Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I went to Walmart with Becca after work to pick up her foosball table (she needed a bigger car to transport it back to her house). It took longer than expected when the store seemed utterly confused by the fact that she had ordered online, but had it shipped to the store. Meaning she had therefore already paid for it.
I just got home, already 8:00, still planning to get in my bike ride with a short run-off of 2-3 laps around my apartment complex.
The rear tire. Same one that went flat after the West U Warmup. Seems like something more than coincidence, which makes me wonder why I didn't find anything in the tire the last time, and how I made it through one trainer ride and one 40+ mile road ride until it went flat again.
I thought maybe it was a slow enough leak that I could ride for 40 minutes, so I pumped the tire up. It's a slow leak, but not slow enough -- it's losing about 8-10 psi per minute, which means the tire is completely flat a mere 12-15 minutes after pumping it up.
I do not deal well with stuff like this. Long day at work. Tired all day. Frustration at Walmart. Already late in the evening. And flat tire?
It was the last straw. No workout for me today.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Colorado already seems like a million years ago. In three days back, I've done two sims, one rather crappy bike ride, gone to class, done some homework, and had my first shuttle mission delayed because of afore-mentioned freak hail storm. The delay doesn't truly affect my schedule that much, but it means that the next two weeks at work are suddenly much more open, especially for me. There's a lot of work that my position does in the couple weeks before launch and suddenly -- poof! -- I have been released from that obligation until April.
I ran last night for the first time in...10?...days. I ran the Friday before leaving for Colorado. And I ran last night. Yep, that's 10 days in between. It turns out that skiing wasn't a bad way to shake things up while maintaining my fitness. I could tell that I'd had a break, and through the first mile my legs felt pretty dead, but I attribute half of the dead-ness to Sunday's bike ride.
I did 5 miles in 52:20 -- not too shabby, right? I was pretty happy with it. I don't have the exact numbers handy, but the splits were something like 10:20, 10:35, 10:15, 10:35, 10:15. My heart rate averaged 182, which is probably more indicative that the temperature is rising than anything else. It wasn't hot, but it was warmer than anything I've run in for a while. I worked up a good sweat before I even hit the first mile.
Though my mid-distance running is still looking good, I'm a little concerned about getting in a couple longer distances. I did 10 miles four weeks ago, but haven't done anything farther than 5 since, after having to pull out of Surfside due to that nasty bug I caught. I was already signed up for the Seabrook Half Marathon on the 18th, but now that the shuttle's been delayed, I decided to sign up for the Half on the 17th as well. I know -- crazy. Two half marathons in two days. But JD's doing it, and Christy's doing it, and I must admit that it will be cool to get that third medal for running both days! So I'm in. Both runs will be treated as training runs through and through, and as such, I fully expect to turn in my two worst half marathon times ever.
Anyway, last night I wore the second of my three new running skirts (since they were 45% off with the "Convert to Skirt" program, I took full advantage). It did ok. I mentioned it before, but if you've forgotten: I bought three. They are all the same size, but one fits just right while two are what I call "comfortably tight," meaning that they're totally comfortable to wear, but look a little tight across my booty. I wore the pink one, the one that fits just right, for a 5-miler on the treadmill before I left for Colorado. It felt great for the first 4 miles, but I had some minor chafing on my thigh in the last mile.
Last night I wore the brown one, one of the comfortably tight skirts. The first couple miles were disappointing -- the slightly tighter fit meant that the undershorts rode up like crazy. Not cool. But once I started to sweat, things improved. I had no chafing issues this time, which I think may be due to the fact that the slightly tighter shorts just sit higher on my legs.
Worst case is just that I have to use Bodyglide with the skirts -- not a big deal, since I do that with most shorts already. I'm not sure if I'd wear one for a full half marathon yet, since they don't seem to work quite as well for me and my body type as they do for June, but I do like the feeling of running in a cute little colorful skirt.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Hail. HAIL. A freak thunderstorm carrying golf ball sized pieces of ice. That's why I won't be helping launch the space shuttle on March 15. That's why I'll probably have to wait until at least the end of April before I get to work my first mission.
Yes, a thunderstorm in Florida yesterday dumped a bunch of hail right on top of the space shuttle stack that was sitting on the launch pad getting ready to go. There are now more than 7000 divots in the external tank, and 20+ on the orbiter's wing. It will have to be rolled back to the VAB. If they can fix it quick, we might be able to launch by my birthday in late March. If not -- late April at the earliest.
Stupid, stupid hail.
My knee is feeling fine again today after yesterday's post-biking pain. Whew. After the Sunday biking low point, I did a good long swim last night to remind myself that this Half Ironman is doable. I did 2250 yards straight, no breaks, in 45 minutes.
Seven years ago, Cayce became the first of my good friends to get married. Since then, there has been a steady stream of weddings, at least 1-2 per year, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. However, there's a new wrinkle now.
