Tolle Runs: SeaWheeze Half Marathon 2019!

I came out of the woods running. We moved from the Quinault forest where I grew up to “town” the nearest major municipality on the day before I started seventh grade. Then almost by accident we discovered I was fast- at least for the kids in the area. I think my Dad was more thrilled than I was; he more understood the import. For me it was primarily dry-heaving hard work. It started with the school record in the mile. I saw that number on the gym wall and easily bested it. Then my dad saw my 400 m race time and my 400 m splits when I ran the 1600 and saw that they weren’t that different from the 800 m record. So I nabbed the school record as a seventh grader in the mile and then went after the district record in the 800 m. I got that.

I went on to run three years of varsity cross country in high school, finishing up as Captain of the Women’s Team, and competing at the state meet. Then my hormones got the best of my running as I started to fill out I started getting injured and slower. Instead of changing my game, I left competitive running in favor or academics, college, hiking backpacking, traveling and yoga.

I dipped my toe in the road racing in college in 1998. I ran the Vancouver Half Marathon in the Spring Of 1998 in under 2 hours (1:57:38). Encouraged by how easily that intimidatingly long distance had raced out of me, I signed up for a full marathon later that fall in Portland. All summer I hiked and ran in the mountains of Colorado thinking I was doing great training at “altitude”. A month passed at sea level and I finished my Portland Marathon in 6:02, having walked and cried a full three miles near the end. That was my “one and done” Marathon experience. I can check that one off my bucket list and move back to yoga. And yoga I have stayed consistent with for the intervening two decades, even becoming a certified yoga instructor and teaching my weekly class. Along the way I have dabbled in running here and there, often for running dates with Michael (a high school 800 m runner) or simply because at the core I love running. I would get back into running for a while until joint pains flare up, turning me back to yoga and walking.

So it was a serious undertaking when I said yes to a friend’s invitation earlier this year in February to run the Lululemon Sea Wheeze half marathon in Vancouver on August 17, 2019. I would have to really train. I knew the pain and suffering of going into a long race insufficiently trained, and I was also feeling my age where jogs were more like shuffles. So with Michael’s encouragement and training guidance, along with the subsequent introduction of new Brooks Ghost running shoes Michael’s Garmon running watch and later the LuluLemon training guide, I have slowly but surely increased my fitness.

I settled into a routine that really works well for me. I go in to work early at 6 am then I have a few hours after work of “au pair on duty time” in which to go running. I bicycle to Greenlake, lock up my bicycle and then run laps around the lake. Interspersed in the training schedule are also hill work-outs, interval sprints, yoga and meditation.

For the month that Lake was with NanaBaba, finding time for running became a little easier and I was also able to run weekends and evenings with Michael. We even enjoyed a few cross-training mountain climbing adventures!

By the time Saturday August 17th came I was ready! And what a race! I went out strong and just kept it up. Amazing race. I ended up surprising myself and I beat my previous half marathon PR from Vancouver, BC 1998 (when I was 20 years old) by 1 minute 1 second with a new record of 1:56:37! Here I am feeling Triumphant! 🙂

We celebrated with my favorite ramen in the world, on the west end of Vancouver Marutama Ra-men and then the LuluLemon yoga party. Michael and Lake were the best cheer squad!


“I want to go on that jumpoline!” Lake says tonight as we walk by some neighbor’s yards. Yes, Lake that is so sweet! We do have some neighbors right across the street that have actually extended you an invitation to jump on their trampoline all summer long.

Sounds like a perfect summer day for a jumpoline!

Bon Voyage

Lake’s grandparents the illustrious NanaBaba came to sweep Lake for a week away. It came at a great time since Lake is “not yet three” but nearly so and has fully entered his exuberant phase. Sometimes too much exuberance for mama to handle! Thank goodness for the unstoppable energy of Nana and the solid foundation of the Baba and the boundless love among Lake and those two. We celebrated a quick belated Mother’s Day for my incredible mother “the Nana!”

