Saturday morning was the Race Around the World, a christmas tradition. It was only a 2.3 mile run but the weather was so terrible that it was very difficult. I really struggle with the altitude when it comes to aerobic exercise. I'm not designed for this. My lungs can't get enough oxygen. It's so cold out that you really have to wear something to cover your face or else risk damaging your lungs but then it's even harder to breathe. I started out the race fine, but about .25 mi in, we hit some really soft snow and the effort of trudging through it really wore me out. The rest of the race was spent gasping for air. It was really a miserable experience. I hate distance running to begin with, but add to that sub-freezing temperatures and 20mph winds and it was just the worst. Thankfully, towards the end of the race, when I was contemplating what it would be like to just drop dead, a friend of mine caught up to me and we raced to the finish. It made it slightly more fun. I would classify the race as worse than going to the dentist but better than being stabbed in an alley. Congrats to Jamie Tolan who won the race. He's a grad student on our sister telescope, SPUD or Keck (depending on where you are).
After the race, everyone gathered in the galley for brunch. I was too cold and too nauseous to eat but it was nice to see everyone out and about. After a little while, I grabbed some food, and then a bunch of us decided to hit the sauna. That was definitely the best idea possibly ever created by man. It goes 1) sauna after race around the world 2) go to the moon 3) the internet 4) sliced bread. Whatever damage I may have done to my lungs was definitely soothed by the 210 degree sauna. Naturally, after 10 or so minutes, you have to run outside. We call that "the cycle." After 4 or so cycles, I was ready for a shower.
Later that night was the famous Christmas dinner. The galley is decorated with strings of hanging lights and there is a christmas tree in the corner. There are also a few menorahs, for those interested. Dinner was beef wellington, lobster tails, white truffle mashed potatoes, baked root vegetables, and about 1000 different kinds of desserts. There were also appetizers before the meal. They had shrimp cocktails, seared scallops, baked brie, some duck dish, and spiced cider. There are three settings for christmas dinner. I volunteered to help with the second seating which meant I walked around pouring the wine. It was actually a lot of fun. I made sure that no glass went empty. I also helped serve desserts and bus the tables. I was part of the third seating, so after I finished, it was time to eat. The food was incredible. Best lobster ever. I made sure to take advantage of the wine stewards, having inside information on the job. The best part about the third seating is that there isn't a time limit. The other seatings were only an hour to make room for the next group but since this was the last, we had infinite time. I sat with a bunch of telescopers. One of the PI's from SPT was there and he was a lot of fun to talk to. He's up at Berkeley and I wouldn't mind working for him next.
After dinner came the traditional post-holiday dance party. It was a lot of fun. So many of us comment that we wouldn't be caught dead listening or dancing to most of the crap that was played normally, but down at the pole, it's all about just having fun. The dance party continued late into the night but I went to bed relatively early since I had to do a cryo transfer the following morning. That definitely put a damper on the evening, but it's what I'm here for.