Birthday Race: Rainier to Ruston Relay

For the past three years, I have run a race on my birthday. This year was no different. Well, except for the fact that I didn’t run on my exact birthday. (It’s kind of tough when your birthday doesn’t land on a weekend).

The past birthday races have been road 5Ks or a trail race. This time I did something different. I did a relay race, which really meant incorporating my friends into the mix.

Bryce suggested the relay less than a month before the race. I was a bit wary since I hadn’t been running since the Eugene Marathon at the beginning of May. But, it was something new and exciting. And, I knew I wouldn’t have trouble finding friends to run it with us.

Our friends Brent and Mo came on board to form our team of 4, Team Kale. (Don’t ask about the name, it was completely random).

So, on June 6, two days before my birthday, we ran from just outside Mt. Rainier to Ruston Way in Tacoma. The race incorporated trails, roads and everything in between. (Our lucky guys got the legs that had sand!)

Bryce about to hand-off to Brent early on

Bryce about to hand-off to Brent early on.

It was obnoxiously hot — think mid to upper 80s — but we had a lot of fun. We all told each other before the race started that we were all going to “take it easy” and “run for fun.” None of us had trained for this thing. But, to no one’s surprise, we all pushed ourselves and our team came away with third place for our mixed division. Our total time was 7:13:34 for the 52-mile race. Essentially, each of us ran about a half marathon.

Mo kicking it in!

Mo kicking it in!

I definitely surprised myself.

My first leg of 5.6 miles I ran at 8:27 pace. My second leg of 3.6 miles at 8:30 pace. And my third leg I still managed to sneak under sub-9 pace at 8:56 pace for 4.2 miles.

I got a nice mixture of terrain with my first leg being on trail along a river and in a woodsy-foresty area. My second leg was on a paved concrete trail, completely open to the sun. I really lucked out on this leg because one of my Oiselle teammates, Jess, found me along the course. As she said “good job, Kristin!” and ran past me, I somehow thought I could maybe keep up with her. And, for the last mile-and-a-half or so, I did. I would never have maintained an 8:30 pace by myself. That’s the magic of team running and having someone physically at your side! I’d also like to note that Jess and I met for the first time in real life just at the start of the race. Other than that, it had been only Twitter-communication — I love when I meet running friends during races!

Jess and I finishing our second leg together.

Jess and I finishing our second leg together.

My last leg was mainly on city sidewalks of Tacoma. I don’t remember much about this part except that I tried my hardest to beat stoplights and that I had to pee. Brent, who was the runner before me, was quite the speed demon so when he arrived to the exchange, I was still in the portapotty line! I abandoned the wait though and just started my leg. My bladder, as far as I know, was not harmed in the process of this relay.

I didn’t know what to expect with Rainier to Ruston but it did not disappoint. I was most worried that I would get lost on a trail but each and every leg was well marked. The volunteers were awesome. The race itself was a good enough size that you could usually always see another runner up ahead of you. If I wait three years, I think this race may land on my actual birthday!

And, a one-day relay is definitely a fun alternative to a Ragnar relay where you’re going all day, all night. I enjoyed not being sleep deprived and just being “normal tired.”

Team Kale!

Team Kale!

My last race as a 27-year-old was a relay. I have no idea what my next race as a 28-year-old will be. Nothing is officially on the schedule (except for the Ragnar Trail Cascades race in September).

But, let’s be real. I’ll race before then, right?


All in two weeks — NYC, a relay, a birthday

I don’t know where the time has gone. I have a list of blog posts that are just waiting to be written! (Most of them are partially drafted in my head already, too!) But, because I don’t have the time right now to type them all out, I will leave you with some photos of the past two weeks.

I’ve been busy.

I’ve been productive,

I’ve been running (a little).

