Thursday, July 29, 2010

Three Things Thursday: AirVenture edition

1. It's been a busy week writing about airplanes for me. I got the chance to write about the B-17 Flying Fortress the other day. And as part of my reporting duties found myself crawling through one of the World War II bombers. Let's just it was a tight squeeze, so I can only imagine what it was like for the crews that flew on the bomber. I also spent some time learning about the DC-3/C-47. And I had the chance to meet and talk with some members of a Canadian reality television show - Ice Pilots NWT. The Buffalo Airways crew seemed pretty cool and I would totally love to see the show, too bad it's only shown in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. While the crew is here at AirVenture this week, they've also brought their film crew along and yes, me and my photographer found ourselves signing a release form since apparently I was recorded while conducting my interview. So for any of you Canadians, watch for the second season episode where the Buffalo Airways crew goes to AirVenture. If you see a girl sporting a red Wisconsin visor, wearing a blue tank and capris. That's me.

2. It's inevitable. With so many planes coming into Oshkosh during AirVenture (the control tower is dubbed the world's busiest control tower during the week-long event), there's bound to be a crash of some sort. Most of the time we're lucky and nobody is killed, although during two of the previous three AirVenture's I've covered there have been fatal crashes. This year? NASCAR owner Jack Roush crashed his plane while landing on Tuesday. He survived, but was taken to a local hospital, underwent surgery and has now been transferred to the Mayo Clinic. Go here to see pictures, but I warn you, a few are kind of graphic.

3. I've got one more shift out at AirVenture tomorrow. But I'm going back Saturday just for fun - to look at the stuff I want to look at and take pictures. And of course the big air show is Saturday. And this year? They're adding a second air show. At night. Followed by fireworks. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The airplanes are coming! The airplanes!

There might be something wrong with me.

Seriously. I can't think of the last time I was so excited for a Monday to come. A Monday that I had to go to work. Oh wait. Yes I can. About 51 weeks ago.

The last time EAA's AirVenture was about to kick off.

Guys. A whole week. Of airplanes. And fun assignments. Remember last year when my bosses sent me up with the stunt pilot and I flew upside down? I would be lying if I didn't say I was secretly hoping to get a chance like that again this year. Sadly, there are no F-22 Raptors scheduled to appear at AirVenture. But I will write about B-17s. And I'll be trying to track down some Canadian reality TV stars who fly DC-3s and are supposed to be on site most of the week.

And I'm toying with doing a 5K on Saturday morning. Because although it's a mighty early wake up call, how many times do you have a 5K that runs down an airport runway?

So it's safe to say over the next week you'll read about airplanes. I'm going to try to fit in some workouts, but if I miss a run here or there (probably not the best idea since I've got that half marathon in September that I'm already behind in training for), or opt for the bike instead, don't worry. Because I won't. Besides, there will be LOTS of crossing training in the form of walking the grounds (which are huge by the way) during the next week.

But tonight? While I skipped the run this morning due to a headache and needing to watch Lance Armstrong on the final day in his final Tour de France, I did jump on my bike and pedal for 17 miles as I watched planes land. Good times.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I didn't quite need the ark today. But almost. Actually, if I had left my office about 2 hours earlier that ark would have come in handy since we got about 2 inches of rain in a 1.5 hour period. The street in front of my office had turned into Little Lake Waugoo. And even though the water had receded by the time I left for the night, I ended up going to the YMCA since it still looked like it was going to pour at any moment. 2.3 miles on the treadmill and 13.7 miles on the spin bike later, I left the YMCA. And it was raining. Again.

2. I'm sad the Tour de France is coming to an end on Sunday. I usually end up catching the end of the stage each day during my lunch break. And yes, I was rooting for Lance Armstrong to pull out that stage victory on Tuesday. Sigh. It's been a good run for him though. But did anyone catch it today? That finish, with the fog/mist/clouds? So eerie looking. But super cool.

3. I'm not a huge TV watcher. But I've noticed that Minute to Win It and Wipeout are two shows that I find myself having to watch each week. Mindless. Entertaining. And there's just something about watching the Wipeout contestants get smacked and tossed into the water while trying to go across the big red balls. Humorous.

*Photo from's Team Radio Shack page

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trying to get back in the running groove

We're supposed to get hammered with rain tomorrow. And since we've gotten like 5 inches of rain the last week, that's probably not a good thing. Which is why I'll most likely be hanging out on an ark with Noah and all the animals.

