Monday, June 30, 2008

Wind power

We saw a ton of windmills while crossing South Dakota, and even saw some windmill blades on a truck. They were amazingly large. It was incredibly windy (headwind, which ruined our gas mileage), so it made sense.

Cody, WY

Last night we stayed in Cody, WY, a sleepy Western town in the high desert just east of Yellowstone National Park. It's named for Buffalo Bill Cody, of course. The Irma Hotel, which is downtown, has a bar that Queen Victoria gave him. It's made out of cherry wood and is supposed to be worth $200,000.

This morning I did a 1 hr easy walk all around town. The weather was very pleasant, probably low to mid 60s, dry, and sunny. I took a few pictures of the surroundings to share with you. My walk was about 5.7 miles in 1:01:24. I could have gone longer, but was worried about the kids waking up and bugging Loren. When I got back, they were all still asleep, so I'm taking this opportunity to blog.

The pictures are looking out over a residential neighborhood, and also of the downtown. Sorry for the bad quality, but the camera phone is all I can carry on my walks :).

Today we're going to enjoy Yellowstone National Park. I think the kids are going to love the geysers!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

With the T-Rex

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Wall Drug

Driving across South Dakota, you see signs like this for miles and miles. Wall Drug started in the 30's when the proprietors decided to offer free ice water to people traveling across the dusty plains. You can still get free ice water from them, but now it's a huge store/tourist trap. It's a ton of fun for kids, though - they have everything there: an animated T-Rex, a fountain to play in, a teepee, countless mounted animals (bison, bears, you name it), and even a jackalope (um, yeah, don't ask! I'll put a picture of it on here).
The best part of all of it was that it brings back childhood memories to come here - I remember coming with my parents in the 70s! I'm sure my mom still has the pictures of me and my brother on the jackalope.

Workout on the prairie

This morning I did an easy 40 minutes (3.83 miles) in Wall, South Dakota. The endless prairie surrounded me, and the weather was perfect. I'd guess low 60s, dry, and sunny.


Here are our kids with Robert and Jennifer's kids, at their home in the suburban Twin Cities. Coco is 4 months younger than Calvin, and Mimi is 3 months older than Michelle.


We went to Minneapolis/St.Paul before we were in South Dakota at Wall Drug, but what the heck. Here are a few pictures, out of order. We saw St. Paul's cathedral, the State Capitol, the I-35 bridge repair, the historic flour mills, and yes, the Mall of America, replete with inside roller coasters, on which Loren enjoyed a speedy ride. We enjoyed a fantastic visit with our wonderfully gracious hosts, Robert and Jennifer, who took us out to dinner and even got a sitter for our kids and theirs so that we could enjoy a night on the town together.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday easy day

I wish I'd have had time to walk longer today. It was SO beautiful. Robert and Jennifer told me about a walking trail along Cleary Lake, near their home. It was a well-marked (it had mile AND km markers every mile and every km!!!) paved trail 3.36 miles long around a beautiful lake. It was 59 degrees and only a little bit humid this morning, with a slight drizzle at times. I did 2 loops of the trail for 6.72 miles in 1:10:23. I wanted to do one more loop, but alas, no time. I took some pictures but will post them later.

Edited later: Accidentally deleted my pictures :( so you'll just have to take my word for how beautiful it was. I'd walk here again any time!

Friday's workout

Here is Green Lake, Wisconsin. I did a workout along the lakeshore. I was going to do a full Norwegian, but didn't have time, so I did a mini-Norwegian. This is short fast intervals with 2 min rest in between. The fast intervals were 2 min, 4 min, 6 min, then 5 min, 3 min, 1 min. It felt hard but comfortably so, and I know if I'd had time I could have done the full instead. Oh well!

After the workout and breakfast w/the family, we drove to the Minneapolis area to spend the night with our friends Robert & Jennifer. They took us on a driving tour of the twin cities and out to a great dinner. We saw the gorgeous older Victorian homes in St. Paul, the St. Paul Cathedral, the waterfall in the Mississippi where the city of Minneapolis started (there was a mill there), the historic flour factories, the State Capitol building, and much more. We ate (too much!) at a great restaurant called the Bonfire, and had amazing cakes afterwards at a pastry shop. Wow, were we spoiled!

