#RunPhD: A Plan Q Week

Sometimes in conversations with students, I had to help them figure out what Plan B was going to be. Our initial ideas for their schedule, their graduation timeline, or something else just wasn’t going to work out. So we moved on to Plan B.

And if that one wasn’t working: Plan C.

After that I intentionally stopped keeping track of what letter we were on. It seemed wrong to have a plan related to academics that had “D” or “F” in the title. So instead after C it was always on to Plan Q.

This, my friends, has been a Plan Q week.


I spent last weekend in a training session for becoming an RRCA Running Coach. It was a lot of information in a very short time period, and in a very small office space, so I’m still processing everything that fire hose experience included. After two days of sitting, Monday morning was a tough one.

And Monday was the first day of teaching my new night class. And I taught class Tuesday night too, after a long work day. By Wednesday I was tired, fighting off a cold, and had my yearly bronchitis kicking my sleep schedule out of whack. All the things of life made all the things of running get thrown into the nearest trash can.

While my body and schedule were having a tough time, the world outside my windows was getting hit by some major downpours that I was too wimpy to run through.

Time for Plan Q.


No running this week, and only a few miles were walked. Instead I held on to what I could.

I still did my plan every day (3 minutes and 50 seconds) and am keeping up on a month-long yoga challenge too.

This was one of those weeks where I go back to one of my rules from the beginning of this journey: Aim for better, not best. Rather than attempting to give up sugar / caffeine / red meat / gluten / dairy / everything other than tofu that fell from a tree (is that where it’s from?), I try to make better life choices. Starbucks is essential for my life, but not every day. Red Robin cheeseburgers are amazing, after a half marathon or longer. And cake is always worth it when its made by Amy W.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to run 14 miles to continue training for my next marathon. And they are not going to be pretty after this Plan Q week. But I will try hard to make them strong and then I will lay on my bedroom floor as long as I need to before moving again.

Whatever letter represents your week, just embrace it and maybe next week will be a better one.


I’ve survived 12 marathons and one Ph.D. program. So…now what? I’ve learned through the journeys that it’s not about intelligence, speed, magic beans, or waiting for it to get easy. It’s about strength and perseverance. This year’s blog series will be about #WhatsNext after crossing some major finish lines, and preparing for new starting lines as a runner and a (not that kind of) doctor. I am #RunPhD.

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