Life, Running, & Medicine.
Notes on life as I see it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First Frost

The plan this morning was to get up well before dawn and do my 10 mile loop, this time adding a few speed intervals along the way.  Apparently I didn't get the message that it would be the first real fall day we've had.  The weather out was in the high 30's, plenty of frost on the ground and on rooftops ( can anyone explain to me how frost can form when its not even near freezing? on the roof?)
I snoozed for an extra hour (thankfully I have a late start day today) and dragged myself up so so I could head out around 7:30.  Rather than doing my big loop I went for a 5.0 mile quick run (5 miles per Google Maps).  I deliberately pushed myself hard most of the run and had a very strong finish.  My final time was 44:56, or 8:59 per mile.  My iPod still not exactly calibrated read it as a 4.81mi distance for a 9:20 pace.  I went into the iPod workout folder and changed the XML file to reflect the correct distance and pace.  I did not bother to change all the split times though so it will be a little off if you look carefully at the graph.
I think the calibration was wacky because I was running about :40 harder than I normally do, no doubt lengthening my stride a little and therefore running fewer steps and therefore making the Nike+ think I didn't run as far.
All in all a good run.  Now off to work, and later off to buy some winter running clothes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Calibration tonight

Calibrated the Nike+ tonight.  One thing I unfortunately discovered along the way is the iPod only lets you calibrate to a distance of 1.25 miles.  I calibrated running and walking at distances of 0.75 and 0.35 miles, respectively.  We'll see in the AM how it goes with tomorrow's run.

12 days to Chickamauga

Say what?! Never heard of Chickamauga? Honestly neither had I. I found the race on as an Atlanta-area marathon and "10mile tot-trot" whose timing happened to correspond with my training goals (the 10miler, not the marathon).

This year's race is November 10th.

Chickamauga is a small town south of Chattanooga, TN, an hour-and-a-half from Atlanta. It is the site of a bloody Civil War battle and now a large National Park. The race is hosted by the Chattanooga Track Club and is in its 31st year. In 2006, the 10 mile had 246 runners and the marathon 323. The marathon course is a 1 mile feed to a large 12 mile loop which is doubled. The 10 miler is just an out-and-back of the first 5 miles. The CTC describes the marathon as "paved, rolling hills", the 10miler is described as "fast and flat".

Fast may be open to interpretation.

This will be the longest race I've done in 11 years, and my 2nd longest race ever. My neighbor and I are getting up at the crack of dawn to drive up there, get our race packets and game on. I guess I'm sort of shooting for a pace of aroun 9:10. I've been running in the high-9's lately for hily 10 miles. If this course really is "flat" and if I really give it my all I should be able to shave :30 off. Maybe...

To make things even funnier my wife (a social run-walker) registered us for a Multiple Myeloma 5K the following morning. Something tells me I may be run-walking with her!

Chattanooga Track Club
Race Course @ USATF

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Run

On the heels of my 10 miler Friday morning with the neighbor, and his Forerunner, I set out again this morning.  Having stayed up to watch all of SNL last night needless to say I slept in a little and got a late start (about 9am).
It was a little brisk, but the run started great.  I've started to notice that the first 3 miles used to be the worst part of my run, this morning I felt loosened up and engergetic at about a mile and half.  Progress I guess.
I brought a Powerade Gel pack with me in case I was feeling adventurous and wanted to go a little extra.  My stadard 10.1mile run takes me through the Oakland Cemetary at about the halfway point.  I get a good view of Grady from the big hill in the middle (I will have to post a photo here next week).  The Cemetary is hosting some kind of spooky nights thing for Halloween.... there were a few scattered Corona's and some left over lights and signs from last night.  Looks like fun.
I was feeling good enough by mile 6 to go ahead and try to run more than my usual long course.  I popped down a Gel and hit the water fountain.  10.1, by the way is the longest I have run since a 20K in 1996 (The Bainbridge, Georgia Pine Run), and that was the only time I had run that far before.  What I'm saying is basically I have been training at 10mi recently, which is something I have never done until the past month or so.
I passed my usual endpoint and continued to do another loop around the block.  Man, funny how I can run 10 miles without feeling dead then addding only an extra mile is like KILLER.  My extra loop took me around the backside of my 'hood, where my old 5.5mile loop used to finish up.  On several occasions I tripped and nearly fell on the crooked sidewalk when I was totally exhausted from the 5 miles.  And as I crossed mile 11 I almost tripped again.  Fitting.
I ended on my new powerson - Bleed it out by Linkin Park.
Happiness is setting a new distance PR (minus the one race 11 years ago).  Unfortunately my iPod is now miscalibrated by about 5% so it overcalled my distance and speed, I will work on another calibration tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pumpkin Fun

So I stumbled upon this great site .  After having an utterly hysterical time flipping though this at work I couldn't resist stopping to buy a few pumpkins of my own on the way home.
I just finished carving two of them up.  With the third and final pumpkin I have yet to decide which face of terror it will be.  (Admittedly my designs are 100% stolen from the Extreme Pumpkins site.)
Happy Haunting...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

ImageJ: Freeware DICOM viewer for PC

For the medicine nerd in all of you, I thought I would pass this along...

