Gaijin's Musings

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.

Monday, October 17, 2005

What I work on

I work as a molecular viorologist to try to understand some of the myriad cellular processes essential for life and how viral proteins interact with and subvert them. My graduate work is focusing on a viral protein that associates with the mitochondrion cellular organelle and prevents the cell from undergoing a programmed cell suicide, termed apoptosis. One of the unusual but as yet not understood properties of this viral protein is its power to change mitochondrial architecture from spaghetti strings to dots. The accompanying image shows mitochondria in red and the viral protein in green; the overlap where both protein and mitochondria are present comes out as yellow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pictures from the Chicago Marathon

Courtesy of Lindsay Smith, the lab manager where Ben works, we have several photos of us during the 2005 Chicago Marathon on October 9. The first photo is actually Lindsay and Lizette with me in Turku, Finland for a herpesvirus research conference. Ben and I ran together to begin with and Lindsay got a great shot of us. Then, on a later portion of the route, Ben came in for a hug with his wife Radiah and baby Camilla.

Enjoy the photos!


2005 Chicago Marathon

Well folks, the marathon day has come and gone and Ben and I are still standing. I decided to plot our paces over the course of the race using the electronic chip/mat data (approx. every 5 km) and personally recorded lap times from my stopwatch. As you can see, we started out strong, gradually losing steam. For me, the pain started at mile 20 when casual calf-tightening progressed to debilitating cramps (reminiscent of my 2004 Napa debacle) that stayed with me for the rest of the race. Several runners offered me encouraging words when they saw me jogging in an awkward, limping manner and I reached deep inside to battle it out the rest of the way, although I am paying for it now with my still painfully strained calves. No PR (personal record) this time out, although I got a top 4 time (behind LA2005, SF2004, and Chi2003). Ben has informed me that the anomalous spike in his pace at about halfway represents a pit stop stemming from a GI bug that he thinks he picked up at a CPK dinner two nights before.