Tag Archives: i love my wife

To my dream reader

So I’m still about a week behind with the assignments! Go me. Later today I will be stepping further into the pond and commenting on blogs that I’ve never commented on. If you’re also (still) doing this one, drop me a comment here and I will return the favor, then it will be like we just got introduced at a party and got to know each other a bit.

I’ve been thinking about who this mythical dream reader is and I’m not sure that I have one. I hope that people with different experiences and backgrounds would find me a bit interesting. I am always excited when fellow runners and triathletes are here to read my race reports and training struggles. Occasionally, I post recipes so there are also some foodies who are my dream readers. I often try to be funny, so the dream reader also appreciates humor, bad puns, and pop culture reference. Obviously, the dream reader is a cat lover as well.

Actually, I do know exactly who my dream reader is. Because this blog is me, unfiltered (for the most part), my dream reader is the person who loves and accepts me as I am, without trying to change me or mock my sometimes dubious life choices, who offers support without expectations, comfort without guilt and compassion without end.

Wow, this inadvertently turned into a love letter to my wife. Sorry for getting schmoop and glitter all over your internet today. But if you’re reading (and you’re not the Wife) here’s the short version of how that all played out:

Girl meets girl online in a regular old geeky internet forum.
Conversations are had, email are exchanged. For years. Life continues as usual.
A face to face meeting occurs at an airport en route to a science fiction convention.
Girl begins to believe in love at first sight.
More years pass.
Girl realizes that someone’s got to take a chance.
She leaves home, family, friends, profession, job behind.
There are parties (4) and wedding ceremonies (2).
There are cats to be mailed to a new country.
Girl manages to convince other girl that triathlons are fun and of course she also needs a fancy road bike. Twice. (That is two fancy road bikes. Lots more triathlons, a few marathons, that sort of thing, because it’s like fun but different.)
Girl (attempts to) learn a new language.
And never regrets any of it for a minute.

So that is that story (abridged).

Here we are on the beach right after getting married, American style. Photo taken by one of my very lovely friends (Hi, Joeschlabotnik!) who could attend our middle of the workday gathering

Here we are on the beach right after getting married, American style. Photo taken by one of my very lovely friends (Hi, Joeschlabotnik!) who could attend our middle of the workday gathering

Gutenberg Mainz Marathon Race Report

My fourth marathon, a race report in three graphs and eight images.

Settle in, this one got long (4000 words long). I wrote it in the format of a scientific paper as that is what I am also working on at the moment and it seemed a useful exercise. Hopefully, it’s a bot more interesting though. And it’s not written in the passive voice like so many science papers (incorrectly) are. (Had it been, there would be statements in it like, “A marathon was run by the experimenters. The results of this marathon can be interpreted in a number of ways, but that the successful running of this marathon (hereafter referred to as GMM) can be reasonably concluded…lucky for you, it’s written in a slightly more enjoyable fashion.)

Abstract

I ran my fourth marathon on Sunday, bested my previous PR by over 7 minutes, was rained on, got sunburn, had the wind in my face, stayed ahead of the 4:00 pacers and their red balloon the entire time, was cheered on twice by a guy in a motorized wheelchair blasting ’80’s pop music, saw running beer bottles, a red indian that I didn’t understand, several dwarves, and lots of really excited spectators despite the crap weather. I had an icy shower, saw the Wife finish smiling and with a new PR of her own, and had one of the best post-race massages I’ve ever gotten. Then I spent the next three days climbing stairs like an old lady and explaining to well-meaning friends that I didn’t win and this marathon is 42 kilometers long. I’ve also been making lots of graphs from the GPS and heart rate data I have from my Garmin. I usually don’t race with so much tech so it’s a bit overwhelming. The majority of those plots do not make their way into this report.

(and with scientific papers, here is where things would be behind a paywall, but again, lucky for you, all you have to do is click the button.)

Continue reading

Obligatory pre-race navel gazing…

OK, it’s two days to marathon day so it’s that inevitable time to come up with a race plan!

