Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Priorities! Who needs em'?!

So time to impart some sad news.

I can't do the Wild West Relay this year. The company that makes an instrument I need for my dissertation research e-mailed me to tell me that they can't get it to me until the end of June. they told me the end of May when I ordered it. Unfortunately another company won't be able to do this any faster.

I lose my undergraduate minions come mid-August. So that gives me 6 weeks in which to do four dye injections into our little lake. My advisor will be gone two of those weeks and we need him around. So that has just set our dye injection schedule. And the week of the relay will be one of those weeks. We need to get this done this summer so that we don't get scooped on my research and so that I can graduate next December.

This totally sucks. If any of the folks who wanted to do that one want to take the lead, I can give you the names of the interested people. But for me, it looks like the Great River Relay will be it this summer. Total bummer! Never mind that the week in Colorado was my only planned vacation for the entire summer (besides a few weekend trips).

On a brighter note, I just got back from a long weekend in Austin visiting some friends from college. While the urban parts of the city didn't impress me much, I love how much green space they have and how well used it is! There happened to be a big triathlon going on in town last weekend, so women with incredible abs and men with shaved legs abounded. And don't get me started on how yummy the food was! I think I don't have to eat again all week!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Inside-Out Du

Sometime in the middle of last week I decided that I would ride my bike to the Beat the Streets 8k this morning, which was in Nevada (pronounced Na-vay-da - welcome to Iowa!). It's about 10 miles away, but there is one of the best bike routes around between Ames and Nevada. It is simply a bike lane on a semi-major road, but it is one of the few places where I can ride for miles and not feel threatened. So I did a bit of an inside-out duathlon this morning: bike 10 miles, run 5 miles, bike 10 miles.

I hadn't registered for the race yet, so I left my house at at about 6:45am for an 8am start. I really need to go out riding early more often. It was wonderful to be out in the countryside, mostly alone. My ipod died halfway there, so I reveled in the quiet. Just yesterday I bought a new bike seat and aerobars. My old bike seat was decent, but after 20 miles, it started to get unbearable. I got a woman-specific Terry saddle (the Butteryfly TI). Despite it's claims regarding "soft tissues" I went about 6 miles in this thing and was dying. Thank goodness I had a two hour break between my two ten mile legs. Fortunately they have a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, so I went immediately back to the bike store and got a totally different sadle. They put me on a tri saddle this time. Gonna take it out for a long ride tomorrow, so hopefully the "soft tissues" feel better afterwards.

Oh, and can I say how much I like riding in aero? The stress on my wrists and shoulders is like an order of magnitude less. The best part of this route is that it is just mildly rolling and straight, so a great place to practice riding in that position. So now my bike is all pimped out:
It still cracks me up all the money I have spent putting stuff on a bike that cost me $50. But so far I love this bike, so no need to upgrade! I mean, those fancy bikes that you can lift with a finger are pretty fancy, but I think me losing ten pounds is a better option than buying a bike that weighs ten pounds less :-)

Oh yeah, the 8k! It was fun. This is the farthest I have run at once since October. No hamstring pain at all today after, so yay for that too! My goal was to practice negative splitting, since I knew I would run my 5k pace for one half of this race. If I ran without thinking it would be something like:

First half: I'm cruising! I'll totally come in at 45 minutes!
Second half: Oh my God I think I am going to die! I don't think I can run 2.5 more miles! Gees, I hope I even make it in 55 minutes!

So I thought I would hold back a bit the first half and push for the second half, since I am in no shape to push for the full five miles. I ran into someone I knew who was a little bit slower than me and I stuck with her for the first half and did the first half in 25:37. Then the second half I took off a bit and did in 24:16.

The course had a little hill right before the end and I painfully ran up that and then you turn the corner and see the end. It said 49:30 when I turned the corner so I booked it to get in under 50, and came in at 49:53. Totally content with this time.

My favorite part of the race was watching Laurie, who came in about a minute after me, booking it to beat her older brother to the finish :-)

It was a gorgeous morning to be out here. I think tomorrow is more of the same! I am going to try and get out on the road early and ride the route for the Great Ames Adventure Race because I volunteered to help out at a bike race in town at noon. Maybe some of the fast people's cycling skills will rub off on me as they whiz past me :-)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Next up? Adventure in Iowa! A mutual friend of mine and Kori's is helping to organize an adventure race in town, about a month away. Now, while I use the term "adventure" lightly, this is still 3 miles of paddling, 15 miles of biking, and a 5k run. Right now, Kori and I are planning on teaming up so we can canoe together. Then they average our bike and run times. This will all work out wonderfully since Kori is a better paddler and runner than me and I am a better biker than her.

