clevermynnie: (see us waving)
I'm definitely on track for my trail 50k in two weeks, having done 20 miles on the Wicklow Way this weekend without any issues. (Well ok, today I am sore, but manageably so.) It was snowy and icy, conditions I'm unlikely to encounter at a trail race in Texas, but everything held together fine, and I was actually able to go pretty fast on the downhills at the end. Which I couldn't do the last time I did part of the Wicklow Way, so great! I also finally signed up for the Mourne Ultra in June, that 52 mile race that I ran 39 miles of last year. I plan to finish, but failing that I plan to enjoy myself, get lost less, and stay relaxed.

And, this weekend I did something I never thought I'd do: bikram yoga. I don't do very well in the heat, generally speaking, but I actually really enjoyed it! I think my sporadic ashtanga practice, plus my endurance from running, plus the familiarity of being drenched with sweat from Philly summers, combined to give me a really good first session. I couldn't do everything, or do everything I did do perfectly, but it was enjoyable and hard and I felt great afterward. I will do this more!

I kind of miss weights, but I'm not a fan of the TCD gym's weight area which is crowded and not that well-equipped. Plus I got into weights in part because it was something Ben and I could do together, and he dislikes the TCD gym so much he is switching to somewhere else. But the TCD gym does have a nice pool, and it is in the same building as my work, so I will continue to use it for that at least.
clevermynnie: (mask)
I ran my second 50k last weekend, the Greenland Trail 50k near Colorado Springs, in 7:48. This was a PR by almost 3 hours, largely due to running this race on a dry trail instead of the mud and ice I dealt with on my first 50k. I still think this is a pretty soft PR for me, though, because I made some errors which turned this into a learning race. Maybe at some point I should do a 50k that does not have challenging conditions!

the long story )

I am signed up for my first 50-mile race in a month. I have to admit that my enthusiasm for that has waned slightly after this tough experience, but on the other hand this was an ideal training run for that 50-mile race! Plus the 50-miler will be just north of where I live, so there should be no dryness or elevation issues. It has pretty tight time cut-offs, for my speed at least, but I figure if I ever want to be able to do 50 miles, I should start trying, and timing out with anything more than 50k run would be a victory for me. And once that race is over, I can examine what I learned from that race, and this one, and figure out what things to change in my training to improve my performance. I love doing these trail races, and I love training for them, and I love how I feel after finishing a run that was hard. Hopefully I will still feel that way after attempting 50 miles!
clevermynnie: (smile)
Part of moving somewhere new is finding the things you miss from your last home in the new place. So when I got an email about a women in science group at Trinity, I was excited! I was, of course, heavily involved in the women in science group at Penn, so I went to the new group's website and found their next event and put it in my calendar. Yesterday I went to the building it was supposed to be in, had trouble finding the room which turned out to be empty, and then ended up at the women in science group office and met the director! It turns out I got inaccurate information from their site, but I learned that they have institutional funding (unlike my group at Penn which was student-run and had to beg for money from the student government), and the director asked to have coffee with me to ask about my experiences in my last women in science group. I was a little embarrassed to wander into their offices randomly going 'is there an event now?' but if I get to meet the people in charge immediately, that's quite cool.

I also finally gave in and started looking for haircut places that had a reputable person for curly hair. I loved the hair person I had in Philadelphia, she was so great, so I got a haircut right before moving away and then delayed finding a person here for 5 months until my hair started bugging me with its weight and weight-induced funky curling. Today I went to the new place for the haircut, and was surprised to find scale models of a TIE fighter and an X-Wing hanging over the haircut chair! Then I talked with the guy cutting my hair about Persepolis, which was sitting right there, and other graphic novels we had both read, and also about running! And the haircut was great! Critical success!

