"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Brush with greatness and recent training

When I saw the announcement today that Liz Blackburn had won the Nobel prize in medicine, I was surprised. First, because I thought she'd already won it years ago and second, because she looked so old; then I realized that I hadn't seen her in 20 years (And she's aged better than I have. Hell, butter ages better in 20 years than I do.)

When I was a grad student, she was applying for a faculty position in the biochem department at Purdue. I was asked to interview her, because they wanted a student's perspective, because I was one of the few American students and because they knew I'd ask the questions no one else would dare ask. I asked what I was getting out of it and I was bought off with lunch; I hadn't seen a tablecloth in more than a year.

I remember telling her that, if she were hired, she'd want enough money that they'd have to make her department head and fire two faculty, that there were only two non-tenured staff and that would leave her in charge of a bunch of "the old boys;" did she really want to run a department where she couldn't hire anyone for 20 years? Then I pointed out that the only people who'd choose Purdue over Stanford were conservatives raising a family... I didn't have to ask the personal question that implied, she smiled and demurred, changing the subject. I also remember asking her what she'd study if telomeres dried up (looking for what might be a good field for my postdoctoral studies) and she suggested DNA modification, which turned out to be a pretty good idea.

I was able to go back to my major professor and say with confidence that she wasn't really interested, that it was just a ploy to get a pay raise.

I also met the other two winners, but I don't have any stories about them.
From my recent training, one can see that the idea of running a sub-5 mile is gone.

Monday: "Yasso 880's." 10 half-mile repeats, averaging 3:16, with 1:1 work to rest ratio. Bursae in back of heels hurt. Very windy.

Tuesday: 3 miles in 28. Legs fried from yesterday.

Wednesday: 10 times up and down the Brickyard hill (8 miles, 93 min., 2400 feet of climb). Ankles sore, bursa under right heel sore.

Thursday: 3 in 29. Tired. Saw a dozen bluebirds. I only see them migrate through in the spring and fall, so it's always a delight. Rainy and cold. Sore glutes from yesterday's run.

Friday: 8 in 59, plus three recovery miles, which became a death march. Became windy, then rainy during the run.

Saturday: 16.5 miles, last 9 with Greg Buse, in 2:49. Completely spent. It was like the last 10 miles of a 100 miler. Heels sore from the very start.

Sunday: 3 in 29. Very stiff. Both heels very sore. Watched the marathon, thinking I'm probably in 3:15-3:20 shape.

Total: 53 miles. Not great, not terrible. But what am I training for??? I see the AHU 135 is accepting entries now...


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

After reading about that interview between you 'n' Liz - so fraught with sexual tension you could cut it with an electron microscope (or just bash it with one) - I really wanted to know just one thing:

Did you bag her?

Because it's obvious you could have. "DNA Modification" ... very smoove. If that isn't Science-Nerd Code for bumpin' uglies, I don't know what is.

So ... anything you wanna add to this post? If you did have her, please acknowledge by denying it.


Colin Gardner-Springer said...

Regarding your running, I think your last question is very apt: what are you training for? I might even rephrase it: what are you doing running at all?

I'm no expert, but from your comments it sure sounds like the best plan would be to stop running completely for a month or so and try to get those heel problems (and any other nagging injuries) under control. Then you've got plenty of time to gradually build up mileage and intensity for some great results next year.

You can always use the down-time from running to figure out exactly what you want to train for, put together some kick-ass training plan to accomplish it, and of course keep blogging!

Jean said...

Nice to see the bluebirds! I haven't seen any moving through this fall as of yet.

Take care of yourself!

joyRuN said...

TEN Yasso's?! Wow.

Maybe you need some Percocet for all that heel soreness.

Or not.

Beth said...

I'm guessing AHU has something to do with the Arrowhead trail and 135 miles as opposed to O'ahu, a Hawaii beach vacation.

SteveQ said...

Nicely placed apostrophe, Beth. Yeah, Arrowhead, not Hawai'i. (I can do that too)

Mitch R. said...

We should talk science next time we run together.