Perfect ending to a lovely day.
As you know, I’ve had my share of ups and downs when it comes to grad school. When I began, I was not sure what I wanted to do, I just figured that I should get started toward a degree if that was an option (which it clearly was). Over time, I kept going and kept working — sometimes painstakingly, but always working toward my goal.
Running (and all forms of exercise, really) has helped me get this far in so many ways.
1. One Mile at a Time. I tell myself to just do one mile. I never commit to more than this at once, even if I have an overarching goal in the back of my mind (4 miles, 6 miles, etc.). I tell myself at each mile marker that if I feel too tired, if I hurt, if I have side stitches — I can stop. I can walk for 2 minutes if I need to. I never have to keep going. This means that if I’m running, it’s because I choose to run. If my legs are moving, it’s because I’m making them move. No one is compelling me, I am motivating myself.
I do the exact same thing with grad school. There’s no need to push myself further than I can go. I take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one month at a time. I look ahead to milestones (like “this semester” or “this publication”) and I commit to staying the course for only that amount of time. This means that I always know I’m there, working my tail off because I chose to be.
2. I Find a Mantra. Brainwashing ourselves can be a huge benefit. When I want to think about how my shins hurt, or how I just want to quit, I start repeating something to myself like “Right, left, right, left.” Or “I can do hard things.” Or “dig deep,” synchronizing the mantra with my stride.
I do the same thing at work sometimes; I count off tubes as I pipet into them, “1, 2, 3, 4..” and I match a rhythm in my head.
3. Run Your Own Race. This is huge to me. If I try to match what the girl on the treadmill next to me is doing, I inevitably end up putting myself down. To compare is to despair. Comparison is always a trap and when I compare myself to others, I always lose.
Instead, focus on being kind to yourself. Cheerlead for yourself. You got out of bed this morning! You are a champion! Think back to a time when you couldn’t run a mile, and think about where you are now, you speedy little devil.
And for my degree program: it doesn’t matter how long it takes anyone else to do a project, or how many publications some other joker has. What does matter is whether I am putting my best effort forward.
The rewards of fitness are so much farther reaching than just physical health. Exercise is all about our minds, our hearts, our beliefs, our self-perception, our self-image. The healthiest version of me is the version where I am treating myself well, believing in myself and trusting myself.
Exercise empowers me to do so much more than I ever dreamed possible.
What does running help you do?
1. I got my very first StitchFix!!
I was pumped to open the box and see the clothes that had been hand-selected for me. The gray-and-black striped hoodie is the only one I’m certain I’ll be keeping. The other items were just not quite my style.
2. Here’s my sweaty post-run face, for your enjoyment. I’ve been doing 6 miles on Saturdays as my “long run.” This is definitely long for me!! It’s good to start my weekend with a big push, and then work in some foam rolling later in the day! 🙂
3. The weekend included a bit of this as well:
I’m feeling bogged down lately, to say the least. On Friday afternoon, I met with my research advisor to discuss my progress in my degree program, and we outlined the work that remains, standing between me and a PhD. I feel like it would be easier to accept it all if I were certain that a PhD will help me to accomplish my goals. The more time that goes by, however, the less certain I actually am that a PhD-level chemistry job is for me. The weekend also included plenty of talks with husband Mark , mom and MIL/FIL about my future and what my goals truly are. I’m just praying and hoping for clarity above all. I want to know for sure why I am headed down this road. If I have something specific to work for and toward, I firmly believe that the work will be significantly more manageable! For now, I’m just waiting and hoping for that clarity.
What did YOUR weekend hold?!