Last summer, Cayce became the first of my good friends to become a mom when Henry was born. And BAM -- all of a sudden, pregnancy is spreading! In November, Jen announced that she was pregnant, due in June. Then a few weeks ago Jen told us that her sister is also pregnant for the second time. Last week on the night before we left for Colorado, Katie called to say that she's expecting in September (to be clear, this is my friend Katie, not my sister Katie, although at this point I wouldn't be that surprised to get an "I'm pregnant" call from my sister!).
Yesterday, Christina passed the 12-week mark and announced that she and Ben are expecting, also in September! Exciting news all around, and geez there are going to be a lot of babies to buy NASA socks for.
Must be something in the water...
Monday, February 26, 2007
I came back from vacation and what did I get as a "welcome back to work" gift? A really hard ascent sim. Ah well. I'm not complaining, because it means I'm one sim closer to the real launch! Only 17 days away...
The rest of the skiing trip was nice. The whole group went to Breckenridge on Thursday, and then Jose and I went to Breckenridge again, alone, on Friday while the others went back to Vail. We did some really nice greens and a couple easy blues and ended the trip on a more positive note, but I have to admit that I think Vail really took something out of us. Things weren't as enjoyable after that. It just felt like work.
On Friday, for our last night in Colorado, Jose and Cari and I stayed in, got Thai takeout from across the street, and watched The Departed. (Just in time for the Academy Awards, eh?) Jose had already seen it and said it was one of the best movies ever. I don't know about best ever, but it was very good.
Anyway, the best part of trip was the snowmobiling. The worst part was United Airlines. Both of our flights, to Denver and from Denver, were overbooked. As previously mentioned, Jose almost didn't make it onto the flight out. And then on the way back, both he and I were given "confirmation" cards instead of boarding passes and told to go to the gate, where the lady told us the flight was overbooked and that she'd try to get us on. Bah. THEN we got back to Houston to find that our bags hadn't made it onto our plane, so we ended up waiting for two hours for the next flight from Denver to arrive with our bags. (To be fair, we cut it extremely close with our airport arrival time -- another story entirely -- but I've cut flights just as close before and never had my bag not show up.) They gave us $100 vouchers for waiting for the bags (instead of having them delivered), which is nice, but considering the fact that I don't feel like flying United again anytime soon, it will probably go unused. United sucks.
Because we only had the condo from Saturday through Saturday, I found myself with an extra day at the end of vacation to adjust to being back home before having to come to work this morning. It was a very strange feeling, since it's basically never happened before; our travel plans usually have us returning to town mere hours before having to be back at the office.
I celebrated by sleeping until 11:00, and then I "celebrated" by taking a 43.5 mile bike ride, and then I celebrated by watching the Oscars at Becca's and drinking daquiris in honor of the 3rd anniversary of her 25th birthday (that would be her 28th). You'll notice that only one of those activities necessitated the use of sarcastic quotes with the word celebration.
I did my longest bike ride so far yesterday, 43.5 miles in just under 3 hours for an average of something like 15.8 mph. The first half of the bike ride averaged more like 16.5 mph. The last half of the bike ride averaged more like annoyance, fatigue, pain, and general suckage. Though I'm feeling a bit more positive today, last night I was having serious doubts about my decision to do this Half Ironman.
Of the three triathlon sports, biking is probably my least favorite. And yet it occupies the most time and distance!
I think I've nailed a big part of my problem yesterday though -- in the 24 hours preceeding my ride, I had only eaten about 400 calories. Hopefully that explains the absolutely dead feeling in my legs as I struggled past mile 30 and on to the end. When I finally got back home, I could barely walk up the stairs to my apartment.
This morning, I woke up to a fair amount of soreness on the outside of my right knee. This worries me, because I felt some twinges there towards the end of my ride yesterday. It may be worth taking my bike to the store to have them double-check the fitting. I've never had this problem before, but maybe something has changed...
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
This is a temporary blog entry to remind myself to write about the 5-miler I did last Friday (the day before leaving for Colorado) and my impressions of my new running skirt. Short verdict: comfy for the first 4 miles, with some slight chafing in the last mile. Hmm.
Also, tonight we had dinner at a Nepalese restaurant and our waiter turned out to be a guy named Pem Dorjee Sherpa. He's only 25, has summited Everest twice -- and on his second summit, he got married to his wife, who also climbed up with him! He runs a guiding business and told us we should come to Nepal and he would take us trekking. It's not every day you meet someone who's been to the top of the world!!
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Snowmobiling was way more awesome than I expected. We rode up to the top of a peak to see for miles around, then rode across a ridge, down the mountain, into a field where we got to race around and go over bumps, and finally through the trees where Jose and I got our snowmobile stuck in a deep bit of powder. The mountains are so incredibly beautiful.
Gavin, Jen, me, Jose, and Becca way up high!
Jose having fun in the "playground." He hit 65 mph -- I only made it to 50, so I'm not quite sure how he did it.
Snow blowing off the ridge.
Oh yeah, we got our snowmobile stuck in the powder! (For the record, Jose was driving.)
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I don't think I've ever been this sore in my life.
