Category Archives: measurements

dorky calculations and categorizations.

on running

I feel like it’s been AGES since I’ve written anything of interest here. I mean, sure: post-bombing my own blog with weeks and weeks of CSA goodies is something. but is it interesting? I don’t think so. remember a month ago when I was making regular posts and they were all about running? oh, those were the days.

so, you might recall that just over a month ago a coworker invited me to participate in a 10K with some of the kids from the philly office. and you know, as I’ve been planning to run the great race in pittsburgh (another 10K), I figured I may as well get that whole distance thing over with. Plus I’d just finished the freihofer’s 5K and was still so excited about getting back into it. I started running. A LOT. I started eating lots of hard boiled eggs and running 4-5 times a week. I figured I had three weeks to train for the 10K, which was 3 miles longer than anything I’ve ever run before. So week 1 was 5K/3 miles. week 2 was 4 miles. That was also the first time I ran outside for real: I drove over to the state park near my folk’s house and did a pretty respectable 4 mile run up and down hills on a poorly maintained gravel road. and then week 3 was 5 miles. I ran in a 5-mile run near my town, and I finished it with a quite respectable time: 52:57 (10:35 mile). And even better, I felt like I could keep running. maybe not for another whole mile, but for a bit more. that weekend I ran 6 miles to make sure that I could, and then on July 4th I ran in the Revolutionary Run at Washington Crossing. It was so great. I ran faster than I thought I ought to for most of the way (probably because 1. it was so flat and 2. there was a dude who was a loud breather running near me, and a couple of times I just had to have some distance) and finished strong at 1 hr 04 min (10:21 mile)! YAY! I can has 10K! and then I had brunch with my coworkers, and drove home the long way. it was great.

I’ve registered for the grafton lakes run for the roses with meredith, and I think it will be superawesome. She has been walking and jogging like a superstar – we went for a walk together on sunday and she trucks! she walks so fast! it was great! I’ve heard the route is a little hilly, so that will be a good lead-in to my month of 10K training for pittsburgh.

this thursday I’ll be running the verizon wireless corporate classic 5K. I tried to get people from work to sign up, but they are Not Into It. I wanted to try and run this one in under 10 min. miles, but I kind of took a week and a half off after the 10K, and didn’t really take the time to practice running.

more of the same

lest you think this will be all running, all the time, let me start by saying my first CSA pickup is today! yay! so look forward to photos and food and scramble to eat everything, starting tonight.

and now back to running. ha! y’all know that I get kind of into stuff and totally obsess about it. the only difference here is that I actually HAVE to train, because I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of my co-workers. I mean, they handled the dance party and the arm wrestling ok, but will they handle the red face alright? or will they only be able to handle it if I am also a decent runner? what if I’m so slow everyone in the race finishes before me? I don’t want to be the last one.

* side note: michelle suggested the perfect karinajean triathalon: dance party, arm wrestling, and 10K. who wants to sign up? *

anyway, I’ve been running a lot. and talking about it all the time. and thinking about it all the time. I just bought new support undergarments specially designed for a woman of my… um. talents.  I bought fancy new socks. I bought some running shorts, but what I’m really interested in buying are some running skirts. (although wouldn’t it be nice if they were less “look girly-girl while running!” and more “be tough and comfortable in a skirt!”)

this is the amount of running I’ve done so far this week:

  • sunday: 4 miles
  • monday: reasonable pace 5K
  • tuesday: fast pace 5K

and this is the amount of protein I’ve eaten so far this week:

  • sunday: 2 fried eggs, then lots and lots of sushi at the best baby naming party/luncheon ever
  • monday: 2 hard-boiled eggs, a cup of a salad made mostly from crabs, tuna, and shrimp, and then a can of herring in lemon and cracked pepper.
  • tuesday: 2 hard-boiled eggs. and the day has just begun.

hopefully by eating lots of protein I can avoid eating lots of crackers and ice cream like I usually do when I dive into a new exercise regimen!

so, aren’t y’all so glad that my CSA starts this week so instead of blabbing about running and protein consumption I can instead blab about my fridge and how messy it is and how I need to clean it out and how I should have done it last night because tonight I’m getting my first shipment and shoot, there are still radishes in there or something from last season?

boy I hope there’s lots of leafy greens. and not any green beans. I need to start slow, and green beans are always the hardest thing for me to eat.

