Home / 2008 / October

Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links | 28 Oct 2008

This week’s link list is election themed, since next Tuesday is a big day. I won’t reveal who I voted for because I don’t fit in a “Republican” or “Democrat” box and therefore I don’t want to be judged based on who I voted for for president. But I think every one who is able should vote (and I’m not just saying that to make Mr. Stewart* happy!), plus, I try to make the most informed decision I can for each office I vote for (check your county clerk’s website to get info on exactly what your county will be voting on before election day), so the links I’m sharing today are very helpful to that end. Be sure to read Scott Berkun’s “How to Pick a President.”

Okay, enough of that election stuff! Definitely check out the two kitty links–there’s one video and one picture–and the sad, sweet story called “Mysterious Yellow Rose.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

*”Time will pass–will you?” or “That’s not a ‘no’, that’s a ‘heck no’!” Any other Mr. Stewert quotes out there, NHS alum??

Say Hello to LindenAMueller.com!

I got some birthday money and decided to finally buy my own domain, lindenamueller.com. Right now, it is only hosting my new fancy schmancy WordPress blog (finally made the switch from Blogger), but in the near future it will host some general information about me and photo galleries, and in the not-so-near-but-not-distant-either, it will host a personal wiki and course materials.

If you are already reading my blog in a feed reader, you shouldn’t have to do anything special to follow me from Blogger to my own domain and WordPress. However, just in case this post didn’t show up in your feed reader, be sure to to take a second now to resubscribe by clicking here. The same goes for email subscriptions; since they are managed through Feedburner and I have already updated the settings on my end, you should not have to do anything to stay subscribed. If you want to make sure that you are still going to get my blog posts delivered to your email inbox or if you want to sign up, click here.

There is still a lot of work for me to do to make my new blog fully functional. First on my list is to create categories (something WP has but Blogger doesn’t) and tags (they were imported from Blogger, but I’m using this opportunity to clean up my old ones). Next, I’ll start migrating links so that links in old posts point to my url and not my old Blogger blog. Hopefully that’s all I need to do, but we’ll see. :)

In the next week or so, I’m going to tell you why I chose this WordPress theme–it’s got some pretty neat features–but in the meantime, feel free to look around the new site, read some of your favorite posts, and be sure to leave comments!

Post-September 28: What’s next?

Two weeks ago today, I became a marathoner, but what’s next? I was pretty sure that I would like running this type of race, but now I know that I do. However, I have a different type of marathon that I have to run right now, The Dissertation marathon (“The Diss”). Once I’ve crossed that finish line, I’ll be returning to the 26.2-mile variety. Maybe in the meantime, I can do some relays: Who’s with me?!

I’m a planner and a dreamer, so even though I know I won’t be trying to decide between Hal’s training plan and FIRST’s training plans, I’m still thinking about which marathons might be in my future. Here are the ones I’m considering and a brief reason why. If you see a race you’re interested in, just click on the marathon name to visit the official site.

“Near with Built-in Spectators” Marathons

Olathe Marathon Relay
Kansas :: Late May
While I was unsuccessfully training for my first marathon, I met Angie on the trail. She and her husband were training for Chicago too, and she told me about this marathon relay. Since then, I’ve always wanted to run it. Maybe post-marathon, pre-diss finish line, this’ll be a perfect race.

Kansas City Marathon
Kansas :: Mid-October
St. Louis Marathon
Missouri :: Mid-April
Tulsa Marathon (+Relay)
Oklahoma :: Mid-November
Mom’s family is from KC, Dad’s is from St. Louis, and my little bro is living in Tulsa! Heh-LO, spectators! (Plus, the Tulsa marathon also features a relay. I’m definitely going to need more than one relay if The Diss takes as long as I expect it will.)

“Near with Reasons” Marathons

Little Rock Marathon
Arkansas :: Mid-March
Thanks to Sarah, I found out about the marathon with the biggest medal. Evar. According to their FAQs, 2008’s medal was 6 1/4” tall and weighed more than a pound.

Chicago Marathon
Illinois :: Mid-October
I see the Chicago Marathon as my marathon-arch-nemesis. I will conquer it. Maybe sooner, maybe later, but someday, I will.

Springfield Marathon
Missouri :: Early November
Once upon a time, Sarah and I were training for the half-marathon in Springfield. Since I didn’t get to run that race, and because I love Springfield and grew up going to Bass Pro Shops (the sponsor of both half and full), I think I need to run at least the half-marathon, if not the full.