First of all, Vail can suck it. "Green," they say. "This run is a beginner run." What they don't mention is that in the middle of their green runs, there always seemed to be a blue-level steep slope. And every run, no matter what the level, ended with a steep dive back down to the life. I'm sure it's a lovely mountain if you are an intermediate-to-advanced skier, but not for moi. Thankfully, we went to Vail on our second day -- if we'd gone there on Sunday, I think I would've gone down half the mountain on my butt.
On Sunday we did our first day of skiing at Beaver Creek, a much friendlier mountain. The basics came back to me quickly enough and we had a very nice day there overall. Jose and I stuck to the greens all day and had a lot of fun. I don't think our friends -- the ones that have been skiing since they were kids -- understand our motivation for skiing. They keep telling me to push myself, go faster, etc. What I really want to do is just have fun cruising down the easy greens.
Why? Here it is: skiing scares me. It just plain scares me. I don't really feel like going down the steep blues until I want to.
But the nice, wide easy greens are awesome. I love doing them. I love being able to look around a little while I'm cruising down the mountain. I like not having my feet cramp up (though with the rental boots I ended up with this time, that may be unavoidable; foot pain like I've never experienced in my life) and I like just having fun.
So I'm looking forward to hitting Breckenridge with Jose on Thursday and Friday, where there are reportedly much nicer green runs, and I can get new rental boots, and I can stop feeling like I'm skiing out of control and like all of my toenails are about to fall off. :) Because there are moments when I like skiing, and I want to like skiing. Last year at Tahoe was awesome. This year has been hit-or-miss.
Today Jose and I took the day off and relaxed in a major way -- watched a lot of TV, walked around town, had lunch at a bakery/deli, watched a movie, and more TV. We basically don't want to move because our calf muscles scream when we do.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Hello from Avon, Colorado! It is cold. COLD. Cold. In my life I have had very limited experience dealing with temperatures below freezing, and it shows. I am cold.
It was not a good day for travel. Jose's name is on the watch list, so he can never print out his boarding pass ahead of time. Jen and Gavin and I all had boarding passes, but Jose was given some kind of standby ticket and told he'd have to get his seat assignment at the gate. Well, as it turned out, United oversold our flight to Denver by an absurd amount -- something like 40 seats. With Gavin and Jen already on the plane, and after much hassle, Jose got a seat and finally we flew away.
The weather was gorgeously sunny today (though, as previously mentioned, cold) and the drive was beautiful. We had more than enough time to enjoy the mountain views because traffic on I-70 from Denver all the way to Vail moved at an average of about 35 mph. Things picked up after the Eisenhower tunnel, but the expected two-hour drive turned into almost four.
Finally we arrived at the lodge, but the front desk could only find the reservation for one of our two condos, not both. More stressing, but thankfully it was resolved quickly -- somehow they found Gavin's name and we made it in.
Jose and I picked up our skis, we hit the grocery store (only to discover later that our condo has no stove or burner), and had dinner in Vail Village. Tomorrow we'll be hitting the slopes of Beaver Creek, which should be fun because they have lots of green runs. I hope the feeling of being on skis comes back to me quickly and I don't have to spend all day on the bunny hill!
Friday, February 16, 2007
Happy Birthday Cari!
Last night was happy hour at BJ's in honor of me finally certifying as ARD Support, paperwork and everything -- despite the fact that my cert sim was almost three months ago. It was a lot of fun and we had a good diverse crowd. Marc (my mentor) and I headed over there at 4:30 and everyone trickled in...a couple "bosses," a few of my fellow backroom flight controllers, and other coworkers. One even used it as an excuse to bring all three of his absolutely adorable children so that he didn't have to cook dinner himself. A good time was had by all. Appropriately, yesterday was also the day that Atlantis rolled out to the launchpad. March 15 is the big day -- first launch of 2007, and my first mission as a flight controller. Very exciting.
Because of that, I didn't run but never fear -- yesterday was my day off so today I will be running.
It's been a long week of getting up too early, and I'm glad the Friday is finally here. Of course, I have to get up early again tomorrow, but that's more acceptable because we'll be heading to the airport for a week in Colorado! Snow! Skiing! Cold. But Colorado! My current plan (always subject to change) is to ski 2 days at Breckenridge and 2 days at Vail/Beaver Creek. Throw in some snowshoeing with pregnant non-skiing Jen, and possibly some snowmobiling, and definitely some hot tubbing, and hey, even some treadmill running and stationary biking (gotta train somehow), and I'm pumped for VACATION! I'll post photos to Flickr, and I'll be blogging as well -- I have to take my computer to do my weekly typography assignment. Also because I am insanely attached to my computer. ;)
In other news, I may have done something stupid this morning, inspired by June -- I signed up for the New York Marathon on November 4. Well, to be exact, I signed up for the lottery for the NYM. But if my name gets picked, it's non-refundable and non-transferrable, so if that happens I'll be running!
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The funny thing about flight control is that even once you're certified, you still find yourself learning things in practically every sim. Take this morning, for instance -- I learned that if the correct mass calibration numbers aren't loaded into the shuttle simulator every single time, we see a huge trend in our monitoring software because the shuttle is about 13,000 pounds lighter than it should be, and is therefore accelerating even more like a bat out of hell than it usually does. Interesting.