Let’s take a look:

Times Square, NYC

Times Square, NYC

I met up with Phyllis two weekends ago to help her look for a wedding dress. She goes to medical school in Albany, New York and I live in Seattle. Meeting in the middle would have put us somewhere in the mid-west so we met in New York City! Plus, I secretly love NYC so it was a good excuse to make a long weekend trip out of it and be a bit tourist-y!


Central Park running!

And, boy do I have stories! From “roughing it” in the YMCA in Manhattan to “getting kicked out” of Top Shop … these will have to wait for next time though. I promise.

Rainier to Ruston 52-mile Relay

Rainier to Ruston 52-mile Relay

Last Saturday Bryce, Brent, Mo and I did the Rainier to Ruston relay! This was my first race since Eugene Marathon at the beginning of May. I ran 5 times since the marathon. Again, this race deserves its own blog post. For now I’ll just say that we placed third in our division!

Cousins and the mountain

Cousins and the mountain

The day after the race my family took a day trip to Mt. Rainier. My Hawaii cousins had never been before so my mom thought it would be a fun day hike to take them on. Yes, my legs were tired from running about a half marathon the day before, but I can never say no to a visit to my favorite mountain!

Perfect weather for a hike!

Perfect weather for a hike!

All these fun activities were followed by turning another year older. Yep, I had a birthday!

Rainbow cake!

Rainbow cake!

I’m indecisive and not a desserts-person to begin with. (For example, I don’t like chocolate! I know, I know, no one understands!) So, it made sense that my mom would buy me a Hawaiian rainbow cake. It was delicious and I had a fun birthday with my family and Bryce.

Is moving or unpacking worse?

Is moving or unpacking worse?

I moved out of my house more than two weeks ago but had not begun unpacking. This week I finally started doing that so perhaps Joanna and I can live in an actual apartment and not a “storage unit.” Also, getting our Internet hooked up would make our apartment way more livable …

There you have it. I haven’t just been ignoring you. And, I feel bad when I don’t write/post often. I’m hoping that will change real soon.

Will you accept an IOU?


Getting ready for a (pre-) birthday relay

Some people throw big parties for their birthdays.

I ask my friends if they’ll run with me.

More specifically, I ask them to race with me.

Last year, it was a local 5K. This year, it will be a team relay race!

I’ll be doing Rainier to Ruston, a 50-mile relay, with Bryce and two friends in about a week. Yes, this race will not fall on my actual birthday, but Monday race days are difficult to come by.

None of us have ever done this specific relay but I imagine it will be a mini version of Ragnar.

And, no, hardly any running has been happening since I did Eugene Marathon at the beginning of the month so we’ll see how these legs of mine will hold up. (We signed up for this race three days ago!)

I’m just looking forward to enjoying a full day of running with my friends from Rainier — to Ruston!

Ready, set, KO! — A quarter-life no more

Yes, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you.

This is the blog formerly known as It is now: (Maybe some day I’ll actually own the domain, but baby steps, right?)

My apologies for any confusion or restless nights of sleep that may have incurred because of this HUGE change.

But, you see, I’m not at a quarter-life anymore. I plan to live to 100 years and I am two years past 25.

As of June 8, I am 27! (That number is still weird to say/read/type).

Last year at 26, I thought about changing the blog name but I couldn’t think of anything creative enough. So, I kept it.

This year, I asked friends for help. I took an impromptu poll while celebrating my birthday at a bar Sunday evening with friends.

I knew I wanted the new blog name to incorporate either running, my name, writing and/or living in Seattle or the Pacific Northwest). The following are a few from the brainstorming session (or texts I later received from friends who didn’t stop coming up with more creative options):

Running on Plenty | Run Kristin Run | Two Cents Past A Quarter | Run And Tell That | Total KO | TKO  Run Write Repeat | Bacon is the Exception | Stride Write | Cascadia Runner | Kristin Runs 

Obviously, Ready, set, KO! won by a landslide. And by “won by a landslide,” I mean Erica was shooting off more ideas with me Monday evening when “OK, go!” turned into “Ready, set, go!” and then of course, “Ready, set, KO!” was born. In case the KO part doesn’t make sense, those are my initials.

