Vancouver USA Half Marathon – Vancouver, WA – June 15, 2014

Last Sunday was Lisa and I’s second in a series of three half marathons this summer. (I never got around to blogging about the Oregon Spring Half on May 3.  I’ll get that soon).  Vancouver represented a new state for both of us as well as a city we spend a lot of time in.  I work there, Lisa’s parents live there, we are getting married there.  The other fun thing about this race is it included a beer festival at the finish!

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A nice shirt and a beer mug for the festival were the swag for this race! Pretty exciting!

Lisa’s cousin Karadee as well as Karadee’s sister Zandra and Zandra’s husband Mike were running this race as well.  We managed to find them at the start and while Zandra and Mike were planning a much faster pace than us, Karadee was right where we were planning to be and so we promised to stay together as best we could.  It worked out really well.  We stayed together most of the way and also hung around with the 2:45 pacer (a fellow Half Fanatic!) most of the way as well.  Our goal for this race was merely to finish and enjoy the race.  No PRs for this one, at least not for Lisa and I.  Karadee and Zandra both PR’d!

The race started at Esther Short park in downtown Vancouver and wound it’s way through downtown, through Officers Row of Fort Vancouver (which was awesome!) and then up the only major hill of the course but it was a doozy! A mile and a half slog up the hill of death.  Then we careened down the hill through a couple parks and then along the waterfront and back through Fort Vancouver to finish back in Esther Short park.  It was a really nice course, even with the hill of death.  We all stayed together until about mile 8 when Karadee just caught some kind of groove or second wind and she took off! We cheered her on as she pulled away.  At about mile 11 my calves started cramping up (again!) and we had to stop and walk a bit.  Tried to run again but only made it another 1/4 mile or so before they cramped up again.  The only complaint I could have about this race is the late stage water stops had run out of gatorade.  I doubled up the water and even ate a second Gu for the sodium and potassium but it wasn’t enough to help.  We had to walk until mile 13 and then we just had one corner to turn for the finish, so we jogged it out to the finish.  I cramped up again immediately but I was able to keep going just until the finish.

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We finished! HUGE medals! Very nice.

After the race we grabbed some much needed food and gatorade and then walked to the car to change clothes and get our beer mugs.  We headed back to the beer festival for some beer and food!  We didn’t realize until too late that the gear check tag from the bottom of the bib got us a free beer from the beer sponser Heathen Brewing in Vancouver.  Oh well.  But we had our free tokens to get some samples.  We had enough tokens to get two samplers (one token each) and then one full beer pour (4 tokens) with our dinner.  I sampled a NW Red Ale from McMenamins, a Saison from Heathen and then got a full pour of Kiwanas Cream ale from Pelican Brewing.  Lisa tried a Porter from Heathen, another one I don’t remember that she just liked the name, and then got a full pour of Irish Stout from Breakside.

10419484_10152171479252543_4023595224265889456_nBeer fest selfie!

It did suck to cramp up towards the end, for like the 4th race in a row no less, but we finished and we made it.  We had a great time and got to spend most of the race with Karadee which was really fun and made the miles FLY by.

Up next is the Foot Traffic Flat on July 4th, which I spectated last year, but this year I get to run it.  This will be the 3rd race in well under 90 days to qualify Lisa for the half fanatics, but after this race we are going to take a break from halfs for a while.  The training has been grueling and trying to fit it in among work, school, church and wedding planning has been daunting.  For the rest of this year and probably all of next year we are going to concentrate on shorter races, mostly 5Ks but some 10Ks and one 15K (Shamrock).  We’ll set different goals, like go for time and work on speed.  Both of us would love to nail a sub 30 minute 5K.

On to the next!

For the Love of Running

The story of how me and Lisa met is remarkable and, even still, a little unbelievable.  We’ve known each other now for nearly two years and I’ve been living in Oregon now for 8 months and both of us still have moments of “How in the world did this happen?”.  It all started with a simple question of advice,she asked how to transition from a 100% indoor, treadmill runner to running outside.  This led to several days of talking about future races and training plans and then when she told me she was running the Tinkerbell and we’re both Disney nuts, the conversation turned to other topics a shocking number of which we had in common.  Food, beer, wine, travel, Disney, humor, movies, books etc one right after the other rang bells with both of us.  As Lisa so eloquently puts it “We started talking and just never stopped”.