Valentine's Day was nice. I went home with exactly enough time to do my bike and run workout, but discovered a flat rear tire. It's been a while since I changed one, and it took me way too long (like 20 minutes). After that, and setting up the trainer, I'd run out of time to do both bike and run, so I just biked -- 55 minutes on the trainer while watching Tivoed stuff.
Jose came over early (early!) and so he had to sit around while I showered. We exchanged V-Day cards (I made his; it was cheesy but hey, homemade) and went to dinner at La Madeleine. Hey -- it's a French restaurant, that's romantic, right? Never mind that you order by going through a line... :)
Not sure if I'll get my run in tonight because we're having a happy hour...which is in celebration of me being officially certified. It'd be bad form to skip my own happy hour! If I don't run tonight, I'll run tomorrow instead.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Happy Valentine's Day! Last year Jose and I had just started dating; this year it's been, well, more than a year. Even though I'm not single anymore, I must admit that Valentine's Day still doesn't really do anything for me. Bini asked me what our plans were for tonight, and I answered "I dunno. Dinner?"
Last year we went to a Vietnamese noodle place; very very casual. This year we may actually go there again -- which is funny because I've only found one dish on the menu that I like. And their spring rolls (and peanut sauce) aren't as good as the ones at Thai Cottage. But we'll probably go there again, for "tradition" if not because it'll be one of the few restaurants that isn't packed with people who made reservations ages ago. Anyway. I don't really care what we do as long as we do it together. Awwwwwww.
Anyway, time for the recent workout summary.
On Monday I swam 1500 yards at the rec center pool. My schedule called for 1250 with the bulk of the workout being a straight 800 yards, but I felt good so I turned that into a round 1000 yards and then added an extra 50 to my bilateral breathing practice (aka my cooldown). I did all that in about 31 minutes. I'm either just plain faster and in better shape, or the pool is short. I don't remember being able to swim 50 meters in 1:00 consistently before, and certainly not while maintaining a relatively calm breathing rhythm of every 4 strokes. So I dunno what's going on.
Yesterday I ran after class -- on the treadmill, because at 7:00 it was still freaking windy and therefore pretty chilly outside, not to mention dark. (But I could see hints of the sunset still. Can't wait for daylight savings time!) I was pretty worried about this run, actually, since it had been a full 9 days since my last run. Sure, 3 of those days involved biking and 2 involved swimming -- but 4 in a row involved sitting on my butt being sick. Thankfully the schedule only called for 3 miles. I'm sure that low number was included with the thought that I would have run a half marathon three days before, but psssh. 3 miles it was.
I got on the treadmill and decided to start off at my standard treadmill warmup pace -- 5 miles per hour, or 12:00 miles. I felt good. I had a couple twinges in my left knee, the body part that suffered the most bruising as a result of Sunday's bike crash, but everything else felt pretty smooth. After a mile, I upped the treadmill to 5.2 mph (11:32 pace). Not much of a difference. Still felt good. After one more mile, I upped the 'mill to 5.5 mph or 10:54 pace and to my surprise, I still felt pretty comfortable! I even added an extra half mile to the end of the run -- total of 3.5 miles in a couple seconds under 40:00. I was very happy to find that my running fitness didn't lose anything from my unplanned break.
I got new running skirts in the mail on Monday, the ones I ordered in exchange for sending them three old pairs of running shorts. The "Convert to Skirt" program gives you 45% off if you send in shorts, and I figured I'd take advantage of that sizeable discount and order the maximum number allowed -- three. The black ones were not eligible, so I got a brown skirt, blue skirt, and pink skirt.
Here's the weird part -- they are all the same skirt style (GymGirl) and same size (XL), but the pink one is definitely bigger than the other two. Actually, the pink one is the one that fits best; the other two are perfectly comfortable to wear, but when I look in the mirror it looks a little tight because the stretchy fabric pulls a bit. Jose said he could see what I'm talking about but wouldn't normally notice it, so I'm probably being way too self-critical. But isn't it weird that one fits differently?
I took the pink one to the gym last night, but at the last minute I got all self-conscious about how pink it is (very pink) and wore my dull black shorts instead. I know, I'm dumb sometimes.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I just rescued 5 comments from the junk folder from Carter, Mrs. G, Steeeve, Christy, and Barbara. For the benefit of all, I thought I'd reiterate: when you leave a comment now, you must enter the word HELLO in the box below the comment field. You can write hello, Hello, HELLO, heLLo, or any other combination -- case doesn't matter -- but you have to enter that word or your comment gets scored negatively and sent straight to the junk folder, which I rarely check.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Another sim, another early morning. There are three morning sims this week -- yesterday, today, and Thursday -- which means three mornings of getting here at 7 a.m. On the plus side, Bini was sitting hot seat today and will do it again on Thursday, so I got to sleep in by an extra half hour. So really, one day at 7 a.m. and two at 7:30. Still, that's early for me. It's gonna be a rough, sleepy week.
