Sunday, June 20, 2010

Not quite back, but here's a post

Turns out typing is pretty difficult when you have to keep your head horizontal. On my right side my bottom arm would get tired very quickly and/or lose circulation. On my stomach with the computer on the floor, both my arms were in awkward positions and there wasn't an ergonomic way to tilt both the keyboard and the screen. Sitting up, my hands were free but I had to crane my neck. So I saved most of the typing energy for gchatting with friends, which was time pretty well spent.

But, I've been upright for almost a week now (since Tuesday), I am! Unfortunately, the only exercise I'm allowed to do so far is the stationary bike, and possibly the elliptical, which are a far cry from all the running I was doing. I had just gotten to the point where starting my runs felt like such a natural fluid motion, and something to really look forward to, not just something to do because I knew it was good for me and maybe eventually I would enjoy it.

Well, now I just get to look forward to it for a longer time. I see a doctor again on the 29th, and it's possible they'll also let me swim. I can understand that having even less depth perception than before makes them hesitant to tell me I can go run through the streets of Boston, and they're also worried about all the jostling, but there's nothing wrong with a nice, safe, low-impact pool, right? Maybe I'll even become a triathlete after all this cross-training. And, probably the coolest part is that I can watch the progress of the bubble in my eye as it dissipates. The doctor said I would start to see a line, and I finally noticed it on Friday. Apparently it will move downwards as it shrinks, since even though the bubble is actually floating, what you actually perceive inside your eye gets automatically mirrored in your brain (along the horizontal axis). I actually find this part awesome.

Anyway, for the past two days I've done a stationary bike workout, and while it's not nearly as satisfying as "going for a run," it is nice to watch the miles tick by so quickly on the counter. I average about one every five minutes, or twice as many as when I run for the same length of time. So far I've gone 20 miles in two days, assuming it's accurate, which seems reasonable. And it's really only as boring as what I bring with me to read. Yesterday was an issue of Runner's World, and today was some Feynman physics lectures. Maybe next I'll try a trashy magazine...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I'll write a real post when I'm more up to it, but for now, running will have to go on hiatus. I just had eye surgery yesterday (round 2 of 2, I hope!) and need to lie on my side or belly for a week, so typing is a little difficult. Beyond that, the doctors say I should avoid strenuous exercise for a month, so no running until July, looks like. I guess having sight in both eyes again (coming in August? September?) is more important than running for right now. I'll keep posting here, especially about my two runs last week, but unfortunately the real action will have to wait. In the meantime, something to celebrate: I am officially a "Bachelor of Science in Engineering as Recommended by the Department of Mechanical Engineering" at MIT. Whew, that's a mouthful.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Two Great Ones in a Row

It's been tough to update this blog as often as I'd like--as soon as I get out of the shower, I'm off to another event for Senior Week, MIT's week-long celebration for the graduating class involving free food and copious amounts of booze. And the almost nightly house-warming parties as we celebrate our first apartments and the feeling of maybe being an adult that goes with it--albeit adults with cardboard furniture. No real estate for me, though, since I'm back to dorm life, grad student-style, once I get to California in the fall.

Anyway. Last Friday's run was awesome! My first run with my new iPod nano, which is unfortunately so light that it likes to leap out of my pocket, but which still made my longest run yet go down really easily. I started slow, plotted out the route in advance, loaded up an album, and off I was. I stayed in the zone until six miles later, when I returned after just over an hour and bragged to everyone I saw about how now I can run almost half a half-marathon. And then, of course, I ate copious amounts of food, one of my favorite parts of running.

Two days later, on Sunday, I had another great time. This one was short--my usual 3 miles--but I could tell this one was going to be good. Even though it was 80 degrees, I could just feel myself being faster and lighter on my feet. And my legs felt strong beneath me. I took maybe one quick walking break, but made it through my "finish line" with a triumphant under-half-hour time of 29:17--my fastest since high school. This run was the first time I decided to make a playlist, then shuffle it. Not knowing what would come next, and then hearing a song I loved, definitely helped pick me up and set a good mood.

My conclusion: the persistence seems to be paying off, so I'll keep going!