Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Thursday 31 July 2008

Goals for the end of summer

Suddenly we have more time on our hands. My work schedule is letting up and SR has decided to just moonlight odd hours like me. So we've set some target competitions, which we're happy to spend our spare time training for.

The first is a 10 hour triathlon in Superior, WI in September. We'll be doing it as a relay. We're aiming for 4 sprint distances each, but that's a really lofty goal.

The second is a 50 mile race in Manistee, MI at the end of September. I don't have a particular goal for this right now. Basically this race gives us an excuse to run more long runs.

We'll be doing a 20-25 mile run this weekend in Devils' Lake state park. We'll be bringing The Bois as usual and switching off running with the baby jogger. SR's family is beginning to think we are crazy. His mom said she is worried that we'll become less intelligent with all the exercise (I guess there was an article about that in the newspaper there). To which I replied with 4 studies showing exercise prevents cognitive decline. :). No, even the family isn't spared from my studies.

SR has also in the last 48 hours turned into a calorie counter. He's attempting to lose a few pounds and now weighs or measures out everything he eats and records it in a log. It is even beyond anything I would do, but it is interesting to watch. Yesterday he kept his intake to 2100 calories (and ran). The readers will probably be more receptive to the idea of a calorie counting guy than a girl.

My weight has been stable at 50kg. Right where I want it. Thanks so much for all of the food recommendations. But, to be honest, I'm still eating the same things. Just more of them. I'll let you know if creativity strikes me and I try one of the recipes/suggestions.

And The Bois' weight. Well, I don't know. All I know is he is curvy and beautiful a la Edouard Manet.

Running Song of the Day: Downtown Boys by Infernal

Sunday 27 July 2008

Turtlehead 5k

So the local track club put on a 5k tonight at 6:30 pm, with a route which weaves it's way around the local sewage treatment plant. The participants were mostly members of the national championship college track team from our town. It was fun to hang out with so many young, fit people.

SR ran with the baby jogger and donned a "Running with the Little Shit" t-shirt. I think I speak for both of us when I say we felt really old tonight. Anyway, it was a warm night, I was tired from working all day and I had a turtle head. A turtle head is our affectionate name for when we need to have a bowel movement. Anyway, I was unable to resolve the situation when I gained access to a port-a-potty. The turtle head just sat there.

SR and I waited next to each other at the start line with the Bois in the jogger. The gun went off and the largest group of fast people I've ever run with took off in front of us. SR and I ran the first mile together in 6:12. This was by far a PR for me in the mile. SR told me to slow down, but I was close to the lead for the women and feeling good. Plus I had "That's Not My Name" blasting through my ipod, ready to play over and over again. SR took off running a bit faster. Then a woman came up behind me and pushed me with her leg as she passed me. Then she settled in behind me, drafting off of me. This behavior seemed extremely bizarre to me. I hate it when people run really close behind me. SR always tries to convince me to do it to other people, but I find it way too annoying. Plus I'm not convinced one gains that much from doing it.

Then I started to get bothered by the turtle head again and slowed down a bit. I can't believe I'm posting this on the internet, but I had a small bowel movement in my shorts. Not cool. Anyway, I had no idea what my time was at this point until I saw SR at mile three telling me to sprint to the finish. I finished with a 20:18 time. A PR for me! My old PR was 21:35 in the triathlon we did about 2 months ago.

I never would have guessed I'd PR in a 5k at 29 years old, especially 5 months post-partum. But since meeting SR, a lot of unbelievable (and wonderful) things have happened in my life.

Friday 25 July 2008

The unknown future of the kids...

The uncertainty is getting to be a bit overwhelming.

Let me start with the simplest issue, which is The Bois. We found out this morning that SR and I (for sure) need to go to court in mid-August to get SR listed as the father on Christian's (The Bois') birth certificate. We're really nervous about this, because if it doesn't happen, The Bois won't become a Dane and can't get social support or any of the benefits that Danes get in Denmark.

Next is the issue of step-daughter and step-son. Basically every other day, my impression of what is going to happen changes. Some days it sounds like step-daughter will be living with us in Denmark, some days it sounds like she might move to Denmark eventually, other days it sounds like she's not moving with us at all. Obviously this is hard on her. How can a 7 year old be expected to chose between parents? We are already looking for a house in Denmark and it's a bit crazy that we don't know who will be living there.

