Monthly Archives: January 2013

There’s good news, and there’s bad news…

The good news is that I (miraculously) recovered from my run on Monday without too much trouble on Tuesday or Wednesday and I’m as good as new (not that that’s saying a whole lot, but…) today! ūüôā I apparently have at least some¬†fitness¬†left from this fall!! YEAH!! Also, I think I’ve perfected my recovery regime for the sore-booty I get from runs over 7 or 8 miles.¬†

Step 1: Bengay

Step 2: Bengay

Step 3: Ice pack (ones that arrive with restriction enzymes from NEB work well for this) between office chair and aforementioned sore booty for the day

Step 4: Bengay

Step 5: Heating pad between couch and aforementioned sore booty for the evening

Step 6: Bengay

The bad news is that I haven’t run again since Monday. ūüė¶ Don’t worry though, I’m sooooooooo not even close to being short on excuses for why I haven’t gotten back out there —

  1. I “forgot” my running shoes at home on Tuesday (I did actually forget them. It was in the 30’s and I was totally looking forward to some Sami and Ian time. Sucks to be me.)
  2. The high on Tuesday occurred at 12:05 a.m. and it was down into the single digits (although still above zero) by midday
  3. Today it was so cold that during my 3 block walk back from lunch, that the soda that had collected on the top of my open can FROZE! (Yes, I was being ¬†bad and drinking soda with lunch, and quite frankly it was really the least of many evil things I’ve done over the last 24 hrs —
    1. It was the first of two cans of soda I drank today
    2. “Yes I do want (Bun Mi) fries with that”
    3. Cookie/seminar > 1 (this week)
    4. Second dinner at 12:30 = 1.5 slices of black bean pizza from Pizza Mesa
    5. I’m snacking on the last of my consolation prize right now
    6. Western blots AND and induction experiments with Mary Kate and Ashley Maria, Kate and Brittany
    7. We’re still here!! And this month’s We’re Still Here Party was last night…at Brothers. wpid-2013-01-30-23.00.37.jpg¬†(On the bright side though, no one was thrown out for arriving with a backpack, no one got stuck in a phone booth, IMG_4175no one took the freeway home — on foot, Long Island Ice Teas are no longer included in the $8-all-you-can-drink special, and no one had 8 a.m. Linear this morning. ūüôā
  4. I’m spending lots of time making lists apparently…

All that being said, its supposed to be back in the double digits by Saturday and I’m totally¬†itching¬†to go get some more miles in!

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Double digits!!

I finally saw double digits again this morning!! So I got a bit later start than I wanted to for my “14 miler” this morning, but I was still out the door by 6:30. (“14 miler” = 16 miler when you can’t properly map your route.) That’s not too bad considering my track record lately! However, I wish I would’ve been on the road by 6 like I had originally planned because it was a¬†beautiful¬†“dark” run. The bright white snow from yesterday light up the street, snow was still piled on branches and twigs and there was this rolling fog that made everything seem a bit¬†mystical. I’m¬†so¬†lucky to live in an area with nice wide roads (that are apparently a City of Minneapolis plowing priority) that are line with the most beautiful houses and weave their way around 3 precious little lakes. It was awesome to watch the sun come up along Lake Calhoun, turning the sky behind the branches first pink and then purple and then blue/grey. For the most part I could stick to the plowed roads and side walks, only venturing a few times into unshoveled/plowed paths or grass. This was good. The run was still definitely¬†treacherous¬†and tough, but as far as winter runs the day after a snow fall go, it was fantastic.

I brought one 4-oz handheld water bottle with me which I refilled once with water and once with white-ish snow as well as a package of 6 Clif Bloks. I was pretty good on water (I could’ve drunk more as usual, but I was ok) and I had more than enough Clif Bloks.