Things will be looking up on Saturday though, as I head to Colorado for the annual ski trip! I got my "lift tickets" in the mail yesterday. They're not tickets, but really just a credit card style thing with your info loaded onto it; I immediately stuck it in my wallet for fear of forgetting to pack it and leaving it Houston.
I've got class again tonight, and we'll be working on the beginning of our big, semester-long assignment: designing a typeface (font). My biggest problem so far is actually deciding what kind of font I want to make!
Should I do something fairly traditional, like the first photo? Or, after seeing a picture of a bagel shop, I thought of making a mosiac-style type like the second photo. Or, I could always just make my own handwriting (print, at least) into a typeface...
Or, I could do something else entirely. When we were first given this assignment, I worried that I'd never be able to come up with anything to do. Now, I'm worried that there are just so many possibilities that it's too overwhelming. If anyone has any cool ideas, by all means let me know.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Happy Birthday Dad!
Monday, February 12, 2007
On Saturday, Jose and I were wandering around Borders, something that has become a normal weekend event for us. At one point, I looked up from the magazine I was perusing and realized that we'd been in the store for almost an hour, so I got up to go find Jose and see what he had found.
I walked on tip-toes so I could scan the aisles in the middle, where the shelves are short enough that heads pop over the top, but I saw no sign of Jose's head. I then walked down the side of the store to check each of the alcoves lined with tall shelves. In the middle of each alcove are benches and chairs, and I walked past them all, every single one was occupied.
I finally found Jose in the very last alcove. He was sitting alone on the end of the bench, reading the book about the Buddha that he'd picked up for the day. He was the only one in the whole row; the rest of the bench was wide and empty, very much in contrast to all the other rows I'd passed.
I didn't think anything of it at first, and sat down next to him. I continued to page through my magazine, and didn't really look up until a few minutes later. "SEX" read the spine of the books on the shelf in front of me. I looked at the adjacent shelves. The other books were calling out with all sorts of taglines -- have better sex, improve your life, win friends and influence people.
I laughed. "You sat next to all the sex books, Jose; you're in the self-help section. How did you ever end up over here?"
He responded without even looking up: "Yeah, I always sit here. It's the only section that no one else will sit in."
That made me laugh.
I am really sore today from the bike riding and bike crashing. Really sore.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
After missing Surfside yesterday and feeling fully recovered except for a slight cough and some leftover congestion, I decided to head out to the West U Warm-Up this morning. It's one of the MS150 warmup rides -- one of the few that's actually a reasonable drive for me, at Beltway 8 and 288.
I left my apartment at 7:00 and just before I got onto the highway, I realized that despite all my preparations last night (packing a bag, laying out all my clothes, filling water bottles, etc), the one thing I did not have with me was my helmet. Yes, I'd left it sitting in my garage. No helmet = no riding. I was still on the feeder so I quickly turned into Chik-Fil-A and was able to cut across the parking lot and back to Bay Area. I grabbed my helmet and headed back towards the race. I only lost 10 minutes, but it stressed me out.
In retrospect, forgetting my helmet was probably a sign that today wasn't going to be my best day.
I got to the park and got everything ready to go with minutes to spare. Just as we headed out, it started to drizzle. Great. I'd been thinking of doing the 50-miler, but it was already cold enough that I'd given myself permission to back off to the 30-miler if I didn't warm up. The rain was not going to help that. The split between the 30 and 50 mile courses was right at mile 10, so I knew I could decide after I'd been riding for 40 minutes or so.
The drizzle continued for the first five miles. Just as it began to tail off, a new kind of drizzle started. From my nose.
Yes, the cold and wind jump-started my runny nose all over again. I couldn't stop it; the best I could do was wipe it on my leggings. I quickly started to feel like I was getting covered in a layer of snot. I know that's gross, but I'm just being honest. I cruised past the first rest stop knowing that I needed to make a decision -- 30 miles or 50 miles. Then, right before the split, I almost choked on my own snot.
That made the decision easier. Today was going to be a 30-miler, and I'd just have to be ok with that. I wasn't really getting any warmer, the sun wasn't making any appearances, and 30 miles would have to be enough.
Once I turned to follow the 30 mile route, things improved for a few miles...but then we turned into the wind, and things started to go downhill. It was windy, so I slowed down. We passed over a particularly bad section of road that left all my bones vibrating long after the road had smoothed out again. We hit a section of shoulder that was layered in watery orange mud that got all over my shoes, tights, and water bottles.
With about 5 miles to go, I saw some railroad tracks up ahead, and a volunteer warning that they were slippery. I slowed down and prepared to cross them perpendicularly (though they crossed the pavement at an angle). Apparently my preparations weren't good enough.
Down I went, my tires sliding out from under me as I crossed the slippery rails. I landed hard on my left thigh, and somehow managed to get a raspberry on my left elbow despite not ripping any clothes. I must have hit my left knee as well, because there are two tender red bumps on my knee cap.
