Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My big boy :)

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My little girl :)

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a hard day

Today was just one of those days that was a toughie. I usually love my job, but work today was difficult. I'm troubleshooting a complex experiment and trying to figure out the best way to approach it...and I've got to get it to work sometime in the next month for a grant deadline. To top it off, co-worker D was out of the office and I needed several things from him to do some of the work I had to do. I did find some other things to get done, but darn it, I needed to do the things I couldn't do because of D's absence. Drat. It was just a fairly rotten day at work.

So, I left work a little early (30 mins) to go and get the kids. I sat in horrible miserable traffic for 25 minutes (twice as long as it takes when there is no traffic) on the way to the day care. When I got home w/the kids (who were both whiny), I discovered a note from Loren saying that he was way too tired to do anything, and that I was on my own w/the kids for the night. He was asleep on the bed. Great. I was planning to go to trunk or treat at the neighborhood church (hopefully to meet some neighbors and get the kids some candy w/o having to drag them everywhere) and decided I'd try to do it even if Loren wasn't up to it. I managed to get the kids in their costumes, pack the diaper bag, the feeding chair, and get Michelle in the stroller. We walked to the church, and when we got there I realized there was NO WAY I could possibly go through a buffet line to get dinner (they were having dinner before trunk or treat) for myself and the kids w/o any help. I still don't know many people in the neighborhood, and I was feeling down and miserable and didn't want to introduce myself to someone just to ask for help. I didn't see anyone I knew (I do know some people but not everyone), so I just decided to leave. Calvin cried when we left because he wanted to stay (they had some cute games for the kids, and he liked the crowd - he's a people person), but what could I do? I felt even worse then.

To top it off, I couldn't even change plans and go to our own church group tonight because last night I called and told the hosts we wouldn't be coming, because we had decided to take the kids either trick or treating or to the trunk or treat instead (with me working today it wouldn't have been possible to trick or treat AND get dinner AND get to the small group on time). Besides, I wouldn't have been able to handle the kids and get anything out of the group, and it's not fair to the other group members to bring the kids when there's no sitter (there would have been a sitter if I hadn't called to cancel, but I hadn't planned on Loren being exhausted). This is all very convoluted but to make a long story short I made the kids some mac n cheese, heated up some leftovers for myself, and we ate. The kids were pretty well behaved and they were cute at dinner, so at least I survived. Michelle smeared macaroni ALL OVER, including in her hair, so I had to give them a bath, and it was past their bedtime by the time I got them in bed.

I desperately need to unwind a bit so I might take a bath, after 9 pm so that I don't miss any trick or treaters. We don't get very many so I'm giving out the big candy bars and it's pretty entertaining to see the kids' reactions - worth every cent :)! Besides, I'm less likely to eat the big ones than the fun size ones, so it's safer for me. Weird, huh?

My laptop battery is tired and I need to plug in, so I'll be back later w/some pictures.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Taking it easy

I've been taking it easy the past week since my half marathon. I have been walking plenty, as I'm in a contest on Nike+ with other walkers to see who can walk the most miles in a month. I'm actually winning right now, with 125 miles and only 1 day left in the contest. My nearest competitor is at 114 miles, but they haven't posted any miles today so I can't rest on my laurels. I may take the kids for a walk to get a few extra in :). Anyway, I have been just doing easy mileage, no intervals, no threshold workouts, nothing. Just enjoying being out there. It's been great.

I did enter the Cold Turkey 6K on Thanksgiving, so I will have to actually start a little training soon, but I wanted to rest for a little first.

Will he run???

Hilarious video of Jefferson Perez, Ecuadorian racewalker par excellence, a victim of a practical joke on Japanese TV. When chased by Samurai, will he run or walk?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thinking of Allan

My virtual friend Allan is about to start his half marathon in Suwa Ko, Japan right about now! Allan, I am thinking of you and sending fast thoughts your way. I hope you have an awesome race to remember :)!

Potty training

Calvin woke up with a dry diaper this morning, so potty training began in earnest. I figured he must have to go, so why not take advantage of the opportunity? So I put him on his potty seat on the toilet, and told him he could go pee on the toilet. He sat there for a few minutes, and then he went! I never thought the sound could be so sweet. Then we went to church, and I told the people in the nursery that he was working on potty training. They took him to the bathroom about an hour later, and reported to me after church that he had peed AND pooped in the toilet. I was most impressed. He has had a couple accidents today (but I dressed him in underwear with a pull-up on top of it so he could feel the wetness but not soil his pants) but he has gone on the potty four times. It's really great!