1/28/13 work out

16.21 miles

2 hr 43 min (this includes traffic lights, 1 stop to shovel white-ish snow into the water bottle and a couple of short walks during which I awkwardly fished my Clif Bloks out of my back pocket and stuffed them in my mouth)

The pace was nice and easy at first but got harder and harder and harder and the run went on. But, I think stayed pretty even through out, maybe slowing a bit in the middle. I usually have a pretty strong (relative definition of this word) finish when I know the end is near, and this (pleasant surprise) happened for me today too. I could definitely feel my lack of training though. By the half way point I was ready to be done and miles 7-12 or so were pretty rough. I still had enough at the end to be happy with how I finished up, but I was ready to be done.

All of that being said, had I been coming down the side of Mt. Kilimanjaro with another 10 miles to go, I think I could’ve done it. It would’ve been slow, there sure would’ve been more walking involved than there was today and Al (fair warning) would have definitely had to carry my ass on to the chicken bus in the morning. But, I could’ve finished. I hope this isn’t a totally ignorant frame of mind, but I’m afraid it is where I need to be mentally 1 month out from the “race.” I’m glad I’m still able to convince myself of a positive ending even after this morning.

Threads: Nike Tech ‚Äď Women‚Äôs Running Tights,¬†Champion¬†tank,New Balance Tempo long-sleeve shirt,¬†awesome¬†Mountain Hardwear Women‚Äôs Super Power Hoody, bright green¬†Pro Compression marathon socks¬†(thanks Anna¬†:-)¬†, mittens, Vasaloppet stocking hat that anyone in their right mind should be jealous of, and my totally awesome new Nathan Strobe Light¬†(Thanks Andi! This is actually the first time I’ve busted the light out and I¬†love¬†it! The intensity is just right and the “strobe” function is somehow able to “strobe” without me feeling like I’m about to have a¬†seizure! And I didn’t get hit by a single car! Wins on all fronts! ūüôā¬†

Fantastic hair is but just one of the Vasaloppet hat's many tricks.

Fantastic hair is but just one of the Vasaloppet hat’s many tricks.

Treads: trusty Mizuno Wave Creation 11 (these guys are sadly Р but definitely Рon their way out)

Unfortunately (due to¬†someone¬†sleeping in¬†and¬†being too stupid to properly map her route —¬†yeesh!) I was in a total time crunch when I finally got home. I didn’t take the time to properly warm down, or ice, or foam roll (thanks again Andi ūüôā out afterwards. :-/ I just showered as quickly as possible (you’re welcome), dosed the legs in more ben-gay than I really should be subjecting my poor office mates to (sorry Kookie :-/),¬†donned a fresh pair of bright pink¬†Pro Compression marathon socks¬†and dashed out the door to work. My poor co-workers were holding down the fort for me all morning and rolling in at almost 11 is a bit much for even me. Thanks Juan, Brittany, Katie, and Maria for not killing me! Hopefully the under-trained, over-worked and under-pampered muscles will have a similar level of compassion for me tomorrow!

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Snow trotting

It was a balmy 30 F when I got up this ¬†morning, a¬†great¬†day for a run! And then it started raining…and then snowing…and it was still a great day for a run! I haven’t really run in the snow in so long (like blaze your own through 3-4 feet inches the whole way) and I’d totally forgotten what a good workout it is! Thinking about it, of course it makes sense that high-knees + poor stability + two-steps-forward-and-slide-one-step-back = hard work. Fun hard work though.

1/27/13 work out

4.23 miles

38 min

32 F, 10 mph wind, snowing w/3-4 inches of snow already on the ground

It wasn’t an easy run, but it was fun. My muscles, heart and lungs were all working hard. Now this is obviously a very good thing, but I currently have¬†deranged¬†ambitious goal for tomorrow morning. I’d like to get in a 14 miler before work. I feel that about one month out from the Kili marathon I need to remind myself that my legs can indeed turn over that many times without totally giving up on me and also remind my legs that very soon they will be ordered to do just under twice that distance in all sorts of horrific¬†unknown conditions. Tomorrow is supposed to be warm (think 30’s F), there should be no more snow falling and the streets should be plowed by 6 am. What better day to get out there and do it?

wpid-2013-01-27-17.09.17.jpg

I’m sorry, aside from the beautiful hat (which was really the whole point of it anyway) this is a really useless photo.

