Eric and I have had a wonderful holiday season. Eric has been on vacation and I took a breather from my studies (and of course, am on break from teaching). We spent lots of time with family and friends, ran a couple of races, and lazed around the house. We've been sleeping in, watching movies, reading, shopping, playing cribbage, and enjoying every moment!
I received IRB approval in the middle of all this, but since all my contacts and participants are also on break I didn't worry about getting right to data collection. Now, with the start of the new year and new quarter, it's time to gear back up and get going. I've been thinking about this constantly over the past few days...and I must admit the task ahead feels overwhelming. It's time to find participants, conduct interviews, code, and look for patterns in the data. The only way I can convince myself to move forward is by taking one small step at a time. Instead of thinking about the enormity of what must be done, I'll just think about what is on my schedule for each day. I'm sure once I get going again all will be fine...right? My area of focus for the next six months will be finalizing this study, with high hopes for finishing in June. Wish me luck!
I squeezed in two races during this break - the Deception Pass 25K in mid-December and the Last Chance Half Marathon on the 31st. Earlier this fall, in a burst of enthusiasm, I signed up for my beloved Orcas 25K. Eric volunteered to be aid station captain for the top of Mt. Constitution again, which is always fun. It requires about a day and a half away from home - travel about an hour to ferry, another hour on the ferry, then maybe a half hour to our hotel. Race the next day, reverse the trip home. My burst of enthusiasm also prompted me to volunteer for the 50K, held the following weekend. Eric will be running it. Of course, this means repeating the trip. I love these races and Orcas Island and am excited about both weekends, but I must admit, I am now wondering what I was thinking when I decided to give up that much study time. Oh, well, I am committed now, so if I need to, I'll just stay up till midnight every night for the two weeks to make it up.
I'll leave you with three beautiful pictures (click to enlarge):
This one is looking out over Bellingham Bay to Canada, on 12/31/12. The evening sun was lighting up the mountains. We didn't have our camera, only my phone, which didn't quite capture the beauty. It was breathtaking!
Again, using my phone-camera, I tried to capture the Olympic Mountains, seen from the beach on my morning run. They actually are much closer than the phone-camera could capture.
And finally, one caught by Eric this morning with the real camera:
All three photos pictures remind me how lucky I am to live here in the Pacific Northwest, where Nature's beauty abounds. I try to make sure my daily run includes a view of Puget Sound - sometimes swathed in fog, often with mountains hidden by dark rain clouds, and sometimes, like the last few days, lit by golden sunlight. The views bring serenity to my run and peace to my mind...