Tough Mudder Tuesday #4

It has been a rough few weeks for training between what is going on at school and some personal things. I have not run in over a week, and probably only ran once in the week prior to that. I have, however, been strength training a bit here and there. I finally got out this morning; it certainly didn’t feel great while running but it’s always the minute I get home and catch my breath. The problem is I haven’t been running consistently enough to feel great during my runs. Tomorrow marks a month until the race, which gives me about 30 days to train. I’ve read very mixed messages about how to train. Some people say run, run, run. Other people say focus on the lifting. My educated guess is that running is less important than strength and/or muscle endurance because obstacles are generally only .5-1 mile apart. Some obstacles, from what I’ve read, will have short waits (a.k.a. recovery time) if there is some backup. It also appears that people take rests at water stations. So in my mind, the ability to run 11 miles straight comfortably isn’t key to finishing this event. I’ve read being able to comfortably run 3-5 miles will do just fine (the website suggests 5-7).

What I’m most nervous about (oddly) is the frigid water. In LITERALLY (yes, the ‘L’ word) every single one of the blog posts I’ve read about the Tough Mudder, people relay their accounts of the absolute shock of the water temperature. Multitudes of people around them panicking and being pulled out by lifeguards, some being hospitalized. So during my shower two weeks ago, I turned the water all the way cold…

My lungs immediately felt like they had collapsed and I started to hyperventilate. Five seconds in and I was dizzy and I had to turn the water back to warm. I imagine that my water at its coldest is probably 15-20 degrees warmer than the water at Tough Mudder. It occurred to me then that the water might be what kills this race for me. So I started training… Each weekday (I treat myself on weekends) I start my shower with slightly cold water. The moment I adjust, I drop the temperature. And again. And again. I’m almost able to handle the totally cold water. It’s surprisingly invigorating and I feel warmer when I get out of the shower. I do know that I won’t have time to adjust when I’m leaping into a pond of 30 degree water, but I’m going to try and slowly lower my starting temperature until I can deal with cold water. Period.

I can’t believe it’s a month away. My team of 12 has suffered some setbacks and injuries, and some people seem less than prepared, so it seems we’ll all be struggling together. I guess that’s the point though, isn’t it?


Prosetentially Famous

I’m pleased to announce the birth of the creative lovechild of several bloggers, myself included. Teacher Girl and I, in our busy lives,  somehow managed to carry this idea from inception all the way to fruition (quite an accomplishment in the lives of 20-somethings). We lassoed in a couple more awesome bloggers, and Prosetentially Famous was born! PF is a creative writing blog where you can read our poetry, flash fiction, memoir-style prose, among other forms of creative writing. As bloggers/writers, we are all super excited to get this off the ground, so if you are interested please check it out! You can comment, read, or add our feed (I rhymed)! Even if creative writing is not usually your thing, you’re bound to find a piece that you like!

We are also willing to consider additional bloggers who are interested in joining the PF crew (the more the merrier). If you enjoy creative writing and want to get your work out there on Prosetentially Famous, let myself or Teacher Girl know! Now go ahead and visit…


You know you want to.

KONY 2012

For those of you who have not yet heard of Joseph Kony or the “KONY 2012” campaign, you will. Even if you turn away from this blog right now, by the end of 2012 you’ll know.

About eight years ago, a documentary called “Invisible Children” opened my eyes to the atrocities occurring in Africa (specifically Uganda and its neighboring countries). I won’t delve into details about that documentary, but I will say that since that film, a non-profit foundation under the same name has formed. Not everyone agrees with the mission of this organization, how they allocate their funds, or whether we have any business in African affairs at all. Some people feel that their latest campaign, which you’ll learn about in a minute, is an effort to militarize an already-unstable country. To some extent, this is not totally inaccurate. However, to that I respond that the conditions over there warrant whatever is necessary to equip the Ugandans well enough to solve their own problem: Joseph Kony. Who is Joseph Kony? You’re about to find out.

Unfortunate News

I’ve been M.I.A. because I’ve recently gotten some unfortunate news about my program. A little over a week ago, the whole program was urged to attend a last-minute meeting, for which they even cut classes short. We were told that our university would be suspending funding, and therefore admissions, to our program, as the budget did not allow for it. Our program is particularly expensive to maintain because we need to maintain accreditation by the important organizations in our field. This news was extremely discouraging (I was looking forward to ushering in new first-years), but it didn’t stop there. We are due for a site visit by our accrediting body in 2013. Without funding or any special agreement, we will almost certainly lose accreditation following that visit. Seeing as how I won’t be graduating with my doctorate until around 2017, this presents a major dilemma.

The students’ initial reactions were that without accreditation, the degree would be useless. We have since learned that this is not the case, though it does limit our options a little. In this state, an unaccredited degree will present no problem in getting hired at a school (schools frankly do not care about psychological accreditation), nor in sitting for the state licensing exam in psychology. This is good news to many of us, as most students in school psychology prefer to work in such applied settings. The beauty of the Ph.D., however, was that it also allowed us to teach in academia and conduct research, both of which apparently value an accredited degree. So although the most important options are still on the table, this news has knocked a few off that list.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still awful news, but no part of me (nor many other students, I believe) has the energy or desire to transfer programs. This happened as a result of a budget crisis, and does not speak to the quality of the program that we’re in. I’m still proud of the program that I’m in, and barring even more traumatic news, I’d really like to stick it out here. As far as I’m concerned, I can still do what I want to do with this degree.

