Yesterday, I got up at shit o’clock™ to get the train to Edinburgh for the Great Winter Run 5K.  I’m not a morning person, and I’m especially not a morning person who likes to get up at 6 am to sit on a train for over an hour.  But, not knowing what the future holds, I figured if I wanted to do a “destination” run in the UK, I should pick one that’s at least close enough to travel back and forth from without requiring a night in a hotel.

 

The train ride was uneventful, and when I arrived in Edinburgh, I had no idea where I was going.  I was glad to spot some other runners and followed them to Holyrood Park.  I was a bit shocked to see how high the hill was having not ventured into this area of Edinburgh before.  I wondered what I had got myself into.  I knew that it was partially up hill, but I didn’t think it was quite that high.

 

I had plenty of time to stand around and people watch until it was time to get into the corrals.  I was in the green corral and it was certainly quite crowded.  There was barely enough room to stand, let alone do the warmup.  I wonder if the person leading it realises that she has a lot of space to move, and that those of us on the ground can’t really do the movements unless we want to kick and step on our neighbours.

A few minutes after 10 and the green corral was off.  It was a bit crowded and we slowly gained elevation.  At one point I thought I was going quite fast, as the first km marker appeared within about 4 minutes.  The second one took a bit longer and balanced out and then started to be more consistent with Runkeeper.

The first 3 kilometres had us slowly gaining elevation, but once hitting the 3rd km marker, the world seemed to open up and you could see the city Edinburgh as I’ve never seen it before.  Had the sun been out, it would have been even more brilliant.  If it hadn’t been a race, I’d have stopped to take pictures!  In fact, I want to go back and walk up and around this area taking my time and taking pictures!

The last 2 kilometres were downhill.  What a rush!  I felt like a child running down a hill!  It’s probably the first time I’ve experienced such a runner’s high.  I’m not sure if it was the view or the altitude or what, but it was terribly exhilarating.  I had to actively work to control my speed and keep from just flinging myself down the hill.  These were probably 2 of my fastest ever kilometres at 5:33 and 5:52! If I want to PR my 5k, I need to find an all downhill one!

And then, as quick as it started, the race was over.  I had really picked up the pace at the end, and I nearly forgot to grab my bag with my shirt, water, and medal.

My official time was 34:11, not a PR but considering the hill at the beginning, I’m pleased.  Especially as (mile wise) I had negative splits the entire way (12:29, 11:09, 9:16, 8:14 (for the .14).

I’m hopeful I will be able to PR at some point, provided the course is flat or downhill!  🙂

All in all, it was a great event and I’m glad that it didn’t rain!

Looking back on this year, I was unable to find a post related to goals or resolutions for 2016.  I figured that my main goal was to finish my thesis and pass my Viva, and anything else in addition would be great.  I finished my thesis and passed my Viva, so I consider that a win.

Goals for 2017

  1. Find a job. This is pretty much the first and most immediate goal apart from my thesis corrections.  It’s rather intimidating as I’m not entirely confident in the search so far.  I have always struggled when job searching, to the point where I’d send out 300-500 resumes in a summer and not hear anything back from anyone.  I hope that it’s not like that this time around.
  2. Journal every day.  Last Christmas, Steph got me a daily journal where you record your thoughts every day and it records them for 5 years.  It’s like a paper Timehop.  Theres’s only a few lines for each day in each year, however.  This year I’d like to spend a little more time writing about my day, what’s gone on, and how I’m feeling.
  3. Run a sub 30 minute 5K.  You’d think that for someone who has been running for as long as I have, that this would have been crossed off my list by now.  But it hasn’t.  I struggle with running faster as I am afraid I will make myself sick (I’m a paranoid emetophobe, what I can I tell you?).  My current fastest time is 31:57 and that was on the treadmill. Even if it takes me until the 31 December 2017 to get to 29:59, I’ll be happy.
  4. Run another half-marathon (and not get injured). I’ve run 2 half-marathons so far and I’d like to run another.  I ended up pulling my leg/knee about halfway through my last half, so I’d like to train and run another without any issues or incident. The key to that is. . .
  5. Stretch and strength train more consistently.  I know why I struggled towards the end of my half training last year, and that was my lack of consistency.  Granted, part of that was due to the fact I was trying to finish my thesis, but spending 10-20 minutes stretching isn’t exactly a hardship.
  6. Lose the last 30 or so pounds I need to.  If nothing else this year has shown that I need to make my health a priority and getting to a healthy weight is important.

    Any goals or resolutions you’d like to share?  Leave ’em in the comments!  Happy New Year!

2016 has been a bit of a shit year, overall.  Yes, there have been some high points, but overall, I feel like this image sums up 2016 in a nutshell.

And this most certainly applies to me.

This year overall, I did a lot of writing and a lot of running and not much else, which is ok as I had to get my thesis finished. Whereas 2015 was filled with terrible personal lows, 2016 was more even-keeled, but challenging as it felt like every week we were saying goodbye to someone who had moved us on the screen, stage, or radio.

January: I attempted another Whole 30 but wasn’t really in the mindset.

February: I did some running and spent time in the library working.

March: I ran the Resolution Run 10K with a PR.

April: I tried out run club, I began to plan my 41st birthday, and got far too overjoyed at a reply on Twitter.

May: More of the above, only trying to look cool doing it.