I’ve had input from a few running friends who all rejected my original plan of, “go hard until I blow up and see how far I managed to get.” I have absolutely no idea how to go about this despite some excellent advice from folks who know much better than I do what works when you’re actually concerned about finishing time for a marathon. And despite the fact that I don’t know what I’m doing or what I’m talking about, I shall do so ad nauseum for the next 2000 words.

tl;dr

The Wife and I are running a marathon on Sunday. I want to run it in less that 4 hours which is probably a bit of a stretch.

Preamble:

This will be my fourth stand-alone marathon. I didn’t run one last year as I got a wee bit burned out after Ironman and couldn’t face starting up again immediately after it for marathon training. Previous years were always one fall marathon using a Hal Higdon intermediate training plan (except the first one, that was his beginner plan). This year, I’m still a little burned out on triathlon and have gone back to running as my primary outlet for masochism training.

 GOALS:

For the race itself:

Continue reading

Happy Easter!

It’s a beautiful day to run 21 miles…I just got my confirmation letter for my May 11th marathon in the mail and through some bizarre clerical error (or possibly because I *slightly* overestimated my finishing time *cough by 15 minutes or so cough*) I’m in starting block 2. Yeah. Not exactly where I belong on this one. My race strategy has been: run pretty hard and see where I blow up, but after talking to an old friend on the phone the other day, I’ve changed it to: run hard and try not to actually blow up. He’s a smart man. It’ll probably be a lot less unfun that way.

And the Wife will be either biking or swimming for a good long workout as well. She’s run into a bit of a shin splint issue, possibly from my overly ambitious training plan, but I have every confidence that she’s going to make a quick and easy recovery. I keep telling her that right at the start of taper is the absolute best time to get injured before a race, but I’m not sure she believes me yet. Regardless, she’s done all the long runs in spectacular fashion and this last one on my plan has something to do with my insane idea that I want to qualify for Boston this year so she shouldn’t worry about missing it. At all. Actually, she shouldn’t worry at all, regardless. I had a wonderful spring getting to do most of my runs with her and all I want is for her to feel 100% again. I couldn’t care less if actually races. (But it would have been fun to see her running with a race number that says “Wolfgang” on it – long story involving me not being aware of the cutoff for registering for this one and the very active race number buying and trading forum and a 75 year old guy who thinks we’re a cute couple or something like that. Regardless, if it turns out that she can’t run it, I’m sure we can find a Bernd or a Frank or a Mike to pass the race number along to.) So to my dear Wife, please stop worrying and happy Easter!

Of course we color eggs even though we're both adults and don't have kids :-) Dave the Minion is quite excited about it.

Of course we color eggs even though we’re both adults and don’t have kids 🙂 Dave the Minion is quite excited about it.

...as is Dukie the cat. Maybe we should start making catnip eggs and hiding them for him to find...

…as is Dukie the cat. Maybe we should start making catnip eggs and hiding them for him to find…

Tuesday Twofer

The post about why I haven’t been posting has to wait another day as I haven’t finished it yet and I have too much to do to get it done in the manner it deserves.

There’s wordless Wednesday and Throwback Thursday, but what’s Tuesday? Today it’s Twofer Tuesday since I’ve only got about two minutes at the moment and too many things on the to-to list.

Two running recommendations:

1) For long runs, my Nathan running vest/backpack is the best ever, even though I tend to pack too many things into it. (Always a phone, extra cash, a couple of gels, a packet of tissues, lip balm, and the iPod. Often a jacket and/or spare gloves just in case).

2) Running with one’s significant other. Especially nice slow recovery runs where we get to chat for an hour or so. I know it’s hard for most couples because there’s always the fast one, but every once in a while, if the fast one slows down, it’s really lovely bonding time

Two photos:

two cats on a bookshelf, looking smug

People wonder why one shelf of our Wall of Billy has been left inexplicably empty. This is why.

a picture of bibimbap

The Wife has started making her own version of Korean Bibimbap. I’ll post a recipe when I get it from her.  But because she’s German, her version includes bacon.