Fortunately I didn't hurt anything seriously, and popped back up to get to the side of the road. I looked back to see the volunteer that had been warning of the tracks sprinting towards me, so I quickly called out that I was ok. There was only one other cyclist behind me at the moment, so at least my embarassment was limited.
I gave my bike a once-over, and had to pop the chain back on. The handlebars felt weird too, but I can't place exactly what changed -- I think the whole handlebar may have rotated. I was planning on going to Bike Barn this afternoon anyway, so I'll have them take a look at it.
Needless to say, by that point I was quite ready to get back to my car. The 30 miles took me just under 2 hours, an average speed of 15.5 mph. At the end, I was cold, wet, and covered in a layer of sweat under a layer of snot under a layer of mud. A shower rarely feels as good as it did today.
Overall, I have mixed feeling about the ride. I'm glad I did it, and I know I made the right decision to drop down to 30 miles instead of trying for 50. But I'm discouraged by my overall speed and attitude. Biking isn't my favorite of the triathlon sports -- in fact it's probably my least favorite of the three -- and as such, I am much quicker to mentally check out of the sport. As soon as I have to ride into a headwind, I start thinking about how much it sucks, and how much it's slowing me down. As soon as my butt or neck starts to hurt, I start thinking about how I can't wait to be done.
So. Mixed feelings about the ride, but I'm happy that I got it done.
Friday, February 09, 2007
I am NO-GO for the Surfside Half Marathon.
I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what other people will think of the decisions that I make, and I finally decided that was stupid. I'm feeling better, but not fantastic. The race involves a drive, and cold weather, and wind.
Running would be one of my sillier decisions, and it won't be worth running 13.1 tomorrow if it knocks me out for another week. Running tomorrow isn't worth the risk of jeopardizing another week of training. And missing one half marathon isn't going to ruin my Half Ironman training. Pony posted something recently along the lines of "don't run today, so that you can run tomorrow," and I finally realized that applies to me, tomorrow.
I kept thinking I had obligations to run, obligations to people that knew I was signed up, obligations despite the fact that no one could have predicted I'd get sick this week.
But I don't have to answer to anyone. In the end, I only have to answer to myself.
Good luck to those of you who are healthy and running!
Friday, February 09, 2007
Happy Birthday Mom! :)
I'm supposed to run the Surfside Half Marathon tomorrow. After being sick for most of the week, I think it's going to have to be a race-day morning decision. The funny part is that I'm actually less worried about running the miles and more worried about lack of sleep. I know I can just take things easy and do run/walk intervals and relax, but the problem is that the race is in Surfside, which means getting up quite early to drive down there. Race starts at 7:00, which means I need to get there by 6:30, which means leaving Clear Lake by 5:15.
Today has been up and down (and up and down). I woke up feeling, well, ok. So I came to work, where I had a 2-hour meeting. By the end, I was feeling not-so-ok. Then Jen gave me some Tylenol and we had lunch and I am feeling ok again. I don't have a lot of energy. So: race-morning decision. A part of me is saying I should stay here, sleep in, and do a very easy 6-7 miler tomorrow afternoon. The other part is saying I should at least try getting to Surfside.
I am always indecisive about stuff like this. Stay? Go? I don't know.
I came into work last night for the late ascent sim. It was Bini's first in the "hot seat" so, as her mentor, I was backseating her. She did an outstanding job for it being her first sim; way better than my first sim. Very cool.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
I'm still sick, but feeling a bit better than yesterday. I'm hoping to make it to tonight's sim, where I'm supposed to backseat Bini as she does her first sim. I was worried that I wouldn't sleep well last night, since I had no Nyquil to knock me out, but I guess I was tired enough; I only woke up twice. Jose is taking good care of me, and went to the grocery store last night to get me some milk and assorted snacks. I don't feel much like eating, but my stomach growls anyway -- I'm hungry but have no appetite. Weird. At least my nose has stopped running -- yesterday I was giving new meaning to the term "like a faucet."
With a couple unexpected days at home, I quickly came up with a list of things that I could get done with my "free time." Unfortunately, I don't feel like doing any of it. Yesterday I laid on the couch all day and watched TV. There is nothing good on TV during the day.
There is an alligator out on the side of the bayou, the first time I've seen one since October. Weird thing is, this one isn't the alligator that I've seen before. This one is about half the size of my alligator. So there's proof -- I have multiple alligator neighbors. Great.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
I'm sick. Yesterday, sore throat, this morning, full-on cold with sore throat, runny nose, etc. Apparently Jen got sick yesterday, and Gavin quickly followed, and since I watched the Superbowl at their house on Sunday night I'm totally blaming them.
Actually, I've heard a lot of people complaining about colds lately. So maybe I was due. I haven't been sick, well, since I started dating Jose -- a fact he noted last night when I commented that I thought I might be getting a cold.
I really started feeling bad during class last night. It was heightened by the fact that the assignment we had due -- the one I stayed up until 12:30 the night before working on -- got shifted to next week. We didn't even present them, because half of the class hadn't done the assignment yet. See, the professor cancelled class last week because he was sick, and usually at the end of each class, he gives us an overview of the next assignment and shows us some past examples. We didn't get that because we didn't have class. This apparently confounded some people to the point where they couldn't even do the assignment at all (despite the fact that it's all written down on the class website).
