This week is exciting, because I get to celebrate my marathon taper! Not that I didn’t get a good taper in a few weeks ago when I was sick with a sinus infection… but that doesn’t really count. I’m staying hydrated, trying to not eat too much crappy food, and relaxing a little. Feels nice.

Last week, I went to Hands On Massage (my friend Mel’s business) and had a great neck and shoulder massage. It felt so nice! My neck has been getting sore from biking and being sick, and the massage worked out all the kinks. Now if only Mel were in town the week after my marathon…

Time to get some more work done. Take care!

Garmin Forerunner450CX

Well, I got an early birthday gift. Adam was much too good to me this year… maybe he likes me? We stopped by the Bike Shop after a great lunch with Jill at the Lunch Bag (I had my “special” Reuben- corned beef, kraut, and swiss on top of potatoes!)- and Adam passed me along my new awesome device: The Garmin Forerunner 405CX. I was a little hesitant, or was it intimidated? The watch came in a box with three cables, a USB drive, a plug, and a device that looks like a pulse oximeter. Turns out, the pulse oximeter thing is the charger for my watch. It’s pretty nifty.

Anyway, now, I’m sitting on the couch, and I plugged in my USB drive. The watch started talking to my computer, and then I logged into Garmin Connect. The results? Check it out!! So flippin’ cool. I think I can handle this type of advanced technology…

The Forerunner405CX is fairly easy to use. The face of the watch has a “touch” bezel, and it can be locked fairly easily. The menu selections are easy, too. The different features of the watch are typed right on the bezel, and if you want to get to one screen or another, you just lightly touch the area (menu, time, training, or GPS) and it will take you to that screen. The auto-scrolling display when the stopwatch is running is cool, too. Up to three features can be displayed on the screen at one time, and up to four different screens can be flashed at various intervals. For example, on today’s run, I was monitoring my overall time, pace, and heart-rate on one screen, and just my heart rate on another. The display is HUGE when the feature of interest is displayed. So easy to see. The heart rate monitor is comfortable, very similar to Polars. It’s a little bit of a bigger face, though. The battery is replaceable on it, as well, so I won’t have to send it in when it dies and wait for another one to come back (not that I’ve had to do that with any Polar band yet… but I heard that can be an issue).

The only downside is that the watch is fairly big. The bands are not very flexible around the face, and there is are gaps between the band and my radial and ulnar bones. The watch is also somewhat tricky to get synced with the GPS after the stopwatch is started… but that just might take more practice. The cool green color is pretty slick!! The watch looks tough. Adam warned me that its only water resistant, though, and it definitely makes me nervous that the charging nodes are on the backside of the face– where my wrists get all sweaty.

All in all, I think this is a sweet watch. I am really excited to try it out for my marathon. My old heart rate monitor didn’t have laps on it, so just that alone will be great. The best thing will be the large display of time and heart rate… I’m so excited!!!!

Race focus and Twittering

Less than two weeks until Lincoln! I am a plethora of emotions about it… excited, nervous, anxious, slightly discouraged. Excited: I get to see Jess, Leslie, and Sarah! Three friends from three super-important times in my life, all of whom are running the race with me on May 3rd! Nervous: I don’t know if I feel prepared. This also goes with slightly discouraged: I got sick about two weeks ago and am still coughing pretty poorly. Antibiotics have helped, but I am worried that I lost a lot of training during that rest period. But mostly, I’m anxious: Anxious to see how I’ll do, how I’ll perform, how it will come together (or won’t?) on race day.

My legs are feeling better, although I still get tinges of pain in my hamstrings. The Sole orthotics help, though. I did some LTs this morning at the Fitness Connection- It felt good to get my legs moving so hopefully I pumped all that bad crap out of my legs. Thinking about the race today- the Boston Marathon- got me motivated, though. To think, the winning women are running just under an hour faster than I hope to run in two weeks… That’s so fast! The fact that they can run splits of 5:20s after already running 20 miles… I don’t know I could run a 5:20 minute mile right now by itself!! I just have to relax and trust that the training base I put in over the winter on snow, the tempos I got in on the treadmill this spring, and the high cadence I’ve been putting down on the trainer are going to push me to keep my feet turning over and my breathing steady. Come race day, I can put it all together. One last push this week, and a nice taper, and that’s all I can do.