She made this the first time last month and it’s possibly the best thing ever to come out of our kitchen. Really tasty with bok choi, fried tofu, the usual ingredients, but instead of egg, she finished it with German bacon. #ilovemywife

That’s all for today. More tomorrow (or Übermorgen – I’m on a plane tomorrow and I don’t know if I’ll have internet on the other side)

Running recap and Irish playlist

Oops! How does it happen that I think things are going well, I’ve got everything under control, then all of a sudden it’s February mid-March and I haven’t posted in two and a half weeks almost two months?

Triathlon Running recap:

Well, I’m behaving as a runner these days. A runner who swims once a week and does aikido three times a week, and basically doesn’t bike at all unless it’s for transportation. I’ve heard from the lovely folks at the small town marathon I’m running in May that they are not a BQ race. Then a week later, I heard from them again and their course got certified this month and they ARE a Boston qualifier. Which is great, but I’m never going to be able to qualify for next year anyway as I’d need a 3:45 and that’s probably not going to happen. This one will be a dress rehearsal then for late fall when I only need a 3:55 to qualify for 2016 (apparently, there are benefits to aging, after all).

I ran 115 miles in January. That’s more than I ran in any one month in all of 2013 and more than all but two months of 2012 (the last two months before my last stand-alone marathon). I’m too lazy to go back farther than that. February was 129 despite being horribly sick with norovirus in the middle and missing 4 runs including a long run. This month so far I’ve had a couple of nice long runs (18 on Saturday) and some ok other runs. This month, I’m on my way to over 190 miles.

Maffetone, the short version:

I had a long post about this in my head along with several different graphs I made in Matlab, none of which I feel like going into now, but to sum up: Maffetone sucks. And does not work for me. After two months of solid running at Maffetone heart rate, my pace did not consistently improve at all. After the first week, I went from having to practically walk to somewhat slower than my usual recovery/slow run pace and it never got any better. I suspect that is because my max HR is much higher than the age prediction formulas say it would be. Anyway, the heart rate strap still makes me claustrophobic, I can’t stand running that slowly anymore and screw the maffetone method, I’m going back to what works. I’ve got marathons to run and Boston to qualify for this year.

In other news, the Wife admitted to me that her last 16 mile long run felt so good that she wants to upgrade from the 2/3 marathon distance she was planning on racing in May to the full with me. Success! My evil plan worked!

I have another post describing why I’ve not managed to update in 2 months. I’ll put that one up tomorrrow. (Yes, this is probably the shortest post I’ve made to this blog. That’s the new method. Short and often. Like I like my…ummm….nevermind.

until then, Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Advent Day 22 Excuses, but they’re good ones

We flew to the US on the 17th and silly me, I thought that through all the crazy holiday travel, I’d be able to keep this up. How wrong I was.

Also, this happened…

Here we are on the beach right after getting married, American style. Photo taken by one of my very lovely friends (Hi, Joeschlabotnik!) who could attend our middle of the workday gathering

Here we are on the beach right after getting married, American style. Photo taken by one of my very lovely friends (Hi, Joeschlabotnik!) who could attend our middle of the workday gathering

We have been officially joined in a civil partnership in Germany since 2011, so that is what we generally think of as our wedding day, but until this year (when DOMA was declared unconstitutional), the option of living in the US as a same-sex couple didn’t bring with it the same guarantees of personal safety and freedom from random deportation that it would for an opposite-sex pair so we have been living in Germany together where the civil rights are better, but the actual marriage is still denied to us.

We have remedied this omission. It was a very simple civil marriage ceremony at the town clerk’s office, followed by lunch with about 15 close friends and family. We wore white, felt beautiful, and finally got to be actual brides in the laws of at least one of our lands. I can’t think of a better way to have celebrated the return of the sun in the long, dark nights at the ending of the year.

And yes, in case you were wondering, our wedding day started with a run. My dearest wife, I want to run together with you in the sun (and the rain and snow, and dark) all the days of my life.

This one was taken by another of my very oldest and dearest friends, who also served as our witness, best man, and driver for the day

This one was taken by another of my very oldest and dearest friends, who also served as our witness, best man, provider of a honeymoon, and driver for the day. P – we can’t thank you enough for all that you did to help us through the day!

