Gaijin's Musings

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Call me doctor

Thesis oral defense on Monday, 3/20. I successfully defended my thesis work, essentially the last six years of my life. It still hasn't quite hit me, although I am enjoying having people walk up to me and wish me congratulations.

Would have been nice to have more of my family attend, but we are a far-flung bunch: wife Melissa in Africa, brother Ben in Chicago, brother G3 returning from Argentina, brother Drew in Japan, and sister Sarah in SF. Both of my parents attended and I was glad to have a chance to present my research to them.

Still some writing to finish up, but I am getting ready to transition to my upcoming medical career.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The whole day through just an old sweet song keeps Thesis on my mind

No posts for a while, I apologize, but I promise more to come. I am spending a lot of time trying to finish my thesis writing, and it has been consuming me body and soul. No fear though, as there is more running on the way. I have signed up for my 9th marathon--Salt Lake City on Jun 3. It should be a blast, although I may have to prepare myself for the altitude.

I was quite pleased to see Philip Seymour Hoffman win his Oscar for Capote--it was a great role in a great film. But my fondest memory of Hoffman's acting chops involves a certain mattress store owner running a shady phone sex sideline in Punch Drunk Love. His interplay with Adam Sandler over the phone was rousing: "Shut up! Shut, shut, shut, shut, SHUT THE F*** UP! [etc.]" I first noticed the actor as the unctuous butler of one of the title characters in the Big Lebowski.

Was anybody else startled by Tom Hanks cursing on camera as he came out to present during the Academy Awards? He seemed in poor spirits--I wonder what happened backstage...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

On Woman, poetic interlude

May God be praised for woman
That gives up all her mind,
A man may find in no man
A friendship of her kind
That covers all he has brought
As with her flesh and bone,
Nor quarrels with a thought
Because it is not her own.

-W.B. Yeats

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day, Everybody!

"We sat as silent as a stone, / We knew, though she'd not said a word, / That even the best of love must die, / And had been savagely undone / Were it not that Love upon the cry / Of a most ridiculous little bird / Tore from the clouds his marvellous moon."
--W. B. Yeats, from A Memory of Youth

"Was it the double of my dream / The woman that by me lay / Dreamed, or did we halve a dream / Under the first cold gleam of day?"
--W.B. Yeats, from Towards Break of Day

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sunny weather for Super Bowl Sunday race

So, after a brief hiatus from races, and not very regular training, I ran the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon on SuperBowl Sunday, February 5, 2006. Not a personal best for sure, but I completed the course and enjoyed the crowds and scenery along the way. Unfortunately, due too my lack of training, my calf muscles began to cramp up in the last three miles, forcing me to slow down so that I could continue moving. It was somewhat painful and a bit embarassing when a wave of leg cramps forced me to hobble stiff-legged for a handful of steps every few minutes.

While walking to the race start I met a fellow runner and we navigated to the start line together. A business student in San Francisco, this was her second half-marathon. I hope she had a better (or at least less painful) race than I did. I also greeted a fellow MSTP running with his wife along the course--they seemed to be enjoying themselves and looked to be on pace for a strong finish. I had been thinking about running the race with my cousin's girlfriend, Erika, but she had not had time to train adequately and so decided not to race.

My overall time was 1:40:39, for about a 7:41 min/mile average rate over the 13.1 mile race. I graphed my mile-by-mile data which shows the slowing in the last few miles of the race.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

George and I volunteer at the Nike Women's Marathon

Somehow I convinced George to get up with me at 5am on Sunday, Oct. 23, to go to Crissy field and hang out starting from 5:30am. Ostensibly we were course volunteers, guiding runners of the half-marathon and full marathon course along their way and preventing cars from disrupting the race. However, a police car came and blocked off access to the course from the Presidio with barricades, so our role became cheering on the sweaty women running. Knowing nobody running the race (except for our cousin's girlfriend Amanda, whom we did not spot in the crowds) we cheered on the anonymous horde, handing out high-fives, applause, encouraging phrases, spare booty-shaking, and occasional name call-outs corresponding to what was printed on some runner's shirts. I found photos of Amanda, as well as some of the marathon winners, but sadly there are no photos of George in his Yo-MTV Raps hat or me in my Chicago Cubs hat. Amelia, our volunteer coordinator strolled by to offer us flluorescent vests to wear while we were cheering, and I had a Nike Women's Marathon "Crew" shirt on underneath, whereas George sported a grossly similar t-shirt hawking the biological plastics supplies firm Sarstedt.
Race Winner Traci Gold (27) appears to be all-business, whereas Amanda (10434) seems to be enjoying herself more...

This was the first race I have volunteered for and I felt good giving back to runners in the same ways that I have benefited when running races. I would like to run the Nike Women's Marathon at some point (the field despite appearances is open to men) but it is so popular that I will have to sign up well in advance.

I am signed up to run the USHalf San Francisco half-marathon in a week and a half, and I look forward to enjoying the crowd support there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sore muscle recovery

After helping George move on Sunday my biceps and forearm muscles were quite sore. Thank goodness for the anti-inflammatory beneficence of this molecule, ibuprofen.