Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nature's Electric Slide

Good news first :) Last night, right as we were going to bed, I remembered that there was supposed to be really good aurora activity that night. So, Galileo and I decided to check out the north windows. Sure enough, a bright green streak was lighting up the sky to the north of us! It looked something like this. An aurora kind of waves at you, gets a bit brighter in one place, then another, and can go from being "band-y" to upright in a matter of seconds.

As an ex-physics major, I thought I'd read up on it for you. So far, it has to do with ions travelling together, forming a plasma that hitches a ride on a solar wind. Or something like that.

All I really know see this massive set of particles dance in our atmosphere is incredible; to see it out of your own home's windows is priceless.

The Aurora predictor at UAF says that tonight will be another good night for the northern lights.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Accepting the things one cannot change...

Wrestling with my hair today, I found something new about myself.

I thought at first it was a trick of the light, but I found a very very light hair on the side of my head. To test, I pulled it out and matched it up to different things in the house that were white. It was not quite as white as the sink, but certainly when you put it up against a navy shirt, it was definitely light and not very red at all.

There are really two different conclusions I could make -- 1) that I am turning blonde or have always had a very blonde hair on the side of my head or 2) that hair was decidedly white. I've had 30 years of inspecting my head (granted, I'm not much of a detail person), so I'm assuming that it was, perhaps, a grey-ish hair.

Yikes. "Grey hair is for old people" was my first thought (Sorry, old people :)). Then I thought, "Well...and for Taylor Hicks (my age) and even my sister (who is not an old person either)". Even if it was a grey hair, it's not like everyone else in the whole world for generations hasn't gone through this too, right?

I've been reading a lot about mental attitudes preparing for the marathon. One of the biggest things to remember when running a big race is separating those factors you have influence on (your training, your nutrition) and those you can't (the weather).

So, I chose to put this grey hair stuff into the mental bucket of "things I cannot change", acknowledged it, and tried to leave it at that...

..which lasted for five minutes. Apparently, I require something I can control to worry about to replace the grey hair worry-- this is probably why I have many hobbies. No, I'm not saying that it's a healthy reaction, but I'm being honest here.

So, the second thing I did was take a real good look in the mirror, and thought about what I do control, and what I can do something about next.

The fact is, for a newly old person, I am doing great. Hey, I'm functionally sound -- no broken bones, no permanent injuries to really complain about. In fact, with the marathoning and skiing, I am actually in better shape and fitness than I was at 17.

So, I'm going to focus my energy on two things. They are physical and a bit vain, but of course, so is worrying about grey hair:
1) I'm going to beat my Marathon PR, which is 4:18:44 (Columbus, age 26), at Boston in April.
2) I'm going to lose those last five pounds where it will facilitate that Marathon PR and not hurt it. If my calculations are correct, this requires a reduction of 3% body fat (not muscle), which is realistic, keeps me in a healthy BMI, and shouldn't interfere with goal #1.

Wish me luck :) I'll also work on getting used to the grey hair and her friends.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Spencer Day"

Since the ski conditions have been especially awesome in Anchorage, Frank and I decided that Sunday would be our "Ski Spencer" day.

Spencer is probably the most famous trail in Anchorage, known for its' sharp, twisty downhills and insanely dramatic uphills. Personally, I think it is cursed. I've only been on it once last year, and "almost died" (I planted my face down in the snow five times). When Frank and I tried last year, he pulled his groin during the first 100 meters of downhill.

So we got our courage up today to ski Spencer again -- and we also coaxed Tara to go too. As Frank got his skis together, I carefully packed extra sport jelly beans and overdressed, just in case there was an emergency (I already wear a "safety orange" jacket for such times).

As we set out, it was looking like a great day. The ski wax was a little too warm for the day, which was actually good this time, since we wanted to go a little slower than usual. Spencer starts with a severe but small dip into the unknown before you start the gradual uphill battle to the top of the mountain. At the beginning, we were all in a good mood, but gradually, the mountain really wears even the most positive person down. By the time we got to the top, even I was swearing like a sailor!

