Bald for a Cause Update

I have to say, while the circumstances are not ideal, this has been an amazing experience so far. I have been blown away by the compassion and generosity of Kelly's and my family, friends, co-workers and even complete strangers. After one week and a Facebook page, we're somewhere around $800. My bosses have not only been supportive, they have promised $250 and said if we got close to $1000, they'd throw in some extra to reach the mark. But I don't think $1000 will be hard. I have about $400 in hand, plus $200 pledged by one of Kelly's military friends stationed in Kuwait, the $250 from my company, and three $100 pledges from people I know. I have also had several people say they plan on donating but I don't know when/if/how much. Now, I'm thinking that $2000 will be a better goal.

I received a donation from someone I don't know who lost his sister to cancer. One of my co-workers recently lost her mother to breast cancer. The wife of another co-worker has a friend currently being treated for breast cancer at the same hospital as Kelly. It's amazing how many people have been touched by cancer and how compassionate everyone is.

When I realized how close we were getting, I had Kelly pick out the hair dye. Cupcake Pink is the official color and we're planning a little girls night to turn my hair into cotton candy. It's already been ordered and shipped. This time next week, I'll look like Strawberry Shortcake. Which should be interesting since I'm going to a structural engineering conference next week. Oh well, it will be a good conversation starter.

Christi - I don't know if you saw my response to the last post. I was in Vegas all weekend so I didn't see it until this week. Either way, you can email me at run_sam_run@rocketmail.com if you still want to donate! If you want to include a note, I'm keeping all letters/messages to give to Kelly with the donation.


Bald for a Cause

Well, the cat's out of the bag. My best friend and regular running partner, KM, was diagnosed with breast cancer back at Thanksgiving. She has been undergoing treatment since then and started chemo last week. Healthy, 30, no family history, no risk factors, nothing. This is total crap.
There is no way to describe the helplessness that goes along with watching someone you care about go through cancer. And besides that, she had already registered for Boston and is now training while going through chemo. All of you athletes should appreciate how extra crappy that is. Yet no matter how much I hate the waiting and questioning and uneasiness about not knowing what comes next, I know whatever KM is going through is worse. I wish I were a cancer-curing genius. But I'm not.
The point behind this post: KM will be losing her hair soon and she didn't really have any say in the matter. So the least I can do is support her by shaving my head. But I'm only going to shave it for $1000 in donations for KM. And to make it even more interesting, as soon as we reach $1000, I will dye my hair pink and keep it pink until it's gone. Thankfully, I have compassionate bosses.
If you want to donate, just contact me. There will be pictures, I promise.


Jeepers Crimeny!

Sometimes you just gotta cut loose and celebrate. And this last week, celebrate I did. First, there was the Sunday night Super Bowl party with an impressive spread and a keg. Since we were lucky enough to watch our beloved Packers win, we stayed longer to celebrate than was probably necessary.

Then on Monday I worked until 6:30, on Tuesday I worked until 7. The temps last week were in the sub-zero range so I did not run before work. I'm pretty bad at working out after a late day at the office and I don't sleep well if I work out after 7 or 8 pm.

Then there was my birthday.

Drinks and food with friends on Wednesday since John had to work until 8. Dinner and wine with John on Thursday. On Friday, I stopped to see my friend who just started chemo and went out to dinner with her family. Yesterday, I had an 8 hour review course. Today, only 6 hours. Either way, I've been eating, drinking, and working too much and now I'm paying the price.
A 5 mile run this morning at a 9 min pace was about all I could handle. The GI aftermath was more than I could handle. I think my pants felt a little tight this morning. As we say in WI, jeepers crimeny. I keep saying this, but I seriously need to get back on the exercise bandwagon. Hopefully, with the Packer football season and my birthday behind me, I can try to find some normalcy. The weather also appears to be warming up and the days are getting longer. At least I'll be running out of excuses.


Black Bean Soup

I love homemade soup in the winter and with the high today of 8 degrees, I made soup last night for lunch today. I didn't take a picture, but here's the recipe:

1 med onion
2 red bell peppers
2 tomatoes
1 T minced garlic
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 jalapeno
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 T chopped cilantro
6 c stock
salt and pepper

Heat oil in large pot and chop all veggies. Saute onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato, jalapeno, and oregano until onions are translucent. Add stock and black beans, bring to simmer. Simmer 10 min, add cilantro. Using a stick blender, coarsely blend soup. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with fat free sour cream and a few sprigs of cilantro. With all the protein and fiber in this, you can't go wrong!



This is a good illustration of how I'm feeling these days. Work has been crazy busy and this stupid exam has already started keeping me up at night. I had a 12-hour review course last weekend and I spent most of yesterday studying. I have another 12 hours of class next weekend, too. My plan today was more studying. But then I woke up and somewhere between making eggs for breakfast and putting away laundry, I realized that between work and studying, my brain hasn't had a day off since Jan 8. If my brain reacts at all like my body, then it definitely deserves a rest day.

You know you're a little overwhelmed when doing laundry and dishes is an appealing weekend activity. I feel a little guilty for not hitting the books today, but I also know that I'm much more efficient and productive after a little rest. I've also noticed that when I focus this much energy into work and studying, that I can't focus on other things. Halfway into a conversation with John, I'll realize I have no idea what he's talking about. Or at work, I forget the second half of a list of things to do. Or I'll stop at Wal-Mart for something I absolutely needed and then forget what it was. When someone asks me where we should go to get lunch, I can't make a decision. Yesterday, I officially registered for 8 hours of the 16 hour exam and then immediately started having dooms-day-type thoughts. I'm not a forgetful person, so when I start misplacing things like my keys, then I know I'm in over my head.

So instead of working through sample problems and summarizing all of the important geotechnical and foundations-related equations, I went for a 6.2 mile trail run with some friends. I'm going to do a little more laundry, and I might even throw a nap in before the big game. The only numbers I looked at today were time and distance on my Garmin, and I'm OK with that.


Snow Shoeing vs. Running, by the numbers

I downloaded my Garmin data recently and I was pleasantly surprised at the calorie totals from snow shoeing. I thought I'd download some of my recent workouts and compare running and snow shoeing. In true engineering fashion, I put the data in excel and made a table. I threw in my last spinning workout for fun.

So what does this all mean? Snow shoeing is almost as efficient at burning calories as interval running and a little better than spinning. I should note the running numbers came from my last mile intervals run, the snow shoeing was from when I went out with SF and we "ran" a little over a mile and then hiked the rest, and the spinning was from an interval set. I wouldn't be surprised if a complete running workout in snow shoes is more efficient at burning calories than running. Running in snow shoes is pretty tough and so far I haven't been able to run much more than 1 mile. I'm not surprised the spinning numbers are the lowest since it is a non-impact workout.

I was pretty surprised at the amount of calories I burned. Snow shoeing isn't the best workout if you're trying to train for speed or do intervals, but it's a great option when there is 8" of snow on the ground, like there is right now. I plan on taking the snow shoes out again this weekend, and hopefully make it running 1 1/2 miles.