I was really hoping to watch some of the Boston Marathon online today, but I couldn’t get my Quicktime to work on my Mac. Bummer! I love the quick updates on the bostonmarathon.com website though. This new quick-update thing is pretty slick- I was ultra put off by it at first- the Twitter thing especially- because I didn’t really understand why anyone cares what I am doing every second of the day. But, my friend Lynn talked me into it by describing its networkability and how I can stay in-the-loop on cutting edge technologies and news and stuff. Pretty slick. So, I’m following tweets from NSF, NIH, NPR, professional triathletes, my favorite magazines, my sponsors, and my friends. It’s cooler than facebook, I think. It’s like an insta-blog, almost.

That’s about it. I am heading home to see what delicious dish Adam whipped up for dinner. Then its rest, an early morning ED run, and the Bike Task Force meeting!!

Century ride, Yooper style

Yesterday, a group of us ventured into the Keweenaw for a great 90+ mile ride. It was just shy of a century, and it was the best day yet for 2009!

The roads were clear, and the sun was out the whole day. There were six of us on a cruising ride, and it was so fun to be able to ride in a line and keep my heart rate down for the first two hours. I wasn’t planning on riding 100 miles (only 40-50), so when we got to mile 45 and I realized I had downed all my food, I got a little panicky. Luckily, Tervo had a few Honey Stingers in his back pocket. Fruit smoothie tastes so dang good!! We were also lucky that the Phoenix gas station was open (on Easter, no less!) and the nice lady there had her shelves stocked with great food (“Junk” food! Yum!). I had a candy bar and a bag of fritos, washed it down with some Coke, and felt invigorated. We hammered along at a pretty good clip, our second half was definitely faster than the first. The hills were tough, but I was glad to be able to get on the saddle for a good six hours! I have a sunburn on my thighs and nose, and a little chafing… but it was definitely worth it. Next time, I’m definitely bringing more food, even if I only “plan” to go for 40 miles!

Afterward, Adam and I brought stuff to make white chicken chili to Caleb’s house. Our creamy soup had a smooth roux base, chili spices, sweet red peppers, jalepenos, fresh tomatoes, garlic and onion. I am excited to have leftovers for lunch!! I also got some delicious California strawberries on sale at Econo… but they just don’t compare to the tiny Michigan berries that pack so much flavor. I can’t wait for summer, when I can finally get fresh, local fruits and veggies!!

Today is going to be an easy day, with a swim or easy run planned for the afternoon. I need to get it into gear with work- lacking focus (I think I absorbed a little too much vitamin D,… is that possible?!).

Under the weather

This week has been a whirlwind. Along with having to teach extra laboratories, doing lab work, and generally being productive, I got sick. Boo! But before I got sick, I got a lot accomplished. So did Adam:

I got my proofs back for my paper. How exciting! It looks so much more professional than the double-spaced reviews I have received previously. There are a few changes, but I think I can get them looked over and sent back in soon.

I was also asked to be a reviewer for Arthritis and Rheumatism. This was a surprise, because I always thought that reviewers had to be PhDs… but since the editors forwarded the article for review to me and my advisor, they must think we can contribute something. I’m excited to be able to have this opportunity.

On Thursday, I presented a podium talk for the Graduate Student Council Colloquium. I must have done well, because at the awards banquet yesterday, I won 1st place! That’s $300 in the bank, to help pay for my computer!

Oh, yeah, and I got a new computer (MacBook). It’s cool.

Being sick really puts a damper on everything, though. I got my new bike, but I can’t even ride it on the trainer because I can’t breathe through my nose 😦 OH! My new bike! Yeah, check it out:

My new Q-Roo Caliente!

San Remo carbon rims with nice tires…

A little D-Ace on this beauty.

FSA cranks

Abbie approves!