more running

I was so excited about the 5K last week that when a coworker invited me to run a 10K in washington’s crossing on July 4th I quickly canvassed my running-savvy friends and said yes. eek! I am pretty excited, but that is just over 3 weeks away. and I’m really really busy at work. but I’m sure I can do it if I run every day until then….

actually, there’s a 5-mile run the week before that will be really good for confidence. and today I ran 4.11 miles in 45 minutes, which is pretty super after a week of not doing anything. and that means that even if I don’t run at all after running 4 miles I will still be able to finish the 10K in about 1 hr 15 min., which would be pretty not-bad. I’m feeling good about this! I just hope my knee holds out… lots of stretching is in order.

freihofer’s run for women

the 5K went so well yesterday! michelle and I drove up friday night to fully represent team lois. everyone in my family showed up to watch meredith and rachel and I run, and it didn’t rain at all! we started together and once up the big hill rachel ran up ahead of us. I left meredith walking and then she ran up to me once she caught her breath!
our times were:

  • rachel 32:47
  • me 36:13
  • meredith 40:40

I am so proud of all of us. Rachel had only clocked a 40 min. 5K before but the race day excitement had her going fast and furious! Meredith had been walking 15 min. miles but she ended up run/walking at a pace of 13 min./mile. And considering I only had about 2 weeks of training, I am satisfied with my time. I had to walk a couple of times, and gym training doesn’t prepare you for humidity and hills, but I finished well under 40 min., and that was my goal. this was my first chipped race, and it’s kind of great to not have to kind of remember what time you cross the start line at so you can guess when you finish.

I think meredith and rachel may have caught the 5K bug! we talked a little bit about signing up for the run for the roses in grafton lakes state park on 8/12. other than that, my next planned 5K right now is the mid-july work one. but I’d like to find something in june to run as well with michelle. and then sept. 30 is the 10K Great Race in Pittsburgh.


I’m scheduled to run the freihofer’s 5K for women on sat. and I haven’t done the comprehensive training that I would like. last night, though, I got on the treadmill and went for 3.1 miles. I finished that in 35:16, and it wasn’t that fun. I don’t know if it was just plain NOT FUN or if it was not fun because I was pushing myself too hard. I won’t finish as fast as I did the run last september (about 36 min) but as long as I’m under 40 min I will be happy, given the minimal training I’ve been doing. and also, given the big uphill that is at the beginning of the route and which I’ve been warned about.

I keep telling myself that when I’m good at running I will really love it. I interpret good as being able to run a 5K in about 30 min. without killing myself, I guess – to be at the point where I can just get up and it’s not a potentially overwhelming task to just tie on my shoes, and I can go outside or to the gym and run for a while and come home and it won’t be a huge production, just something I Do. and maybe that will happen – when I was playing goofy ultimate frisbee games I loved the running back and forth, and that glimpse of moving fast and freely and on my own two feet.

the training strategy of making other people sign up with me for runs is working really well so far! Rachel has been running for a few weeks now, and Meredith is a superstar, walking up big hills for conditioning. I’m so excited about the three of us being so active. I’m so excited that we’ve been making almost-daily activity a more regular part of our lives. and I’m so proud of the two of them! they are so super. Sat. will be superfun, no matter how fast we run (or apparently, how much it rains).

on running

I’ve been thinking a lot about running lately. I’m learning more and more that I’m a real goal oriented person – which explains a lot about the procrastination thing, because if I were more PROCESS oriented I wouldn’t put things off like I do. So running and training for races seems like the ideal way to exercise towards a goal. Now that my knee doctor has said that my knee is “almost as good as new” (which is as good as they’ll go) it also makes me realize that without the goal of rehab, I need another reason to stay active. When I stopped running after the 5K in the fall I noticed right away that my knee responded poorly to the loss of movement.

so my new strategy is to start training for 5Ks. I’m trying to sucker people into running races with me all over the place in an effort to keep myself motivated to go to the gym. I’ve mentioned it to a friend who lives in Montreal, so I hope we can connect in the spring or summer for a 5K up there. Meredith and I (and potentially Michelle too) are planning to run the Freihofer’s 5K for Women on June 2nd. Team Lois (Michelle and I) have also tentatively planned to run a 5K around the metro NY area in May, as well as travel to Pittsburgh for the Great Race (a 10K!). And also, I’m trying to talk my company into sponsering a whole bunch of us to run in the Verizon Wireless Corporate Classic 5K on July 19th.

