). I’m sure that sustained speed will be achievable with more training.

How did I get here? Quickly.

Starting April 1st of this year, I hadn’t run longer than a mile since 2004. That’s right, I hadn’t done anything other than short runs in 9 years. And even in my previous attempts at amateur athletics, my distance topped out at 10K.

I can’t be anything but happy about bringing my run stance from 1 mile to 13.1 miles in under three months. I have a few things to credit for this. First, 5 years of yoga practice, that’s left me in decent shape to start with. Then a year of crossfit. And, the leaning challenge (that I wrote about before), dropping 20 pounds during my training is really what made this possible. I feel so much lighter when I’m running. Working with a running coach is also really valuable. The speed training and distance program was great. 8 weeks ago, my all out miles was 7:45 (I was surprised it was that fast), at the end of the program, I logged 6:32. That’s a number I’m really happy with. Stringing together fast miles, just needs more time.

In summary, I went from not running to finishing a half marathon with a respectable time in under 3 months.

What’s next?

Tulip Festival

If you’ve never heard of the Skagit Value Tulip Festival, you should. If you live in the Seattle area, you should go even. The amazing amount of flowers is only overshadowed by the natural beauty of the flowers themselves. Row upon row of tulips in full bloom. Nature is cool.

Elliott had a good time too ūüôā We let him run loose. And of course, he found a mud puddle. I’m sure that we’ve got many years of cleaning mud off of his shows/clothes ahead of us.

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Beginner Glass 1

About 7 weeks ago now, I started taking glassblowing classes at Seattle Glassblowing Studio. I’ve never been much of an art person, but I do enjoy it quite a bit.

The actual class I too was 6 week, 4 hours a week. Now that sounds like a lot, but you really can’t have enough practice. Also, you work in teams. There were 3 students in the class, and 1 instructor. Sometimes there might be all 4 of us working together to complete a piece.

Week 1, started with some basics, pulling glass out shaping, cooling, heating. And I ended up with a paperweight. The second week, we still worked in solids, I moved on to a pineapple (paperweight, with leaves on top and spots on the side).

After that, we started actually using blow pipes to make bubbles. From there, you can make all kinds of things. We did ornaments, floats, bowls, cups, and my favorite, plates. (Image on the right).

Plates are complicated. After some practice, I can make one in about 30 minutes now. It turns out that speed is on your side, making it fast is a good thing. The basic process is this. I’m leaving out lots of heating steps, those are in there.

  1. Gather glass
  2. Color – For the yellow plate, I did 4 or 5 coats of yellow frit
  3. start the bubble – lesson learned – hot glass is your friend
  4. Gather on top of the bubble
  5. Continue to expand and shape the bubble, cooling the top and flattening it a bit (it becomes the bottom)
  6. Use an optimic mold to get the waves in the plate
  7. Add the foot onto the bottom of the plate, optionally make it mountable
  8. Transfer the plate to puntie
  9. This is where it gets fun. Open the hole on the opposite end a little more now (the end previously connected to the blow pipe)
  10. Add the lip wrap (the orange in this case). Someone else has been preparing and coloring this for about 2-3 minutes Рteamwork and timing
  11. Open the hole a little more, so that this starts to look like a cup/funky bowl
  12. And the really fun part – keep the plate in the glory hole, and spin. The spinning opens up the bowl into a flat-ish plate
  13. Remove from the heat, but continue to spin the plate, this allows you to shape it further in to a flat or more bowl like structure
  14. Very very very very carefully break it off and transfer the anealer  We made 4 plates, only 1 survived with zero cracks. I know some tricks now though.

So, kind of a new hobby. Something you can’t really do at home. For now, I’ve signed up for the next class, and will be taking 4 more classes starting next month.

Here is a better selection of pictures I took during the class.

Full Album on Google+

The Moose!

I went to the Mariners game tonight (a work function).   It was an exciting game!  The Mariners won!

But more exciting – the moose came up to our section to dance during the 7th inning stretch!

I also rode my scooter to the game – man that is a convenient way to get places. Easy to park free and close. After the game, you can zip right out of there.

