Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pumping Iron

Since the start of this marathon training has us only running 4 days a week (but also starts with 2 more miles/week than we have been doing at 5 days a week ) Jason and I were able to get to YMCA to pump some iron today since they were closed on Monday.

We did three sets of dips, pullups, bicep, triceps, shoulders, bench press, leg press, lower back. Then we finished the day off with some situps. All with a little amount of weight but lots of reps. I am going to search for a book or website which talks about weight lifting for runners. We can only get to the gym at the most twice a week and with schedules they way tend to get possibly only once a week. So I'm not doing the, we are going to do legs today, shoulders tomorrow, triceps the day after that. I will have to get all exercises in each day we go. If anyone has a book/website/recommendation please let me know in the comments.

Tomorrow we have a 9 mile run, then Friday off, 4 mile recovery on Saturday and 12 mile long run on Sunday. The end of this week is going to get a bit crazy because I have to be at the lab on Friday from ~8am-midnight then again on Saturday from 9am-early afternoon. Needless to say, I'm happy we have Friday off and only a recovery run on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Garmin & Advance Workouts

Well put simply. I'm in love. Oh the levels of data analysis and plots and charts and oh yeah...bring it on Garmin.

I mainly wanted the Garmin 205 because when I looked ahead to my marathon training program I have all kinds of workouts like: Run 7 miles with 10x100m sprints, or 10 miles with 4x800m @ some pace. I don't know how people lived before watches like this.

So today's was actually like that first example: 7 miles with 10x100m in there (a 7 mile fartlek you might say). I set up an advanced workout in Training Center that looked something like this:

  1. Run 2 Miles
  2. Repeat the following 10 times
    1. Run 0.07 Miles (100m=0.0625 miles and I just rounded up)
    2. Run 0.33 Miles (I like things to be even)
  3. Run 1 Mile
So this would give us a 2 mile warm up. 4 Miles of fartleking and 1 mile of cool down.

In the training center you can also drag the said workout to whatever date you want to do it on, then when you get ready to go you just go to Training>Workouts>Advanced>Today and hit 'Do Workout'. Then hit start and you are off to the races. The main screen I looked at counted down whichever leg I was in. So for stage 1)Run 2 Miles it would say things like "Run for : 1.8 miles....Run for 1.2 Miles and so on until it got close to ending. And that's when things got really cool.

At about 50 ft to go in the stage the watch starts beeping like a countdown, then it makes another little, "dadadada" noise and it's time to move onto the next leg. Namely here it was the speedy 0.07mi fartlek. I also named these in the Workout so it would flash 'Fartlek' when it was time to do this leg. Then again same thing, you keep going until it gets close to the next leg (here I called it Recovery) and the thing goes beep beep beep...dadadada and flashes 'Recovery' (You can obviously name the stages whatever you want.

So this is very cool. Then we just kept going, fartleking when the watch told us to and back to a normal pace when it told us to. This is going to be a great tool for these runs. I told Jason that it's also really great becasue sometimes on the speedwork you get to the middle and you don't want to go anymore. This is great because it's just going to keep beeping at you and counting down, so it makes it easier to keep going.

The run itself went pretty well considering it was 90 DEGREES outside when we left. We are working 4pm-midnight this week and so we have to go around 11am so it was a bit annoying. On three of the 'Recovery' stages we had to stop for water and walk a bit because it was just so ridiculously hot out.

So you think that's as cool as it gets? Well you would be wrong! When I got home I then uploaded the workout back to the training center to see how we did. I highlighted the data using photoshop (leave me alone I know I am a big to enlarge if you can't see it), so the blue lines show the warm up and cool down. The pink shows the sprinting part (nice to see that these were all under 8 minute miles, some of them were a bit slower but it was really hot out!). Then in yellow/red you can see the recovery stages. The red lines show where we had to walk...obvious by the time. What's also great to see is that the yellow lines we are mostly within 9-9:30 miles. This is probably a bit slower than we would like to go for runs like this, but I don't know what else to do with the heat. I think it's common to slow down about 30 seconds per mile to take that into account, but I don't know....any ideas out there?

Oh and the best part is when you finish it plays a little tune and stops the timer for you. So freakin' cute. The total distance today was 7 miles, averaging a 9:25 pace. I think this is really good considering it was the first time we had ever done a workout like this and the elements were less that cooperative.

Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz

Calling all adventurers!!! If you love an adventure, then you will love this book. Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz is a non fiction book that takes you on a tour of the paths that James Cook, a captain for the British in the middle to late 1700s, took. It was his job to go out there and find stuff...literally. There were rumors of things like a huge continent on the southern part of the planet and a northern passage way. Capt. Cook went looking for it and instead found places like New Zealand, Australia, the archipelagos of the Pacific ocean and Hawaii. He mapped much of the area and the maps he created were used up until the about that for precision!

The book is part travelogue, part history told by the author Tony Horwitz. Horwitz took about 18 months out of his life to follow the paths that Cook followed and to visit the places that Cook "found". I put this in quotes because there were communities of people living there already, he was just the first of the western world to come across them.

I read this book mainly because my Dad is a sailor and so I immediately had an interest in it. I will tell you that there are some sailing terms in there that I had heard of because my Dad likes to talk about sailing....a lot. There were some things that I didn't understand though, but it totally doesn't take away from the book.

Horwitz and his partner Roger ("He came over for a beer and stayed for 5") are a hilarious duo as they travel around the Pacific Islands. While the two are in Australia and looking for an Aboriginal settlement, they see this :
"Several miles from Cooktown, the highway dwindled to an unpaved track winding into the wilds of the Cape York peninsula. The few vehicles coming the other way looked like lunar landing craft, emerging from dust clouds with spare tires, jerry cans of petrol and water and other life-support systems strapped to the roof. They had their headlights switched on to navigate the murk, and snorkel-like tubes extruding from the hood so the engine could suck in air if the rest of the car was submerged" -p187
They travel to Tonga where some of the largest people on the planet live, "....beginning with their king, who was once cited by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest monarch, at 444 pounds" (p252).

Cook (and I am sure many people of the era) was truly amazing in the amount of things he knew how to do. They had to have ALL the skills, not just learn one thing and never look outside the box at what else you might be able to do with those skills:
"Reading Cook's journals is a constant reminder of how specialized our skills have become in the modern era. On one page, Cook discusses astronomy, geology, meteorology and animal husbandry. On the next, he offers insight into management, commerce, and diplomacy. Then he veers into lengthy speculation about ocean currents and the formation of islands. Few people today would even dream of dabbling in so many disciplines, much less mastering them" -p254
It's sad I think when we look at our era. What happened to the Renaissance man (or woman). I work at a lab where people only want to talk about physics. Now I am not talking about everyone, but lots of times I'll try and bring up a book I recently read, or a great run I had or whatever and you see people's eyes glaze over and the interest goes away. As soon as I say "for loop" or "particle interaction" I have their attention back. It annoys me a lot of the time and I just wish that people would look at the world around them and take more of it in.

Actually I have to send a shout out to my advisor who does a really amazing job with this, and is absolutely one of the coolest people I know. I am so lucky that I get to work for him. Aside from being one of the top physicists at our lab he dabbles in biking (he talked about trying out for the Discovery team...apparently Lance Armstrong is having open tryouts and they are taking place at the Speedway in Indianapolis), reading, being a father and so on. We named one of the machines at work 'Dominique' after a character in one of our favorite books, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. We told him that, and he said, "Oh that's a great book, I just told my daughter to read it". I like to think that he likes to talk to us about things other than physics although I am sure there are times when he'd like me to talk more about physics. I'm getting there I promise!

Alright, enough about ranting about most physics nerds and praising one of them.

The book is good and I recommend it. The things the sailors did and lived through at the time was truly amazing. I would be interested in hearing what my readers think of Capt. Cook if they have heard of him. The view by some of the people on the islands was negative towards the captain as they believe he came and brought diseases and the western world with him and stomped all over the rituals and communites that were already there. I don't know, read it for yourself and see what you think. I think it would have happened anyways, he just happened to be the first person there and so takes the blame. Interesting stuff.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Notes From a Great Weekend

Jason and I had a wonderful weekend away from Chicago visiting Jason's mom Beverly in Ft. Wayne and getting a 12K race in while we were there. Go here to read the full report or here to read Jason's take on the afternoon. On Sunday we went to Indianapolis for a barbeque at Bridgette and Chad's house.