This past Saturday was a big day for both sides of the coin, Love and Running.  First the running.

Foot Traffic was hosting an “Event Expo” on Saturday morning.  Like a race expo where vendors get together to sell their wares to the race crowd, this expo was a group of event managers who were plugging their events.  We had several races we were going to register for anyway and the expo advertised discounts we were sold. The three races we were going to sign up for were:

Oregon Spring Half – May 3, 2013 (Canby, Oregon)
Vancouver USA Half – June 15, 2013 (Vancouver, Washington)
Foot Traffic Flat Half – July 4, 2013 (Portland, Oregon)

We got discounts of 10-15$ off each race and saved almost 50$ on registrations. One of the tables had a prize wheel you could spin for various prizes, most were trinkets like a water bottle, a pack of Gu, a beanie (which is what I won) but one was a free entry.  It was a tiny slice sandwiched between the Water Bottle slice which was split in two.  Lo and behold, Lisa landed on free entry.  This continues her string of prize luck after she won a free entry to the New Years 5K while we were at the Holiday Half.  The event she choice to use her free registration on is the Columbia River Gorge half in October of this year.  If I join her for that one (and I surely will) that will be 4 half marathons this year which will be most in a year for both of us, and the possibility of a 5th if repeat the Holiday Half (which we would like to).   This also presents me with an interesting scenario since there were a few races I had looked at in August and September and that would present the opportunity to complete 6 in 6 months.  This would “moon me up” to the next level of the Half Fanatics and earn my second moon.  Lisa may or may not be able to complete those with me depending on her fall class schedule, but her 3 in 90 days (May, June, July) will qualify her for the Fanatics at the first moon level.

To finish the day a new chapter was opened up on the Love side of the coin.  I surprised Lisa with a trip to McMenamins Edgefield property out in Troutdale where I had made us reservations at the pretty swanky Black Rabbit Restaurant.  This isn’t your normal beer and burger McMenamins, here they serve steak and fish and wild boar and fancy salads and all the usual Five Star items.  We walked around the property and visited all the outlying bars and got our stamps for our Passports and then headed downstairs to the Winery to do a tasting flight.  All of the wines we tasted were fantastic! Then, right before dinner, when the opportunity presented itself and we were alone, I pulled out her Grandmother’s engagement ring which I had secretly obtained from her family, dropped to a knee and asked her to marry me.  She said yes (well.. nodded and cried, but that’s universal right?) and we hugged for a while and then headed down to dinner.  For me the nerves were over and I was relaxed, for her it was time for butterflies and nerves and head spinning.  Dinner was impeccable and it was an enchanted evening.

From a simple email about running styles to being engaged to be running partners for life.  It’s amazing what a run can do for you.

I don’t know how this happened.. and I’m not sure I ever will.. but I am so thankful it did.  I didn’t realize it two years ago, but I know now I am well and truly blessed.

First Run 2014 – Portland, OR – Jan 1, 2014

I logged 319 running miles in 2013, which is a pretty serious drop from 700+ in 2012, but injuries and moving cross country had a lot to do with that.

For the third year in a row I started the year off with some mileage as soon as I could, a 5K that started at midnight.  For the second year in a row I’d be running the midnight race with Lisa although this time it was in Portland!

The race started at the World Trade Center in downtown Portland about a block off the riverfront.  We got there about 10:30 to enjoy some of the pre-party.  They had a DJ spinning tunes and had some snack foods for us.  Despite having space heaters it was outdoors and it was COLD! We were ready to get moving! We finally got started with everyone counting down the last 10 seconds and then shouts of happy New Years and couples kissing all around us and then we were off.  It was a slow shuffle to the starting line as we had a big crowd trying to get through a narrow area.  We made it to the start and then made our way onto the West waterfront area and we turned North.  This is where things got real interesting.  The road where we started was closed, but once we got onto the sidewalk it was wide open and there were people milling about along the waterfront and we either had to dodge or accept the offered high-fives as we ran by.  Several people at various levels of intoxication shouted out Happy New Years! as we ran by and one guy even called us all heroes! It was interesting to say the least.  There were also a couple people sitting on the benches who were smoking weed and celebrating and that was not something you usually see/smell along a race course.  At the Steel Bridge we turned East and crossed the river and then turned South along the Eastbank Esplanade.  Things finally opened up here and you could tell since our 2nd mile was a full minute faster than our first.  At the Hawthorne Bridge we looped up and around to cross back West across the river and return to the start.  A short jog South and then we looped back North to the World Trade Center and the finish.  Ironically enough, this same loop is part of our downtown 10 mile training loop, but we always run it in reverse (Eastbank, Steel, Westbank, Hawthorne).

