I’ve been stuck and unhappy for a long time. I love my coworkers, but not my job. It’s boring and pretty much a dead end. It doesn’t pay well (money isn’t everything, but it would sure be nice not to worry if I’ll be able to pay rent/car/food/etc. every month. My running is my outlet, but even that had gotten to be routine and I wasn’t really getting anywhere. My personal life was (and still is) lonely. I’ve always been an introvert and not a social butterfly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get lonesome. That’s the bad, but this isn’t a bloop to complain. I’ve know I need to do something different, but I haven’t even known where to begin. A couple years ago I looked into becoming a registered dietitian but because I graduated more than 10 years ago I would have to retake a bunch of undergrad classes and even if that wasn’t an issue I’d have to go without a full time job (because classes were only available full time) for 2 years at least and probably 3. Not possible. Then I heard an ad for a Master’s Degree in nutrition. While not a RD it would still open up a whole new area of employment that would be a lot more interesting. Could I make it work? Can I?
I’m doing it. I start my first classes next month. I’m excited. It’s going to be so interesting and I’m excited to start. I’m a little “scared” too. I’m already busy. How will I fit it in? I haven’t started yet, so I don’t know how, but I will make it work. Some stuff may get cut. Loop time is already pretty low – right now I’m multitasking by writing this at the dealership while the oil gets changed in my car. Almost everyone in the program is also working full time. It’s online, but also a real physical school in the area that has a good reputation. (not worried about it being a scam) I knew I couldn’t keep going the way I was. I’m nervous, but I’m really happy about this. I feel myself finally moving forward. Which is scary, but scary like a roller coaster. I know this is something good.
I haven’t and won’t leave running behind. I already run in the early morning hours at a time I’d sleep or not do much besides eat breakfast if I wasn’t running. I’m also doing something in running that scares me – Trails! I’ve always been afraid of trails because I’m clumsy. I don’t fall a lot on smooth sidewalks but running over roots and rocks always seemed like more than I wanted to tackle. But now I’m doing it. I am so slow at it! I’ve fallen a bunch of times already and (mildly) sprained my ankle. The little trail I’ve been running is such a nice change of pace. Except for the spiderwebs. Those aren’t so nice. I’ve tried the stick method, but it doesn’t work very well. There is a new scary goal behind this – I’m running a trail half marathon this fall! I suppose it might have been smarter to start with a shorter trail race closer to home, but this half is near where I went to college and I can stay with (and maybe run with) an old friend. I can’t believe I’m doing this either. But my running had gotten stagnant too. No time like the present to try a new challenge, right? A less scary running challenge is to continue to pursue a sub 4:30 marathon. The fact that I’m running the Route 66 marathon as the “World’s Shortest Ultra” might interfere with that being my official time, but since it’s only about 4 blocks extra maybe not. I don’t think I’m there yet.
Running is going well overall. Paces are slower than I’d like, but it’s summer so that plays a role. Summer started early with very hot humid weather all through May, June and most of July. But there have been some more nice days lately. Maybe summer will break early since it started early? For right now, the heat and humidity are back. My tempo was a slog this morning. I wanted 9 minute miles for my tempo pace, and only managed around an average of 9:20. It was warm and humid, but I wish I could have gotten closer. I had been running my weekly tempos at the high school track, but classes are about to start and I think early morning football practice has started already, limiting access to the track. It’s better to be on the road anyway, or at least more realistic, but I liked being able to measure out my pace so easily. This morning’s run was a strong indication that running a sub 2 road half next month won’t happen. Sub 2 there was a long shot anyway, it’s a hilly race and early September is likely to be too warm here for optimal speed. But the half was only $35 with all the usual goodies when I signed up so it’s worth it. I expect I’ll be closer to 3 hours on the trail half in October.
Added next day – I didn’t get to post this last night, so I’ll add a little about my run this morning. I had a mostly very nice 4 miles on my little trails. That’s most miles I’ve done at once on these trails. There was a lot of running out and doubling back but that’s ok. I can’t beat the convenience even if there probably only about 2 miles total of trail to run. I was surprised when I saw 3-4 deer this morning – it’s a very small bit of woods. I also got bit by a horsefly which was the only not nice part of my run. I was running along when all of the sudden I felt like I was being jabbed in my calf with a needle or a thorn. I looked down and an inch long or longer fly was on my calf sitting surrounded by a spreading spot of blood on my compression sock! Ouch! Ick! Fortunately I didn’t get a huge welt or have it be crazy itchy the rest of today.
The fall line up is set. Vine to Wine Half in Greenville, IL September 8th. F*L*A*T*S (But not flat! It takes place in 1000 Hills State Park) trail half near Kirksville, MO October 6th. Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa OK November 18th. Plus starting grad school. I’ve got some big challenges ahead. I’m a little scared, but also very excited. Finally getting some forward motion!
Now to share some pics from my little bit of trail...
Not a special effect - it really looked like this. Humidity you can see...