I’ve started back on the couch-to-5K again (I picked up at week 4, though, it’s nice to start in the middle!) (oh, and I can’t speak highly enough of this program) and it’s going pretty great – especially considering how long it’s been since I’ve run. my body is so tough and forgiving. I’ll miss out on running while I’m in Japan but with my big feet and the whole “backpacking” thing I’m not going to bring workout clothes with me. Hopefully Michelle and I can pick a 5K sometime in mid-May, I think that would be wonderful (maybe the wall street heart run on May 22?).

I never really thought I liked running – and that’s probably true. scratch that, I like running but JOGGING I don’t enjoy. But I do like being good at things. I do like succeeding at things. And I think that running is something I can be good at if I work at it. Hence this goal-oriented training program. Plus, the whole RUNNING thing. I do love the feeling you get when you’re going fast and you feel like a million bucks and it’s beautiful weather and you just feel like a coil of boundless energy. It’s the toil to get to that point that I’m not a fan of! but the goal is so very worth it. and I’m so thankful I have so many kind people in my life that I can talk into running these things with!

Dorky 2006 book statistics

Even though I say every year I want to make it to 100 books, this is the first time I’ve really done it, since I’ve started keeping track. rock’n’roll. So to celebrate, here are some dorky book stats:

  • total number of books read in 2006: 102
  • number of non-fiction: 21
  • number of fiction: 81
  • number of YA books: 24
  • number of YA romances: 14
  • number of mystery novels: 26
  • number of religious books: 9
  • number of graphic novels: 2
  • number of series read in their entirety: 3 [Lord Peter Wimsey, Brian McLaren, Sue Barton Nurse books], but also read a lot of the sunfire romances so maybe 3 3/4? And I’m about 1/2way done with the Amelia Peters books.
  • number of biography/autobiography/memoirs: 8

more CO2 savings

I’ve decided to take the slate-treehugger challenge as an example of how much CO2 I’m saving over the theoretical me who doesn’t have to wait for her living room CFL bulbs to warm up when she gets home at night. this week was electricity, and I have saved 1178 by checking off all the things that I’ve already done. sigh. it doesn’t matter, either, b/c I have windpowered my home.

and for what it’s worth, it’s totally great to replace all your incandecents with CFL. even if they do take a while to warm up and even if they are more expensive and even if you do need to take them to a special disposal place b/c of the mercury content. Totally worth it.

ideas swiming through grey matter

just to capture the latest crackpot idea floating through my head:

They’ve just built 3000 sqft townhouses on my street. They’re selling the end units for roughly 750,000. YIKES. no way I could afford that, and no way I have any kind of downpayment, and no way am I going to be buying property in N. NJ anytime soon.

So say these 3000 sq ft townhomes are roughly 3 or 4 bedrooms. say that we use a 1% rule of thumb for mortgage, taxes, and insurance. Say, then, the monthly mortgage would be $7,500.

OK, the point of this saying-exercise is to point out that even if I could talk Kathleen and Gabbi into moving in with me and buying a townhome en masse, we STILL couldn’t afford it. b/c there’s no way in HECK that I’m paying $2,500 a month for a TOWNHOUSE without a YARD.

Therefore, I won’t even mention it to them. unless they catch a drift of it here. See girls? it won’t work out for us. Sorry!

wk 4 of carbon diet

this week’s slate challenge was all about clothes, and while I was hoping for more of a buy vs. make slant, there was more about how one should wash ones cloths in cold water (check) and hang dry laundry (already do for 1/2 of my clothes) or donating old clothes rather than tossing (um, super check, and how about remaking?). so even though I scored 797, I feel like I was cheating b/c every single question? was something I already do. except for the bonus, a pledge to buy an energy star dryer when the time comes, and which is already something I’d do. well.

I know it’s easier to criticize, and I know that I’m beyond the target audience (apparently) in knowledge and practice, but this carbon diet seems to be so dumbed down. what do y’all think? Am I just so hyper nerdy about efficiency and environmentalism that these moot points are actually NOT moot points?

I just bounced this off of our drafter and she pointed out that if people don’t get it, they won’t do it. so I need to be a little more patient and remember this is an education and encouragement tool rather than a true measurement tool. sigh.

can you imagine?

Four years ago on November 2nd I started my lame webpage using msword and an ftp portal to my server. it was unwieldy and huge and hard to update, but I was putting in serious hours at a thankless job and was almost compelled to find a productive way of taking breaks through those 12 hour days. Now blogging software is not only free, but also super easy to install. it’s as easy for me to update this site as it is to write an email.

