Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So this is my running blog...

Hello internets!  So I finally decided to make a running blog, mostly as a way to keep me motivated and keep track of my running experiences BUT feedback is always welcome :)

So I will start with a little bit about me.  I am a mid-twenties female chemical engineer and runner living in Austin, TX.  I grew up just outside of Boston, but moved to Austin in 2008 to pursue a PhD in chemical engineering.  I love to run and started when I was 11.  I actually started because of soccer; my town had tryouts for the girls' travel league and there were three teams (A, B and C) with A being the best, C being the worst.  I am a competitive person and was pretty devastated to get assigned to the C team, from which no one was turned away! It made me feel pretty nonathletic and crappy.  That night I complained to my parents about how upset I was and my Dad turned to me and suggested that I start running because it would make me a better player.  I was expecting comfort and words like "life is tough but its okay" or "we still love you".  I was a little surprised but couldn't think of a reason to say no, and at the time I really did want to get better at soccer!  Little did I know how quickly my interest in soccer would dwindle.  At the time, my dad was regularly running about 3 miles a few times a week.  Well, I took his suggestion to heart and started running that week, my first effort being a grueling, torturous mile in my neighborhood from which I was heartily pooped.  But, I kept with it and found out not only did I enjoy running, but I was pretty darn good at it.

That fall, I started doing intramural cross country at my middle school, and the teacher suggested that me and another girl talk to the high school coach and consider running with them (we were both rather advanced compared to the rest of the group).  So, we did talk to the high school coach and started running two days a week with the girls' high school team.  From there it just snowballed, I ran my first 5k late that spring, became the XC team manager, joined and captained XC and track in high school and become a runner for life!  I went on to MIT for college, where I studied (you guessed it) chemical engineering, and I started running longer and longer along the beautiful Charles River and Emerald necklace.  After my freshman year, I decided I wanted to do a marathon and trained hard that summer.  I managed a 3:40:08 at the Baystate Marathon in 2005, qualifying for Boston, which I ran in 2006 and 2007.  Since then I ran my fourth (and most recent) marathon here in Austin in 2009, where I PRed with a 3:35:09.  I've done a smattering of other races in between, which I am sure I will talk about later, but I really enjoy the long distances and the marathon seems like a good fit for me.

Now you know a little about me as a runner.  My other namesake is chemical engineering.  I am primarily interested in cellular and metabolic engineering of a variety of cell types, including bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells.  As an undergraduate at MIT, I had the opportunity to work on designing a pathway for glucaric acid synthesis in E. coli.  Now, as a graduate student, my thesis work involves genetic engineering of human cells, specifically developing more efficient methods for recombinant cell line production.  I am also doing a side project in Saccharomyces (yeast) involving the manipulation of epigenetic factors.  I like chemical engineering as a field because it has broad applicability.  For example, chemical engineers do biological work (like me) but they also synthesize chemicals, make nano-particles and silicon chips, design polymers, model small molecule behavior, work on nerve regeneration and develop cleaner fuel alternatives.  I first decided to study chemical engineering in college because I knew I liked science and math but wanted to keep my options open.  Fortunately, chemical engineers are very versatile and employable, so I think it was a good choice for me!

I think this is enough for a first post, but I will be back soon :)