And a perk of my job is that it gives me a discounted rate at the Trinity gym, which is pretty nice and with the discount, wayyyy cheaper than other gyms in this area. And it gives Ben the same rate as my spouse, which is even better because he only likes sports that require a gym, like weightlifting and rock-climbing; in contrast, while I miss weights and swimming, the running/yoga regimen I can do at home is pretty fun. But we both went and signed up, and now there will be swimming! And maybe dead lift.

essay win!

Jan. 4th, 2012 11:28 pm
clevermynnie: (mask)
Hey, remember how I entered a feminist essay contest? It was for the 40th anniversary Ms. Magazine symposium, and I got an honorable mention! This means I didn't win the cash prize (whatever), but my essay will be posted next to the Ms. cover I wrote about during the symposium. Which is pretty cool! I just wish I could attend in person, but it's in the Bay Area at the end of the month so that is not happening. Gloria Steinem is giving the keynote address, and she is such a stellar speaker, but having seen her before softens the blow a little bit.

The word limit was so low that I couldn't say everything that I would have liked to, but it was a good challenge to try to write very succinctly. I picked a cover that was about sports because I have strong feelings about women's sports... not surprisingly, if you think about my hobbies. (Note to self: I should fundraise for the Women's Sports Foundation with that 50-mile race I was looking at in June!) Anyway, here is the cover I wrote about and my short essay.



Florence Griffith Joyner seems poised to fly off the cover of Ms. Magazine. Her bold, strong form, her look of resolve, and the power evident in each tensed muscle show the extreme fortitude she possessed. This quality helped her to both set sprinting world records which stand today and persevere through intense criticism. Trailblazers in women's sports were denigrated for both their performance and their adherence or lack thereof to gender roles. But rather than becoming trapped in this double-bind, they relentlessly pursued their athletic goals. Women's struggle to obtain equality in the arena of sports has pushed humanity to recognize that the forms of physical prowess—strength, grace, power, agility—are not restricted to either gender. The popularity of female sports icons and the availability of school sports programs show today's girls the joy of knowing, using, and loving your body. Flo-Jo, and women athletes like her, are avatars of feminism.
clevermynnie: (Default)
In Philadelphia, I had several friends who ran, but I never really tried to get any running buddies. I just waited until I met cool people who were also runners and then I went running with them. This worked pretty well, in that I eventually had a running buddy who was faster than me as well as one who was an inspiration for longer races, but it took awhile to find those friends.

So here, I opted to join a running club! I found one with weekly runs that start a half mile from our place, and I have gone to two so far. The runs are small, with around 6 people each time, and there's a good mix of people with longer race experience and people who are just getting back into running. And I always find that I run faster with other people than I do alone, without it feeling very hard. Plus, meeting people who are full of suggestions for races and running routes is pretty nice.

I still don't have any races in mind, but I figure if I head into the New Year with a solid December under my belt then I can actually pick something. I have been getting in three solid shorter runs and a long run each week, and it feels great. I love the running weather here, and the views. Pity I don't have my camera with me on runs!
clevermynnie: (and then?)
I have been running along the Clontarf waterfront since we moved to our new place, and I really like it. It's nicer than where I was running in south Dublin: it doesn't take as long to get to the sea, and the park is wider so there's little road noise, and the park as a whole is also longer. And I can go to Bull Island for long runs, which has a beach and great views. That has the northern twin of the southern lighthouse that I ran to, but sadly the sea wall to the northern lighthouse isn't sturdy enough for pedestrians. I've also heard about nice trail runs up north in Howth, or south in Bray. I haven't done runs from public transit before, and I'm a bit worried about the sweaty ride home, but I should try it and see how it goes.

There's a lot of great terrain for trail running in Ireland, but it seems from searching for races like longer trail runs haven't really caught on. There is the Irish Mountain Running Association, which seems to be mostly short races, and there is a handful of road ultras which I feel meh about. I did find the Mourne Way Ultra which is 52 miles and on trails, in northern Ireland next June. It sounds pretty and I'd love to try a 50, or even just the marathon if I don't feel 50-ready at the time. But it would be nice to find something this winter, or next spring to prepare for Mourne Way. Though hmm, it looks like Wales and Scotland have a lot more races.