But today? There was no need for an ark. Heck, there wasn't even a cloud in the sky. So when I got home I got myself ready for a run. And yes, I wore a lot of pink. But you would too if you were wearing a snazzy pair of hot pink Ryders Flange sunglasses like the pair I was sporting. Gotta throw out a bunch of thanks to MCM Mama for hosting the giveaway where I won the shades.

Besides, I need to get back into a regular running groove. Because the half marathon I've got my sights set on in September? It's scary close. As in this was Week 1 of an 8-week training plan. Um yeah. That's cutting it a little close. Hopefully my legs remember how to run long and all of my endurance hasn't totally left my body since May.


So tonight the plan was 3.5 miles. Since it was still in the mid-80s when I left for my run at 6 p.m., I tried to go out slow. But I think it's impossible for me to run slow. Even if I try. I tried really hard tonight and still turned in a 10:14 first mile. Which is fairly speedy for me. But I pushed myself to maintain that pace through mile 2 and was successful. The last 1.5 miles? Yeah, I slowed down. The legs were starting to yell at me.

I ended up finishing 3.6 miles in 37 minutes. Not bad. Tomorrow the plan calls for an easy 2 miles. And that will probably have to be run indoors on a treadmill. Or laps around the ark if I find myself hanging out with Noah, since I have a feeling arks aren't equipped with the electricity needed to power a treadmill. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Scheel's Sunset 5K Race Report

Hot. Temperatures were in the mid to upper 80s. Humid. Throw in some of those dew points near 70. And of course race time is at 6:30 in the evening, so it's been like this all day.

Sounds like great running conditions.

I probably shouldn't be surprised since it's been hot and humid the last three year's I've done the Scheel's Sunset 5K. This year was no different.

I stayed indoors in the air conditioning most of the day, trying to stay cool. My friend Jess was also running the race and she came over before the race and we headed over to the park about an hour before it was supposed to start. We also met up with my sister-in-law and my 8-year-old niece, who was going to be running her first 5K ever.

We picked up our stuff, pinned on our numbers and just standing there? It was brutally hot. This was going to be a fun one.

Eventually it was time to head to the starting line. Listened to the national anthem and it was go time. They messed around with the course this year, sending us up the steep hill first before making the first loop through the neighborhood. I felt pretty decent the first mile, even though it felt like I was running incredibly slow. I ended up clocking a 10:05 for the first mile.

Then the heat started to get to me. I felt myself starting to slow down a bit. Took full advantage of the woman standing at the end of her driveway spraying runners with her hose. Walked through the water stop and started the second loop.

Finished up the second mile in 10:32. Kept running. Thought the woman with the hose disappeared, but she was still there. Ran through the water. Took another walk break. Glanced down at my watch and knew it wasn't going to be an amazing time. So I made the decision then not to kill myself.

Kept running. Finally made it to the last little uphill section before the finish line. Mean race organizers who put the uphill climb in the last 0.1 mile of a 5K. Crossed the finish line in 33 minutes flat. Not my best. Not my worst.

Got my chip taken off, grabbed a bottle of water and headed back along the course to find my sister-in-law and niece. Went about three-tenths of a mile before I saw them. She was taking a bit of a walk break herself. I tried to talk to her, but her Mom told me she was "past the talking stage." OK.

We decided to start running again and said we should try to pass a group of three adults who were walking in front of us. That's all it took to make the 8-year-old sprint away like she just saw a ghost. Yeah, there was going to be no more sprinting for me.

So I jogged to catch up with her - she wasn't thrilled with the late race hill either - and eventually saw her cross the finish line in 39 minutes and some odd seconds. Was proud of her

My friend Jess and I stuck around the park for a bit to catch some of the band that was playing and eventually headed home once the mosquitoes started eating us alive. And let me tell you, it never felt so good to step in the shower and wash all the grime off.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I've been enjoying my vacation. I'm spending the week at my parents' house. There's been some lounging outside reading, some biking and a bit of running. Also spent some time hanging out with The Rugrats.The weather's been great - well except for yesterday when it was a bit wet (see below). Can't believe there's only a few more days left. But I'll make sure to pack them full of good times.

