Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 29 update

It's done! I'll post results and commentary, and some pictures as soon as I can.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lab Rat

Over the winter, I volunteered to be a lab rat at the IU School of Physical Education, to see if they needed anyone for VO2 max testing. It panned out and I was used as part of a final exam for a testing protocol class. It was an interesting process, and harder than I thought. It became especially difficult when I reached the 20% incline and my lungs were screaming for air while I was breathing through what seems like a small hose. I haven’t had the results explained yet, but I think it went well. Using the Bruce protocol (and if I am reading the sheets correctly), my max VO2 is 5.45 L/min, and 76.3 ml//kg/min. When I have time, I’ll look into what this means, and how I may benefit through use of this information.

It’s only five days to the marathon. I’m as ready as I can be, and there isn’t anything else I can do to prepare for it this week (other than to take it easy). I can’t improve, but can make things worse, so my only activities this week are two easy runs (45 min) with short sprints in them, and two easy 90 min rides to spin my legs.

I’m looking forward to it, and still have a goal to come in under four hours. This may be tougher than I had anticipated, since the course information says this is not a course for a personal record, and to add about 20 min to your normal marathon time. This is due to the hills, especially Hurricane Point, which starts at mile 9.8 and continues at a 4.5% grade until peaking at mile 12. It sounds like a heartbreaker. I don’t mind hills; I just don’t have many around on which I can train. My hill climbs in Colorado were challenging, and as I described to someone else, my heart rate was where I wanted it and my breathing was a bit harder, but my pace was that of an 85 year-old woman with a walker browsing the magazine aisle at Kroger. I hope this is better, but I have to make sure I have enough to keep going after mile 20. I’m not yet sure how I will attack this hill (aggressive/conservative).

In the end, I’ll finish with the best time I can, and I’ll do my best to make that time less than four hours.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Taxes suck. Not just paying them, which is always painful. I mean filing. This system is absurd. Completing the forms using Turbotax (which I have been using since 1995) usually takes me about three hours. Compiling all of the information takes time as well, since we file Schedule C and other associated self-employment stuff (Realtors are independent contractors and are generally self-employed).

But this year was worse. I waited until the last minute (yes, I know that is not very bright), mainly because other things had higher priority. So, getting started at 1pm on April 14th was not smart, but it's a good thing I did. Michele and I didn't take a break until 2am, when I finally cracked. I was fried. My brain was like the picture, and physically I felt bad. I was dehydrated (instead of my usual 1.5 gal daily regimen, I'd had maybe a quart all day), and was way past being able to think clearly. So, I decided to get a shower and some sleep and would hit it in the morning.

April 15: I jumped back in and finally finished my federal taxes. There was an odd error in the file that took me nearly two hours to find, fix, and destroy. Fourteen hours to complete federal tax forms is insane. Why so long? Deductions. Especially non-cash donations, which must be itemized with value and condition. State taxes will be a breeze.

We usually try to have taxes filed before our annual ski trip, so we just have to send in payment on the deadline, but this year there seems to be so much going on. Our lives are not so different than anyone else's, so if you think about how many hours are consumed trying to comply with this silly process, it should be clear that the savings freed up by abolishing the current system and going to something simple would not only let us keep more of what is ours, but also free up tax revenue to be used where it should be, and more efficiently.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I felt good Sunday and planned on running about 15 miles, and at around mile 14, decided to bump it to about 16.5 miles. The thing is, I had to decide at mile 15 whether it would be 16.5 miles, or 18+ miles. As I was starting to feel fatigue in my legs, and feeling raindrops, I opted for the former. When I got home it felt really good to stop. I like the solitude of running alone, which is why I absolutely cannot listen to music while running. I have tried, but I don't like it. I guess my point is that after almost 2.5 hours of running in silence, I was starting to get bored. I was beginning to think about fatigue, instead of being distracted by random thoughts and stuff along the way. I like the distance; I just need to work out how to pass the time mentally. My time for a comfortably-paced (151 average heart rate) 16.53 miles was 2:25. Here is my route: Geist Lake+more

It has finally sunk in: 26.2 miles is a long way to run. When I got home, I felt okay, but was it okay enough to go another 10 miles? What dark place might I find along the way? Granted, I was running alone, and being in a race is a different dimension. I'm looking forward to finding out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another Great Trip

We had a great time in Keystone, Colorado. The weather was great, we had new snow on at least three mornings, and most days were sunny. The kids snowboarded, and we tried the tubing hill, which was great fun. We really had a nice time. The photo page has been updated with new pictures.

I did run, though not as much as I had planned. I ran 1 of 3 days in Denver (5,100'), in what started as a cool weather run that quickly changed into an "I'm burning up!" run when the sun came out from behind the clouds about 10 minutes into the run. The sun was that intense. My first run in the mountains (9,300') was an early morning run, since the streets were dry. I found my breathing rate was at a slightly higher rate than at home, but not too bad, though I didn't tackle any steep hills. I woke up at 5:30 every morning planning on running, only to find fresh snow on the ground, prompting me to go back to bed. I finally decided to go for a run one afternoon (after skiing all day), choosing to go a bit further, but not knowing exactly where or how far. I ended up running this route http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=1763750, an inquisition that had a couple of hill climbs in it, made worse since I didn't know where the top was until I reached it (turning on the elevation feature in the link makes it more clear). It might not be much for someone who runs hills or at high altitude regularly, but for me it was a challenge. I felt like I was do a geriatric shuffle, while breathing like I would in a 10k race. Perhaps I was a bit fatigued from six hours of hard, thigh-burning skiing, but even fresh, it would have still been hard.

I covered a great deal of ground, since I spent many days skiing without breaks, getting off the lift and going back to the base of the mountain without stopping (some runs are over three miles long). One observation is that people are being more careful, and more are wearing helmets. I didn't see a single yard sale (wipeout with stuff scattered everywhere) this year or even last, as I had seen many over the years. People have slowed down and are staying in control, likely influenced by the fatality reports and perhaps enforcement of the skier code; people are behaving more responsibly.

After sixteen years of Colorado skiing, it's time to start wearing a helmet. It's just the smart thing to do, and it's only right, given we make our kids wear one. There have been seventeen ski/snowboard fatalities in Colorado this season, and we unfortunately witnessed the aftermath of one, with ski patrol shoveling snow into bags for the cleanup (the guy was wearing a helmet, but succumbed from chest injuries sustained when he went off the trail at high speed and ran into a tree). An accident and a tragedy somehow made worse since it happened while he was on a vacation.