The race in Ft. Wayne (as already mentioned) was fine but hot. Bridgette got some great pictures of us racing (thanks Bridgette) this weekend, including this one which shows apparently my hulkesk leg muscles (click to enlarge!)...sweet!
On Sunday morning we went for a run. I wanted to go 6.5 miles, but with the heat and the fact that our legs were not in agreement with this plan we decided to stop at 5.5 and walk the rest of the way home. There are some hills in Ft. Wayne which we are not used to and so that helped make it a bit tougher than if we had just gone in Chicago. We went 5.5 in 51:51 which isn't bad considering heat and hills and crap.

At about 11:30 we headed down to Indy. We had a quick drive down there and was able to listen to the Indy 500 on the radio on the way....

Quick side note : Ok I am sitting in my non-airconditioned apartment sweating my ass off right now...hello...springtime? where did you go. Sorry if the post is less elequent than usual...although is it never elequent...alright where was I...

Right, Indianapolis. We had a good time at Bridgette and Chad's and got to play with their cute kids Anthony:

Anthony and Chad...really guys could you be a little MORE photogenic

and Baby Kyle:
I haven't seen Tony for awhile and so he had gotten so much bigger, and it was the first time I had gotten to see the new baby. He's so cute!!! And seems really well behaved...just sits and smiles. I told Jason that we are so screwed, when we have kids because all of our friends have these great kids that are just happy babies, and we are going to have some crazy kid screaming and running into walls and spilling stuff....well I'm sure my parents are smiling at that little image...payback perhaps.

We listened to the end of the race which seemed to be the most exciting race ever. I can't believe that Sam Hornish passed Marco Andretti on the final straightaway. Apparently he beat him by a half a car length (the race was blacked out in Indianapolis so I didn't actually see the finish).

Today is no running, but we had grand plans to go to the YMCA and work we walked all the way over there (about a mile) just to find out that they were closed!!! Why...oh yeah Memorial Day. Jason and I have to go to to work today (back on shifts!!!) and so forget that most people get the day off.

Tomorrow we have 7 miles with 10x100m....this is the first week of our offical marathon training. Again we are starting about 3 weeks early because of work and travel and the like. Here are the plots of the week.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Thanks for the Invalids

Well, I thought I did pretty well in the race. Apparently reality had a different opinion.

The results are in and they are not kind. First the good: we finished at an 8:00 minute pace with an official race time of 59:35 and made our 60 minute goal. We also finished in the top half of all participants, finishing 92 and 93 out of 212 finishers (I'll let you guess who was 92 and who was 93).

Also, Leah finished 4th in here age/sex divison (out of 13), barely missing out on the covetted 3rd place finish. While we could not get her a bronze medal, she does get a lovely purple participation ribbon. Thanks for playing!

What I don't understand is, how do we run an 8:00 minute pace, a pace which would put us in a competative bin in most real races, and barely finish in the top half of this race? Clearly there is something in the Fort Wayne water that makes these people run at their super-human pace. I blame an over-flouridation of the water. Whatever the reason, it is annoying, to say the least.

A couple other positives in the race that Leah didn't mention: we passed a 60 year old blind man (eventually) and a 12 year boy (barely). In fact, we were clearly in the first wave of people, distancing ourselves from the slower second wave. So, thank god for the wave of cripples and elderly toddling along behind us, launching us into the top half of the race. Without them, it would have been a truly humbling experience and the last thing I would want is to be humbled. I'm already humble enough. In fact, I'm probably the most humble person I know, which is rare for someone as brilliant and attractive as I am.

Oh, right, we were speaking of humbling experiences? How about humiliating experiences? Yes, well, that's where my results come in. I placed fairly well in my division (age 20-29 males), finishing a solid 15th. Top 15 would generally make me happy, if there were more than 15 people in my division. Yep, that's me, Mr. 15 out of 15. Mr. Zeroth percentile (actually, Mr. Zero is a pretty sweet nickname). I guess I should have know that coming back to Fort Wayne, the city which saw me through my high school days, would result in some sort of embarrassment. After all, for 17 years, that was the sole purpose of this fine city. I think it was actually in the city motto ("Pride, Productivity, and mocking Jason. And Churches, we've got lots of churches").

But, really, the real problem was the division of divisions. I'm used to being in the 25-29 age division where I'm the young buck. It's totally unfair that they expect me to compete against 21 and 22 year olds. I mean, if they have made my divison the 25-29 year olds, I would have finished 7th, which is much more reasonable (okay, out of 7, but whatever. I still beat the blind guy).

So, in summary, I'd like to thank Fort Wayne for hosting a nice, well organized race without any long, annoying stretches and lots of twists and turns. It was a nice course through some pretty parts of Fort Wayne. More importantly, I'd like to thank the cripples and the elderly for letting me leave Fort Wayne with at least a shred of dignity.

It's the least Fort Wayne could do for me.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Thee Rivers 12K Race Report

Today Jason and I ran our first ever small race. What a different experience.

As usual we were up and at the race early. The race started at 8:30 am, and they started handing the packets out at 7am....Jason, I and Jason's mom Beverly were there at 6:45. Of course. So we hung out and enjoyed the weather and walked around a little bit and waited for them to be ready for the handing out of the packets. I tell the person working my name, and Jason does the same and then another guys said, "Wait are you the people from Chicago?" I said that indeed we were and he said oh I remembered your names and couldn't believe you were all the way from Chicago. I told him that Jason's parents lived here and that's why we chose to try this race out.

We hooked up with my college roommate who drove all the way from Indianapolis to see us. That's right I'm talking about the very famous Bridgette of EternalSunshine. After she got there we split off from Beverly and Bridgette and headed to the start line....which consisted of a line drawn in the road with red paint with the word "Start" spray painted above it. Nice. The cops stopped traffic long enough to get folks to the starting line and for the gun to go off. What's strange about a race like this for me is that, ok everyone is going now. Usually in the races that I run I am in some kind of corral with people running my speed. Not here, the gun went off and bang everyone went out at what seemed to be very close to the speed of light.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention that it was REALLY hot and REALLY humid and REALLY sunny at race time.....keep this in mind.

So I used Garmin to program in a workout so I could keep track of how I was doing on my time goals. We wanted to finish in 1 hour which is slightly over an 8 minute mile. So I set the workout for 7.46 miles (I don't know how to get to the kilometers option) and I put 1 hour on the time. This worked out really well as during the race I was able to flip screens and look at me and my virtual partner and see how far ahead or behind him I was.

Anyways, our first mile was in 7:44....a bit fast I knew already given what speed I know we CAN do and the weather. But it seemed like we were going really slow because there were lots of people in front of us (note to self : people in ft. wayne run fast!). So we kept up with this pace for a couple miles, with Miles 2&3 in 7:39 and 7:44 respectively.

Then the heat got to me. Hence mile 4 in 8:12. I gotta send a shout out to Jason by the way who chose to stay with me today on this race. I think he probably could have stuck at that 7:45ish pace for the whole race, but I wasn't doing quite as well. So Mile 5 in 8:14, Mile 6 in 8:07.

Now we have about 1.5 miles left to go and and I'm starting to think that we could still make our time goal of 1 hour. The little virutal partner had me ahead by about 150 ft at this point and 300 ft ahead most of the way which was nice to see. We pushed though the next mile in 8:19, and see Bevery and Bridgette cheering us on. We are able to really crank through the last .46 miles with a pace of 7:35. The second I crossed the line the Garmin beeped at me with a cute little message that said "Congratulations you are the winner". So I beat the little virtual partner which was fun to see. Unfortunately I didn't stop the watch at that point and it kept moving. So on the watch for the 7.46 miles, the time was 59:32. Woot. This put us at a 7:59 pace. (I can't find this informatoin in Training center though...just the total time the watch was on...anyone know how to get the quick workout information off the watch? Thanks!)

Although I had to push through many of the miles to keep up with our goal and I am exhausted now, I am way happy that I was able to stick it through. It was hard running without 39,999 of your closest friends, but I think it's a great learning experience because even in those big races there are times when you feel really alone and have the bear down and get through a couple miles.

I feel REALLY bad that I slowed Jason down by a little bit....did I mention that I shimmied across the line first? I really am an asshole. It was really a tie, but I gave the woman my number first. I don't know how I did in the field of people, I am guessing that will be online in the next couple of days. So I'll update you all when that's up.

It's now time for a celebratory beer and possibly (probably) a nap. I will also upload a map of the course later today....but MB is being slow and I want a beer!

Race Day Morning

Just a quick post before we head out for our 12K race in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Jason and I will adopt our usual race strategy and try to use the first one or two miles to get the legs working and then see what happens from there. It's going to be VERY different for us to run such a small race because all the races we have run together have been in the 30,000+ range. Since we are still somewhat in recovery from the Mini Marathon we probably won't take this one too seriously and are just going to try and pace around an 8 minute mile. But good thing about new distances....whatever you do it's a PR!

I'll have a full race report later today.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Off The Beaten Path....

and onto city sidewalks and streets.