And so, dear internet, I admit that I don’t have the time to finish Advent out properly, but I have more recipes to post, triathlon tips to share, race reports to write, and I will see you in the new year!

Until then, we will share good food; love ourselves, each other, and our families; and celebrate our joy in the season!

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice!

New Years Resolutions 2013: Really this is my goal post for the year

This is my New Year Resolution post for 2013.  I’ve started it off with some rules for making resolutions that I learned at my last job. Feel free to use these rules to make a set of goals for yourself, or to just think about how to write goals (without constantly moving the goal posts ans I am wont to do) that are achievable and reasonable.  There are a lot of things on my list because I have a lot of things that I want to remember to do and think about in the coming year and I plan to use this list to keep track of them and to refer to regularly throughout the year.

Rules for making resolutions:

  1. It shall be a concrete goal (i.e. no “I want to be a better person” type goals)
  2. It shall be trackable in some way. Progress shall be able to be noted
  3. It shall be achievable and checked by a disinterested party for reasonableness and achievability

Types of resolutions:

  1. Daily (near-daily) items. These are small changes to make in order to form healthy habits. In this context, health can be physical, intellectual, emotional, or social.  Examples of socially healthy habits to form are doing the dishes before bed daily, or folding the laundry when it is dry and not waiting for my wife to fold it.
  2. Weekly items are things that should be considered on a regular basis, again with a goal of healthy habit-forming, but also a goal of self-improvement in any of the above categories.
  3. Long term goals for the year.  Self explanatory.

Resolution assessments:

–       Should be done periodically throughout the year and adjustments made to the goals based on these goal assessment and progress and any changes (life events, etc) that may impact them.

–       Should be honest and reflect both positive progress and stumbling blocks.

My Goals for 2013, summary:

Below are my resolutions in the above categories.  Note that I very much dislike the word resolution and would prefer to call these short and long term goals coupled with ongoing things of which to be more mindful. Note that I did not include any negative goals here. I am focused on what I will do, and positive changes that I can make rather than negative aspects. This list is here to help me, not to make me feel bad about myself. Reassessment and revision is an important step in any big systems engineering project.

Category 1 Near-daily: These are the easiest to write down and should also be the easiest to do.

  1. Floss.  I started this one in October so maybe it no longer counts as a 2013 New Year’s resolution, but I am still flossing almost daily and my teeth and gums feel really nice these days. It also only takes a few minutes, makes me feel that I am doing something good for my health, is actually good for my health, and has no bad aspects as far as I can tell.  In fact, googling “cons of flossing” results only in discussions of which type of floss (or waterpik) is better, rather than any negative aspects of the act of flossing itself.  So this year I will continue to floss on a near-daily basis (missing a day every once in a while is considered to be within the noise and not a reason for self castigation or flagellagion. This goal is physical (for my health) and emotional (makes me feel good).
  2. Fold the laundry when it is dry.  Part of the challenge of living in a small apartment with no balcony and no clothes dryer is that our clean, wet clothes end up on a big rack in the middle of the living room. While I am quite adept at starting loads of laundry and pretty good at taking the damp clothes out of the washer and hanging them up to dry, I often skip this last step entirely. While I would like to be a person who does all the things, I’m not, and I understand that changes must be deliberate and not impossible to effect. That is why I am choosing laundry over dishes. I’m not sure I’d succeed at any goal that stated, “Do all the dishes before going to bed.” That would be setting myself up for failure and that is not the point of this exercise. So, folding the laundry. This goal is emotional and social (makes me feel good and also is something I will do to help the wife as we take care of our home together).
  3. Footwork. This is mainly martial arts, but can also apply to running, biking, and swimming.  Each year, I try to pick one aspect of training and focus on that specific thing for the year.  For example, one year it was posture (I probably need to redo that one sometime soon).  This year the focus will be more mindful and exact footwork as I have a tendency to just let my feet land wherever they happen to be at the end of my legs. In swimming, this will help with kicking, running will also be affected by thinking more about foot strike and turnover and by martial arts, I will work on removing a lot of those extra little steps that I tend to add everywhere. This goal is physical and intellectual (Making me think about the physical a little more but with a specific and directed focus.)
  4. Go to bed. I have been having more difficulty sleeping lately than usual and for some of the big goals for this year and one of my worst habits is falling asleep downstairs on the couch instead of in bed.  So, at night, when the wife brushes her teeth and gets ready for bed, I will also brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I will consider this to be successful if I get ready for bed within 30 minutes of her going to bed.  This does not mean that I won’t watch TV on the iPad in bed, read in bed, take the computer and write blog posts in bed, or engage in other activities to help me fall asleep or quiet my mind when I can’t fall asleep, but I will be in the right place to fall asleep at the right time of day. This goal is physical (better for my health, important for triathlon training), intellectual (brain function is improved by getting enough sleep), emotional (the bed is comfortable and is a soothing place to be, I don’t feel guilty for not joining my spouse that I love and love being near), and social (I will disturb her less with quiet reading in bed than with leaving all the lights on, making noise in the bathroom, and all the other things that happen in the middle of the night when I don’t get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Category 2 Weekly: Some of these are easy, some are difficult, some appear easy but aren’t, some appear difficult, but aren’t. It is left to the reader as an exercise to determine which is which.

