Monday, October 20, 2008

Real Life vs. Research

For the most part, my real life doesn't interfere with my research - there isn't all that much of it, really; I read, I take pictures, I workout. Recently, as my "workout" karate has progressed closer and closer to black belt (a much more achievable goal than the PhD, since I started karate and grad school at the same time), the risk of injury has increased.

First I sprained my finger. It sounds like a completely ridiculous injury, which it is, but it's been 7 weeks now and it still hasn't healed. The doctor's estimate was six to twelve...months. Fortunately, I only had one week where typing was problematic, so it's more a minor annoyance than a real hindrance to research progress.

Yesterday, I banged up my knee. Karate again - the same person's shin making unfortunate contact with a fleshy part of my anatomy, actually. The knee joint is fine, but a specific portion of my right quadricep is bruised, swollen, refusing to assist in extending my knee, and otherwise whining.

Naturally, this occurred the morning of the day I was going to spend the afternoon on campus programming, and instead wound up spending the afternoon in bed communing with an ice pack. Naturally, this occurred the day before I have three hour-long events back-to-back in completely different buildings on campus, one of which is a teaching presentation to the graduate teacher program that my faculty mentor (not the same person as my advisor) will be evaluating. The facts that I volunteered to do the talk and have it evaluated are not helping, and are in fact making it worse.

I see workouts as a vital means of combating a sedentary research lifestyle, relieving stress associated with comps and the rest of graduate school, and feeling like I do something with my life that doesn't involve staring at a computer. I'm holding on to the belief, completely unfounded (it's not my area of research), that the long-term benefits of my more active lifestyle are worth the short-term costs of injuries that impair my research progress. All the same, I think I should write off any productivity for the rest of the day following a karate workout.

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