I’ve copied all of my old journal pages into wordpress but still haven’t take down the old pages. my new job is busyifying (but not busy work) and I don’t have nearly as much to complain about. Four years ago I was kind of vaguing around, and while I wanted to suceed, I didn’t really have any ambition to reach the level I am at now.

So, my mom still reads this thing (hi mom!) but I’ve also got a few friends who do as well, seemingly regularly. I’ve managed to figure out how much of the private to make public, and feel pretty confident with where my boundaries are (especially after having to figure all that out more definately during the summer). I don’t eat as many fish sandwiches as I once did, but am considering adding sardine reviews to the fish sandwich category. I’ve moved to pittsburgh and then to nj. I’ve rolled with some punches. I’ve crafted lots of things. and now we can all refer back to it in excrutiating detail – ha!

birthday shoutout

I didn’t snap a photo of mariss and his “the man” haircut, but it is totally his birthday RIGHT THIS SECOND and he is awesome. #31!

I drove out to pgh for his party — because of my crazy traveling and general sleepiness, I decided to go to bed early on friday after daddy-o dropped off my stuff from gramma’s, and then I got up at 3ish and started driving by 4. I got out to pgh in a solid 6 hours (mpg – 55.9). I had lovely ethiopian lunch with mariss and kelly and serena and then a very fun party and this morning was tasty latvian breakfast and knitting with kelly and then food co-op and the drive home, which took just over 6 hours, but then, there were 30 min. of traffic around allentown (they will NEVER finish that road construction). I got a total trip mpg of 59.9 so I think my mpg on the trip home was about 65 mpg. as I was going faster on the way home than the way out, I can only assume that it’s all downhill from pgh to nj. very very good weekend.

week 2 of carbon diet

seriously, this slate carbon diet thing is for the birds. it is absolutely not geared towards apartment dwellers. because I have no control over my thermostat, and because my radiators are freakin’ hot, and because my windows are fairly good already, and because I don’t have any exterior doors to weatherstrip, I got an improvement of zero this week. that’s ok. by living in an apartment building I’m already inherently more efficient than a single family stand alone dwelling. I’ll take that, even if slate doesn’t seem to care.

carbon diet

I was pretty interested when I read about the slate/treehugger green challenge (slate here and treehugger here), wherein one attempts to shave 20% off of ones carbon emissions. I mean, I know I have pretty low carbon emissions. I was so excited after seeing an inconvenient truth that I set about off-setting my driving emisisons with a 12,000 lb CO2 terrapass. I bought green electricity – now 100% of my electricity is coming from NJ wind and solar. and I drive a hybrid! that gets roughly 65 mpg! I’m not even getting into how I’ve alreday changed all my lightbulbs into efficient compact flouresent bulbs, and how I have to wait for my living room to “warm up” after I flip the light switch before I can really see things clearly.The slate/treehugger quizzes seem to assume that you’re not doing so great. I took the first quiz and had to pretend like I had a dishwasher. there wasn’t anywhere to say I was using a hybrid. so I came out with annual emissions of 15,706 lbs, which is not so bad when compared to the US average of 44,312 (and not so good when compared to india at 2,645).

but the difficult part came next, where I took the transportation quiz and was asked to pledge to check my tire pressure monthly (it’s easy when you have tire minders), buy a terra pass (check!) for my car, buy one for my flights (was planning on it anyway – am not sure if I should go international at 7,500 lbs CO2 or frequent flyer at 15,000 lbs – it all depends on if I go to england in addition to heading to japan), and then comes the hard question: do you promise to trade in your car for a hybrid in the next 6 months? well. they don’t know if I have a hybrid, they just know I get 65 mpg. the estimates they use say that “driving a hybrid reduces CO2 emissions by more than 10K lbs a year, assuming you currently drive a car that gets average mileage”. which. well. I don’t. I had better not tell them I’ll trade in my *cough*hybrid*cough* because then the calc works out to me reducing another 17K lbs, and that is more than I am supposedly currently using.

sadly, my busy engineering lifestyle precludes me carpooling or taking the train to work. sigh.

so far, then, I’ve reduced another 1,050 lbs CO2 by telling slate what I have already done. which isn’t so shabby, I guess: if the goal is 20% of total I’m already 1/3 there with 6.6%.

the topics for reduction they’ll look at are transportation, heating, food, clothing, electricity, holidays, water, and home/office. y’all should sign up! it’s interesting!


