Austin Marathon: T-12 Weeks Recap

Real little late on the update. It was another low volume week because of the Fellowship proposal. But finally that’s done and turned in!

Just two runs last week… but fast:

Absolutely killed the 10 miler with Chris on Sunday:

Blazing (for us anyway). 10 miles at 7:20/mi pace is definitely my current ceiling for speed/distance combo. That projects to 3:23:40 marathon time… so I’m right on track to hit my goal! Gotta get my volume up going forward though.

Decker Challenge (Half Marathon) is in two weeks! ‘Tis the Season (to RUN)!

Austin Marathon: T-13 Weeks Recap

A little late on the update. It was a low volume week for running because of this Fellowship proposal for next fall that’s been keeping me crazy busy.

Just two runs last week… but relatively high volume considering. 6-miler midweek:

Plus a 16.5 miler with Chris on Sunday (longest run I’ve ever done!)

Had to walk a bit toward the end on that last one. Pretty sure it’s because I ran out of calories to burn (I “bonked” in runner’s parlance). But felt surprisingly good the whole time, and didn’t have that rough of a recovery: a bit sore Sunday and Monday, but felt great by Tuesday.

Looking forward to Thanksgiving! And a long weekend that I can catch up on some runs ūüôā

Austin Marathon: T-14 Weeks Recap

Kind of a weak training week. A busy schedule and a fianc√© in town don’t necessarily correlate with a lot of time to pound the pavement.

However, I found great success at the Walk With Me 5K!

I ran most of it on Chris’ heals, until he pulled away from me on a bit of an uphill where we were running into the wind. He finished just north of 19:00, and I ran my first sub-20! (Although: grain of salt here. Strava begs to differ on both my final time and the total course distance. However, the event clock read 19:36 when I crossed… so I’m going to claim a PR).

As a team I think we had four people finish in the top ten (Chris, Me, Jake and Andrew). More importantly, we raised the second most money of any team. Go Dream Catchers!

If you’re interested, you can still donate here.


Chafing for a Cause: Walk With Me

This upcoming Veterans Day weekend, I’ll be running a 5K for a cause! The Easter Seals Walk With Me fundraiser is an event to help support families living with disabilities.

Specifically, the team I’m running with, The Dream Catchers, is raising funds for the Community & Housing Services Department at Easter Seals Central Texas. This is basically the organization I worked for while I was an AmeriCorps VISTA my first year in Austin (after a little restructuring and a merger between United Cerebral Palsy of Texas and Easter Seals Central Texas)!

The Thompson family in front of their new, accessible home.

The funding is going to do a lot of good. It will:

  • Maintain Easter Seals’ affordable and accessible rental units for low-income disabled households
  • Assist first-time homebuyers purchase a new home and make it wheelchair accessible¬†Help disabled folks get back to work, further their education, or connect with their families by providing them with a $100 computer
  • Support a family transition into long-term housing through the Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program. These are 2 year vouchers that households use to rent in the private housing market while working with our staff to find a long-term housing solution.
  • Assist a family in need of modifications to their houses to make them wheelchair accessible through the CHAMP program. This program can be the difference between independence or having to move into a nursing home.
  • Support for Accessible Housing Austin!, a first of its kind nonprofit housing development organization that is controlled by low-income people with disabilities so that they are empowered to develop housing that truly meets their community’s needs.

If this sounds like something you’re on board with, consider helping us spread the word and raise some funds during the season of Thanksgiving. You can donate here. As a team, we’ve already raised $2,625! We’re working toward a goal of $3,000 so we’re almost there!

Thank you, and all the best.

John B. Goodenough Symposium in Materials Science & Engineering

It’s a long title… but it represents a long legacy. I meant to recap the symposium that was put on in honor of my advisor’s 90th birthday sooner (it was Oct. 26-27), but life and work–mostly work, I am a grad student after all–kept getting in the way.

It was a really impressive event, and a lot of credit is due to the organizers Jianshi Zhou (my co-supervisor) and Arumugam “Ram” Manthiram. And equal credit is due to the behind-the-scenes organizers who included Lauren Murrah, Christy Aletky and others.

Something on the order of 200 scientists all specializing in Transition Metal Oxides and Lithium Ion Batteries came in from all around the world. Two fields of Materials Science/Solid-State Chemistry/Condensed Matter Physics that were birthed, in large part, from the mind of John B. Goodenough.

On Friday, we were able to mingle with everybody, and I was able to show my poster (which I posted about before the event). I’m not particularly good at networking, but I was able to have a couple of really great conversations that evening.

