Monday, July 27, 2015

Introducing Pancho the Spanish Waterdog

On Friday July 17th, Marius and I picked up our little waterdog. He wasn't quite 8 weeks old, but already so good at sleeping through the night. We love him! He has very few accidents in the house and is already used to driving in the car. I have already trained him to sit and fetch. Today he is 9 weeks old!

We are up in Nordland (north of the Arctic circle) with Mom, Dad, Tron and Rigmor. Pancho is learning how to be a waterdog, but the water is a bit cold up here. He'll get used to it soon. We just got back from an easy hike, which really wore him out. Hopefully I have some more patience to sit and write a bit more about the trip. I never got around to Madrid, sorry about that!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Puppy love


We have been getting frequent updates on our puppy from the breeder. She says she has fallen in love with him and hopes to take him to dog shows when he is old enough. He's now 5 weeks old, and this weekend Marius and I took care of him and Sookie (his mom)! The breeder said that this is usually never done, but since he was a litter of one he needs lots of stimulation, and she thought it would be a nice way for us to meet him; and she was also able to sneak away for the weekend.

2 weeks old and his first adventure in the grass - not usually done so young,
but since he doesn't have siblings he needs lots of stimulation.
3 weeks old and getting his first taste of solid food
4 weeks old and on the move!
5 weeks old - very brave and so fun to play with!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Puppy update

On Saturday, May 23rd, a single Spanish waterdog puppy was born. He was described to us as a black, stub-tailed male (en sorte, stumpehalet hanne --- sounds cuter in Norwegian). We finally got a picture of him and an additional description, as told by the breeder:  this boy will make his mark someday; strong and compact.

The breeder told us that she chooses older males because they show good genes for a long, happy life. Thus, as a result, the litter is usually small.

We are allowed to visit him for the first time after June 19th, and can take him home mid July. Names have been brainstormed, but we'll see his personality before we decide.

Just a little black slug for now

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

News this spring

I realize I never got around to posting about Madrid. I wanted to upload pictures from Marius' camera, but that has been hard to remember the few times I go to Oslo. So I promise to post something with the pictures I took with my phone.

So news since Easter...

April 30th I logged over 1000 kilometers of running so far this year. I saw at the end of March that I could get myself to do it, and I did! It was a great night in Bergen for making that goal as well. June 1st I'll start my training cycle for the Oslo Marathon. My second attempt, so I'm aiming for anything better than 4:09:00 - my finishing time last year.

My shoes that carried helped me run past my 1000th km this year also surpassed their 1000th km of their lifetime

My favorite running spot lately is Fjellveien - a road which runs along the rim of the valley just above the city-
Great views of downtown, fresh air, gravel pathway.

Experimenting with some new ways to fuel - quinoa berry bowl
1 c. cooked quinoa, 1 banana, 1/2 c berries, walnuts, coconut milk

Marius and I have been hunting around for the right dog for us. He has a dog allergy, so we did lots of research. We have settled on Spanish water dogs. We took care of two for a breeder at the beginning of the month and they were the best. Very well-behaved and friendly dogs! Their names were Sookie and Lukas. Sookie is Lukas' mom and she is pregnant (due this week). I told the breeder that I want one of these puppies since the temperament seems to be good in this line. Looking forward to updates on their arrival this week!

Mom likes to keep her son on a tight leash

On May 6th, Marius and I celebrated 6 years together...but in separate cities. Wild to think it has been that long. Time flies! 

I'm still living at the house downtown, but in a month I will be moving back up to the apartment that Marius and I first lived in together. It will be a great homecoming. Marius hopes to be finished with the apartment in Oslo by the end of June. Fingers crossed he can keep up his hard work. This past weekend we assembled some drawers for the new kitchen. 

Looking forward to updating about our expected new addition and my marathon training.

17th of May is Norway's Independence Day - Here is Katrine (2nd from right) walking in Auckland!
Marius and I have our own tradition of rømmegrøt (sour cream porridge - best with sugar,
cinnamon and raisins) with spekemat (dried ham) and flat bread.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Research Technician

I have moved around the Sars Centre (for Marine Molecular Biology) a bit now since beginning here with a 50% position last November. Now I am moving my way up the ladder. Last week I began full-time as a research technician for the cnidaria facility (sea anemones).

My main responsibility is keeping the animals alive by regulating the tank system, feeding and washing the animals. I have become quite technical with the new position.

So in the morning when I come in, I prepare the food (artemia sea monkeys) to feed the Nematostella (anemones). And then prepare the batch of artemia due for feeding the day after next. Then I give them some time to eat. In the meantime, the resesarchers put boxes of animals in the incubators to stimulate reproduction. I pull out packages of eggs and fertilize them.

