I did a lot of traveling last week - by plane and by foot! The American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting was held last week in San Francisco. I went to a few really interesting talks which sparked some new ideas to investigate in my own research. I'm looking ahead to starting several projects in the new year that I am really excited about, which is a delightful place to be. It's always fun to go to these huge meetings (>4000 talks and poster presentations) and get a feeling for what is going on the zeitgeist, even when it isn't really related to your own work. For example, my friend Melissa gave a fantastic presentation on the evolution of the Y-chromsome which made it into the Huffington Post today. I've been travelling so much the last month that I am looking forward to getting back to the office and really focusing on my research. These conferences always have that effect on me.
One of the best parts of any conferences is, of course, catching up with friends. I roomed with my grad school friend Jen and got to see lots of friends from Pennsylvania and Kansas. We also had a meet-up of anthropological geneticists which is a great way to find each other in the huge conference. We met in a bar high over the city. The art-deco windows and the view made me feel like we were in Bruce Wayne's loft apartment. Seriously, check out this view. You can see the lights on the bay bridge.
I flew back Saturday night in plenty of time to go to bed and toss and turn with nerves before getting up at 5am for the ROCK'N'ROLL HALF MARATHON!!! 25,000 of my closest friends and I ran all over downtown including through the Alamo Plaza which was packed with cheering supporters. This was an amazing first half-marathon because I was never running alone and never out of sight of a fan (among my favorite moments, was the women around mile seven who yelled "you all smell fantastic!"). We ran through residential districts where neighborhoods were having cookouts, past assisted living facilities where older folks in wheel chairs clapped and waved as we passed, and by churches where entire congregations had gathered after services to cheer us on.
On top of all of this were the bands playing throughout the race. I won't pretend the miles flew by (around mile 11, I was cursing these two lovely people who talked me into this), but all of these distractions and the amazing support of the people on the course and all of you out there made it a fantastic experience overall. I'm already thinking about doing another one in the spring. A special thanks to everyone who donated to Spina Bifida Texas. Our team raised $3,000 for their programs!
I've tallied up the raffle and winner of the hand-knit hat is Holly! Thank you again to everyone who donated.