Monday, January 31, 2011

Climbing Comp - Crushed!

Haha, okay, I didn't actually crush - but I did win 3rd place in the the women's intermediate division and had a kicking awesome time!

On Saturday, I competed in the T-Town Pull Down sponsored by UA Outdoor Recreation. All proceeds of the event were donated to the Southeastern Climbers Coalition.

My sister also competed and won first place in the women's beginner's division, and my brother-in-law, Garrett, placed 1st in the advanced men's division. Yes - my family if full of amazingly cool bad-asses :)

Here are a couple of pictures of the final route I did, which is what pushed my score up into the winning zone - this was a sketchy high ball slab route requiring balance (which was good, because I had zero strength left after climbing for 2 hours straight). I got on it five minutes before the heat ended, and managed to send the problem in one try! (yes, I am painfully proud of this achievement. You read my blog, you should know how to humor me by now)

You know I have to give you the picture by picture captions: below, I am just getting off the starting holds. Keep an eye on the red line - during non-competition times, climbers are not allowed to get their shoulders past the red line because they may fall and get hurt... the red line is the same height across the gym.

Please note, my right foot is not actually on anything

Right foot, still not actually on anything...

Right foot STILL not on an actual hold. Yes, I'm please with myself. ONE try, no falls!

At the top! Note - the red line... and the lack of holds to climb back down...

Down-climbing the route next to the one I was just on.

Friday, January 28, 2011


This is a rough rendition of a conversation I had with my husband last night:


Derek: [blah, blah, blah] Sam said... [blah, blah]... So do you want to move to Antarctica?? [insanely happy grin on his face]

Me [thinking: What the F#@$%?!?] : NO.

Derek [in an excited boyish voice]: But it would be so cool - we would be total badasses!

Me: NO.

Derek: But they pay you at least $12.00 an hour and give you room and board.


Derek: And there's ice climbing...

Me [thinking of MLK weekend]: GOD NO.

Derek: But it would be so cool!! It's only a few months - summer months for Antarctica

Me: No.

Derek: Just from October to February and then we could live in New Zealand for a while.


Derek: They give you a plane ticket back for whenever you want.

Me: .... What about health insurance?

Derek: I don't know....

Me: Could I work in my field [librarianship]?

Derek: I don't know....

Me: Will there be sunshine or will this be the land of eternal icy darkness?

Derek: I don't know....

Me: Can I have plants?

Derek [still grinning like a mad hatter]: I don't know....

Me [ sigh of the damned] :... find me details on things like health insurance and we can think about this.

Derek: OKAY!!! [bouncing around with uncontrolled happiness]


This morning, I had an email with the details.

God help me.
THIS could be our next home:

Photograph by: Peter Rejcek
National Science Foundation
Date Taken: January 6, 2010
So tell, what would YOU say if your significant other asked you to move to Antarctica?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bullet Your Day

  • Cellphone alarm clock vibrated way too early. Slapped it until it shut up.
  • Woke up because my face was vibrating. How did the cellphone get under my pillow? Slapped it until it shut up.
  • Derek woke me up 15 minutes later. I don't slap him.
  • Had a debate with myself in the shower: to shave, or not to shave? I planned on wearing leg exposing work out clothes so I had to think about it. If I shaved, I'd probably blind people with my sickly whiteness. If I didn't shave, the hair would be thick enough to HIDE the whiteness.... but then I might be confused for a dude... God bless my husband for putting up with me.
  • Managed not to throw up breakfast today. Definite improvement from yesterday.
  • Ran sprints up a hill during my lunch break. How long do you have to run sprints for them to be useful? I really don't know.
  • Had a very strange training session at work. Some dude from Brooklyn commented on what natural remedies could interact negatively with Viagra. Seriously - this was a training session for my job. We talked about VIAGRA.
  • Also had a very strange yoga session. Way too many people wearing way too many scents in a room that was much hotter than normal. Made me feel giddy and angry at the same time. I alternated between giggling with the dude next to me because neither of us could figure out what the hell "put your feet together and spread your legs" meant and staring at the instructor with angry intensity as I refused to do 'half planks' on my knees - seriously - I can do a freaking push up and I am not going to do a half assed half plank.
  • And yeah, I know this is mean but if your CAREER is to be a group FITNESS INSTRUCTOR then you should damn well be FIT!! It's your job! You should not be some pot-bellied bleach blond goomba who can't even touch her damn toes!!! And if you are one of these slack assed idiot individuals, then you certainly shouldn't get pissy because your students dont neeeeed the alternate posses that you neeeeed.
  • I also might still be slightly giddy-angry. apologies.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I don't care if i look like a stalker