The first was with Dr. Laura Lewis of Northeastern University in Boston. We started discussing some of my research and also some of the work I’ve been able to do up on the synchrotron. But beyond that we were able to have a great conversation about different things I should be looking for as I move along the last year of my program and start looking toward next year. I’m really grateful for the chance I had to pick her brain!

Another great conversation was an impromptu talk by Dr. Gang Cao of the University of Kentucky. He has been able to move forward a lot of research in the 4d and 5d transition metals (especially concerning the Iridates), so it was fascinating to get caught up on his findings, and have a relatively informal conversation about the slides he was presenting to a little band of 6-8 of us. It had a great feeling of camaraderie and community discovery which sometimes gets lost in the day-to-day of working in a lab. It was really refreshing and invigorating.

Saturday was a series of very good lectures both on the history of the fields (stories of the early days), and in the most modern applications (like the possibilities of Lithium-Air batteries and the like). They were great.

I especially enjoyed the talk by Dr. Jos√© Antonio Alonso of the¬†Insituto de Ciencias de Materiales de Madrid in Spain regarding high-pressure perovskite phases of the transition metal oxides. Mostly because it was highly relevant to my own research. And because I’ve collaborated with him on these topics before when I spent a couple weeks in Spain last year learning some experimental techniques from him and others in his ¬†lab.

So Happy Birthday to the boss-man! The event in your honor was amazing, as is your storied career. Many congratulations.

The only thing missing from this post is a copy of the short video that features Dr. Goodenough himself. He tells a couple great anecdotes, so I will try to track down a copy to post. In the meantime, the man himself giving his talk at dinner:

Austin Marathon: T-15 Weeks Recap

50 mile week! I was able (just) to cross that threshold Sunday morning on my long(ish) run with Chris. So, I was able to complete the Lace ’em Up¬†Strava Challenge (which I think gets me $10 off a RoadID!):

The week started out without much incident. Monday and Tuesday were solid 8ish milers at right around 8:00/mi pace:

Wednesday was fun. I did almost all of it with Indy, and when I split off to add a little on my own, I ran through hordes of tricker-treaters. (Somehow I always forget that Halloween is actually on the 31st of October… in pre-kid adulthood, Halloween seems like it’s just the last weekend before November.)

I felt sick on Wednesday, and I think taking that Halloween run actually put my cold over the edge, so I took Thursday off, and took Friday and Saturday pretty easy (although they were still north of 8 miles each, I backed off the pace):

Ended up doing 11 miles at race pace with Chris to cross the 50 mile week threshold. Didn’t feel great (until I realized afterward that it’s because we were running fast).

Good week.

Austin Marathon: T-16 Weeks Recap

This was a light week by design, but I was only planning on backing off about 1/3 of my weekly mileage …I ended up backing off more like 3/4 of my weekly mileage.

The marathon is far enough away that this is still ok. It was a busy week without a lot of sleep leading up to a busy weekend with my professor’s symposium and my fianc√© in town, so taking the mornings and evening off seems like it was the right decision.

This is especially true because during the two runs I did get in I wasn’t really feeling it:

This week I’m trying to get my mileage north of 50 as part of a Strava Challenge:

Off to a good start this morning with a 7.8 miler!

Presenting My Research

My boss is having a conference put on in his honor. I guess that’s how you know you’re a big wig in the field: when¬†colleagues¬†decide that the best way to celebrate your 90th birthday is to bring in around 190 scientists from across the globe to talk about progress in a field of research you basically invented… I think it’s safe to say you’ve “made it”.

Tonight is the poster session part of the John B. Goodenough Symposium in Materials Science and Engineering¬†(the invited talks are tomorrow). For those of you who are unfamiliar, a poster session is basically when graduate students lay out some aspect of their research on a big sheet of paper and hang it up in a big room where other graduate students do the same. It’s pretty much a science fair for grownups.

The graduate students then stand in front of their posters nervously sorta-kinda wanting one of the visiting professors to take interest and sorta-kinda wanting to be left alone for fear of feeling stupid. As you progress in your graduate career, the hope is you start to want the former rather than the latter.

Since I’m trying to wrap up during the next year, and have talked about this subject a few times (including at the APS March Meeting this year), I’m definitely feeling like I want to present my poster. Which is¬†comforting. Because I also am going to try and impress everybody who comes up to me to the point they want to hand me a job next year…

We’ll see. In any case, it’ll be a good experience just getting comfortable in with “networking,” which has never come naturally for me.

For those who are interested, you can see my poster here.