Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oh yeah, that running thing

First of all, thank you everyone for such nice comments after my post on finishing comps.  I am still relieved and so happy: floating on cloud 9.  It's funny, typically after a marathon, the high lasts for about a week, but slowly things return back to normal (generally about the same time the soreness finally goes away!).  This time around, it is over a week after the orals, and I am just relieved.  As I said in the last post, it was the culmination of so many months of intensive work, and really, the result of all of my grad work so far.  Of course, people keep asking "Now what?"  Well, the next step is come up with a dissertation topic, write a proposal, and then spend years researching and writing.  The next step is more uncertain, but it is all my own research, and my choices about what I get to read.
I had a meeting with one of my professors on Wednesday to discuss what I am going to read for the rest of the semester, and she said "Congratulation, you are now a grown up."  Meaning that no longer will my professors dictate all of my reading, but I will be doing it myself.  And we spent time picking out some good books to discuss in this next month - it is like going on a shopping spree!  Nerdy, I know.  And then that afternoon, I met with my advisor to discuss some potential topics.  She said, "Look at you!  What a transformation!  Such relief!"  And yes, I have been walking around more relaxed and happy than I have in...eons.  And we chatted, and she (I am a TA for the undergrad class she teaches) on Friday observed me teach my section.  Which that was nerve-wracking - not as bad as before comps, but again, for the second time this month, my advisor was watching me in action, as a teacher.  Afterwards, she had some good feedback for me and we stood outside our department talking.  And it felt almost as if we were talking colleague to colleague, not student to teacher.  People say that that happens a little after PhD comps - that the faculty recognize that you have gotten over this big hurdle, and that you are just one step closer to being to their level.  And while I still have years and years of work to do to get there, it is an assuring feeling to move up to that level.
But oh yeah, that running thing...(like how it even took me half a post to get to it?)
I did continue to run and train through comps, although as I've said before, my cross training was a bit half hearted.  The past 2 weeks, with a little more time on my hands, I was able to take to the pool twice - wahoo!  Both last Monday and Wednesday, I was able to do my 2000 yard swim.  And it felt so great.  I have actually made some good progress with my swimming.  There have been a few times now when I've gotten my 2000 yards in under 45 minutes, which is great.  It's taken about 10 months to get to this point, and it is pretty exciting.  No triathlons any time soon, but it certainly has been good training for me.
When this semester ends, I look forward to having a little more time for some of the ancillary things that have fallen by the wayside.  Like drills, more core work, plyometrics, etc.  While I don't think I've suffered by not doing them, I know that adding them back in will help.  I've recently recommitted to doing my IT band physical therapy exercises.  It was this time last year that I first started having knee trouble.  Things have been smooth since I had physical therapy at the New Year, but after the Boston Marathon, I stopped doing them.  Rcently, I have gotten back in the habit of doing them.  One, it helps just as a precaution to make sure that each leg individually is strong (all of the exercises are single leg).  Two, they really challenge your sense of balance, which is really key to good running.  After all, you are always just on one leg when you're running!
This morning, I did a 7.5 mile run with 6 x 400 thrown in - just to get a little turnover before Philadelphia.  Sarah said to aim for between 1:36-1:38 - faster than race pace, but not so hard that I couldn't do it after Sunday's race.  I think my excitement about both races translated well into some fast 400s: 1:35, 1:34, 1:32, 1:33, 1:33, 1:29!  I was pretty excited - even though that is so short in comparison to the half, it is a bit faster too...
...And speaking of pace: I met with Sarah yesterday to rehash the 10k and plan for the half.  Months ago, we thought 7:05 pace was a good goal pace.  But after the half, we are moving it to 7:00 pace.  She thinks that I can even push it in the final 5k and aim to go under 7:00 pace.  The big thing is to get over the fear of going fast.  These numbers may seem fast, but I am capable of doing running at that pace.  No fear here!  I kept over 100 books in my head for comps, I can keep 7 minute pace for a half marathon.  And if that's the case, I'll be Phlying in Philly!

1 comment:

  1. I am excited to see what your running will become now that comps and the crazy stress of the program is over!!!!