I just discovered this woman's blog and it is freaking awesome!!!

Read it. She is funny, inspiring, and crude. I am in love!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Some days, no matter how hard you try you will get nothing done.

Today is one of those days for me.

And I'm giving up now. At least for a few minutes of mental break.

But seriously - each time I start getting into my groove and aspire to put a dent in my paperwork, I get interrupted. And that's okay, because so far today it's always been a patron interrupting or something for work. Patrons get to interrupt. Patrons are why I'm here. Patrons are good. I like helping them. But daaaaang I'm getting nothing done. And half the patrons are really just lost students wanting to know where the medical records office is located. Which is still okay. But a little bit annoying.

Okay, break officially done. I've got too much junk to do!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

UP NEXT: T-Town Pull Down 2011

The T-Town Pull Down is ONE WEEK from today.

Based on my website analytics, I actually have quite a few unknown readers from the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area - so I thought maybe one or two of you may be interested in signing up for this awesome, fun bouldering competition. It is friendly to beginners and experts alike. Feel free to contact me through Facebook if you have any questions about it.

Here is a link to the Registration Form
Here is a link if you would like More Info

Hope to see some friendly faces there!

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 Trail Running

So I think I have decided on my next two races.

I will definitely be signing up for the Mountain Ranger Run - a 15K (9.3 miles) trail run at Camp Merrill in Dahlonega, Georgia (see hardcore Ranger emblem to the right). My sister has already signed up, and I really want to run a race with her this year.

Further, the run isn't until April 30th, so I will have sufficient time to train competitively. I was looking at the other runners' times for the past two trail runs I've done, and I think I can be competitive in the female division if I run 10 minute miles. So that's my goal for this race.

The other race I'm still considering is the McKay Hollow Madness Trail Run - a 25K. It is under consideration because it is only 8 weeks away and I doubt that I could safely/healthfully train 'competitively' for it in that amount of time. However, it is very nearby, it would get me more trail running experience, it's cheap, and it would help me make sure that I start training for the Ranger Run.

The deadline to sign up for the McKay Hollow Madness Run is March 20th - so I have some time before I have to decide. I think I'm going to start training for it, and re-evaluate in the beginning of March. If I run it, my goal will be to finish with an 11:45 pace - which is halfway between my pace for the last trail 25K and my goal for the Ranger Run.

Updates to come - Rangers lead the way!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Review: Thrive by Brendan Brazier

One of my goals for the year was to read Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier.

I must say that while this book has several strong points, it was not at all what I was expecting. I anticipated this book being written by an athlete for other athletes. Instead, it appears to be heavily directed toward couch potatoes and it contains many ads for the author's food products... Not really what I was looking for.

The author claims that if everyone follows his diet plan they will experience weight loss, younger biological ages, less stress, happier lives, and oh yeah - the world will be a better place. All without any citations to his references.

To sum it up, it is written like any other fad diet book.

However, it is not a total fail - in fact, it has many fine points. The guy has to know quite a bit in order to be a professional athlete, much less a professional athlete on a plant only diet. His commentary on how plant based diets are easier on the environment ring true as well. And he does have a lengthy list of references if you want to wade through them to discover how he crafted his practices. Overall, I think the author's material is solid and perhaps his editors/marketing goons just ran away with it.