Obviously I've become very close to the kids. But I don't know what, if any, my role is in this decision. I just know that the indecision stresses everyone out (except maybe The Bois, who is just his meek and mild self). I feel particularly bad for SR for obvious reasons.
In the meantime, we'll run, work, play with the kids, watch The Tour de France and pretend there's nothing lurking under the surface. This is, after all, a wonderful time in our lives.

Running song of the Day: Publish My Love by Rogue Wave

Tuesday 22 July 2008

Where can I get some good calories?

I am writing for advice. No one will feel sorry for me since most people have the opposite problem, but rather than writing accusations that I'm anorexic, I'd appreciate some honest food advice.

I've never had the problem of not being able to get enough calories. But now that I'm lactating and going on more frequent long runs (often with baby jogger), working 30 hours a week and taking care of The Lorax, I can't eat enough. It happens about every other night that I wake up with a panic attack sensation, so hungry that I have to go to the kitchen to eat an entire replica of the meal I had for dinner a few hours ago. Last night I had to do this twice, at 1 and 2 am. I'm really falling behind on my sleep.

I'm not tired of eating, by any means, but I'm sick of finding new things to eat, sick of eating in the middle of the night, sick of spending so much money on food and so much time preparing it. All that being said, I don't want to give up on my training regimen.

My diet consists of as much as I can stomach every day of the following:

Oatmeal (of course) with TVP, lefse, homemade power bars, bananas, cottage cheese, acorn squash, cereal, homemade falafel, pancakes with chocolate chips.

Part of my problem is obviously what I don't eat. No meat, except fresh fish (which is obviously expensive and I don't have time to prepare it before I go to work... oh, yeah, I eat dinner at work), nothing with high fructose corn syrup, very limited dairy (since I'm pretty severely lactose intolerant), and preferably nothing pre-packaged.

When we were on our honeymoon, I started to feel full for the first time in a long time. But we ate a lot of meals out and a lot of large homemade meals from friends. Oh and we took time to cook really big meals for ourselves. Now I just don't have the time or creativity to feed myself adequately. I want something quick and simple that will fill me up and make me feel good on my runs. Or something that I can prepare in bulk.

There must be other women out there who are long distance runners and breastfeed. And I really think the number will be going up in the next few years. I may be a physician, but I'm not a dietitian or a chef. I'm looking for recommendations, if not for crazy old me, then for other women to come who face the same problem.

A recent epidemiological review in the New England Journal discussed how inadequate nutrient intake in pregnant and lactating women (especially if there baby is small) can predispose to metabolic syndrome and/or diabetes in babies as adults (if they live in a nutrient rich environment as an adult). The Lorax doesn't deserve that predisposition. It should be said, though, that the risk of these metabolic disorders in adulthood is much higher in premature babies and those who are formula-fed. It's a really interesting article:
Effect of In Utero and Early-Life Conditions on Adult Health and Disease
Gluckman PD, Hanson MA, Cooper C, Thornburg KL, N Engl J Med 359:61, July 3, 2008 Review Article

Here I am showing a few too many ribs through the skin.

Running Song of the Day: The Parade by John Vanderslice (I can't remember if I posted this one before but it has had a resurgence in my life). You gotta admit there's something cool when a guy sings about putting lotion on his skin.

Saturday 19 July 2008

Find a Female Target

It's the hot, hot summer and I've been finding it really hard to do any speed work. That was until I found a new game.

It has probably happened to all of you... you are running along side someone and you both start running faster, trying to beat each other. I have to admit that I love these impromptu races. And now I'm secretly seeking them out. Three times in the last week, I've found a young, rather fit looking female jogger and I've tried to catch up, coming behind her with the baby jogger. The look on any woman's face is priceless when you pass them running faster than them with a baby and baby jogger. All three times I have done this, the young woman has gotten so pissed off that she starts running to re-pass me. This has resulted in one 3 to 4 mile all out race. And another day, one girl and I were racing so fast through a local park that pigeons and seniors alike were scurrying away in fear of their lives.

Anyway, I'm trying, albeit in a rather unadmirable way, to get faster. But there is no better stimulation to run fast than racing another female and basking in the satisfaction of winning with a baby jogger. I highly recommend it.

Here I am sweaty and happy after one such race.