I recently spent a lot of time looking on the internet for a freeware DICOM (medical image filetype based on BMP or TIFF) viewer for looking at computerized CT scans at home "offline" - mostly for a research project I am doing. ANYWAY, there is a ton of trialware outthere. Some of it is good, most of it is not. Most are very large software packages and very difficult to use/install/uninstall.
ImageJ is Java-based DICOM viewer that has all the features most of us non-superuser-non-radiologists could need in a lean & mean package. It is open source and there is a large collection of plugins that integrate easily (some quite elaborate). ImageJ's web-home is hosted by the NIH, but not really government sponsored or supported. There are some forums and ImageJ superusers out there that you can contact.

Most notably, ImageJ supports a variety of formats, but not compressed DICOMs. This is kind of a pain because DICOM compression is sometimes very proprietary to the originating machine, so uncompressing it on third party software is hard. So far I have been dealing with uncompressed BMP files, which load easily using the File-->Import-->Image Sequence... command. By having my BMPs of the same series in a single folder, ImageJ knows to load them all into a stack.

Once loaded there are all the standard adjustments and stack scrolling that can be done. There are several good filters and 3D tools built into the base software as well. There is also easy image Copy and Export features. A huge list of plugin addons is kept on the ImageJ website.

Plugin: Volume Viewer. So far this seems to be the best way to look at coronal and sagittal reformats with ImageJ. The plugin is found: . It is simple to use, allows arbitrary planes, and allow for easy export of "saved" images.

All in all, this is definitely the best, simplest, and arguably the most powerful freeware DICOM viewer out there, especially for the casual user.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DIY Wildlife Habitat

So don't know what to do with that untamed corner in your yard? Or the gully behind your house you've let get out of hand? Or maybe you're just tired of your Bermuda grass lawn and liriope...

You too can have your very own National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. I saw a few of these signs in people's yards while jogging and thought I would check it out.

Basically you can register a section of your lawn as a backyard wildlife habitat with the NWF. Your habitat needs to provide food sources, water sources, "cover", places to raise young, and sustainable gardening techniques (e.g. mulch). For $15 you get a year's membership in the NWF and your habitat put into a database. A few extra bucks gets you the nifty sign (which I'm sure is why most people do it).

There is also an option for a "community habitat" for neighborhoods or groups.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Nike+ Sportkit

I went out and picked up the Nike+ iPod chip kit over the weekend. Really cool toy I must say. I bought a small add-on velcro- "pocket" for my Saucony shoes to put the clip in (the greatest hack ever). Sunday morning I ran down at the local track for a 1-mile calibration run (it worked without calibration but at some point these pedometer technologies need calibration).

Tonight I finished my big run this week - the 10-miler. My google maps -based route has it measured at 10.13 miles. The calibrated Nike+ chip recorded it at 10.33 miles... That's only about 2% off.

The pedometrer technology works by essentially counting your "Steps" then using your average stride length to calculate your speed & distance. They will never be as perfect as GPS (which isn't perfect either) because invariably your stride length will change some depending on energy level and terrain. I was surprised to see it only at 2/10ths off after 10 miles.

The best part is the chick that tells me how far I've gone every mile and Paula Radcliffe telling me how great I did on my personal best. Why isn't there an add-on for more motivational talk during the run? ("Hey hot guy, keep it up", "Nice work, sexy")

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A visit from the Dalai Lama

Wow there's way too much to say about the Dalai Lama visiting the United States... and Atlanta... and Emory of all places. I managed to get my hands on a couple tickets and headed down to see him (and other theologians) today for a "Summit" on "peacebuilding".

Most notable was the sheer simplicity with which the Dalai Lama relayed his message (basically that mutual affection is at the center of peace). Also interesting were the other religious scholars who echoed this sentiment with thier own traditions' flare.

I will surely remember this forever. Hopefully I can work a little harder to live a little better every day. I may go out and buy one of his books.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Shoot 'em up

Uggh... Grady call last night. Covering "face" for another resident out of town.

Friday night trauma at grady is just short of battle really (well, maybe a MASH unit in battle). This was no exception:

1. One guy shot in the nose, bullet travels through the orbit and exits on the side of the cheek. He of course is awake, pissed, and "don't know the guys" that shot him. His eye is the size of a softball (frank globe rupture, orbital hematoma, hyphema, optic nerve with direct missile injury on CT). Went to OR to have his eye out by the time sun came up.

2. Dude #2 walks in through the doors with more holes in his face. This teenage minor apparently "heard two or three shots" then found his face bleeding and sore. Looks like only hit once - bullet breaks his jaw and his zygomaticomaxillary complex, then bounces out of his head (rather than deeper into it). Lucky I guess. He was awake, and pissed, and "didn't know the guys" that did it. Of course.

3. Dude #3 a transfer from OSH. Got assaulted some 24 h prior, now can't see or can't move his eye. Got a full workup at the outside hospital including a cat scan. Was transferred after 20 hours when they realized they couldn't handle his injuries (i.e. he had no insurance). Best part is they send no labs and send no cat scan. So everything gets repeated. Remind me why Grady can't stay afloat...

Countless others with bloody rags holding their bleeding heads waiting on stitches, cat scans, pain meds...

[time for bed]

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