Friday, December 20, 2013

Running, Lately

When I first moved to Oregon, I had an entire month to "math camp" and generally take it easy. During that time, I made an effort to keep my activity level up, exploring new running paths and hiking trails. "Oh, the places I'll go!" I exclaimed. With all my spare time, I was fairly confident I was destined to be the next Kilian Jornet... or, perhaps more realistically, Emily Dirr.

Well, that was naive. Once real school started, I quickly realized that I would, in fact, have to spend more than three hours a day being an adult. Remember that brilliant 9:00 - 5:00 schedule I was bragging about, a schedule that was sure to be the key to my success? Yeah, that lasted about a week.

At first, I tried to run regularly. I followed the first five weeks of the Hanson Method to a T, and I felt great. Just as the plan jumped from five to six days of running per week, however, I realized that kind of schedule was more than I could handle at that moment. I decided to try a different strategy, condensing the same number of miles into fewer runs. For a few weeks, I ran 6 - 8 miles three or four times per week. My body wasn't responding well to that kind of schedule, though, and then, just as I began to reevaluate...

... midterms happened.

Midterms, to put it lightly, were a bitch. All of us econ kids were at our desks every waking moment and I just couldn't bring myself to leave, even for a couple of hours. I assume this isn't unique to my program, but there's a lot of pressure to work when everyone else is. If other people are at school until midnight, I feel like I'm slacking if I'm not. To be clear, I rarely feel like I'm competing against anyone, one of the many great things about my program. When I stay late, I'm not thinking, "If I don't stay, I won't beat so-and-so." Rather, I'm thinking, "So-and-so thinks it's necessary, so I'll probably fail out of the program if I don't." It's an easy hole to fall into.

UO has a dumb quarter schedule so a mere three weeks after midterms (one of which was mostly useless because of Thanksgiving), it was time for finals, which were, unsurprisingly, more stressful than midterms. So, you know, it was more of the same.

Anyway, my current running regimen can be summed up as follows:

I'm so hot it hurts.

I've run three times this December, for a total of 11.5 miles. November was better, but not much.

And since I haven't been running, I feel like kind of a slob. It doesn't help that I'm rocking an extra pound or seven. I'm not a weight-conscious person at all, largely because I had hovered around the same weight for about seven years regardless of my activity level, but my parents' scale tells me I'm a good 5 pounds above the heavy end of that spectrum and I don't feel awesome about it.

My point is, I let my running go to shit and didn't really do anything about it. We're all busy. Being busy isn't an excuse, but I've let it be. I know that if I wanted it badly enough, I could get my runs done. But I haven't.

I hate posts that spew the "NEW YEAR, NEW ME!!!" message so I'm not going to do that. I just wanted to let you all know what's up with my running and lay it out for myself. Needless to say, I'm trying to turn things around and perhaps give myself a goal to work towards. You know, for accountability and all that.

Feel free to give me your honest opinion on the matter, but I'm definitely not looking for comments to the effect of, "Don't be so hard on yourself! You're busy! You're trying to figure things out!" I already know that, but I also know that finding time for running while in grad school is far from difficult. If I can make time for drinking and gallivanting, I can certainly find time to take care of myself.


Hey, let's end this on a happy note! Bailey and I went to Powerline yesterday.

That blob is Bailey. The poor dog gets ice balls on her feet when we're out for a while so has to stop to bite at them. She rips booties right off, though, so I guess that's her choice.

I love the trees when they look like this! Side note: if I read any more bitching about snow/cold, especially from people who live in temperate places (*cough* Oregon *cough*), I'm going to flip out. I get it: it was below freezing and snowed for like five days. Go drink a beer and get over it.


Do yourself a favor and listen to this if you're looking for a new power jam. I'm probably six years late to this song, but it's awesome. Very mall music-ish, which doesn't sound remotely appealing, but it's got a great beat. Try it.


  1. Don't worry, JJ. We all slack a bit here and there and adjusting to grad school is not easy. I did not come up for air during grad school until it was time for my research to really begin, post qualifying/comprehensive exams. It was not fun, but I loved it. Poor bailey :( Feel free to spend the next 2-3 weeks posting ALL of your awesome Oregon pictures, even if most were in your office. And I love that math camp = easy, relaxing time.

  2. That's how I feel about Californians and the cold. You guys have no idea what cold is.

    I think the big thing with a busy schedule is that you might have to make time for running just as you plan in other things in your life. Maybe, no matter what, you schedule an hour to run/shower each day? From how overwhelmed you sound in your post, it sounds like you might need a release each day so you aren't as stressed. Also, running helps me sit down and focus for the few hours right after I get back.

  3. hang on...who says you HAVE to run? can you schedule an hour to take some class or swim or whatever at your school's fitness centre? it definitely sounds like you need a good source of stress relief.
    also...sign up for a race! even if you don't end up doing it you'll have a goal to shoot for.

    i'm one of those morning runners (i'm physically incapable of falling asleep after running in the evening), but that also means I do my best WORK in the morning. so as an undergrad, I'd write all my papers from 7am to 12pm on weekends, have lunch, chill out, and go for a run while everyone else was freaking out about the work they still had to do. of course it was also awful for my social life - at 11pm i'd promptly pass out on the couch of whichever friend was holding the party that week.

  4. When I get stuck in a rut with running, setting a goal definitely helps me out. It can be signing up for a race, making a goal to hit X number of miles per week or run X number of days, or to find a buddy to run with. Having someone else to meet up with helps keep you accountable and for me personally I feel better running at night when I bring a buddy.

    Power line looks beautiful. Poor Bailey and her ice balls... its her own fault, though. :)