Yesterday, we abandoned our lake front path to test the new garmin along the streets. I forgot how much I love doing this....running until you hit a light and then turning so you don't have to stop. So how did Garmin do?

Good! You can see in the picture (if you click on it, the link will take you to and you can zoom in. It does get a little jaggedy in some places and I had a lot of problems in the last mile keeping the signal. However, I have now added the gps sattelite accuracy to the data fields on the main part of the watch so I can see what's up during the run. I might not have had a great signal in the first place because it took awhile to get and then as soon as it had it, I was moving. I guess the idea is to leave it sitting still for awhile while you stretch etc etc.

I also was seeing some really really funny behavior in the elevation part of the data when I uploaded it to MotionBased. I am guessing I didn't ascent 2000 feet, nor is it likely that I descented 2000 feet. It was counting all the little up and downs the signal was getting and adding it all up and making it look like I was running over some kind of mountainous country (chicago=flat).
I then found in MotionBased, if you are looking at an activity, in the upper right hand corner there is a button that says Activity Options. If you click there, there is something called MB Gravity Elevation. Apparently this compares your data with a governmental database of elevations and then compares your position at ABCD.....and so on and compares each point to what your elevation should be. I did this and I got a nice flat line which is what I would expect. It also has us at 600ft, which is about where Chicago is about sea level. Excellent.
So the run stats. Felt good, wanted to slightly slow down a bit yesterday since we are racing tomorrow ( tomorrow...not quite read). It was really fun to just run through the neighborhood and not be thinking about remembering where we went because I just came home, plugged in the watch and viola, the map is drawn. I am going to use the watch in the race tomorrow, maybe I'll try the virtual partner deal...hmm..

I have a question and I know that Bob had issues with this at first. Here it says that my distance was 5.04 miles (similar to what the watch says). but then MB recalculates it to be 5.21 miles....why doesn't it fix the laps also? Thanks!

Oh yeah, I also had this idea to drive the Chicago marathon course with the watch before the race and then put a little virtual partner on there running the course at an 8:25 could even program in where the water stops are so that it would tell you how far away from gatorade/water or whatever. I then noticed here that MB has already programmed this! Check it out here and have fun!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

First Garmin Impressions

In a word....


I had so much fun on my run today and I didn't even do anything with the watch. I asked for auto....wait....a quick word about what a garmin is (for Bridgette ;-) )

I am talking about a Garmin Forerunner 205 which is a watch type thing that is oh so much more. Ok before I go any farther, for a really really good review of the watch, all the features and tricks you can do, head on over to and read John's many part review here. But quickly...

It has a GPS receiver in it, so it tracks your on your run and gives you distance and pace updates. It also has capabilities to race against a virtual partner in which you give it a pace you want to run and then on the screen there is a little guy running which is the partner running at the pace you should be running at and you, hopefully not too far behind. You can also upload courses that you have already run and race yourself to compare how your workouts have been going.

I totally haven't used any of the advanced options, but just distance and pace and that's awesome enough!!! I was worried because along my run, I have to run under lots of roads because I'm in the city and the running path goes under roads and lake shore drive and so on. I was worried that it would lose a signal when I went under there and never regain it. I was right on one of these. It did lose the signal when under the concrete....BUT the second that I stepped out from under it, it went back to receiving which calmed all my nerves about the watch.

The only thing I set on it was to do AutoLap every mile and that was awesome. I didn't have to keep staring at it, waiting for it to hit whatever mile. I would just hear a small beep and then I could look down and see how the last mile went. I still need to figure out....well everything, but I absolutly loved it. Even though we don't have the best computer situation for this right now I was able to get the gpx and kml files from motion based and upload the runs to (gpx files) and the kml files to GoogleEarth. I am so amazed with this technology because at times I was running on a very narrow sidewalk and it had me right on it! It's so awesome. You can check out the run here at favoriterun.

The splits were good as well:
Ok, now it's time for dinner! But GoGo Garmin. I am highly impressed and excited to try all the features out.

Happy Birthday to Leah

Ok, so my birthday is on September 24th. What's the problem with this day? It's less than a month before the marathon and I really wanted to use a Garmin Forerunner 205 to help with my marathon training this summer. So I gave my dad a call and asked (for the first time in a long time) for a certain present. I then mentioned that if he wanted he could get it for me now and that counts in September. He agreed and 4 days later Garmin is here!!! Thanks Daddio!

It's currently charging and we will take it on a test run this evening.

We might not have the cool maps though because of some computer issues and MotionBased being a little bitch and today (of course today) requiring the only way Mac users be able to use their new Mac beta agent is with a paying subscription. I guess it'll just be for a couple days, but still rather frustrating that they limit the Mac users and not all non-paying customers. Jason's computer still might work, but for some reason his hard drive is labeled as E:\ and the garmin disk wants the hard drive to be C:\ and so won't do anything (I LOVE PC's).

Either way, I'll get distance and pace and mile splits from the watch which will still be really cool! Stay tuned.

5 Miles

Yesterday just as we were getting ready to head out for our 5 mile run, I noticed something bad in my analysis. I don't know if it's exactly bad, but it's something I don't understand and so of course I was freaking out about it. "Oh I'm not good enough for this, smart enough...." and so on. So a Leah with a frown which just wouldn't turn upside down headed out for a 5 mile run. The run was nice and quick and smooth, although forget about passing the "talking test", Jason and I were barely passing the breathing test. But who cares, if feels so good to go out and pound concrete and try and work out those little annoyances of the day. I don't know what I would do at the end of those days if I didn't have running. It's my therapy.

After the run we tried to make fajitas with the left over steak we made the night before and I don't think they were very good. Way WAY too salty. Jason said they were fine, but I am very sensitive to salt, in that I hate it and I had to down a bottle of gatorade to feel normal again.

Today I wait (patiently) for my Garmin 205. It has arrived in Chicago according to the UPS and is on schedule for delivery today. I hope it's in an earlier wave of deliveries though because I want to be able to charge it and take it out for our planned 7 miler. Stay Tuned!!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Back to the Y

Jason and I have a membership at our local YMCA. We were considering canceling it since we never went. Our schedule is so insane that trying to add weight lifting into the mix is a little insane, but go figure Leah found a way to make it happen. We are going to try to go to the gym just twice a week. Twice a week and not crazy on the lifting weights. Just enough to help our upper body stay strong and help us along on those long runs.

Yesterday was the first day back. We hardly did anything, but enough to feel a little sore today. We started with this machine that is an assited dip and pullup dealy. I love it cause I need lots of help on those two exercise. Then we just did bicep, tricep and shoulder work. Then we did the leg press, lower back and ab work.

I'm feeling ok today, but I might have overdone it on the leg press. We are going to try and go again on Friday and see how that schedule works out.

We had a great evening at Stately Wayne Manor (our apartment is on Wayne St.) with our first cookout of the season. We have a tiny porch just off of our kitchen, but it's a really great place to sit and enjoy the evening. We listened to the Cubs game (don't get me started) and drank some beers, and really enjoyed not being in the car. We will only go into work this week on Thursday because our boss will be here then and the other days we'll be working from home. This weekend it's off to Fort Wayne for the Three Rivers 12K race which Bridgette and family is going to come watch (I am so excited!!! These are the races when it's great to have spectators, as I didn't think anyone was going to be there! Plus I get to see Bridgette and Chad and the kids which I haven't seen in a long time!) On Sunday we'll head to Indianapolis for a barbeque at Bridgette's house and then we are back on shifts Monday, this time 4-12.

Also, I got e-mail that my new......should I give it away.....alright.....GARMIN FORERUNNER 205 was shipped yesterday and should be here tomorrow (maybe it'll be early and come today). More on that when it gets here.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Late Night Nine

Wow. That's what I have to say about Excedrin PM. I haven't slept like that in I don't know how long. For those of you following our activites you know that I haven't been able to sleep very well. What started out as just waking up very often turned to not being able to go back to bed and so only sleeping for 3-4 hours.

Jason is so nice as he said I just looked "really tired" this morning as we headed back from Fermi Lab from my last late night shift. In actuality, I looked like the walking dead. My skin was really pale and my eyes were really dark. It just wasn't a good look. I wanted to make sure I got some straight through sleep because we had a nine mile run planned for some point. So I took two of these lovely blue pills and I was out! For a long time. We slept from about 9:30am till about 7:30pm. The best part of all was that it was mostly straight through. I woke up around 5, but then was immediatly able to go back to sleep.