Except that apparently Kori and I suck at paddling together. We rented a two person kayak the other day and we kept turning right the entire time. I blame it all on me - I had never even been in a kayak before. We are going to try out the canoe and see if paddling in a straight line doesn't elude us as much. Most of my recent canoeing experience involves twisty turny river in Florida where I am reknowned for running into trees, the shore, alligators, you name it. So I am hoping that nice flat water will be a cinch...

Soooo, we might end up relaying this baby, with my friend Steve in his kayak, me on the bike, and Kori on the run.

But I would feel much more badass if I did the whole thing...

In other news, 8k this weekend! Farthest I have run since October! Laurie is also doing this race. My plan is to work for a negative split. Good practice I say!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Like a glove...

I went to write in my total miles for the week in the running log that Kori made for our running group (11 miles this week, yay!) and the quote of the week was:

"If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken him by surprise."
- P.Z. Pearce

Quite fitting me thinks.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Schemes and Machinations

Five months until the Twin Cities Marathon. Probably about time that I start running regularly again.

Today I went on a glorious early morning 3 mile run. Considering it took me 38 minutes to run 3.5 miles on Tuesday, I was happy with the 29 minutes it took me today.

I was not as happy with my new running apparel. Being a seasoned veteran of racquet sports, I am quite used to athletics in a skirt. I like the freedom of it all. But the compression shorts under this number don't do much in the way of compressing and rode up waaay too easily. Not so bad that a wedgie was inflicted, but enough that it felt like there was a cool breeze on the tops of the back of my thighs. But the material was comfortable and actually running was comfortable, but I personally was not so comfortable with that level of exposure. The skirt does cover up somewhat, but it sort of kicks up as you run. Since I bought it, I will probably wear it again, but only when running in less populated areas :-)

In other news, I had enough fun last weekend that I think I am going to sign up for an Olympic distance tri nearby in August. The sprint was fun, but I was never afraid of the sprint distance, since I knew I could finish it. I am sufficiently afraid of the Olympic distance that I will actually stick to a training plan. I picked the Big Creek Tri because the water is usually too warm for a wetsuit. I am not quite committed enough to this triathlon thing to shell out the big bucks on a wetsuit. At the same time, I don't want to be at a disadvantage because I don't have one, so this is perfect!

So the plan is to only run three days a week until August with extensive crosstraining and then crank up the miles in the two months between Big Creek and Twin Cities. I don't know if this is a stupid plan or not. I am hoping to avoid aggravating the hamstring again, which I think was an overuse injury.

So now the end of the summer looks like this:

July 27-28 100 mile bike on RAGBRAI
Aug 3-4 Wild West Relay
Aug 12 Big Creek Tri (I am totally giving myself an easy running position at the WWR :-))
Aug 25 Great River Relay

(plus a sprint distance or two before that so I can get used to swimming in open water with other people)

Good times!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Apparently, I am not so bad on the bike.

UPDATE: Kori's version of events is in teal below.

The Siouxperman Triathlon started at 10am. Which was sort of nice since there was no need for crack of dawn awakenings, but we were up at the crack of dawn because of shear nervousness. Kori and I are both somewhat meticulous (obsessive?) organizers. So even though we had packed separate bags for each transition and a pre-race bag and a post-race bag, we still went through them all the night before. The wakeup call was for 7am, but we were both up before then. We packed the car and ate breakfast and just sort of waited. There was lots of waiting yesterday. The transition area didn't even open until 8am. We got there by 8:15 and set up our stuff and got marked up.Those are all the photos you are going to see because the camera was securely stashed away once the full body spandex was in force.

The transition area was actually very nice. Everyone's spots were labelled and there was plenty of space and they were very logical "in one side, out the other" for both transitions. Also, it was inside, which considering the weather, was very welcome.

I didn't sleep on Friday night even though I was in a comfortable hotel bed. All I could think was that that dang wind was howling outside and I'd have to bike against it in the morning. I was anxious to get to the event and work off some of my nervous energy. 4 hours until race start time, 3 hours until race start time, 2 hours until race start time. How many times can I reorganize my things?


So our bib numbers corresponded to our start position. Kori and I were 126 and 125 respectively. There were 250 registered people, so we were pretty smack dab in the middle. Our start time was 11:10. Once the first swimmers got going at 10am, the time before our swim flew by. I was so afraid of getting a headache during the swim from dehydration - which happens somewhat frequently to me - that I probably over hydrated, so yet another trip to the bathroom was in order (I am not at the point where I will pee in the pool yet :-)). I have to say here that Orca really needs to get a longer drawstring for their tri shorts - so that I didn't lose it when putting them on, I had to keep it tied at all times and it was quite the ordeal to get them over my ass. Otherwise they fit just fine, but the frequent bathroom visits? Not so much fun.

