So. Things are progressing here at the National Ice Core Lab in Denver. I have spent my first week playing with ice from the WAIS Divide core. It's weird to see pieces of the ice core that I labeled down in Antarctica sitting in front of me with my own handwriting on them. Mostly my time here will be grunt work, but with some occasional science fun. I am working the station where we cut and bag all of the ice samples used in the gas analysis labs across the US. Researchers looking at carbon dioxide, methane, krypton, and various other gas concentrations from different times in the past 60,000 years will be getting some of the ice that I've help to cut and prepare. It's very rewarding to see the ice go through the entire process. I was there when it was drilled and helped to catalogue it in the field, and now I get to cut it up into small pieces for different labs across the country. There are real and tangible data in my hands. Actual information about our climate's past is stored in these very pieces of ancient ice. Cool stuff.
When I have time, I'm also trying to assist with more bubble and thin sections as part of my upcoming PhD. I'm looking at very thin pieces of ice to see how the crystals, or "grains", change with depth. I'm also hoping to see how the location of bubbles and the boundaries of those grains change with depth. In other words, I'm doing a lot of work with imaging and image manipulation so that I can take an ice thin-section picture like this:
And turn it into images like these:
Saturday I am scheduled to make an attempt at running up the 14.5 mile Mt. Evans road. It will be ridiculously difficult but I will take a stab at it anyway. Why Not? On Sunday, I'm hoping to do a 11 mile loop hike that will take me up two 14'ers (one of which also being Evans). Normally I would be super excited about all of this...especially since the Finger Lakes 50 and Vermont 100 are coming up!
I am finding myself more and more worried lately about a possible serious injury. Two weeks ago I ran the Rothrock Race. At some point during the race, I bashed my right big toe into a rock and when it happened....it sent a terrible shooting pain up my foot. It stung bad for about 30 seconds and eventually subsided to a bearable level. After the race I went home and iced it up good. For the rest of that week I ran moderately low miles and the foot hurt, but seemed like it was getting better. On Friday evening it seemed like I was doing ok and would be ok for the Laurel 50k. The following day, I ran the entire Laurel 50k with very little toe pain and figured it was all but healed. After the 50k, I took nearly three full days off to let me foot rest and during that time I took advil and iced. The last two days however, it has started hurting again. When I look at my foot, sometimes it seems like it's a little swollen, and other times I can't tell. Some times, I walk around and feel little or no pain and can flex the toe any direction fine...other times it aches and hurts when I move it certain ways. My biggest concern is that I have a small stress fracture somewhere in the toe.
What is most important to me is that I run Vermont again this summer. If it truly is a small stress fracture of some kind, I would need to stay off of it basically from now until Vermont. This would certainly put me out of peak running shape for the race, but would allow to at least run it. Of course this would mean I miss finger lakes and whatever else. Unfortunately, I'm in a position being in Denver, that I can't really get an x-ray until I get back (being on University health care). Like I said, for the most part it doesn't hurt, which has me thinking positive...but it's really hard to say without getting the x-ray for sure. So not sure what to do. I haven't run now for three days and have been resting it a lot. My plan for now is to at least show up Saturday morning. If I start the race and my toe causes me any discomfort at all, I'm going to drop to be safe. It's not like I was planning on running very fast anyway...likely a very slow jog. I will think positive thoughts and hope that it's just bruised and/or aggravated.
That's it for now. Loving the mountains and Colorado. It's weird to be freezing my butt of in a -24C lab while it's nice and hot outside....but such is the life of an ice-core scientist :-D