I didn't think I minded diapers at all, and it was no big deal to keep on using them, but it has been just wonderful to imagine a future with fewer diapers. I had no idea I felt this way until he actually started using the toilet and I could imagine the possibilities. I think I'm going to like this! Calvin seems to like it, too - I think he feels like a big boy now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The fires in San Diego came very close to my parents' house, especially on Monday night and Tuesday. It was a tense day for me watching the news websites on and off to see what was going on. I was pretty worried - not so much for them, since I knew they would leave if it got dangerous, but for their home and for the stress of evacuation, etc. Fortunately, they didn't have to evacuate (though people quite close to them did), and the fire spared their neighborhood. The worst is over in their neck of the woods, and I feel very relieved. Let's pray that the other fires cease to threaten homes as well.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

After the half marathon: Tammy & Carol

Virtual Nike Women's Half Marathon

I did it!

My aunt came along with me (she's a runner) and the company was great. By my Nike+ iPod sport kit, I did 13.1 miles in 2:14:00, and by her Garmin, I did 13.1 in 2:16:58. Not sure which I believe (though I think the iPod kit might be a little closer), but either way, I met my goal of finishing under 2:17. One caveat - my aunt got a little dehydrated, so we took a couple off the clock water breaks that I wouldn't have taken, so I got a little extra rest. However, I feel sure that I could have done it at a very similar speed without those.

The course - Chula Vista golf course jogging trail. Really nice and flat - that part was great. Not so great was the dirt. It's all dirt, which is perfect for runners (softer), but was a downer on my toe-off power. Still, there is no traffic, it feels safe because there are lots of others out there, and it's pretty scenic for the most part. I did four loops around (it's supposed to be 3.3 miles, according to a sign, but that means four loops is 13.2 miles, and even my iPod had me going 4 times plus a little extra to make 13.1 miles) and then added a little to finish. My times for the loops were 32:45, 33:20, 33:02, 34ish (not 100% sure about the last one - it was close to 34 mins and change). Pacing felt right on, but I was sure glad to have my aunt with me on loops 2 and 3 to spur me on to keep the pace. It helped out a lot!!! I was really pleased with the pace for the whole race. To only slow down by about one minute on the last loop was really good (especially since my aunt stopped at mile 10 and I didn't have a pacing buddy anymore!), yet I was totally spent at the end, so I didn't feel like I was holding back. My aunt had good advice on pacing - she said that it's not a bad idea to do a little bit faster pace at the beginning (just a little, mind you - like 10:22-10:23 when my goal was 10:30) and that allows a little cushion for the end. It felt pretty good to do it that way, even though the conventional wisdom is negative splits.

Weather - the start was a perfect 56 degrees, but it was pretty humid. My hands were a bit cold the first loop. Then it warmed up pretty quickly when the sun came up, and by the finish it was easily 70 degrees and sunny and still a bit humid. Not the best finishing conditions, but I was able to keep the pace, which is all that matters.

I'm very pleased with the race, though not sure exactly what my finishing time is. It's a new personal best - but is it 2:14:00 or 2:16:58? Or somewhere in between? Ah, doesn't matter. My last race was 2:20:35 so it's a significant improvement and I'm thrilled.

My Nike Women's Finisher T-shirt and key chain will arrive in the mail in 4-6 weeks :)!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Visiting family

Hello from San Diego, where we (me & the kids) are visiting my parents (at right in the photo) and my grandma (at left in the photo). We've been having a great time here, just kicking back and not working too hard at much of anything.

I've been tapering my workouts for my race on Saturday - the Nike Women's virtual half marathon. I'm excited to race, and my aunt is arriving tomorrow and will run the last half alongside me as I racewalk. More later!
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Saturday, October 13, 2007


Tonight I attended a Murray Perahia concert with Sarah, and it was truly breathtaking. He played a Bach Partita, a Beethoven sonata (the pastoral), Brahms Op. 118 (which I played for my junior recital!), 2 Chopin Etudes (the aeolian harp and the C# minor), and Chopin's Ballade in A-flat. Of course the Brahms was my favorite - I loved his interpretation of all but the 4th piece (which he played faster than I would have liked). The rest were sublime - the strength and warmth of the opening Intermezzo, the tenderness of the 2nd Intermezzo, the fiery Ballade. The best was the last Intermezzo, based on the Dies Irae. It literally took my breath away. I'll remember this concert for a long time to come.