Other folks have much more positive things to say about it.

So, despite my bashing - I would still definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about performance nutrition or nutrition in general. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but will post reviews of any I do try.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ice Climbing - PICTURES

White Sides Mountain, North Carolina - Starshine Route, Grade 3+/4-

View of the route from the next ridge over. It's the streak of white toward the center/right of the picture. To get to it, we had a decent hike in and then we rappelled down the route, pulled our ropes, and then led back up the route to get out again.

Me belaying Derek - my first time giving a belay for an ice lead

Derek on lead, pitch 1 of 2

Still Derek on lead, you can see the rest of the route

The terrifying belay anchor at the top of the first pitch. I had a minor meltdown when I saw it. From left to right you should see the anchor points as 1. an icicle the size of my calf, 2. a shitty screw, 3. a stubby screw, 4. another shitty screw. The stubby screw didn't get placed until I got to the anchor with extra gear. Derek actually did a good job in a bad situation here, and I'm proud of him for keeping it together.

Back at the top - ALIVE!
Brian belaying Brandon at the top out for the climb

The End!

Ice Climbing Rant, MLK Weekend

So, clearly I survived. I can't say that I had a good showing though. Derek and I went climbing with two other guys who I'm sure would be happy to never see me again.


Well, pretty much because my attitude sucked. And my attitude sucked because I didn't want to be there. And I didn't want to be there because:

1. I do not like ice climbing
2. I do not enjoy driving 12+ hours round trip to do something I do not like doing... FOR THE SECOND WEEKEND IN A ROW
3. I do not have the proper gear to stay warm
4. I was coming down with a head cold
5. It's the first week of school and I'd kinda like to take care of some stuff before the world gets crazy
6. It was the third freaking weekend in a row that we'd been out of town
7. And HEY! that forth weekend ago, we didn't go out of town because I had SURGERY - maybe we shouldn't freaking PUSH IT?!!! EHH??!!

So WHY you may ask, did I go?

Well, because when I told Derek I didn't want to go he was all "I really want to spend time with you this weekend" and "It's my last weekend to get out before school starts" and "I think we could have a lot of fun" and I am a total sap and felt guilty for not wanting to go with him.

So I caved.

Which probably would have been fine, except I didn't ACCEPT that I had caved. Where I should have said, "Hey, I'm going - I might as well be open to the possibility of fun" I failed and instead grumbled my way to and from said climbing adventure.


So yeah, I'm sure I made a horrible impression on the new climbing friends, not to mention made Derek less than happy. If the situation had been reversed I would have called me a ball-and-chain or less pleasant descriptor.

Like whiny sissy.

Or more accurately, slow-ass-scaredy-cat-whiny-sniffle-nosed-crying-shivering-ball-and-chain.

Yeah... Not my proudest moment.

BUT I did climb the climb, and the next post will have some cool pictures to prove it. I also have the full-blown head cold to prove it. Complete with hacking chest cough, itchy throat, runny-stuffed nosed, and sneezing. Thank you little perfect baby Jesus for Sudafed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

WACC Salad Recipe

Okay, so this isn't really a 'recipe' - you don't have to cook anything. But I was rummaging through my fridge the other morning for breakfast and this is what I came up with. I can see it as a fast breakfast or healthy snack.

I'm not a huge fan of cottage cheese (as y'all probably already know), but I found that the flavor and texture of the apple and walnuts took care of that. It was pretty dang yummy and did not upset my stomach (still a major achievement these days) and it filled me up for the whole morning. It is packed with protein and fiber.

Walnut Apple Cottage Cheese (WACC) Salad
  • One small apple, chopped
  • 1/4 C cottage cheese
  • 1/8 C chopped walnuts
Nutritional Information
  • 257 calories
  • 421 mg sodium - about 18% of your DV per the FDA
  • 35 g carbs - about 12% DV per the FDA
  • 5 g fiber - about 20% DV per the FDA
  • 15 g sugar
  • 16.5 g protein (DV is based on your weight and activity level; this is about 27% my DV)
  • 11% DV Vitamin C
  • 12% DV Iron
  • ?? Calcium - 5% DV per FDA

Photo By Ann Stratton

The nutritional info above was taking from online searches rather than the packaging itself, so it truly is an approximation. Still, useful info hopefully.

