Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sharpening - Not in Vain

The last week has been a week of sharpening and preparing all around.
My first outdoor track race is Thursday night, which I have been training for for about 5 weeks.  This has been a great experience for me, but it also has been really hard.  The majority of the workouts are at my limit - they are at an all-out effort.  But, it has been a good learning endeavor - I have pushed a lot harder for the shorter distance.  It is my hope that when I go back to the 5k/10k training in the fall, the paces for those goal times won't seem as fast!
Tuesday was my last workout before Thursday's race, and it was great.  Probably in part because it was so short, and probably in part because it went so well:
2.5 mile warmup, 6x150 meter strides, 4 x 400 (84-87 seconds for each, jog 30 seconds in between), 2.5 mile cool down = 6.5 miles
These went really well: 85, 85, 85, 84.  Yes, they felt fast, and that was the fastest set of 400s I've ever done, but it was a really good effort.  Sarah said that this is a classic workout, and if you can do it slightly faster than goal pace, than it is a good indicator for the race itself!  And today was just an easy 2 miles with 4 x 150 meter strides.  That flew by.  Perfect running weather for National Running Day!
One of the trails on the UCSC campus
I also spent last weekend at a training session/meeting for my summer program for gifted children.  It was a great meeting, and I got a lot of great ideas for the summer.  I had this job last year (Academic Dean), but it was my first time in the position.  With some experience now, I have some new ideas as to how to better run the program and make it a better experience for everyone - staff and students alike.  I cannot wait - and the fact that it's in beautiful Santa Cruz doesn't hurt either!
On the dissertation front, I am doing my best.  But by far, coming up with a viable dissertation topic is the hardest academic thing I've ever done.  I had a good idea that I was running with (pun intended) for a few months, but then my advisor met an advanced professor in the field writing a book on a similar topic.  Goodbye idea.  Then, for the last month or so, I was doing reading on a new topic and had come up with an exciting idea.  When I went to check something on a history dissertation database, I found my idea with my sources in a 2006 dissertation.  Are you kidding me?  I was so upset - it was like being kicked in the stomach and the brain at the same time.  But I took a few days away and went back to the library and drawing board.  I wrote to my advisor, explaining the situation and my new plan.  Not the best feeling - I was hoping to write her with good news, not a roadblock.  Her response included this, "Your reading won't be in vain."
I am holding onto that thought.  Not in vain will I read, not in vain will I run, and not in vain will I plan for a good program this summer.  All of this is a process - of sharpening, of preparing, of hard work.  It wouldn't feel as worthwhile if it was all an easy snap, right?  And in looking back to some of the other hurdles I've gotten over: coursework, comps, BQing, etc., that final victory after the all of the hard work has been so sweet.  So, in the meanwhile, I am in the middle stretch, and although the finish line may be in the distance, the road to getting there will not be in vain.

No comments:

Post a Comment