Catching up

So if you haven’t noticed, I (Laura) have been a bad blogger lately. So, let’s catch up on a few things, and maybe you can understand why most of my free time has been spent attempting to not have my head explode. I think “stressed” and “busy” would sum it all up, along with “no interesting running stories, since I’m not running”.

Health & Running:

My foot has not healed, but has gotten worse, and my doctor readily admits he has no idea what is going on. Yeah. I had an appointment with my orthopedist again a week ago after getting a new set of MRIs. Apparently the ‘mystery’ bone marrow edema in my middle cuneiform bone has not resolved and in fact was slightly worse a full 9 weeks after injury.  Have I mentioned yet that cuneiform bone stress fractures and marrow edema are incredibly rare?

Plantar fascia injury, changes in gait, large body habitus, and excessive or new onset of exercise regimens are all potential causes of cuneiform stress fractures. Although the incidence of cuneiform stress fractures is extremely rare, they may occur in patients with plantar fasciitis. -Bui-Mansfield & Thomas, 2009

None of that clinically applies to me (injury, large body structure, excessive or new regimen). I suppose a change in gait may have occurred, due to my paranoia and babying of nagging ITBS.

So basically, since I injured myself on Feb 13, I’ve been doing pretty much nothing. And when I say nothing, I mean nothing. Simply wearing flip-flops or going barefoot for more than 10 minutes makes  my foot hurt, and I don’t have access to a pool for aqua-jogging (well, I do. but it’s full of undergrad idiots who treat it like a singles club, and I don’t need to be irritated and angry after a workout). In summation: now lazy; have gained ~6lbs.

Add on to that my conflicted feelings about running again: on one hand – I miss how I feel after a really good, hard run; on the other hand – since I haven’t done much in 2-3 months, I am going to have to get through the “start-up month” again, where I’m wheezing and feel like a defeated idiot. Don’t get me wrong, I miss the happy endorphins too much to not run again, but I’m going to hate myself for that first month. Here’s hoping that month will be July.

Work & Dissertation

For those who don’t know, I’m working on my doctoral dissertation in public health. I am currently a graduate fellow working on using satellite imagery to develop prediction and surveillance programs for dengue fever in Latin America. I’m going to Puerto Maldonado, Peru for 6 weeks at the end of May to do my field work – I need to verify ground cover conditions to support my models.

So I’ve been developing new models (Seriously, brand new. No one does this, really.) for the area. For the past, oh, 6 months I’ve been thinking I’m doing something horribly wrong, because all of my models tell me that sandy river banks and city streets are the exact same thing. This is not a good thing, because I want to track how the landscape has changed (increasing urbanization, decreasing forest cover) and the rapidly changing amount of sand in the middle of the Amazon river keeps screwing with my total levels of “urban” category.

I hate you, spectral signatures...

Yellow mass in middle of river (on right) should not be the same as the yellow urban roads (on left) should not be the same as the yellow river (on lower right). There is simply too much sand in the developing world, which I find annoying.

 Cut to today, when I realized that there is absolutely no way I’ll be discerning the difference between the sand islands in the middle of the river using anything close to the methods I’ve been using with the set of images I’ve been using. Hooray for wasting that much time! So I’ve moved on to a different set of images from a different satellite, and it’s looking slightly better. But honestly, I have no idea how it will turn out.

My current assumption is that my conclusion for this grant cycle (in Aug) will be the following: “There is evidence that this is possible, but I require better imagery.” When I say ‘better imagery’ we’re talking ‘expensive imagery’, which will cost a minimum of $37/sq. km. And I need multiple years of an area of hundreds of sq km. Groan.

Y

Who wouldn't want to go back here for the third time in 2.5 years?

So I’ll be running off to Peru at the end of May a little bit blindly. I can still collect most of the data I know I’ll need, but there will absolutely be something that I’ll need that I don’t know about. Oh well. I suppose this is my first ever project I’ve fully designed on my own… Mistakes are to be expected – even by the people who have done this for the past 30 years…

Leisure / Play time.

I got back last week from a trip to Austin with my friend Angela for what was supposed to be our half marathon, but instead it was her half marathon. Other than “Saturday we got beers and met some fun guys on a bachelor party pub crawl and had a blast” it was really a non-blog-worthy trip. (Don’t get me wrong, it was ridiculous fun, but who wants to read about our awesome chicken friend steak – Threadgills – our shopping, or our random girl talk about people you have no idea who they are?)

After work today, I get to drive to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida for a wedding between two awesome friends. Seriously, this will be the most fun wedding ever – they rented beach houses and we’ll be laying around on the beach or on boats or jet-skis for 5 days. Oh, did I mention my rental fee included a fully stocked bar and lots of beer? Oh and also all the moms and aunts are cooking for us every day? You want to be friends with Aaron and Amanda now too, don’t you?

And a few weeks after that I’m going to visit my parents in Houston and then two weeks after that, I head to Peru for 6 weeks! Do I travel too much?

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