We had great seats, too - in the choir loft, and at only $12.50 each (half of a regular ticket) a major bargain. We could see everything so well (the pictures show our vantage point). I was amazed that I could hear his fingers hitting the keys, and could really watch his expressions and even his feet. The breadth of different sounds he produced was incredible - and he used a ton of una corda, which was really interesting to watch and hear. A master at work!

quick 5 miler, etc.

I was going to do 6 miles not-so-easy, but got up too late. So I did 5.1 miles instead (8.2k for my Canadian friends). It was nice & warm this morning at 48 degrees, and I felt pretty good despite only 5.5 hrs of sleep. I did the 8.2 k in 52'54" for 6:27/km. Was pushing a little, maybe 7 out of 10 for exertion, and ave HR was 147. The trick is going to be sustaining close to that pace for 2 hr 17 min for my half marathon next Sunday. I think I'm ready, but we'll see.

Last night I took Loren out for dinner for his birthday. We went to our favorite restaurant, The Paris. It was divine, as usual, and then we browsed a couple of bookstores before returning home. A great evening... but then I was up late and had to get up early. I'm tired today, have to work 4 hrs, go to a baby shower, teach a piano lesson, make dinner for the family and then get to go to a Murray Perahia concert tonight with Sarah.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Michelle still sick

Michelle is still pretty sick - 101.4 fever this morning, coughing, etc. Bummer. That means I can't work this afternoon, and I have an experiment to do. Drat. I will have to work Saturday and Sunday afternoons now to get my experiment done. Oh well. I guess I will enjoy having today off, anyway. :)

Thursday workout

Today I felt decent when I woke up. The cold wasn't as bad for me as for Michelle, so it wasn't a big deal to go for my workout. I slept pretty well, and really felt like getting out there. I did 10 min easy to the dog park, and then did 30 min tempo workout from there to Liberty Park, around Liberty Park twice, and back to the dog park. I did each circuit of Liberty Park in 13:54, maintaining a nice consistent pace of about 10:04 per mile (about 6:15/km). Usually my tempo workouts feel pretty hard - on the edge of being miserable - but today, I felt decent. I did feel like I was exerting myself pretty well, but it was pleasant all the same. Maybe it's because the weather is a lot cooler? It was 43F this morning (6 degrees C) and clear and dry. Really nice weather for a good walk. I was wearing my new long sleeve technical shirt from the Boise race along with my black pants and light gloves, and it was just perfect.

Tuesday workout

Forgot to post about this. Did my first indoor track workout of the season. It wasn't that cold outside, but it was so dark, and I didn't feel like hassling with not being able to see my watch really well (my HR monitor/stopwatch is not backlit - ridiculous, I know). So I went to the Field House, where there is an indoor track. It's a very odd size at 211m around, but it works just fine. I wanted to do 8x400m in 2:18 each (5K pace), so before I left I calculated that that would be the same as doing 422m (twice around the indoor track) at 2:25. So I did 8 laps warm up, flexibility drills, and then 8x400 at 2:18-2:23 (I felt fast, so why not?) with 1 lap easy recovery inbetween. Then I did 8 laps cool down. Total of 40 laps, and felt pretty darn good at the end.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Michelle and I have awful colds. I think Michelle's is worse than mine - she had a fever of 102 this afternoon, poor thing, and she has been coughing and hoarse and sounds terrible. I just have a sore throat, am really tired, and have congestion/runny nose/headache. Not fun, but I was functional at least. I took care of the kids, and even managed to eke out a little housecleaning. I didn't work out - slept in a little (until 7 am!), because I needed it. I also took a nap this afternoon, which helped a lot. I'm feeling much better now and hoping to work out in the morning. I'm supposed to do a fairly evil tempo workout, which I will try if I'm feeling at all up to it.

