@SAFirstYears Post: Running a Half Marathon

My second @SAFirstYears blog post – published date of 2/1/2012:

Sometimes our job is like running a marathon.
Not every mile is awesome, but in the end it’s always amazing.

I will be running my third half marathon in less than a month.   For the past two years I have traveled with a few friends from graduate school down to Orlando, Florida and participated in the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  I know.  Cool, right?  You can dress up like a Disney character (Princess) and wear a tiara.   Anyways, running a half marathon takes a bit of stamina.  By all means, it does not require near the training and mental energy as a full marathon.  But 13.1 miles isn’t a measly hop, skip, and a jump, either.

Just for the record, everyone should know running has not come naturally to me.  My athletic ability was limited to volleyball throughout high school, and running was not required by my coach.  When I got to college and received the coveted “Congratulations, you’re an RA!” letter my fresh(wo)man year at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, I was told the building I would be working in had the most intense staff on campus: we did PT with the Army ROTC.  This required signing up for a class MWF from 6:00 – 7:30 am.  Of course, I did not have to do this, but wanted to hang out with my staffies, so I did.  The first half of the workout was push-ups and sit-ups, and the second half was running.  Three miles every morning.  Excuse me, what?  I don’t think I had ever run three miles at once, at least not at 7,000 feet.

I “ran” with the Army crew for the first time during the summer prior to starting my RA career.  We jogged/shuffled two miles and I have never sucked so much wind in my life.  It was tough, but I managed to make it through the semester without missing a single class.  Since then, I have been a dedicated runner, running about three to four miles a few times a week.

When my friend asked me to run the half marathon with her for the first time in 2010, I doubted my endurance, strength, and abilities.  Eventually, she convinced me to sign up.  We vowed to start training a few months in advance to be adequately prepared.  Well, graduate student life got the best of us, and we were only able to complete one eight-mile run about three weeks prior to the race.  As this was the extent of our training, my self-doubt increased.  But it also put a fire in my soul: I had to prove to myself I could reach the finish line.  By some miracle, we ended up running the entire 13.1 miles.  Granted not every mile was easy, but when the five of us crossed that finish line, holding hands, an enormous amount of exhilarated energy flew throughout my body!

After crossing the finish line after my first half marathon in 2010:

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As this third half marathon is quickly approaching, I know moments of the run are going to be difficult, and others will be motivating.

After crossing the finish line after my first half marathon in 2011:

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Some days we go to bed on a high from having many wonderful conversations with our students, colleagues, or mentors.  And some days are taxing and trying.  But we end every year seeing our students grow and learn, and the warm-fuzzies settle into our hearts.

Not every mile is awesome, but in the end it’s always amazing.

Follow my training journey: #DisneyPrincessHalfMarathon

Pictures from the third half marathon coming soon!

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Happiness Project – January Reflections & February Musings

My January goal was Energy.  Upon refinement, I understood energy to be all encompassing.  Some mini goals were:

to maintain a regular and rigorious workout schedule.
This was pretty solid.  I continue to go to sessions at my local Pilates studio, teach Step classes at the campus rec center, and have amped up my running to prepare for the half marathon coming up!  I could probably amp the training up more, but I have about 3.5 weeks left, so it will get there!

to eat more healthy.
Meh.  Main meals, yes.  But I have gone through an exorbitant amount of chocolate chips just from snacking. Really, a ridiculous amount.  Some might even call it impressive. 

to sleep more and go to bed earlier.
About halfsies.  Not including tonight… 

to keep energy up while talking with students/staff.
I have worked really hard to be intentional with my staff and students – go to more events/programs, and focus more on 1:1s.  I think it has paid off.  Today especially, I had 3 solid 1:1s.  Good chats with my HDs, and then went to a IM Floor Hockey game and cheered on the ResLife team.  And two #cookiemonday’s already this semester! 🙂 It’s been a lot of fun.  

I feel like I have more energy.  I also know I have taken on more this semester, mostly outside of work: in addition to hanging out with my BBBS little sister and teaching Step classes, I have added Golden Young Professionals and writing for the @SAFirstYears blog.

So it’s now February.  
My new focus: “Stay in Touch”: Reach out to more people more often.  I am horrible with staying in contact with people.  This includes random texts, phone calls, etc.  I’m going to do my best to call the dozens of people I have been meaning to send some love their way.  Heck, I even keep a list on my iPhone, under notes: “people to call” – Legit.  Obvs that I need to actually act on it.  Not only does this mean contact people I may not live near anymore, but also work to develop stronger relationships with the friends I have nearby, and get to know the people I work with on a deeper level.  Such great thoughts for February!  Woo!

And just because it’s February, doesn’t mean January goes away.  The focus of energy will stay with me!  Alright, it is definitely bed time so I can keep up my energy to hang out with my Little Sister tomorrow night!  

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Keeping a Journal

I am not a writer.  I think from a logical standpoint.  I prefer to do math and work with numbers than to write my feelings down.  I have tried to keep journals for many years.  They always start strong but end abruptly about a week later.  I have a multitude of them, sitting in a drawer, each about 95% blank.  After a while I stopped trying because it was not natural for me to maintain the process of writing to a book.  Then this whole blog epidemic started a few years back.  Remember livejournal?  Oh yes, I totally had one of those.  I think it mattered more to me because of the possible interactions it could incur from my friends.  I consider it a less advanced, old school twitter.

