Boundaries, Boundary Conditions, And Deep Water Running

Early one Sunday morning, many years ago, I received an important phone call at home from a colleague, chemical engineer and researcher, Jim Ultman, who I greatly respect. We had been struggling with a problem for about 6 months – how to visualize boundary conditions in a flow tank in relation to a steady, but complex, flow field. Jim said, “Kevin, fill the tank with dilute developer, place exposed x-ray film on the floor of the tank, set up a flow field, and we should be able to see the impact of boundary conditions on local delivery of a chemical (in this case, hydroquinone) to the wall of the tank.” Having a background in the chemistry of monochrome photography, I immediately thought, “Brilliant!

Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody

Great book. Taught me a lot about what to allow in and what to allow out of my mind, when it came to relating to the world around me.

I drove to my lab straight away, set up the experiment, held my breath, and I was richly rewarded: introduced to boundary conditions in the most dramatic way possible. Exquisite, and highly detailed patterns, appeared in the film (Boy, I wish I hadn’t lost those images) – you had to be there to appreciate it. I finally became aware of the importance, and remarkable detail, of boundary conditions. This has direct relevance to the pathology of the airways, when exposed to toxic gases. Thanks, Jim! If you, the reader, want to know more, you can follow this link to our publication. However, reading this article gives no idea of the beauty you see when you do the experiment. All emotions and beauty are systematically removed during publication by the scientific review process!

There are many kinds of boundaries in biological systems, and they are critical for our survival and happiness. Inter-personal boundaries, for instance, to which I was introduced during analysis years ago, that led me to read an excellent book by Pia Mellody, ‘Facing Love Addiction.’ It helped me to sort out many aspects my life, and to protect myself from the negative input of others. That does not mean failing to respect input and advice, but avoiding character assassination, which tells you more about the source than it does about you, personally. You have to cut off such destructive input. Thanks for the advice Pia.

Finally, my interest in boundary conditions, in relation to fluid dynamics, gave me an appreciation for kinematic viscosity. This is why I do deep water running and not the other kind (touching the bottom of the pool with my feet), if I’m fixing a strain or injury. Follow this link for an excellent discussion of the subject. What I like about deep water running is my ability to work with selected muscle groups, in a way that is difficult when running on the ground. Furthermore, I avoid impact stresses, that can lead to injuries. My recent bout with plantar fasciitis has me reinventing my run (I want to run like Dennis Kimetto), and what better place to start than in the pool.

It is also a great way to supplement a running program, allowing plenty of training, whilst reduce risk of damage. It is, however, important to understand the role of viscosity in the process, which why running on the bottom of the pool dramatically increases the load on your legs, and especially for your feet. Great for strength training, but not for recovery from injuries or strains.

Happy Trails


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.