Thursday, April 17, 2014

Running Bucket List

I've been doing a lot of thinking about running because I can't do any running right now. During my thinking, I started making a list of all of the events I want to take part in during my running career.

Here is my running bucket list:

1. Run a marathon (I'm looking at 2015)

2. Travel for a race (I don't count Disney World because I live an hour away)

3. Run an obstacle race (Thanks to Karen, I have an entry to a Spartan Race!)

4. Complete a Triathalon (aka learn to swim well)

5. Run more half marathons

6. Run a race in another country (Too bad I'm injured, because there's a half in Liverpool when I'm in Europe)

7. Run on a relay team

This is the list that I've made so far... I'm trying not to make myself too crazy thinking about running, but it's hard!

What's on your running bucket list?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Next 18 Years

I'm taking a quick break from my insanely productive day today (seriously, I completed one and a half projects for school, the most work I've probably done in one day all semester) and I got to reflecting on my journey through education. As many of you know, on April 1, I passed my oral comps and basically finished my journey towards becoming a Master of Science.

I am 23 years old and have (or will have on May 3) my Master's Degree. If you haven't done the math, I have spent the last eighteen years (18!) as a student. Apart from the six months I took off between undergrad and grad school (I graduated a semester early), I have been a student for 75% of my life. That is an incredibly long time. What will I do for the next 18 years when I am no longer a student?

My journey through education hasn't been a rough one; I've always loved school and it's always something that's been relatively easy for me. Yes, I've worked hard and challenged myself (hello all honors classes and AP classes in High School, senior theses, and grad school), but I've always loved learning and I'm good at it. I know that I have made my parents proud by excelling in what I do, and I have sure made myself proud as well. Yes, I have been stressed at times and I have cried, but there was never a time that I doubted myself.

Undergrad Graduation

Part of me is sad that I am retiring this formal student role (for now, PhD is always an option), but I know that I will never stop being a student. If you weren't aware, my Masters Degree will be an M.S. in Environmental Education. As I said in my Liebster Response yesterday, I hope to spend the rest of my life educating others about the environment and the creatures that inhabit it. However, what I have learned as an educator is that I'm always learning something myself. My students will always have something to teach me, there will always be something that I don't know that I will have to look up, and science is constantly discovering new information, meaning that I will have a lot of reading to do throughout my career.

Summer 2011, My first sea turtle

I will also be a student to life. So far in my life, I have learned a lot of lessons, some of them dealing with failed relationships, but many that have led me to finding myself and taking risks. I have learned to follow my heart and that has lead me to South Carolina, Florida, Costa Rica, and now, Europe. I have found freedom and have fallen in love with myself, and I look forward to learning more along the way.

So, what will the next 18 years bring me? I'm not sure, but I'm not yet ready to fully retire the "student" title and plan on continuing to learn from others. I'm excited for this new journey and I hope that the next 18 years are equally, if not more, exciting as these last 18 years have been.

Do you still view yourself as a student? What was your first move (job, travel, etc.?) after you finished your education?

Edited to add: It's hard to believe that it's been one year already since the Boston Marathon bombing. It has been amazing to be a part of the running community and see the city and community begin to rebuild in such a short period of time. Even though I cannot run right now, runner will always be part of my identity. Boston Strong. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Liebster Award: Round 2

Way back in the beginning of my blog, I was nominated for a Liebster Award. Just last week, the super sweet Sara nominated me again for the Liebster Award! I am thrilled and think it's a great opportunity for some of my relatively new readers to get to know me! Thanks, Sara!

Here are the rules for the award:

The Liebster Award is an online award by bloggers for bloggers. It helps to generate attention for new and upcoming bloggers, generally those with 200 followers or less.
1.) You must link back to the person who nominated you
2.) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3.) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)
4.) You must create 10 questions for your nominees5.) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

And now, here are the questions that Sara asked her nominees! 