More photos later...

Friday, June 27, 2008

4 generations

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Mom & Dad

 It sure was great to see my parents, even if it was a short visit.
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 With my brother Alex after the ordination service last night. It was a pretty long service, as they ordained over 100 people. It had a bit of a feel of a commencement ceremony and a worship service combined. We almost didn't have child care (long story) but at the last minute it came through. Whew. It would have been really tough to watch the kids during the 2 hour service.
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today's plans

Today's the big day! My brother is getting ordained tonight in the Evangelical Covenant Church at their general conference here in Green Lake. He worked for 10 years to get his master's degree in theology, one class at a time, and then had to pass his ordination exam. We're all very proud of him.

The ordination service is at 7 pm, and so we're all going out to dinner at about 4:30 pm and then heading over there. I hope the kids will be well-behaved; if not, we'll just take them outside or something.

Speaking of the kids, this is what I saw when I got back from my walk this morning.

Green Lake walk

It's beautiful here, though it's quite humid (yeah, I know, I'm a wuss when it comes to humidity, because I've lived in California and Utah for so long; I lived the first 10 years of my life in the midwest and the next 7 in the east, so you'd think I could handle it - wrong!). I took a walk this morning from our hotel to the lakeshore, along the shore for a while, and then back to the hotel. It was an easy walk after yesterday's acceleration workout. I did 5.5 miles in 59:02.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yay! I'm out of the car! Freedom!!!

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Concert in the park

 Calvin and Alex and Erica enjoying the music.
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Flooding part 3

 Note the water level here too; you can see where it was higher earlier.
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More flooding

 You can see the water is quite high on the trees in Hamilton, Ill.
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 Last night & this morning we were in Keokuk, Iowa, to pick up my grandma and take her to Wisconsin for my brother's ordination tomorrow. While there, we surveyed the flooding. Keokuk itself is on a bluff, and so it was not flooded, but across the river in Hamilton, Illinois, it was a different story. Here's a photo of the river, and you can see that it is almost at the roadbed of the old bridge. It was a few feet higher over the weekend, and almost on the roadbed, according to my Aunt Sarah. We drove over into Illinois and the river was waaaaaaay past where it should have been; it was halfway up the trunks of many trees. I will put some more pictures up later; it's late and I need some sleep so I can get my walk in tomorrow morning.

Speaking of walk, this morning I did 5.8 miles in 59:09. I have no access to a track right now, so I'm just doing heart rate training. I did 10 min at 140 to warm up, then 5 min at 145, 5 min at 150, 5 min at 155, and 25 min at 160, then 10 min at 140 to cool down, for about 60 min total (the cool down was a bit under 10 min, because I got back to Grandma's house quickly). It was very humid - in fact, it drizzled lightly for much of my walk. I was unbelievably sweaty when I returned to the house. I'm not used to all this humidity! It was a hard but good workout, though. Nice views - I saw the view in the photo with this post (although the photo was taken the night before).

Then we drove to Wisconsin, which took about 6 hours. We ate dinner with my brother and his wife and her parents, along with my grandma, and then we took the kids to an outdoor concert by the lake (free, and very nice!). The kids danced, ran, and enjoyed being out of the car. I'll put up a couple more pics before bed.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


We saw this on a train yesterday - yes, it's a plane fuselage. There were 3 of them on the train, and they are clearly not finished yet. We wondered where they were going. I had never ever seen anything like this on a train before!

The rest of the drive was not too exciting - Nebraska is flat and full of cornfields. We did listen to some good audio books, and the kids had their DVDs, so it was fine. On to Iowa today, to my grandma's house.

Easy walk

I originally had in mind to do a harder workout today, but I'm sore from yesterday's run, it's HUMID here in Lincoln, Nebraska (where we stayed last night), and it was drizzling this morning after a thunderstorm last night that kept me awake for a few hours. Ugh. So, I thought an easy walk would be good to loosen me up, and I'll do the hard workout tomorrow. I keep switching around my schedule, but sometimes you just have to do what works.