After watching the Desperate Housewives season finale we went out for our 9 mile run. I was worried about it since I felt so bad on our three mile run yesterday, but go figure....getting some sleep is a good thing. We had a GREAT run. It was smooth and fast and the city, of course, is so beautiful at night. There were some places along the lake front path, namely just south of fullerton which was REALLY dark and I got a bit scared....but hey, nothing like building speed work into your long run. We went south to the 7 mile marker which is inbetween Oak St. Beach and the beach near navy pier which I can't think of the name of right now, then turned around a came back. We stopped for water twice during the run and really just cruised the whole way.

Getting through this run put us at 30 miles total for the week. This is huge for us because when we started training for the marathon last year we weren't near these kinds of weekly distances. I am very excited to get into the serious marathon training. Bring it ON! We will actually start the Pfitz plan in one week. I want to give myself 3 weeks of buffer because of vacation and the "shit happens" weeks. Alright here are the plots for the week. (These could look a little different in a week or so, due to a little electronic device I ordered this weekend....stay tuned!)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

It Was Really Bad Until....

I didn't sleep much yesterday due to the fact that humans shouldn't be sleeping when it is light outside. I having a really hard time with this schedule. So I woke up around 2pm and layed on the couch because Jason has actually been sleep straight through and I didn't want to bother him with my constant tossing and turning. I layed on the couch and watched the Cubs suck it up again. My God are they are boring team. But nice job Michael Barret for landing the punch, whether or not he should have thrown it is another story.

We went for a 3 mile run and it was TERRIBLE. My legs were just tired. They didn't hurt or anything, they were just exhausted...probably because I haven't been sleeping. But we still got through it, we just had to stop for some water part way through the run.

Tonight I am going to try and take some Excedrin (my favorite headache medicine) PM and hopefully that'll help me get some constant shut eye. Then we'll have a 9 mile run in the later eveningish.

So I was less than thrilled to come into the lab for my final owl shift even though it was the last one. But then......we realized that I have this thing I put on my laptop a couple years ago called RockNES. That's right, we can play the origianl Nintendo video games....Mario we come!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I Know You're Jealous

You're out there with your Friday night, and your friends and bars and beers and martinis or home with your families snuggling down to watch a movie or something. Where you are not, however, is a physics lab . I know I know everyone wishes they could be as cool as us physicists, but alas it cannot happen. (Did I not mention last time that the shifts are 7 days a week the week you are on the schedule...yes it's REALLY fun).

Yesterday when Jason and I went for our 3 mile run, in an attempt to STFD (Slow The Fuck Down..gotta remember to have recovery runs too) I brought my camera with me to try and get some pictures of the Fermi Lab Campus. For those of you unfamilar with Fermi Lab, it's currently the biggest phyiscs laboratory in the world. In the next couple years, the bigger lab in Europe will open and we still don't know what will happen out here. There is talk of another collider buing built, but a location has not yet been chosen.

We started our run from D-Zero which is across the road from a farm which is home to tons of horses. The strange thing about the Fermi Lab is that it still sits amongst farm land. Like there are fields of corn, and animals and silos and stuff (I am a city kid so when I think of farms these are the things I think of :-) )

We got to the entrance to the ring which has a road which runs all the way around it. If you follow the road all the way around it's just a bit under 4 miles (to try and get a sense of scale). So Me Jason and the Stop sign make three. I had to carefully balance the camera on top of a post which was hollow, so the picture had to be quick as I was convinced that it would fall right down to the bottom. Luckily all was fine.

The water that goes all the way around the ring, although is looks very nice, serves an actual purpose in that it cools down all the electronics that are below ground. We continued around the ring until we got to the other main experiement (although there are tons of them) CDF (which stands for Collider Detector at Fermi Lab...where as D-Zero just stands for the location on the ring at which the protons and anti-protons collide...The CDF location is B-Zero...I know this is all fasinating).

Before we exited the ring to head back to D-Zero I snapped this picture of the Main building, commonly known as the High Rise. I think this is a really amazing buidling and wished my office was here instead (well everyone does). On the inside of this building all the way up 15 floors there are offices that face into the atrium. So actually, if I had an office here I would spend lots of time staring out at other people and their office habits.

After exiting the ring at the CDF location, I grabbed some pictures of the frosty pipes (since we use liquid nitrogen to cool stuff, it leaks and gets things all frosty). We then jogged over to snap some really awesome pictures of one of the sculptures that is onsite. There are a few of them and as we continue to run here this summer I'll try and take some of the other ones as well.

From here we slowly made our way back to DZero. I really liked have the camera with me for this run, but I think if I did it more often I would be very distracted with snapping photos and would be all, no let me take another angle. So, possibly every once in awhile, I have to make sure I get one when we are on the lake front path as that area is truely spectacular.

(That was quite the descriptive post for a little slow 3 mile run!)

Friday, May 19, 2006

It's 3am and I Want To.....

well you might know the rest of that song by O.A.R., but if you don't it goes

....go to bed.

The question was raised, "What the hell are you doing working from midnight - 8am" It was also mentioned by many that they were happy to see this silly owl shift crap almost over. I need to address both of those.

So first of all, Jason and I are graduate students with Indiana University and working towards our PhD's in Physics. We finished our course work at IU (that was tons of fun) and now we are living in Chicago and working at Fermi Lab on the research portion of our degrees. Part of "getting your degree" assuming that happens for little Leah here is that you have to do a round of what is called Data Aquisition shifts, known as DAQ shifts. Supposedly all graduate students have to do these to graduate (I don't know how true that actually is...but that's neither here nor there, it's a must for IU grad students). So what does one do on a DAQ shift. If there is a data flowing you monitor the, you guessed it, the Data AQuistion system and make sure that the data goes from the proton collision point through our computers and out the other end. The schedule for a DAQ shifter is one week on then two weeks off. You do this for 6 shifts. Since the detector has to be monitored for 24 hours a day, you have three different time slots, 8am-4pm, 4pm-midnight, midnight-8m. Then the shifts go
week 1 : 8am-4pm
week 4 : 4pm-midnight
week 7 : midnight-8am
week 10: 8am-4pm
week 13 : 4pm-midnight
week 16 : midnight-8am
Add into the mix of never quite having a set schedule is that Jason and I are BOTH doing these shifts but not during the same week or the same time slot in back to back weeks. So our schedule gets really screwed up since we like to run toghether, we try to keep our wok schedule together. So our schedule looks something like this :
week 1 : 8am-4pm
week 2 : midnight-8am
week 3 : no shifts
week 4 :4pm-midnight
week 5 :8am -4pm
week 6 : no shifts
and so on until we are done (I am done on July 23nd and Jason is done August 27th) Right now we are in 'week 2' (even though this is the 3rd DAQ shift for me, but Jason just started last week).

To make matters more fun, currently we are in a shut down. That means NO DATA. So I am monitoring NOTHING. When there is a shut down the DAQ shifter still has to be here because by D-Zero (that's the name of our experiment) law there always has to be two people on site....the DAQ shifter is one of those people.

So I should be able to get a lot of work done on these shifts, but my analysis is being very stagnent and ooooh it is frustrating me. I have to be good at fucking something and lots of times, I realize it's not going to be high energy physics. Which is fine and good, I just have to figure out what I am going to do after I'm done......

So with my analysis I have some code that fits a lifetime and it's slow, and apparently sucks because it's not doing a good job of fitting. So I'll change a paramenter and then run it again, and wait 30 minutes and when it's still crap I'll try changing something else and running it. So what to do during the time it's running? I have read just about everything there is to read on the internet (honestly if I click on one more link I fear that it will say, "Sorry you have reached the end...there is nothing left to surf"), I read my book and tonight I was able to make that cool little runners icon in the address bar for this site.

Looks like my code has finished runnning, and yep, it still looks like crap. Maybe it's time to shoot an e-mail off to someone that knows what they are doing and see if they can help me. If I have learned anything as a graduate student, it's how to ask for help.


Editors note : The ONLY good thing about these shifts is at 5am it's really beautiful outside. Of course this is just a fleeting glimpse for me as I run from 3 stories below ground upstairs for a bathroom break.......but still....nice to look at....

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Another day closer waking up with the sun.

Today was more of the same, stupid 12-8 am schedule, followed up by a 5 mile run at Fermilab. This time we were both feeling pretty good up until about 6 am (the breakdown time gets a bit later each day) when we both started to crash. For me this mostly meant just closing my eyes for a bit, but Leah mentioned that she was feeling sort of bad. This is likely a product of being three stories below ground for eight hours.

But, when 8 o'clock rolled around, we were out the door and into the fresh air. Once the non-recycled air hit our lung, the natural high took hold and the run went really well. The loop was really similar to yesterdays with just a few less twists and turns to reduce it by a mile. It is getting pretty exciting to rip off three medium distances in a row with little trouble. I'm not sure if we've ever done 15 miles in three days without one of those runs being a long run.

We were talking as we ran about how annoying this shift was and how we felt like crap once the sun crested the horizon. We figured it was all just so weird: we have a big ol' bowl of spaghetti when we wake up (for "breakfast") and a bowl of cereal before bed and...

That is when it struck us that something was missing. We weren't eating lunch! Sure, we had lots of snacks at work (as it turns out, Jello Pudding snacks are really, really delicious and low in fat) but there was a definite sandwich void. That is, like, hundreds of calories that we are missing out on. Dammit, I run for a reason! Give me my calories!

Well, we are not the types to miss meals regardless of the circumstances, so we are going to take a bagel or something like that for a 5 am snack. I'm predicting there will be an energy spike towards the end of the shift tomorrow that will help us through those tough end-hours.

Tomorrow is our last run at Fermi, an easy 3 miles, and then we are going to run in Chicago again over the weekend as there will be no reason to stay at work to avoid traffic. As okay as these Fermilab runs have been, I pine for the lakefront. And, of course, for the end of this idiotic schedule.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It Just Never Feels Right

Last night I was very excited because I slept for 8 hours and I was ready to go and have a productive evening at the lab. Well what do you know, just into this ridiculous schedule for two days and my body is not quite adjusted. My code that I am working on runs so slooooooow. I have no patience. None. I don't know how people do this, make a small change in the code and then wait the rest of the night to see if it runs and since I am logged in remotely to my machine I get kicked off before the thing is done running. Needless to say not a lot of progress was made last night which is dissapointing since I am stuck sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours.

Jason came down to keep me company around 4am and we played a round of Rummy 500 (which I always win at!). I was down to 495 to 425 (which as we all should know by now makes Leah an unhappy girl) so Jason just had to not get negative points on the next hand for me to stay in the game. I had a great hand and in a couple of passes was able to go out with 75 points and Jason with -50 final score Leah=500 and jason =445 (oh DAMNIT I won again!!! Jesus I am competative!)

So when the shift was over I was a bit concerned about the run we had planned. My tummy was revolting against my brillant decision for one last handful of Hot Tamales and my legs seemed tired as the stairs back out of the dungeon to my office seemed to continue on forever. We had 6 miles planned and I had made a great loop using FavoriteRun (I want to start using my Timex GPS system again but the watch part needs a battery).

Within the first mile I wanted to throw in the towel. I am getting some sore arches and I don't know what the deal is. So we stopped and stretched for a few minutes and then went back on it. I think we were at about mile 2 and I told Jason the only reason I wanted to keep going was so I could post the loop we were running on the site because I thought it was a good one. We kept going and at about mile 3 the pains and little annoyances worked themselves out and I felt great. It's so warm and sunny and amazing out that it really makes up for the hours in the basement. So we finished our 6 miles with a little bit of speed and were happy with the run.

So we should be back on it tomorrow with a scheduled 5 miles (I want to get to 30 miles this week. So we are going to try 4,6,5,3,3,9 for the week). We did not sleep great this afternoon though. Didn't fall asleep till 12:30 or so, and then there was a phone call that woke us up at 2 pm and then some rain storms that kept us awake for awhile around 5pm. Hopefully work stuff goes better tonight and hopefully tomorrow we can sleep a bit more normally tomorrow afternoon.

My College Roommate

I met Bridgette my first day at Indiana University my freshman year. We lived down the hall from each other but became fast friends even though we were from wildly different backgrounds. Due to us each having loser roommates who would be in bed by 10pm, we would go searching the halls for late night reruns of Star Trek-The Next Generation. That's right Bridgette, I just called you out on your Trekkiness.

When I mistakenly said, "You know that song, that one I like, you know by Two Pack" (Should have been Tupac...I know I know....I'm a loser) She did laugh, oh she laughed....but didn't continue to make fun of me....well for long anyways.

We shared rooms, and roommates and late night shakes at Steak and Shake. She has always amazed me as a person more than she'll probably ever know and now she's taken it up a level. Apparently she made a 30 by 30 list, 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30. Turns out a triathelon is high on the list so she has started training for her first one. And due to my incessant pestering she started a blog. As she is a beginner I am sure she would love any advice you can give her. So go by and say hi at :

(The picture was taken towards the end of my wedding....although that was a common pose for us in our undergrad hayday!)

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore: Take 2

Seeing how Leah has already written a review for this great, great book, I thought that it might be nice to take a trip through some of Christopher Moore's many fine books, of which there are many. But first, an Ode to Christopher Moore:

Mr. Moore, you are so very funny. Your grasp of the absurd has brought us everything from squirrels in Elizabethan garb to the 30 lost years of Jesus's life. You have a way with words that makes me blush, knowing that I could never turn a phrase with such ease and, best of all, your books don't take very long to read and so I feel like a smart little reader-bee. I bow to you, C. Moore, and request that you kindly write another book. And, um, hurry up already. Make with the funny.

Now that I've revealed my non-sexual man-crush, how about them books? Personally, I've read a half dozen of his books. They are, in chronological order (of my reading, not his publishing):

Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Fluke: Or, I know why the Winged Whale Sings
Practical Demonkeeping
The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror
Island of the sequined Love Nun
A Dirty Job: A Novel

It all started with Lamb. This is the story of those thirty odd years that are not included in the Bible, the years between swaddling clothes and the sermon on the mount. And they are told by Jesus's childhood pal, Biff, who stood by Jesus during those times while the Son of God was finding himself. Of course, it's never easy being the best friend of Christ. While this sounds all blasphemous and stuff, it really isn't. So if you are a diehard Christian and all that, you shouldn't worry about reading this book and feeling all unclean. Jesus comes off in a good light throughout.

A confession: Much to the consternation of my wife, I don't LOL all that often. I'm just not much of an LOLer, especially while reading books. But let me tell you, my friends, this book caused much LOLing and a bit of ROTFLMAO.

Fluke is a great book which, as an added bonus, involves whales (who, incidentally, as smarter than all of us, even dolphins. You just wait, the next democratic president's going to be a humpback whale). The basic story is that Nathan Quinn, a whale biologist, is doing his usual biology things when he notices the words "Bite Me" on the fluke of a whale. After that, things get weird. Granted, I positively ooze liberal guilt, so I'm all over the decline of the whale population (which is sort of the point of this book), but the real point of this book is the funny. Which this is. Funny.

While Fluke may have been about an important topic, whales, it pales in comparison to the message you will find in Practical Demonkeeping. The message being: never have a demon as a traveling companion; it just makes for bad times. How that never make an NBC The More you Know is beyond me. I've always said that they should have nipped that traveling demon problem in the bud back in the 80's, but nobody listens to me. You can tell that this book is his first as there are some subtle differences in writing style between this book and his more recent books, but it is still very excellent. And people get eaten, which always makes me smile.

Which is why I loved loved loved The Stupidest Angel. As much as I loved Lamb, this is probably my favorite novel. I would go into details, but I'd hate to give away the punchline of this novel. Suffice to say, Raziel, the stupidest angel, unwittingly causes a ruckus that results in much trouble in the little hamlet of Pine Cove. Hilarity ensues.

The Stupidest Angel features Tucker Case and his sunglass-wearing fruitbat, but this was really just a reprisal from Island of the Sequined Love Nun where Tucker Case has a staring role. Rather down on his luck Tucker Case, a pilot, takes a job with a doctor and wife team flying mysterious packages to and from a remote island. He is instructed to never leave the doctor's compound on the island but, of course, he does and there is much craziness as he meets the islanders. And, as you might have guessed, much hilarity.

It is incredibly hard to do any kind of justice to these books in just a paragraph, especially since I'm trying really hard not to give anything away. The important thing to know is that he writes truly excellent characters who end up in remarkably absurd situations, all written superbly. He often has recurring characters and many of his stories involve Pine Cove, so one is able to get to know places and people (and, occasionally, things just to round out the different categories of noun) and then root for those people right up until the time something bad happens to them and you have to find a new character to root for.

Seriously, grab one of his books, you'll be happy you did.

Alright, kids, that's all from me on the book front. I'm heading out for a 6 mile run around Fermilab in about 10 minutes. After that, Leah and I head home for some sleep.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Have a Question

I am sitting here watching the Cubs game (they are finally winning a game!) and during the commercial breaks I have literally only seen commercials for big ass SUVs. Why? Why in a country where gas is 3+ dollars a gallon are people even still buying these!?!? My favorite is the commercial for the Mountaineer.....really....a mountioneer? Because
a) anyone actually driving the said Mountioneer is living in any kind of mountainous country? Of course not as these are luxury vehicles and people are driving them around places like LaGrange.
b) anyone that actually lives in Moutainous country is actually driving one of these? Of course not as they are probably driving pickup trucks or jeeps...not a fucking luxury vehicle.
Sorry for the rant, I just don't understand how a country facing an energy crisis.....