Running Song of the Day: That's Not My Name by the Ting Tings

This is the perfect running song of the summer. It is so hypnotic and I adore the background jump rope. I can listen to it three or more times in a row when trying to run faster. You'll probably find it annoying, though, if you listen to it while you're not running.

Tuesday 15 July 2008


The dust from gold country is still on our shoes, in our toenails and in our baby jogger tires. It was by no means a relaxing honeymoon in the Caribbean, but rather a test of our limits, a discovery of the land and ourselves. Somehow we kept the 2 week cost around $2000. And The Bois survived to his 5 month birthday.

After the essential free breakfast at a Hotwire-booked hotel, we rented a large SUV, which we would refer to as The Behemoth.

Our first day of running was in and around The Golden Gate Park.
There are some incredibly steep hills in The Presidio for running up and down with a baby jogger (if that's what makes you happy). My mom actually used to live in The Presidio as her dad was an army doctor there.

Next, we stayed at a cabin we had booked near Spooner Lake in Tahoe State Forest, Nevada. It was equipped with a propane stove, dishes, pans and coffee. We took turns running up and down the mountain the frist day. The second day, we took an 11 mile hike with The Bois attempting to reach the 9,214 foot Snow Valley Peak.

SR was determined to reach the summit.

But The Bois wasn't quite up to it . After breastfeeding, he just wouldn't calm down. Maybe it was the wind, maybe it was the altitude. Either way, we wouldn't make it to the top. We did make it to about 9,000 feet, though.

On the way down, The Bois got attacked by a million mosquitoes at once, ending up with 14 bites on his face and head. After that, SR ran with him in his arms the last 2 miles back to the cabin. And then they got to play (you might be able to see all of his bites here).

So maybe they were a little itchy.

Then on to Reno to visit Elaine and Merlot. Elaine provided us with a really nice hat of hers for The Bois.

Back in San Francisco, we bided our time before the race . We loved La Petite Auberge (the B&B we stayed in) and Saha (Yemeni restaurant).

The Angel island race, as previously described, was one of the high points of the trip. I'll never forget SR taking off much faster than everyone, bolting up the long set of stairs and then seeing the slow mob behind him. Scott Dunlap even mentioned this in his race report.

Here he is leading the pack.

Here I am feeling strong and leading the women by about 10 minutes at the halfway point. I'm still not quite sure what happened 3/4 through the race to slow me down, but hypoglycemia, hyponatremia and lack of really long runs probably all contributed. One easy thing to change will be replacing the water I carried (stupidly) with sports drink. When our bodies are under stress we actually retain water as a protective mechanism. So unless it is extremely hot, I see no reason to drink water at all during a race. Our bodies are apparently evolved to be dehydrated while we're stressed. And can't well tolerate hydration at these times. Many of you probably know that the one death (22 year old David Rogers) during the 2007 London marathon was from hyponatremia.

Anyway, once I got some sports drink, food and SR to accompany me for the last lap, I was able to finish feeling pretty good. (See Angel Island race report or google results for more details). Here I am collapsed at the end.

We spent a long time on Angel Island afterwards just chatting, soaking up more sun and frantically eating candy and soup. Before we took the boat back to Tiburon, SR and I were speaking in Danish (which we had been practicing it basically non-stop since the honeymoon began). I asked him as I came back from the bathroom if he could "give me a back pocket" (let me skip in line up to him) and a Danish family (now living in SF) heard us talking. They actually thought we were both from Denmark. The mother said I had just a slight accent. Man I was thrilled. Of course she was being nice, but I worry constantly about speaking Danish well enough to work as a doctor there.

Then we made our way to Sacramento. We had an amazing dinner under the stars at my mom's sister's house. I don't know how they found enough food to feed us. The next day, in 106 degree weather, we went on a 4 hour bike ride with my incredible uncle as a tour guide. And then went swimming in their pool.

Clean and well-fed, we took off for the Sierra Buttes, with a quick stopover in Reno to bring my mom to the airport.
We stayed in Sierra City, which has an elevation of just over 4000 feet. It was so hot the first day. We struggled though a run. And the Bois and I got attacked by sheep dogs herding sheep on a remote dirt road. It was unreal to be so isolated in California. We then found Sand Pond, a beautiful place to swim under the towering Sierra Buttes (obscured by smoke in the background).

