Sunday, March 30, 2008

Scope It Out 5K Run Report

This morning I ran the Scope It Out 5K (a fundraiser run for colon cancer awareness).

I ran three times this past week; during the second and third runs, my left knee was absolutely killing me, as my shoes were worn out. I went to my running store on Thursday, but they didn't have my size, so they had another store send a pair over, which I picked up Friday evening (this is why I had to run the 3rd run of the week on dead shoes). I decided to run today in the new shoes, since I didn't really care so much about my time today as I do about getting a few weeks of running in them in before the Country Music Half Marathon, which is in four weeks.

DC is a total mess right now because of the Cherry Blossom Festival (which started yesterday) and all the tourists it draws. Even at 7:30 in the morning when I arrived at the race, there were hoards of people with cameras driving really slowly so they can take pictures out their windows and crowding the sidewalks as they don't watch where they're walking because they're looking through a camera view finder instead of where they're going.

I got there around 30 minutes early to try to find the two people I know who were also running. Of course I could not find either of them, so I just stretched and got ready to run. It was about 34 degrees at start time, so a little chilly for April in DC.

It was an out and back course. I started to feel real good about myself when I passed the two leaders running neck and neck on the way back as they passed the 2 mile mark, meaning, of course, that I was at the 1 mile mark. I ended up running a negative split, averaging somewhere around 9:30/mi on the way out and 8:30/mi on the way back, (I forgot my this is an estimate based on the finish time and the number of songs it took me to run the out half).

It was a really pretty course, because the cherry blossoms are in full bloom (it seemed like it'd be better to put a picture of cherry blossoms at the top of this post than a picture of a colon).

When I got done, I went back to grab a bottle of water and a banana, and head out. As I was leaving, I ran into one of my friends, who was just finishing. She showed up to the race about 5 minutes after the starting gun. It's funny because she was captaining a team that her company sponsored, so apparently there was no organization for their team today. My other friend no-showed.

Overall, a fun run in a very well organized race on a really nice course.

Edited 2007-03-31: They posted the results; I did better than I thought. Neat.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Almost time for doughnuts!

It's almost April! That means that doughnut time is coming up! I have run the ISU Triathlon Club's doughnut run every year I have lived in Ames. To sum it up, you get time cut off your 5k time for every Krispy Kreme you eat during the race at designated doughnut stops.

Seriously, I love Krispy Kremes (who doesn't?) and this is pretty much the one time of year that I eat them, so devouring four during a race seems acceptable :-) That and through three years of prior research, I have determined that four is the optimal number (if you aren't going to go up to ten for the bonus minute). Three: you pretty much break even with time it takes to eat the donuts versus the time you get taken off your time. Five: well I tried that last year and it didn't help. So I am going to go with four again and hopefully PR.

I decided I have to do this race this year and next, as instead of t-shirts they give out snazzy memorial pint glasses. Unfortunately the first year they did give out a t-shirt (which awesomely says "Whatever you do, don't puke!" on the back), so I won't have a set of four unless I do it twice more.

Who am I kidding? I love the excuse to eat Krispy Kremes :-) Plus, my running is craptacular these days, so I am not going to be PRing this spring on my own! Although on Wednesday I did run halfway to spin class, go spin, and then ran the four miles home. I felt pretty badass. Note that I only ran halfway to class though - I told Kori of my plan and when I was halfway there, she pulled up next to me and pointed out there was no way in hell I was going to make it there on time.

Oh yeah, and I went to see Run Fatboy Run last night:

The little movie theater in town totally set up the lobby like a race. There were even smushed water cups on the ground near the water stop and the employees all had race numbers on. It was fun.

And in totally unrelated science news, I got to pick the winner of the state science fair today, which was fun (see appropriate hilarious link sent to me by Lisa). I was originally judging 8th grade physics projects, and then one of the organizers waltzed in and said "I need a PhD or PhD candidate in environmental science" and I volunteered with two others and they apparently needed to break a tie. It's actually a pretty big deal for the students - they win scholarship money and they go to the international competition. We grilled both teams (both of which were two girl teams - yay for women in science!) for half an hour - honestly when I was 18, if you grilled me for a half an hour, I totally would have buckled. So that was fun.

