Dwarfs Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

There is a risk in the sciences of losing the creativity and the courage to boldly pursue completely untested hypotheses and ideas. And while this can’t be avoided in graduate school (at least for the way we currently do graduate school: students basically do the research their advisers tell them to do in order to get the field’s merit badge–a Ph.D.), it’s important not to let the creative juices dry up during this period.

After all… some day (hopefully), you’ll be the one laying out a direction for a team of wide-eyed and terrified kids who just spent the last four years drinking too many beers. And when that time comes what kinds of problems are you going to try to be solving? The problems at the margins?

I’d encourage everyone (mostly myself: this post is really a reminder to me, rather than a plea to you, dear reader) to heed my professor’s advice. (He’s no slouch himself, Dr. John B. Goodenough just received the National Medal of Science.)

He said this to a room full of chemists he was giving a talk to back in the day: “Stop fiddling around the edges and do something useful.”

By which he meant that we shouldn’t be afraid to blaze our own trails. It’s the high-risk high-reward ventures that really have the chance to make a difference in this world.

Ok… now back to the lab.



Austin Marathon: T-4 Weeks Recap

Coming down to it! This week was a good improvement (although it’s easy to get in a ~40 mile week when your long run is up to 20 miles).

Started out kind of slow on Tuesday. Too much pizza plus a couple of beers left me kind of loaded down for the first few miles. I didn’t really get going until the last mile before getting home:

On Thursday came probably my best run of my whole training! Starting out at 8:15/mile pace, I had completely reverse splits (meaning every mile was faster than the one before it). My last mile was at about 6:55/mile pace! With an average of of 7:24/mile for 8.5 miles. I felt awesome (and finally healthy again).

I followed that up with a nice quick 4 on Friday:

And then a really solid long run (19.5 miles) on Sunday to polish of the week yesterday. I was hoping to get this above 20 miles, but I messed up by thinking taking the trail (instead of the sidewalk) down to Town Lake would net me more than it did.

So, that’ll be the longest run I do pre-marathon. I need to have a really solid week this week because I’m headed to Boston to see Hillary (yay!), but it’s pretty cold there so I’m sure I’ll chicken out over the weekend. Then I’ll need another really solid week following the trip. But without too big of a long run that weekend because by then we’re down to taper time!

Big goal for the next month: lose a few pounds (or at least don’t gain any) while tapering back the mileage. That’ll come in big on race day.

Run Happy!

Austin Marathon: T-5 Weeks Recap

I was sick (it may or may not have been this flu everyone’s been talking about) from Sunday until Friday… so my running suffered. I did, however, still get in about 30 miles this week, which ain’t too shabby for being sick for so much of it. I also ran my longest run to date (18.4 miles), and it went pretty well.

My sick runs:

My long run (when I was feeling a bit better):

I managed just north of 8:20 pace for my long run. Which isn’t terrible… if I did that for another 8 miles it would translate into the top range of what I’d be happy with for my marathon time. But I’d really prefer to be around 8:00 pace come race day. But not bad for a sick week.

Austin Marathon: T-6 Weeks Recap

Missed the updates over Christmas Break. I got some runs in, including some pretty good ones. This month is really the time to hit it hard and take it to the finish.

Hoping to get in a nice 40+ mile week this week with something close to a 18 mile long run. However, I’ve somehow picked up a cold/flu bug, so hopefully that doesn’t keep me down (at least not too long).