Saturday, April 30, 2005

San Diego report

I'm baaaaack. Got in last night. Left 70 degree and sunny weather to come home to 40s and rainy. Figures. I'm very disoriented and oddly relaxed. It's 2 hours earlier in San Diego and fits my body perfectly since I'm a night-owl. Not so good for coming back to St. Louis though. Slept until 11:30 (late, even for me) and took a nap at 6. It's going to be hard getting back to a routine.
The interviews were awesome. A great experience. I loved talking to people and being the center of attention. It just suits my personality very well. Can I just get paid to interview? I also liked talking science, getting new ideas, and seeing other labs. It was very exciting for me. I really do love my career. Anyway, I have my top 2 choices. I just hope they want me. I was also given two offers, which was nice. It was an awesome experience.
We also figured out apartments, got on some waiting lists, and figured out how much we could get with a student loan. Very productive trip. Pretty busy. Not a vacation at all but I can enjoy San Diego once I move there. Pretty much, we would eat, go to interviews, eat, and sleep.
San Diego was la la land. Weather was perfect. Everything was blooming. Little animals were everywhere. We did get to go for a verrry nice run after my best, most invigorating, number one pick interview. We ran up to Torrey Pines Park, home of a species of pine tree that only grows in two places in the world. It was SO gorgeous. We saw pelicans. Ocean was everywhere. We ran down to the beach and ran on the packed sand back to our hotel. I kept stopping to pick up sand dollars and clam shells. We ran past little birds and sandpipers hunting for tiny morsels as the tide came in. We had to wade through the water at one point where it ran into a little tide pool. I took off my shoes and socks and ran in with Jason following, more hesistantly behind. The shock of the cold water took my breath away when it first hit me. Then, I got used to it, and it felt very refreshing. The water came up to my waist. I felt like just floating away. But, I waded through, put my shoes back on, and kept on running. I loved the spontaneity of it.
When we were done with the run, I waded back into the water. It's overpowering and intoxicating, beckoning me. The waves were crashing in. I found a spot clear of surfers to avoid being run over. The surfers were amazing, twisting and flipping about on top of the waves as if they had wings. How do they keep so steady on an ever-changing surface? I loved the feel of the cold water crashing against me. I wanted to dive in to see if I could still get out past the breakers like I had learned as a kid. You have to time the waves perfectly, and dive under each wave as it comes in, then swim like mad with the undertow to let it pull you out. But this time, I braced myself against the undertow, which pulled mightily against me after each frothy wave retreated. It was really something.
Back to reality. Back to lab and the grind. Back to exercise. We were going to do a sprint triathlon this weekend, but we're totally trashed. We need to rest. I don't know what I was thinking. I, again, overestimated what I could do. Thinking I could get off the plane, and then leave for a triathlon 2 hours away the very next day. No, thanks.
I need to begin a routine again. Gotta work off the buddha belly that's emerging. I blame it on the increased cortisol. It's so hard with everything changing. I'm a little anxious. My dreams are full of potential things to forget and lab things to do. I can't wait to get back to lab and get everything in order. Committee meeting in 10 days. They're going to tell me when I can graduate. I should be nervous but I'm not. Not after what I've just been through.


Hugh said...

Your trip sounds amazing! I wish you well on your interviews and hope all your dreams come true. I've just started to study glycogen and how it's supposed to affect muscles and energy. Good old cell biology!

Rachel said...

Exercise physiology is so fascinating. All about metabolic switching between glycogen and fatty acids and the enzymes and transcription factors that regulate it. PGF-alpha, PPARs, AMPK, goody, goody, goody. I study the adipocyte for right now. That may change once I finish graduate school but I will stay in the metabolism field.

blake said...

Good to hear from you. Sounds like you had quite a trip. It's an exciting feeling when you have your life in your own hands isn't it? Hopefully you will get the job you want doing what you want.

Anonymous said...


my name is kevin and i actually ran accross your blog a few weeks ago...i read through a lot of your archived stuff about health/exercise and there is a lot of good stuff there...thanks!!
i have recently lost about 65 lbs myself (took me about 6-7 months, but i have been building lbm since my weight is staying the same)...i am approaching a year of exercising (mainly swimming)
...started lifting back in february...started running about a month ago (actually ran 5 1/4 miles straight through for the first time this past was rough for this old guy...had to ice my knees when i got home).
(i am getting close to a question :) bear with me)
you spoke about your injuries...i am dealing with my first actually...i dislocated my shoulder a little over a week ago doing the military press (lost my balance and the dumbell went back before i could drop it)...i have so missed lifting this week, but i got the all clear (with some restrictions) from an orthopeadic specialist just a couple of hours ago. i cant wait to lift after work today.
i have thought about the whole triatholon thing (actually a lot lately), which would be a huge accomplishment for me because i have a couple of birth defects in my question is how long did you train before your first sprint triatholon?

btw...congrats on yalls successful trip to california.