We finished in 42 minutes, which was not a bad time at all considering the congestion and people dodging, and then the fact that neither one of us had run at all in the 2 weeks since the Holiday Half.

Another fun part was the people watching as we traveled to and from the race.  You know it’s New Year’s Eve when you get on the MAX Train in black running tights, shorts, two different colored shirts and a beanie cap and you are NOT the strangest dressed person on the train.  There were people in all kinds of costumes including sparkles and wings or fancy tuxes or a smoking jacket/jeans/sparkly converse combo.  We saw all manner of dress and it was pretty crazy.  After the race (about 1AM) people were spilling out into the streets and yelling and partying, pretty much a typical downtown New Years.

2013 Year in Review

Last year I had this to say about 2012.

“2012 was such an amazing year I’m not sure how I’m going to prevent 2013 from being a letdown.  How do you follow up that act?”

Well, needless to say 2013 blew 2012 out of the water.

The Move:

This was the biggest thing that happened this year so I might as well mention it first.  On May 28th, 2013 (a day after my birthday) I got in my car and started driving.  I would drive for the next 4 days nonstop through 10 states and all four time zones.  Until that day I had lived in North Carolina for my entire life.  I arrived in Portland on Friday May 31st at about 7PM local time (by that point I had no clue what time it was anymore, my body still thought it was 10PM).

There are two major “life changing” aspects of this move.  The first is that somewhere (and I still don’t know where it came from) I found the guts to uproot everything and leave everything behind, for all intents and purposes jumping off a cliff and hoping someone at the bottom would catch me.  The fact that a multitude of people, including Lisa’s family, friends and church community did catch me is astonishing and leads me into the second aspect.

From June until November I was essentially “homeless”.  Yes, I was not the traditional “sleeping on the streets” form of homeless, but I had no place to call my own and very few possessions.  I cycled through a series of “foster” homes and couch surfed while I looked for jobs and looked for places to live on my own.  If it weren’t for the people who opened their homes to me I wouldn’t be here.  To know that everything you have at a certain moment in your life, food, warmth, roof, bed, access to a phone to call loved ones, is provided by someone out of only the goodness of their hearts is incredibly humbling.  It is a debt I can never repay, and one that will never be called upon.  No repayment was asked or is ever expected from these amazing people.  Lisa’s church preaches to help the poor and those less fortunate.  These people surely took that to heart and “practice what they preach”.

You can read about the Westward Journey HERE.

Races:

After “The Year of the Race” in 2012 with 15 races in four different distances, 2013 was certainly a step back, but not in a bad way and certainly for good reasons.  2013 featured 7 races including 3 half marathons stretching from Florida to Oregon.

2013 started the same as 2012 with the Running of the Lights 5K at Tanglewood park.  The run through the Christmas lights that started at midnight on New Years day was a repeat for me.  However, this year Lisa had flown out from Portland to come visit me and happened to be here on race day and so she ran this one with me and this was our first race together.

A few weeks later I would travel down to Orlando Florida to run in the Walt Disney World half marathon.  This was a pretty amazing race but unfortunately was marred by a serious knee injury.  I was able to finish the race, but had to walk from mile 9 to the finish in the surprisingly hot Florida sun.  My parents and brother and sister were there to support me and cheer me on and also cheer me up after my disappointing finish.  3:36 was my worst finish ever, but I finished.  I suppose I had plenty of points where I could have dropped out and told the race crew I quit, but I plodded along and made my way to the finish.

In February, I would suffer my first DNS (Did Not Start).  I had signed up for the Pilot Mountain Payback “Heavy” half marathon before I was injured at Disney and I decided I was going to try my best to still complete it.  I had completed the 3 in 3 months I needed to qualify for the Half Fanatics, but now was going to try for 6 in 6 months.  Due to my injury I was not able to run for several weeks and not able to put in any serious mileage at all.  The “Heavy” was about 14 miles so longer than a half and would have been my longest run to date.  I was still dead set on running it until the night before the race.  I was literally in a panic.  I wasn’t sure I could do the distance, it was snowing that night and conditions on the course were going to be horrible.  After a long conversation with Lisa, who told me that if I was so upset about the race I should skip it, I decided not to go.   A few days later, I found out how awful the course was, with creek crossing that were waist deep, and how many people skipped and how many people did not finish and I knew I had made the right choice.  I wasn’t happy with it, but I was at peace with it.

In March and April I ran a pair of 10Ks, a repeat of the St Leo’s 10K and then a new race, the Hope for Hospice 10K.  The first one I merely wanted to finish, which I did in a respectable 1:13, while the second one was part of the training for my second half marathon and I finished a tough course in 1:11 which was only 3 minutes slower than my 10K PR from last year.

In late April I ran my second half marathon of the year, the Kings Mountain Half in Kings Mountain SC.  I was excited to run this race since it ran through a Revolutionary War battlefield, but that ended up being a huge disappointment since the “cannons and monuments” portion of the battlefield was nowhere near where we ran.  An out and back on some access roads with nothing by trees to look at was a HUGE letdown.  Also, towards the end of this race my calves cramped up really bad and I ended up walking from mile 11 to the end.  My 3:08 finish was better than Disney, and slightly better than my first half in New Orleans, but nothing close to a PR.  About the only saving grace was this was my first race in South Carolina, so it was a new state for me.

At this point, the rest of my 2013 race calender got completely erased.  The races I had planned for the Fall were not going to happen and the races for May and June I needed that money for my move across the country.  It would be a while before I would race again, but me and Lisa started running together as often as we could once I got settled in Portland.

In November we ran our second race together, a 10K, and my first race in Portland.  The Cause and Event 10K was a fantastic event that supported many different causes.  The course was mostly greenway through west Portland/Beaverton neighborhoods.  Of course, being Portland in the fall, it rained on us during the race, but it was mostly just a slight drizzle.  I got to meet some of the people who help run Camp Lutherwood and raise some money for them so that was all good!

In December, we finally ran our first half together in Portland, the Foot Traffic Holiday half.  A nice run through Northeast Portland, it was COLD and rainy, but a really nice course and well supported.  Other than my bad cramps for the last two miles it was also a great run.  Lisa rocked it! We finished in exactly 3 hours which was not a PR for either of us, but not our worst finish either.

The next run for Lisa and I will be another midnight New Year’s Day race, but that’s for 2014!

Hiking:

While we didn’t do as much running over the summer as we planned, we certainly took advantage of the gorgeous weather and Lisa introduced me to one of her favorite past times.  Hiking! What else does one do in a place full of mountains and trees? I was quickly hooked.

We started out with an “easy” hike that turned out to be quite a journey.  The loop around the Trail of Ten Falls was about 7 miles or so of mostly flat terrain, but then at the end there was some steep switchback stairs and a steep uphill climb to the last falls which really took it out of me.  I was completely exhausted by the time we finished but it was totally worth it.  The scenery was unbelievable and you couldn’t believe you were just a short drive outside of the city.  It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere.

The next hike, merely a week later, was the shortest in distance, but by far the most challenging.  We drove up to Timberline Lodge, which is about halfway up Mt Hood (roughly 6000 feet elevation) and hiked out to Zig Zag Canyon.  It was only about 2 miles there and two miles back, but it including dropping down into several smaller canyons, as well as the terrain shifting as we skirted along the edge of the timberline.  At times we were deep into an old growth forest bushwhacking through underbrush and giant ferns and then at other times we were sliding through a sandy/rocky type landscape with not a tree in sight.  We lost several hundred feet of elevation on the way out to the canyon and while the way out was a nice “walk” the way back to the lodge was suddenly extremely uphill and turned into a “climb”.  This however, was an incredibly rewarding hike.

