Friday, 30 April 2010

30 weeks

That’s all the time I have left. And no, I’m not talking about pregnancy. Well, at least not of a flesh and blood baby.

I’ve got 30 weeks left before I submit my dissertation—18 weeks to complete the full rough draft and 12 to edit the massive sucker. Nearly a decade of pursuit and half-assery is finally coming to a head.

Not surprisingly I’ve been thinking a lot about things recently—in between crazy internal freak-outs at my rapidly diminishing time frame.

My future is like a long dark tunnel. I can see a bit of light at the end now, but I don’t know where that light leads. Hell, I still don’t know which country I’ll be living in come January. And to get to this mysterious endpoint, I have to trek through that tunnel full of mental blocks, weariness and scary unknowns ... as well as my cranky but well-intentioned supervisor.

Amidst all this chaos and confusion is my running.

Training for my second marathon has been rather enlightening. I’ve discovered I don’t really care for long runs—at least not anything over 13 miles. Well, I don’t like them now anyway. They’re also a massive time-suck. On average I run them at a 12 minute per mile pace. That means for a 20 miler I trudge along for at least 4 hours. That’s hella long.

Running is beginning to seem like a chore to me now and that’s not what I want. I need running to be my release, the way I can decompress after a shite day of staring at the same Excel spreadsheets and tables and wondering how the hell I’m supposed to make all that mumbo jumbo understandable to a field full of academics who aren’t mathematically-savvy.

So I’ve decided that Edinburgh will be my last marathon for a while. In fact, it is likely my last race of 2010. I need to prioritize now and my dissertation and re-discovering my love of running have to come first.

Which leads me to the blog.

A little while ago, Nitmos wrote a post about the reasons people blog. Initially for me it was about accountability as I first stuck my toe into the running pool. Now it has become an on-going, informative and hilarious conversation with like-minded people. I learn new things about running and along the way I get to take the piss out of a good number of you. It’s a good outlet seeing as apparently there’s only so much sarcasm and mockery my real life peeps can take before they revolt. Huh, who knew.

But Diggin’ It always had a fixed endpoint. The tagline is “the life and times of an archaeology PhD student”. Either by completion or failure, that status will change in the new year. My question now is whether I should end the blog sooner rather than later.

There are two main issues—time and material. From here on out, I’ll be spending more time working. Therefore I need to have fewer distractions while still maintaining some outlets so I don’t go completely mad. However, with no races on the calendar and no specific running improvement plans, I’m wondering how much running-related material I’ll actually have to talk about. See the dilemma?

My options are to keep the blog going and post less frequently or to end it after running the Edinburgh marathon at the end of May. I’ve decided to go with the first option. But if, post-marathon, the well dries up, Diggin’ It will enter early retirement.

As for post-grad life ... I have contemplated starting a new blog. Something that would make me less identifiable, because I don’t want my future students to stumble upon the blog and realize it’s me. My current shtick is being a running grad student living in a foreign country. The new blog wouldn’t be able to contain anything about my profession, exactly where I live, race times or possibly even specific race names. I don’t know what my angle would be, hence why the new blog is still only a thought.

I’m not posting this to be melodramatic or as a cry for attention. It’s just me thinking out loud. It was through writing this post that I was able to come to a decision at all. I just thought I’d give you all a heads up so that when the time does come you’re not taken unawares.

And so this post doesn’t become a total downer, let me just remind you which race I’m running on Sunday.

Oh yes, there will be nuns.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Later gators.


Theresa said...

Yay, you're still coming up to run Edinburgh! If you want, rather than run the marathon, we can walk up Arthur's Seat and go sightseeing. I'd never tell a soul.

Theresa said...

BTW, that was supposed to be a joke. I am so lame when it comes to trying to be funny on purpose.

The Merry said...

I'd miss you if you stopped blogging, but I can understand trying to juggle too many things at once. It is interesting to read about the life of a Ph.D student living in a foreign country, even if she isn't running.

ShutUpandRun said...

You don't have to dress like a nun, do you?

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

For some reason, I came to this post by way of your blogger profile today and I couldn't help but notice you list Clue as one of your favorite movies. Clue? For realz? The lame movie based on the possibly even lamer board game?

I used to respect you, but now I just ... I just can't.

Hahahahaha! Just kidding! I never respected you. You lost that a long time ago when you admitted you read Jane Austen without being forced to at gunpoint!

Hahahahaha! Kidding again! I didn't respect you even way back then!

But seriously, if I were part of your dissertation posse? I'd fail you just on principle over the whole Clue thing. Because in academia, the whole point is being able to wield your power arbitrarily. I'd be such a good academic, sister. You haven't a clue how good I'd be.

See? I brought this comment full circle with that whole clue reference! The only thing I didn't do was make it relevant to your post. Because who am I? Jane Austen?

Roisin said...

1. I would miss your blog. Like, a lot.

2. I'm right where you are with the "lack of running material". It's hard to maintain even weekly posting right now when my running is so infrequent.

Viper said...

Another blog identity crisis? Write whenever you want. Most of your readers will return when you do. Good luck with the race and the dissertation. And life, I suppose. Cheers!

Keith said...

Blog because you want to. If it becomes a chore, stop. If you don't have time, stop. If you want to reduce the amount of info about you out there, stop.

But if you start again, you have to tell us. That's the rulz.

Nitmos said...

Sometime about a year ago I stopped giving a shit. I blog whenver I want and about whatever I want. When I start thinking 'boy, I should post something' I immediately shut that down and think Why? Be beholden to no one but yourself. Blog when/where/how you want. What, are we going to stop paying you?

Mike Antonucci said...

I may be in the minority, but I think if you continue to blog (even occasionally) it will improve your thesis.

Academic writing requires building a large mountain of evidence before making your point, which is all well and good, as long as your readers happily climb that mountain.

Blogging will remind you that although your thesis has to hold together structurally, those sour old farts who'll be reading it are human beings who read hundreds of theses a year, (probably) have home lives, and like a clever, diverting writing style - such as you possess in abundance - as much as your blog audience does.

So please do your best to keep Diggin' It going - not just for our selfish purposes... OK, mostly for our selfish purposes - but because it will keep your thesis from becoming as dessicated as the subjects of your research.

MCM Mama said...

I'm a big fan of the blogging whenever you want about whatever you want. That's the beauty of reading through a service - when you get around to it, it pops into my reader. Works for me.

I feel the same way about running these days. Just need the damn marathon over, already.

Good luck with the mary and the school work.

The Merry said...

Good luck with the mary and the school work.



Deb said...

I'd miss you like mad if you chose early retirement, but I completely understand what you're saying. Do what you need to do.

(But if you do dump the blog be smarter than me and save it somewhere. I did NOT, and now I find myself missing my drivel/nonsense. I'm running a race tomorrow and I REALLY want to read my race report from last year, but it's gone forever. Stoopid mysterious innerwebs...

Good luck with the diss! It must be an amazing feeling to finally be so close!

carpeviam said...

I'm with Keith. Blog for yourself, no one else. If it means less posts, then it's less posts. You have to prioritize and find the balance you need.


Marcy said...

Just post nudes of yourself and that should hold everyone over between spurts ;)

Jamie said...

Everybody else said what I wanted to. In the end I hope you don't stop blogging completely!