I'm also trying to do yoga on all the days I don't run. These are basically the two sports available to me since we don't have a gym membership for swimming and weights. Although, maybe we could find a tennis court...

lake nummy

Jul. 9th, 2011 04:22 pm
clevermynnie: (smile)
I think I mentioned before how I was thinking about doing an open water race this summer, because I've been running very little and swimming a lot due to the heel pain (which is mostly gone at this point!). And then I thought about how I can't help attaching goals to hobbies, and it often stresses me out, and this summer is already crazy stressful for me. So what I ended up finding was an open water swimming clinic, in southern New Jersey at Lake Nummy (seriously), where they promised to teach a lot of open water swimming technique and also have a course set up at the end for you to swim. That's basically a low-key race plus information, and it was cheaper than the other races I'd found! So this morning I got up really early and drove to the lake.

In terms of information, it was actually really helpful. They gave a lot of tips about sighting and navigation, trying to figure out what things you will be able to see from the water level before you get in. And they showed how to lift your head up a little while breathing, to look vaguely forward, and that's way more efficient that the full head up thing I assumed was how you did it. Plus you can mostly keep your head down, even in cloudy water, which I didn't realize. And they explained that drifting to one side is often caused by stroke imbalance, so if you do that you can practice swimming with your eyes closed in a swimming pool with a focus on evenness between your two sides. Which was really interesting, although then I had basically no problem with drift. And we did drills on drafting behind someone, cutting across a group of swimmers, and generally swimming with a bunch of people around, and it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. The coolest thing of all that we learned was a trick for going around buoys, where basically you drop your shoulder closest to the buoy, flip onto your back to do a single backstroke, then flip over again and now you've rounded the buoy. Really easy and clever.

I got a lot out of the tips, but I also didn't realize before going that most of the people there would be triathletes who were bad at swimming. I think the normal thing is to do a lot of running and biking growing up, and then be weaker at swimming, instead of being like me and learning to ride a bike at 25 after being on a few swim teams. So I was the weird person during introductions, "hi, I'm not training for anything because I'm moving soon, and I wanted some tips and then to swim in a lake!" They mentioned to us that wetsuits can lift your legs in the water, which is hydrodynamically better, and I am thinking to myself that your legs should already be lifted if you have good balance and your head is in the right place, and then they told us that wetsuits help bad swimmers more than they help good swimmers. Oh. (They also help keep you warm, but that is really not a problem here in the summer.) There was also a weird exchange when one of the other people asked the coaches what "the technique was called" where you lead your strokes with your hips, and then someone else said "Emergent swimming" or something silly-sounding like that, and I am thinking to myself "that's called the only right way to do it". I wonder if this is what running technique discussions sound like to longtime runners.

Anyway, at the end they had a quarter-mile course set up, and I managed to get 1.5 miles of continuous swim in before they took the buoys away! It was really fun and easy with the buoy, sighting, and head positioning tips they'd given us. Not much of that was swimming in a pack, because (this sounds so jerky) I was the fastest and also swam the longest, but it was so relaxing and enjoyable. The view when you're swimming somewhere scenic isn't quite as good as the view running somewhere scenic, but the feel of the water is so great. Even when algae is stuck to your hair afterward.

not running

Jun. 6th, 2011 03:56 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
After a month of not running didn't fix my plantar fasciitis, I broke down and went to see a sports doctor last week. The doctor pointed out very logically that even if I stopped running, if I was still spending 40 minutes a day walking in sandals because I commute by walking and it's hot, that would slow the healing of the foot issue. So we came up with a two week concerted plan to improve things, and I have another appointment next week. I'm supposed to:

1. Wear orthotic insoles that support my heel, which I was against until the sports doctor gave me some for free
2. Commute in supportive athletic shoes, which I had to buy some of because all I had were Kinvaras
3. Ice my feet every day (which I was doing)
4. Massage my plantar fascia with a small tennis ball every day (which I was not doing)
5. Take massive doses of Aleve until my next appointment
6. Stretch my lower legs a lot

