Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tris? Whatever. Try a quad...

So after listening to Audrey recap her showshoe race, I was reminded of this race that I read about, the Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon. So the little gears started turning in my brain and I thought "Hmmm, I bike, run, and ski, but I only snowshoe recreationally... Wait, Audrey runs much faster than me and now is a showshoe racer..."

So I IMed Audrey and because she is as certifiable as me, we decided we are totally going to do this in February 2009 (next month is a little too soon). Just to sum it up:

13 mile bike (1800 ft elevation gain)
5 mile run (1200 ft)
2 mile ski (1200 ft)
1 mile snowshoe (600 ft)

And then you turn around and do the whole thing in reverse...

Oh yeah, and it is at elevation - topping off at over 11,000 feet, so there will be no oxygen.

So I am going to bike and ski and Audrey is going to run and snowshoe. There will be just a leetle bit of hill training involved... And I will have to get some trekking skis, as mine wouldn't cut it probably. Not that I am opposed to getting trekking skis. Especially since, by then, the University of Wyoming will have given me the job that I just applied for there and I will have good reason to buy another pair of skis.

And in another perk, our average age will be 29.5, and there weren't any women's pair teams in the 20-29 age group last year. I am not below bringing home the bling by being the only team in our age group :-)

Anyway, we thought it would be fun if we could gather up a group of several crazy people to go out and do it too. Right now, I have recruited Joe as our sherpa. I sexually discriminated and wouldn't let him on our team so that we could rock the chick power. But I am sure he would do it as part of a team. So good times people! Let us know if you want to up your badass cred with us! It's really far away I know, but time flies!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My legs might possibly fall off.

Imagine the scene. Danielle sitting at the airport gate, chatting with Audrey to see if their time in Boston will overlap and Danielle lamenting the fact she lost her car keys between her car and the airport. Danielle hangs up and hears "Danielle, come to gate C2 immediately, your plane is leaving in five minutes." Uh... So they put the wrong gate up on the monitor and I was too busy chitchatting away to notice the gate next to me loading to go to Detroit. A nice way to start my break. I did get on though, so never fear. And landed in Detroit and had to spend five hours hanging around the airport because Boston was snowed in and they wouldn't let our plane take off. I finally rolled into Boston at 3am. My poor mom! Having to pick me up in the middle of the night!

Anyway, I woke up at 11:30 the next day (I love break!) and had three hours to get ready to head up to Vermont to go skiing. Despite having a ski bum for a sister, I haven't been (downhill) skiing in three years now. Needless to say, my legs were pretty sore. But it was sort of like riding a bike - I was able to hit all the terrain by the end of day, even if I still don't do moguls in a very pretty fashion. Sunday night it poured though, so Monday there were approximately two trails open. But my dad and I skied anyway, and got some quality father-daughter time in on the chairlifts.

On Christmas, after three days of skiing, I decided I should do a long run. I was going to do it on Friday, but the plane delay sort of messed up my day. So I did a ten mile run from our house in Vermont.So, one might notice the elevation change there. There is a bit of a climb there. I would like to note that the elevation change there is the same as the elevation change (~900 ft) between Ames... and the ocean. So yeah, I am not exactly practiced in such running. I thought I was going to die. I mean, I knew it was like this before I set out, but it was only after I ran two effortless sub-9 minute miles to start that I knew I was in trouble. I would also like to note that my half-marathon training lately has consisted of only... long runs. Once a week, I run long and skip all my short runs. Totally not recommended. But anyway, I have no endurance. So when I hit mile six and started climbing I was already getting tired. That hill pretty much demolished me. My first five miles was 49 minutes. The second five miles? 70 minutes. Yes folks, I averaged 14 minute miles up that hill. It was not pretty. I was glad it was a remote gravel road, so very few people saw me suffer. And I am still in a world of hurt. I started walking the second I hit mile 10, even though it was all downhill from there (actually it was very steep so it was a little too much for my knees).

And since I forgot to bring any gels with me from Iowa, I had to improvise. I would probably not recommend Cadbury creme eggs as run nutrition. Besides the fact that they now make Christmas creme eggs, which is just plain wrong. Just like Halloween Peeps are wrong. Is nothing sacred anymore? What's next? Christmas candy corn?

Anyway, despite the fact that I swore I needed to do my short runs between now and PF Chang, I haven't run since because my whole lower body just hates me.

And did you know that there are like no free wireless places in the entire f%$@ing Boston area? I think all coffee shops in Iowa have free wireless. It's only the suckers that go to Starbucks and use their wireless for a fee. I only stomached paying the $10 day pass fee at Starbucks because I can use it tomorrow at the airport too. Gees!

