#RunPhD: Love It & Hate It

About once a week for the past two years my alarm has gone off at 5am one morning every week to run.

Actually, I need to step back a little…About once a week for the past two years I have voluntarily set my alarm to go off at 5am one morning every week to run without any chance at a shiny medal at the end. Yep. Needed that detail. Back to the regular timeline…

The plan started a few years before, when I was working full-time at a college and was interested in being part of a running group. I couldn’t find one that fit my schedule, and as a full-time worker bee and full-time doctoral student, didn’t have the mental margin to create my own. Then two years ago I was working part time for a church with a much more flexible and open schedule. I created the small group through the church and found two times a week when other folks said they were available. Over a few months the meetings shifted a bit and settled into a few new running partners rather than the original group image in my head. And it has been wonderful (except for that 5am alarm part).

See one of my running partners is Kira, a busy clothing designer, mother of three future Jedi, wife to an ultra marathoner, social justice warrior (through kindness, not through scary signs), and juggler of community responsibilities. Between her schedule and mine, the best time to meet was at 6am on a weekday. With our difference in running speeds, I was her rest day and she was my speed-work. Over the months my running got stronger and faster thanks to this gracious friend. Now I can regularly run 9-10 minute miles (rather than the 11:30s I was stuck in for years). My race times have definitely improved thanks to those 7 mile runs at 6 in the morning.

I hate setting the alarm the night before. I hate when the alarm goes off the next morning. I hate when I finally obey the alarm, and how panicked I am each week after hitting snooze three times.

But I love that time talking and running with a friend. And I love how it feels to conquer 7 miles before some people have even finished their coffee. And I love that when we skipped a few weeks when Kira was injured, I missed it (not the alarm, just the run).

Two years in, and I still dread setting that early alarm. But I’ll still be setting it for next week. #WorthIt

I’ve survived 13 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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