Winter Training

Houghton offers so many awesome opportunities to train and prepare for endurance races. However, the six-month-long winter here sometimes puts a damper on the amount of outdoor training we can get in. So, Adam and I have resorted to skiing more this season, spending a lot of time on planks at the Tech Trails. For Adam, it was his first season of competing in Nordic skiing. He prefers the skating style. I personally would rather classic, but end-of-season skiing is not so conducive for good kick (did I mention I hate using Klister?). We both really enjoy being outside... and our racing experiences this year have us already planning on doing two or three full marathons again next season.

In preparation for the Ironman in September, we have also been spending a few nights a week on the trainers. Adam is getting comfortable on his aero bars, and I'm just trying to get comfortable with high cadence on my road bike. Here's a review of our aerobic activities in the past four months.

Michigan Tech has the best trails in the US!

Adam and Mark cruising up the Royalwood hill.

Adam's new Jamis Xenith T1 Tri bike.

Getting the day started after a hard workout with Fluid, Larabar, RedBull Cola, and yogurt (the Liberte is Adam's).

Getting a leg up with lab work

After a few unsuccessful attempts at doing immunohistochemistry (IHC) on very teeny meniscal sections, I got the staining methodology down! I will spare you with the details of my tedious work, but for anyone learning how to do IHC, let me tell ya, its a lot like western blotting, which I did a ton of last year.

Here's a brief summary of what I have been doing lately...

These are the samples on slides that I work with. The rabbit menisci are really small, and only 6micrometers thick. I use a PAP pen to outline each section, so that I can conserve the amount of liquid I use throughout the process (antibodies are really expensive...)

Pipetting antibody dilutions onto slides. The antibody binds to specific molecules on the tissue samples for visualization later.

I have to be careful not to suck up the sections when I remove the liquid from the slides. Although the sections should stay firmly attached to the slides, sometimes the sections loosely fall off because of the digestions with hyaluronidase, pronase, and proteinase K that I use.

Adam is the lab DJ. Note the speakers behind his double-monitor setup.

I don't really mind having to do so much IHC this time of year, because the -43F windchill outside is pretty unattractive at the moment. I do have to walk across campus to use the fluorescent microscope though... BRR!

And finally...


Homemade Granola

Adam's mom, Paula, started a gluten-free blog with a bunch of delicious recipes posted on it. I LOVE cheese pancakes, and sage & squash 'sag. I've been, on special occasions, buying Bakery on Main's Maple Nut Cranberry granola, but I have a hard time justifying the $6.50/12ounce *crunch* to my wallet. So, I got pretty excited to try and make my own gluten-free granola. I gathered up some EnviroKids Amazon Frosted Flakes, dried cranberries, California walnuts, local honey, light olive oil, some cherry juice, and flax seeds... but something was missing. BoM granola has these yummy, crunchy rice ball things in it, and I needed that. I looked everywhere in Houghton... and low-and-behold, the Keweenaw Co-op had it (it was called Perky's Nutty Flax!). After two hours of baking and stirring, it turned out fabulous. It is especially good with The Greek Gods Yogurt. MMmmmm...

CCSA Regionals

Last weekend, Michigan Tech hosted the CCSA Regional meets for Nordic skiing. Tech threw down the hammer, qualifying a max three women and three men for the National Championship! It was exciting to watch so many talented skiers take to the field. I was glad to not have to race, though, because it was so cold they had to delay the start on Saturday.

Congrats to Jenna, Jill, and Liz; Oskar, Petter, and Jesse!!
To see some photos, go to my Flickr.