I hope this helps. In the meantime I realized that I was getting depressed every Sunday and it was likely due to the absence of my long run. Work has been very frustrating and so it has been bad to not have running as an outlet, though I have been swimming and lifting more. I do have clearance to run a little now, so I think I will take a PAWS dog on a short run sometime in the next couple of days.

feets

May. 12th, 2011 03:24 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
I'm having to take a bit of a break from running to do more cross-training. The reason is this: a few weeks before the April trail marathon I did, I did a tough long run that left my hip and foot sore, on and off, on one side. I backed off for a couple of days, and the hip pain gradually went away but the foot pain didn't. I realized the week before the marathon that I had mild plantar fasciitis, and that's what the pain in my heel was. The marathon was paid for, trained for, and tapered for, so I resolved to run it anyway. Sadly, I had been wanting to do a 50k in June, and doing that would almost certainly exacerbate the problem and make me have to take even more time off down the line. So that's out, and I've started swimming and weightlifting this week and will probably focus on that in May. This isn't bad since I like doing those things, and I think recently I haven't been that good at cross-training (I hadn't swam in awhile and I usually did weights just once a week).

In Dublin the foot didn't feel great, because it was less than a week since the marathon and I was having to walk a lot. But now that I'm back to a normal level of walking, it actually is feeling a lot better. Plus swimming, lunges, planks, etc. feel difficult but great. I'm sore today but in a totally different way than after a tough run.

I still really want to go trail running, though.
clevermynnie: (mask)
On Saturday I ran the Delaware Trail Marathon, which is part of the Triple Crown Trail races. The whole thing is put on by a church organization, and benefits homeless shelters, and has a low entry fee and minimal frills (but, a post-race barbecue! some frills are more important than others). I ran it in a personal record for slowness, which is pretty reasonable given the trail difficulty. I would call this my first real trail marathon (Febapple was also real trail but an ultra), with single-track and lots of ascent and descent, and a few obstacles like fording a stream and logs to go over and under. But overall it was very laid back and fun.

more details )
clevermynnie: (mask)
The quick summary is this: I finished, though it was really difficult, mostly due to trail conditions. My time was 10:42, for a trail 50k (31 miles).

long story )

I am signed up for a trail marathon next, in late April, and I have another 50k in mind... it is nice to think about how those races won't have ice. Probably.
clevermynnie: (Default)
I recently came across a free academic journal article that is about obesity, science, and the idea of health at every size. It reiterates much of what I wrote and quoted here, but extensively referenced and written in a more dry, academic style (because it's a journal article). I strongly recommend reading it! It's called Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift.
clevermynnie: (Default)
This morning, while running over the Ben Franklin Bridge to New Jersey and back, I was complaining to my running buddy that I am often kind of uncomfortable when the topic of exercise and dieting for weight loss comes up in a group of people. I don't think that calorie restriction below a certain point is healthy, I don't think you should force yourself to do exercise you don't enjoy, and I don't support doing either of those things to make your body more compliant with the cultural beauty standard. So when people start talking about how to drop pounds fast by following a ridiculous diet, or about how they are going to start exercising a lot but also calorie restrict, I want to point them in a healthier direction... but it is hard because people get really defensive about body things and don't want to hear that what they are doing to get their "dream body" might not work or be unhealthy in the long run. My running buddy asked me to sum up my philosophy in three sentences, and this is what I came up with:

1. Eat a diverse diet, when you are hungry.
2. Find a sport you like (or several) and do it as much as you can make time for.
3. Don't be concerned about what your body looks like, be concerned with what it can do.