I found a nice greenbelt to walk on this morning (I looked for this one online last night) and took a few pics. It was pretty, and I did 4.1 miles in 43-something; my iPod said I did 10:30 miles. Pretty good for an easy day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Trail run

One thing you really can't do is racewalk on an unpaved trail. I had read about this run in Runner's World magazine, and I wanted to do it, so I decided to RUN, yes RUN, the 6.4 mile round trip. So this morning I ran the Cow Creek trail to Bridal Veil Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was awesome. There were 2 short parts that I had to power walk/hike because they were too steep for me to run, and then the last half to 3/4 mile was also too steep to run. It took me 43 minutes to get to the falls (3.2 miles) and 34 minutes to get back, for 1:17 total. Not bad for a racewalker who never runs, and at high altitude too! It was from 7840 feet to 8880 feet at the falls, for 1040 feet of elevation gain. Of course, I live at 4400 feet or so, and that helps a lot, but this is still at elevation even for me. I didn't notice it so much, though, and the run felt pretty easy for the most part. My legs were more tired than my lungs, as I'm not used to running and it uses the quads lots more than racewalking. But it was a lot of fun, and there are more pictures here if you want to see them!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The cold and wind at the Forest Canyon overlook did not deter the kids from playing on this bench!
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Top of the world

Trail Ridge Road is the highest highway in the United States; we crossed 12,183 feet today. It was 50 degrees and windy and snowing at the top.
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Top this!

So, this is what we did today. Rocky Mountain National Park is amazing!!!
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Greenbelt paradise

Today we're in Wheat Ridge, CO, a suburb of Denver, on the 2nd day of our vacation (we drove here yesterday, along beautiful I-70 through the Rocky Mtns). We are going to Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park today! First, though, I got up and was out the door just before 6 am while the family slept; I went for a 1.5 hr easy racewalk. I didn't have high hopes for a beautiful walk, but about 1 km from the hotel I stumbled upon the Wheat Ridge Greenbelt, and it was beautiful. The weather was mild (60?) and the stream provided cool air and greenery. I walked 8.63 mi (acc to my iPod) in this beautiful paradise in 1:32:35 for a 10:43 mile. It was a very easy pace, and my heart rate was mostly in the mid-130s (65%).
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Work stuff

I don't post too much about work; some of it is just caution because I like my job and want to keep it! However, I thought I'd post a little today about what's been going on. Co-worker DK gave a very good talk today at the RIP (research in progress), and though I was 15 min late (no one told me it was at 11:45 not at noon!), I enjoyed it quite a lot. He discussed differing theories regarding ependymal cell proliferation and migration during spinal cord regeneration in salamanders, and showed some of our data. I was pleased to see that my endless photo sessions of newt spinal cord actually do look good on the big screen :). After his talk, I spent the rest of the afternoon immersed in a bad audio book (hey, it was free from, so what the heck) while I sectioned some more newt spinal cords. These were embedded in plastic (vs. the usual paraffin or OCT (frozen)), and require a little different technique to section, but they are pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I managed to get 4 spinal cords sectioned (longitudinally) before it was time to get the kids from day care.

Workout update

Yeah, I've been busy this week. But I'm still here, and I did a hard workout today.

Wednesday: 1.5 miles easy for warm-up, then weight training - a very hard day of weights, including walking lunges w/25 lb in each hand. That one always gets my glutes really sore, but it's SO good!

Thursday: I was exhausted, and needed a rest day badly. I had planned a hard workout but my body and mind weren't up to it, so I rested, and even took an afternoon nap. I decided to do my hard workout Friday instead.

Friday (today): I felt ready to go after my rest day, so I did my hard workout. I walked to Liberty Park for a warm-up (about 2K) and then did 4 x approx 2K with a few minutes recovery. Liberty Park is the perfect place to do this workout; it's a rectangle, and 2 long sides + 1 short side is about 2K, and then the other short side can be used for recovery. I did the 2Ks in 11:22, 11:24, 11:31, and 11:32. Pretty darn good, as I planned on 11:30s for all. I was very tired on the last one; even though I probably couldn't have done another one that hard today, I do want to work up to doing 5 x 2K before my race in August.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Track workout #2

Tonight it was HOT. Low 90s, but dry (it's almost always dry here in Utah!). Anyway, we met for the track workout and there were probably 7 or 8 of us (runners and walkers). We did a 1 mile warm up, stretched a little, then did 3 x 800 with 400 rest in between. We were supposed to do the 800s based on our marathon goal pace. For example, if you want to do a 3hr 30min marathon you should do a 3min 30sec 800. Well, I want to do a 4:45 marathon, so I'd do 4'45" repeats. However, since I'm training for a fast 5k and 10k in August, I decided to do 4'36" repeats instead. These are called "Yasso repeats" from Runner's World guru Bart Yasso.

