Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Up and Down, Start and Stop

Wow, once again a good chunk of time has passed without visiting my blog. I spend so much time writing that it's hard to sit down here and write for the sheer fun of it. I'll admit, a quickie post on Facebook - something that takes a minute or two - is more my speed these days. However, I don't want to give up on blogging! So let me catch you up...

As I mentioned in my previous post, summer was intense, with moving, residency and Riley off to the Navy. Once we got home from that trip, life settled into more of a routine. Condo life is good, both Eric and I really like it. Living near his job has huge benefits - we have much more time together than we've had in the past year and we are really enjoying it. We are 99% moved in - a few stray boxes tucked into corners are waiting for us to unpack them, and pictures are still wrapped and waiting to be hung. I'll admit it, we've opted to do fun things with our spare time rather than worry about those minor details.

Some of the fun things have included Eric successfully completing the Plain 100 - one of the toughest 100 milers out there. No aid stations - which means carrying a full pack, no course markings, crew at mile 58ish only, lots of climbing and this year's bonus - temps in the 90s. It was Eric's third (and, I hope, final) attempt. He finished in 35 hours and 10 minutes. Jenny joined me in waiting for him at the only spot we were allowed to meet him - we got there early and cooked grilled cheese sandwiches for any and all runners who wanted one. We got to hang out with race directors Chris and Tom, and Karen and George Wiggens while we waited. Jenny and I ran in Leavenworth the next morning, then she headed home while I went to the finish to wait for Eric. I teared up when he crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with three other hardy runners. Oh, yes. 25 starters, 11 finishers. Plain is just Plain tough!

Fall quarter at NEU started the following day. I'm in the first of the research series, and my 9th and 10th classes. After these are complete I will have only three left, then it's on to dissertation. I've been working on my DPS - Doctoral Problem Statement - which when done will lead me to the next step - getting an advisor and working on my DPP - the Doctoral Project Proposal. After I successfully defend that, it will go to an internal review board. Once approved there, I can start my research. Once that is done, I'll write it all up and then have an oral defense of the dissertation. If I pass that, I'm done! It is a long and kind of scary process, but I'm excited to be on my way!

I've had a few low spots where I wasn't sure why I signed up for this and if I wanted to continue, but with the help of some good friends, fellow students and a couple of professors - have pushed through and am still at it. Apparently, it's a normal part of the process when working on a doctorate. All I know is when I wrote about it on the NEU Facebook page, I got over 53 responses, many of whom reported feeling the same way! And one awesome professor who posted his phone number and told me to call him. You can't beat that kind of support. Not to mention the support Eric has given me, and Margaret, and Dr. Sara, and all my other friends.

A week after the start of NEU, I started my new job. Well, truthfully, I'd been working on it for two weeks prior because I had to design and set up my course. So far I am loving it. I am only teaching one class, which has been really nice in terms of time to study and time to hang out with Eric. I've got 10 students for the whole year, working with them on their student teaching. The difference from my old job is that I don't have a preschool - instead they are placed in sites around the community and I travel to them. The class is a hybrid, meaning we meet once per week, with the rest of the work done online (except, of course, for my site visits). So far, so good!

Last weekend was the Victoria Marathon and Half. Initially I felt kind of lame because I was only running the half, but it turned out to be the best thing ever! I ran the entire race with a wide smile on my face - mostly because I was outside, on a beautiful course, running with a friend (Jessica) and having fun. I had a blast and the distance was great. I had only run 10 miles once in training, but I had no problem with the race. It's the perfect distance time and training-wise while I'm involved in this doctoral program. We had a great weekend (I purposefully left my computer at home) - a three hour, 45 minute ferry ride each way, sharing a room with Margaret and Jessica (and yes, Eric), good dinners at various pubs, meeting up with other Puyallup runners that I hadn't seen for months, and walking everywhere. In fact, on race day, I calculated that Jessica and I ran 13 miles and walked 7.5 miles. Our hotel was 1.5 miles from the start/finish and we walked there, back to shower, back to greet Eric, another mile for coffee, back to greet Margaret, back to the hotel and then to a pub and back to the ferry. Whew! Anyway, it was a blast and a much needed break.

Next up is the Seattle Ghost half, a 25K on the trails of Deception Pass and 25K at Orcas. Oh, and maybe another half or two slipped in here and there. I'll actually have an entire month off from both job and school over the holidays - can't wait! I am going to try to devote 3-4 hours each day of the break to working on the DPP - otherwise I'll be busting it while trying to do other course work as well. It'll still be a break from the amount of time I put in now.

Um, what else? Riley is in Florida at A school - doing great and loving it. Web is in California, playing music, working a bit on the side and enjoying life. I'm back to my five days a week early morning running and loving that too. Eric is running and working and might be starting flight school soon. I think that might be everything. Hopefully I'll be back to write more soon, if not, I'll get back during my break. Happy blogging and happy running everyone!


Wes said...

Glad to hear everything is going well!

Olga said...

Life is crazy and busy and wonderful. Congrats to Eric on Plain, to you on making the school and work and runs, to your boys...I am kind of leaning towards 1/2 marathons as well for the near future:) Hey, didn't Rob Hester came back to blogging? But seems that his old link has been highjacked by somebody else...

LesleyG said...

Wonderful to hear from you, Michele (both here and on my blog, so thank you)! I love this update because it lets me know you're up to more of the same, but embracing change, too and you have always given me pretty great advice on that. :)

All the best to you!

Marnie said...

I enjoyed your post! As I writer, I know how it is hard to keep up with blogging when you are normally writing all day too. Happy running to you!