June: I was on task to massively PR my 10k at the Women’s 10, but ended up injured. 🙁  This necessitated about 2 weeks off of running and then I began to train for my second half.

July:  Running.  Pilates.  Pokemon.  Writing.

August: Running.  Pilates.  Pokemon.  Writing.  Ran the OUT 5 miler (with no injury or issue, a rarity in 2016!)

September: Thesis submission.  Running. Pilates. Start the fundraiser for Mark Gatiss’s 50th birthday.

October:  Run my second half, get injured again. 🙁  BIRTHDAY!!!! The Boys in the Band! Stina and Sara came to visit! So much excitement and awesome in one week!  Raised over £1100 for Switchboard for Mark Gatiss’s 50th birthday!

November: Do a whole lot of nothing. Run the MoRun 5K and PR. Pilates.

December: Get my nails done, drink a lot of Starbucks, PASS MY VIVA!

2016 in a brief nutshell:

Plays seen: 1
Trips to London: 1 😞
Miles/km run: 472/759.6 (So should be 500 miles by the end of the year easy)
Pounds lost: ~30
Viva’s passed: 1

Apologies for not getting this up sooner.  It’s taken a bit more time to process than I had anticipated.

As I posted last, my viva was on Tuesday. I was terribly nervous and anxious, as you might expect.  As someone who suffers from anxiety, it was a bit more than that, and it took a fair bit of chemical assistance to get me to the point where I wasn’t literally trembling (or covered head to toe in hives).

I actually slept the night before.  I had had visions of being awake all night or waking up at 3 am wide awake in a panic.  I laid in bed until about 8 and then got up to get ready for the day.  Steph walked with me to Starbucks and uni and stayed with me until I had to go and meet my advisor.  It wasn’t too long until we were called in.

They started off by saying that they wanted this to be a conversation, rather than an interrogation, and I was terribly relieved.  I didn’t think it was going to be an inquisition, but I had read enough on the subject to be wary of the types of examiners.

I don’t specifically remember all of the questions, but I know the first one was in reference to how I decided on this subject area.  I was glad for this question, as it was easily answered, and it certainly helped put me a bit more at ease.  More specific questions went on from there, even getting as specific as page numbers, paragraphs, and sentences, which again I found helpful as I had a copy of my thesis right there to refer to.

The last question was sort of a surprise but not.  I was asked if I were to present my findings at a conference of head teachers, what four key points would I like to share. (It had been mentioned at a meeting I had in preparation for the viva that I might be asked about what I thought this research could lead to policy wise, so I had a think on this before the viva.)  I hadn’t done a lot of research into policy, nor do I have a very good handle on how the Scottish school system works overall.  But what I do know is how teachers think and as a former teacher, I used this knowledge combined with the information from my interviews as well as common sense to answer the question.

After this question was answered, they thanked me, and I was sent on my way while they deliberated.  My supervisor was very pleased with my answers, which was good.  We both thought we would have an hour or so before they called us back in.  It was about 15 minutes later, when we got the call.

And this is where I really panicked.  I didn’t feel like that was a very long deliberation, so it was either really good, or really shit.

I was very relieved when they told me that they wouldn’t keep me in suspense.  I was a bit worried about that, to be honest.  I wasn’t sure how long I could sit there and not know!  When they told me I had passed, I really was quite shocked.  As most people know, this entire process throughout the PhD was fraught with many issues, both personal and professional and there were many times that I did not think I would get this far, and if I did get this far, I’d be laughed out of the room.

So, now what?  I have three months to make my corrections (nothing seriously troublesome and nothing unexpected) and that’s that.  I’ll be awarded my PhD at the next graduation in Spring 2017. I also need to think about publishing results and finding a job.

And last but not least, that last viva question, wasn’t a trick.  It was a serious question as I will possibly be doing such a presentation (or presentations) in the near future.  I would also like to consider other ways of disseminating my research findings, but I’ve not come up with an answer for that yet.  A professional blog or twitter?  Things to consider for 2017.

 

Twas the night before the Viva, when all through the flat,

Not a creature was stirring, not even Bailey the cat.

The chapters were outlined in the thesis with care,

In hopes that the doctorate soon would be theirs.

 

The examiners were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of passing the candidate danced in their heads.

And Bailey on the couch, and I in my bed,

Had just settled down after the thesis had been once again re-read.

 

When out on Twitter there arose such a fuss,

People are still cyberbullying, engaging online with a cuss.

I logged on to my computer, quick as a flash,

Opening the application, not hesitating a dash.

 

The cursor was flashing inside the new message window,

And I certainly was ready to type a message below.

When what to my tired eyes should appear,

Messages of support and love, to some may endear.

 

Understanding exclusion, via Norbert Elias,

In hopes that these marginalising behaviours will soon be behind us.

While the data proclaimed bullying still is an issue,

Teachers need education and training; I tell you this is true.

 

An interesting tidbit; yes here’s a fact.

More young people were traditionally bullied, rather than online without tact.

While this may back up the assertions of Olweus, who may have attempted to detract.

Interviewees illustrated that all forms of bullying had a severe impact.

 

Hopefully the questions will be answered in such a way,

That the examiners will most certainly be swayed.

And hopefully at some point tomorrow,

Cindy will pass with just corrections; otherwise, there will be sorrow.