Anonymous said...


i am not a complete perfectionist (def. too obsessive/compulsive at times though), however as i read over what i typed, it bugs me that i mispelled the most significant word of my commentary :) i humbly offer my correction.


Rachel said...


I didn't even notice the misspelling. I had been pretty fit for a year or so before my first triathlon, running, swimming, and weight lifting. Once I decided to do a triathlon and get a bike and start training more specifically, it was about 8 weeks, but I already had a pretty strong base. I tend to come into things being over-prepared, and it was true for this as well, but it was a great experience b/c I was so well-prepared. Go easy on your shoulder to avoid re-injury. Let me know if you want me to post a training-specific topic.

Anonymous said...

actually i have tons and tons of questions :)...but for the sake of your time (which, from your blog seems very limited anyway) i will try to contain myself.

...concerning the bike in particular. i dont own a bike...i havent riden a bike since i was probably 12. all the biking i have done in the past several years hasnt gotten me many miles (due to the stationary-ness of the bike used). how do i make the transition from the stationary bike to a "real" bike (is it true that you never forget how to ride one? lol)...what kind of bike should i look into getting when i finally purchase one..furthermore, how do i prepare myself for the major transition from indoor training to outdoor? should i expect less accomplishments outside than i achieve inside? i live in louisville, ky, and it is finally starting to warm up. the summers hear are truly humid.

btw...i appreciate anything that you offer that is health/exercise/triathlon related...or anything that your write is fine actually...your fun to read while i am procratinating instead of working :). i was already becoming a health nut (exercising and eating)...and that passion has grown more and more in the past few months. but reading over your blog is really the reason i have started considering the triathlon more particular your blog entry about the 10 mile run. 10 miles is my current goal.

[...there was actually an article in our local paper that talked about physical activity disorder (PAD)(
i dont know how legit that is (havent read the article yet), but a friend of mine told me i had some symptoms :)] more thought. if you want to write anything about amino acids that would be great too... particularly arginine. i have recently added it to my list of supplements, and i read places that say it helps the heart and others that say it is dangerous for the heart.

I apologize for the length of this comment. i could truly talk for hours about health stuff though.

-kevin (potential sufferer of PAD :))

Rachel said...

Lol! PAD! It is true that some people become compulsive about exercise. But with the obesity epidemic, I believe it's just another excuse for people to remain inactive. Are you eating enough? Does your exercise take away from your social life? Do you enjoy exercise or does it own you? These questions can help you identify if you're exercising too much.

There is such a thing as overtraining too. And especially when training for triathlons, you have to be careful not to do too much too soon or you'll hurt yourself (e.g. tear a shoulder muscle ;)).

Thank you for the compliments b.t.w.; I'm glad you enjoy my blog! I will try to address some of your other questions in some posts. Your questions really help me identify what topics are useful for people to read.

I commend you for wanting to give triathlons a try. I highly recommend it. From the sounds of it, you're already in pretty good shape. You could probably start doing more triathlon-specific training and do a sprint in 6-8 weeks. A sprint is usually 1/4 mile swim (10 laps or less in a 25 meter pool), 10-18 mile bike ride, and a 3-5 mile run.

If you enjoy running (which I do the most) and you're goal is to run 10 miles, you should consider a 1/2 marathon (13.1). You'd have a lot of fun with it.

Don't try to put these goals on top of each other or you'll kill yourself. Maybe some sprints this summer and a 1/2 marathon this fall or something to give your body time to adjust. You'll have to see how your body takes it. Just take it slow and have fun!

As far as diet and supplements, nothing has proven to make a significant difference in muscle mass or weight loss other than good ole' smart exercise and diet. I would avoid the supplements since you really don't know the side effects. This is just my opinion. Most people get plenty of protein in their diet. Instead of supplements, focus on eating well. Eggs and lean beef are great sources of protein. Eat lots of complex carbs--lots of fruits, veggies, wheat bread, brown rice, etc. And eat a lot to replace what you're burning, and your muscles will thank you.

The only supplement I can think of that may be of use for some people is glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. There is some evidence that these supplements help prevent arthritis and joint pain by replenishing the joint fluid. It doesn't work for everyone, and it takes 6-8 weeks to notice a difference.

Calcium is also important. I take a supplement for my bones. And drink lots of skim milk.

I also take a multivitamin. I haven't had a respiratory illness in 5 years. I like to think it's b/c of the vitamins.

Hope this helps!