After a whirlwind trip home, I am back in Iowa tomorrow to revel in the fun of politics! It's going to be good times! Obama is throwing a NYE party on campus - I might have switched candidates if he was providing an open bar, but alas cash bar. I'll still probably drop by since I typically have a lame NYE and I might as well hang out with a presidential candidate.

That last sentence just made me a little sad about my life :-)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bog Snorkelling Triathlon

Oh the Welsh!

My favorite line is:

"This is your real opportunity to become a world famous athletic hero; fancy putting World Champion Bog Snorkelling Triathlete on your CV?"

Just in case you were curious:

Just to be clear, the second video is from the World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling Championship (yes, they have that too!).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Run in the snow

I'm going to run in the snow today. I WANT to sit inside and drink hot chocolate and eat christmas cookies. But, I'm gonna run in the snow. This may have something to do with my lovely husband calling me "cottage cheese butt" last night. However, I'm ok with external motivation - I don't always do it on my own.

So, tonight, 5:30 p.m. running in a snow storm. It's going to be so pretty out. I may take a camera.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I am really excited today and thought I should share this with all of you: I finally had a breakthrough with swimming! Some background: I am not very good at learning things on my own, often needing need some kind of authoritative guide or instructor. And I would like to improve in this regard. So I have been putting off taking swimming lessons so that I could try to figure it out independently.

Today's swim session started out like most: I warmed up, stretched, said, "I'm going to try to swim 3/4 of a mile," failed to do so, coming up gasping for air after just 1/4 of a mile, got frustrated, and stretched more. I was trying to keep my head level, my elbows high, my feet close to the surface... trying to roll my body, trying to generate power from my hips, like the Internet told me to... but I could not figure out how to slow down and swim relaxed, so I was always winded after 10 minutes or so. Then I watched the guy in the next lane over. He had just finished stretching and looked to just be warming up, but he was barely disturbing the water as he swam. His arm motion had an exaggerated finish, his hand slipping into the water like a diver's body, so he was probably doing a form drill. So I thought, "Maybe if I focus on that I'll be more effective."

So I set out to do a quarter mile keying on that, and if I still felt good I'd keep going for another. And I did feel good. After a half mile I realized that for the first time it felt like running: like if I just kept a nice steady pace I could keep going indefinitely. So I decided to keep going and try for my original goal of 3/4 mile. Unfortunately a few laps after that my right calf cramped up, and then as I went to make my next turn my right groin followed in suit. Hydration! I've been really bad about keeping hydrated this fall/winter, and hadn't had any water at all since leaving for the pool on my bike. I also need to work on strength in my calves and groin, which will also help me with cycling. But since I still had to bike over to the grocer and then home with a huge load of food on my back, I figured I should stop there, save my legs, and drink tons of water.

Anyway, I'm pumped! Now I can swim like I can run (except for the part where I'm fast at running)! And now I can start taking lessons without feeling like I'm doing so out of desperation and defeat! And so might actually become good/efficient/fast! Wooooo!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

So close to DFL, I could almost taste it...

Sycamore 8 Race Report

This morning was the Sycamore 8. I urge you to click the link and note the weather update that says "PARTICIPATE AT YOUR OWN RISK!" So here in Iowa, last weekend we got a slush storm, which essentially turned to solid ice the next day. Snowblowers have been futile - essentially homeowners have been chipping through an inch or two of ice to clean their walkways. Then on Thursday, we got four inches of snow on top of that. Now I love snow, so I am not complaining. But all that hidden ice makes things a bit treacherous while walking to the bus.

I signed up for this race early though, so I was going to do it. Kori, her husband, and Mike from my running group all signed up too, so at least I wouldn't be the only crazy person coming down from Ames to run it. (Although Kori ended being sick, so she didn't go.) The snow was one thing, but it is also only 12 degrees out. And that's now at 2! We got there and it was pretty bitterly cold. I had two pairs of socks, three pairs of pants, two shirts and a fleece on and I was freezing while waiting for the race to start. We waited in the car until about 15 minutes before the start and I bravely shed a pair of pants and the fleece. If I have learned anything, it is that I get really hot really fast. But I kept the two pairs of wool socks on under my Gortex trail shoes. Then I strapped on my gaiters, then put my Yak Trakkers on over that. I felt like I was going on a massive expedition, not getting ready for an 8 mile trail race.

