Where's Waldo Wednesday - 4/25/13-5/15/13

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Where's Waldo Wednesday - The point of the week where more is behind than ahead and the weekend, and thus playtime, is the bright light at the end of the tunnel.  Why did I call it Where's Waldo Wednesday?  No particular reason really...other than I like alliteration and it is fun to say.  Try saying it five times fast!

A weekly (more like biweekly) series of what's new around here and other ramblings like things I found interesting on the internet this week or cool runs I did, kind of like a weekly synopsis.  Originally, I was going to do this on Sunday and call it Sunday Synopsis but then I couldn't decide between Sunday Synopsis and Sunday Summary...so I did the only logical thing and decided to write it on Wednesday?

This week's post is somewhat of a triple? double header because I missed last week but there are some fun/important things to include...so you get three two for the price of one.  Also, that means this post is probably WAY too long for you so you may just want to skip through to options of interest.

The Week's Happenings

It has been a busy couple weeks around here.  This morning, I took my last final for the semester bringing the first year of graduate school to a close.  It has been a phenomenal year but boy am I glad that it's over.  I have to admit, I was shocked when I learned that I would need 18 additional math credits to be a "highly qualified" teacher per Virginia requirements, especially considering my undergraduate was in engineering, a math heavy major.  I have truly enjoyed being back in the classroom and a student at Virginia Tech again but look forward to having my own classroom and beginning my career as a secondary mathematics teacher.  I now have a couple weeks off before beginning my first of two summer sessions the Tuesday after memorial day.  I plan to head to the Outer Banks with my parents and grandparents for a week this Saturday, unfortunately sans Michelle as her summer session begins next Monday.

Here's a recap of the past couple weeks:

1. I Scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!  A few weeks ago Michelle and I received the ice cream maker attachment for our KitchenAid Mixer (which WE LOVE!!!) from my parents (Thank you again!) as an engagement gift and have been making lots of delicious sorbet and ice cream!  Our first attempt was...well...a valuable learning experience.  However, the next attempt which was not ice cream but instead a mango sorbet was much more successful...and delicious.  The recipes have all come from a book that my parents bought with our ice cream maker, The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, which has over 500 recipes.

2. Running and riding to recover.  Having run Promise Land the previous Saturday it took me a few days to get my legs moving normally again (i.e. not walk down stairs funny).  I had hoped to get out on a ride Saturday after returning home from the race but the weather kept us indoors (read: not riding but eating Cabo and drinking "recovery" margaritas") but on Tuesday I managed get out for a nice active recovery ride.  I'm ashamed to say that the Madone, and all of the bikes for that matter, have collected a serious amount of dust.  Pretty sad but with the weather finally actually feeling like spring we're doing out best to dust them off.

Recovery Ride on the Huckleberry Trail!

I'm really happy with how I recovered from Promise Land, only taking off Sunday and Monday and getting in my first run on Wednesday.  Considering that I ran 34 miles on Saturday I was very pleased to get in 31 miles  for the week right after an ultra, much better than recovering from a marathon.  

First post-Promise Land run

On Friday, I headed over to Radford to give the Subaru some love and get in a run with Michelle.  We went out for a very relaxed trot in Bisset Park down on the New River.  I had run the path that links Bisset Park and Wildwood park on previous runs but had never noticed the trails that were higher up on the sides of the valley until...well I was running slow enough that I actually looked around.  We did an out-and-back and I convinced Michelle to "explore" with me on the way back.  It was a much cooler run on the trails!

Trails in Wildwood Park Radford, VA

Massive fallen tree.

Run in Bisset/Wildwood Park.  After we returned to Bisset Park, I went out and few a segments on Strava and managed to get two of the three I went for.

On Saturday, I headed out to Pandapas and managed to get in 8 miles.  I had initially planned to do more but judged it by how I felt and decided 8 was sufficient.  The beauty of Jefferson National is incredible, I've really fallen in love with running on the trails.

Poverty Creek
Poverty Creek in Jefferson National Park.

8 Miles in Pandapas (Jefferson National)

3. McAfee's Knob Sunrise Run.  In case you missed my post earlier last, I ran to McAfee's Knob at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning. Read all about it HERE.

