#RunPhD: Relief

A week ago I had my last extra-long run: 18 miles on a beautiful sunny day. I was in a bleh-mood after having some tough stuff the two weeks before, including a car accident. I did loops around the Portland Waterfront and counted down until I could get my self-promised Whopper from Burger King and lay on whatever couch, bed, or flat ground was closest. With the sun shining down, people were flocking to the waterfront. The patch north of Saturday Market was especially full as every citizen with a camera was out with their cutest outfit to stand in front of a tree. By my sixth lap through the crowds, I had to fight the very strong urge to push someone into the river. So many cute couples and adorable kids and happy puppies and pretty dresses…and I’m just desperately trying to get back to my car people!

This week I was back again, for just 15 miles this time and under a much cloudier sky. My running partner and I weren’t quite soaked to the bone, but it was close. She happily left after 6 miles (I’m pretty sure skipping to her car) while I continued on for three more laps. The rain took a break during my fourth lap around, but most people hadn’t discovered the blue skies yet. I was in a perfect window between the raindrops and tourists. My own camera got to capture a rare sight of an empty boardwalk with the bridge in view and pink petals scattered around. By the next time I was back on that side of the river (and less than 2 miles from my finish), Portlanders had escaped from their coffee shops to fill up the walkway again.

Those few minutes in the window, that was enough. Enough to make the wet miles before it worth it. And enough to keep everyone safe from being pushed anywhere my next time through.

We all need those windows in the storm. A space to rest long enough to see what’s changed, what’s the same, and where solid ground is. Then we can move on again, back into the storm if needed.

A crying baby upstairs says my nap time window for writing is over. Perfect timing little 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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