About HeyRachey

Regular gal discovers gonzo streak midlife. Likes to push self and go fast. Wants to practice (and turn others on to) strength, endurance, speed and audacious authorship of our lives. Life doesn't stay still. Best we move with it.

Big Ride Eve

Evangeline at Agate PassTomorrow morning around 7am, I launch on Part Two of the Broken Ironman, the double metric century bike ride. 200K equals 124 miles, a good 40 miles longer than the longest training ride I’ve done. It’s the Chuckanut Century out of Bellingham, Washington. It’s gorgeous up here and the weather is perfect. I’m feeling a wee bit nervous, but I’m just going to turn the pedals over, groove on the vistas up to Canada and down toward the San Juan Islands, stay hydrated and ride rest stop-to-rest stop. David joins me for the first segment and from then on I’ll be making new friends.

Thanks pals, for the encouragement, the cycling wisdom and how-to, and the training rides! Stand by for photos and stories…


Part One of the Broken Ironman: Swim Done!

10590539_4443130374133_1947234673108336254_nI swam like an eagle (i.e.; technique wasn’t pretty), but the elements and experience were epically gorgeous. Seattle did its meteorological thing on Wednesday morning and brought a sudden cool, cloudy and very windy couple of hours that coincided perfectly with our swim event–the Puget Sound Blood Center’s Swim For Life. My crossing (somewhere between 2.2 and 2.5 miles) took 90 minutes and it was the roughest open water swim I’ve ever done by a long shot. Fortunately our team had two paddlers–David DeBusk in a kayak and Richard Wardell kneeling on a paddleboard. I was completely dependent on Richard since the waves were too high to sight effectively without stopping entirely and sticking my head up. My swim partners–Michael Lamb, Paul Coldren and Patty Gustaveson all swam beautifully. Whenever I caught up to them taking a short break they were tittering like they were at a cocktail party. Well done all!

Image 6 At the start side Medina Beach (above)…and the finish side Madison Park Beach (below)…!

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Tomorrow We Swim!

The first event of my Broken Ironman happens tomorrow (Wednesday) morning! It’s the Puget Sound Blood Center’s Swim for Life–fundraiser for bone marrow testing and matching. I’ll be swimming from Medina Park to Madison Park 2.25 miles (Okay not quite the Ironman distance of 2.4, but we’re going call it good.) David DeBusk and Tony Zanol will be escorting by kayak and I’ll be swimming with Patty Gustaveson, Michael Lamb, Paul Coldren, Molly Martinez, Margaret Kineke, Christine Stepherson, and a bunch of others. Wish us well and watch for my report soon. As my dad used to say as we nosed the canoe into the V of the rapids, “Once more, into the void!”


An Open Water Swimmer is Born

Evernote Camera Roll 20140725 112839This was a shot of joy. My friend Stokley’s daughter Lavinia (aka Lava) who is 13 and has been a pool swimmer for a few years told me she wanted to try lake swimming. I loaned her a wetsuit and off we went with Stokley paddling the orange kayak escort. Lava was born to it. Duck weed, which sends many pool swimmers into gross-out convulsions, was just laughable to her. Deep water, not an issue. Lurking creatures were just points of curiosity. Since she’s fluent in several strokes, Lava could swim along at a good freestyle pace, and then breast stroke to get a better sighting, and flip over and backstroke to take a little breather. I kept checking to see if she wanted to grab onto a nearby dock for a rest and each time she said, “No I’m fine. The houses look so cool from here!”

Lava says she’s up for more open water, and I can’t wait.

A River Ran Through It – 11-Mile Montana Run


North Fork of the Blackfoot River near Ovando

I can get anxious before training runs. Add a strange location where I don’t know the route; add 90-degree heat, gusty wind and smoke from distant forest fires; add an altitude of 4000 feet and a schedule of events with lots of other people that require I get the run done at a specific time. My obsessive psyche goes a little nuts with each possibility. This was the scenario weekend before last for my 11-mile training run during a trip to Montana for Paul Porte’s 50th birthday.

Paul grew up in Helena and chose the town of Ovando, about an hour west, for his birthday encampment and Blackfoot River flotilla. 40 pals or so in tents around an old farmhouse.

I should learn from this. All my pre-run anxiety was unnecessary. It was one of my top five best run experiences ever, not just for the spectacular vistas, but the fact that nothing (heat, fuel/drink, altitude, or physical issue) caused much, if any, problem.

The Worries, Dispenesed With:


These guys ran up to check me out.

Route. I’d worried about it being hard to know how to map out 11 miles since I didn’t know the roads. I didn’t want to run on a highway. There was no cell phone reception so I couldn’t map the way with my phone. What if the terrain turned out to be mountainous? Well, thanks to Greg Morris for dusting away all those baseless fears. The road by our encampment ran for 30 easily rolling miles through the picture of big sky pastures and foot hills. For a mile or two I ran alongside and then over the Blackfoot itself.