2. So we got 4.5 inches of rain in a series of three storms over a 9-hour period on Wednesday. The first storm I was driving and trying to navigate flooded streets. The second storm my brother, his wife and I spent in a crowded, hot, smelly hallway at a convention center after they evacuated an amphitheater where we had gone to see Alice Cooper and his Theater of Death tour. The nasty storm - with tons of lightning, lots of wind and a ton of rain - meant we left Oshkosh without seeing Alice Cooper on stage. The third round of storms? Those kept me awake until 4 a.m. with the constant thunder and lightning. So it's a bit soggy today, but at least it's sunny.

3. I'm running the Scheel's Sunset 5K Friday night. This will be my fourth year running it. And it's always been hot and humid. Looks like tomorrow will be no different. This will probably be my last race for a while. Since it's time to buckle down and really focus on an upcoming half marathon in September.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Trek Women's Triathlon Race Report

I almost crashed. I walked a few times during the run. And let's not forget the fact that I've been slacking in the pool this year. But I ended up being unstoppable, just like Sally Edwards told me I was.

I headed down to Pleasant Prairie to the site of my first triathlon three years ago. Even though it's switched from a Danskin event to the Trek Women's Triathlon, it still holds a special place in my heart - same weekend, good cause that it supports and it's always nice to go back to the location where your first happened.

Waiting on the beach for my wave to start, I did have a moment where I freaked out a bit. But realizing you've spent limited time in the pool and seeing exactly how far it is across Lake Andrea will do that to you. Next thing I knew it was time for me and the other women in my wave who were wearing yellow swim caps to go.

After some high fives, words of encouragement and Sally Edwards, the Chief Inspiration Officer, telling us we were going to be unstoppable triathletes the gun was sounding and we were off.

The Swim - 1/2 mile
I mentioned it before, but I was most worried about the swim. I haven't been in the water since High Cliff a month ago. And my preparation for High Cliff? Minimal. So suddenly having to swim a half mile across a spring fed lake (which gets really deep really fast) was a bit daunting. But I took a breath, positioned myself near the back and outside of the pack and prepared to swim.

Of course the beginning was chaos. Always is. But I just found a somewhat less chaotic place in the water and started to swim. About a 100 yards or so into the swim I flipped to my back for a moment or two, but that was the only time I really paused. The rest of the swim I just kept a fairly relaxed, steady pace. Not really having any expectations, I wasn't worried about the time. So let's just say I was surprised when I got out of the water, glanced at my watch and saw the time.

Transition 1: Swim to Bike
Nothing too exciting in transition. Biggest chunk of time is spent running from the swim exit to where my bike is racked. And from there to the bike out. It's a huge transition area.

The Bike - 12.4 miles
I found out moments before my wave started that they had changed the bike course this year. And since I didn't realize it, I had no idea what to expect. The bike course in previous years has been fairly flat, with the only real hills being a highway overpass over railroad tracks. But this bike course? Not flat. Full of rolling hills along country roads.

Granted I almost didn't see a good chunk of the bike course since my bike and I got into a fight about 2 miles into the ride. Maybe my bike was mad at me for having to stay outside in a pretty hefty downpour Saturday night, but I was riding along and all of a sudden I'm not quite sure what happened, but I was almost falling off my bike. I didn't actually fall off the bike, but I did end up bloodied and bruised on my calf where my pedal gouged me.

I kept riding though. Had a little bit of a headwind to contend with early on, but at least it was early. Tackled the rolling hills (and highway overpasses) and soon it was back to the race site.

Transition 2: Bike to Run
Again, nothing exciting to report. I momentarily considered grabbing my iPod for the run, but decided to go sans tunes for my second triathlon in a row. And you know what? I think I like going without music every once and awhile.

The Run - 3.1 miles
When I glanced down at my watch at the beginning of the run, I knew it was possible to hit my goal time. But it was going to be close. So I started running.

Mom kind of cut my head off, but I like this one.

I ran through the first mile and when I got to the first water station, I decided to walk through it. It was sunny - not a cloud in the sky - and temps were near 80 at the time. It was starting to get warm. So I grabbed two glasses of water - one to drink and one to dump - and started running again when I was done.

Took advantage of the firefighters around Mile 1.25 who had their hoses acting as a sprinkler. I hit the turn around and started to head back, knowing the end was near. Took another short walk break, took advantage of another firefighter's hose and walked through the second water station. At this point I've got just under a mile to go. I glance at my watch. It's getting awfully close to my goal time. And at this point I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it. But I decide regardless of how hot it's getting, I'm running the rest of the way.