It's been really helpful for me to read nutrition books that are aimed at athletic performance rather than weight loss, like Performance Nutrition for Runners, and exercise books that explain some physiology so that you understand what's happening in your body as you train, like Galloway's Book on Running. Actually, now that I think about it, it could be very interesting to get an exercise physiology textbook and read some of it. Hmm.

heat

Aug. 17th, 2009 11:09 am
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
It's been very hot here, and I'm starting to get tired of it.

On Saturday morning we went to the Italian Market to pick up some things for a group picnic and for home, and at 9:30 it was already 85 degrees (and humid). We spent a lot of the day inside, then went out for the picnic at 4. It wasn't too bad because we got a picnic spot in the shade (at Lemon Hill in Fairmount Park). Everyone brought amazing food, we tossed around a frisbee, we went through a case of beer in a cooler very fast. Though at the end the sun was on us and it was feeling hot, again (and humid). On Sunday I had a long run, 18 miles... I have been getting up for those at 7:30, but it's clear now that that isn't early enough. It was about 80 when I started (and humid), and I was overheating and sweating a lot, so I drank too much water; so I felt sick and hot and unhappy and was way slow near the end, when it was 90 (and humid). I was completely out of it all the rest of yesterday, feeling not sore but just exhausted and vaguely ill. I drank tons of water, took a nap, but none of that seemed to help. I do feel better today, but I'm sure a large part of that is being in my lab, which is temperate. I lifted weights this morning and did pathetically badly.

And the forecast for the next several days is in the lower 90s (and humid...).

I did watch two good movies this weekend: Persepolis and Fire. Fire was amazing; Persepolis was good but the graphic novel was better. While watching those I forgot how hot it was. :)
clevermynnie: ((open your eyes))
On Sunday morning, shortly after I returned from a 14-mile run in very high humidity, a huge thunderstorm went over my house. Sheets of rain, no delay between flashes of lightning and loud cracks of thunder, cats freaked out and hiding. And while our power wasn't affected, something came up the line and fried our dsl modem, router, and the network card in my computer! It was a really impressive storm, but that is not very convenient. I'm glad I wasn't caught outside, though.

This weekend was the first weekend that Ben and I spent entirely in Philadelphia since June. It was pretty nice, running errands, barbequing ribs, cleaning up the plants gone crazy in our backyard. We are starting to get big tomatoes, and our herbs finally picked up and started growing huge. Back when we were having trouble with slugs eating our basil, we got six basil plants and put them in different areas. And four of them survived and got really big. Yum.

I finally signed up for the Indianapolis Marathon, in October. I kept putting it off until right before the fees went up, I guess because of how disappointed I was with the Providence Marathon in May. But I changed my training so that I'm less likely to irritate a tendon like that (added more drills, hills, miles, and five-finger running), and I feel like I could have gone under 5 hours in Providence if that hadn't happened... so it seems like with another several months of training, it will be even more likely to happen in Indianapolis. We'll see. What's exciting is that my friend Jeanine who just had a baby in May will be running too, in the 5K. I love that. I'm also considering a half a month after Indianapolis, in New England with my friend Steph, which I think would be fun and low-key. There is an awesome half the same weekend as Indianapolis, the Applefest Half-Marathon, which I would really like to do (maybe next year). It's apple-themed, you see.

On my Sunday run I ended up running through the course for the Philadelphia SheRox triathlon, and seeing the frontrunners on their running and biking legs. I really, really want to do a tri. Since that one bike lesson I have had a hard time finding time to practice, since I don't own a bike and every possible practice configuration ends up not working. I have to make time though, because I want to practice a few times this year, maybe get a cheap bike once I am ok with it, and be good enough to do a tri next year.

Here is what I would love long-term for distance events:

1 year from now: first triathlon (probably sprint distance)
5 years from now: marathon time sub-4-hours (the BQ time for my age group is 3:40, which would be amazing), first 50 mile race, normal distance tris
10 years from now: ultras (100!), more marathons, an Ironman!

