Friday, July 11, 2008

Half Done Run

Last Sunday, we had our Half Done Run. It has had many names over the years including the Midwinter run and the Frozen 4K. It is actually only about 2k (1.3 miles), but Frozen 4K has more flare. The year it earned than name, it is rumored they ran in Condition 2 weather and had 30 cases of frost nip or bite. I'm sure medical was appreciative for the extra unsolicited business.

This year we had 35 participants. The weather started out around -17F with a -38F wind chill. We all huddled inside in the big gym to stay warm. About two minutes before start time, we finally went outside. The race got underway and I tucked in behind someone tall to let them block the wind and just followed them as far as I could. I got lucky because Bodie led for 70% of the race. At some point, he got tired and I had to fend for myself in the wind. Not fun. Andy and I kept on trucking and he pulled into the lead.

*warning - long winded personal musings ahead*
This is where things got interesting for me. Near the end, Andy was only about fifteen feet ahead at the road that leads down to the transition. We had about 100 feet to the turn and then 75 yards to the finish. I felt pretty sure I could catch him by the turn and at least have a chance at beating him in the final sprint. As I was realizing this, I also thought that this was the first time I had run hard outside since spraining my ankle and that I might end up reinjuring it by pushing too hard. I always push. I'm too competitive to not go for it all. That is the only reason I succeeded in ultimate. I certainly didn't have the skill or athleticism of most of my teammates. I just wanted it more, pushed harder, and chose to deal with the consequences later. I didn't go for it. I eased off just enough to make sure that I wouldn't let my competitive side get a hold of me and force me into a sprint. Andy was running well and I finished five seconds behind him at 9:24.

I'm happy with my decision, but it was weird for me to not choose to go for it. I don't think my competitive drive is gone. I just might be getting a little wiser and realizing this body has to last me a few more years before I turn it back into dust. Would I have won? I have no idea and it really doesn't matter. Not giving it my all is the part that is making the rounds in my brain.

By the time I finished the race and got back to my room, it was down to -30F and a -66F wind chill. Due to the weather, we ended up with at least five cases of frost nip or bite. However, in each of those cases I don't think they had full skin coverage. No matter how it happened, I'm glad I wasn't one of them. I had run outside in the week leading up to the race to make sure I had the right gear. I ended up settling on thin wool socks, shoes with the toe vent blocked by a toe warmer, under armour tights, wind pants, under armour top, capilene top, fleece jacket, balaclava, goggles, and mittens with hand warmers.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bar Triathlon

Bringing your A game after a few drinks may be difficult.

The week of the 4th of July was really cold. I was looking to spend my day curled up in bed with a couple hot cups of Oregon Chai, a book, and maybe a couple movies. However, as I was exiting brunch around 1pm, Dave P. stopped me to ask how I was at darts and pool. I said medium and he said I was in. He needed a partner for the bar games triathlon.

Alex and Bob play shuffleboard while Dan and Tim square off against Jim and Jeremy in darts.

The bar games triathlon was a twelve team double elimination bracket tournament. You and your partner would pair off against another team in a best of three series of 8-ball pool, shuffleboard, and 301 darts. Dave and I had a first round bye. I'm not sure when we finally got started, but we edged out Bec and Mike in darts to start the round. Then, we got waxed in pool, but made the game take forever with some great defense. Finally, we pulled out the win in shuffleboard. At this point, it was almost 5pm. We had only played one round and had two or three to go. It wasn't looking like a short afternoon.

Hosts with the most.

Luckily, the tournament coincided with Shandra and Lisa's Happy Hour. Around 5pm, they set up and brought back some energy to the event. I don't know about others, but I was definitely running low because I didn't expect there to be so much down time.

Alex and Eric take on Louie and Ogre in darts.

Shuffle board and pool in the back.