So after jumping in the kiddie pool to get my hair wet so I can actually fit it in the swim cap, we got in line for the start. Kori was starting 30 seconds after me, which worried me a bit since she is generally faster than me in the pool (although she put the same time down as me). I get in the pool after the girl in front of me has taken off and I close my eyes to dunk myself and get wet before putting on my goggles and... I lost my contact lense. I had 30 seconds so I had no time to find it (it was swimming around my eye somewhere), so I popped on my goggles and went.

I hate swimming without a warmup. My breathing is always out of whack. But swim I did. Kori caught me about halfway. She tapped my foot and I had to stop completely (the rules), which I thought would be annoying but I was secretly glad for the break. And then, putting my extensive fluid dynamics skills into action, I made an effort to stay in her wake for the second half so the drag was less. After she caught me, I pretty much stayed on her tail the entire way to the end (although she did take off on the last length and I couldn't quite keep up).

Time: 7:43 for 300 m (that included the time to get out of the pool and cross the timing mat) Rank: 29/35

Did I mention that there were 71 women who completed the race and that 35 of them were in my age group (it was 20-29)? How insane is that? I was competing with half the women there!

I'm finally in line to start!! Yippee. Do you think the people behind me are faster than me? Do you think they will pass me? Am I obsessing? Look outside. . .I'm going to get soaking wet in that downpour. Wait, I'm about to jump in a pool. I guess wet is okay. Do you think the wind has stopped?

Okay, 5 seconds til I start. This pool is warm! 3. . .2. . .1. . .finally, I can start! I think the person behind me isn't going to catch me. Oh wait, there's Danielle. I don't need to pass her, just swim in her bubbles.. . . Oh, sorry Danielle, I grabbed your foot, guess I'll pass. Only two more laps to go. There's the end. I love the end! Ah, isn't that nice, the race volunteer is clapping for me.

Time: 7:08. There were 24 women in my age group. Rank: 18/24

Running to T1 was hard, I swam hard enough that I need to catch my breath.


We had to run a bit to the transition area after crossing the timing mat, but it was all smooth concrete so it wasn't bad for running on. Kori and I were at the transition region during the same time, so I wasted 15 seconds of her time bothering her to see if she could see my contact anywhere. Since it was 20mph winds and pouring out, I decided to ditch my tank top and wear a long sleeve wicking shirt for the bike. The floor was really slick, so I actually ran to the mount line in my socks and put on my bike shoes there instead, so my T1 time is shorter and my bike time longer than it actually was.

Time: 3:14 (20/35)

I threw on my bike helmet and then decided I may be cold in the wind. On went a short sleeve dam to dam shirt. I still have no idea why since it wasn't what I planned to wear for the run. I put on my shoes, grabbed my bike and off I went.

Time: 3:00 (12/24)


So I jump on my bike, only being able to see out of one eye (who needs depth perception anyways!) and I head into the god awful weather. We're talking pouring rain, wind, thunder, lightning. At the first turn, I realized I have very little in the way of brakes as they are wet. Fun times! The course was actually pretty nice from a terrain point of view. Gradually rolling with only a couple of hard hills. Although Sioux Center primarily did a good job of advertising how many CAFOs they have nearby. Yum, I love the smell of cows while working out! On the way out, I thought I was riding into the wind. Thus I was pretty surprised to see that I was staying between 17 and 20 mph mostly (I actually thought I might have put my bike computer into km/hr instead). Then I hit the turn-around (which was annoyingly narrow so I had to slow down a lot and clip out) and started heading south and got hit by this wall of wind. That was fun. But I chugged through it and got invigorated by passing people (there were a lot of people on mountain bikes and hybrids to be passed). I passed 7 people and got passed by 4, all men in aero, so I didn't feel bad about that. Somehow when we made the turn back north to go back to the site, the wind came out of nowhere again. It totally switched direction! I swear! Anyways, I was feeling pretty good for most of the bike and I knew I was going to finish faster than any of training rides I had done. I rolled in to the arena where the transition area was, stopped and took off my shoes so I could run on the slippery floor and some volunteer took my bike for me (that was nice!) and I crossed back into the transition area.

Time: 55:21 for 15.5 miles (avg. 17.6 mph) (8/35 - go me!)