The lead faculty are also doing what they can to arrange a “phase-out” of accreditation, which may provide a few additional years of accredited graduates (not likely me, as I still have a long way to go). The decision is tough, but ultimately I have no where else to go right now. If I do change my mind, I wouldn’t be able to apply anywhere until the fall. So at this point, only time will tell where I’m headed.

Tough Mudder Tuesday #3

I’m another week closer to the race and getting nervous. I ran four days for 30 mins in the past week, but it’s not quite enough. I need to ease myself into a long run once a week until I’m at about the 5-6 mile range (which they recommend despite the 12-mile race distance because the obstacles will break up the continuity), but I’m running out of time. There’s just two and a half months left and I’m still struggling find time for training 5 days a week. When I did train this week, it was strictly cardio; I haven’t strength trained all week. I’m more nervous about being in shape for the distance anyway. The worst case scenario is I have to bypass an obstacle because I lack the strength to complete it, but if I can’t keep up with my team during the running, it’s all a lost cause. And so I head into a new week of training…

My goal this week is to train 5 days. Three days will be my standard 30 minute run, one day will be 30 minutes of cycling (trying to avoid the stress injuries that littered my track & field career), and one day will be a longer run of 40 minutes.

Wednesday: 30 min. run
Thursday: 30 min. run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 30 min. run
Sunday: 30 min. cycling
Monday: 40 min. run
Tuesday: Rest

InstaFriday #2

It’s three days late, but my MacBook has been at the Apple Store getting “fixed” (which it was not). Better late than never. Here are my Instagrams from last week:


The Podcast Post

“Sounds boring.”
“Like the news?”
“I’ll just listen to music.”

These are just a few of the responses that I’ve gotten when I’ve mentioned that I listen to podcasts, or encouraged others to do so. For those of you out of the loop, a podcast by definition is “a multimedia digital file made available on the Internet for downloading to a portable media player, computer, etc..” Perhaps this boring definition is the very reason people avoid them. Among non-listeners, I’ve noticed some pretty major misconceptions about these audio gems! For one, they don’t have to be boring. There are so many different types of podcasts that I’m confident every single person could find one that engages and interests them. They are also not all news-related (though of course, some are). I actually do get most of my news fix from my podcasts, but they certainly don’t have to serve that purpose for everyone. I usually listen to my podcasts when I’m in the car or walking for a while (time that would otherwise be totally unproductive), and they’re perfect for just that. Think about all of the time you spend in your car each week. If you were enjoying a podcast or listening to an audiobook, think of how much more you could take away from that experience. I look forward to my commute every day because of the way I spend it. I’ve heard some of the most thought-provoking stories of my life on “This American Life,” laughed with “Wait… Wait… Don’t Tell Me,” and learned to understand the global economic crisis (in a fun way) with “NPR’s Planet Money.”  I highly recommend to any non-listeners, take a moment and think about when you are on the move and least productive, perhaps even bored. Now fill that time with one of the following podcasts (all available on iTunes) that I highly recommend. You’ll never look at travel time the same way again.


This American Life
Genre: Radio journalism.
Quote from website:
“So usually we just say what we’re not. We’re not a news show or a talk show or a call-in show. We’re not really formatted like other radio shows at all. Instead, we do these stories that are like movies for radio. There are people in dramatic situations. Things happen to them. There are funny moments and emotional moments and—hopefully—moments where the people in the story say interesting, surprising things about it all. It has to be surprising. It has to be fun.”
Why I listen: I’ve shared many moments with this show over the past three years, during which I’ve been a devout listener. I’ve learned a surprising amount of useful information, heard countless tales and true stories that have taught me lessons and some that have changed my perspective. This is my favorite podcast by far and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

The Moth
Genre: True Stories Told Live
Quote from website:
“Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.”
Why I listen: People have amazing stories tell. Period. If you don’t have the courage to make conversation with others about their lives, attend a Moth event or listen to the podcast, it may inspire you to start doing just that.

Stuff You Should Know
Genre: Informational
Quote from Wikipedia:
“The podcast, released every Tuesday and Thursday, educates listeners on a wide variety of topics, often using popular culture as a reference giving the podcast comedic value … The podcast covers a variety of odd questions and topics, like How Twinkies Work, Do Zombies Exist?, How Tickling works, and How Albert Einstein’s Brain Worked.”
Why I listen: Josh and Chuck are the funniest pair in the podcast world, as far as I’m concerned. They take you through the most mundane and obscure parts of our world, and make you laugh along the way. Before long you’ll find yourself pulling out random facts about everything mid-conversation.

NPR: Planet Money
Genre: Economics (it’s interesting and fun, I promise!)
Quote from website:
“Money makes the world go around, faster and faster every day. On NPR’s Planet Money, you’ll meet high rollers, brainy economists and regular folks — all trying to make sense of our rapidly changing global economy.”
Why I listen: The broadcasters that record and put together this show do a fantastic job at taking a topic that many assume is boring (economics) and making it extremely interesting and relevant to your immediate world and mine. Recent episode topic: Did Katy Perry’s record label make money off of her last year? The answer may surprise you.

Motley Fool Money
Genre: Investing & Finance
Quote from website:
“Discussions of topics related to recent news from Wall Street and Washington, DC that affects investors.”
Why I listen: Though I don’t have an exorbitant amount of money to invest, I like to listen to this podcast because they talk a lot about big corporations and tech companies. Listening has educated me on how good companies run, which ones are good and bad bets, and the way the business world functions.

So… which one will you listen to first?