I am also happy to say that the "13-year old tramp" look is out for the science fair this year (I swear the last two years I have wondered how some of these parents let their kids out of the house for a science fair in a six inch skirt). But apparently last night several students got sent home for what the director called "purpling" - which has nothing to do with some Obama vision for America and everything to do with boys and girls sharing rooms at the hotel. 8th grade! At the science fair!

Also, I got an e-mail this week from someone at the Naval Research Lab who wants me to interview. In Mississippi. Working for the Navy. Me. The crazy liberal. Last time I checked, the Navy doesn't really do science for the pure joy of science. Oh yeah, and Mississippi. I am pretty sure there will not be any Libertarian cowboys in Mississippi.

Lastly, I'm going to lament the fact that my favoritest coffee shop covered all their outlets.

My life in Ames is never going to be the same!


I'm sort of traumatized.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I ran the same five mile loop over the weekend and again today. On both days, it was moderately breezy (around 10 mph, with gusts upwards of 20 mph at times). This loop is basically a rectangle, and somehow, both days, the wind swirled such that it was in my face on all four sides of the rectangle. I don't mind some wind, but when it is always directly in my face no matter what direction I'm facing, it's a little much to take with a straight face.

I hate you, wind!

[insert image of Joe shaking his fist at the wind here]

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Yeah, so I'm not gonna lie. I totally did that today. But apparently CBS decided that Celine Dion on Oprah was more important than watching some nerds play basketball, so I had to go to a bar to watch the Cornell-Stanford game (which ended with predictable results - no karmic balance for Danielle).

But, I still did take advantage of the sunny 54 degree day, as it is supposed to snow again tonight and there are no temps above 50 in the ten day forecast. So I went on my first outdoor bike ride today! Yay! So much better than the trainer! I did just a really short ride (6 miles), since it was windy and I haven't really done any bike maintenance in a long time so I didn't want to end up ten miles out of town with a blown tire or something. I just wanted to get out and ride for a real!

And on my trainer, there are no brothas on the street corner to vocalize their appreciation of my a$$ in spandex.


In addition to my little bike adventure, I went running with Kori. A new sushi place opened in Ames, so we made a pact that if we ran four miles (which is long for both of us these days), we could get sushi after. My runs these days have been lame. I am running like 10:30 miles. It sucks. Last Thursday I tried to do a 5 mile run and was just done after 2.5 miles (and that took me 27 minutes).

I took the bus home.


But today, she totally kicked my ass. We did 4 miles at 9:40 pace. Actually the first three miles were 9:45 and the last one was 9:30. I thought I was going to throw up. I wasn't wearing my Garmin, just my heartrate monitor and I was easily in Zone 4 the entire time. And Kori kept saying things like "I'm going to be slow today, yadda yadda yadda."

The sushi place was decent, although not as good as the one in Des Moines, mostly because it does not have cute bartenders who give us drinks and shots all night and not charge us for a single one. But maybe it was because we went straight from running and smelled bad.

Other news: I officially have half a relay team for the Madison to Chicago 200! So space is filling up kids! Send me a check if you want to run!

And other news: I saw this today on a NASA blog (this picture is from March 1st). This was taken in Tromso Norway, where Lisa and I are running the half-marathon in June. Of course since the half-marathon is in the middle of the night, this implies that it will be too light to see anything cool like this, but it is still an awesome picture:Of course, since everyone in the world is laughing at the value of a dollar, even though I can get to Europe on frequent flyer miles, I am sure it will cost me a months salary for the ticket from Amsterdam to Tromo.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Road trip!

So I finished off my running shoes on Thursday with my first run in three weeks, outside in the nice weather. That run totally sucked, but that is another story.

So I needed new running shoes. I am not a fan of the running store in Des Moines, but I heard rumors of a running store in Cedar Falls (about an hour and a half away) that supposedly did all sorts of geeky things like videotape you on the treadmill and analyze your foot strike and all that.

So Katie (a girl I run with) and I made a little journey. She would be the red crayon at the Living History Farm race. She has been having knee problems so we were hoping maybe they could enlighten us as the cause of our varied injuries.

So yeah, they really did videotape us. It was sort of weird to watch yourself run. Apparently I have a very neutral step. Who knew! So I got put in some Brooks. This is the first time I have ever had Brooks. How come they all look like orthopedic shoes?