I'm a little worried about Michelle - her breathing was pretty raspy at dinner and her cough was horrible. Loren didn't think it was much to be too concerned about, so we're playing it by ear. Will probably check on her a little before I head to bed this evening.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Long easy day & feeling great

Today I got up at 5:15 am to do a long, easy 12 miles. I completed my route (which was actually 11.94 miles/19.21 km) in 2:14:21. I kept it really easy - heart rate was an average of 132 (and my max is 191, so that's 69% of max) and my average pace was 7 min/km. When I finished, I felt like I could have gone much farther, no problem. If I ever do a marathon, I might shoot for that pace.

Of course, I am training for a HALF marathon, so I do plan to go much faster than that on race day (hey, 2 weeks from today!). I hope to do a 10:30 mile (6:30/km) for the race, to finish in 2:17 or less. We'll see. My previous PB is 2:20:35, but I did that in April only one week after I attended Dave's racewalking clinic (i.e., only 1 week after I learned to racewalk, since before that I was fitness walking, even though I was trying to racewalk). I have improved my technique and my fitness level a lot since then, so I don't think it's too ambitious to think that I could chop 4 minutes off of my time.

I'm feeling really great physically, except for some minor discomfort in my left leg, which flared up a lot after my 10 miler last Sunday morning. I stretched a lot today and am taking anti-inflammatories, so I hope that I won't have any trouble with it this time. So far, so good.

While out walking today, I "ran" into a couple friends in Liberty Park. I saw 2 racewalkers while heading down the west side of the park, and I thought "Racewalkers! I'm sure I must know them!". Sure enough, it was Nancy and Kat, who were just starting their morning workout (I was 1 hr 55 min into mine and almost done - had to start early to make it to church and to get home to help Loren w/the kiddos). We chatted for a couple of minutes about our various minor aches and pains and then I was on my way again, refreshed for having run into them.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mixing science and a sick kiddo

Today Calvin woke with a 102 degree fever. Yikes. No day care for him today... and I had to work. So, I took Michelle to day care, and Calvin got to come to work with me. After lab meeting (during which he "read" several books, pushed the stroller around the room, and talked a lot to my co-workers & boss), we went and did some paraffin sectioning (on the microtome - photo in this post). Co-worker D had embedded a bunch of regenerating newt spinal cords in paraffin and I spent the better part of the day making 10 micron sections of them on some slides. Definitely the tedious end of science today, but it was actually perfect for Calvin, who was able to sit next to me. He "read" books, played with his train and stuffed animals, listened to Kindermusik on my iPod, and resisted his nap mightily (I brought a foam mat for him to sleep on). He did SO well - I could not believe my good fortune. After sectioning for 5 hours straight with essentially no breaks, my brain was mush and it was definitely time to go home. At least I finished all 10 of the spinal cords, and D was pretty pleased, so all was well.

Much better

My leg is oh so much better today :) and I was able to do an easy 30 min racewalk with no problems whatsoever. Thank God for anti-inflammatories. My Nike+iPod says that I did 6:36/km for the 30 minutes, which is pretty fast for an easy workout. I wasn't trying to push and wasn't really paying much attention to how fast I was going - was simply thinking about how my left leg felt and making sure that it wasn't hurting. It wasn't, and I was happy :).

Tomorrow - some biking and weight training. Will take it easy on the leg, though.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Today I just did some weight training for upper body only, resting my sore left leg. Actually, it felt MUCH better this morning after anti-inflammatories and a good massage. I'm thinking of doing an easy walk tomorrow to see how it feels. I might try racewalking a slow pace for 30 min, unless it hurts right out of the starting gate, in which case I will do something else.

The rest of the day was not exactly restful - grocery shopping, cleaning, trip to Costco, and lots of laundry. One huge diaper blowout by Michelle and one diaper leak in bed this morning by Calvin made my life a bit more exciting than usual. I also made an extra grocery trip because Ream's had chicken tenderloins on sale for $1.70 per pound - really cheap! Of course, you had to buy 20 lb, but I have a big chest freezer, so it was worth it to stock up. We eat a lot of chicken stir fries, so that should be great.

Made lasagna for dinner tonight from my favorite cookbook - "The Best Light Recipe" from Cook's Illustrated. It is always a favorite, and at only 7 points per serving, totally rocks.

Tired, and it's late - so I'm going to get a little shut-eye now.