Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sugar Induced Coma

So I have pretty much zero time, since I go to sea on THURSDAY, but I thought a race report was in order. At least before I pass out because of the sugar coursing through my system...

It was Donut Run Day!

I ran a 41 minute 5k and ate 8 Krispy Kremes.

My donut time deductions were nowhere near the time I lost eating donuts.

And once you commit to 8 donuts (one at each stop - my goal for my final time doing this race), speedy thoughts go out the window (well for me at least - Steve in a Speedo is the very obvious exception to this rule). You find yourself in a certain cohort of others that have similar plans so are at the donut stops at the same time as you and you end up chatting while eating your doughnuts.

It's really like a leisurely run where you feel like you might throw up with every donut you eat and you ask yourself "why am I doing this again?" and then you remember "oh yeah, because it's awesome!"

Seriously, I don't need another Krispy Kreme for a loooong time.

And, even more importantly, I finally have my set of 4 Donut Run pint glasses, which was the real motivation for signing up again this year...

This is short, but mostly because I really think I might crash from this sugar infusion. I'm barely holding on here!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It was like making out with every runner in DC.

I think Joe's sister summarized it perfectly (to paraphrase):

"So you PRed, but you also got the herp. It all about balances out."

Now that I have teased you into reading a long rambling race report, I probably should start.

Friday, we had a little bloggy runner meetup and it was good times people. Since I am a lazy linker, I will link to Audrey, who posted a photo and linked to all the bloggers in it. It was fun to meet everyone in person, even if I have been a blogging slacker in the last month and don't really deserve the title of "blogger."

So like Jeanne, I made Ray tell me how I should run this race and then kind of ignored it. What I didn't ignore, was the advice to lay off the Adams Morgan hill. Anyway, who ignores advice that says "Go ahead, be lazy."

Definitely not this girl.

Joe was kind enough to drop me off at the start around 6:20ish. After hitting the portapottie line, begging the med tent for some motrin, which I had forgotten to take, I found my corral and bumped into Jeanne.

And then we were off! I tried to ease into things and lay off a little on the first mile and ended up with a 10:30, which was NOT in the plan. So then with the help of a downhill I ran mile 2 in like 9:40 to even it out. Then I managed to settle into a pretty regular pace through mile 6, coming through there at 61 minutes. Then the big hill began and I laid off, yielding me a nice 11 minute mile for mile 7.

So at this point, I kinda thought my chances of PRing were slim. I'd have to run 10 minute miles for the last six miles to get in under previous PR. And that seemed highly unlikely given my fitness theses days.

But you know what? Apparently that first half really was quite uphill even if it didn't feel that way too badly. Miles 8-11 I was easily cruising at like 9:45 pace. There was another uphill getting to Mile 12, but it was mostly downhill to the finish after that. Those downhills mentally saved me, since I knew I could handle running downhill for a mile at the end.

I hit Mile 12 at 2:02 and I realized I just needed to pull out an 11 min pace for the rest to PR, which seemed totally doable given the downhill (although I was fading fast). At that moment a little Beyonce came on the ipod and I got my groove on and finished this baby up in 2:12:58, about a minute PR. Looking at the race results, I averaged 10:14 through the first 10k and then 10:09 overall.

I finished at almost the same exact time as the marathon winner. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why there were police motorcycles blocking my way as I tried to get down the finisher's chute. Didn't they know I had a PR to get?!!!

And so now you may ask, where on earth do diseases come into this?

So I loved the course, but srsly National, get some effing cups. I got water at Mile 3 and took two clif blocks. I was going to take a swig of gatorade at Mile 5 but there were no cups so I just decided to hold out until Mile 7. I got to Mile 7 and there were no cups there either.


So I followed suit with every other runner and chugged water straight out of gallon water bottles they had out. There was a concerted effort to not touch the bottle at all with one's mouth, but we are talking 8000 runners. Someone at some point hit the bottle.

Mile 9, still no cups.

Mile 11, STILL no cups.

Seriously, you would think that after they ran out of cups, someone would have gotten their ass to ANYWHERE that sells cups and bought a boatload and gotten them to the aid stations. Fortunately the weather was cool so there wasn't as much of a need for water, but I personally needed it to get my nutrition down.

So yeah, I was swigging left and right. If I end up with some weird ass disease, I'm totally sending my bill to the race director.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quote of the day

The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion.
- Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Saturday, March 14, 2009

5 Week Follow-up with Doc

Had my latest post-op with my doc on Friday. Overall, he is pretty pleased with my progress. I still have a little swelling, which he wants me to work on, and I can't quite straighten my leg all the way out (probably about 5 degrees short of straight), which he also wants me to specifically focus on.

Other than that, he told me to lose the knee brace, and wean off the crutches. It's going to take a few days to get my normal gait back, and it'll take probably a week or two before I have the strength to get through a whole normal day, so I'll probably not be back at work in the office for a few weeks yet, but I'm making progress.

I'll probably be in physical therapy for a few more months, but now that I can really start to bend and put weight on the leg, things will step up and really begin to move forward.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Swimming update

Just wanted to post a quick note (since apparently I don't have much else to do these days, as I've been laying on my couch for the last 5 weeks). I went swimming the other night again (second post-surgery swim). You might remember from my post last week about my first swim, I had a frustrating time. This time, though, It was so much better. I swam 200m warming up, then managed to do 500m. My leg didn't hurt, and I was able to actually stabilize it in the water so it wasn't flopping around like a dead fish. I felt fine in the pool, though when I got done and got out, I was completely spent. It actually took all my energy to make it back up to my sister's apartment. I kept tripping on the crutches, and almost fell a couple of times because I had no energy (I must have looked drunk). But anyway, the swimming felt good, so I am happy. I'll be happier when I can drive myself over to the pool again, so I can swim whenever I want, rather than being a burden on Sherri, but happiness from being able to swim without any real pain. :)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Crunch Time

So Danielle in Iowa needs descend deep down into a writing cave before she leaves in April to go to sea for a month. I haven't logged into google reader IN A WEEK so I haven't been around the internet leaving lovely pearls in the comments section of other blogs. I hope you'll all be able to bear my absence for the next couple of weeks.

A paper came out THIS MORNING that scoops a few elements of my dissertation (and several elements I of the paper I have been working my ass off to submit in the next couple of weeks). Since the paper is in a "rapid announcement" journal, the idea hasn't been fleshed out yet completely (it is essentially a 4 pager saying "we did this!") but it probably means a longer paper is in the works which means my paper needs to be out ASAP so alas I must go away for a bit.

Because I still procrastinate, so you can find me rambling on Twitter still.

So in running news, I did my last long run before National last night. It was only 10 miles, but it was a good run. It was a gorgeous 40-50 degree evening with a bright moon and I felt great the entire time. I did it at 10:14 pace in HR Zone 2, which is faster than any of my other long runs to date this season and is also PR pace for the half-mary distance, although I am not sure I could hold on for another 5k. What a difference actually taking gus does! I didn't bonk at all.

So yeah, training for National hasn't been ideal, but I have been trying to work on consistency and not ramping up miles too fast, which I was pretty successful at. I was getting in at least 20 miles a week, usually consisting of two 6-8 mile runs and 2-3 hard 3-4 mile runs.

Unfortunately, this did not work. My stupid injury prone self is having calf issues again. This feels almost exactly the same as the injury that sidelined me for Chicago 2005. It's on the base of my calf on the inside and calf stretches don't get at it. It can be sore all day and hurt right a lot when I start running, but once it is warmed up it is fine (last night it didn't bother me after the first mile).

So I am trying to figure out the game plan for the next two weeks. How often and far do I run so I don't irritate the calf yet don't lose fitness?

Anyway, sorry for the most boring post ever. My motivation to amuse others has been completely sucked away. I'll be back for sure, but I gotta take care of business so that I can force you all to call me Dr. Danielle in Iowa.

In the meantime:

1. Hey if you are running National, I think we are having a bloggy carb loading dinner the night before!

2. Hey, if you like doughnuts, come run the Doughnut Run!

3. Hey, if you like crazy races, come join our team for the Wild West Relay! Seriously, we only have 5 runners now so we need you! At least if you live below 2000 ft.

Friday, March 06, 2009


I was looking through some posts from last year leading up to my marathon attempt, and I had a really funny thought. All the comments about my knee being sore are pretty funny when you replace "knee pain" with "torn meniscus." They read really funny, in a "God, you're a retard, don't run a marathon on a torn meniscus, stupid!" kind of way.

One of the funniest may have been this quote from my Reflections post:

Injuries: I learned a lot about how to distinguish aches versus injuries. Along this journey, there were a few aches I mistook for injuries, and an injury that I mistook for an ache. I think this is one of the most important lessons I learned this year.

" injury that I mistook for an ache." Understatement of the year!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

First post-op swim and other observations

So I went swimming for the first time today since surgery. I still have to wear the knee brace and use the crutches for at least another two weeks, so I had to use the pull buoy, though I expected that. Swimming was hard. I managed to do 4 laps (2, then stopping to catch my breath, then 2 more) before feeling enough pain that I had to stop. In defense of swimming, I was actually in pain before I went, but I wanted to at least see what it was like. I have lost so much mucscle control and use that my leg was literally flapping behind me as it was basically being dragged. I couldn't even stabilize it without hooking my feet together. It felt extremely weird. I also got really tired really quickly. I'm going to try to go back Thursday and see if it is any easier.

Also, I've made a few interesting observations. The other day, I thought about it, and I realize that for the last 3 1/2 weeks, I spend, on non physical therapy days, approximately 22-23 hours on my couch. On PT days, that's down to about 19-20 (woohoo!). This is having quite an interesting effect on my mood, and my view of the world. Mostly, it's not in a good way. I also noticed I am not eating a whole lot. I drink a lot of water b/c my apartment gets dry, but I just am not eating much. I think I was afraid that being totally sedentary would cause me to gain a bunch of weight, so I cut back on my eating. Anyway, I got on a scale today for the first time since the day before surgery. After being on my couch for 3 1/2 weeks, I am 2 pounds lighter than I was before surgery. It's pretty bad. I need to eat, probably a lot more.

