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Dancing with Dirt – and the Physiology of a Good Long Run

19 Jul

It’s HOT!  How hot is it??  It so hot, I could go to my hot yoga class to cool off!  (ba-da-bam-cymbol crash)  But, really, I’m neither joking nor exaggerating.  It is currently hotter than what yuppy-spa-goers pay for to open their sweat glands and release their chi.  Hmmm – funny I don’t see anyone running out into their yards taking advantage with a good vinyasa!

But I digress.  Our current heat wave – and the pain of running in it – has me thinking about just what our bodies can take!  Recently I got talked into running in the trail race from Hell.  No, really, the race originated in Hell, Michigan – but we ran the Wisconsin version in Devils Lake State Park.  A 60 mile relay for a team of 5.  We each ran three legs up and down hills, through forests and ravines, across prairies, and even up a creek.  I actually ran the shortest distance on our team, coming in with just under 10 miles – and I was darned pleased with the training it took me to manage that.

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Progression of a dissertation freak-out and the birth of a blog

5 May

It all started with another one of those single-science-lady dilemmas (you’ll get what I mean in future posts) – long story short – it seemed like a fairly reasonable idea to let a fairly strange man come over to the house.  He was bringing me prairie plants – surely only a really swell fella would try to win a lady over with grocery bags of dug-up Black-eyed Susans!  Well, my roommate’s dog (the 90 lb Rottweiler, Bruno) insisted we be a little choosier with who we let in the house.  His normal bark and snarl routine ended far worse than normal when he snapped at said gentleman caller – he made contact, he made a small bruise.  Mr. visitor made a very big ordeal of it, he made sure the dog was put down.  A very sad ending to an afternoon, a friendship, and a pet – and, in the end, a great roommate.  And that’s the little butterfly wing beat that started it. . .

. . . And my little pre-dissertation break down proceeds as follows:

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A family that samples together…

5 May

Among the finest votes of confidence I’ve received: a biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources assured me I would clearly be able to accomplish grand things in my future, because I had managed to turn my sample collection into a family vacation.  That’s right, I convinced my parents and sister to leave the comfortable southern warmth of Arkansas and travel to northern Illinois (in December!) to collect bits of deer tissue from hunter check stations, so that I would have plenty of samples for the analysis of deer population genetic patterns relative to the CWD-infected zone in the Midwest.

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