About two weeks after that we embarked on our third hike of the season which started out innocently enough but turned into quite an adventure.  We had planned on hiking up to Wahkenna Falls and then taking the trail back down along Multnomah Falls.  Unfortunately, through a combination of a poorly marked trailhead and a confusing printed map we ended up parking and starting at the wrong place.  We got onto the Angel’s Rest trail and of course we were several miles into it before we realized it but we continued on to the top of Angel’s Rest. We climbed about 1400 feet along the way and were rewarded with an amazing view up and down the Columbia River.  Across from us was Washington State and we could almost see all the way back to Portland.  At this point we continued along the trail which we thought would take us to Multnomah Falls.  We crossed a creek and then lost the trail and were a few minutes away from becoming very lost.  A couple and their dog emerged from the brush and warned us not to go that way since the trail was overgrown and faded.  It turned out they had just come from where we wanted to go, so they showed us the way.  We parted ways at the top of Wahkenna falls as they headed to Multnomah but without them we would have been seriously lost.  We made our way down the side of Wahkenna falls which was absolutely breathtaking and made our way back down to road level.  Now because of where we parked, we had about a 2 mile walk along the side of the road to get back to the car.  This was terrifying since there was no shoulder and warnings to NOT do what we were doing, but we had no choice.  What was supposed to be an easy 4 mile hike turned into a very challenging 9 mile hike, but we survived it and made it.

Travel:

Lisa loves to travel and we’ve done our fair share of it even if only in the local area.  Shortly after I arrived in Portland, we headed out to the Oregon coast and took in Cannon Beach, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay and Newport.  The Oregon Coast is not like anything I have ever seen before.  Rocks and cliffs and lava flows and trees right up to the water line.  It resembles close to what I expect the Northeast looks like up around Maine.  Also, a month ago we went to Seattle which was a really cool trip and a place I’ve wanted to go for a long while.  We will certainly be headed back there soon I’m sure.

Job:

Changing jobs is never fun, but moving all the way across the country meant quitting my job and then trying to find a new one.  After 3 months that felt like FOREVER I landed a job in Vancouver at a company that makes vitamins and herbal supplements, so I got back into the Food Science industry to a certain degree.  I’m doing quality work but also a decent amount of paperwork and regulatory responsibilities.  They weren’t kidding that the job title “Lab Administrator” is a “little bit of everything”.

Weightloss:

This part hasn’t gone so well this year, but I’m not too terribly upset about it.  I started the year at my lowest weight ever at around 235, but my Disney injury sidelined me for a long while and I ended up putting a little weight back on, probably close to 245.  Then after I moved I’ll admit that I put on several more pounds as I ate my way around Portland (no regrets AT ALL).  I’ll be finishing this year in the 260’s so I’ve actually gained weight, but I’m still way under where I was in 2011 and most of 2012, so I’ll take that and jump into 2014 with both feet.

Can 2014 build on an incredible 2012 and then an epic 2013? Stay Tuned!!!!!!

Foot Traffic Holiday Half – Portland, OR – Dec 15, 2013

After having met while training for half marathons and having run 7 other races between the two of us, Lisa and I finally got to run a half marathon together.  After I moved out to Portland Oregon in June we looked for a race that would give me time to get settled and plenty of time to train together and the Holiday Half fit the bill nicely!

The Holiday Half would be my third half marathon this year (6 total) and also Lisa’s third total half, all three from this year.  I was excited to run my first half marathon in the state of Oregon and also the city of Portland.  The course started at the Adidas campus in Northeast Portland and headed north along the bluff and up through St Johns and under the St Johns bridge and back in a pretty straight out and back.  The route was about as flat as you could get and still be within the city itself and the weather, while not great, was about the best we could ask for.  It was quite cold, starting out in the 30s and warming up to the 40s but the weekend before had seen lows in the teens and highs in the 20s so this felt downright hot by comparison!

The race started a little after 8AM complete with a Santa and fake snow.  Despite being a small race (approx 2500) it was very crowded at the start.  We were weaving through some neighborhoods while we made our way to the big main road that would take us along the bluff and back.  Our first two miles were a little slow at 12:43 and 12:30, although this was faster than most of my training runs.  At mile 3 we really hit our stride with mile times of 12:03, 12:15 (20:15 with an 8 minute bathroom wait), 11:57 and 12:02.  Everything felt good at the time, but in hindsight this may have been a little quick.

