Sunday, February 24, 2008


So I am fed up with trying to get MATLAB to print a freaking arrow on my plot, so I decided to blog instead (especially since no one has posted here in a week - oops!).

I have actually been getting my ass out of bed early on saturdays for our group long runs. These days "long" means five or six miles for me, but hey it's all good. Unfortunately I am running over 11 minute miles. How the heck did I run a half-marry at 10:14 pace a month ago and now I am running over 11 minute miles for a five mile run? It better be the snow.

I'll find out soon enough as next Sunday I descend upon land of sunshine and giant rodents for a week of pretending to be an oceanographer. As much as I love winter, I am excited to be warm and run in shorts.

But before I get to Florida, I must get through my oral exams on Friday. I am soooo looking forward of three hours of being grilled on fluid mechanics. So there might not be much in the way of training this week as I freak out and cram (while trying to finish my conference poster - which is why I need the stupid arrow).

So I'm not going to lie - if I can find willing partners in crime down in Orlando, there will be some celebrating of the end of two months of prepping for this exam by showing off my fluid mechanics mastery. So, we'll see if I get up early enough to run...
(Ah, the black and tan! A fine example of a stratified flow! It's just like a lake or the ocean!)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Trainer Mishap

So today I almost crashed through Chrissy's window.

There we were, merrily spinning along on our trainers while watching Sin City and next thing I knew I was falling over. Apparently my bike wasn't very well put into the trainer and I must have gotten excited by all the blood and guts and pedaled too vigorously.

Fortunately her window broke my fall. Before Christmas when we spun in my basement, Chrissy crashed into our recycling bins. So I guess it was just karma. Neither of us fell into each other, which would have been a much bigger mess.

And her cat is smarter than my dog, who sat there the whole time staring at Chrissy, sitting right under pedal. The only thing keeping him from getting smacked in the head was that he would bob his head out the way every time her foot came around. It was hilarious to watch actually. Then he got distracted and looked away for a second and "Bam!" Right in the noggin. He learned after that. Okay, so that wasn't his proudest moment.

Aw, isn't he cute? Here he is sporting his "I like Mike" t-shirt. As in "I like Mike Huckabee." My house is purple America folks. He has been unofficially dubbed the Huckabichon. I want to note the irony that my John Edwards yard sign kept blowing away before the caucuses and then one day at the end of January it blew over again and the next day he dropped out. The Huckabee sign in our yard has withstood two freaking blizzards. If that is not divine intervention, I don't know what is. I also have to note that the way I describe my house these days to people trying to find it is "I'm the house with the Huckabee sign and the big ass American flag with a bright garish light on it." Danielle's contribution to all of this would be that the bright garish light is a compact fluorescent :-)

Oh yeah, bike. I got back on and spun for two hours and now I am sore in so many places. I don't know what the difference between the tri club trainers and mine is, but in two hours last week I went 30+ miles and this week I went 23. Seriously! Maybe I have the drum too close to the wheel? I mean I ride much faster than 11.5 mph on the road and I could barely get my cadence to 90 rpm, except for when sprinting.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods...

...they kill us for their sport.

The gods of running are not without a sense of irony, it seems. When I ran Monday night in 25 degree weather, it was in preparation for the George Washington Birthday 10-K Race this Saturday. The weather reports were indicating that it was going to be in the mid to high 20s at race time, so I figured this week I'd get a couple of cold weather runs in so I wasn't completely shocked when I got out to the start line Saturday morning.

When I woke up Tuesday morning, I had a little scratch in the back of my throat. I fought the good fight for two days, but there were four people at work in the area where I sit that were sick, and last night it hit me full force. I am now sick enough that there is no way I am going to run in 25 degree weather in 36 hours.

So in trying to train myself to run in the cold, I got too sick to run in the cold. Irony so thick I could taste it...if I wasn't too stuffed up to not taste anything right now.   :)

A Musical Interlude (and a rant)

Over at the Runner's Lounge, Amy has thrown out a running blog topic I have lots of opinions on - running with music.

I really like to run with music when I am by myself. I don't often get to listen to music as I am not really into what is on the radio (so I am perpetually tuned into NPR, except for when Diane Rehm is on - to quote a guy in my running group "Her voice scares my cats"). I also don't drive much so it isn't worth it to keep the ipod in the car. I also can't work with music on because I have a bad singing along habit. So really, running is one of the few times I get to sit back and enjoy my music. I am particularly a big fan of bluegrass, Ben Folds, and They Might Be Giants for running music. I also sing along when I run, which probably means I am not working hard enough, but it also means I am pretty weird to an outside observer (as anyone who sings along to earphones is).

*Rant begins here*

Sometimes I don't run with music though. Like when I run with other people. Or I do trail runs. And some races. Ah, races. This is where the controversy lies, no? The anti-earphone crowd makes me mad. I think they are elitist. I have never met a 12-minute miler who has dissed on the earphone wearing crowd. I have heard lines about not being a serious runner if you listen to music while you run because you don't think about your running while you run. Uh, how many people actually think about their running the whole time they run? Now I am sure there are some that think about every step they take, but most people use the time to clear their mind and think about stuff. I don't see how running with music is any different.

Now, I don't need to wear earphones when I run. I find for 5ks, it is indeed more distracting that helpful, since that is a short concerted all-out effort (where I actually am thinking about running most of the time). I have run distances up to half-marathons without earphones. I turned on my music at Mile 23 of my marathon. I would have survived without it if I needed to, but it was a nice little boost at the end.

