31 miles, hurrah!

finally made it out of the 20’s for my weekly mileage!!! With a tough workout AND a long run thrown in there! This event has been far too long in coming – I somehow got stuck in the mid-high 20’s seemingly forever and then had a couple rough weeks with trying to finish up my thesis (barely over 10 miles last week, yowch).



Equally exciting, I got to run with Fish for the first time in ages this morning – she’s been off doing fun things like taking the bar exam and gallivanting around Europe. Ookay, so one of those things was a little more fun than the other 😉 The weather here has decided to suddenly shift into Fall mode and I ended up shivering through the first mile of our run in LONG SLEEVES!!! Crazy stuff! I’m hoping to race an afternoon 4k (cross country! with college gals! Ack) in 2 weeks so I’m hoping the cooler weather holds.

On the academic front I’m prepping for the start of the semester, which means I’m basically sitting here feeling anxious but refusing to do any actual work until 8 a.m. tomorrow morning. I’m TAing the same course as last Spring but (thankfully!) only a single lab section for a much smaller class (only ~25-30 students total). In addition, I’ll be working with just one other instructor – the wife from the husband-wife professor duo that taught the course last year. I get along well with her and I’m really looking forward to not sitting through any hour-plus meetings this time around. She also gave me some supportive feedback regarding failing to finish my thesis in time. Apparently writing up her dissertation drove her to (uncharacteristic for her) sleeping in as late as possible every day that she had to write just to avoid starting the dreaded task. It’s validating to hear from people who’ve actually made it through the process that the thesis/dissertation write-up IS actually a tough piece of work and that it’s normal for the process to drag on longer than expected. One can only write so much in a day before one’s brain turns to sobbing mush – something I tend to forget until it’s too late 😛

Here’s hoping the semester starts off well!


Happy Friday!

The semester starts on Monday and I am planning to cram as much running and cooking and sewing and doing-all-the-non-school-related-things into this weekend as possible.

Started off with a run this morning, now off to finish ALL THE INTERNSHIP APPLICATIONS and then take a gander at my slowly-emerging-from-the-post-revision-rubble 3rd thesis chapter.

Hope you all are having an amazing Friday 🙂

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Things I have learned while thesis-ing

Getting this thesis wrapped up is kind of kicking my ass. I *like* writing and I actually really enjoy working on figures, but the seemingly endless sets of read-revise-read-revise-send for feedback-freak out-revise-revise-revise are killer. However, I’ve come up with a few habits that are helping keep me sane:

1) Just do a dang outline.

I abhor making outlines. Something about the formal, roman-numeral outline just drives me bonkers – tedium mixed with tough brain work all in a ridiculously tidy package. I can generally get a 10 page paper out of a very loose outline, my set of figures to keep me on track, and some post-writing revision. However, a 100 page document is a drastically different story. I used a loose outline for my 1st draft and am now paying for it. I’m currently making a new (much more detailed!) outline to go over with my advisor to reduce redundancy and improve flow.

2) Write when you can…and take breaks!

I’ve realized that cramming a solid 8-10 hour block of writing in leads to getting lots of words on paper…er, screen, but also results in about ¼ of those words being “garbage words.” Too much fluff & filler, not enough sharp, concise statements. I work best from about 8-11 am, 2-4 pm, and 8pm-11 or midnight. Kind of a silly schedule but hey, if it gives better results it’s totally worth it!

3) Stay positive!!!

Every time my advisor sends feedback I take a deep breath and then dive in. I inevitably find myself muttering angrily under my breath and glaring at the solid screen of comments and track-changes. But then I take a walk, come back and find a few easy-to-address comments, and try to look at the tough comments in a new light. My advisor and I are working towards a common goal – technically accurate and compelling thesis! So after looking through the revisions I’ve been making a habit of sending him a “thank you for the feedback, specifically blahblahblah” email before diving in to actually fix/add stuff. Somehow the act of saying “thank you” actually shifts my attitude more towards the grateful and further from the “What is this guy thinking?!?!? Ack, I’m never going to finish >:[” mindset. Copious quantities of chocolate also help 😉




Monday randomness

  • Went to a friend’s dissertation defense today…and totally forgot to grab a cookie.  Dang it!  Totally worthwhile presentation even without the free sugar though – my friend studies eyeballs, which are awesome 😀
  • Tested out my theory that more ponytails = more speed today.  Worked pretty well til my body realized it was 88 freaking degrees out and redirected what felt like half my blood volume to my sweat glands so’s to not actually burst into flames.