That night started out hot, too. But gold country cools fantastically after the sun sets.

We did some running and hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail (which traverses the US, running from Mexico to Canada).

We eventually returned to The Bay Area and went to a crepe restaurant called Ti-Couz owned by a family from Bretagne. Voila le petit mec francais.

Before heading home, we went to Reyes National Lake Shore. The Lorax was worn out by this point, but I wasn't really ready to come home.

Our honeymoon. It's something we'll always have when it is us against the world. SR said at one point that the trip reminded him of what is important in life. He told me what that was and I smiled, loving him. This is our life.

Monday 14 July 2008

We're back from our 2 week honeymoon. It's all like a dream now. A dream I want to keep having.

When we got into bed last night, we just kept staring at each other. What will the next part of our life bring? Why do we have to forget the details of our hikes and runs and games with The Bois?

I need to write in detail with pictures. Bare with me and I'll get it written out in the next couple of days.

Sunday 6 July 2008

Angel Island 50k

Today SR and I ran the Angel Island race. He did the 25k and I did the 50k. It was a beautiful morning and my mom was nice enough to come along to watch the Lorax. She coordinated her trip to visit her sisters with our trip.

The check in was at the Tiburon Ferry dock. Then we took the ferry over.

Let me explain the set-up of the race. There is an island perimeter loop, an inner island loop and then an ascent to the peak and winding route back down. You do all of these twice to equal 50.6k.

I started out in the lead and was excited every time I came to the bottom of a loop to learn I was still in the lead. I felt great and was thinking that only some heart arrhythmia would prevent me from getting first. I finished the first 25k in 2 hrs and 23 minutes. At that point I was a good 5 minutes ahead of the next woman according to SR (who had finished in first in the 25k!). The fourth loop was steady, but I was slowing down. The fifth loop was rough. I started wobbling. I could hardly run. I felt nauseated and hungry. I had eaten peanut brittle, peanut butter sandwiches and drank sports juice at each aid station except for the first. But I hit a wall. I was hardly making forward motion when a blonde strong woman in her 40's passed me. I think there is something about breastfeeding while running an ultra that takes calories out of you so quickly that it's hard to keep up with calorie intake (even after you've eaten the most decadent Yemeni food the night before).

When I made it back to the bottom and the aid station, I stood there for a few minutes downing sports drink and eating everything in sight. My stomach expanded so rapidly that I had to take off my drink belt. I convinced SR to run the last lap with me as a pacer. Being the romantic guy he is (who also kind of likes to run), he ran behind me, encouraging me the whole way. One more woman with a French accent passed me, but I kept it steady until the end and wound up in third overall, first in the age group with a time of 5hr 18 minutes.

It was a really beautiful race. Just when you needed it, you'd run into a cool pocket of fog. And most of the race was on dirt trails overlooking the bay.

I'm really happy with how we did overall. SR pointed out that had I run last year, I would have won by over a half an hour. This was, however, a different race and a different year. I had a lot of fun and can't wait for another ultra.

The bonking did make me rethink running a 100 miler. I guess I need to eat a lot more and probably work in more long runs if I'm going to do one of those.

Friday 4 July 2008

High Altitute with The Bois

Wow. The trail running on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe is to die for. Sandy dirt trails crisscrossing through forests, up mountains and around lakes. I'm truly spoiled now. We ran into two guys who had run for 38 miles, so one can meet like-minded people in an area like this (or crazy people, depending on what kind of reader you are).
Yesterday we started our taper for the Angel Island 50k and just hiked. We hiked from 7000 ft base camp (Spooner Cabin next to Spooner Lake) to 9000 feet with The Bois on our backs. Up and back was a good 13 miles. The little Lorax was such a trooper. He didn't cry at all until we reached 9000 feet. We thought about continuing, but after I fed him and the crying didn't stop, we realized it was probably the altitude that was getting to him. That and his Cheyne-Stokes breathing and blue fingers (just kidding).
The hike down was nice until we got attacked by mosquitoes. The little Lorax ended up with about 14 bites on his face and head. All those despite SR running with him in his arms the last mile and a half or so. He didn't cry at all; just sheep laughed.
The cabin was perfect. Lots of love given and received by all.
Now we're in Reno at Merle and Elaine's. Dinner is about to be served so I've got to run. I hope tonight we can post some pictures.