Dissertation Proposal and a Hill Workout

Today was a big day for me: I proposed my dissertation! Basically this means that my committee said I can go ahead with my experiment. I have spent the last nine months reviewing literature, collecting/analyzing preliminary data, and writing up my proposal – this afternoon I finally got to share and get feedback on all of that work. The dissertation is the last step in getting my PhD, so this was an important meeting.

Committee meetings are not my favorite thing. They’re nerve-wracking and involve sitting in a room for an hour, answering difficult questions. It’s great in the sense that it gives you a chance to really think through a research project, but it’s draining.

Earlier in my graduate school career, a day like today would have provoked a lot of anxiety. I would have barely been able to eat or sleep in the days prior. Since I look up running, however, stressful meetings are much more manageable.

This morning I did another hard hill workout – it was a tough run and there were a few times when I just wanted to give up. But I kept telling myself that if I ran hard up the hill, my committee meeting would feel so easy in comparison. With every step I reminded myself that this workout would be the hardest part of my day.

It sounds silly, but it worked. When I sat down at my committee meeting, it didn’t feel nearly as scary as it could have. Instead I felt ready to conquer the world – if I could push myself that hard on my run, there was no reason I couldn’t survive my meeting as well.

Plus, every time the meeting got tough, I thought “well at least it’s better than running up that hill again!”

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Current Goals

Setting goals is one way I maintain my motivation to run. On days when I just don’t feel like running, reminding myself of my goals helps me lace up my sneakers and get out the door. My current goals for running (and life) are:

1. Run a marathon.

It took me a while to come around to the idea of running 26.2 miles. In fact, it wasn’t until I finished my 5th half marathon in February of this year that I finally decided to take the plunge. So here I am…9 weeks out from my first full marathon. Training is in full swing and I am excited/terrified!

2. Run 1000 miles in 2013.

I had this goal in 2012 as well but, due to a series of injuries, ended up only  making it to 752 for the year. For 2013, I am on track to meet this goal with almost 700mi under my belt so far!

Current 2013 miles

Current 2013 miles

3. Run a sub 2:00 half marathon.

Breaking two hours in a half marathon has been on my mind for a while. In August, I came close with a new PR of 2:01:00 at the Madison Mini. The PR was exciting, but it was frustrating to be so close to the 2 hour mark! I don’t have another half on the calendar for 2013, but I look forward to trying again in 2014.

Madison Mini medal

Madison Mini medal

4. Propose my dissertation!

Despite what you may believe, I don’t spend all of my time running/thinking about running. In between runs, I am a graduate student working towards my PhD. This month marks the beginning of what will (hopefully) be my last year of graduate school. First step: propose my dissertation!

So what are you current goals?