McAfee's Knob Panaroma

4. Stride Box!  A few weeks ago I participated in my first RunChat which is a Twitter chat that occurs on Sunday evenings using the hashtag #RunChat.  Runners from all over the world join for an hour to participate in a question and answer format discussion that usually involves five or six questions.  The sponsor for that particular RunChat was StrideBox, a monthly subscription for runners ($15) that sends a box to your door once a month with different nutrition and running products, I decided to enroll for May to see what all of the craze was about.  I received my first box last Monday and was pretty excited to see what was in it.  I have to admit that I'm not too excited about the shoe product that came in box, mainly because I don't really think I'll use it, but the nutrition alone in the box was worth more than $15.  I want to give the subscription service a fair try but I'm not too sure how long I'll stay enrolled.

May StrideBox

5. BodPod Testing!  There are plenty of disadvantages of going to large school but every now and then some of the advantages really make it worth it, in this case access to BodPod testing is one of those advantages.  I wanted to take advantage of the free BodPod testing week in the fall but never made it over to that side of campus.  However, for a small fee students can schedule a BodPod test at almost any time.  I have been using the Withings Wi-Fi scale for a few years now but always wondered about the accuracy of the body fat measurements it provides, it uses electrical impedance.  I weighed myself on Wednesday morning, which happened to be the last day of classes (Yay!), and headed over to McComas, one of the gyms on campus.  The Withings Wi-Fi scale provided the following information:  Weight=155.4lb and 12.7% fat.  

I let the student doing the analysis know that I write a blog and wanted to grab photos and he had no problem and agreed to take a few of me in the BodPod.

McComas Fitness Assessment Center

The white cylinder to the left of the BodPod is used to calibrate the machine.

The entire process took about 15 minutes including changing into compression shorts I brought with me and the three tests.  Super easy!  Each test takes about a minute and uses the volume displacement between the chamber you sit in and the chamber behind the seat with your weight measurement (notice the scale at the very left in the left photo above) to determine your lean and fat mass.  The only instructions are to breath normally and try to avoid large movements.  

Read more about how the BodPod works HERE.

I was really surprised by the results, which have a tolerance of 2% but hey, I'll take 8.7% fat or 10.7% for that matter!

6. Running and Eating.  The rest of the week was well...uneventful and mainly involved running, eating, and repeating. On Thursday, I went out for the last group run of the semester with the UltraVT gang and we got in 7 miles and explored a few trails I had never been on.  Running with a group has been awesome!  Not only do I genuinely enjoy running with everyone but I feel like I have learned a lot as a result.

Thursday Night Group Run

Michelle and I took Gillie for a nice long walk on Friday afternoon and it was just fantastic to be outside and enjoy the spring weather.

Gorgeous day for a walk.

Gillie enjoying being out and about!

We've taught her to drink out of water bottle.

After our walk I headed out for a quick run and just barely managed to beat the rain on my way home.  I was really fortunate because it poured for the rest of the night!

Taco salad with fresh corn, avocado, sautéed onions and poblano peppers, and we made taco bowls from these neat trays my grandmother bought us.  Run, eat, and repeat.

On Sunday, I headed out for a long run in Pandapas and managed to get in 15 miles.  I brought along with me a few items from May's StrideBox to try.  I really liked the Bonk Breaker PB&J, it was delicious and hit the spot around mile 7 or so.  The Honey Stinger Cherry Cola gummies were good but I'm not sure I'd buy them if I saw them in a store.  That's part of the beauty of StrideBox is the opportunity to try new products for cheaper than I would have purchased it in a store and also try things I may not be inclined buy normally.

Honey Stinger Cherry Cola Gummies and Bonk Breakers PB&J.

The run was not one of my smoothest runs feeling slow and tired from the start but I'm really proud of myself for finishing the run and not calling the day early.

After my run, Michelle and I made some awesome Huevos Rancheros...and as Michelle puts it, "it was freaking good!"

The spread on the tortilla was so flavorful and Michelle made the salsa fresh that morning.  RECIPE.

