Not birthday racing

This year’s birthday has been a bit “less eventful” than recent ones. The main reason is because I didn’t birthday race this time around.

Last year, I did a relay with three friends. The year before that I did a 5K with Phyllis and Joanna. And the year before that I did a trail race. I guess it’s easier when your birthday falls on or near a weekend. With a Wednesday birthday, well, not much can be done with that!

This year I also didn’t want to do a race the weekend before or after my birthday because I wanted to be fresh for my upcoming marathon on June 18. At this point, with my IT band issue, I am just hoping and praying I can get through the marathon in one piece.

So, what’s my one birthday wish this year? I think it’s bad form to share what you wish for, but I’m pretty certain you can guess.

Happy birthday to me! (And, Kanye West! – He’s always trying to steal my thunder …)

 

 

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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?

Running into my (27th) birthday

It’s turned into a tradition to run a birthday race. Yes, a race on my actual date of birth. Really, this only works when my birthday falls on a weekend since there are hardly any weekday races.

This year’s race was the ShoreRun 5K along Lake Washington.

I coerced Joanna and Phyllis to run this with me by convincing them that it was “just a short, flat” 5K. I mean, any 5K race is short since all 5K races are, well, 5 kilometers (or 3.1 miles). Not all courses, however, are flat. I didn’t check the actual race route or elevation. After all, this was “just a 5K!” There was one hill, which in the grand scheme of things wasn’t that bad, but it still made me cringe. And, hurt a little.

photo cred: my EP events

photo cred: my EP events

I’m not sure what I thought about during the race. Not much, I guess. I was caught smiling here because this was before said hill.

Also, Joanna is faster than I am so she was way up front. Phyllis is a beast and had done a 10-mile trail race the day before so she was taking it easy this race. I trudged along with the boys. Yes, all the runners around me were men (or, like a 9-year-old boy).

All the “fast women” were ahead of me.

Oh well. So it goes.

But, that also meant the not-so-fast women were behind me.

I dug as deep as my not-even-a-day-older-than-27 body could muster — and kicked.

I kicked down Madison (Avenue? Street?) to catch the closest runner ahead of me. He definitely felt my presence because he started sprinting too. We were a mere few yards from the finish line and I didn’t end up beating him (boo!) but we did both pass another runner (yay!)

photo cred: my EP events

photo cred: my EP events

You know you’re a real runner when you’re not ashamed to post your very photogenic race photos!

Since doing marathons, I always forget how “painful” 5Ks are. You’re, like, sprinting the entire race! (Or, at least I feel like I am even if I don’t look like it).

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Phyllis, Joanna and I stocked up on snacks and kids’ juice boxes after the race. (OK, the kids’ juices were just me …)

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And, of course forced Bryce to take a photo of us and a real English phone booth! Because, why not? It was my birthday after all!

My 27-year-old self secured a top 3 place finish in my age group (20-29). I won a baseball for that! (Joanna, did too! She was #1 in our age group!)

Final time was 23:17, which is definitely not a PR but it’s faster than my high school-self so I’ll take it.

This girl is not ready to slow down.

It’s my birthday and I’ll run race if I want to!

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.

 

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

 

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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!)

 

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

 

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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!

 

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

 

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Birthday dinner included sushi with my family.

 

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

 

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

 

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I concluded the celebrations with all my lovely friends!

I have a feeling 27 will be a great year.

Here we go!

 

 

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.

A scary thing: Your kid brother is of legal drinkin’ age

Nothing like other people getting older to make you feel old.

Today, Michael is (now) 21. My kid younger little brother is 21!

A conversation between him and our mom a few days before his birthday went something like this:

Brother: Hey, can I have that bottle of Grey Goose for my birthday?

Mom: No, that’s mine!

Brother: But, you don’t even drink.

Mom: Neither can you.

Brother: But, I will be 21 then!

Mom: No. (After including a comment about not wanting his underage friends to get alcohol poisoning from chugging the entire bottle of vodka).

On April 11, my present to him included a mini-airplane bottle of Grey Goose along with a Squeeze-It because after all, he will always be my little brother. And, if you’re going to tell me that Squeeze-Its no longer exist, you are correct. Kool-Aid bought them out but the bottles look like Squeeze-Its and they taste like Squeeze-Its.

His first drink and he didn't even get carded!

Back to my point: Happy Birthday, Michael!

A shout out to the birthday duo: Happy birthdays mom and dad!

The story, is that my mom is an avid Solitaire player. I actually do not know if she is any good, though I have walked by her playing on the computer and have seen all the cards shuffling (flying?) on the screen, signifying a successful game.

For a while, she had been saying she wanted “a Facebook” so she could have “little friends” of her own. My brother and I ignored these comments. Finally about a month ago, she created a Gmail account, which led to her being able to make a Facebook account. The next week she even got an iPad. These are all really big steps for this woman — I mean, look, she was calling Facebook, “a Facebook!”

She mainly uses her iPad to play Solitaire — now whenever and wherever she feels like. She hardly has any Facebook activity.

The friend request she had sent my brother had been pending for a long time. He never accepted it. But, one day he logged onto his Facebook on her iPad and forgot to log out — rookie mistake! — and she therefore accepted her own friend request herself through his account. Like any mother, she perused his friends. Later asking him, why he is friends with so-and-so and so-and-so. I had to explain that Facebook friends are not all real friends.

She went on to play her Solitaire, bored with our Facebook musings.

My brother and I discussed getting her an iPad case for her birthday, but then we decided there would be no point since it never leaves the house. She’s probably at home playing Solitaire right now — even if it is my dad’s birthday today.

Happy birthday to my dad, and happy birthday tomorrow to my mom!

[If you are wondering why this was such a mom-focused post, take a look at last year’s parental birthday post! The story was that my dad almost drowned one of his sisters …]