Somehow endurance sports fit my mentality very well. I'm kind of surprised at how long it took me to realize that.

softball

Jul. 7th, 2009 04:08 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
My department has an intramural coed softball team, named the Quantum Fielders. I joined last year, despite having no real softball experience to speak of, because they were short on women. I didn't play all the games, but the ones I was in were pretty fun. But I was really terrible, which was frustrating (even though the team as a whole was not great either); I guess I, like most people, don't enjoy being bad at things.

But I decided to play again this year, and I enjoyed it a lot more. It's partly that I retained the improvements I made over the course of the season last year, so I was a bit better and was able to get some nice hits and make some nice plays. I also managed to catch a foul ball as it came off someone's bat twice, which felt pretty badass. I played in every game, and it also helped that our team was pretty good this year! We ended the normal season 5-1, with the one loss being a pretty close game against a good team (from biology, I think). There are playoffs, but they haven't started yet. There ended up being a lot of games rained out because we had such a rainy June, so they used the playoff days to get a lot of the rain games, and the playoffs got pushed back. I won't be here for the first 3 playoff games because I'm going back to New Mexico, unfortunately, though if we make it to the championship I'll be able to play.

I think it probably also helped that I am in better shape now than I was in June last year; I had been exercising regularly then but I didn't run or lift nearly as much, so this year I had more strength and speed to use.

This afternoon there is a barbeque/All-Star Game/Home Run Derby for the league. I got voted to be one of our representatives at the Home Run Derby, which is hilarious because I hit almost all grounders, but it should be fun.
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
A recent article in Scientific American discusses how exercise helps to retain cognitive function in older people.

"It makes sense that training or participation in mentally stimulating activities would help cognition, but it is perhaps less immediately obvious why physical activity would have such an effect. Consider the increasingly well-documented link between physical activity and disease. A plethora of studies have examined the health benefits of exercise and a nonsedentary lifestyle for prevention of disease. For example, we now know that physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular-related death, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and osteoporosis. On the other hand, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer have been associated with compromised cognition. Therefore, you might expect that increased physical activity and exercise would maintain cognition by reducing risk of diseases associated with cognitive decline.

In a study published in 2006 psychologist Stanley J. Colcombe of the University of Illinois and his colleagues examined the influence of fitness training on potential changes in brain structure. The six-month trial included 59 healthy but sedentary community-dwelling volunteers, age 60 to 79. Brain scans after fitness training showed that even relatively short exercise interventions can begin to restore some of the losses in brain volume associated with normal aging.

Supporting these findings, a large body of nonhuman animal research has demonstrated a number of changes in brain structure and function after animals are exposed to enriched, or complex, environments. Enriched environments usually include running wheels, a multitude of toys and objects to climb that are changed frequently, and animal companions. Exposure to such environments yields several physiological benefits. First, it increases the formation of new dendrite branches and synapses—the areas of neural cells that receive and send communication signals. It also increases the number of glial cells, which support the health of neurons, and expands the brain’s oxygen-supplying capillary network. Enriched environments foster the development of new neurons and create a cascade of molecular and neurochemical changes, such as an increase in neurotrophins—molecules that protect and grow the brain."

full article, for posterity )

zomg

Jun. 29th, 2009 03:41 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
I rode a bike!

I had a bike lesson today, at the bike shop near the physics building, with the owner who has taught other adults to ride. I rode on a Brompton, a kind of folding bike, which meant it had a lower center of mass than a normal bike. We were in a parking structure that was little-trafficked and had a long straightaway with few parked cars. I started out just kind of paddling with the pedals folded in, pushing myself along and trying to get the hang of balancing. I did that a lot, but eventually got to the point where I could pick up my feet and glide for awhile before needing to push again. Then Mike (the teacher) showed me how to start with the pedal up halfway, push down and try to position my feet to start pedaling. It was initially hard, every time I brought up my off-foot to pedal I'd lose my balance, but after a few trips up and down the straightaway I found that I could get my foot into position... and then I started pedaling! I made it the full 50 yards or so of clear space 4-ish times without having to stop. It was very exciting. Unfortunately, right at the end I had gone up a little incline off to the side of the straightaway, and I turned around to go back down and kind of ran into a pillar. :) Apparently the bike goes where you look? That is not great, since I wanted to look at my feet or at the cars I was trying not to hit, or at the pillar I ran into. But still, I actually expected to fall off the bike at least a couple of times, but instead I just ran into a pillar (I have a developing bruise on my left arm where I hit it).

