Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Groundhog Day

 My family and I watched Groundhog Day on Christmas Day. Not your typical Christmas fare, but it is a winter/holiday movie. I've often heard elite runners say their lifestyle is like that movie: get up, train, eat, sleep, train, do it again and again, and again. Life for an ABD (all but dissertation) Ph.D. candidate is like that too - not much variation from day to day. Wake up, read/write, play with Heshie, read/write some more, run Heshie, Pat, plan, the end. Hopefully I won't go as berserk as Bill Murray did, cracking and kidnapping Punxsutawney Phil. And in that regard, there isn't much to report. I am aiming for consistency, and really, that should be my main word for this year. Consistency in dissertation work, and consistency in running. In just the couple of weeks of really honing in on the dissertation, I have written a lot. It's not all great, and not all of it will make it into the final version, but it's better to have thoughts on paper than a blank page of nothingness.

In terms of training, there isn't much to report. I've had a few great early season speedwork sessions. Nothing on the track, and nothing major, but it has felt good to crank out some faster miles and just have a change of pace, literally. On Saturday, my out and back run (5 miles out in 39 minutes, 5 miles back in 36) was dedicated to Meg Menzies, the mother and 3:05 marathoner who was killed by a drunk driver while on a run. Over 90,000 people ultimately dedicated their runs this weekend to her - remembering a great person. It is such a little thing, to just go out there and enjoy and really be in the moment, but to be able to do something we take for just gives a little more perspective.

Perspective is an interesting thing. I wrote earlier about how things stay the same when you get caught up in the mundane, and Meg's tragic death show how fast things change in an instant. I was driving to a friend's house across town to see her and her new baby. Yes, now old enough to have friends with babies - crazy! She is one of my oldest and closest DC friends - she is even going to be a bridesmaid in my wedding. Four years ago, we were drinking Manhattans after class and watching Friends reruns. Last night, we were catching up on family and cooing over her new baby.
And on my drive home, thoughts about change settled in my head as I cruised along I-495.

I've been in DC for over 5 years now. I'm going to the same school, and while I live in the same area (although not same place...I've moved around a lot...hoping to stay in this apartment for a couple of years now), there has been change, just gradually. And in the day to day, if you don't stop and think about it, you don't really see the change. It's only after pausing to look up and look around that you see the seasons have changed, your life has changed, maybe in ways you expected, or ways that you didn't imagine. One of my best friends from home came over the other day en route to a vacation in NC. We've been friends since we were 13, and stayed close after we graduated high school. But instead of hanging out at our parents' houses, something we still do when home for the holidays, she came over to my apartment. We each had our pets meet each other and laughed at how in a few years, it will be our children playing together. How does time move by like that?
All of this is to say, we get so lost in the routine that we don't realize the ebb and flow of life. It's one thing to get lost on the run and have a clear head, it's another thing to take in all of the beauty along the way. The day-to-day humdrum isn't as mundane as we's those subtle changes that slowly blossom into bigger, and hopefully better things.

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