I start to run. I make the last curve and it's just one, really long straightaway to the finish line. The crowds start to line the course, they're so close and cheering the athletes on. It feels like what I expect the riders in the Tour de France experience when they're riding the mountain stages. Amazing. I kick it into a higher gear. Run a bit faster. Almost there. Get my second high of the day from Sally Edwards and then I'm crossing the finish line.

Make a quick stop in medical just to clean up my battle wound, grab some water and my medal before meeting up with my Mom. Even though I was wearing my watch, I managed to hit the wrong button and didn''t have an exact finishing line until I waited around and get my official race results.

1 hour, 47 minutes, 23 seconds

Not quite the 1 hour, 45 minutes I was shooting for, but it's still a PR over 2 minutes, 14 seconds over last year's time. I'll take it. Especially given my preparation. And my swim time? Totally not expecting to pull that kind of number.

2010 Trek Women's Triathlon
Swim: 19 minutes, 8 seconds
Transition 1: 4 minutes, 36 seconds
Bike: 49 minutes, 11 seconds
Transition 2: 2 minutes, 2 seconds
Run: 32 minutes, 25 seconds
Total: 1 hour, 47 minutes, 23 seconds

Just for giggles, let's compare that to 2009 and 2008 (when it was a Danskin event).

2009 Trek Women's Triathlon
Swim: 20:35
T1: 5:20
Bike: 45:41
T2: 2:32
Run: 35:26
Total: 1 hour, 49 minutes, 37 seconds

2008 Danskin Triathlon
Swim: 20:42
T1: 6:29
Bike: 54:06
T2: 4:00
Run: 40:59
Total: 2 hours, 6 minutes, 19 seconds

So another year down. Looking forward to seeing what 2011 brings.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. The humidity is finally starting the break. Hallelujah! Went out for a quick 10-mile bike ride after work. Last ride before the Trek Women's Triathlon on Sunday. Might try to squeeze in a short run tomorrow. But we'll see.

2. It's almost Friday. Which means one more day of work and then I don't have to think about work again July 19. Can you tell I'm excited?

3. I might be one of the only people in the United States who isn't glued to ESPN waiting to hear where LeBron is going. Granted I don't have cable. But still. Even if I did, I probably wouldn't be watching, because I really don't care.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Swimming like a fish...on the treadmill

I sweat. A lot.

So it's not unusual for me to feel like I just stepped out of the shower when I get done with a run. And that's exactly what I felt like today.

Only problem? That run? It was indoors. On a treadmill. At the air conditioned YMCA.

See it's been in the mid-80s here since Sunday. And normally I can handle that. But when Mother Nature throws in 72 degree dew points? That's where I draw the line. And get cranky. And head indoors. Because seriously, I left the office tonight and it was actually hard to breathe. It was that humid.

And while I headed out on my bike yesterday after work for a 17-miler, I didn't really want to chance it with a run. So I opted for the YMCA. Thinking it would at least be comfortable while I ran.


I have a feeling the YMCA air conditioning was broken. Maybe too many people had the same idea I did and the poor unit couldn't keep up. Whatever the reason, it was hot in there. And I couldn't even blame it too many people in the cardio room. Because there were maybe 5 other people besides me.

So the 4.25 mile run I did tonight? I should have just tried to do it outside, because it was just as hot and humid indoors as it was outdoors. By the time I was done, the sweat was dripping off me, rolling down my body. It felt I just stepped out of the shower.

But the run was done. And let me tell you, it never felt so good to actually get in the shower once I got home.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Firecracker 5K Race Report

I wasn't on a mission to have a good run. Or set a new PR.

Nope. My mission involved finding a large Badger decked out in a red and white striped sweater and snap a picture with him. Because really. How can I call myself Badgergirl if I don't even have photographic evidence of me standing next to Bucky Badger?

Oh yeah. There was that whole Fox Firecracker 5K that I was supposed to be running on the Fourth of July too.

Race day dawned bright and early. And hot and humid. I think the thermometer at my parents' house was reading 80 degrees at 6:45 a.m. when we left for the race site. Knowing it was going to be a scorcher, I took my handheld water bottle along, not knowing if I was actually going to take it with my during the run or just rely on the water stations.