I was pretty frustrated. Even if you gloss over the fact that they found it acceptable to not even attempt to do the assignment on time, there's this: most of these people want to work as designers. They're not grad students like me, and they're taking the classes as their main degree, so they don't have another full-time job like me. As a working designer, you can expect to be constantly faced with challenges where your client only tells you bits and pieces of what they want -- if you can't deal with it in school, how will you deal with it in the real world?
Anyway. After class I had zero desire to run because I was tired and frustrated and my throat hurt, but I didn't want to skip a workout so I decided to switch Tuesday and Thursday. I rode 45 minutes on my trainer instead, equivalent to a 10-12 mile ride. I'm supposed to ride 15 today, and I must say that it's absolutely beautiful outside, but I don't want to push things too much, especially since I do still plan to run the Surfside Half Marathon on Saturday. I'll see how I feel this afternoon.
Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs was on the Daily Show last night. He cracks me up, and has an amazing ability to remember the details of all the crazy jobs that he's done. Dirty Jobs might just be my favorite show on TV right now; if you haven't watched it, you really should give it a try.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Every couple years, someone in Clear Lake goes crazy. This time, it happened to be an astronaut. It's a weird world, and I'll leave it at that.
I'm really tired today. I was exhausted all yesterday, despite having gotten 9+ hours of sleep on Sunday night. Add that with getting to bed late last night and having to get up early this morning for a sim, and I can't stop yawning. I have class this afternoon, followed by a run (at some nice slow pace), and then with any luck I'll be in bed. I got a reprieve on tomorrow's 117 activity -- they don't need the ARD Support after all -- which is great because it means I don't have to get up at 5 am. Sigh of relief.
I did nothing last night except swim and do homework. At the pool, I did 1250 yards in just under half an hour -- 300 warmup, 16x50 with 10 seconds rest, and 150 cooldown. For the last 150, I practiced breathing on both sides. It's something I've got to get better at. As for the homework, I spent 4+ hours straight making a type identification poster. I'll post it (and my other assignments so far this semester) some other time.
I found out today that my friend Chris was at the Super Bowl. As in, had tickets. At face value. Back of the first level, Colts endzone. He's such a bum. ;)
Monday, February 05, 2007
I'm not sure how I fit everything into this weekend without feeling completely stressed out, but I did. I emerged from the flurry of activity with a sore butt, but no other complications. (Sore butt to be explained momentarily.)
Jose and I headed to Corpus on Saturday and got there just after noon, with plenty of time to get ready for his friend's wedding. The wedding was nice, the reception was very short, and we followed everything up with some Guitar Hero when we got back to Jose's house. ;) That night I met three of his close friends from high school (the fourth was the one getting married) as we all hung out for a while. Yesterday it was up early again for the drive back to Houston in time for Jose to go flying. (He did 8 landings!)
While he had his head in the clouds, I hopped on my bike trainer for two hours of riding while watching TV and the first half of the Super Bowl. Now, I hadn't been on my bike in a few months until a few weeks ago, and I think I may sit a little differently while on the trainer than I would if I were actually moving. In any case, my butt hurts today. More than I ever remember it hurting before. Not the bones, but my butt muscle itself. That may be too much information,a nd I know that I'll get used to it and I just need to ride more, but geez. If I sit the wrong way today, I'm in pain!
After my bike ride, it was off to Jen and Gavin's for the second half of the Super Bowl. I watched less of the game and less of the commercials this year than I ever have before; I'm not very interested in the NFL and commercials on the whole are getting worse and worse. I did see the Garmin commercial, and liked it, but that's probably because I already like Garmin.
I had my yearly physical this afternoon but went in to the clinic this morning to get my blood drawn so I could eat again (you're supposed to fast for 12 hours prior to them taking your blood; some people don't follow that, but I do). Everything went normally -- she stuck a needle in the nice purple vein in the crook of my elbow, and took her two vials -- but 5 hours later, my arm hurts. There's a bit of a bruise, but I have no idea why it hurts. Apparently this is just my day for pains.
Friday, February 02, 2007
As I drove away from the office, I decided that I would run on the treadmill, despite the fact that I had cold weather clothes with me (capris, long sleeve shirt, gloves). My office is never warm, and I was tired of feeling cold all week. Treadmill it would be.
But then I got to Gilruth, and as I walked in the door headed for the locker room to change, I passed a girl that I've seen and talked to before. I don't know her name, but we started chatting a few weeks ago on the treadmills on a particularly rainy day. I mentioned that I was training for a Half Ironman, and she said she'd been training for Ironstar last fall, but then was out of town the weekend of the race (how sucky). Tonight, I passed her on my way in, and she was dressed for running and headed across the parking lot to the gate and the trail beyond.
"That's it," I thought. "The weather has just been too crappy lately for me to not take advantage of the fact that it's finally clear, even if it's cold." Off I went, and immediately remembered that yeah, 40 degrees is my ideal temperature. Somehow I always forget that.