At about mile 6 we ran under the St John’s bridge and there was a group of singers there singing carols (one of whom Lisa knew!) and the acoustics under the bridge were amazing.  It sounded great and what a uplifting moment to push us on.   The route included a cutoff section on the return trip, so the turn around point was a little beyond halfway at a little over 7 miles.   We had slowed down a little but still were cruising along with miles 7-9 at 12:20, 12:45 and 12:59.  Right at mile 9 we stopped to take our gels, taking the ones that were offered on the course.  This stop cost us a few seconds and mile 10 was 13:55.  We got some of that back, but not all, in mile 11 at 13:12 and then that’s where things starting going bad.

Towards the end of mile 11 I could feel my legs starting to twitch and convulse a little but they weren’t cramping.  I got very tired and had to stop and walk for just a few minutes to rest and catch my breath.  At the mile 12 marker we started running again but sadly that didn’t last long.  At about 12.5 miles both of my calves cramped up so bad it stopped me in my tracks and I shuffled to a walk.  After a while the pain in my calves eased but it moved up to above my knees.  At this point even walking was extremely painful.  We stopped very close to mile 13 for me to stretch a little bit and then continued on.  We turned the corner and could see the finish line and the pain in my legs had eased enough to try to run to the finish but halfway there I cramped up again and limped to the finish line.

We finished at exactly 3 hours.  Not the best time for either of us but a long shot, but not our worst either.

It wasn’t a great experience, but we finished it and gutted it out.  There were some issues that probably led to my problems so I’ll try to work on that in the future.

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Took home a nice medal for finishing!

Seattle Restaurant Reviews

I’ve been without access to my blog for a while, so I’ve got some serious catching up to do.  Starting with my trip to Seattle which I just realized was a MONTH ago.  Wow, time flies.

I don’t often do restaurant reviews (in fact, this may be the first one) but a couple of the places we ate in Seattle I thought deserved special mention because they really blew both Lisa and I away.

The first night we were in Seattle we drove out to the Fremont Neighborhood to visit the Fremont Troll and also hunt down some dinner.  As we passed through the streets nothing really caught our eye until Lisa spied a joint with a large red neon sign proclaiming “WHISKEY”.  Being an aficionado of the brown stuff Lisa was intrigued.  We circled around a second time and again nothing jumped out at us so we decided to give the “Whiskey” a shot.  As we walked up we discovered the name of the place was actually 9 Million in Unmarked Bills.  We stepped inside and the theme was Prohibition era speakeasy with nods to bank robbers and ransom artists which included a drink named after the famed Northwest robber D.B. Cooper. (*Side note: I looked up DB Cooper, and his ransom that he requested was only in the neighborhood of 75,000$.  That was a lot of money for the early 70’s, it’s about a million and a half in modern dough, but it still seems like a paltry sum of money to hijack a plane for, but as Lisa noted, it’s a small enough amount that he could live comfortably and yet not draw attention, although it is presumed he did not survive his parachute jump from the airplane).  Being a whiskey bar the first thing we looked at was the drink menu.  Lisa’s first drink was an Old Fashioned which included bourbon, orange and a brandy soaked cherry, she said it was good but wasn’t too terribly impressed with it.  My first drink was a Mint Julep made in the traditional fashion with bourbon, sugar and mint.  It was fantastic.  Next came food and it was incredible! Lisa got a little skillet steak cooked with peppers and onions and was on the happy hour menu.  We also split an order of the truffle fries which were served with truffle oil, Parmesan cheese and herbs and they were divine.  I got a small pizza with fresh mozzarella, wild mushrooms and truffle oil and I was astonished at how good it was.  After eating we ordered a second round of drinks so we could try some different things.  Lisa got the aforementioned DB Cooper which was made with bourbon, sour mix, lime and frothed with a shaken egg white.  She really liked this, and I was a little iffy on the egg white, but took a sip and it was good.  I got a drink called Red Sky at Night which was a nod to sailors and included (appropriately) rum and was served hot and garnished with a cinnamon stick.  It was really really good.