Then it was time for piling into the car with destination Pier 91 Smith Cove Cruise Terminal. I waved goodbye as the three of them embarked on a week of cruising up and around southeast Alaska with Holland America. The big boat!

Bon Voyage Lake! You’re in good hands! Enjoy your adventure!

And enjoy it he commenced to fully and immediately embrace the cruising lifestyle!

Right up to Juneau! Looks like perfect days! I’m glad you’re spending it together!

Boy in the Boat

Lake is a boy who loves being in the boat and on the water! Reading Boys in the Boat while pregnant with Lake Michael and I had grand aspirations for Lake being a big tall strapping crew member at UW and rowing to Olympic Gold. Then after a couple years he started to develop his own personality and it becomes harder to project our own fantasies and imaginations onto him. Now we just are along for the ride. And what a ride it is!

Lake had a thrill renting kayaks from Agua Verde Paddle Club with Luisa when Jo was visiting last week. Boy in the kayak on Lake Union.

And paddling around with us and Jo earlier this month in Eastern Washington. Boy in the Canoe on Newman Lake!

Were aoften our and about on the Washington State Ferries. Here’s a happy Boy in the Ferry Boat on the Salish Sea!

And now Lake is getting all packed up and ready to set sail to Alaska on the cruise boat with NanaBaba! Thank you in advance NanaBaba for the upcoming Alaskan adventures. So exciting to be sleeping in the boat and on the water for a whole week.

Luisa’s Birthday Entertainment

We celebrated Luisa’s 20th Birthday with an evening of joy filled antics. To start we sang “Happy Birthday, dear Luisa” and opened presents… Lake helping. Then we bicycle caravanned down to Greenlake and had dinner at Rosita’s where Luisa was serenaded by the mariachi band. After dinner we rode our bicycles around the lake, Luisa pulling Lake in the trailer. Michael and I were riding the tandem bicycle and it was quite a thrill! Such a beautiful evening. There was even a rainbow! We horsed around on the beach for Luisa’s amusement. You’re only turning 20 once! But we can all relive the feeling. So much fun! Happy Birthday Luisa! A perfect day, a perfect age… we’re glad you’re spending it with us!

Nora’s Farm

Lake loves to visit Nora and Ed on “Nora’s Farm” where they have nine sheep, 12 chickens, two dogs, a barn cat, and one ten year old angora rabbit (Robert). It pleases me that Lake loves it so, as I’ve been loving coming here myself to visit Nora on her “fiber farm” for over twenty years now. We like to eat fresh farm food and have long deep conversations.

It was good to be back in the lovely spring weather, everything so bright green, Lake learning how to pee in the bushes, and us all eating kale and arugula blossoms out of the garden. Our last visit here was a memorable Groundhogs’ Day visit filled with Snow, Sea, and (naturally) Sheep. We were visiting Nora’s Farm right at the beginning of the infamous Seattle Snowpocylypse of February 2019. We were there when the first flakes began to fall. It was magical and we didn’t want to leave. But we did get out before being snowed in. It turned out they were snowed in for a week! It was cute that this Mother’s Day weekend, Lake remembered their sheep dog Buddy fondly as “Snow Dog”. He was keeping a close eye on Snow Dog so as to minimize getting snooped!

Lake and I find the sheep to be so interesting. It’s fun to get up close and say hello! They have really big coats now, so they were panting in the heat, even in the shade. Shearing time is coming soon, friends!

We were invited out to especially to visit the six new baby chicks. We thought we might be able to pet them, but at only 3 weeks old, they weren’t so very sociable yet. Really fun to watch their little chick antics though and listen to them cheeping.

The weather was heavenly and the pace was deliciously leisurely making for a lovely visit on Nora’s Farm. On Sunday we went into town to Fort Worden State Park and visited the Port Townsend Marine Science Center Aquarium. Nora wanted to introduce us to the octopus. How beautiful and smart and gracefully she moved.

We all had fun “petting” the sea anemones, sea stars and worms with their delicate fans so reactive to our touch!