It’s a weird feeling to be past a quarter life. I’m definitely not ready for people to tell me I am in my “late 20s.”

I’m just ready to go! I’m ready to run, to write, to travel — all the things I did at a quarter-life. Nothing in this blog will change. I just needed to upgrade the name.

So, ready, set, KO!


Thanks for the #birthdayweekend


My 27th birthday was June 8 and I had an entire weekend of celebrating. I couldn’t have asked for better Pacific Northwest weather and better company to spend it with. I have the best friends and family ever! In case you missed my constant #birthdayweekend tweeting, here’s a little of what happened:


Friday evening was spent walking around the UW campus and catching glimpses of Mt. Rainier.


Saturday Bryce and I hiked the Oyster Dome and coincidentally ran into friends at the top of the mountain!


Us and friends exploring a lake on our way down the mountain.



We decided to take the scenic route back to Seattle that evening after the hike.



Sunday morning (my actual birthday,) Phyllis and Joanna ran the ShoreRun 5K with me. (For those of you who read my blog solely for the running content, I will post a proper race recap soon!)



Despite none of us really training for this race, we had a lot of fun during and after (pictured here).




In the afternoon, I discovered that I am not very good at King Tut 1960s pinball.



For those that do not know, we have a pinball museum in Seattle!



The snapchats I received on my birthday were birthdaysnaps! How exciting!



Birthday dinner included sushi with my family.



I got schooled by my little brother at table tennis. I played with my dominant hand and he played with his non-dominant hand …



I ate cake. (And I have a piece saved for today, too.)



I concluded the celebrations with all my lovely friends!

I have a feeling 27 will be a great year.

Here we go!



Happy anniversary-birthday-good-news-race-day!

[Kristin’s blog, 06-08-14, 12:00 a.m.]

It’s midnight and that means it’s my blog’s anniversary!

It also means it’s my birthday!

And in addition to all of that: I’ll be racing a 5K in eight hours! (Or, er, maybe I’ll just be running/jogging it since I did do a 6-mile roundtrip hike up a mountain several hours ago).

Oyster Dome, overlooking the San Juan Islands


I’m also just really happy because on top of all of that my greatest friend in the world just shared very happy news with me!

Happy anniversary-birthday-good-news-race day to meeeeeeee!

And, good night!

Birthdays can be hard

Birthdays were great as a kid. You got to have a party where you were the center of attention. There were cake and presents and all of your friends were there to celebrate with you.

And, as you got older there were milestones.

My golden birthday at age 8 because I was born on the 8th. Ten because you’re finally in the double digits. Thirteen because you’re finally a teenager. Sixteen because you can get your license (to drive). Eighteen because you can vote and are considered a legal adult in the eyes of America. Twenty-one because you get to have 21-runs.

But then as you get even older, birthdays become less exciting. There are no more milestones, just another year to add to your age to remind you that you are old(er). I mean, there is that whole being able to rent a car at age 25 for a “decent price” but that’s not as cool as voting or drinking alcohol, right?

This doesn’t bother some people, the whole getting older thing. Those people continue to throw parties and enjoy “their day.”

I haven’t really looked forward to getting older since 18. Every year after that has been one more year. One more year “away” from Natalie.

Sometimes when I think about it, during the weeks and days that lead up to my birthday, it makes me very sad and a little mad.

I’m getting older but she remains 18 … at least in my mind, anyway.

The more time that passes, the more disconnected I feel from her.

And I know it shouldn’t. Because, nothing has changed. Or, everything has …

All I can do in this moment is listen to U2 and think of her.

And, rather than dwell in my sadness, just walk on.

Because even though birthdays can be hard.

They can also be a celebration. So, I will do my best to be happy and celebrate as I know best — by racing a 5K on Sunday.