Wednesday, December 02, 2009

going gaga for my research elective

before i start talking about a lot of nerdy stuff, have i mentioned that i LOVE the new lady gaga song "bad romance"? it reminds me of the madonna of my childhood -- yes, the early 90s one with wild blond hair and acid-washed jeans. it POWERED me through my intervals yesterday (see below). if you are a runner who likes a soundtrack, you need this on your playlist.

and now back to our regularly scheduled programming
despite having the above song in my head on repeat for hours, i was pretty productive yesterday. for the most part, i stuck faithfully to my planned out schedule in yesterday's post. i got through 5 or 6 articles in good detail and have a (very) basic framework in my head for my proposal. i did take breaks (I BELIEVE IN THEM!), but was able to concentrate well overall, which was good.

i am realizing that i actually have a lot of pent-up anxiety when it comes to research. even though i've spent years in the lab, i have never felt like i was all that GOOD at it. i think my control-freak tendencies conflict somewhat with the unpredictable nature of science and benchwork in general. i tend to do better with a lot of small projects (ie, patients lined up in the ED!) than one huuuuuuge one (a paper!).

however, i am required to do 2 years of research -- and publish! -- for my endocrine fellowship. and part of me IS very excited about this and interested in doing it! i think i just need to figure out how to mesh my personality and work style with labwork and research. being very regimented and organized about how i spend my time helps.

any researchers/lab people out there with any tips? i'd love to hear them.

ie, the bane of my existence. today i actually will be going to the eye center to work with anesthesia on my airway skills. instead of playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, i will be playing stick-the-ET-tube-in-the-trachea (and maybe some stick-the-IV-catheter-in-the-vein). it sounds so simple when i write it out . . .

maybe i'd have better luck with one of these . . .
photo source

unfortunately, even if i intubate every kid in the hospital today it won't count towards my graduation requirements because they are not NEONATES. i'm not saying i don't need the practice; i just don't see why there are 2 separate categories! BAH.


12.1.09 december?! i know, right?

workout: i headed out in 45 degree temps to get my second to last interval run in. i think my body REALLY likes running in the cold, because i was really happy with my splits! the data:

warmup mile 9:06/mi
1k #1 7:21/mi (downhill)
recovery 9:42/mi
1k #2 7:25/mi
recovery 9:29/mi
1k #3 7:21/mi
recovery 9:45/mi
1k #4 7:29/mi
recovery 9:51/mi
1k #5 7:58/mi (uphill)
recovery 9:42/mi
cooldown mile 8:54/mi

i really hope with all of these faster runs that my polar is not giving me false data. however, to argue against this possibility, the 10K race measurment was very accurate (the polar said i ran 6.19 mi) and the mile markers i rely on correspond with the distance readings that i'm getting, so . . . i'll just hope that's not the case!

doin' time

pork tenderloin -- which really was super-tender! -- with broiled pineapple, with an asian-inspired ginger-soy glaze. accompanied by broccoli soup, which was only okay (but, very healthy). i think there is a reason that people tend to make broccoli soup with things like cheese and cream!

reading: was mostly all i did yesterday! and i took notes.

proof that i am not just twittering the days away . . .


  1. atilla7:04 AM

    sub eights even downhill are great

  2. atilla7:04 AM

    sub eights even downhill are great

  3. So many things easier said than done! Like when the vein is RIGHT THERE and then it disappears...ah!

    We had to intubate dummies in my critical care class...I don't know why since, um, I don't think nurses do that. However, it didn't look easy, especially if it was something that needed to be done under pressure.

  4. I'm so interested in the human body, but intubations and IVs are why I could never be a doctor or nurse. More power to you for being the one to do it.

  5. Thanks for all of the music recommendations, Sarah! I loaded up my ipod with a lot of your suggestions. Hopefully, it will help me power me through as I start to run again!

  6. woohoo sarah! your splits lately have been KICK-ASS!!! i'm SO proud of you!

    as for lab stuff - i think that the beauty of doing lab work is that - no matter how hard you try - you are never in complete control! for me, it is always an internal battle - it is always best to just submit to the biology.. the data will tell you what is going on. the reason why you are doing research is to understand processes underlying human development/disease. if we knew everything and how to test everything, then there wouldn't be a need to do research. therefore - just submit and enjoy the ride! (this comment was pretty crazy introspective for 9:30 in the morning..)

    on another note - want to help me come up with a 10k plan? runner's world REMOVED their ultimate plans from their website. you have to pay for them now. but i want to see first b4 i pay!!!

  7. Emily1:15 PM

    Hi Sarah! Can you believe that this is my very first comment? :) I'm excited that you are getting back into research!

    I have always had lab anxiety when starting in a new place- even though I've spent over 10 years doing research. So don't worry too much- it's normal.

    I am actually WAY more organized in lab than I am in regular life, so I think you can definitely use your personality to your advantage. After dealing with whatever I've had set up overnight, I like to make a list first thing each morning of everything that I need to do that day and check things off as I go. Periodically (every few weeks) I also step back and make an outline of each research project that I have going on, both to crystallize what I have already done in my mind and to design and prioritize future experiments.

    In terms of actually dealing with the uncertainty of science itself, I tend to cast a broad net at the beginning of a project and try as many different kinds of experiments as possible to see what gives the most promising leads the most quickly. I try not to get too wedded to a particular type of experiment or approach too early, because you can't always anticipate how hard or time-consuming it will be. Then I narrow in on what looks like it will give me the most information most rapidly and focus on that. This fits my personality very well! Other people are more suited to picking one approach and sticking with it for a long period of time until it is working and optimized- there is a lot to be said for this, but I find it more frustrating- I will do it if necessary, but only if I've ruled out other options.

    Last thing- it is hard, but don't take bad results or lab mistakes personally. It took me a long time not to do this!

    Good job on all your recent runs! I am still so injured- up to 2 miles now, but no marathon for me until the spring at least :(

  8. Anonymous1:20 PM

    wish i could give tips for your research stuff but i can't. i'm busy trying to find a potential research job next year so i'm lightyears behind you :)

    and you totally just got gaga stuck in my head. like it'll-never-be-out-of-my-head stuck haha

  9. WOW that pork tenderloin + pineapple looks amazing!!

  10. Nice splits! :)

    My research tips are
    *don't expect experiments to work the first time around
    *make time to crunch data while experiments are fresh in your mind
    *make a to do list for the next day before you leave for the day
    *record everything in your lab journal
    *Think like you are already writing the paper as you do your experiments and crunch your data. Make the figures ready for publication as soon as you get the results and write on the paper even before all the experiments are done. Start with Material and Methods, that part is easy and should be done in parallell to your bench work.
    *Enjoy the flexible hours! You may work a lot but at least you can plan your own hours!

    PS Your dinner is so small! You eat like a bird! Either that or I eat like a bear... :blushes:

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