Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Turtle Tuesday #9

There hasn't been much going on lately in the turtle part of my job since my last Turtle Tuesday post. I went out last week with a visiting school group and we caught one turtle, but that was it! Most of my work has been office work, wrapping up the end of the year and doing lots of data analysis.

Because we were killing it

However, last week, I had the chance to go out with the sustainable fisheries team and do lionfish and rugosity (height/amplitude) surveys of the patch reefs off our campus. Lionfish are an invasive species; they are native to the Indo-Pacific and have no natural predators. Because they have no natural predators, they reproduce very quickly, out compete other reef species for food, and eat lots of tiny reef fish, upsetting the health and balance of the reef ecosystems. You can find more information about our sustainable fisheries program here.


It had been a few years since I had been diving, but we did 5 dives on Monday and 2 dives on Thursday (the team did 16 dives total over 4 days, but I only went out two days). I cut my hand on a coral during our first dive, and I was a bit nervous I would attract some sharks (I didn't, just some angry stingrays!) It was cold by Bahamian standards (24C/75F), with a water temperature of 21C/70F, but I was really glad for the opportunity.


I lost two hair ties during Monday's dives, so I essentially looked like a sea monster/mermaid. My hair was basically dreaded when I got out of the water and I had to brush it in the shower in order to get some of the knots out! I couldn't even get the salt out of it until Thursday.

I saw some really cool things - loads of lionfish, small reef fish, a barracuda, a couple yellow stingrays - and I got to be a mermaid again. It was lovely! The lionfish surveys were conducted on both removal (all lionfish are speared or removed from the reef) or non-removal sites (lionfish are only counted). These sites are visted quarterly and the data collected is used to see how quickly lionfish numbers increase on removal vs. non-removal sites. Pretty interesting!!

A baby yellow ray (not in the wild, born in our lab!)

Today, I'm probably going diving one last time before I head back to the states for the holidays, this time at our coral nursery! Wish me luck :D

Share some fun facts with me - about anything! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Running in 2014

This year has been a year full of ups and downs in terms of running. I started off the year fairly strongly - setting a goal to run 500 miles by the end of the year.

I stuck to that goal, training for the Princess Half Marathon and running another half marathon in the beginning of February - PRing in both those races.


I ran a sub-60 10k in training, showing some serious progress for myself and I was proud of where I was going in my training.


Then, I got hurt. I was out for nearly 8 weeks and I've just never really gotten back into the groove of things.

Although, I spent a lot of time at the gym

I went to Europe and didn't run as much as I had planned. Then, I moved to the Bahamas and still didn't run as much as I wanted to or as much as I used to. I've virtually lost the motivation I had for running before my injury. I desperately want it back, but I'm having trouble forcing myself back into the habit.
So I can drink more of these

As of the writing of this post, I've only run 358 miles. There's no way that I'm going to make the 500 miles that I've set this year. I'm telling myself that that's okay. I can start fresh in the new year. I'll keep running over these next few weeks and see where I'm going to get to at the end of the year, but I will fall short.


I have big goals set for next year (in my head at least). It'll be all about translating that and putting it into fruition. I'm planning on running outside again this winter. I'm planning on getting back my motivation. My love for running is still there, I feel it every time I go for a run, so it's all about getting that motivation back!

How did your running go in 2014? What are your tips for getting your motivation back?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Turtle Tuesday #8

Tomorrow marks my last day of teaching for the semester! The students return back to the United States next week! It's hard to believe that the semester is nearly over... it seems like I just got here!

Yesterday was our final field day and we ended up catching two, brand new turtles! (I just realized that I used exclamation points for the last four sentences) It was a great way to end the semester.

Some things I've learned this semester:
-Things never go according to plan
-I can be my own worst enemy
-Having a great support team is worth more than being perfect all the time
-There will be days when everything goes wrong; accept it.
-Sometimes, students will surprise you (in both good and bad ways)


I'm definitely going to miss my students, but it'll be nice to have a bit of a break!

On an turtley unrelated note, yesterday, I went to a presentation on using science for social media. It was really interesting to hear how scientists are using Twitter and Facebook (but mainly, Twitter - it was the most active of the social media sites!) to connect with other scientists. The presenter (my co-worker) even told me that she found out on Twitter that one of her papers had been published! I guess it makes sense that science will follow in the footsteps of connecting others, but I never realized the impact that social media could have on connecting the public to science.

(source

That being said, I made myself a "professional" Twitter (don't worry, I'll still tweet useless tweets on my personal account, as well). I plan on using this new Twitter handle to connect with scientists, follow new conservation news, and tweet about turtles. If you're interested in following my new, sciencey Twitter, follow me @RachelMillerST


Do you have separate social media accounts for your personal/professional presence?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Motivation for the Holidays

Now that the holidays are approaching and I'm STILL attempting to get back into shape/running more , I decided to create a training plan for me to stick to to motivate me to keep running. It's going to be difficult to motivate me to run when I'm visiting my parents in the snow for Christmas, especially because I'm not training for Princess Half this year, so I'm hoping that this training plan will help me maintain fitness and motivation. 


As you can see, I'm keeping the mileage relatively low. For the first 4 weeks, I'm only going to be running 3 days a week. Then, I'm going to add in a 4th day during the week. Maybe I'll eventually build back up to the mileage/fitness I was at when I got injured in February. It's really been hard not to compare myself to where I was a year ago. It's been really hard to be two minutes slower when running my easy runs than where I was eight months ago. I know it's my fault for not getting back into things right away, but instead of sulking, I'm going to try and put in the work to get back to an area where I'm happy with my running.

Also, see those "Days" blocks in my training sheet? I'm doing a 90 Day Ab Challenge. My friend is a personal trainer and created this challenge last year. I decided to do it this time around to improve my core and maybe pick up some more speed. You can find the group here if you're interested! 

How will you stay motivated during the holidays? How many days a week do you run?