Oh well. At least I know what I need to do -- keep swimming and it will get easier eventually, and eat more/smarter.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

And how could I forget!

Some of you may remember that I wrote a proposal for a postdoc fellowship from the National Science Foundation to go to New Zealand for two years to do research.

The funding rate is only like 20% so I jumped on the Seattle offer, figuring that was a pretty good alternative option.

I found out last week that my proposal got funded!

But alas, I can't accept it as I signed a contract in Seattle :-(

I was thisclose to being surrounded by boys with cute accents!

I found out the funding was coming from the stimulus package, so unfortunately it can't be deferred. But I hope you are all happy to know that not all that money is going to millionaire bankers :-)

Oh well, anyway Brett and Germaine are already married (but I have tix to see them in MSP anyway!)

Hello Bonktown! (watch out, long rambling post ahead!)

Nice to see you! It's been a while!

So at about mile 7 today, I hit my good friend the wall.

I am not sure what it was.

It could be that I ran 7 miles yesterday morning and I probably shouldn't have run 8 today, considering my training isn't all that great. But the National Half-Mary is in 3 weeks! I can't be slacking! And I figured, if I can't do longer runs yet, I should do two of *my* long runs back to back. I also ran 7 on Tuesday.

It could also have been that I didn't bring a gu. I think 7 miles is my threshold for that. I just totally forgot. And it turns out that we poorly planned our route and the water stop ended up being at 5.7 miles out of 8. So it really wouldn't have mattered.

It could also have been that Kori kicks my ass. My long runs have typically been in the 10:30ish range, but we ran the first 6 miles at about 10:10 pace. My goal on my long runs is to be conversational and easy paced, so this was a little fast for me these days.

Well, anyway, I am *still* feeling out of sorts. I hate that feeling. And I am kinda going insane right now since I *really* want a hamburger. I have hamburger in my freezer. They are even pre-portioned. But it is so frozen they are all stuck together and they still haven't defrosted enough to split them and seriously I might eat the dog soon if it doesn't thaw.

And to top it off? My bonked self drove a few blocks from Kori's and my car ran out of gas.

Seriously, this is what happens when you combine being broke and not driving all that much. I kept thinking "When March comes I'll fill up. I don't even drive every day! This is no problem!"

I haven't run out of gas in ten years.

Specifically on I-10 in Texas. You can go forever there without an exit! We ended up pouring all our camping stove gas into my car and we managed to make it to the next exit. I am not sure my car engine was ever the same.


So an update on Girls Heart Rockets. Turns out that they actually know our team because some of them ran the MC200 last year AND Al knows them and they are actually doing the race at Al's suggestion.

AND Al has a stupid aunt who scheduled her wedding for the weekend of the relay. Priorities people! Doesn't she know that Al is our MVP? I mean he is freakin' insane!

So now we are down to five people. And this stresses me out since finding 6 seemed manageable, but 7 seems intimidating. So who wants to run?! Please?!


Recent google searches that landed here:

"losing virginity on a drunk hook up" (thanks again Joe for the title for your first marathon post!)
how to lose virginity on ragbrai" (be a hot chick and look for Lance Armstrong)
"vegetarians iowa cattlemen" (from the ip addy
and THREE variations of "naked triathletes" (thanks Audrey for that title!)


Last night while tipsy, I wrote this to the American Physical Society. Someone needs to keep me away from my keyboard after four drinks.

To whom it may concern:

I am a former APS member (my subscription may possibly have lapsed,
oops!). Tonight I was at dinner at a professor's house when another
student asked me where I was from originally, to which I replied
"Newton Massachusetts, which is right outside of Boston and home of
the Fig Newton." Imagine my surprise when the professor said "my
daughter has been using this Color Me Physics book and she just
learned that the Fig Newton was named after Sir Isaac Newton." She
showed me the book and lo and behold, there was APS perpetuating this
myth about the origin of the Fig Newton.

Anyway, considering the authors of this book are all PhDs, I would
assume they can provide references for this statement?

All the sources I have seen have all indicated that this is not the
truth and that the Fig Newton is indeed named after Newton MA. our
town had a whole Fig Newton Festival on the 100th anniversary. They
got JUICE NEWTON to sing. There was a half day of school. We take our
legacy seriously in Newton MA.

Anyway, I hope you will choose to edit this if you decide to publish a
new edition of Color Me Physics. We cannot have a generation of
children being raised on the shaky foundation of incorrect knowledge
on the origin of the Fig Newton. Think of the children! Think of our

Thank you.

Scientist competition

So I was randomly looking at the registered teams list for the Wild West Relay, to ensure that we are still the first team alphabetically in the Flatlander Division (thus ensuring we get to be Team #1 again :-)).

And I noticed there was a women's team from Champaign.

And that their team name was "Girls Heart Rockets."

Turns out they are a bunch of girl scientists!

I'm just glad they are not competing in the Flatlander Division, because I think they might kick our ass.