7. I WON I WON I WON...again!  I should go buy a lottery ticket because I'm on a lucky streak.  A few weeks ago I won a book, Learning to Fly by Steph Davis, from Clif via an Instragram reply.  On Sunday, I participated in the RunChat again and replied to a few of the questions throughout the hour.  I must have turned off the connect Twitter notification because the tweet that notified me that I won went unnoticed for couple hours, granted we were driving home from the afternoon at Michelle's parents, but I was very excited once I realized I had won!  Two of us had won a copy of The Runner's World Complete Guide to Minimalism and Barefoot Running by Scott Douglas which I think will be an interesting read.  Can't wait to get it in the mail!

8. Grocery Ride.  As I mentioned earlier, all of the bikes collected a fair amount of dust over the winter.  Michelle and I decided we would go for a ride on Monday evening and that we would pick up some groceries on the way.  It is incredible how cheap it is to eat healthy.  We only shopped in the produce section and I bought kale, two english cucumbers, tomatoes on the vine, and fuji and gala apples for only $6.*#.  Pretty awesome!  Even better is that we rode there...and most of the way home.  The hill home is not too bad...if you don't mind getting sweaty every time you want to go home but the bus also has two slots for bikes on the front, which we took full advantage of.  Hey, we still rode 5+ miles to get the groceries instead of the typical American who hops in their car!  I brought my camera along and grabbed plenty of funny photos.

The ride was pretty casual...and at this point Michelle seemed to be enjoying it.

...and well...not enjoying it that much here.  The photo was just too good not to share.

Blacksburg is a gorgeous place to live!

After picking up the groceries.

Once we were on the bus, Michelle was...not pleased I was taking this photo but again...too good not to share!

9. Runble in Pandapas...or tumble in Pandapas.  Michelle and I are trying to run together.  I say trying because well...it's a work in a progress.  And progress is slow.  Anyone have suggestions?  Seriously, leave them in the comments...we'll try anything.  To complicate the situation, we decided to bring Gillie along for our run in Pandapas yesterday and Gillie doesn't really get the whole "pacing" thing.  Again, a work in progress.  This was Michelle's first run in Pandapas and we decided to do an eeasssy out-and-back along Poverty Creek.  I started out with Gillie and eventually, once she was more tired, handed her off to Michelle.  We "agreed" beforehand we would run about four miles and I tried to show Michelle the beauty and appreciation for the woods I've gained over the past few months of running in Jefferson National.  It was going good until Gillie decided to cross paths with Michelle and stop.  I had just pulled out my camera but just missed the acrobatics occurring right in front of me.  It was America's Funniest Home Videos worthy.

Michelle made us chocolate waffles before we ran.  Everything was from scratch including the chocolate batter, whipped cream, and strawberry syrup.

Michelle wanted to try out her hydration belt she picked up as she begins to train for the Hokie Half in September. 

Believe it or not I snagged this one while running...not too bad.  Also, this was pre-tumble as I have Gillie's leash in one hand and the camera in the other.

Michelle displaying her souvenir from her first trail run.  It's like a right of passage but maybe my "Welcome to trail running!" wasn't appropriate?

Around the lake we came across a few Geese that were very protective of their goslings and hissed at us we ran by.

"Guys, this running this is hard!"

Interesting Internet Findings
  1. Active Google Glasses? Recon Instruments releases video for their new "active" Google glasses competition...and they look AWESOME! (via @DCRainmaker Tweet)
  2. Want to run the ING NYC marathon?  Getting into the NYC marathon seems to be a bit of a hassle.  You can do the 9+1 guaranteed entry where you either have to run 9 of the NYRR races in addition to volunteering for one of the races (or donate $1000 instead of racing) in a calendar year or can go through the application (lottery) process.  Well there may be another New York marathon, or two, in the next couple years one of which will be run in Manhattan and the other in Brooklyn. Read it HERE (via Runners World)
  3. Music video from space? A few Where's Waldo Wednesdays ago I posted a video from the Canadian Space Agency about what happens to tears in space.  The commander of the space station, until yesterday that is, released his farewell video, Space Oddity, as a sendoff and it went viral.  Check it out below:   
  4. Behind the Shoes - The Boston Magazine Cover featuring shoes of Boston marathon runners.  Read it HERE (via +RunChat Twitter).

And with that...you're pretty much caught up on everything we've done over the past few weeks.  I'll save today's horrific run for another post.


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