***note :J ason is screaming from the living room at another SUV commercial that just advertised seating for 5. Because a civic or any other kind of sedan doesn't have seating for 5???**

...can be so ok even manufacturing cars like this anymore. oooh I HATE SUVS. ok i'm done now :-)

That's The Last Time

Yesterday, because we are brilliant, we had another 26 hours awake period. Because I didn't sleep all weekend, I slept from 10:30pm Sunday night till about 9:30 Monday morning. However, I had another owl shift at Fermilab from 12am-8am Tuesday morning. So, by the time the shift was over we had been up for about 22 hours (this not taking into account the great sleep I got while dozing in the control room...that's comfy :-( ). But hey, I know, let's go run.

That had been our original plan and I didn't want to stray from it. So we were able to run a little over 4 miles and I have to say felt pretty good. It was a beautiful morning out and after being stuck in a basement for 8 hours it felt great to be out in the sunshine.

The idea also is now our clocks should be switched over. We went to bed at 11am and got up at 7pm. So we'll try the same thing tomorrow morning, with a scheduled 6 mile run tomorrow.

I think our conditioning is higher than it ever has been since I don't think I could have just gone out there to run 4 miles after being up for 22 hours. I am just worried that this is going to turn around and bite us in the ass in the upcoming days. All I can do at this point is sleep more, and try and stay on some kind of schedule.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Missed it by that much

In an underdog matchup not seen since the day Rocky Balboa took on Apollo Creed, team D0h! met Playing Havoc in the Fermi Volleyball Fall League Playoffs (or FVFLP for short ).

It was a night history would be made.


Playing Havoc, a stalwart of the Fermi Volleyball League, was heavily favored. Although rather old (all memebers are over 40), they had the advantage of having played together for years. Our team, on the other hand, was two year young and, although full of exuberance, knew very little of this game we call "volleyball." The narrator of this story, for example, only began playing volleyball last year. The same can be said of his wife. Could unsurpassed athletic ability make up for a lack of experience?

Ha, athletic ability, that's funny. But seriously, could two runners turned bump-set-spikers hang with the big dogs?

Our team had one player more than the requisite six, so I assumed a leadership role and offered to sit out first (this had nothing to do with the fact that both of the female players had to stay on the court and I'm the worse male. You might think that's the reason, but it's actually just that I've very noble. And handsome). From the sidelines I had a terrific view of the action, and let me tell you, my friends, it was some very actiony action.

From the moment the first serve was floated through into the air, I could tell this night would be special. There was a fire on our players' eyes that I'd yet to see at any point during the season. The intensity that had remained dormant up to this point came roaring out of each players' heart (and out onto the court where a little intensity-puddle formed). It was a sight to behold.

Of special interest was the play of a certain runner we all know. Ms. Leah, although out of her comfort zone (that being the zone where she runs in a straight line for a long time without stopping), was getting to balls that would have gone untouched during the season. She was bounding about the court like a little rabbit, although perhaps more effect than a rabbit would be (seeing as how a rabbit is about the same size as the volleyball and would be unlikely to get the ball back over the net. Unless, perhaps, the rabbit lay on its back and used its oversized feet to kick the ball back over the net. But I digress). On this night, there was much bumping, setting, and spiking...and it was good.

The score steadily increased but the lead was fairly static, although it passed from team to team. Rarely did either team lead by more than a point and never by more than two. The serve went back and forth, the rallies were long, and the competition intense and, all of a sudden, the score was 10-9 (we play to 11, but one must win by two).

We were one point from taking the game against the second best team in the league? Could this be right?

Playing Havoc was clearly scared, but they weren't planning on going away anytime soon. Unfortunately for them, either were we. They broke our serve and then took a point on their next serve. The game was tied 10-10. The next point was ours, but then they got the serve back and tied it right back up at eleven all. Their next serve resulted in another point and they were up 12-11 and things were looking grim for our heroes.

Sure, they could have given up at that point. No one expected them to win, after all. But no, they won the next point to get the serve back. Unfortunately, they were unable to score, but they again got the serve back again! D0h! was not going to go down easy. One more try to score, but to no avail and on the next point the ball just feel inside the line on our side and the game ended. We had lost 13-11. The game was even closer than the score indicated. Seriously. One break our way and the game would have been ours. Still, it was easily the greatest game of volleyball out team had played.

In the next game, I rotated in. I don't mind telling you, I felt plenty of pressure not to screw up after the game my team had just played. Luckily, I was also on my game. I nailed all my passes and finally had some decent hits. I did, however, bring much shame to the Rieger-Welty household by missing two serves but, given the daily helping of shame I bring on a daily basis, we are talking a drop in the bucket. We dropped the second game 11-6, but it was closer than the score indicated (for real this time). Either one of those game could have gone our way.

Win or lose (in this case lose, obviously) this was the best volleyball we had ever played. We are what Gonzaga used to be. Come tourney time, we shine. Except that Gonzaga used to win and we didn't. But whatever, you get the point. This isn't freakin' rocket science, this is Fermilab volleyball.

So, we lost, but we lost with dignity. It was a noble fight and any Klingon would take pride in such a loss (assuming it ended in death, of course). This likely brings our Fermilab volleyball career to a close as we will probably be graduated by the time the season next rolls around. If this is the case, then I'm glad we went out on a high note. If one were to watch a video of our first game and compare it to these two games, I think the improvement would be impressive.

Not bad for two runners out of their element.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

When It's Something You Get to Do

Today Jason and I got home after being at Fermilab from 8am Saturday morning till 4:30 Sunday evening. We were both able to catch some zzzz's at our friend Mikko and Tuula's house so thanks to them for letting us use their guestroom. Jason slept from 12-6am this morning and I slept from about 7:30am - 12:30pm. The only problem was that I woke up about every hour, but I was able to always go back to sleep which is good.

So after being stuck indoors and not eating well and sleeping all screwy I was really worried about being able to even get out there for a run this evening. But, we got home and it was so beautiful out, so I thought what the heck. So we went out really slow and even before we got to the end of the block I knew it was going to be a great run.

About a mile into our run we ran into our friend Mark who was driving by which I think is always funny to see someone you know from work driving right by your running route...gotta love that small town livin'. We ended up feeling great where we originally had thought we would turn around so we went another 1/2 mile making for a total run of 6 miles.

We talked a lot about the marathon and how hard it'll be to train this summer with these shifts. However, I told Jason that if we could run so well today this would be the worst of it. There will never be a time again that we'll have to be there for such a long period of time and then try and run. So I'm getting more confident that the training will go well this summer. Just gotta hold strong!

Fort Wayne 12K

Jason and I will be running a 12K in Fort Wayne, IN in a couple weeks. It will be my first non 10,000ish runner race, well ever. I guess I ran some small 5K races when I was in high school but definitely not recently. We are always running "THE BIGGEST 8K IN THE COUNTRY" or "THE BIGGEST 1/2 MARATHON...." and I don't know if Chicago is the biggest marathon...but it's probably damn close.

Anyways, there should be 200-300 runners in this race and so it'll be a good experience, running without all the crowds and people around you. There were times in the marathon that the crowds thinned out and so it's something I have to get used to. Also I need practice staying on pace for a race and not jumping all around the place. No real goal for that race as I'm still coming off the recovery from the 1/2 marathon and my work schedule is a little wacky this upcoming week.

Anyways, that race is coming up on Memorial Day weekend which people is only 2 weeks away. This was brilliant timing because although 12K is not that far, it's not short either. So it'll force us to stay on our training game....

Does this post sound sleepy to you? Maybe because it's 1:15 in the morning and I'm at the physics lab watching computers. This is going to be a long long looooong night as I have to make it to about 8am and I got up at 6am this morning. Jason is on shift then from 8-4 and is getting some shut eye now. He's a really good husband though and might be a REALLY good husband and come relieve me a little early. I hate staying up for a 24 hour period, it really screws me up. grumble grumble.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

32 Hours to Go

Here I am at Fermilab ready to start my 24 hour awakeness. Jason is on shift until 4pm then we have a volleyball team gathering at 5pm, then I have a shift from midnight-8am, then from 8am-4pm tomorrow Jason is on shift. So we'll be able to head home in roughly 32 hours. The good thing is that our friends Mikko and Tuula live on the Fermilab site and so we are going to partake in use of their guestroom. Jason will sleep during my 12-8 shift and I'll try and sleep during his 8-4 shift tomorrow. Back in my hayday I would have probably been able to stay awake for the full 32 hours, but homeslice can't do that craziness anymore. Although I might be loopy enough at 8am to go for it.

