Onto the Next Chapter: Life & Training

It has been awhile since I posted any updates on training or life in general, so here is what has happened in the 3 months since my last post.

I completed my last classes as a graduate student last week.

I take my last final exam as a graduate student tomorrow.

I taught my last class as a graduate assistant.

I defend my thesis in two weeks and I'm done.

It is finally starting to hit me that my journey as a "college kid" is coming to an end. It is surreal and odd, but exhilarating and somewhat exciting. I have been in college working towards something, anything since 2007. I can't believe I even admitted to that. I feel as if I have turned into what others refer to as a "professional student." But on Friday when I walk across that stage, no more student here. The last thing on the to-do list is to prep for and defend my thesis. It has been a long road and there were many times that I thought that I would not be able to complete this journey (I guess I technically haven't completed it yet...). There were a lot of tears involved, a lot of curse words, and melt-downs, but I suppose that is what graduate school is for. To teach you how to be strong and fight for what you want, even if it is just a piece of paper with a shiny emblem on it. That piece of paper represents a lot. It represents all the plans I canceled, the holidays I missed, the friends that got left behind. It represents my family's support, my sanity (or lack thereof), the number of Friday nights spent at home or in the lab. It represents a part of me that I knew was there, but I had to prove to everyone else. But most of all it represents all the sacrifices my family and I have made so that I could pursue a dream.

It's scary to close a chapter of your life because honestly I have no idea what comes next. Do I get a grown-up job? Do I apply for more schooling? Do I become a snow bum and move to the mountains? So many questions and no answers. For once I think I am okay with that. I'm excited to see what comes next for me.

Training Update -- for all of you who are curious about my training, well here is an update for ya! It's going great. I ran my longest run in 3+ years yesterday, 11 miles! I went slow and ran the entire way. I was nervous and anxious about this run, I didn't know how my body would respond. My back has been giving me problems for almost a month now. The run was great, the weather was nice, and I even got a nice little tan. That being said I am feeling even more confident about the 24k I have coming up at the end of the month at XTERRA Eureka Springs!

I realized something yesterday with all that time to think. I am not a pretty runner, I am not graceful or elegant as I run. I turn red and look as if I might pass out, my form is mediocre at best, and don't get me started on that posture of mine, but amidst all of that, I am a runner. It doesn't matter how fast I go or the mileage that I do, all that matters is that I lace up those shoes and I put one foot in front of the other. I don't need a cute outfit or the newest shoes. All I need is my music, my shoes, and the road/trail.

This journey so far has been interesting, it has helped me reconnect with a part of me that I thought died when I left the sport of triathlon. It has helped me realize that training for something bigger than yourself is more of a motivator that anything else. Running in support of the Rampy MS Foundation pushes me every day to be better because I know they are behind me 100%. I appreciate everyone who has given me words of encouragement and supported my cause. Because of you the fight against MS is stronger than it was before!

I should probably finish up this last lab report. Until next time.

- J

If you would like to donate to my fundraiser you can follow the link below:


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