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  • My thesis has a title now!  And an abstract!  And a “this thesis is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master’s of Science in THE FREAKING UNIVERSE” page.  It looks *very* official.
  • I ran a 5k this past weekend.  And of course I forgot to start my watch, got distracted by ice cream (mmm!) afterwards & forgot to look at the results, and am now impatiently refreshing the race homepage in vain hope that they’ll get the dang results up already.  Give me some numbers, dangit!



Time is flying…

After a rough Monday this week absolutely flew by.  Not to say the rest of the week wasn’t tough – my darling MountainMan has been out of town all week and I really miss him.  Although, I *am* a little relieved he’s been off having fun because if he was home I’d hardly have time to see him anyhow and he’d probably be feeling a bit lonesome.  Yep, this week’s been a packed one!

I started the week off with some grading, thesis writing, a *delightful* soldering session (3 hours of sticking little tiny components together and enjoying the delicious sent of melting solder, mmm) and a late night trying to get my *favorite* finite element model to work.  Workout:  Not-so-easy 4 mile slog down to the local park.  Sooo tired.   

Tuesday I spent the morning switching header wires out for the lab course that I TA.  I actually kind of like these repetitive tasks – mainly because I feel so accomplished when I end up with a nice big pile of parts to prove how much I got done ha ha.  I also pounded out a couple pages of my thesis and did some more work with the model from hell.  Alas, these latter tasks gave me far less concrete rewards for my efforts 😛  Workout:  3 miles with my favorite smartypants running buddy 🙂  High point of our running conversation?  These awesome-sauce shorts from my new addiction, Oiselle.  Dang you Oiselle and your comfy, comfy clothing! 

Wednesday was actually pretty good – I was on campus for 13 hours but my advisor was out of town so I got to actually eat lunch for once instead of rushing from lab, to a meeting, and back to lab like usual and desperately trying not to pass out from hunger while teaching lab.  I am a major fan of lunch!!!  An unfortunate combination of extended office hours (5 hours instead of the usual 1…yay?), panic over the fact that my model *still* wasn’t working, and wayyyy too much caffeine during the day meant I was up til 2 working on research.  No running for me.  

 Thursday brought some enjoyable thesis writing and another tough office hour session (*only* 4 hours this time 😛  But I got a candy bar from a grateful student.  Woot!).  Workout: Felt like I was flying!  2 miles easy downhill, 1 mile up-tempo back up the hill, 1 mile easy (but still uphill, my calves are still tired!).  Freakishly amazing considering the lack of sleep.

Today I taught in the morning and then spent the rest of the day editing figures for a manuscript that I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute to.  I actually kind of like tediously moving and cropping images in Powerpoint.  Especially since I can listen to my new favorite podcast (Welcome to Nightvale – so weird, but so awesome!) while doing so.  Workout:  basically the most difficult 4 miles ever.  Easy pace but was just dragging 😦  Too much time hunched over computers = back muscles so tight I feel like my lungs are being crushed.  Boo.  


Things I learned this week:

1)  Some of the best runs come when you are least expecting them (ok, already knew that but got a great reminder on Thursday 😉  ).  

2)  I find nearly 30 hours of face-time with students exhausting.  I love teaching, but teaching students how to debug code takes a ridiculous amount of patience and energy.  I seriously don’t know how elementary/middle/high school teachers teach all day, every day.  I’d probably turn into a total grouch :S

3)  25 mile weeks can actually be plenty tiring.  Even if weekly mileage less than 50 still *sounds* like a piece of cake to my ex-collegiate-runner brain, when you’ve barely run for almost a year 25 miles in a week provides plenty of physical stress.  I have been extremely grateful for the full 25 miles worth of quiet time & endorphins this week though 🙂