St. George Marathon
Utah :: Early October
Olympic marathoner extraordinaire, Zuzana Tomas, suggested I give the St. George Marathon a try when I want to PR. I just might have to take her up on that one day!

London Marathon
England :: Late April
I’ve been to London twice, including our two-day visit in March, and it’s a beautiful, historic city that I’d love to see from my sneakers.

“I Must Be Crazy” Marathons

Great Wall Marathon
Tianjin Province, China :: Mid-May
I’m sure this is an amazingly beautiful race, but it is hot, and part of the course consists of stairs on the Great frickin’ Wall of China. If you’re not convinced that it’s a tough race, check out the training tips. “Find the tallest hotel around – 10 to 20 stories is good.” Run that in the middle of a long run? Yep, borderline certifiable.

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge
Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida :: Mid-January
“Aw, how cute! Walt Disney World has a marathon! Oh, and look! A half-marathon the day before!”

I blame Sarah for this one too. Sarah, how do you manage to get all these ideas stuck in my cranium? :)

In order to complete “Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge”, a runner must run the WDW half-marathon on Saturday. Then run the WDW on Sunday. And finish both. Gives me shivers just to think about. But here’s the weird thing: After having run my first marathon, I kinda think I could do this. I actually consider this more in the realm of possibility than the Great Wall Marathon.

What about you? I’m considering future goals and dreams. What goals and dreams are you considering? Are you aiming for them?

Why not?

Caffeine Conundrum

Let me explain my problem, and then I’ll let you offer your suggestions. I have a long and sordid history with the drug, caffeine. I’ve tried over and over to cut the habit, but I get withdrawal headaches. Plus, even if I have managed to climb on the wagon, soda and coffee is all around me. Especially in America, in the land of free refills, it is very hard for me to say no. (Here, it is a little easier. I just drink beer instead. It costs the same and is perhaps a bit healthier than pop.)

This year, I gave up caffeine as one of my New Year’s Resolutions. It wasn’t something I listed on my list of resolutions, but more of a personal goal. I didn’t have a drop for two months. Then Rob convinced me that it isn’t like blow or Lucy: I can consume it in moderation without ruining my life. So I started drinking one Dr. Pepper a week. That lasted really well until we went to America last month. I did not control myself, and I was disappointed in myself. So there’s problem number 1.

Caffeine problem number 2. When it gets cool outside, I really like warm beverages. But I have never found a tea that I enjoy. Hot chocolate is too sweet. So I opt for coffee. Right now, I’m drinking a powdered coffee drink, a latte macchiato. I’ll have one in the morning, one midday when my fingers get chilly again, and then maybe one more before 7:00 (I have enough trouble falling asleep that I don’t need to add evening caffeine to the mix).

Possible Solutions?

I’m looking for suggestions for replacing hot caffeine, so here are a few things to know about me.

  • I don’t have a fancy palate, so anything powdered works for me.
  • I want a hot replacement, something that takes hot water, preferably. Milk is harder to have at school.
  • As I said above, I’ve never found a tea that I like, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. I’ve tried green tea, strawberry-flavored black tea, Darjeeling… and that’s all I can remember. Oh, and those fancy Lipton tea-in-a-pyramid thingies.
  • Preferable something available in both Germany and America, so I can drink it now and when we move back. But if it’s only in America, I can deal with that. Something else to look forward to. :)

So what are you thinking? I can’t wait to hear!
Image Source

Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links | 7 October 2008

This week in Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links we’re going wayback to July 2008 when Beth and James visited us. I was planning on blogging too, but we spent lots of time traveling with them and then when they were off exploring München (that’s “Munich” in German), the Rhine, Belgium, and the Netherlands, we were working. Plus, I think Beth and James, both of whom authored these posts, did a pretty good job covering our exploits. Why redo what’s already been done just fine? I know! So I didn’t.

(Listed in chronological order.)