Anyways, keeping and maintaining a blog is a fun challenge for me.  I like my quiet reflection time, but the transition of pulling my quickly moving thoughts and putting them into words, on the screen, for the whole world to see isn’t always inspiring to me, sometimes it is even taxing.  But I know it is helping me become more articulate.   And I have set a goal to write my thoughts down more regularly.

Recently, a friend asked me to join a group of new Student Affairs Professionals on a joint blogging venture.  You may have heard of it?:  http://studentaffairsfirstyears.blogspot.com
We are each responsible for producing one blog post a week that will be featured on different days.  (I’m Wednesday!)

I have blogged before in the past.  Some weeks I would write two or three times, other times I would go two or three months without writing.  So this is a good challenge.  A challenge I must continue to meet and produce quality work.  (We had over 1000 hits in the first week!) With that being said I will post my entries on my personal site following their release on the official website.

There’s nothing like a swift kick in the patoosh, or at least a friend asking you to join something and then holding you accountable for it, to getcha moving!  I’m loving it!

Remember: http://studentaffairsfirstyears.blogspot.com  !

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So close, yet so far…

I attending our home women’s and men’s basketball games this evening, just with a few of my staff members.  For the record: it was a solid night for Mines: both women’s and men’s teams won!

The women’s game was well attended, but then the crowds started pouring in for the men’s game.  What started out as a mellow student section, became a sea of Mines football players.  As (probably) the ONLY staff member in that section, I felt super-duper awkward.  1.) Because they are all at least 2 times my size.  Legit.  2.) Also, I forget how far away from the student experience I am, even though I feel so engrossed in it everyday.  3 years ago, I knew the majority of the NAU football team (because I saw three generations of them live in my hall when they were first-year students) and was good friends with most.  I still know the ones who live in my halls (nothing changes…).

I think my experience of feeling both a part and far away from the student experience is a good thing.  It means I know my students, and it means there is a level of understanding about what they go through on a daily basis (albeit, the Mines world is way different than what I have been used to), but it also means that I have recognized my responsibilities of a staff member while still maintaining approachability.

I can say with honesty that I miss the good ‘ol days as a Lumberjack (jill).  College was awesome.  (And I think most SA professionals can attest that they enjoyed their college experience – it would be difficult to find many who did not – and that’s why we are here, doing what we do.)  And awesomeness lives wonderfully in my memories (and on Facebook’s timeline…).  But I can also honestly say I have been putting as much positive energy as possible into giving my students opportunities for exceptional experience for the past 2.5 years. And that’s awesome, too.

 

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#theKatiesHappinessProject

A few months ago I started reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin on my way to and from Arizona. I should really read more often. Anyways, I finished it a few weeks ago after re-picking it up, again, on my way to and from Arizona for the Holidays.

I was thinking about starting my own little Happiness Project (from now on to be referred to as HP) back in October. However, I wasn’t convinced. Until, a dear friend, also named Katie, asked if I had read it about a week ago. I was like, “Absolutely – I just finished July!” After some discussion we have determined to start our own. I will resolve to hashtag it: #thekatieshappinessproject on Twitter.

So we’re doing this. In this moment I feel a little overwhelmed by what this means for the next calendar year. I am still processing all that I read and have yet to select my foci. Foci, such a great plural word.

However, while I am still processing, I would like to provide my first few reactions:

1.) The Four Splendid Truths outlined by G-money. (Goodness, I hope Gretchen is alright with that nickname.)
– To be happy, you need to consider feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.
I think I do this. Maybe not outlined in this specific way or with such specific purpose, but it will be interesting to explore.
– One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
Legit. This is something I forget and remember many times a week. Another snippet: “Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?” Super cheese, but same concept.
– The days are long, but the years are short.
Oh do I know it.
– You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy.
Pondering this. Thinking about happiness was what got me questioning happiness. Maybe that’s just what happens when you grow up.

2.) The Commandments
I need to craft mine. Maybe not so much craft, but reflect, recall, and place into words what I know to be true.
I like the idea of “Be Katie.” More to come..

3.) Even though I am still working through my areas of focus for each month, I would like to start brainstorming a few:

Energy: Much like G-money, I like starting the year with energy. Workout, go to sleep earlier, eat foods that are mood boosting. I feel good about this one.
Be present: Enjoying the moments. The small things are often the things that give you happiness and what you’ll remember years down the road. I always feel hurried, so that is definitely an area for growth!
Clear clutter: I am 24 and I already have an excessive amount of stuff. And an excessive amount of stuff I surely do not need. I’ll be moving to a new apartment in April so I want to clear out before I move out. Less to move will be blissful!
Relationships: Maintain them, grow them, or eliminate them if they are creating bad stress. With friends, with family, maybe a lover (partner/dudefriend). I always wish I was better at staying in touch. May one month (and hopefully many more months after) be focused on this.

4.) Instead of the typical NYs resolutions, these will be my resolutions each month. 

5.) As a previously self-diagnosed perfectionist, I must continue to remind myself that I won’t be perfect.
And just because one day isn’t perfect, it isn’t a sign to jump off the bandwagon and throw my hands in the air in a gesture of defeat. No ma’am. I will not have it.

Seeing the clock strike 11:26 pm on my Mac means I need to wrap this puppy up so I can go to sleep earlier, as per energy.

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