Too Much?

Welcome to day 2 of thesis writing.  It has been boring, to say the least.  I’m very proud of myself for banging out nearly 7 pages of well written content today, but I’m not sure how many more days like today I can handle.  I’m a very energetic person, and sitting at a desk all day long staring a computer screen makes me want to rip my hair out.  I got to work at my usual 8 this morning, and by 10:30 I had already taken two “coffee” breaks (I don’t drink coffee, so really I just walked to the kitchen and back) and walked around the department twice.  My legs were getting stiff, my back hurts from my horribly uncomfortable chair, and I swear my shoulders are uneven from leaning on my desk to read papers.

I started out this morning with a speed workout on the treadmill.  I did 4 miles in about 45 minutes.  It consisted of a slow 1 mile warmup followed by 4 X 800 @ 6.1 with sloooow 400 jogs between.  After that I hopped on the bike and road for 20 minutes to total another 5 miles.  So, just a quick addition lesson: before 8 am I had run/biked 9 miles.  Doesn’t seem outrageous until I tell you that at 3pm I went back to the gym and biked another 9 miles/40 minutes.  I simply couldn’t sit at my desk anymore and I really think I started to feel my legs fuse with the chair.  I took my papers and read while on the bike, so it wasn’t a particularly difficult bike, but at least I got myself moving again.  That brings me to a total of 18 miles for the day.  Yikes.

At the moment I’m not feeling sore or overly tired which I think its just a consequence of having sat for 9 hours today.  I don’t think twice a day workouts are something I can sustain for very long both for purposes of the time it requires and the recovery time my body likes to have.  Either way, it was a nice way to break up a very very boring day.


Ego Killer

Let’s start out with this morning’s workout: 5.75 miles/1 hr on the treadmill.  I started with a very slow warmup mile and then did 3 tempo miles (10min/mile, 9:50 min/mile, 9:35min/mile) and then a mile and half of 400 meter sprints with 400 meter jogs.  Super sweaty and I felt awesome.  It was also my first run in several weeks with NO HIP PAIN!  YAY!!!!

After my awesome workout, I was feeling pretty hot and definitely needed someone to bring my ego down. Nothing like chemistry to give you a major reality check.  Yes, I can run for an hour, but damn it, that doesn’t mean work is going to bow down to me.  In fact, work spat in my face this morning.  I’m on the verge of writing my master’s thesis and getting my presentations ready for qualifying exams (one month away, holy crap) and things have not exactly been working.  My project has been stalled for a few months now and neither I nor my boss can seem to figure out why its not working.  The theory is there- the chemistry just isn’t cooperating.  Well, this morning I was reading the literature (something I need to do more of, clearly) and came across a paper from 1990 in some tiny little obscure journal.  Anyway, the group had synthesized the same compounds that I’m working with and managed to shed a lot of light on why I can’t get them to do anything worth a damn.  Basically, had I found this paper 2 months ago I could have saved myself a lot of time and frustration.  I guess that is the world of science, though.  There are so many publications out there, of varying caliber and prominence, that it is nearly impossible to know what is written in all of them.  I’m glad this happened to me at the beginning of my science career and not say, three years down the road when I need to write a PhD dissertation, but its still frustrating.

Thank god for Fridays and my awesome friends who are meeting me for drinks after work.  On days like this, I’m not sure what I would do without them 🙂

Over the hump

Today is my day off from exercise, so I’m clearly taking full advantage of that by sitting on the couch catching up on my back log of Daily Show.  Yesterday I hit the gym early for a long run on the treadmill.  Its getting COLD here, so I’m moving indoors for the foreseeable future.  I got there right when the doors opened and managed to grab a treadmill before it got busy.  New Years resolution exercisers are out in droves, so once I got that treadmill I wasn’t giving it up.  I did 6 miles in about 1:05, which is a full 3 minutes faster than the first time I ran 6 miles a few weeks ago!

One thing I’m noticing as I start hitting higher mileage is how my body seems to respond to slower, long runs. I’m not a fast runner and my first mile is always painful.  It takes a long time for my body to warm up when running, something it doesn’t do when I swim.  In the pool, after a few minutes I feel my body change gears and I just go right into a rhythm.  For my first few miles of yesterday’s run, I felt like I was fighting with my body.  My strides were strong, my breathing was steady and I felt strong, but something just wasn’t clicking- I felt like I was fighting my natural inclination to stop with each step.  Then I got to mile 4 and everything changed.  I was still tired, my legs hurt, and my body wasn’t happy with me, but for some reason it was as if my body just begrudgingly agreed to keep going.  My legs decided that if they were going to be in pain, they may as well get this nonsense over with faster and jump on board.  My last two miles were faster and “easier” than the first 4.  Guess you just have to beat your legs into submission and then they’ll stop fighting you!

Worked in lab for a few hours this morning and now I’m ready to fall asleep on the couch.  Happy Sunday 🙂

Sunday: The Day of Rest?