For our second round, we went up against Jim and Jeremy. I think they beat us in two rounds at darts and pool. For the next round, Dave and I were just as motivated to win as we were to lose. We had simply been there too long, but I didn't like the idea of quitting. Unfortunately, our opponents, Gerry and Andy, felt the same way. We took them in darts. They rallied in shuffleboard. Then, we missed an 8 ball shot in pool that left them set up for the win. They moved on. We finished in fifth. We went home and that was just fine with me. I think they kept playing until 9pm while I watched the Goonies. On the Goonies DVD, Cyndi Lauper has an amazing music video that has WWF stars of old. Brilliant!

Me, Karen, and Ogre.

Yesterday, the low was -40.1F over by Scott Base. Eek! With wind chill it was, -80. Eek, eek!

July 4th Carnival!

What defines the 4th more than a plate of great food?

Everyone has a different image of what a 4th of July celebration should be. Where I lived in Colorado, it became the two months of fireworks between Cinco de Mayo and July 4th capped off with a backyard BBQ. Most of my recent 4ths have been spent in Pittsburgh at the Mars ultimate frisbee tournament. Unfortunately, I had to miss it this year. Instead, I attended a celebration which felt like a good 4th carnival back home.

Community seating.

Tub of soda and beer.

To start off with, most people filed through a room with burgers, potato salads, cupcakes, friend chicken and other great food in giant trays. We filled up our paper plates, grabbed our plastic ware, and headed for the giant paper covered tables. After dropping off your food, you went over to the giant tub to grab a drink. Some soda. Lots of beer.

After eating, everyone got down to the business at hand. Games. We had all types of carnival games and activities. Through the night, you'd gather and spend tickets that you could use for the raffle at the end of the night.

J-Bird, Angie, Dave, and Casey see who is the best behind the wheel in NASCAR racing.

Keith gets ready take a swim in the dunking tank.

Rolling the big dice isn't easy. (Yes, that is a beaker in his hand.)

At the Photo Booth, Casey wishes he was somewhere warmer.

Austin bobs and weaves in the Server's Challenge.

Our store managers, Jolene and Amy, tested our shopping savvy at Guess the Price.

Tom and Will whip up some old style funnel cake.

Sean adds another level in the highlight of the evening, Human Jenga.

Meghan topples the Human Jenga.

Joe gets to the top of the Human Jenga.

The Firehouse, VMF, IT, Pat, James and a few others had a Chili Cook Off.

Todd and Angie delivered tattoos to order.

Sensitive Dan displays his new ink.

After all the games slowly wrapped up, everyone got ready for the annual auction. People donated all types of items to be sold off. Traditionally, the money is donated to charity, but the federal government says you can't collect money for charity at a federal work place anymore. Since we are funded by the National Science Foundation, we are federal. This year, all the money went back to the community in the form of a raffle. Some of the items up for grabs were tucker rides, massages, and knit products. I think the hottest item was either the only thing that survived the smurf shack fire, a warped wrench, or the knit G-string seen below.

Chris models the knit g-string for auction.

I can't find any pictures, but after the auction wrapped up the live music started up. We started out with a great bass rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by J-Bird. Then, McBand was up. They were composed of B-Nelson, Jim, Jen, Tom, Kish, Dave, and J-Bird. They played a lot of great covers of old favorites like Johnny Be Good. Perennial band, Level 5, closed out the evening. Great stuff all around. I was in and out for most of the evening because my mood wasn't fitting the festivities, but for when I was there I had a great time.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Light on the horizon!

I was on my way to the waste water treatment plant just after lunch to fix a printer problem when I saw something I haven't seen for a long time - orange light on the horizon. The sun is coming back! It is just in time too. Our abnormally mild winter weather has finally taken a turn for the worse. -26F was the high I saw today. This past weekend it was even colder. Unfortunately, we won't really feel the warmth of the sun until it rises in late August.

Orion over the rising sun, though we won't see the sun for another six weeks (ISO 800, F/3.5, 2 sec).

If you look closely, you'll see the three stars of Orion's belt. The brightest star in the picture (top left corner) is Orion's foot. It is Rigel. Down here, Orion is upside down from what I'm used to seeing in the Northern hemisphere. I like to think that the constellation is really named Achilles and his mother his dunking him in the Ross Sea.