German Joy: Beth and James’s first day in Deutschland
Give Us This Day: Beth writes about one of their (and our!) favorite things about Germany
German July 4th: Beth describes what will surely be one of the most unique Fourth of July celebrations we’ll ever experience (Now where are the videos from this day??)
Berlin Marathon Training in Stadtwald Giessen: 12 Weeks Out [PICTURES!]: This one’s from me, but it include a running sight-seeing trip that deserves to be mentioned as a part of the July Mildrens Fun Time.
Rhine-ing and Dining: Beth delishes over food and oohs and ahhs over scenery
An Ironically Slow Trip on the Autobahn: Weekend in Berlin, part 1: Let’s just say that James wasn’t the only traveler upset at the outcome of this trip
Post-Four Germany: A quick summary of their adventures after they left us from Beth
Munich: James tells us about the home of BMW and Oktoberfest
Prague Blog: Beth puts on her historian hat to introduce our vacay to Prague with lots of pictures
I am a Jelly Doughnut: A wonderfully memorable trip to Berlin narrated by Beth
Visiting the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzen, Czech Republic: Who better to relive the fun and educational trip to Plzen than James, resident beer connoisseur
Bone Chapel and Beyond: Capturing Kutná Hora: In the final European travel post, Beth takes us to a quaint Czech town I think we all fell in love with

Update: The Mildrens keep writing more posts, so I’ll keep updating as they do.
Ghent & the Summer Festival: James shares pictures and stories of their trip to Belgium at a great time of year.
Beautiful Brussels: Beth writes about architecture, food, and fun in Brussels.

Berlin Marathon Race Report: Splits and Analyzation (Pt. 4)

I feel really great about my showing in my first marathon, but now it’s time to get down to the numbers. I’m not going to be doing any “coulda, shoulda, woulda.” My most basic goals were to do my best and finish the race, prove to myself that I can do it, and I did those things. I’ll be more critical next time around, when I actually do focus more on pace.

Let’s look at 5k splits first, then 10k splits.

5k Splits

0 – 5k: 32:32
5 – 10k: 33:05
10 – 15k: 34:10
15 – 20k: 32:54
20 – 25k: 35:22
25 – 30k: 36:00
30 – 35k: 34:40
35 – 40k: 35:24

10k Splits

0 – 10k: 1:05:37
10 – 20k: 1:07:40
20 – 30k: 1:11:22
30 – 40k: 1:10:04


Amazing, that’s all I have to say. I have never recorded such fast 10ks before, not even in training. I would love to run an actual 10k at the pace I ran the first 10k of this race. Not bad.

And the 5ks… They are more “all over the place.” The best was the first by 22 seconds, but I’ve run 3 miles considerably faster, so I’m pretty sure I can do a better 5k any time. Definitely not bad for the first 5k of a marathon, though!

Then there was a 36-minute 5k in there too, the 25 – 30 kilometers. As I said earlier, things are rather fuzzy in my brain during that time, so I was was obviously having a hard time of it. I’m kind of surprised that my last 5k wasn’t faster than the second-to-last, but that must be because I walked longer to encourage Denise (F546) at around kilometer 37.5ish, that’s the only thing I can figure there.

That faster second-to-last 5k is also a bit surprising because I am pretty sure the stop at kilometer 32 during which Rob re-secured my bib felt really long. Apparently it either wasn’t too fast, or I picked up my pace enough to offset the time. Or a combination of the two.

I think seeing these splits and thinking about what might have caused them will be important for my next marathon (whenever that will be…). They should help me figure out where I need to prepare for physical or mental weakness. Looks like I really need to be prepared from 20 to 30. I wonder if that’s normal. At the beginning and end, the excitement carries you, but in the middle you slow a little. Any marathoners reading this, please feel free to weigh in!

Berlin Marathon Race Report: Finish Area + Reflection (Pt. 3)

If you haven’t read them already, be sure to check out part 1 (Starting line to Km 14) and part 2 (Km 14 to Finish Line)!

Across The Line

“This is it! I did it!” I was laughing out loud, smiling a big, proud smile. A medal was placed around my neck, the Schwarz-Rot-Gelb of the German flag striking on the ribbon. I looked at it. On one side, the Brandenburger Tor, which I had just run through, and on the other, the face of Haile Gebrselassie with the world record he set last year at the Berlin Marathon, and which he broke during this year’s Berlin Marathon.

I was moving slowly towards the bag-check area, following hundreds of other finishers with yellow capes trailing. There were people laying on their yellow trash bags, some looking like they were on the verge of death, others eyes closed, sleeping.

I stopped to pose for a photo, then kept heading towards the bag-check tents. I was given a goodie bag with water, a banana, some cookies, and some sugar block thingies in it. I only drank the water and ate the banana. There was a long line for free beer, but I decided a massage was more important.

Got my checked bag, then found a tree and stretched for about 15 minutes. Now, it was time to shower and get my massage!