Of course, what goes up, must come down. So once the hour of going uphill was finished, we started our harrowing descent. It reminds me of going down a bobsled run on skis, especially since there are names like "Luge" and "Labrynth". The Labrynth takes you right up to the gate to Hilltop ski area (that's right, we slog up the back of a mountain that smart people use a ski lift for). In fact, if you don't make the turn, like I didn't last year, you can easily run into the wood fence. There's a few more turns like that, but eventually you find yourself back on the Gasline as a "Spencer Survivor".

So Frank, Tara and I did Spencer and it was awesome. I didn't enjoy the downhills, but Frank certainly did ;). And, do you know what? It really was not as scary as I remember it.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

We Ski

While the rest of the high school world is heavy into basketball season, Alaska is finishing up their high school XC ski season. That's right--kids here are truly growing up dreaming about being crowned skimeister. It's great!

The Cook-Inlet conference championships are at Kincaid this weekend.

In other news, I ran a 10 miler today that felt GREAT! This is very encouraging, since the last few long runs I have run in order to get ready for the Boston Marathon have stunk. For recovery, I came up with a new Korean-Mexican concoction I am calling "Huevos-Bap", whch is a mixture of Huevos Rancheros and Be Bim Bap. From the Huevos, I diced up tortillas and fried them. I added onto that a fried egg (which is what the two meals have in common). In addition, like the Korean dish, I added massive shredded vegetables and, since I didn't have any good marinated beef, chicken sausage with a deglaze of cooking tequila. It was suprisingly good for a post-workout meal. The best part only took 15 minutes to make, which is always a good thing for a post workout meal. Try it!

Seawolf Hockey Update

Before I start, here is a little Anchorage weather report. Yesterday it literally snowed all day -- in fact, I still see a few flakes coming down. Sometimes, the snowflakes were big and flaky, sometimes they were wet and tiny. Overall, I think the weatherman was wrong (although Frank argues he was "Big O" right -- it's a computer science theory joke, ha) when he said we were only going to get an accumulation of only one inch.

Anyways, our infamous mythical sea creature hockey players had their second-to-last home game yesterday against the MSU-Mankato Mavericks. Their colors are purple and black, and yes, their mascot is a angry purple cow. Apparently, a Maverick is a cow that likes to stay apart from the herd -- a "Lone wolf" cow if you will. I would assume that in Mankato there are probably many people you would consider mavericks in their own right, so it's a fitting name.

Of course, we are mythical sea creatures. What does that say about Anchorage, eh? I say "eh" because five out of our six starters are from Canada (the other guy is from California I think).

I haven't talked a lot about UAA hockey this year, and the reason truly is that they have really been terrible. Last year, they showed signs of offensive life, this year they seem to get confused and either dump the puck behind the goalie or just skip the middleman and pass it to the other team.

To top it off, our starting goalie, our "Rex Grossman" if you will, was especially bad. At one point, he would make an amazing save, and we all would cheer for the good goalie. The next time the puck made it his way, he literally skated out of the crease to get a puck and did not make it back in time to actually stop said puck from making into the darn goal. Geesh.

Last night was no exception to the bad year. By the end of the first period, we were down three goals. They pulled Rex the goalie and put in the new freshman kid, who seemed to do a great job(blocked 27 out of 28 shots!). But they did not pull the rest of the players, who kept dumping the puck, passing it to the other team, and, like usual, getting their fair share of penalties.

Sigh. I wish there was more to say about the Seawolves this year, but there just isn't.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What Frank and Lori have been up to...

Since Christmas, the Alaskan Moore clan has been very busy!

Last weekend, we were in Homer (see the pictures below) with our good friends, Tara and Loren. We had a great time, saw some wildlife, saw a really cruddy super bowl, then came back refreshed for a new week.

For excercise this week, we have been doing a lot of XC skiing, both classic and skate. Anchorage has had incredible snow luck, so the skiing is super-good. In addition, I ran 18 miles (!) yesterday in training for the Boston Marathon. This makes me tired and cranky for the rest of the weekend (poor Frank!).

I also am writing this entry on our brand new photo computer, which is really awesome. It's HP (of course), and has been a super breeze to put together. What has been a little more difficult is getting the switch set up (that's a device that will let me flip from my work computer to my home computer). I had to go through three different switches before settling on the Belkin Flip. Argh! Anyways, this computer should be all set for my photo business soon.

Hope you all are having a good week!

Monday, February 05, 2007