Cultivating brine shrimp/sea monkeys/artemia

The boxes get washed on a schedule - each one is done once a month. And that takes up most of my day. However, next week I will learn how to identify transgenic animals. So once the animals I fertilized go back up to the lab, the eggs begin to develop and a florescent dye is injected into the embryos. This dye tracks how the nervous system develops. Nematostella is a common species to do these tests on because they are so simple.

There are twice as many boxes as this that get taken care of in our facility. Two new research groups will start in the fall and also use the animals.  

Hydra are also taken care of in the facility. They are relatively labor intensive for such tiny critters.
So that is a look into my day, as of now. It's quite a tiring and active job, but I'm enjoying being employed full time. Also, still need to get those pictures from Marius to post about our Madrid trip last month.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Medio Maraton de Madrid - Race report

March 29th was the half-marathon in Madrid that I got from Marius for Christmas. It was my fourth half-marathon and I trained a solid 15 weeks to earn a new personal record. Prior to this race, my personal record was 1:47, set in Lisbon in March 2013...I was around 30 seconds shy last year when I ran in Bergen coming in at 1:48 - I forgot the exact seconds.

We had a few days in Madrid before the race, but I will write about those later when I can get the pictures from Marius' camera. The course looped the northern part of the city and finished in a very nice park. There were nearly 17,000 runners, and I definitely blended in with the crowd. Marius was much easier to spot with his blond hair. Even though I wore my American flag shorts, there were so many people that it would have been difficult for Marius to spot me through the crowd. So I encouraged him to do his workout and keep an eye out for me at 10:45am. 

The course was not flat, like I had thought it would be. Rather, it rolled up and down through the city. I had my Garmin clocking my time and I managed to maintain a steady pace that was significantly faster than the pace I ran in Lisbon, Portugal in 2013. The Madrid half was probably the first half marathon where I was actually bored during the run. There was no street-side entertainment like at the other races and fans only lined the remaining three kilometers.

Map and splits 1-13 (note it is minutes per km)

Splits for km 10-21.1

When I saw Marius at the 19th km marker I was worn out. It was the steepest incline of the race and I was really losing my speed having maintained such a good pace for most of the race. He said I still looked happy, but it's easy to see in the pictures from the 20th km that I was really worn out! My Garmin GPS watch beeped at 21.1 km and I stopped it to mark exactly the distance of a half-marathon. The Garmin website acknowledged it and gave me a new personal best of 1:41:48! However, that was not the same as the course. So I tried to maintain a good speed to cross the finish in record time. 

Official time 1:46, chip time 1:42....any of those numbers is a personal best. I am one very happy runner!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

722 km so far

This year I have happily logged nearly 450 miles in preparation for my fourth half-marathon, which will be in Madrid on March 29th. I have put in 15 solid weeks of dedicated training in hopes of setting a new personal best. To date, my best time for 21 km (13.1 miles) is 1:47, but I'm aiming for a sub-1:45! A couple of weeks ago I set a personal best in the 10k.. 45 minutes and 25 seconds. I bet if it had been a race then I could have shaved off more time.

I've been running 6 days a week. Occasionally this is twice a day, but only in the last couple of weeks when the sun has been shining and the days have gotten longer. Being in Bergen has made my training really enjoyable since we haven't had many days below freezing to create ice obstacles for me. I don't mind cold temps, but ice is not fun.

I haven't signed up for a marathon yet, but I will have to choose between Amsterdam and Oslo if I want to reach my goal of at least 5 full marathons before I'm 30. An ultra marathon is also on the to do list.

Today I signed my contract for my full-time job at the University/Sars Centre for Marine Molecular Biology. My main job will be taking care of sea anemones used for research - well, their embryos are used for research. One of the groups using the animals is researching how the nervous system evolved and how it develops. It's really interesting, so it will be neat to lend my skills in another field.

I've enjoyed that only working 50% means that I have more time to dedicate to running, so now I will need to come up with a better schedule. At the end of April, in conjunction with the Bergen Marathon, there is a half-marathon relay. Carol (the HR lady) and I are trying to convince a few more people to run for Team Sars. I volunteered to run a few of the legs, but not everyone at work is so eager to jog for a mile.

So tomorrow I am taking the train from Bergen to Oslo because it was cheaper than taking the plane. And then on Wednesday Marius and I are off to Madrid!! Updates of course to come of out trip, my race, and Easter skiing, but just had to write a little something for an update.

Act for Arctic