Threads: ¬†Mizuno running pants, Champion tank top from ages ago, Chicago super cute and comfy Marathon participants t-shirt, another long-sleeved race shirt, ¬†Novara Conversion Bike Jacket – Women’s¬†(with sleeves…these were a life saver today) mittens, shorty running socks and my fantastic RF (I’m so sorry that you couldn’t be out playing today, my love) hat.

I was a little worried about not wearing compression today, but I felt just fine!

Treads: trusty Mizuno Wave Creation 11 (I think this might be the beginning of the end for these guys)

Keep your fingers crossed for a successful start to tomorrow!

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House Spicy Fish and awesome salad dressing (no, not together…)

What are the best parts about coming into work on a Sunday?

  1. The peace and quite that apparently does exist in the absence of undergraduates
  2. The Tea House Spicy Fishwpid-2013-01-27-13.34.42.jpg

I’m afraid this picture really isn’t doing it justice, but this dish is¬†amazing!

It also means that dinner has to be in a slightly different vein:

wpid-2013-01-27-20.24.18.jpg

All is definitely not lost though. This little enormous guy is covered with a homemade dressing that is totally second to none. Dr. Annebelle taught me how to make it when I lived with her and it’s been my go-to ever since. The batch I made today was particularly super-special though. I used the homemade (is this the right way to describe this?) honey from Andi’s dad’s bees! Now this stuff is great by itself, and I almost felt like using it for the dressing would be kind of wasting it, you know, but O.M.G. It’s fantastic!

In short, and very inaccurate, here is the dressing recipe:

Dr. Annebelle’s Dressing

  1. 2 part mustard
  2. 2 part honey
  3. 1 part olive oil
  4. 1 part balsamic vinegar
  5. Combine 1-4 in a well sealed container (unless you enjoy cleaning your kitchen) and shake like mad.
  6. Taste and add more of any/all items 1-4 until you’re satisfied (or need a larger container)
  7. Enjoy!

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I found them!

I went to grab my apartment keys as I charged out the door to a birthday dinner¬†last night¬†and found myself with absolutely no idea where I had put the damn things! Ok, I have done things like this more times than I’m ever going to admit on here a few times before. I just needed to take a step back and walk through my actions since I last know I had them.

Running.

I took the ring w/my apartment keys off of my main key chain so I could easily put them in my pocket for my run. I did get back inside my place afterward so the HAD to be in here somewhere. This is good. Now what did I do when I got home? I put the keys down on my desk, checked my phone, saw that I missed a call from Dr. Annebelle & called her back while I rolled out my legs. N.B.D.

Right?

WRONG! Unfortunately…well, fortunately in the bigger picture of life, but not so great for the current state of my dumb ass…we had a rather exciting conversation that promptly consumed all of my currently functional brain cells, leaving zero to use for key/key chain logistics (or showering in a timely matter…but never mind). As of setting that precious ring down on my desk I had¬†no¬†idea what else I’d done with it. Boooooo!!!¬†My ride to dinner was waiting and I needed to go!

Lucky for me, I had anticipated this kind of booboo (and can-opener emergencies, but we can leave that for another day) and gave my friend/neighbor Samia a spare key! The problem was temporarily solved and I could move on with my night. Off to the birthday party!

To make a long story short, I crashed at a friend’s place at the end of the night. Upon getting up this morning and ready to come in to work for a bit, I fished my work wallet/keys out of my purse to make sure that my bus pass and access card were where they were supposed to be. They were, no problem.

AND GUESS WHO ELSE THEY WERE HANGING OUT WITH ON THEIR KEY CHAIN?!?! 

You got it!

MY DELINQUENT APARTMENT KEYS!!