And in the end we were really tuckered out and it felt good to have a cuddle and read our books!

Thank you Nora and Ed for the rejuvenating visit on your farm! We hope we didn’t wear you out overly much and wish you and all the farm residents well… until we meet again!

Bloomsday 2019

Bloomsday is a family tradition going back to my grandparents. If you’re interested in making it part of your tradition too, I invite you: it’s a 12 kilometer road race (run/walk/stroll) in Spokane, Washington… always the first Sunday in May. This year it was a beautiful sunny day and we joined 34643 total runners and walkers to complete the 12K 7.5 mile race.

Thanks to our first au pair Joanna-Denise coming to visit all the way back from Germany to push Lake in the stroller, Michael and I got to run together. So kind of her to make a returning guest appearance at Bloomsday. So while Jo was pushing Lake with Denise, Michael and I actually raced it together! We somewhat surprised ourselves with the achievement of 9 minute splits! It had been a while since I’d run it as opposed to walked this race given maternal factors. This year I ran fast and I finished 13th among the women of my own age (356). Yea mama!

Lake had a great time too! At 2:31… his time was really compliments primarily of Jo’s muscle as he rode along in the stroller eating fruit. Auntie Denise also helped out with the pushing and kept the pace brisk. Lake “ran” 20 minute miles for 7.5 miles! Way to go team!

What a memorable Bloomsday 2019. The whole VanLaanen Family earned their finisher t-shirts this year! Maybe next year Lake can run a few of those miles!

Bloomies to Newman

Newman Lake is exceptionally lovely the first weekend in May. Hence our family tradition to make an early season pilgrimage to Point Petite with Bloomsday as the excuse. NanaBaba have spruced it up something fierce, hot showers and potable tap water to name a few luxury improvements. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly!

Here were the first warm days of the year… we were quite lucky in that regard with our timing. Many folks were out as a result. More than usual, we remarked. There were many neighborly visits sprinkled throughout our long weekend. Friendly Folksy We quickly fell into the rhythm of the lake lifestyle and adopted a relaxed pace of fun-filled family activities. We canoed at sunset, practiced yoga on the dock, sat around the cozy fire, waded, swam and went hiking in the woods. So relaxing! My happy place is becoming my family’s happy place, too. So special!

Hakuna Matata Hiking

Hiking in the springtime is as good of reason as any to walk with stick in hand. Or run with stick and sing Hakuna Matata. Means no worries! Over and over at the top of your lungs.

For Langley it’s extra nice having a rest stop along the way. He’s a bit like a donkey in that regard: stubborn! Lake is more than happy to oblige and join in having a sit in the dirt. Hakuna Matata.

Lake likes to say, I’m a funny guy! It’s true too. He said I liked our visit to Jamma Julie. We had a great visit. Also with Grandpa Ken and Gramma Annie. We even brought Langley with us.

Langley had a grand time lounging outside on the hillside estate a overlooking Hood Canal. He thought he’d fully immerse himself in the resort lifestyle and go for a quick dip in the pool. Okay, so maybe he accidentally fell in and it wasn’t totally intentional. Michael guided him to the stairs out as he swam his own rescue. We weren’t quite sure what he thought of that. Hakuna Matata!

April Showers April Flowers

April Showers Bring… April Flowers!

As the cherry blossom viewing peaked and gave way to shoots of new green leaves, the rains came through washing the petals away in rivulets of pale pink. Then, suddenly there were seas of flowers and bowers of blossoms everywhere and exploding flowering trees and shrubs over every street corner. Especially dramatic is the display in the Skagit Valley. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, where swaths of joyful tulip heads dance their colorful dance in the between, yet further, rain showers.

April showers bring more April flowers. One happy mama. And one happy little boy! Mud! Tractors! A perfect day, really… rain, sun, tulips and springtime! A must see. A must do.

PC Luisa Jehle (tulips, Lake in tulips) and “Thank you!” to Luisa for taking Lake to play in the muddy tulip fields.