About Me

Hello and welcome to my blog!  I am a twenty something Bostonian living and running in Austin, TX.  I moved here in 2008 to pursue a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Texas.  Hence the name of my blog; I spend the majority of my time split between my work as an engineer and running.  Thanks for checking out my blog and I hope to hear from all of you!  Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment!

Beginning to Run
I grew up in a suburb of Boston and was exposed to a variety of sports as a child, including gymnastics, swimming, soccer, tennis, squash, alpine skiing and cross country skiing.   I didn't start running, however, until I was 11.  I played city league soccer and my town had tryouts for the girls' travel league.  There were three teams (A, B and C) with A being the best, C being the worst.  Despite my strong desire to be an awesome soccer player, I found myself assigned to the C team, where there were no cuts.  It was a blow to my 11 year old ego.  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.  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. 
Before the start of Baystate,
my first marathon

That fall, I started doing intramural cross country at my middle school.  Myself and another girl were much faster and had more endurance than the other students, so the teacher suggested that we talk to the high school coach and consider running with that team instead.  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.

The Distances Get Longer
Three days after graduating high school, I flew to Singapore and spent the summer doing research at a Biotechnology research facility.  This was my first extended trip away from home, and first time in Asia and I loved it!  For ten weeks, I explored all of Singapore, from food to culture, to parks and museums.  I learned a lot at work and made great friends.  Although I was unable to accomplish much during 10 weeks of work, I was assigned to a project with the objective of delaying the onset of apoptosis in CHO cells.

Trying pig intestine soup in Singapore
Upon returning from Singapore, I matriculated at MIT to study chemical engineering.  I strongly considered joining their cross country team, but there was an expectation that distance athletes would run winter and spring track as well.  Between some high school burnout, the anticipation of an ominous workload and a desire to have free time, I decided that running in college wasn't for me.  Instead, I joined the alpine ski team and skied varsity my freshman year.  I took a long (6 month) break from any regular running.  During the spring of my freshman year, I suddenly found myself interested in distance running again.  I ran loops along the Charles River, gradually increasing the total distance and being both shocked and happy that I could push my endurance beyond the 6.5 mile long runs I would do in high school.  

In April, a few MIT friends ran the Boston Marathon.  I proudly spectated and cheered them along.  Growing up just outside the city, I always got Patriots Day off from school and made a point of watching the marathon in person.  In high school, I always had the notion that some day I would run a marathon, but it seemed pretty far off.  However, watching Boston 2005, I got bit by the marathon bug.  If my classmates could do it, so could I.

Visiting Venice
That summer, I took a three week, whirlwind trip through Europe with my roommate.  We visited London, Cambridge, Milan, Paris, Rome, Nice, Florence, & Venice.  The day after I returned, I began training for my first marathon, and progressed throughout the summer.  I was living at home and working as a research assistant in a biomaterials lab at MIT.  I picked out the Baystate Marathon in October as my goal race.  I selected this race because it is relatively close to my parents' house, small, fast and fairly flat.  The day came and went, and with it I became a marathoner!  The weather was perfect, I was rested and ready.  I surprised both my family and myself when my effort to "just finish" turned into a 3:40:08, qualifying me for the Boston Marathon and making me third in my age group.
Rehydrating after Baystate marathon

The Running Continues
I have since run five additional marathons: the 2006 and 2007 Boston Marathons, the 2009 Austin Marathon, 2011 Miracle Match Marathon and 2011 Little Rock Marathon.  I set my PR of 3:35:09 at Austin.  I have run five half marathons with a PR of 1:43:32, countless 10ks (PR of 49:00) and 5ks (PR of 21:39).  I really enjoy trail running, and since moving to Austin have run five 10k trail races and one 30k trail race.  But most of all, I simply love to run and it is an integral part of my life.  I intend to grow old doing this sport, and there are plenty of races and distances left for me to experience.  I don't run *a lot* of races, largely because of the expense and inconvenience, but also because I am perfectly satisfied heading out on the road by myself to explore the world around me.  
Finishing Boston Marathon, 2006

Long Hours in the Lab
With regards to research, 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 have also been doing some work in yeast to develop new methods for understanding and dissecting multi-functional proteins (such as epigenetic factors!). 

Thanks for checking out my blog and I hope to hear from all of you!  Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment!