(Or…I passed my comprehensive exam and ran a marathon!)
Happy March 2017!
This past Sunday I ran my first marathon with my sister. The marathon idea started as a pseudo-challenge/whimsy. Last summer I survived a half marathon in Vancouver. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to run 26 miles to celebrate my 26th birthday in March? I thought*. As summer turned to fall I continued running, but definitely not to prepare for a marathon. Suddenly, Christmas was approaching and I needed to decide whether I would (or could) actually train for a marathon. I called my sister half-hoping she might talk me out of racing. Instead, she signed up to run the marathon before me! Marathon March was set.
Prepping for the marathon also allowed me to take a break from studying for my graduate comprehensive exam (see REST: https://theskope.com/2017/02/27/rest/). But sometimes I incorporated studying into the longer runs–I prerecorded study notes on my cell phone and listened to myself review research on gut microbes, malnutrition, and microglia during jogs. Several days after passing the comprehensive exam, I completed the marathon course. Still a bit brain and body sore…. 🙂
Did you know that the gut microbiota may be impacted by exercise? Researchers in Cork Ireland examined the gut microbiota of active, male rugby players and compared their gut microbes with the gut microbiota of subjects sharing a similar build. The male athletes exhibited a more diverse microbiota, a putative biomarker of health. The “athletic” microbiota also contained more Akkermansia microbes. (These are pretty fascinating bugs: A muciniphila bacteria have been inversely correlated with obesity and may exhibit anti-inflammatory properties!)
Staying active in grad school is tough–and I am lucky to be surrounded by colleagues that study, swim, ski curl, run, and research! I wonder what sport challenge I can try next.
Thanks K2 for pushing me to race.
Wishing you all a lovely spring.
-K, PhD Candidate
For Further Reading: