2016 has been a bit of a shit year, overall.  Yes, there have been some high points, but overall, I feel like this image sums up 2016 in a nutshell.

And this most certainly applies to me.

This year overall, I did a lot of writing and a lot of running and not much else, which is ok as I had to get my thesis finished. Whereas 2015 was filled with terrible personal lows, 2016 was more even-keeled, but challenging as it felt like every week we were saying goodbye to someone who had moved us on the screen, stage, or radio.

January: I attempted another Whole 30 but wasn’t really in the mindset.

February: I did some running and spent time in the library working.

March: I ran the Resolution Run 10K with a PR.

April: I tried out run club, I began to plan my 41st birthday, and got far too overjoyed at a reply on Twitter.

May: More of the above, only trying to look cool doing it.

June: I was on task to massively PR my 10k at the Women’s 10, but ended up injured. ūüôĀ ¬†This necessitated about 2 weeks off of running and then I began to train for my second half.

July:  Running.  Pilates.  Pokemon.  Writing.

August: Running.  Pilates.  Pokemon.  Writing.  Ran the OUT 5 miler (with no injury or issue, a rarity in 2016!)

September: Thesis submission. ¬†Running. Pilates. Start the fundraiser for Mark Gatiss’s 50th birthday.

October: ¬†Run my second half, get injured again. ūüôĀ ¬†BIRTHDAY!!!! The Boys in the Band! Stina and Sara came to visit! So much excitement and awesome in one week! ¬†Raised over ¬£1100 for Switchboard for Mark Gatiss’s 50th birthday!

November: Do a whole lot of nothing. Run the MoRun 5K and PR. Pilates.

December: Get my nails done, drink a lot of Starbucks, PASS MY VIVA!

2016 in a brief nutshell:

Plays seen: 1
Trips to London: 1 ūüėě
Miles/km run: 472/759.6 (So should be 500 miles by the end of the year easy)
Pounds lost: ~30
Viva’s passed: 1

Apologies for not getting this up sooner. ¬†It’s taken a bit more time to process than I had anticipated.

As I posted last, my viva was on Tuesday. I was terribly nervous and anxious, as you might expect. ¬†As someone who suffers from anxiety, it was a bit more than that, and it took a fair bit of chemical assistance to get me to the point where I wasn’t literally trembling (or covered head to toe in hives).

I actually slept the night before. ¬†I had had visions of being awake all night or waking up at 3 am wide awake in a panic. ¬†I laid in bed until about 8 and then got up to get ready for the day. ¬†Steph walked with me to Starbucks and uni and stayed with me until I had to go and meet my advisor. ¬†It wasn’t too long until we were called in.

They started off by saying that they wanted this to be a conversation, rather than an interrogation, and I was terribly relieved. ¬†I didn’t think it was going to be an inquisition, but I had read enough on the subject to be wary of the types of examiners.

I don’t specifically remember all of the questions, but I know the first one was in reference to how I decided on this subject area. ¬†I was glad for this question, as it was easily answered, and it certainly helped put me a bit more at ease. ¬†More specific questions went on from there, even getting as specific as page numbers, paragraphs, and sentences, which again I found helpful as I had a copy of my thesis right there to refer to.

The last question was sort of a surprise but not. ¬†I was asked if I were to present my findings at a conference of head teachers, what four key points would I like to share. (It had been mentioned at a meeting I had in preparation for the viva that I might be asked about what I thought this research could lead to policy wise, so I had a think on this before the viva.) ¬†I hadn’t done a lot of research into policy, nor do I have a very good handle on how the Scottish school system works overall. ¬†But what I do know is how teachers think and as a former teacher, I used this knowledge combined with the information from my interviews as well as common sense to answer the question.

After this question was answered, they thanked me, and I was sent on my way while they deliberated.  My supervisor was very pleased with my answers, which was good.  We both thought we would have an hour or so before they called us back in.  It was about 15 minutes later, when we got the call.

And this is where I really panicked. ¬†I didn’t feel like that was a very long deliberation, so it was either really good, or really shit.

I was very relieved when they told me that they wouldn’t keep me in suspense. ¬†I was a bit worried about that, to be honest. ¬†I wasn’t sure how long I could sit there and not know! ¬†When they told me I had passed, I really was quite shocked. ¬†As most people know, this entire process throughout the PhD was fraught with many issues, both personal and professional and there were many times that I did not think I would get this far, and if I did get this far, I’d be laughed out of the room.

So, now what? ¬†I have three months to make my corrections (nothing seriously troublesome and nothing unexpected) and that’s that. ¬†I’ll be awarded my PhD at the next graduation in Spring 2017. I also need to think about publishing results and finding a job.

And last but not least, that last viva question, wasn’t a trick. ¬†It was a serious question as I will possibly be doing such a presentation (or presentations) in the near future. ¬†I would also like to consider other ways of disseminating my research findings, but I’ve not come up with an answer for that yet. ¬†A professional blog or twitter? ¬†Things to consider for 2017.

 

Twas the night before the Viva, when all through the flat,

Not a creature was stirring, not even Bailey the cat.

The chapters were outlined in the thesis with care,

In hopes that the doctorate soon would be theirs.

 

The examiners were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of passing the candidate danced in their heads.

And Bailey on the couch, and I in my bed,

Had just settled down after the thesis had been once again re-read.

 

When out on Twitter there arose such a fuss,

People are still cyberbullying, engaging online with a cuss.

I logged on to my computer, quick as a flash,

Opening the application, not hesitating a dash.

 

The cursor was flashing inside the new message window,

And I certainly was ready to type a message below.

When what to my tired eyes should appear,

Messages of support and love, to some may endear.

 

Understanding exclusion, via Norbert Elias,

In hopes that these marginalising behaviours will soon be behind us.

While the data proclaimed bullying still is an issue,

Teachers need education and training; I tell you this is true.

 

An interesting tidbit; yes here’s a fact.

More young people were traditionally bullied, rather than online without tact.

While this may back up the assertions of Olweus, who may have attempted to detract.

Interviewees illustrated that all forms of bullying had a severe impact.

 

Hopefully the questions will be answered in such a way,

That the examiners will most certainly be swayed.

And hopefully at some point tomorrow,

Cindy will pass with just corrections; otherwise, there will be sorrow.

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. ¬†I’ve been quite busy and once my Viva is done and dusted I’m sure I will be able to try to blog semi-regularly again. ¬†I also need to decide if I’m going to keep this site up, as it’s up for renewal. ¬†But first, I thought I’d compile some possible gift ideas for the runner in your life. ¬†(Disclaimer: All these links are direct, no referrals, and I make no money on this whatsoever.)

 

  1. The Lululemon Fringe Fighter Headband: ¬†I’ve got a rather small head and I have had a terrible time finding headbands that fit my head AND stay put. ¬†I recently picked up the fringe fighter in the “We made too much” sale and am in love. ¬†It stays on my head and it keeps my ears warm when it’s chilly! ¬†Bonus! (I might have even picked up another one online recently, shhhhhh!)
  2. H&M Running Hat: If you prefer having your entire head covered (or the runner in your life rather) the H&M running hat is wicking and affordable.  The one I picked up last year even has a hole in the back for your ponytail/braid/bun.  Now, if it only fit my head properly!
  3. Buff multi-functional headwear: Buff’s are great. ¬†I wear mine when it starts to get chilly and it protects my neck from draughts and the weather and I can pull it up over my nose and mouth if it’s really cold. ¬†I recently picked this one up in grey so it would match both my navy and my black running outfits. ¬†It’s multifuctional, so you’re not limited to using it just one way!
  4. North Face Etip gloves:  When it gets cold, you definitely need a pair of gloves out to keep your hands warm.  My hands and my feet are the first to suffer, so I make sure I keep them warm and as dry as possible.  I recently grabbed these gloves.  Now, I also have very small hands and I can just reach the tips of the gloves with my fingers in the X-Small.  They have the magic e-tip so you can use your mobile if you need to as well (although I always just end up taking off a glove).
  5. Smartwool socks: ¬†I’ve totally jumped on the Smartwool bandwagon. ¬†I bought these socks a few weeks ago and have worn them on a few chilly runs. ¬†My feet have remained as cosy and dry as you can expect in Scotland in late November. ¬†Seriously, they are great and I have asked Santa for a few more pairs of them for Christmas. ¬†I wish I had them for my last 5k! ¬†My toes might not have gone completely numb by the start!
  6. H&M Fleece running jacket: ¬†I’ve literally just picked this up. ¬†I’ve not worn it out on a run, but it looks to be a great addition to my winter running kit. ¬†It’s really warm and soft and comes in a variety of colours.
  7. Fabletics Salar leggings (or capris): These leggings are great. ¬†They are warm, comfortable, make your bum look great, and if you’re into lifting pass the squat test. ¬†If only they had pockets, they would be the perfect legging. ¬†They come in a variety of colours and patterns and many capris are in the sale!
  8. Flipbelt: If you’re tights/capris/shorts are short on pockets I’d recommend a Flipbelt for your running storage needs. ¬†I’ve been able to fit my keys, inhaler, tissues, and shot blocks in them and still have room for my iPhone. ¬†Flipbelts come in a variety of colours as well and are a great running gift or stocking stuffer!

Good luck shopping and have a great holiday season!

Have a great gift idea for the runner in your life?  Pop it in the comments!

