And it has been almost 6 months…Back then the pandemic was just beginning, and I think we all thought, surely this will be over by fall…nope. Probably not soon either. If we’re lucky things will look better by spring. From mid-March to mid-June I worked entirely from home, and since then I’ve been in the office 2 days a week (except this past week when I finally used some vacation days, though I did not travel). I was initially very worried about my general employment since my typical work cannot be done from home, and also depends on other similar academic/botanical research institutions being open, which of course they were not. Luckily, there is an almost infinite amount of data entry that can be done, and once I was given instruction, this is easy to do from home.
Over these last 6 months I’ve been finishing up my master’s degree in nutrition. I successfully completed my last classes and my capstone paper and graduated on August 22nd. With a virtual ceremony of course. I have the regalia because before our local virus numbers went up again they were going to hold an in person ceremony with limited attendance. Although my classes were all on-line it was through a local school, so attending the graduation ceremony was possible. I’ll never get hooded for real now. Oh well, it was only very recently I learned it would normally be possible. I graduated with a 4.0, which although I’ve always been a good student is the best I’ve done over any continuous period. In high school I did really well overall, but got Bs in PE, yes PE (skills tests were the worst), so I never had a full year of a 4.0 there. Of course I think a 4.0 matters a lot less at this level. I did not do a thesis as the online program isn’t really set up for it. (It’s possible, but rarely done.) The final capstone project/paper is more of literature review/research paper. As you might guess, it was running related. The title of my paper was - The Negative Impact of Energy Deficits in Female Athletes Even Without the Female Athlete Triad. At the heart of the paper was the issue that energy deficits start having a negative impact even before the full Triad develops. This can even include temporary, within day deficits that are made up for within 24 hours. (So an athlete can technically be getting enough calories, but if they spend a lot of time in energy debt, problems may still develop.) Although I focused on female athletes, I also found studies that indicated this issue exists for men as well, though it can be even harder to pick up in men because they don’t have the same obvious hormonal signs women do. I’m only just beginning my job search. Because I have a master’s in nutrition and am not on a path to being a registered dietician, it may not be that easy even without the pandemic hurting the job market. Most clinical jobs are not an option. I know there are usually jobs out there, but so far I’m not sure what to look for or where. Research, public health, nutrition education, independent nutrition coaching (as long as I obey state rules – as in not giving myself a title I do not have for one), are some broad areas, but I know I don’t want to start my own business so I’m not sure where I’m headed. The idea of such a major change makes me feel panicky, even if it is going to ultimately be a good thing.
Running-wise I am really missing racing. I only technically have “missed” two races that I had already paid for when the pandemic began. Those were the Asheville Marathon, which I had just ran virtually in my last post, and the Vine to Wine Half Marathon, which should have been this past weekend. The weather was good, but I’ve felt slower than ever lately. It’s very possible I’m not resting enough, since I’ve not been taking rest days like I used to. From April 27th to August 15th I ran every single day, for a 111-day running streak. I did use a run/walk some days, but this was replacing rest days. At that point I decided my legs were feeling heavier and heavier, and I though that ending the streak with a long run and on my own terms before I got any more mentally attached to it, and before I got hurt was a good idea. The run streak, combined with increased miles to try to out run pandemic anxiety and to just get out of the house has resulted in the highest miles I’ve ever run without an upcoming marathon, and close to the highest monthly miles I’ve run period. It is a lot of running (for me). But all that running has been unfocused, and without a plan. Just running. Speedwork has been a challenge because from March until the end of June the gym was closed (and although I haven’t cancelled my membership, I’m not going back when we have as much community spread going on as we do right now), and the high school track has also been off limits. I need to get myself back to running with more purpose in mind and a focused plan and goal.
There are beginning to be a few local races, with highly modified starts, and limited course support, that have been run or are being planned for the near(ish) future. I gave in to the temptation and signed up for a half that will be the first Saturday in November. They promise a full refund or deferral if it ends up being cancelled, and since it is outside of St. Louis County and St. Louis City, and because they plan many small, spaced out waves, I believe it will happen as long as things don’t get dramatically worse. As bad as things are in Missouri, I just don’t see measures statewide changing much from how they are now. It is billed as a VERY hilly race, so that is what I’m working on preparing for. I just hope I can maintain a pace between 10 and 11 minute miles. Based on how my summer running has gone that might be hard. I’ve gotten way slower in the last couple years.
Celebrating my 100th day of running in a row