We got to the race site and had about an hour to kill before the race started. My parents and I met up with my brother, his wife and their three kids. My brother, sister-in-law and I were running while my Dad was going to be walking (his second 5K!). Mom was serving as our personal race photographer and watcher of The Rugrats.

There were supposed to be skydivers, but the race director said he got a call early that morning tell him there would be no people jumping out of planes that day - too windy - but he assured us they were already confirmed for the Firecracker 5K 2011 edition.

But it was OK there weren't skydivers. Because out of the corner of my eye I saw him.

Bucky Badger.

Strolling down the street with Fuzzy Fox (the triathlon club mascot). And behind the two furry mascots came a part of the UW marching band, who were set to give us a mini-Fifth Quarter before the starting gun went off. While I did have my Mom's camera in hand, I knew there wasn't going to be a chance for me to get the photo I desperately wanted. He had some mascot duties to fulfill before the race started.

After the band played the national anthem the gun sounded and we were off.

The first mile was pretty congested. While it's great this is a family-friendly race, I really wish some folks would learn that walkers should start towards the back. Not right at the front. And especially not at the front if they're going to walk 5 across with their best friends. Needless to say there was a lot of weaving in the first half-mile or so.

Soon I settled into a walker-free zone and just started running. Right up the first hill (unfortunately the hills didn't disappear during the last year in Kaukauna). Shortly after reaching the top of the hill I glanced to my right and discovered I was running right next to my brother. I hit him in the shoulder, said hi and we actually ran together for a few blocks. Then his long legs left me in the dust.

Kept running. Walked through the water stop. Drank about three-quarters of the water and dumped the rest of it on my head. Started running again, made sure to run through the sprinklers some people had set up.Still had a pretty decent time going through 2 miles.

But that last mile? Brutal. All of a sudden the heat was starting to get to me. And as much as I didn't want to, I ended up taking two short walk breaks (which actually turned into three since I didn't realize there was a second water station). But I ran along the bridge past the veterans, ran up the hill and was making my way back to the finish line. The Badger band was set up and playing on the very last bridge and of course I got a little extra speed when I went passed them.

Near the final turn I saw my Mom and the Rugrats standing on the curb. I gave the Rugrats high-fives as I ran by, turned the corner and kicked it into a sprint to the finish line. Felt pretty strong at the end.

The race was done. Finished the 5K in 32 minutes, 55 seconds. Not a PR, but I'll take it considering the heat and humidity that I ran in.

I grabbed some water and bagel bites from the food tent and headed out to watch my Dad and sister-in-law come across the finish line.

Now the 5K was done. On to the day's most important mission: Finding Bucky.

We headed over to a picnic table in the park area and waited for the Badger Band. After the race they were going to be doing a Fifth Quarter performance. Anyone who's ever been to a football game at Camp Randall Stadium knows what a Fifth Quarter is, but for those that don't, it's the magic that happens on the field after the football game has finished. At most stadiums, people leave immediately. At Camp Randall? We stick around for the band to take the field and entertain us. So much fun. Read more here.

So we were waiting. And all of a sudden the band starts showing up. Right in front of our table. Oh boy. A band? Means Bucky's nearby.This was going to be good.

I kid you not. Thirty seconds later I turn and there, standing right behind my brother, is Bucky. JACKPOT!

I grabbed the camera and stood next to Bucky while Dad snapped the pictures. My niece didn't want her picture taken, but the two boys did. And the Middle Rugrat? Apparently he loved Bucky and told his Mom he wants to be in that band. YES! A future Badger in the making :)

Bucky Badger.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I'm heading down to Milwaukee tonight after work to go to Summerfest. A friend and I are going to see O.A.R. play on one of the side stages. It's a band we both really like and we you factor in the fact that I got my hands on a pair of free tickets for admission and I don't have to be to work until early Friday afternoon, it's something I can't pass up.

2. I need a vacation. Actually I just need some days where I don't have to go into the office. Good thing it's a 3-day weekend. And my actual vacation? It starts July 9 when the clock strikes 5:30 p.m. Not that I'm counting down the days or anything.

3. This weekend starts a string of 3 races in a 13-day period. I've got the Firecracker 5K on Sunday, the Trek Women's Triathlon in Pleasant Prairie on July 11 and the Scheels Sunset 5K on July 16. Should be a good stretch of races. Although it's always been blistering hot for the Sunset 5K.