The second day in Seattle we spent the majority of the day at Pikes Place Market, and of course being right on the waterfront the goal of the day was to find some good seafood.  After wandering around and looking at menu’s we decided on the Athenian. Lisa had seen several things she liked right away, while I had to search for a little while.  I didn’t want to just get something fried, and also I wanted something local.  Several things with the large prawns looked good but they were from the Gulf of Mexico.  I was going to have to step out of my comfort zone if I wanted to have an experience of the local flavors.  Lisa had decided on the Seafood Saute which included whitefish, salmon, clams, mussels and those giant prawns (which were HUGE) cooked up in a white wine sauce with peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes.  It looked amazing, and she said it was.  I tried one of her fries which had soaked up some of the broth and it was amazing.  I ended up ordering the seafood fettuccine which came with mussels, clams, those huge prawns and “seafood selections”.  I know for a fact it had salmon, and I assume it had the same whitefish that Lisa’s dish had.  I like oysters, and I had tried fried clam strips when we were at Mo’s in Cannon Beach, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to like clams and mussels from the shell (essentially steamed and then tossed with the pasta).  Turns out, it was really incredible.  I also wasn’t sure about the salmon, but it also was very good.   The atmosphere couldn’t be beat either.  Up on Pike “street level” which is about 3 stories above the waterfront streets which gave us an amazing view of the piers which included shops and the Seattle aquarium as well as the ferry boats coming and going.  After lunch we would take one of those ferries out to Bainbridge island and get a view of the city from the waterside.

If you’re ever in Seattle I highly, highly recommend these two places.

 

Upcoming Races

I haven’t been blogging as much lately and a main reason is I haven’t been doing as much lately of the stuff I used to blog about.  However, things are starting to finally get settled down here in my new home of Oregon.  I’ve found a job and been working for about a month and here in the next couple of weeks I’m going to be looking for a permanent place to live.  In the meantime, life goes on!

Lisa and I have registered for a half marathon in December and our training started this week, which is one of the ways things are starting to get back into a routine.  Here’s a look at some upcoming races that I am either registered for, thinking about registering or just hoping to maybe sign up for.

November 16, 2013 – Cause and Event Portland:  This is a really unique event.  Rather than benefiting one major charity this race which includes a non-timed 5K, a timed 5K and a timed 10K supports 20-30 small local charities and the runners choose at registration which of the charities they are going to support, so your money goes to the charity you want it to go to! Lisa and I are registered for the 10K and we are supporting Camp Lutherwood, which is a camp down near Eugene which is for middle school and high school kids and Lisa takes her youth groups there quite often.  Not only do we get to help out people we know in person, but this will also be a really good “prep race” 4 weeks before our half marathon.

December 15, 2013 – Foot Traffic Holiday Half:  This will be my third half marathon of 2013 following up Disney and Kings Mountain to start the year.  This will also be my first race in the state of Oregon and my first half marathon with Lisa.  Very exciting! Training through the fall and winter will be an interesting ordeal with all the rain and cold, but it will just be part of the experience.  There’s a good chance it will rain on race day so might as well train in it.  I needed a training routine to get back into and signing up for a race is the best way to do that!

April 19, 2014 – Hip Hop Half Marathon: Foot Traffic sent me an email about this race and registration opens today.  I’m seriously thinking about doing it.  It’s a small race (1500 people) along the Marine Drive greenway, which runs right along the shore of the Columbia River.  A very scenic area of North Portland (even the airport is cool).  The one catch to this race is that Lisa won’t be able to do it with me.  It’s the Saturday before Easter and Lisa will be at the church prepping things for the Easter breakfast and other festivities the next day.  I may still do it, but I’m thinking about it.

May 18, 2014 – Rock and Roll Portland:  This race has been on my list since before I moved out here but I’m not sure if next year will be the year for it or not.  The Rock and Roll Seattle follows this race in June and there is a special medal for completing both of them in the same year.  Eventually I’d like to do the double.

July 4, 2014 – Foot Traffic Flat Sauvies Island Half: After playing spectator and sherpa for this year’s half I’m planning on running this one next year.  Lisa, Kyle and Laura all said it was an awesome, scenic course, with great support and of course strawberry shortcake at the end! Looking forward to this one!

Stay tuned! More races will be added to this I’m sure!

 

  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.

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