School Update - Spring 2011

The new school semester has officially begun, and I had my first class last night. I'm pretty excited about my course load this semester, mostly because I will finally be getting into my areas of interest and doing my research.

This semester I am taking of full-time course load of 9 credit hours (3 classes). I'm hoping since I got the hardest two classes out of the way and since these three classes are in my interest area that the semester will be more fun-challenging rather than hard-challenging.

Here are my semester goals:
  • Make straight A's
  • Sleep no less than 7 hours a night
  • Hang out with classmates outside of class
  • Get my research accepted to present at the ALA Conference
  • Get my research published
  • Learn PHP and JavaScript
  • Create an online professional portfolio
Aaaand I need to stop this now. I'll make too many goals and then library land will take over my life again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ice Climbing - Narrative

This past Saturday Derek and I drove out to Western North Carolina. We spent the day driving, went to bed fairly early, and got up on Sunday ready to go.

On Sunday, Derek and I went climbing with a friend of his, Ron, who is a Fox Mountain Guide. If you are in the Southeast and ever want to try rock or ice climbing, and don't know who to go with, I highly recommend hiring a guide from this company. Derek and I know many of them, Derek has worked with many of them, and they are pretty much all rock stars. They will keep you safe, teach you tons of awesome things, take you on some kick-ass trips, and the guides I know all have pretty entertaining stories to tell.

Anyway, Ron and Derek both went to great effort to make sure I had a good time. We started off hiking around this frozen creek so I could get used to walking/moving in crampons (if you don't know what a crampon is, no worries - here is a Wikipedia link for more info). Ron went over many of the basics of ice climbing, especially the differences in movement between ice and rock climbing. It was all good stuff.

I'm making sure to comment on the awesomeness of Ron and Derek, because the rest of this post is going to let you know how freaking miserable I found ice climbing to be. Rest assured, it was no fault of my companions - they really were awesome. My misery was entirely due to the fact that I JUST HATE ICE CLIMBING.

Ice climbing is COOOOOLD!!!!

And uncomfortable, and annoying, and you have to carry so much extra crap, and walking in crampons SUCKS, and ice boots SUCK, and did I mention it was FREAKING COLD?!

I really wanted to enjoy it. I really tried to stay open to the possibility of enjoying it. In fact, every time I took an ice chunk to the face or fell face first into the snow after tripping on my own crampons, I made sure to take a moment, breathe, and say my Hail Mary's until I had found my way back to my 'happy place' again before continuing on.

But it really didn't work.

The fun to suck ratio weighed in heavily on the side of SUCK.

On Sunday morning when we got out of the car, it was exactly ONE degree outside. My feet froze before we even made it to the frozen creek we were going to hike on. Walking over a frozen creek while wearing pointy metal strapped to my feet just seemed asking for trouble. It was okay, but it was also terrifying - can you imagine how awful it would be to fall through ice into a creek in the dead of winter??? And you could totally SEE the water running beneath the ice!

I repeatedly tripped and fell face first into the snow.

I got "screaming-barfies" for the first time ever - and despite the fact that once you get them, you are not supposed to get them again, I kept getting them. Or maybe they just never went away. Either way, I actually gagged at one point because my feet and hands hurt so much from the cold. I also cried a lot. Which is a bad thing to do when its that cold out, because your tears get all freeezey. BAD.

Then to top off the awfulness, we drove home after one of the worst winter storms in the Southeast. It was a ten hour drive of adrenaline, caffeine, and armpit-sweat-inducing-fear. And I didn't even drive any.


I don't like ice climbing....

Derek and I are going again this weekend....

Shoot me.... Just please somebody shoot me.