This was not the race I planned on running.  I had trained for 16 weeks. I worked hard.  But in the end, it. . . well it sucked.

The day before I wasn’t feeling well at all. ¬†I was stressed out and anxious about the race and my upcoming trip and my stomach was in knots. ¬†I could barely eat anything all day. ¬†What I did manage to eat was purely carbs at least.

The day of the race I felt fine. ¬†My knee was fine. ¬†My hamstring was fine. ¬†I had a bagel and a coffee and got ready. ¬†I didn’t rush down to George Square as there was no reason for it. ¬†I do wish I had gone a bit sooner, b/c it took forever to find the bag drop, as I was misdirected three separate times to its location. ¬†I then spent about 40 minutes in the queue for the toilets.

When the race started, I was ready and I felt great despite its start up St. Vincent Street and I managed the first mile in 10:48 which is pretty much unheard of for me, especially going uphill.

The next 2 miles involve running along the motorway and you get a really good view of the city.  It was still really crowded at this point as the motorway was narrow (and very bumpy).  People were stumbling a bit and I saw people having to stop b/c other runners were tossing water bottles in the crowded path and people were literally tripping over them.  I was very cautious here and was appalled that runners were behaving in such a way.

Mile 2: 11:15
Mile 3: 12:00

I slowed down a bit in miles 4-5. I was really feeling the uneven road in my right knee and legs.  At this point I was still running but was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable with the road conditions and the hills.  It was a really nice and sunny day, but once I got into Pollock Park I got a bit chilly with the tree coverage.

Mile 4: 13:27
Mile 5: 13:24

It was at this point, somewhere in Pollock Park that my right knee was absolutely done. ¬†I have no idea why this keeps happening. ¬†I’m doing the exercises. ¬†I can only assume it’s something that is occurring in race day conditions that is causing this as the same thing happened in the Women’s 10K this summer. ¬†It must be the uneven roads that we were running on, as opposed to the paths along the river and through Glasgow Green that I run on on a regular basis. ¬†I kept trying to run every few minutes, and every few minutes my knee would tell me no. ¬†I didn’t hurt all that much walking, so I concentrated on walking as fast as I possibly could. ¬†I try to enjoy my surroundings as the parks are lovely, but was just too miserable to do so. ¬†I was very glad for the water/Powerade stations at that point as I had gotten quite thirsty/sweaty throughout the first half of the run and desperately needed hydration.

Mile 6: 14:18
Mile 7: 14:45
Mile 8: 14:24
Mile 9: 16:12

At this point I was in Bellahouston Park and I was cold and grumpy. ¬†I didn’t feel quite right and was feeling really disappointed and frustrated with myself. ¬†I texted Steph and tried not to cry as I reported my failure. ¬†At this point I finally took on more fuel, and that did help a bit as my times did pick up a bit once I had finished my Powerade and chews.

Mile 10: 16:00
Mile 11: 14:54
Mile 12: 15:09
Mile 13: 15:09
Mile 14: 12:05 pace for 3 minutes and 42 seconds
Final time: 3:05:12 ūüôĀ

Towards the end I walked with a couple of other women and chatted a bit.  I absolutely forced myself to run the last 400 meters up to Glasgow Green and toward the finish line.  It hurt like a bitch but I was NOT walking across that line.

I feel absolutely terrible and ashamed of my final time. ¬†This was supposed to be a race where I blew my first half’s time out of the water, not beat it by a few minutes. ¬†It is unacceptable that I should be running these times after running off and on for 10 years and consistently for 3. ¬†This is something that needs to be addressed as my times overall are appalling and I feel embarrassed to call myself a runner right now. ¬†I am seriously considering hiring a running coach to see if there is something wrong with how I am running. ¬†I’ve had my gait analysed and nothing was found to be wrong with it; on tape I look just fine. I hope I can figure out what the problem is as I feel like I’m not getting any faster, in fact my 5k times seem to get slower!

I was really glad that Steph met me at the finish. ¬†I was so upset that it took everything I had not to cry right then and there. I walked slowly around to find the bag drop pickup and then on to the subway. ¬†Why we don’t finish the race at George Square is beyond me, b/c I hate having to walk to the subway from the Green. ¬†By then I was done and I didn’t even want to go to Starbucks for a PSL. ¬†That’s how upset I was.

At the finish line

We did stop for coffee once we got back to our stop and once I had that I perked up a bit.  Steph picked up ice cream and eggs for me on our way home, and once I was in the bath I was able to eat something substantial.

I had a massage the following day, and by Wednesday I felt pretty much back to normal. ¬†I spent the past week in London walking everywhere, so I was glad that the half didn’t impact my trip.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve run twice and haven’t had any pain whatsoever. So, who knows?