I updated the insight page with new mpg information. the exciting news is that I’ve broken the lifetime 60 mpg line this week! yay! now that 60+ mpg sticker is ENTIRELY accurate, instead of just mostly accurate. I hope I can maintain high mpgs with the colder weather that is blowing in – I didn’t start regularly clocking over 60 mpg on the trip calculator until last may. of course, I was still driving kind of really fast then, but I know the cold weather had lots to do with it too.

things I feel strongly about

a list of things I feel strongly about, and therefore, may cause me to soapbox about willy nilly:

  • alternative fuels
  • feminism
  • sustainable food sources
  • community
  • reduction of consumerism
  • self-sufficiency within the framework of todays american culture
  • energy efficiency
  • the value of popular culture
  • transportation issues
  • classism and issues of structural violence

Ran Run

Team Lois made a great showing today at the Koman 5K. Not only did we all finish in very fast time (Delia with about 34 min, me with about 36 min, and michelle with about 38 min and that’s counting running in a skirt and carrying a bag and walking because you know, she didn’t really plan on running today), but I bet we raised a bunch of cash for the Cause. Over $1,000, actually.

THANK YOU, friends; thank you so very much for making this possible.

The event was wild, too. I knew it was a big deal but there really was something empowering and emotional about seeing thousands and thousands of people walking and running together. I wanted to do this 5K because it gave me something to train for, and I also wanted a way to support Michelle’s mom. She’s a runner, only she’s not able to run right now because she’s undergoing treatment for her cancer. When I showed up today to run I was so impressed by every one else who turned out. I’m so glad I stumbled onto something so much bigger than myself.

you may know that I find arlen specter to be one of the most frustrating senators out there, because half the time he’s being ridiculous and political and not doing what *I* think should be done, and then he’ll go and say something like this, which I am totally behind:

On the strictly personal level, I have noted the declaration by President Nixon in 1970 when he declared war on cancer. Had that war been pursued with the same diligence we pursue other wars, I believe cancer would long ago have been cured. Without unduly dwelling on my own situation with Hodgkin’s, a year of chemotherapy, I think had the research been fulfilled, I would have been spared that malady.

speaking to the senate on July 17 2006.

cancer and heart disease are two diseases that I feel very strongly we should have had some movement on. if it takes an informed and active populace to get things done, then well, that’s what we’ll do. Like Arlen says: there is a WAR ON CANCER. and it seems to be going about as well as some other current wars that shall remain nameless. And we really do know, generally, why people have heart attacks: yet people are still dying — and often it comes as a surprise. this is a particular soapbox of mine and I don’t want to get to riled up, but y’all: do what you can to make these things a priority. at some point we have to start fighting to learn how to keep people alive. isn’t that a good way for america to spend her money?

two things

1. updated the insight page with mileage data for the last two months.

2. b/c the susan koman 5K is on sunday, I had to make sure I could run 5K. I’ve been doing really well and my knee is behaving like a real superstar! this morning I ran 5K at the gym in about 34 min. That’s a pretty reasonable speed, but I really don’t think I’ll hit that when I’m running outside, you know, up and down hills. But I will finish the run!


Michelle and I are planning to run the koman 5K for breast cancer. As it’s a fundraiser (don’t worry, y’all will see an email soon enough, and if I don’t know you and you want to donate, I guess leave a comment?) I decided to send an email to my entire office. 2 locations. everyone @ new jersey, actually. I DID ask a colleague (new favorite word!) if it was inappropriate and he said not (exact response: “I don’t care!”) so I went ahead and sent it out.

anyway, the blogworthy part of this exciting story occurred when one of my coworkers stopped by and asked if I’ve been running. I wasn’t sure if he’d seen my inappropriate solicitation for donations, but turns out he had, and was just stopping by to say that yeah, it LOOKED like I’ve been running, because I look great. Well! I look great! If I’d known running was such an overall positive experience, maybe I would have started doing it a long time ago! ha!

(and for the record, this coworker is a gracious family man of an engineer. it was very nice of him to say.)


updated the insight mileage page and would like to note that while I’ve been flirting with the 60 mpg line for a few tanks now, on the last tank I was definatively over it! thank goodness, I didn’t want to have to return my 60+ mpg sticker!

also, FYI the green hybrid mileage database is a brilliant resource showing the different hybrids and their actual user-obtained mileage. It’s interesting to note that the insight has the largest standard deviation of all cars, indicating that HOW you drive it really has a huge impact on what kind of mileage you get. I know I drive too fast to be a hypermiler (check out the dudes with 90+ mpg!) but at least I know it’s MY fault, not the EPA testing methodology, or some failure of the vehicle.