Lesson #3: Don’t forget to pack a towel and shower shoes. I think these are the only things I forgot to pack. The shower shoes, well, that’s just because I don’t like my bare feets going in wet places were lots of other bare feets have been. Ew. But we were all sweaty and had just accomplished the same great goal, so I ignored that idiosyncrasy of mine. The towel, now that was harder to work around. Luckily, I had brought both a regular bra and a sports bra since I didn’t know what I’d feel like wearing after the race. The sports bra became me towel. It worked well enough.

After the shower, I made a bee-line for the massage area. Whoops. Another lesson to learn.

Lesson #4: If you plan on getting a massage, don’t wear jeans. Yeah, most runners went the massage area before they took showers. I had to discretely remove my jeans while wearing the yellow cape as a skirt so that I could get my legs massaged. Not really a problem, but something to file and forget until next time, for sure.

After I changed back into my jeans, I found a place to sit down and wrote a couple postcards, then I went to the large lawn in front of the Reichstag. I needed to find a vertical surface so I could put my legs up, which is supposed to help drain the lactic acid out of your leg muscles to help decrease soreness. After 10 minutes of staring at the beautiful blue sky and occasionally chatting with the 10-time marathoner (!!!) who sat down next to me. Then it was off to meet my cheering squad.

Luckily, the Berlin marathon race directors know what they are doing and provided a “Family Reunion” spot (gotta love the translations. Before this one, the last family reunion I went to involved lots of cousins under the age of 14, hours of family photos, and still sitting at the kiddie table). I found them, we took several group pictures (on someone else’s camera, so you’ll have to check back to see those) and then it was up to me to choose what we did next.

I was hungry! I didn’t really know what I wanted, but after a few minutes, it hit me (while using the Klo): I wanted pizza. We walked to Friedrichstraße, got me some pizza (Pizza Salami and Pizza Mozzerella) from Ditsch, and headed back to Zepernick. More walking, since we had to walk from the S-Bahn station home. And I think that’s why I wasn’t as sore as I could have been. Only Tuesday was bad. I don’t know if that is because of that saying I’ve heard: “The second day’s the worse.” Or if it’s because of the painful deep massage my legs got Monday night. When Rob was massaging my lower calves, I cried. It hurt so bad.

Berlin Marathon Race Report: Km 14 to Finish Line (Pt. 2)

In part 1 of this race report, I left off with saying goodbye to my husband at about kilometer 14.

I left my cheering squad on a mental high. I was running faster than I planned, talking short walking breaks like I knew I should no matter how I felt, and felt great. I kept up with the high 5s, the cheering. Kept looking at my kilometer messages and thinking about memories with whoever had signed up for the kilometer I was on, sometimes repeating their message over and over in my head.

We passed the Südstern (it was towering and amazing). Before I knew it, I could see the half-marathon mark. I looked at my watch and knew that Haile Gebrselassie had crossed the finish line at least 30 minutes before I crossed that mark (thanks to staggered starts). But I knew I was going to set my own record today, and his, while amazing, wasn’t as important to me. I was shocked to see my watch say 2:20—my first half-marathon I completed in 2:37:57. “Here I am with another 13.1 miles left and already 18 minutes faster than I was a year ago. Well, I have trained hard and regular. I taped well and feel fresh. We’ll just see where this goes!”

That positive realization carried me, and when I saw those bright yellow shirts at almost kilometer 22, I was floating. Rob reminded me how much faster I was and I remember seeing smiles on all the faces. A new water bottle while I stretch quickly, new gels to replace all that I had used already, a sponge (provided by the marathon), a new kleenex, and I was off again, not to see my cheering squad for 10 kilometers.

There were bands of all sorts along the course, mostly playing jazz (which I love). I gave the thumbs up raised above my head and grinned at every one, telling them in my mind to keep playing, wondering how they managed to always play a beat in rhythm with my feet. Sometimes they had singers, and sometimes it was just music.

Lots of groups with drums, the loudest and most energetic being of course the Brazilians. Several organ grinders, buglers, and lots of Danish fans! I saw them over and over, four people holding up their large red and white banner, cheering for everyone. I didn’t care that I’m not Danish and that they could probably tell; I cheered back at those supporters like I cheered at every supporter. And it was fun.

Things start to get hazy around kilometer 24. I think that must have been when my legs started feeling the miles. Instead of only walking breaks, I would now walk for about 20 seconds, then find a pole I could stretch my calves on, a curb for my hamstrings, then off again. I was right behind Wils from Britain (so said the back of his shirt), and this grampy-looking man also loved the high 5s, so kids got excited to get two runners high 5s right after the other.