I did my repeats in 4:35, 4:37, and 4:39, with the proscribed 400m rest. Despite the heat, I felt fine, though I did have to drink a lot of water.

It was really fun working out w/runners for a change. Interestingly, I did the repeats faster than almost all of the runners that worked out tonight. Many of them were doing 5:00 times! It was fun warming up and cooling down with them and having someone to talk to. I liked that a lot.

Track workout #1

I have 2 track workouts planned today. Yup, that's crazy. But I kinda wanted to do it. I made my morning one more of a sprint workout, as the evening one is with TNT, training for the marathon, and so it's a slower workout.

I did another one of Sarah's workouts. I thought it would be easy, but no, it was really hard. It was 200m in 58s then 200m in 75s, no rest, x 10 laps. My fastest 200 was 57s (I did a couple this fast) but most were 59s-1:02. The last one was 1:04 (ugh!). The bigger problem was the recovery 200s - they were in more like 85-90s instead of 75s. Oh well. I did try really hard, and my heart rate was at 90% at the end of my fast sprints, so I don't think I could have done much better. I had some gastric distress, though, so all things considered it went pretty well. My total time was very similar to Sarah's when she did hers: 24 min and change (I'm not sure exactly how much); Sarah did 24:27. I sure wish I lived closer to someone exactly my speed like her so that we could push each other. It's a bit lonely doing these alone, even though the track had about 5-7 others on it (runners mostly) the whole time I was working out.

I think it was because of the yummy dinner last night - I made chick pea burgers with Tahini sauce; it was from my Healthy in a Hurry cookbook, and it's supposed to taste like falafel but lower in fat. It was delicious, but every time I eat legumes I end up with problems. I should stop doing this the nights before a hard workout!

Got to work now, but will post again after my workout tonight.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thoughts on freedom

I was in the bookstore yesterday, and I saw a book entitled "The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation" there. Naturally, it caught my attention. I glanced through the book, a collection of short stories, and the title started me thinking about freedom. I really have no idea what the book is about, or even whether it's good or not (it looks promising), but my thoughts on freedom started from the title.

Is freedom really doing whatever you want? In the arena of food, I have to say that the answer is a resounding NO. As a recovering foodaholic, I can definitely say that the food made me its slave (and still does sometimes). Freedom in this case means freedom from the compulsion to eat when I'm not hungry, freedom from the compulsion to eat way too much chocolate, freedom from desire for food, and freedom to focus on other things. Even right now as I write this, I am wanting to eat chocolate. Lots of it. I feel compelled, but instead I will have a sugar free hot cocoa and curl up with a book. I want to be free from the chains that have bound me for so long, and the act of liberation here is to say NO to the food that enslaves. Food is pleasurable, true, and can be used for good, but it can also be used for evil. The pastor of our church often says that we don't sin - rather, sin does us. There is a lot of truth in that. I have been set free, and I am being set free, and I will be set free, by the grace of God. A long journey, but a rewarding one.

Today's walk

Easy trip around SugarHouse Park. Took a little over 40 minutes, and I was a bit tired during the workout. I probably should have taken a rest day!

Loves elephants

 Yup, this smirk says it succinctly. He loves elephants, and riding the new carousel at the zoo was the most fun he'd had in a long time. Both kids screamed and wailed when it was time to get off!
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From our yard

 We got this lovely rosebush last summer, along with a few others. I'm enjoying them SO much this year!
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 These are Calvin's Qs. Actually, they are a B, D, P, and Q, but turned this way, they all look like Qs. He is obsessed with them, carrying them everywhere. He even wants to sleep with them :).
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