Monday, November 4, 2013

November News

Mile ~10 at the Tussey 50

I'll admit that it's a bit strange to be sitting here in early November and not be thinking about and preparing for an upcoming deployment to Antarctica.  This will be my first year home for Christmas since 2007.  There is definitely a part of me that is saddened by this, and I will most assuredly miss another deployment to some extent, but to be honest, I am greatly looking forward to taking a season off and spending it at home.  I of course will continue to pursue opportunities to work in polar regions, as it is my career goal, but for now, I will relish in my time at home.  Truthfully, I have incredible mountains of work to finish for my thesis, so the timing is probably better this way anyway.

As it turns out, "timing" is somewhat of a theme this season.  With the combination of the sequester, the government shutdown, and plans to upgrade McMurdo station budget money has been incredibly limited for Antarctic projects.  Last week I received this message from the WAIS Divide science coordination office concerning the field camp that I just spent 5 years working at:

"Dear WAIS Divide Colleagues,
The partial government shutdown forced significant changes to the U.S. Antarctic Program’s (USAP) operations for the 2013-2014 field season. The WAIS Divide field camp will not be opened this season, and the borehole logging operations that were scheduled will be postponed until next season. Many other USAP projects were either reduced in scope, delayed for later in the season, or postponed until next season. "

While this site shutdown doesn't affect me as I was slated to remain at home this year anyway, several of my fellow colleagues and friends will now not be deploying.  Fellow grad students will have to wait on their data, and many of my friends are now out of jobs.  And this is just for WAIS Divide.  Many projects across Antarctica were canceled outright.  

On to more pleasant things....

I've managed to maintain somewhat of a moderate running schedule although admittedly reduced.  Two weeks ago I had another go at the Tussey mOUTaiNBACK 50 and again ran fairly well.  I was certainly not in top shape and it showed.  I ran a much slower 8:27 this year (as opposed to my 7:49 in 2011).  I managed to enjoy myself much more though, and on a tougher course.  It was a beautiful day for it, and I had fun catching up with friends and fellow runners both at the race and while volunteering at the pre-race packet pick-up.

I had quite a bit of trouble in the early miles with what i'll call "intestinal issues".  I probably lost 10-15 minutes in the race sitting on toilets.  By mile 20 though I was pretty cleared up and ran comfortably through to the finish.  I could tell my legs didn't have enough long training miles under them though as they became sore and fatigued much earlier than normal.  In the end, I was quite content with my time and the fun day at my local home-town ultra.

Mile 30-ish

For the month of November I've decided to participate in a fun RED-FAM (Run every day, for a month) challenge proposed by fellow vol-stater and barker Carl Laniak.  I'm hoping that by committing myself to running every day this month, I'll shape myself up a bit and keep myself from getting soft.  Additionally, I've tacked on a sub-challenge of not-shaving either.  So by Nov 30th, I hope to be a leaned-up, scruffy running machine!

My last official ultra of the season is this upcoming weekend.  I will again make a visit to Augusta NJ for a 24-hour festival.  In the exact same vain as the Three-Days event I ran back in May, the One-Day features the identical 1-mile loop around the fair grounds.  I will employ a similar setup and strategy and just try to keep moving as much as a I can without getting stupid.  I hope to get at least 100 miles, but as long as I have fun, I'll settle for whatever.

Otherwise, things are less-than-exciting lately.  Lots of data analysis for school and manuscript writing and editing.  I even had to get a root canal done on a bothersome tooth last week (something I definitely don't recommend...yuck!).

Next week I head to Denver for a quick lab session and will get some of my last samples prepared for my thesis.  Crazy to think that things are starting to wrap up.

This will be the first year I'm home for my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in 5 years.  All I want for a gift, other than finally spending the holidays at to get into Hardrock! :-)  5th times the charm right?

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