Lesson #2: Only Olympians get misters. I was stoked to be able to toss my water cup to the side, which I laughed aloud at while watching the Olympic marathons. And at first, I was relieved to see fountains of water sprouting from fire trucks or pipes along the course. But here is another lesson I learned. Misters probably don’t soak your shoes; Fire truck fountains do. One time through, and I was running with soggy, sopping shoes. Never again. They dried relatively quickly, but it wasn’t too pleasant in the meantime.

Kilometer 32 to the Finish Line

Despite feeling like a fabric-y plastic, my bib (start number) was paper enough that the water and my running motion made the safety pins holding it to pull out of the bib. Luckily, this happened just after kilometer 31, and I knew that I would see Rob and the cheering squad soon. I held it in place with my right hand (sore shoulder!) until I got to them, and then Rob attended to that problem while I took a gel.

“Looks like you’re on track for a sub-5 finish!”

It rang in my ears and quickened my heartbeat.

Next, something we had discussed endlessly during the previous month came out of Rob’s mouth. “This is your last 10k, the race part. Push it. You can do it!”

It was like I couldn’t stand still any more. I took off, faster than I had before. I still had to stop to walk for 30 seconds, a minute at a time. Still had to stop to stretch, but when I was running, I was running to win the prize. The next 5 kilometers flew past me. I could barely remember them, even right after they were over. I remember seeing the kilometer 37 sign and being very surprised.

Somewhere after kilometer 37, as we were nearing Potsdamer Platz, I wanted to walk, then passed a girl stretching. Ran past her a bit to a pole and allowed my calves a nice long stretch. I looked back to see that girl walking off the sidewalk, wiping her eyes. I caught up to her and asked her how she was doing. She said okay, that it was just so beautiful. I said, “It looked like something was wrong…” She said something about doing better in training, and I told her “You can’t think about that right now. All you can think about is that this is the only race, the only run. Don’t think about training, just focus on today.” It was her second marathon, and she said she figured she’d just have to walk to the end. I encouraged her as much as I could, and then said I was ready to run again. She finished just 15 minutes behind me, so she must have run at least a little bit.

Somewhere in those last 5 kilometers, I remember being hit with a realization like a bat: I was actually going to finish this thing. I was so close to the finish that I could crawl on hands and knees to the end if I had to, but I was going to cross that line. It was an amazing feeling.

At about kilometer 38.5, we passed Potsdamer Platz, and I thought I’d be on Unter den Linden (the final street) soon, but it took for-ev-er to get there! Luckily, there was a little surprise waiting for me at km 39. Even though I was told at the last stop that they wouldn’t see me until the finish, I heard the cowbells and looked right to see my cheerleaders there on the sidelines! I was so surprised I didn’t even stop, although I probably would have quickly, had I known they were there. It’s probably better that way.

Finally on Unter den Linden

Finally, we made our last few turns and I was on Unter den Linden, right by the statue of Frederick the Great. I ran about 200 meters and stopped to stretch one last time. I stretched my hamstrings, but realized my calves needed it more. I looked up to find a pole, when a bystander said, “Linden! Don’t stop now! That way!” And he pointed down Unter den Linden to the Brandenburger Tor and the Ziel (finish line). Shocked, I remembered that everyone’s bib gives their first name, and I glanced at his. “FALK” is all it said—he must be an elite runner. I smiled and headed off, grateful-to-tears for the encouragement. I pushed, got tired, held back a bit, pushed more when I could see the Brandenburger Tor. Felt like a champion running through that gate. Kept my eyes out for my last glimpse of those bright yellow shirts.

I could see the finish line but didn’t feel like pushing when I saw and heard them, all cheering and ringing those cowbells, screaming my name. It was exactly what I needed, and I sprinted the last 200 meters.

After the Finish Line

I slowed to a walk and stopped my watch. 4:49:09 it said back to me, and I giggled. I had bested 5 hours, and not by a smidge, either! By almost 11 minutes!

A medal was placed around my neck and I was given a yellow plastic robe. I didn’t look it, but I certainly felt like a queen, a marathoner finally. I followed the general direction of the crowd back towards the bag-check tents, showers, and massage area, laughing randomly and even crying a bit.

I had done it. I ran 26.2 miles, all at once, I was still alive and still walking, and I felt great.