1. If you could spend the day with one famous person, who would it be and why?
I would love to spend the day with Kate Middleton. For the obvious reasons, she's living my dream of a commoner who became royalty, but she conducts herself in a way that is admirable. Also, because she is not in the tabloids often, it'd be interesting to sit down for tea with her and just chat. I'd like to believe that she's genuine and would be a total sweetheart! 
2. What is an attribute you admire in others?
Honesty. I appreciate when someone can be honest with me without being mean. I think that it shows a true sign of maturity and eventually yields more benefits than withholding information or lying to someone. 
3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would be the 3 things you would take with you?
I'm not going to go the obvious boat, cell phone, etc. route. Assuming that I'd get off eventually, I can live without those things. I'd like to have an edible plants book, complete with pictures, so that I could survive ;) I'd also bring fresh water, or at least something to distill water with. And finally, I'd probably bring my running shoes --- to protect my feet in areas that are not sandy (I'm assuming I'm in the middle of an ocean on a tropical island) and so I can run! 
4. If money was no object, what would you choose as your career?
Does gypsy environmental educator count as a career? I'd love to do the job that I have planned to do (environmental educator, what my Masters is in), but I'd love to throw travel in there. I would love to travel the world and educate groups of people about our environment and how to protect it. So basically, a gypsy hippie. 
5. What is YOUR greatest achievement?
Hm, this is really hard. I'm proud of so many things that I have done in my life so far, but it either has to be running half marathons or simply following my heart. I'm torn between the two options. Running half marathons, for the obvious reasons, and following my heart because it has taken me all over the place, including South Carolina for undergrad, Costa Rica for sea turtle work, and soon, to Europe. 
6. Why did you decide to start blogging?
I had a number of friends and family ask me about my weight loss and my running, so I decided to stop blowing up their Facebook feeds and instead, spam the internet. I never thought I would get any readers! So, thank you to those of you who have stuck with me! 
7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Oh gosh, it's hard to choose a pet peeve... I've been finding that I have quite a few of them. I think that hearing people chew, smack their lips, or breathe loudly is something that really drives me crazy. To the point where I want to simultaneously scream, cry, and puke. 
8.What is your favorite pizza toppings?
Spinach and mushrooms, although a friend has introduced me to the combination of pineapple and jalapeƱo. 
9. What is the theme song of your life?
"Little Victories" by Matt Nathanson or "Happy" by Pharrell 
10. If you had $1,000 that you could spend on anything, what would you spend it on?
At this stage, I can only think about Europe, so I'd say travel. Any other time of the year? Probably something running related.
My questions
1. What is the greatest food you have ever eaten?
2. What is your favorite household appliance?
3. What is your spirit animal, and why?
4. If you could achieve one goal to make the world a better place, what would it be?
5. What is the strangest thing that you are afraid of?
6. If you could be friends with a television cast, which cast would you choose?
7. What is the most important attribute you look for in someone when forming a relationship (be it platonic or romantic)?
8. If you had to come back and live your life all over again, what would you change?
9. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
10. What word would you eliminate from the English language if you had a chance?

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Official Diagnosis

The title sounds scary, but the diagnosis isn't as horrible as I was anticipating. The official diagnosis is: hamstring strain.

Just kidding, I'm not that shocked

Hips, bones, and knees all move well and looked great on the x-ray (according to the doctor). When he did his manual examination, he said that my hips and knees all moved normally, so that was a good sign that all of the damage is in the hamstring itself.

The solution? At least two weeks off of running, physical therapy, and oral steroids. 

I'm guessing that the actual time off of running will be longer because he wants me to do some physical therapy and doesn't want me to run until the hamstring is looser. Then, when I return to running, he wants me to do intervals to build back up, which will be hard for me because I've never used intervals in a run before. The good news is that he says I will be race ready by September, which means that summer training will be happening!

I can also cross-train my heart out to "keep my fitness and sanity." The steroids are to attack the inflammation, but he said he didn't write a strong prescription because I am "not a very large person." Drugs scare this should be interesting!

I'm hoping to be able to run again when I'm in Europe because I want to see the cities that way, but we shall see. I'm just thankful it wasn't worse than what it is! But, I'm sure that by next week, I'll be feeling like this:

Thanks for all of your healing vibes that you have sent my way :) Happy Friday!

What's happy about your Friday today?