Heat. Though afternoon temperatures did get up to 90, I got out at 7am and it was mid-60s. I was sweating by the end, but it just made me welcome the mounting breeze.

Gusty Wind. See above. It was welcome.

Smoke. There was none. It blew away.

Altitude. I thought for sure this would zap me since I’ve felt weak running at 3000 feet. Maybe it’s the combination of altitude and heat, and since I beat the heat by going early, I could handle the former.


Halfway point 5.5 miles

I returned to the birthday village blissed out, stretched and had some frittata and melon. And immediately began worrying about my upcoming 13-miler in Kansas City.

Run done, I return to the Ovando farmhouse and tent village

Run done, I return to the Ovando farmhouse and tent village

A Cupcake Run + A 60-Mile Ride

Image 6Back in February or so when I decided to commit to doing the three separate events of an Ironman this summer, I knew I was lobbing a freakout to my future self. There would come a time when the training runs, rides and swims would start to load up heavy and I would wonder what I was thinking. It’s mid-July, and cue freakout. The training load hasn’t gotten that heavy yet, but as summer mounts and the event dates are more real, my weekends are somewhat committed. And with summer travels, I have to figure out how to do 11 and 13 mile runs in unfamiliar places like Middle of Nowhere, Montana and Extremely Humid, Missouri respectively.

So far, training for all events is on schedule. In addition to celebrating my birthday this past weekend, I checked off a 9-mile run and a 60-mile ride. For the run, I got a lift from Uber (thanks Hussein!) to Green Lake and met up with Paul and Geoff, who birthday hugged me and ran me most of the way back to my place in Leschi. Our route, for those who know Seattle, traversed some of the city’s great parks and Olmstead routes–Ravenna Blvd, Cowen Park, Burke Gilman Trail, Union Bay Natural Preserve, Montlake Bridge, Foster Island, Arboretum, Azalea Way, Lake Washington Blvd. And the last mile: Madrona Drive–1-mile up hill, hard–to CafĂ© VeritĂ© for my favorite birthday cupcake–chocolate cake with lavender frosting. (They don’t make these anymore; must pre-order it.)

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I couldn’t rope any pals into riding 60 miles with me, so I decided to tap a local resource I’ve known about for years, but never used: the Cascade Bicycle Club whose mission is to create a better community through bicycling. Though I had to swallow hard and tuck in the cynicism when I saw a guy in a Star Trek jersey, it was really a great group of people. I can see why they have a little bit of a reputation for being dweebs. Ripe for parody are their big arm signals and calling out of every damn thing on the road: Car back! Runners up! Glass! But it made me a better/safer rider. And I made up some of my own callouts: Aching back! Eagle up! It’s very impressive what CBC does. Hundreds of free group rides a month–all paces and distances, led by volunteers who manage to get large groups of riders safely along. I will definitely be doing more of their rides and donating to the Club in appreciation.

The ride I took started in downtown Renton, went along the Cedar River trail into Hobart, Issaquah Highlands, between Cougar and Tiger mountains, into downtown Issaquah, along Newport Way, Factoria, the I-90 trail, around Mercer Island, south to Seward Park and back to Renton. I yo-yo’ed on and off (mostly off) the 14-16mph group, but it was a good push for me, especially since I was adding 15 miles to my longest ride so far this year. Thanks CBC!

Image 8 Stay Tuned…will she complete an 11-mile run in rural Montana (altitude ~3800′) the morning after a big 50th birthday party? Place your bets.

A Ride and a Run on the Oly Peninsula

photo 1 It’s an annual ritual–July 4th at our friend Annie’s cabin near Quilcene on Hood Canal. And this year, the perfect destination to build a 45-mile training ride around. The first mile (from my house in Leschi up the Yesler hill) may have been the hardest part. Then it’s coasting into downtown, past the long line of cars and the manic glide into the wide mouth of a Washington State ferry.Image 3

The route to Annie’s took me up Bainbridge Island, across Agate Pass and off the highway onto side roads through the Suquammish reservation, past Chief Sealth’s birth place and burial site, Alpaca farms. and across Hood Canal bridge, where Paul Porte arrived to ride the second half with me. It was a hard ride, but much better with a friend. And riding point to point and away from my typical routes is way more engaging.

Image 2 Sunday morning’s workout was a drop-back week for marathon training. After three weeks of progressively longer runs, I take an easier 6-mile run. I drove north and ran from Port Hadlock into Irondale. Modest cottages, mobile homes and tumbling down places with Shetland ponies and ships dry-docked in the yard, and an abandoned Jesus is Lord service station. I never tire of run-exploring a new territory.

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