Tuesday, May 28, 2013

at the gym

Apparently I first tried lifting weights at the gym in March 2012. A labmate of mine is on a (fairly successful) quest to take everyone else in our lab to the gym at some point and introduce them to weight lifting. It has been an off and on thing for me since then, but I'm trying to start up a streak again, and I've gone 3 consecutive times this round. Adam even comes with me sometimes!

It seems like a good thing to do. It makes me feel strong and bad-ass, and I know my body must change its shape to allow me to squat an increasing number of pounds. (Whereas running different amounts doesn't seem to convince it to change shape.) If the 45-pound bar feels light, my hope is that a 45-lb backpacking pack should also feel light. And it did, kinda? (Thinking back to the Grand Canyon...)

Adam and I made up a little song:
pick up the bar, put it back down
pick up the bar, put it back down
pick up some weights, put 'em on the bar, pick up the bar, put it back down

I think there's a book my labmate/gym-influence got his info from, but I just like to think of the workout regime as "Yun-en's Decree"...

It involves doing 3 sets of 5 reps (after working/warming up to your max weight) of the following exercises. Alternate A/B days whilst going 3 times a week.

Day A:
  • squats (current weight: 65lb, though I once got up to 75lb)
  • bench press (current weight: 50lb)
  • chin ups (I do assisted chin ups because I am a lady)

Day B:
  • squats
  • overhead press (I do the Arnold press because I can't do this with the 45-lb bar, and Mr. Schwarzenegger signed my college diploma)
  • deadlifts (current weight: 95lb, and conveniently, my gym recently got taller 25lb bar weights)

I am a female in computer science, but I usually don't think about it. Being a female in the weight room feels like what being a minority in CS can feel like. Luckily, a fair number of CS folks hang out there.

Anywhoo... check back in some amount of time and maybe I'll be picking up bars with much heavier weights on them!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beat the Bridge 2013

I ran this Beat the Bridge race today! (Sunday, May 19, 2013) It's an 8K (5 mile) race, which is a lovely middle-ground between a 5K and a 10K. The "bridge beating" come from the fact that there's a drawbridge at the 2-mile mark that they raise 20 minutes after the start of the race, so you are incentivised to run at a certain pace for those first two miles. Otherwise the draw bridge raises and you have to wait for it. After the bridge, there are another 3 miles. The race is also a fundraiser for diabetes research.

hah, bridge beat!

Here are some random anecdotes from race day:

Yes, we beat the bridge! They raise it 20 minutes after the last person crosses the start line. We were still technically on the bridge, but way past the drawbridge part. But we stuck around to take pictures. A lot of people switched to walking after making it to the bridge.

A while ago, I was searching the web trying to figure out what the fancy running shirts were like, and I found a blog post about some guy's fairly hungover experience running the race. I was thinking how since 5 miles is right at my limit when I'm well-rested and properly fed, I would not be able to manage it otherwise. Last night held many potential adventures, but I managed to get home by midnight. I also managed to go to numerous eating-oriented social outings yesterday and stuff my face at every one.

a chip on my shoe!

I've never run a race with a chip before. Actually, the only organized races I've ever done are the UCSC 5K Slug Run through the woods and the Chilly Hilly bike ride around Bainbridge island. I also learned that you have to give the chip back (there are de-chipping stations at the end of the race) otherwise they will charge you $30 or something. My chip said I ran the 5 miles in 53 minutes, at a 10:41 pace. That includes the time stopped lollygagging and taking pictures of the drawbridge going up. My phone said the last two miles I ran at around 9:30 minutes per mile. That's super good for me!

bridge beat!

Igor and Svet were kind enough to run with me the whole way, even though they can both probably run twice as fast. It probably helped me keep a faster pace that I would have done alone.

We planned to take a cab to school because the bridge we were running over was supposedly closed to traffic, like the bus we'd otherwise take to school. We sort of tried to communicate this bridge-closure to the cab driver, but he took us directly to the closed and traffic-jammed bridge anyway. The magic of cab social networks (aka another cab driver) let our cab cut in line and then we got out within reasonable walking distance of our destination.

the finish line

While finishing the race was a lovely accomplishment, it was actually really crowded and claustrophobic and bad-feeling at the end. No, I don't want a bag of advertisements and one mini cliff bar... no, I don't want to stand in a slow-moving herd... I just want some water and a banana and space. Ah hah, there's the bananas!

cannabal banana

I realized today was also the Bay-to-Breakers in San Francisco. This banana guy was one of the most outrageous costumes here in Seattle today.

Okay, I'm out of anecdotes. It was an excellent race and we emerged victorious!

victorious runners!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

How to put a plastic adirondack chair into a honda civic

I recommend trying to put the chair into the car like this:
Chairs in cars

None of the other ways seemed to work, for example: the trunk and the back door. The legs and the arms and the back... they just don't play nice with the shape of the car doors.

But that configuration there... It doesn't mean the plastic chair has to hang out upside down on the front passenger seat like that... (in fact, the door won't close and the arm rest is obstructing the gear shift ) Once it's inside the car, if you recline the passenger seat and maybe the driver seat, you can twirl the chair around inside the car all you want.

Then maybe you can fit two chairs!
Chairs in cars

This was a very satisfying project... to not have to return these chairs "because they won't fit in my car" and to get to wrestle them home to my deck where I sat on them in balmy May-Seattle weather until about 10:30pm. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What I really care about

I'm often on one side or the other of a certain kind of conversation. One where one person is describing what they're working on to someone else, but they sound unconvinced somehow, and then without being prompted, they say:

"But you know, what I actually want to work on is {xyz}..."

Capturing spontaneous idea excitement with something like google glass!

Last time someone said something like that in my presence, it gave me an idea. My first "huh, if only I had google glass right now." I wanted to have recorded them saying that, and then at some point in the future, be able to send them the video. Maybe not right away because they might not be in a position to change what they're working on, but some time in the future when there are more options.

In general, it's helpful to know what other people and yourself actually, genuinely, really care about and find interesting.