But my shoes pale in comparison next to Katie's new shoes:

I am not sure if you can see it well, but the color theme is "Gold/Python." She now has faux snake skin running shoes. How rad is that?

They also outfitted me in some insoles for the PF, so we'll see how that goes. Since I have come down with a sudden inability to turn my head to the left, I made an appointment with Susan, the bestest masseuse in the world, and I found out that she suffered from PF as well and assures me that she can help with that in addition to this random ass neck thing.

And one last comment. While I am not typically a sports junkie, I do tend to get into March Madness. Having been at a Big 10 and a Big 12 school for my grad work, you actually can't help it since both Illinois and Iowa State are typically in the tournament. This year, neither team made it. This is only more pathetic because my true alma mater, Cornell, is in the tourney. Cornell! We're only good at hockey! (we are now in the semi-finals in the ECACs for that) I guess they have to let the winner of the of the Ivy League in, but still! When I pick my brackets, I always allow my teams one upset. So here is to hoping Cornell totally takes down Stanford! Since I was waitlisted at Stanford when I applied to colleges, it would be sweet vengeance on another level too :-) I will also note that this will be the lamest mascot match up ever as well. The Big Red vs The Cardinal? Seriously! It is a war of colors. At least we have a bear that runs around instead of a tree.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The foot gods hate me.

So you might think after two weeks of doing nothing, my PF might lessen up a little.

But you'd be wrong.

And apparently after this snowy winter of wearing hiking boots or my Gortex sneakers every day since December, my feet weren't quite ready for sandals. Well, I knew appearance-wise they would not be ready (someone needs a pedicure ASAP). But I have some weird pain on the top of my other foot that often shoots all the way up my calf. It was miserable. I walked around the effing ridiculously large Orlando convention center all gimpy for the week.

And yeah, those thoughts of running every day in the Florida sunshine? Didn't happen. Things were going on from 8am until 7pm every day. And as a natural talker, I am usually talking with people during breaks in the day (which weren't very long anyway).

So two weeks off from any form of exercise and no foot recovery.

And I gained five pounds.


But I'm just gonna say that there are lots of cute nerdy/crunchy-granola type oceanography boys with accents.

Oceanographers >> Civil Engineers

Friday, March 07, 2008

101 and still running

I saw a story on Yahoo News about a 101 year old training for the London Marathon. Apparently he just completed a half marathon this past weekend.

This guy is awesome: “If I finish, I’ll do what I always do and have a pint and a fag,” he said. “People ask what is my secret but I haven’t got one. They say fags and booze are bad for you — but I’m still here, aren’t I?”

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Seven Things

Conference Poster Done: Check! (And it is a masterpiece at that! Conference goers will see is and swoon and offer me a postdoc on the spot!)

Preliminary Exams Passed: Check! (Yay, I am officially a PhD candidate now, which means nothing to the outside world except that I get paid more)

Running, Biking, or Swimming: Uh...

Anyway... So I was tagged by Steve in a Speedo to divulge 7 weird or random facts about myself, so here we go:

1. I can bend my thumbs all the way backwards.

2. I reorganize the fridge when I am stressed out. Much to my roommate's chagrin, that means I arrange everything by height (um, OCD much?). So she will come home to find the milk way in the back and the Worcestershire Sauce up front. On the same note, all my shoes are always lined up in a nice line along the wall in my room. Oftentimes in rainbow order.

3. I am still bothered by the fact that Zack on Saved by the Bell got a 1502 on his SATs. I will announce this fact every time the subject comes up. Of course in the midwest, no one knows what you can get on the SATs because they all took the ACTs.

4. I had short hair up until I was a senior in high school. It looked really bad. I pretty much defined awkward teenager. I pretty much won't show anyone photos of myself from this era unless I am in a particularly sharing mood (Laurie has been lucky enough to be exposed to the hilarity). My past would be more securely hidden if my dad hadn't given me an emergency credit card that has my picture on it. From 10th grade. Did I mention I was 30?

5. My graduate advisor loves telling the story about me and the blue bunny Peeps on our second field study.

6. I was a vegetarian. And then I moved to Iowa.

7. When I was in the Peace Corps, I used to regularly bathe in a latrine. Most unfun experience ever: standing in a smelly latrine and having to dump a can of cold water on your head.

So I am supposed to tag 7 other people, so I am going to tag any of my fellow teammates here that feel so inclined!