The course was out and back and there were actually two course options, a 4 mile and an 8 mile. We all started together and we all figured we could turn around at 2 if the course was too bad. After having to go out on the lake yesterday and walk our boat, marine batteries, an anchor, etc down there because the boat launch was frozen in, I was all too aware of how slick the ice under the snow was. But Yak Trakkers are awesome! I could grip pretty decently and the going was rough, but not impossible.

A lot of people bailed at the two mile marker. I pretty much didn't see anyone ahead or behind me after that. I was pretty sure I was going to finish last, as the weaker runners turned around. But I just needed to get a long run in, so I didn't let it bother me. After I hit mile 3, I started seeing the faster runners coming back. Mike was up front! I hit the four mile marker at 50 minutes or so. Yes, 50 minutes for 4 miles! Trudging through 4 inches of snow is not easy!

The way back was complete solitude. But I did see that two people were behind me, so I wasn't going to be DFL. That was some consolation! But I kept trudging. And trudging some more. It started snowing and it was quite pretty. There was no one close in front of me or close behind me, so there was no stress. I did decide I wanted my pace to be faster than 13 minute miles, so that meant I had to come in at 1:44. When I hit the road about a quarter mile from the finish, I realized I had to book it so I sprinted the last bit (which actually felt easy after running in snow all that time) and came in at 1:43:45. Hey, I'll take it! Especially since my longest run since July had only been 6.8 miles at Living History Farms.

I crossed the finish line and they checked to see if all the awards in my age group had been taken. This was a low key operation - they had nice awards, but there was no ceremony, they just handed you one if you were one of the first three. I saw enough women around my age to figure that wasn't going to happen, but apparently they still had awards left in the 20-29 age group. Stupid turning 30! I have decided that 30-39 is a hard age group.

I crossed the finish line and Mike and Craig whisked me away, as they had been waiting for at least a half an hour in the cold. I got soup and hot chocolate and baked goods and it was yummy. Mike actually won the whole thing and got a really cool and unique trophy. Craig came in first in his age group. So yeah, I roll with fast people who kindly wait around for me at the end and cheer me in. I heart my running group!

Well my last three races have been trail races now. This has totally been a defensive move as I typically don't run races unless I think I can PR. And trail races are unpredictable, so I don't have absolute time goals. But since that was over 1:40 of running, I am totally counting this as a ten mile training run for my half-marathon in January :-)

It's snowing again - tomorrow the cross-country skis are coming out! Considering my a$$ is already sore from this morning, that should be good times!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Because Audrey asked...

As mentioned in the last post, I had straight hair this weekend. Audrey asked for pics. Of course, unless you know me in my generally curly haired state, this photo means nothing. Note the map of New England on the wall behind me - that's there because no one in this freaking state can name the New England states. How hard can it be people?! We're the effing cradle of the American Revolution! New York is not part of New England! Doesn't anyone know "Even old New York was once New Amsterdam?" See, not New England! And Delaware is nowhere near New England! Just because it is a small state, does not make it part of our club!

One other thing I would like to note. This was taken in my office. Photo one below is my desk. Photo two is my officemate's desk. Apparently I am much more of a "nester" than him...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Running? What's that?

So after running five days in a row over Thanksgiving break, I have managed to go 7 days without running. I am not quite sure how that happened. Oh yeah, it went something like:

M: Worked from 9am until 7am the next morning on a presentation for 11am Tuesday.

T: I just pulled an allnighter! Do you really expect me to run?!

W: Slept in and had good intentions to run, but then got sucked into doing political stuff in the afternoon and evening.

R: Hungover (I get paid for my political activities with beer).

F: I had to get some work done that week! And then I surprisingly had multiple plans to juggle on friday night.

S: Spa day. This resulted in Danielle having straight hair. Which means she can't sweat for at least another day because it took three stylists with flat irons to get this done in a reasonable amount of time.

S: See Saturday. Plus it was cold and icy out! Shhh - nevermind the fact I have a gym membership where I can run inside...

Plus, bonus excuse: my hamstring is starting to act up again in addition to the plantar fasciitis. My pirioformus and IT bands are sore. These are all signs of bad things to come.

Today I have a lot of stuff to do, so I don't think running is going to happen again.

I will be well rested for my 8 mile trail race on Saturday!

I can't believe I have to do a half marathon in January! And solo since Joe got stomped on in soccer and hurt his ankle and isn't back running again. But since he already bought plane tickets, we're going to Phoenix no matter what!

As an added bonus, I am supposed to have my dissertation proposal written by the day after the half-mary. Have I really started? Uh, no. Yay for procrastination!