Since I won't be at tomorrow morning's Buffalo Wallow 6K, I decided to run "Sarah's Buffalo Wallow Replacement 4-Miler" tonight after work. It was the same as the 6K, plus another quarter mile, minus the mud and hills, and plus the asphalt of the Johnson Space Center running trail. Not a great comparison, but you get the idea.
Sarah's Buffalo Wallow Replacement 4-Miler, as I defined it, would be composed of me running 4 miles at something close to race pace -- not all out, but definitely good and hard. I was cold at first, and ran quickly to warm up. I finished the first mile and checked my watch. "Not too shabby," I thought. "Not shabby at all!" And I didn't even feel like I'd been running that hard.
I got excited. I was looking into the sunset and thinking about how pretty Houston can be sometimes, and suddenly mile 2 passed even quicker. "Ooh," I thought, "I'm kicking some butt tonight."
I finally started to feel a bit winded in the third mile, but it was a comfortable winded. Now, I know that might sound like an oxymoron, but runners will know what I'm talking about. It started to feel hard, but comfortably hard.
By the time I began my final mile, the sun had set and I was racing through the dark. I've run on this trail so many times that I could probably do it in my sleep; I know all the twists and turns and where each quarter mile falls, even when I can barely see the marker in the dusk. I finished strong and spent a half mile walking to cool down, and basking in my "victory."
37:57 !!! with splits of 9:56, 9:31, 9:18, 9:12
I ran 4 sub-10:00 miles. I don't have anything else to say but WOW. I surprised myself tonight.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Argh! I can't get officially officially certified yet because there's another big piece of paperwork (involving security stuff) that still has to get done. One question involved listing all foreign travel, ever. My list looked pretty cool once I put it together:
05-06/2001 - London, England, UK; Stratford-upon-Avon, England, UK; Paris, France; Munich, Germany; Fussen, Germany; Montreaux, Switzerland; Venice, Italy; Rome, Italy; Florence, Italy; Nice, France; Barcelona, Spain; Amsterdam, Netherlands.
07/2002 - Reynosa, Mexico.
09/2002 - Cranfield, England, UK; Edinburgh, Scotland, UK; Inverness, Scotland, UK; Stromness, Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK; Stirling, Scotland, UK.
01/2003 - Avignon, France.
10/2003 - Athens, Greece; Santorini, Greece; Kalambaka, Greece.
09/2004 - Lima, Peru; Cusco, Peru; Machu Picchu, Peru.
02/2006 - Buenos Aires, Argentina; El Calafate, Argentina; El Chalten, Argentina; Punta Arenas, Chile; Santiago, Chile.
I have been lucky enough to take some really cool trips, that's for sure.
I ran last night in the cool weather -- about 50 degrees. I didn't really feel much like running, but once I got out there I felt better. I did 5.15 miles in 53:36 with splits of 10:47, 10:22, 10:26, 10:23, 10:08, and 1:30. A few minutes into the run, my Shuffle cued up The Crystal Method's 45-minute long song that I bought off iTunes to check out the Nike Plus stuff. I wasn't sure that it would be good running music, at least for me, since I usually like singing that I can bop along to, and this was 45 minutes of mostly electronic, techno-ish music. But it surprised me -- I let the whole song play, and just zoned out, and next thing I knew I was done. I'm going to run again tonight since I won't be running the 6K tomorrow.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
I didn't like having to manually moderate all comments, so I've installed a new little plugin that should fix it for me. Below the comment text box, but above the 'post' button, you should all now see a text box. Above it, it says to enter the word 'hello' in the box below.
Voila -- all you have to do is type hello and your comment will go through and be published immediately.
Let me know if you have any issues...
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Jose finally found out what time his friend is getting married in Corpus on Saturday, and it's 2:00. So I won't be able to make the Buffalo Wallow 6K. Sad. I'm not bothered about losing my money (after all, it was only $10), but I'm bummed not to be able to run one of the very few off-road races in Houston and to see all my running buds for the first time since the marathon. C'est la vie, there will be other races, and the wedding will be fun. I like going to weddings.
As I drove to work this morning, I thought "man, January has been so freaking rainy, what a crappy month." Then I realized it's February. Weather's still crappy (enough with the rain already), and it's been exactly 4 years since the Columbia accident. My paperwork is being shuffled and organized and signed as I type, making me a certified space shuttle flight controller on a day that reminds me that people's lives depend on me doing my job and doing it right. It is a sobering thought to realize that I have such responsibility. All I can do is work my hardest to be prepared for any situation. And I plan to do just that.
I did my first ride on my new bike trainer last night! You can check out my Flickr stream to see a cameraphone picture of how cramped my living room is with the bike positioned just so in front of the TV. I didn't take the time to rewire the speed sensor yet, so I just rode for 50 minutes, then headed to the workout room at my apartment complex to run because it was c-c-cold outside. Both treadmills were taken, so I did a 28-minute program on the EFX machine. I don't think that was quite as good as running, since the EFX motion is still a little like cycling, but oh well.