I have no idea why they decided to string themselves onto the wrong key chain! Seriously, they must have been feeling particularly stupid yesterday as the key chains look absolutely nothing alike. At least the little trouble makers are back and I can return the emergency key to Samia for the next such debacle.

Left: work wallet/keys with 3 idiot stowaway apartment keys. Right: the stowaways' rightful home.

Left: work wallet/keys with 3 idiot stowaway apartment keys.
Right: the stowaways’ rightful home.

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Finally trotting again!

No Adrienne, I’m not on the toilet…I was out running again to celebrate today’s balmy weather!

It finally hit the double digits — 10 F to be exact (feels like 4 F, but never mind) so I figured I’d better make the most of it. I was totally scared that I’d either slip and break a hip within the first mile, or wimp out and talk myself into turning around and going home. I’m happy to say that neither of those happened! ūüôā I think I owe part of this success story to the fact that I considered today’s endeavour¬†worthy of busting out my brand-new, never been worn yet Mizuno Wave Elixir 6. (If you’re thinking to yourself, “What? The Wave Elixir 6?!?! Isn’t the Wave Elixir 8 already out?” you are correct. I am a proud stock-piler of my favorite running shoes.)¬†Running in brand new shoes is great (especially when you’re a genius like me and have your 2 regular pairs of running shoes a) at school and b) frozen solid in the back seat of your car).

1/26/13 work out

6.7 miles

60 min

Cold and a bit breezy. Luckily I dressed correctly because I was really pretty comfortable (relative definition of that term).

wpid-2013-01-26-15.05.41.jpg

Threads: Insulated and ‚Äúcompression‚Ä̬†Champion¬†tights and long-sleeved shirt from last year, Champion¬†tank,¬†awesome¬†Arc‚Äôteryx Solano jacket, and bright pink¬†Pro Compression marathon socks,¬†mittens and my pride-and-joy Vasaloppet ski hat

Treads: shiny new Mizuno Wave Elixir 6

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3 things that made today awesome

1. My morning with Antonio. With any luck there will be more on this later.

2. My lunch with Ben at Bombay Bistro. He could not have possibly summed things up more accurately than he did with:

“the events of the past few days have been nothing short of staggering.”

3.

 

Racey Rouge #13 - Sally Hansen
Racey Rouge #13 – Insta-Dri Sally Hansen

 

Thanks A!

 

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Blowing this icicle stand!

Yesterday and Monday have reminded me just how totally freaking excited¬†I am that this will be my last winter in¬†Minnesota (at least for a while)! Assuming that I can wrap what I’m doing into something that at least mildly resembles a story and train the three new experimental students that just joined our group I’ll be out of here in May!!¬†I really haven’t shared much background/explanation on this topic yet, so I’ll try to sum up the events of the last 3 months in something that you can actually read through to the end.

So, I decided in October (really for real this time, as I have fake made this decision about a million gazillion times since the start of grad school) that after graduation I am going to try to pursue this whole academic career business.

Ok, so what?

So what this means is that I need to get off my rear end and secure a post-doc position for after graduation! That isn’t daunting or anything, is it? Yikes!

Lucky for me (and I will greedily — this is my story so yes that is a word — take all of the luck I can get), the national chemical engineering conference is held in November each year and I could use this as a free self-destruction self-marketing opportunity. So, I neurotically systematically went through the top chemical and bio engineering departments at the top universities in search of professors that I wanted to work for (and seem either young and ambitious enough or old and¬†complacent¬†enough to be willing to entertain such a crazy idea too). This has to be one of my top 5 Friday night activities……NOT! (Really? Come on! Give me some credit! Yeesh!)

Anyway, I generated a list of my top 30ish professors and narrowed that list down to the 11 who would be attending AICHE. I strategically emailed all of them in the middle of the night about 2 weeks before the meeting so they’d have my lovely cover letter and CV to greet them first thing in the morning. I sent off my emails and went to bed with my smartphone under my pillow¬†anxiously¬†awaiting the lack of replies.