Ice Climbing - MORE Pictures

Here are some more pictures of Derek's lead climb...

And here are some pictures of the freaking insane and terrifying drive home.... the drive home was by far more dangerous than the ice climbing. It took an extra 3ish hours due mostly to Atlanta and that city's inability to handle any form of inclement weather. Seriously. Freaking ALABAMA did a better job of handling the snow/ice than all of Georgia .

No pictures of the scariness in Atlanta itself though - I was too busy gripping the JESUS handle and praying and trying not wet myself and yelling out the window at the dumb cop who thought it would wise to speed around in zig-zags on the ice sheet that was the highway in order to yell out his window at vehicles he thought were driving too fast for conditions (apparently, 15 miles an hour is too fast)... grrr....

NEXT post will be about the actual climbing

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ice Climbing - Pictures

Derek's first ice lead

There are a ton more pictures, but my computer is being paaainfully slow so I'm just going to post Derek's facebook album link - I don't know if it is public, you may or may not have to friend Derek to view the album.

I'll write my narrative of the experience in the next post...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ice Ice Baby

Derek has a new hobby.

Ice Climbing.


I know.

This is one of those things that I was totally against, swore I'd never do, and threatened him if he ever tried because I knew he would love it and then somehow rope me into that insanity as well. But I finally caved and said, "okay."

To the right is a picture of him ice climbing in North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. He absolutely loved it (as predicted) and somehow convinced me I should try it, too.


I know.

We are leaving for North Carolina tomorrow and will get in a full day of climbing on Saturday and a half day on Sunday. Heaven help me. I am kind of excited about it. But mostly thinking... "What the HELL was I thinking?!?!"

It's ice climbing.

Ice climbing = ICE...


I don't do cold.

What, you thought I was worried about the danger? hahaha, whatever. We'll be top-roping. The drive to get there is going to be more dangerous than the climbing. Hell - sitting at work is more dangerous than the climbing. I could get carpal tunnel here people!

Hopefully more pictures to come :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


So, I recently learned about a fun activity that I wanted to share with y'all - it's called Letterboxing.

It's pretty much a world wide scavenger hunt for grown ups (and kids too). It seems like a great way to learn your way around a new town, or to explore. I'm tagging it as a craft because you can get pretty creative with the stamp portion of the activity.

Here are two websites if you are interested in learning more or trying it out yourself!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Running Routine

Happy New Year y'all!

Derek and I spent New Years in SC with the Ziegler family. We got home last night with enough time to unpack, do some laundry, and collapse into bed. Now it's time to get back into the daily routine - and time to kick start my new running routine with my new heart rate monitor!
My first step for training is to determine my Target Heart Rate, so I know how hard I need to be running.

After researching some articles through PubMed and Web of Science (an indexing database provided through UA), I decided to use the Karvonen method to determine the best target heart rate for me. I chose this one because it actually uses your own resting heart rate to calculate your target heart rate, and not just your age. That means it will also need to be adjusted as my cardio-health improves (typically, your resting heart rate will lower as your cardio health gets better). It also has been used by doctors during multiple medical studies.

I'm going to post my calculations - feel free to check my work or use the formulas for your own training! Resting heart rate = beats per minute when at rest. If you calculate that, make sure you have had sufficient time at rest before taking the measure. For example, you may want to calculate it when you are laying down to sleep or when you are watching a really boring TV show :)

Max Heart Rate
HRmax = 205.8 − (0.685 × 26 [my age]) = 187.99

Target Heart Rate (rounded)
THR = ((HRmax − HRrest) × %Intensity) + HRrest

At 50 % Intensity
THR = ((187.99 − 54) × 0.50) + 54 = 121

At 85 % Intensity
THR = ((187.99 − 54) × 0.85) + 54 = 168

Last year I participated in a kinesiology study, and my target heart rate for the study was between 150 and 160 so I think my results here are good. I will use the results from this formula for two weeks and then recalculate.

Wish me luck!