Riding the Rails

We had a pretty busy weekend.  Saturday we went to the Sounders FC vs Chelsea FC game.  It was a good match, but the Sounders lost 2-0.   After the game, we rode the new light rail (on opening day) from the international district to the airport, and then back to downtown.  It was really crowded, but fun.   More importantly Seattle is finally catching up to the other major cities of the world.    Here is a video I snapped while waiting for our train to arrive.

Seattle’s New Light Rail

Very exciting – our light rail service opens in 6 days. ¬† Unfortunately, the route means that I won’t be riding it very often. ¬† The trains will initially run from downtown to 2 miles from the airport (opening to the airport before the end of the year). ¬† They are offering free rides next weekend (for the opening), maybe we’ll check it out.

The reason that I’m posting – the Seattle Times has a cool photo gallery of the train, the stations, and the artwork along the route. ¬† So – next time you visit, we may be picking you up at a train station, or meeting you at the airport and riding the train together. ¬†We’ll see.

View the gallery at the Seattle Times.

Haircut, Dinner, and OnCall

Exciting weekend coming up… I’m on-call support this weekend (was last weekend too).¬†¬† 2 weeks at a time, 4 times a year.¬† It isn’t too bad, but it is disruptive.¬†¬† I always have to be somewher in cell phone contact, and have to lug my laptop everywhere I go.

So – tonight I have my every 4 to 5 weeks haircut.¬†¬† I’ve need to update the frequency as I get really bad helmet head if I let it grow out too much.

The more exciting thing… we are planning on trying one of the new Ballard restaurants tonight, Bastille Cafe & Bar.¬† The pictures all look like they have done an amazing job with the interior, and the menu looks yummy.

We’ll let you know how it is… unless of course we can’t get in tonight because it is too busy.¬† We shall see.

That sums up the exciting plans for the weekend…

Next weekend, however, will be very exciting.  A sounders game and an inversions workshop!

Matilda vs. The Paciffic Ocean

Monday we drove the entire Olympic Peninsula loop. We loaded up the dogs for the trip. The dogs did not like the first part of the trip and really really really wanted to play with the bomb sniffing dog at the ferry terminal. After that they settled in and were pretty good.

Our real destination was Ruby beach, out on the Pacific Ocean side of the state. We went up to Edmunds, across the ferry to Kingston, and then drove highway 101 through Port Angeles, Forks (of Twilight fame), and over to Ruby Beach. After that, down south around the mountains, through Olympia. The rest of the trip was highway, up I-5. We made a special stop of UPS (to pick up Cortny’s new iPhone) and then home. Fun trip.

And… (if you click continue reading) here is a video of Matilda meeting the ocean for the first time. Ruby had been to the Atlantic ocean, so she wasn’t quite as funny this time.

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Alaska Cruise, Seattle (Day 1)

This is the first in a series of blog posts about our Alaskan cruse.  We traveled with Celebrity Cruises on the Celebrity Infinity, round trip from Seattle.  The cruise took us to to port stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Victoria BC.   We also had 3 days of cruising, in the Pacific Ocean, up to Hubbard Glacier, and through the Canadian inside passage (east of Vancouver Island).

Alaskan Cruise 2009, Seattle, Days 1 and 2.

We departed on May 22nd, from Seattle. ¬†This is the first Seattle round trip cruise of the year for the Infinity. ¬†Since we followed the repositioning cruise, we actually were not¬†scheduled¬†to depart Seattle until 11:59pm. ¬†Our cruise documents said not to arrive at the port until 7pm. ¬†Because of bus schedules and us being ready way ahead of time, we arrived at the pier around 7pm. ¬†The ship actually wasn’t there yet! (Not that I was¬†surprised). ¬† So we dropped off our luggage and filled out our health forms and got the boarding information. ¬†Since the ship wasn’t going to board until 8:30 or 9:00 and we had a high boarding number (#29), we decided to get dinner elsewhere. ¬†(All of the pictures from day 1 are available at¬†http://picasaweb.google.com/mike.helmick/AlaskaCruise2009SeatteDays12.)

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