Happy Sunday!  Its GORGEOUS here; fall is making its presence known and I’m totally rocking the fall sweaters and boots!  As per usual, Sunday is my rest day- from exercise that is.  6 days a week is plenty for me, thank you, so when Sunday comes I am thrilled to sleep in, make a leisurely breakfast and spend a few minutes  hours browsing my favorite blogs, newspapers, etc.  Unfortunately, this morning was not like that.  Because of my super short work day on Friday, I’m here at work at 9 am on a Sunday.  Granted, I can’t be working THAT hard if I’m writing a blog post, but chemistry takes a lot of up-down work.  One minute you are running around the lab frantically trying to find the right chemical and the next you are sitting at your desk for 2 hours because that stupid reaction still isn’t done stirring.  Right now I’m 30 minutes into a 2 hour reaction, so blog time!  I really enjoy working when no one else is around, mostly because I am a monumental klutz.  In my first 6 months in the lab I managed to break everything from flasks to other people’s reaction vessels.  I am certainly not proud of this, but its a fact of life- I’m clumsy! I’ve gotten much better, but I still get stage fright when people are hanging around watching me, so I prefer to work early morning and weekends when fewer people are around.  Anything to keep me from needing 6 years to finish by Ph.D!

In addition, being alone in lab allows me to take glamour shots of my hood! (WARNING: NERD AHEAD!)

Messy Messy Lab (but we recently passed safety inspection!!)

My Desk and our whiteboard of "ideas"



Awful and Awesome

This morning was a mix of awful and awesome, in approximately equal quantities.  The awful started yesterday afternoon when I felt a cold coming on.  My coworker brought the world’s worst cold to work with him on Tuesday and by last night I knew I was getting it.

The awesome was that I still got out of bed this morning and did an amazing treadmill workout (below).  I managed to run further than I ever have before- all while sneezing and coughing into my handy dandy sweat towel.  I normally work out even when I’m sick and it tends to make me feel better, and today was no exception.  AWESOME workout.

Then the awful continued….we had a work meeting at 8am which meant dragging myself to work (not that 8 isn’t my normal time) and trying not to cough on everyone during the meeting.  I succeeded in arriving on time.  The coughing part, I’m not going to talk about.  Speaking of talking…o wait..I can’t!  I got up to do my part of the meeting, and my voice wouldn’t come out!  I sounded like a really awful mix of Minnie Mouse and a prepubescent boy!  Everyone laughed, I squeaked through my presentation, and then sat down.

The almost awesome resulted in going home at 1pm.  Awesome because I’m currently sitting on my couch, wrapped in blankets, drinking honey-lemon tea.  Awful because I have to go into work on Sunday to make up for the time I’m losing today.  O well, win some, lose some.  And sometimes when you lose some, there is tea 🙂

Watching the rain fall and spending my afternoon in front of a movie= Awesome.

(Took this workout from:   It was awesome!)

Workout: Treadmill 45 Min/ 3.88miles

4 Min Warmup (walking)

Set 1

3 Min Tempo run

3 Min Sprint/Run (1 min sprint, 1 min run, 1 min sprint)

3 Min Tempo Run

3 Min Jog

Set 2

5 Min Tempo Run

5 Min Sprint/Run

5 Min Tempo Run

3 Min jog

Set 3

3 Min Tempo Run

3 Min Sprint/Run

3 Min Tempo Run

4 Minute cool down

10 Minutes of Ab Work….body tired.  AWESOME

Why Grad School is Bad for your health

I’ve been reading a LOT of health and fitness blog recently, and I have to say that I’m inspired to get up off my butt and do something challenging.  To that end….I am actively looking for a starter race, 5K or sprint triathlon, to do in the next year.  After reading Emily’s race report (find it here : <a href=”; title=”Emily’s”></a>) about her FULL Ironman (holy cow, bury me now), I am majorly inspired to get my butt in gear!

On that note, time to make some confessions.  Grad school is bad for your health!  Since starting a year ago, I’ve seen my workouts decrease in intensity and my eating become..well…reactive.  I get home from work, I’m stressed and don’t want to cook, so…cereal looks good!  Ice Cream?  Totally.  Veggies…ehhh  So, this summer after realizing my late night trips to bars with friends and crappy pub food had added 15 pounds to my already….athletic (this is a nice way of saying curvy, right?) frame I decided it was time for a change.  I kicked my butt in gear, stopped drinking, overhauled my diet and upped the intensity of my workouts.  22 pounds later, I’m feeling pretty good!  In fact, I’m 7 pounds lighter than I was when I started school.  I still have 10 pounds to burn before I’m at my self-assigned fighting weight, but I think I’m doing pretty well!  Its amazing what stress can do to your body and your health.  I know its hard to make strong declarations, but I’m NEVER letting stress and work get the better of my health again.  You only get one body; treat it well!

Treat your body well and it will thank you 🙂

And thats exactly what I did this morning!  Worked my body hard, and its thanking me for it.  Did my lower body lifting workout this morning.  I prefer to divide lifting into upper and lower body because I LOVE to lift and I like to spend my time concentrating on different muscles.  If I try to do it all at once, I’m racing around like a mad-woman and I miss some important things.  I know not everyone likes to lift like this, but it works for my body, so I keep it up.  My workout this morning consisted of a quick 10 minute warmup on the step machine and then 3 rounds of the following circuit:

Squats (105lbs): 12 reps

Step ups (25lbs): 10 reps each leg

Walking lunges (with 25lb weight overhead): 15 reps each leg

Single Leg Split Squats: 8 reps each leg

Deadlifts (50 lbs): 12 reps

I rounded it out with 10 minutes of ab work and some light stretching.  The whole deal took me about 55 minutes and certainly had my heart rate going.

Off to work.  Gotta work hard for the money DEGREE!!