Much to my surprise delight, replies I got! Only two ass holes very busy professors totally ignored me, two people were kind enough to reply that they “didn’t have funding,” (mmmhhhmmmmmmm…) and SEVEN¬†replied that they would be interested in attending my talks and/or meeting¬†¬†me at AICHE! Sitting there in bed, with annoying¬†attention deprived Pheona going in for the self-pet on the hand I was using to navigate my email (of course), the magnitude of what I had just voluntarily gotten myself into really began to sink in. ¬†O.M.G.¬†In two weeks, I was going to have to give the talk(s) of my life to a room of people that included Dr. Greg Stephanopoulos, Dr. Hadley Sikes, Dr. Kristala Prather,¬†Dr. Scott Banta,¬†Dr.¬†Danielle Tullman-Ercek¬†,¬†Dr.¬†Jay Keasling¬†and¬†Dr. Mark Brynildsen. No pressure.

So two weeks later I found myself on an airplane in first class (this is what happens when you are flying¬†in to¬†a hurricane and all of the sane people who apparently value their lives more than either Yiannis or I do decide against turning up for their flights…SCORE! ūüôā en route to¬†Pittsburgh. My talks were mostly done, my suit pants were more or less short enough and Sandy wasn’t set to reach Pitt until a solid 4 hours after my talks finished. Life was good!

I actually managed to get some pretty good sleep after arriving on Sunday night. (One of the advantages of waiting for a hurricane in a town that you don’t live in, is that you can actually enjoy the very steady rainfall on your windows all night long.) In the morning I was able to practice my talk in the hotel lobby just short of the number of times the front desk lady would allow before she called the Pitt po-po to remove the crazy woman from her lobby and wolf down some high quality continental cantaloupe¬†before dashing off into the hurricane, and one of the most important meetings of my career thus far.

I made it through the morning without having a nervous breakdown. Score. I made it through lunch without barfing OR spilling all over my brand new beautiful white dress shirt. Double score. I made it all the way to the conference room that I was scheduled to talk in without breaking my ankle in my high-heels (this probably would’ve happened from getting caught up in the aforementioned suit¬†pants that are almost short enough) or inadvertently destroying/losing the USB stick with my presentation on it (this probably would’ve happened with the help of a toilet or an increasingly flooded street gutter). Excellent.

Luckily my talk was in the middle of the session. This means that I had to worry much less about barfing my lunch up during my talk at the very beginning, and I also don’t have to sit like a studious¬†parochial¬†school girl for almost 2 hours waiting for my talk at the very end (believe it or not, I don’t do this very well). Good.

A few speakers into the session my friends started trickling in. My friends from grad school at MN as well as my friends from elsewhere (elsewhere = in a bar, over too many cocktails, and in some city (that neither of us really remember) before/during/after a meeting). That was when I started to get excited. One sure-fire way to pick out a nerd in a crowd is to find the person who actually enjoys blabbering about what they do all day…every day…for years on end…over and over and over…to a captive audience that (largely due to peer pressure) is too self-conscious¬†to get up and walk out. I also saw some of my perspective faculty arriving and taking their seats. Sweet!

The speaker before me finished and it was my turn. Up I went to the podium, loaded my presentation onto the computer, set up my LASER pointer and slide advancer (I have one of those super cool ones that’s 2 in 1 and looks like a pen…AND the LASER is green ūüôā and looked up to check out my audience.¬†HOLY SHIT!!¬†And that’s when things got real! My precious 7 faculty were there, front and center, no questions asked. Then, Greg brought is brother George, Danielle brought her whole freaking research group and my summer internship manager, and former MN alum, Derek made a surprise appearance and brought half of Alexion Pharmaceuticals with him! The room before me was packed and I had 20 min to make them either¬†need¬†to hire me or to make them need¬†to tell their friends to hire me. Game on!