Mike said I was a fast learner, which is great. Now I have to find some way to practice twice more and then I'll go in for another lesson. It's so thrilling to have done it though; it was scary and I had a hard time picturing myself doing it, but I did! Now to find a way to get a bike to practice on...
clevermynnie: ((open your eyes))
I went to see the Philadelphia Orchestra with Ben last night; they were playing Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme, an Adès Violin Concerto, Sibelius' En Saga, and Scriabin's fourth symphony the Poem of Ecstasy. I loved the Williams and the Sibelius, to bits! The Scriabin was great in places but a bit disengaging, and the Adès... reminded me how hard I find it to like recent classical music outside of Philip Glass and John Adams.

I love Sibelius though. I should have more recordings of his pieces. His violin concerto is phenomenal, one of my favorite pieces of all time.

And this morning, after running errands, Ben and I came on campus, and along the way I stopped in a bike shop. A lot of you probably know that I can't ride a bike; I never learned as a kid. But I'm loving the distance running, and have loved to swim forever, so the triathlon has appealed to me more and more... except for the bike. But there is a guy at this bike shop who has taught 6 beginner adults to ride a bike, usually in just a couple one-hour lessons. So I got his information and I'll make an appointment, probably after Boston, and I think I'll learn. :) I'm excited about that, because biking is one of those things I find it impossible to picture myself doing.

Btw, now that I have said I can't ride a bike, please do not explain to me your foolproof way of teaching someone. Everyone does that, they all say different things, they're usually generalizing from small children, and the ones I've tried haven't worked. That's why I'm paying someone who knows what they're doing. ;)

sunny days

May. 20th, 2009 04:22 pm
clevermynnie: (I see beauty)
Last weekend I finally got to take some time to relax, which was great. I lounged around the house, lifted weights for the first time since Providence and got really sore, made a strawberry rhubarb pie, read a bunch of old New Yorkers, etc. There was also a block party Saturday night, which was very very fun: it was the pet project of our neighbor who just graduated from a management program at Penn, who put the whole thing together and invited everyone on the block as well as his family and friends to celebrate his graduation. Everyone brought food outside, and our neighbor stocked a huge bar which we had in our backyard (our backyard has more space than his, and is accessible from a small alleyway so that we didn't have the hard liquor on the street, although a keg was out on the street). And there was live music! There was a flamenco guitar and percussion duo, and a trio with guitar, drums, and violin. It was a great time, and the audience was very diverse which was a blast.

I'm preparing a little more for the trip to Boston next weekend, which is exciting both in terms of professional opportunities and in terms of travel. We won't present all the new results we have since we haven't submitted our paper yet, but it'll still be a good experience (and we're working on the paper). I have the hotel and train tickets, and I think Steph and Scott, my friends in Providence, will be able to come up and see me. This has to be a record for the most times I've seen them in the space of a few months since we all lived in the same place.

Oh, and I joined the physics intramural softball team again this year. :) Our first game is this evening. I went to one of the informal practices and was glad to see that the big improvement in my skill over the course of the last season has persisted, i.e. I can still hit the ball decently and catch ok. I can't throw very far which is probably some combination of my poor upper body strength and lack of knowledge in throwing technique; I keep meaning to look up some information on throwing well but I never think of it when I have time. It's weird though because this time last year was right around when I started exercising a lot: during the last softball season I didn't lift weights and I didn't run more than 10 miles per week, and that irregularly, whereas now I do a lot and have run two marathons. That's cool when I stop to think about it.

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