I think arguments that people become less aware of their surroundings is BS. Maybe on an open course, the race directors don't want the liability. I can understand that. But on closed course races? Honestly, how many people do you run past in a race who are so in the zone that they are barely paying attention anyway (especially in a marathon where some people's brains stop even functioning - ahem, Kori)? In all the races I have run, someone wearing earphones has never inconvenienced me (in a manner that resulted from listening to music). This is a made up problem, IMHO. Why not let people run the way they enjoy running?

The Twin Cities Marathon (which I was supposed to run, but got injured) established a no earphone rule, which just made me mad. For one thing, that should be advertised on the registration page - it's one thing if you have that rule, but it should be known for those people who don't want to run a marathon without their earphones so they can pick a different race. Then they went through and eliminated race results for anyone who had a picture taken with earphones on. Seriously. I would never sign up for that race again, just because I don't want to support that mentality. This mentality is also exhibited through their rigid 6 hour time limit, despite the sweltering conditions. Last year I had friends finishing an hour off their expected pace because of the heat - Kori and I passed lots of people who weren't going to make it and I imagine many of them were properly trained to come in well under six hours. Now I understand they have to open the streets, but they could keep the clock going at the finish line given the conditions of the day. I contrast this with the Rock and Roll Phoenix setup where inclusiveness was the name of the game.

Well, that's enough ranting for me for the day! Counter-rants are welcome - I'd actually like to hear a story of someone whose race was ruined because of someone else with earphones.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Heat Wave!

In what can only be considered a heat wave, especially when compared to the conditions at the homes of many of the friends (8 F w/ windchill in Boston) and family (-12 F w/ windchill in Ames) of this blog, when I went running after work today, it was like the proverbial dog days of summer, well over 20 F, even with the windchill (about 25 F). Luckily, it was a dry heat.

There's not a lot of point to this post. I just felt like rubbing it in how warm it was here. Woo, go mid-Atlantic states!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


It is -2 with a -24 wind chill.

Perfect morning for sitting with a pot of tea and goofing off on the after sleeping in until 10:30. Which I can do relatively guilt free as I handed in my never-ending proposal on friday, woohoo! I am sure none of my committee will read it, but almost all of it can be transferred directly into my dissertation merely by changing the future tense ("I will do this") to the past tense ("I did this"). Of course after all the effort of coordinating 6 people's schedules for my oral exams, I sent out my proposal and one of them e-mails me back that he can't come at that time due to a family emergency. So it is now rescheduled for February 29th. An extra week to study (for better or worse), but I also have to run the oceanography part of the Iowa Science Olympiad the next day and the day after that I leave for Florida for an oceanography conference. Yes, I live in Iowa and I am a pseudo-oceanographer. Lakes and the ocean are all the same!

Anyway, I woke up this morning supersore.

Probably from skiing friday night, then doing a 4 mile run followed by two hours on the trainer yesterday morning.

Skiing was fabulous - I love that we are getting even more snow tomorrow.

But snow = crappy running since shoveling the sidewalk does not appear to be high on people's priority list. But that still doesn't justify my 11-minute miles! Gees! After my run yesterday, I conceded that I have been slacking on the run. Especially since I count skiing as running. So my resolution was to try and get in a short run outside in the mornings before I head to school. My first attempt today is stymied by the fact that it is ridiculously cold. I am pretty much a wuss.

After running, I went to the ISU tri club's saturday morning movie spin. I was only going to do 1:40, but I got caught up in the movie (Without Limits) and felt like a slacker if I left early (although other people did). So I ended up at 31 miles in 1:55. That is almost a half an hour longer than my last ride with Chrissy. I decided that sports movies are perfect since they always start to play good music during the critical competition scenes and it makes me want to work harder. If Prefontaine can dig in and run insanely, well I guess I can sprint for a minute instead of thirty seconds :-)

But I think Jared Leto is cuter than Billy Crudup as Pre. Even with the pornstache. But I think that is deeply embedded from the My So-Called Life days. Sigh, Jordan Catalano.

The day was finished up with dinner at the bestest restaurant in town with Laurie, where I ordered a burger(!) to start to remedy the iron problem and a cucumber martini as a vegetable all finished off with cheesecake (yum!), the remnants of which I ate for breakfast this morning. Even though the box accidentally fell on the ground as I was trying to get in my house and the cheesecake landed upside down on the ground. I firmly declare that the whipped cream made an impenetrable barrier between the ground and the cheesecake, thus the only required step was to remove the whipped cream before it was edible again. If you think that's gross, well I just think you are jealous that you didn't have cheesecake for breakfast :-)

Monday, February 04, 2008


No, this isn't some declaration of intent to pursue an Ironman goal.

No, instead it is me whining.

I tried to give blood today.

And I was denied.

My iron levels are too low.

Of course a cute boy showed up the same time as me who asked about malaria countries, which by default makes them more interesting than your average Iowan, who probably considered Canada exotic. I figured we would bond over our post-donation cookies while talking about the exciting places we have visited that warrant being worried about malaria.

Oh well.

Anyone have any suggestions? (about the iron)

Even though I now eat meat on occasion, I am never going to be a regular carnivore, so that option is out.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I made a pretty hard decision this week. I emailed the captain of my soccer team and told him I am not going to play this year (spring or fall seasons). I want to try to give running my full attention. I've been playing soccer since I was five, and I know I'm going to miss it. But it's a pretty high impact game, and I always end up hurt at some point during the season.

I'd like to just concentrate on running this year, and see what I can be capable of when I devote myself fully to it.

I guess my DC United season tickets are going to have to fulfill my soccer fix. It will be weird not to play. I think the sacrifice will be worth it, though.