My first 5K

Normally I don’t run for any sort of competitive purpose. Ok, so I’ve never run for any sort of competitive purpose. I took the opportunity this time, though, so that I’d have other runners to help me push my pace.
I’m pretty out of shape right now but I can still do a 7:30 minute mile pretty easily, on hills. When I was in good shape 2 years ago, I my best time on my toughest 1 mile run (which was all uphill for the last half mile, on 14th St heading south towards Walter Reed if anybody knows the area), I could do 6:40. Which makes me reasonably certain I could’ve broken 6:00 on a flat course.
But I digress. I did manage to come in 76th out of about 225 people, with a 8:02 pace, and 11th out of 22 in my age group. I figure that’s pretty good considering that besides being somewhat out of shape I have a condition called enthesopathy, an arthritis-like condition that affects insertion points of the ligaments and tendons. Originally I thought it was fibromyalgia but that turned out not to be the case. I have a dickens of a time with it because my Achilles and psoas never seem to loosen up anymore, and they’re always painfully tight when I run.
I’m obviously not competing with the race winners, who came in with the insane 5:15 pace, but as far as pushing myself I feel really good about my performance.

Podcast Day!

Perhaps some of my fellow scientists out there have it better than me (I doubt it), but I spend a lot of time with my data.  The analysis and graphing takes FOREVER, and it’s also mind-numbing and tedious.  I used to listen to all my music until I got sick of it, but then I discovered podcasts!  It appeals to my geeky soul to listen and learn while I’m analyzing boring data.  And now I have a new glorious car with an aux input for my ipod (and, I might add, excellent gas milage)!  The glory never stops.

So I’m including here a list of podcasts, both science-geared and non, that I like and that other people might like, too.  If you have a podcast that you love and recommend, please do!  I’m constantly running through the ones I have (seriously, 8 hours of data analysis will use up some podcasts). 

Science Oriented:
Scientific American 60-Second Science:  This is a fast look at a story of the day from Scientific American.  I really like their stuff, it’s easy to listen to and very entertaining. Daily. 
Scientific American Podcast:  This is a weekly podcast that usually runs about 30-45 minutes.  They focus on two or three subjects, and go fairly in depth.  I really like the announcer, and it’s usually very interesting stuff.  I think their stuff might appeal to someone with less of a science background.
Nature Podcast:  A weekly, 30 minute podcast, this one has British accents!  It tends to go a little more in depth, than some others, and may require a bit more attention to keep up with.  Also, they get bad grades from me for their sound balance, which is often very bad and very irritating when you’re, say, in surgery and can’t turn up your ipod ’cause you’re gowned.  But the podcast itself is really good!
Nature Neuropod:  This one is monthly, and only focused on neuroscience, which means I personally like it more than the regular Nature podcast.  Good interviews, interesting subjects.  Same problems with sound, though.

History Oriented:
12 Byzantine Emperors: This guy was featured a while back in the NY Times.  He’s apparently a middle-school history teacher by day, and over the past two summers, has been doing a podcast on 12 famous Byzantine emperors.  It’s really informative, since I found my history classes to be stunningly deficient in this area.  Also very interesting, the Byzantines were…Byzantine.  Each podcast runs about 45 minutes, and there are 15 episodes in total.  His voice takes soem getting used to, but the history is fantastic.
In Our Time with Melvin Bragg:  I love this one!  Melvin Brag is with BBC radio, and each week he gets some experts together and discusses the history of great ideas.  They are about 45 minutes, and uniformly interesting.  Part of what I love about this one is Mr. Bragg’s constant enthusiasm for knowledge.  And it will really help your trivia game.
Ancient and Medieval History:  I am a HUGE European history nerd, and this one played to my interests.  Catherine Loomis is very well-informed, and clearly very enthusiastic about her subject.  However, she is a new podcaster, and it shows.

Philosophy Oriented:
Existentialism in Literature and Film:  This is an iTunesU podcast from UC Berkeley.  I took Existentialism in college and found it very fascinating.  The prof is VERY geeky sounding, but I kind of like that.  It makes for some really interesting listening if you’ve ever wondered what Dostoyevsky really MEANT.
The Philosophy Podcast:  This is for those of us who are really hardcore philosophy nerds.  It’s readings out of the great works of philosophy.  Right now I find it difficult, the readers don’t have a lot of talent, and I personally really like things explained as they go along.  Otherwise while I’m reading I have to go slowly, so I can interpret.

That’s what I’m into right now, if anyone has some other science podcasts (extra points if it’s neuroscience!), history (I am a major Tudor nerd, or European history in general), or philosophy (I am especially looking for Ancient Chinese Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, and anything to do with Wittgenstein), please speak up!