I got on my bike and it felt fine. Corners without breaks were quite the entertaining experience. We took a few turns and then were on an open road for the majority of the ride. It was rolling hills and I felt like I was doing ok. Then, people started passing me. I had some dark moments. As people passed they said things like: "Good job", "keep it up", "lookin strong". I thought in my head: "STOP PASSING ME. If I'm lookin so dang good, how are you getting past me. Stupid, chipper bikers". Okay, okay, I know biking is my weakest skill and it is the longest part of the triathlon. We made it to the turn around point and two of the road vehicles followed me in. I thought: "I'm last!!! I'm last!! I'm the last biker in this race! What's with this wall of wind? Why can't I go any faster!?!?! I hate being last". About a mile up the road the next wave of bikers passed going the opposite direction still on their way to the turn around. My mood immediately improved. I'm not going to be last! Yippee! I started to tell them things like: "Good job", "keep it up", "lookin strong". I love biking. I start to make an action plan for becoming a better biker. More people pass me. I had to work hard and my legs were shaky. The biking part of the triathlon is almost over. I'm gonna finish this dang race. Danielle had assured me that there would be mountain bikers out and I could easily pass them. I didn't pass anyone on the bike. I got passed a lot. I didn't want to count them.

Time: 1:04:03 (21/24)


I ran to my area, pulled on my running shorts (which had my number pinned to them), spent a split second debating if running in soaking wet socks or no socks would be better (perhaps this is why Julie wears no socks with her biking shoes!), threw on my running shoes (saving 8 seconds with my new elastic laces :-)), took off my soaking wet shirt and realized I was out of dry clothes and then took off in my sports bra, because I really didn't care at all by that point.

Time: 1:13 (23/35)

I ran to my area and took off my helmet and stashed my bike. oops. . .have to put on my shorts with the race number already pinned to them. Time to run. . . .if I don't run right away, I'm gonna stop moving al together.

Time: 1:05 (5/24)

(Kori is a transition queen!)


By this time the rain had stopped. And it was humid. Not wearing a shirt was perhaps the best decision of the day. I have been told by many that your legs don't feel like they belong to you when you get off the bike and start running. I have done several bricks in training, but the transition was pretty long. I didn't feel like I possessed my legs during the entire run. They just sort of moved. I spent most of the 5k trying to catch this guy who I passed early on but then who passed me again. I didn't pass anyone on the run, but I got passed by maybe 5 people. My back was a little sore from the bike, so I had a hard time pushing. I tried to pick it up the last half mile but I am not sure if I actually ran any faster or if I just thought I was. The race had no mile markers so I was clueless as to my pace. I think being a runner has to be a distinct advantage, from a mental perspective. Even though I haven't been running a lot lately, mentally 3 miles is trivial, so I just chugged on through it. Time actually flew by on the run, I thought. When I saw the finish (unexpectedly close when I turned a corner), I "sprinted" to the end.

Time: 30:11 (23/35) (oddly this is faster than my last stand alone 5k!)

Danielle says the rain stopped. I didn't notice. I was hot. I considered taking off my dam to dam shirt and throwing it away. It's a good wicking running shirt though. I left it on. I ran, and ran, and ran. There were hills that were tough on my tight calves. I kept passing people. I was so excited. I ran with a woman who was nice and we encouraged each other briefly and then I ran ahead. I ran through a little loop and out of it. The gentleman directing said we had run one mile. ONE MILE!!! That was a tough mile. My legs started loosening up and the last two miles went by quickly. Everyone encouraged each other and as I passed, or other people passed me we talked about many things, including lunch options. I was excited to see Danielle. She came back to help me run to the finish. She said the finish was around the corner. I was hard on her. "Exactly how far around the corner do I have to go". She said about a quarter mile. I love finishing.

OVERALL 1:37:40 (11/35) (I guess it really is "all about the bike"!)

1:45 (19/24) Actually, I thought it may take me two hours so I'm really happy. And, I have lots of room for improvement. I can run faster if I'm not so tired from running and I know I have lots of improvements to make on the bike. I'm definitely doing another one. Soon maybe.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Game On.

Dear Danielle:

Thank you for registering for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday, October 7. If you haven’t already, you should receive email confirmation from, our registration partner, with your credit card charges.

If you are planning to run in Wave 1, proof of qualification is required by faxing or mailing a copy of results from a postcard or event website. The deadline is August 9, 2007 or 2,000 entrants, whichever comes first.

Later in May, a Registration Confirmation Search Tool will be available at You'll be able to verify information such as the spelling of your name, age, and gender. If your information is incorrect or changes need to be made, email

Confirmation cards will be mailed in early June and the Official Participant Guide with your bib number and other important race day information will be mailed in early September.

For more information, please visit

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Displaying your Scienceness

I was talking with Danielle tonight on IM, and we were talking about nerdy clothing. For instance, Danielle has her recently acquired science shirt, and my favorite nerdy piece of clothing is pictured at right (though most of the stuff in ThinkGeek's science shirts is pretty awesome).

So, to all our scientist friends, what is your favorite piece of clothing that advertises your Scienceness?