Running? Oh yeah gotta fit that in too!

So my toe was feeling much better in the afternoon yesterday (I think the problem yesterday morning was that I had tried to put about a tube of neosporin on it and then wrapped it up in 3 bandaids....but really tight. I think I blocked all blood flow going to the poor piggy and so that is why it's throbbing pain woke me up at 4:30 in the morning yesterday) So I went to the drugstore and found these Blister bandaids which you can keep on for many days, would keep dirt out of there and would stop the pain, so I thought I would try that. They worked really well and so my toe was hurting much less by 6pm. We went for a 3.2 mile run around the neighborhood. I do love the week after a race because I dont' care if I get stopped by stoplights or traffic or pedestrians or whatever and so we can do our runs through the city instead of our usual out and back on the lakefront path.

Our plan if we can get some sleep tonight and tomorrow afternoon will be to try a run when we get back home from work around 5pm.

One more desktop at home..the new fancy iMac with the intel chip, dual processor hotness is WAY WAY faster than my 4 processor computer here at work. I am trying to run some fitting code that's a bit complicated and takes about 3 or 4 hours at home and the same code here at work has been running for about 2 days now....So kudos to the Intel iMacs, I have been very impressed so far with their preformance. And I say HA to everyone that said that I shouldn't have purchased one so early in the release (we got it the week the iMacs were released to the Apple stores!)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Best Race Photos EVER

The race photos from the official photographers at the Indy Race are up and got some GREAT shots of Jason and I running. Here we go :

Here's the runners pre-race

Here's Jason looking very runnerish!

Here's Jason and Leah on the Speedway (you can see that big pole in the background that during the Indy 500 has the positions of the cars on it)

Here's Leah crossing over the bricks at the speedway (and looking very runnerish although I think I'm waving to the camera above me)

Here's Jason and Leah finish which I had to include because I'm an ass....who's in front...that's right. I am.

Hope you enjoyed!

Bad Schedules and A Bad Toe

Well I am too nice. I have a really hard time saying no to people and now I have gotten myself in quite the jam.

Next week starting on Monday at midnight I am on shifts at Fermi Lab from 12am-8am (called the owl shift). The shifter who is on owl shift this weekend has a friend coming into town and was looking to swap the Sunday morning (12-8) with my Monday morning shift. This would actually help me for volleyball on Monday evening.....but....Jason is on shift from 8-4 both Saturday and Sunday, we only have one car, we live about 1 hour away from work, and have a party with our volleyball teammates on Saturday night. So do you follow? My schedule will be up at 6:30 Saturday morning, and then to bed at 8am Sunday morning. Needless to stay I decided to work at home today to try and get some naps in.

In toe news. It's not looking good. My toe is swollen red and hurts to the touch. That can't be good.

Because of the sore toe and the fact that it took us 2.5 hours to get home last night and because it was 45 degrees with crazy wind and rain we decided to take Thursday night off. We are still in recovery after the race right?

The only light on all this crap is that really this is the only week that I have before I want to get into more serious training for the marathon. I want to take the next two weeks to get my milage back up, then I want to start the program a few weeks earlier than I have to. So if I was to get injured or help out a friend or choose not to run in crappy crappy weather then this is the weekend to do it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sore Toesie

So people that know stuff...

After the 1/2 marathon I had a nasty blister on my left foot, 3rd toe between toes 2&3. So like anyone would do I picked at it until it popped (i know i know probably shouldn't have done that...but really I can't help's there, it's filled with wants to be popped).

Anyways, I put a bandaid on it to keep it from getting infected or anything but now it's being really weird. My toe is red and it's really sore where the blister was but there is nothing to pop, it's like a harded layer over where the blister had been.

Any idea what is going on , why is it getting so sore 5 days after the race?

Aside from that, as Jason mentioned yesterday our 5 mile run went really well. Today though (if said toe allows me) we will go slow...I really have to get better at going slow on recovery days. The plan is to go 4 easy today, 3 easy tomorrow and 8 on Saturday. Then I'll take Sunday and Monday off because I'll be on the midnight-8am shift next week and need to get myself onto that schedule as quickly as possible. Jason and I decided that we will run here at the Lab after the shift on these days because the traffic is so horrific at 8am anyways, that there is no point in leaving until a bit later. Then we should get home around 10:30 sleep until whenever and then back out to the lab. We'll see how well that goes next week!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Not about the Indy Mini, Part I

Well, I'm not sure if there will be an official part two, but let's just let this be the post to kick off all the posts that talk about something other than the Indy 1/2.

So, yesterday we did around 4 miles at a nice, easy pace. It was what would be considered a recovery run for the race. Today we stretched it out a bit and did 5 miles at a much higher tempo. We started out kind of slow but quickly picked up the pace and finished at a nice clip. Sort of a tempo run for people who don't want to do a tempo run, per se.

It was still pretty relaxed, though. We did our usual out and back 5 miler and, during the "and" part (you know, the part that is neither out nor back), we stopped and stretched a bit.

Naturally all we could talk about during the run was the marathon. Training for the marathon, specifically. I think talking about running fast makes us run faster, so tomorrow and Friday we will have to talk about running slow or something. Those days need to be nice, easy recovery runs so that we can be in good shape to start ramping the miles back up.

In other news, this Monday is the volleyball playoffs at Fermilab. I'm sure everyone will be there to root us on? No? If not, that's okay. We have first round elimination written all over us. Last year I had a nasty cold for the playoffs but pulled a Michael Jordan and had the game of my life. Sadly, we fell just short of victory, but I think we scared the other team who expected to win handily. I'm still working on catching a cold by Monday.

Go D0h!

(that's our team, really.)

Indy Mini : Part 5, Well Now What?

This will thus end my analysis of how Jason and I did over the weekend at the Indianapolis 1/2 marathon. If you are interested in reading the whole extravaganza here are links to the previous parts:

To say the least, we went fast. We went faster than I ever thought I could run 13.1 miles. All we added to this workout regimen from when we trained a couple of years ago were some tempo runs (and I don't know if I ever did those correctly) and we would do pace runs before our longer runs. For the entire race I felt very comfortable at the pace we had picked and am wondering if we had any idea of what we had been doing, or even trained at a higher pace, how fast we could have gone. This brings me to....

The 2006 Chicago Marathon


Last year our training regimen was :

1) Go out and run
2) Eat a cheeseburger
3) Go out and run farther
4) Drink frozen margaritas as a recovery drink

Last year we trained at about 10 minute miles....and we finished the marathon in 4:20.....almost exactly 10 minute miles. (go figure)

So my question is, how fast can we run this year? We are going to be following the Pfitzinger/Douglas plan outlined in the book Advanced Marathoning (which, by the way, we bought the day after the 2005 marathon). We will do the 18 week/55 miles max plan (although we are going to start about 4 weeks early because we are going on some trips this summer and need some buffer room). A lot of the runs in that book are configured like: run this run at a pace 10% slower than your race pace (or 20% or your marathon pace or whatever). So what is my race pace?

If you do the double your 1/2 marathon time and add 15 minutes to get a good idea of where you will finish the marathon you get : 3 Hours and 49 Minutes (or 8:44 min/mile pace). First of all I have some time before the marathon, it's not like next month. Second, what if I trained at a higher intensity than I did for this 1/2? Could I just double the time thus ending in : 3 Hours and 34 Minutes? I ask because for me to Boston Qualify I would have to run the marathon in 3:40.59. which is an 8:25 pace, which almost sounds doable (shhhhhh that's really scary).

Because of my love of buffers I would not want to run the marathon at 8:25 and come in at 3:40.59......if I could train consistantly at 8:10 min/miles, and could then run the marathon averaging 8:10 min/miles finishing in about 3:34, giving me 6 minutes to play with. (Of course if I run 8 min/mile I have 10 minutes to play with but I might need those 10 minutes because I would be crawling at the end :-) )

Jason and I will start paying more attention to our pace this summer and see where we feel comfortable, if the 8:10 mile is too fast and we aren't keeping up with the training, we will re-evaluate our goals. Either way, my primary goal this year is to be under 4 hours.

So here's to a summer of running, sleeping, working....and drinking frozen margaritas on my porch whenever I get the chance (you can't give everything up).

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Indy Mini : Part 4, Quick Wrap Up

If you have not read my full report on the race go here.

I just wanted to post where we finished in the field. So here we go :

Leah's Stats :
Total : 3761/27642 = 13.6%
Women : 636/14337 = 4.4%
Division (F25-29) : 151/2474 = 6.1%
Chip Time : 1:47:21
Pace : 8:12

Jason's Stats :
Total : 3753/27642 = 13.6%
Men : 3120/13305 = 23.4%
Division (M25-29) : 468/1609 = 29.1%
Chip Time : 1:47:19
Pace : 8:12

I am not trying to be lame (really not) but I don't understand why Jason's time is 2 seconds faster than mine because I was a couple strides ahead of him at the finish....humpf.