  1. Clean weapons. All my wooden weapons that I use regularly shall be checked over and oiled and wiped down once a week. Sunday, Monday, or Wednesday are the best days for this.  Wooden weapons that I don’t use regularly and my iaito should be wiped down and cleaned once a month. (Emotional goal).
  2. Martial arts practice. Three times a week. This can be as simple as 10 minutes of sword cuts in the morning. This goal may move to the daily category when I reassess in a months. 10 minutes a day is barely more than flossing. (Physical goal).
  3. Science. Regardless of other work that I am doing for super secret goal #1, read one science paper a week. This includes reading the paper, and writing a short summary of it. (Intellectual goal).
  4. German. Read 2 articles in German every week. These can be about anything and be of any length.  Listen to 1 radio program a week in German. Write at least 200 words in German every week. These can be emails, notes about the articles, letters, blog posts, anything as long as it is in German. (Intellectual goal).
  5. Writing. Blog, fiction, science writing, whatever. At a minimum, 1000 words a week that isn’t just emails and Facebook updates. (Intellectual, emotional, and social goal).
  6. Marriage. Plan and do something every week together that is not a sporting activity.  This can be cooking together, going out to dinner, going for walks, going to the movies, museums, bike rides (touring, not training), sauna, other, really anything that we enjoy together without the internet and without a training plan. (Emotional and social goal.)

Category 3 Long Term: My major concrete goals for the year. I’ve put a completion month after each. I don’t think this list should be longer than 12 items, one for each month, although it doesn’t have to be that long.

  1. Ironman Frankfurt.  July 7.
  2. Suspended sediment paper. End of January.
  3. Frankfurt Marathon in less than 4 hours. October 27.
  4. Prepare for B2 or C2 German exam. (note that taking the exam is not important, but that getting to the point where taking either of them would not be a problem to pass is the goal. It’s still unclear which, if any, I might need and since they cost a lot to take, I might not actually take either one). March.
  5. Get the cats to the vet for their annual check up. August.
  6. Get myself to the vet for annual check up. September.
  7. Get matching wedding rings. Through some unforeseen events, we currently don’t have matching ones and we would like to. December.
  8. Get the fillings that the dentist says need replacing replaced. April.
  9. Living room and bathroom revision.  I finished the kitchen then lost focus. June.
  10. Super secret goal. More on this later.

That’s it for me.  Happy New Year, I hope that it started well. I’ll post my 2012 reflections in the next few days.

Devil-cat is sad that he has to wait 358 days until Christmas again. His resolution is to get up before dawn every day and convince us that he must be fed before the first rays of light reach the bedroom window.

Devil-cat is sad that he has to wait 358 days until Christmas again. His resolution is to get up before dawn every day and convince us that he must be fed before the first rays of light reach the bedroom window.