Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guinea pig

Shin update.  I saw the specialist, I had an MRI, I have what's called a "stress reaction," which I'm told is swelling in the bone and a precursor to a stress fracture.  Treating it like a stress fracture was the right thing to do, and it's what I continue to do.  I've got about 2.5 more weeks before I go back to the doc to hopefully be cleared to run again.

A few weeks back I got an email about a clinical study looking for women with stress fractures.  They're studying the utility of an osteoporosis drug in speeding the recovery process.  I was intrigued.  I mean, I like the possibility of it speeding my recovery, and it's science.  SCIENCE!  But, it's also an experiment in which I am the guinea pig.

I talked it over with Paul and my coach.  We discussed the risks.  I brought it up with my friend who works at a biotech and does lots of work with clinical study results.  She asked around and found that the drug has had good results in the 12 years it's been on the market for osteoporosis and very few, and manageable, side effects.  So... I signed up.  After all, it's SCIENCE!

As part of the trial, I got to get a full body dexa scan to measure bone density and body composition as well as   another scan that involved many letters that looks at the mineral content of my bones as well.  I'll get to see the outputs of these scans, soon.  The downside is that the drug has to be taken daily, and it's an injection.  I was a little trepidatious, but it's not bad.  The needle seems even smaller than an acupuncture needle.  And, honestly, I do painful stuff to my body everyday.  Hello, eyebrow plucking!

It's been a week, and so far so good.  No side effects, and my shin is feeling 100%.  Here's to hoping I'm one of the lucky guinea pigs.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Coconut Mangoons

I went to a tropical themed party this weekend.  My contribution:  coconut mangoons.  I had some leftover desiccated coconut from making lamingtons for Australia Day.  And I wanted to make something vegetarian.  And you really can't go wrong with cream cheese.  I baked them, and the sugar from the mango slightly carmelized and came out delicious.  I give you:

Coconut Mangoons
~ 2 mango, diced (I used frozen mango cause I couldn't find ripe ones)
1 scallion, thinly sliced
desiccated coconut (unsweetened) (I shook in a bunch, maybe 3T)
cayenne and salt to taste
juice from half a lime
cream cheese
wonton wrappers

Mix up the first 5 ingredients to make a salsa.  Put ~1/2t of cream cheese in a wrapper, add about 4 dices of mango salsa.  Moisten the edges of the wonton and fold over to close.  Spray lightly with oil, and bake for 12-15 minutes at 425.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

BTT ITT Race Report

Last weekend, I participated in my very first Indoor Time Trial.  Two years ago, I didn't sign up cause I was nervous about it.  During the ITT, your bike is hooked up to a computer that projects where you are relative to the others in your heat.  Somehow it's just so much more exposed than racing.  Last year I signed up, but I got sick a few days beforehand and couldn't race. 

But this year, I finally did it.  Here's how the ITT works for the uninitiated.  We set up 16 trainers that are computerized and hooked up to screens that show you where you are relative to the other competitors in your heat.  Like this:

The course is the last 6 miles of the Boston Marathon, but in reverse.  So it's mostly uphill.

Coach Alan had planned a nice consistent power to hold for the first 5 miles, then continually increase during the last mile.  I started out in the wrong gear.  Typically, when I do trainer rides, I ride in my small chainring (the easier gear in the front).  Usually, when I ride on the road I ride in the big chain, but on the trainer, I can get the heart rate, cadence and power right in the small one.  Unfortunately, I started in the small chain and had to switch it up to the big chain shortly thereafter.

From there though, it got good, and the miles peeled off.  I wasn't in the lead pack, so the announcer was never on me.  I just got to get in my groove and go.  At mile 5, I started picking up the power a bit.  And then it was over.  I felt like I had a little too much left in the tank.  But always better to have too much left than not enough.  Can't wait for the next one.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wedding planning sucks

I read somewhere about the five phases of wedding planning. They were something like:

1. Elation!
2. Fuck this.
3. Fuck me.
4. Fuck it.
5. Acceptance.

I seem to be stuck between steps 2 and 3.

Friday, February 03, 2012

A love letter to Berkman

For the last two and half years, I've work at the Berkman Center.  It's a unique place, and it can be difficult to describe.  When asked what I do, I usually stammer "I work at a research center at Harvard... we study the Internet...  I do project management there... so, you know, grant proposals, research assistants, final reports, but also web development projects, ...oh, and graphs."  But it's really so much more than that.

Berkman is the kind of place where "Berk" becomes a modifier.  Interns become Berkterns.  Interviewees are evaluated on their Berkiness.  Employees celebrate their Berkiversaries.  It's a place where knowing your meme is part of your job, and most parties devolve into watching funny videos on youtube.  (If you've never seen the literal version Total Eclipse of the Heart, please do so now.  I'll wait.  Done?  Ok.  How great was that?!)  I guess what I'm saying is that Berkman is a family (in addition to being a fine academic institution) with all the quirks and privileges that come with that.

For a variety of personal and professional reasons, I've decided it's time to move on.  Next week, I'll start my new role at Akamai as a Program Manager working in Media Optimization (I'm not entirely sure what that means either).  The decision has not been an easy one.  I keep using words like "ambivalence" and "bittersweet" to describe the move, but neither of them quite capture what I'm feeling.

My coworkers here aren't making it easy to leave either.  In addition to kind words, congratulatory emails, delicious, celebratory meals and many hugs, I arrived on Tuesday to find this on our whiteboard:

Yes, that is a list of ways to persuade or coerce me to stay, and several of them do involve turning my own coach against me.

Today is my last day, and I'm filled with incredible gratitude toward this place.  For taking me on in the first place, for welcoming me to the family, for sharing your enthusiasm with me.  Although I won't be far away, I'm  leaving the Madame GrumpyPants tiara to the Belfry to remember me by.  Use it well.

Thank you, and I'll see you at Berryline.

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