The next 20 min flew by like they were nothing, the follow-up question/answer circus magically featured all of the right tricks and before I knew it, this clown was back in her seat! My second talk (this time the session key-note…oh lord) went down in an excitingly similar fashion (aside from Mark pointing out, from the very back of the room, that I had screwed up two of the values on the x-axis of one of my figures…OOPS!) and I was done!

Over the course of the rest of the conference I met one on one with a few of the faculty and exchanged emails with the others. I couldn’t start in Danielle’s group until September. No thank you. A position with Scott also didn’t sound like it made the most sense. Greg had moved on to bigger and better things before I had even finished my talk. (Fair enough really. I still talk about just the fact that he came¬†to my talk…and probably will for a while…) ¬†And so by the end of the week two front-runners emerged: Mark and Hadley. Very cool!

I won’t go into the details of the insanity that apparently was December of 2012, but in short:

  1. I went to visit/interview with Mark and his group in New Jersey. The take home message(s) from this trip are as follows:
    1. Mark is AWESOME
    2. Aside from when I was in Italy, I have never been in a demographic that looks like that in central NJ
    3. You can get a contact high on the NJ rail — any time of day
    4. Mark is REALLY AWESOME
  2. I went to visit/interview with Hadley and her group in Boston. The take home message(s) from this trip are as follows:
    1. It is very strange to have 4 inches and 30 lbs on your would-be-supervisor when you’re 5’4″ and have to roll up “small” shirt sleeves
    2. Minneapolis trails have spoiled me
    3. Boston “winter” is a joke

I came home from both of these whirl-wind visits and pondered my decision over Christmas. (Both PIs are great, I can only hope to be half of what either of them already are. That’s the honest to god truth.) The research that I’d be doing would be rather different between the two groups, but either would be very interesting, in my opinion, and I could learn a lot from either. Now Boston is¬†awesome¬†and M.I.T. would be 3 pretty letters to add to my CV. But,¬†the position is only for 2 years, I could NOT apply for a faculty position at the aforementioned¬†acronym afterwards,¬†AND MARK IS¬†REALLY¬†AWESOME. (Un)fortunately (?) this is the one point I really kept coming back to…and Princeton is not¬†so¬†bad, it’s small, but not terrible. It’s connected to NYC, DC, Boston, and it has great running and biking opportunities. (Never mind that I¬†should be spending the next two years in the lab working straight through…) Spending 2 years there, getting all I can out of the experience and then moving on to whatever is next really began to emerge as the best option for me…and then I’d go back to Hadley…and Boston…and MIT…and then back to Mark…you get the idea… :-/

On December 31st I emailed Mark that I wanted to join his group, I pulled the trigger! We’ve been working out the details over the past few weeks, and just less than 100 emails later it looks like I’ll be moving to New Jersey in May ūüôā¬†I couldn’t be happier with my decision…THANK GOD.

So now,¬†all¬†¬†I have to do is finish up a few final experiments, write a few papers, turn what I’ve been working on over the past 6 years into something resembling a thesis, train the three new PhD students who recently joined our research group and defend! ūüėź Scared? A little. Excited? A LOT! ūüôā

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The beetle ate my bank account!

I love my car, I really do. The beetle has been a very beautiful, hard-working, loyal companion over the last 8 years.

HOWEVER, even she shoots to the top of my shit list when I receive a phone call from the Volkswagen Man (no more than 30 minutes after dropping her off for a regular oil change) who proceeds to tell me that she needs new rear brakes — pads and rotors! UGH!

$370 later she has her  damn oil changed and her precious rear re-padded. She is most welcome I suppose.

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I did it!

image

I made it through all 4 of my very high maintenance Typhoid pills last week. ūüôā Now I just have to be on top of the malaria pills, the altitude sickness meds & then my second HepA shot 6-12 month upon my return. TZ, I’m ready for you! Well, kind of. Ok, fine, not at all (sans Typhoid defense). But that’s ok because I’m blessed with a fantastic travel buddy who totally takes care of me!

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