Anyways, I am really happy with my position among the masses and again, it's so funny how far off Jason is from the top percents in his groupings. I think he mentioned that he would eventually like to be in the top 10% of the men which I think it totally doable and a good future goal.

One last segment to this race weekend wrap will follow with our plans for the Chicago marathon given the results from this race.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Indy Mini : Part 3, The Race Report

Here it is. Here is what I know you have all been waiting for : Our 1/2 marathon race report. Strap in boys and girls because there isn't going to be anything short about this one. For you blogliners this post looks much better at the actual site....and there is a movie of us running towards the end that doesn't show up in Bloglines

We got up on Saturday morning at 4:30am. Apparently my dad said it took two tries to get us out of bed as he was our wake up call. I felt really awake as I was able to get in a little over 6 hours of sleep which is good for me before a race. We had some breakfast (bagels for both of us, orange juice and a cup of coffee) and headed out to Indianapolis.

The race start was 7:30 but they said we should be heading to our corrals by 7am. There are 26 corrals (A-Z) and based on what you estimate your finishing time to be, they put you in corrals with like runners. This makes for a fantastically smooth start which is nice when there are ~30,000 people running the race. We were in corral 'H' which is about where we started when we ran this race 2 years ago. Corrals A-E were reserved for elite/cometative/preferred starts.

We got downtown around 6:30, which was perfect timing. We still had to put on our timing chips and our race numbers on because we always do that at the race itself as we are always really early and need something to keep us busy and our minds off the start of the race. As we were sitting there, I looked around and up at the sky and was thrilled to see no clouds to speak of. I knew that it was going to be a tad on the chilly side (upper 40's) but I knew if it was a sunny day those temps would be perfect.

We wanted to warm up a little bit before the race started so we ran by corral 'C' because that was the corral that our friend Jon was in (he got a preferred start based on his marathon time). I was way happy that I wasn't in one of those bins because they are RIGHT AT THE START. I like starting a bit farther back because I don't have to START so fast. This proved to be a successful strategy as the race progressed. We didn't see Jon and so continued our warm up around the block, stopping one last time at the port-a-potty.

We got back to my dad and Sue and dropped the rest of our outer clothing and said goodbye to them. They were planning on catching us at mile 1.5 and mile 11.5 and wanted to be at that first check point before we got there. We got into our corrals and I got.....well, as usual....really nervous. In all the excitement of the weekend so far, I had forgotten to be nervous for the I started thinking about each mile and what kind of pace I wanted to run, any kind of strategy we should try and shoot for. Jason and I talked about running the first 1 or 2 miles REALLY slow to get into a rhythm and then move on from there. The starts are always so crowded that it didn't really make sense to try and get going on an 8:45 mile right away. Our goal for this race was to finish in 1:55 (8:45 pace) which would have been a bit faster than our first (and only other) 1/2 marathon but when we trained for that one we were living in Bloomington, IN and had tons of hills to train on.

I was standing in the corral watching all the people walking by and getting ready to run and high fiving each other and my attention was drawn to a girl that had her arm all bandaged up. Her parents were helping her "tie up her arm" so that she could run. I don't know what happened to her in the race but I am two sided about her racing at all. I overheard her say that she had a broken elbow, so really....maybe you don't have to run this one....I don't know on the other hand....go you for being tough and running through it. Again I don't know how she did but I hope she ended up doing as well as she could have.

All of a sudden we hear the good ole' song Back Home Again in Indiana being sung and realize that the corrals are pretty crowded. I always laugh because people are all, "oh let's go to the front of the corral" you know, 20 feet in front of me. People, "We are using timing doesn't really matter where you start." But anyways, moving on...I am getting to the race I promise.

So then the countdown....10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1....GO! And of course we all just stand there for a few minutes while the racing crowd surges ahead. But as usual with the big races....eventually we are running. I LOVE love LOVE the start of this race. It's so awesome because you go under the starting area and down this tiny hill and you can see all the people running in front of you and there are tons of crowds everywhere, it just makes me smile a great big smile :-)

So we are just cruising along and all of a sudden this *bitch* comes along the side of us and says loudly, "THIS ISN'T AN 8:30 PACE!!!" and she skirts and moves past all the other runners....little did she know what Jason and Leah were going to do that day (foreshadowing much Leah?). We pass all kind of entertainment acts including a woman that looked like Yoko. I say, "Oh my gosh what is Yoko Ono doing here" The couple next to us laughs and we all agree that she has aged rather well.

Ah we are already at mile one, I look at my watch and hit the split button Mile 1 in 9:38. Perfect, exactly how we wanted to start. Enjoy the surroundings, find the rhythm and look ahead to the rest of the race. Oh there are the big red signs it must be my Dad and Sue...It is. We give them our best races faces for the camera and move on. (I am in the pink shorts and white top and Jason is behind and to left of me me in the blue top.)

At this point in the race I am already noticing that we are continually passing people. That's a good thing and maybe expected as we started a bit slow compared to the other people in our bin. Here comes Mile 2 in 8:35. Perfect. We sped up just like we thought we would, and this felt like a good pace to stay at.

But we kept passing people. Mile 3 in 8:27, Mile 4 in 8:14 Mile 5 in 8:11.

I look at Jason and say, "I don't know what to do, I feel awesome and we keep speeding up, but this could bite us in the ass at Mile 10 or 11". We decide to just keep surging ahead and if something bad happens something bad happens. More people are being passed by the JasonLeah Force.

At this point we are about to enter the Indianapolis
Speedway and there was this little old lady handing out high fives on the sidelines. People weren't high fiving here, so I say to her, "right here!" and I give her and the rest of her family high fives and they all cheer.

We get into the Speedway and grab some gatorade. I take the cup, take two steps, two drinks and start running. But wait, there is still gatorade in my I breathe or do I swallow it? How about I just run with it my mouth for a few seconds to figure out what to do with it. This is not good because I am not a nose breather. Finally I orchestrate my breathing to allow me to swollow the gatorade and keep on movin' on. We get to Mile 6 in 8:05...alright and that is with a gatorade stop....not bad not bad.

I tell Jason this will probably be the hardest part of the race because it's just around the track and really, not too much to look at....Right. Mile 7 in :8:08 good, this is a good pace .....Coming around on the otherside Mile 8 in WTF 7:49.....alrighty then.

Well ok, that went better than I though it would. We head out of the speedway and strap in for the last 5 miles of the race. Alright, Mile 9 in 8:02.....Now, I'm lookin' for mile 10. Where is mile 10? I have been flippin' running forever, where is Mile 10...oh I see it ahead. Hit the split button, look down. Mile 10 in 8:01. We are still passing people continuously and maybe not feeling as great as we did back at mile 5 but we definently not feeling bad.

This is a hard part of the race for me. It feels like I must have missed mile 11 somewhere back there because we are just running along long long straightaways....but nope there it is....Mile 11 in ok.

Then we see my dad and sue, I can barely smile or wave to them because I am trying to concentrate on the next two miles and trying to convince myself that I can keep up this crazy sub 8min mile behavior. Apparently my Dad who took this video didn't see me as you can hear him say (I am in the pink shorts and white top running right in front of him and Jason is in the blue tank top and black shorts)...(that's right we are way cool with videos of us running on our site!)

We get to Mile 12 in 7:53 and make the turn towards the finish. In this race the last mile is down one road so you can basically see the finish for a mile but it really doesn't look like it's getting any closer. At this point we also...I just have to say it...pass Spider Man...that's right we're passing super heros at this point.

We see Jason's Dad, brother and our niece and wave at them and it gives us a total push of adrenaline. We get to Mile 13 in 7:39 and then we finish with a total time of......

1 hour 47 minutes

I can't freakin' believe it. We beat our goal by 8 minutes. We had an average pace of 8:12....Damn!

After the race we made our way through the masses grabbing food and water and made our way to the designated meeting place. We tried a quick stop at the letter 'P' to see if Jon (his last name starts with P) had finished yet and to our surprise he was there. He also had a quick race finishing in about the same time. Since he couldn't find his family we all went over to the 'W' to wait for our families and maybe a cell phone would arise so that Jon could try calling his parents.

Jason's dad and brother and niece showed up first followed by my Dad and Sue. Lots of pictures and congratulatories around the circle. After resting a bit we headed out for some food with the family and then back to my aunt and uncles house.

I was too tired to realize what the time meant or what it could mean for the future of our running career....(don't say Boston). Stay tuned because that's next along with where we were in the field.