I’m sitting here incredibly antsy because I want to go for a run but instead I have to wait a bit until I can go to the gym instead and do a bike workout because my toe is all messed up.  I shall provide you with a picture from yesterday’s run aka the calm before the storm:


Everything was fine and dandy (and muddy) in the park, it’s the stupid slippery roads and paths that did me in 😦  I should only have to do roughly a week of biking/swimming workouts until the swelling and bruising goes down and the toe feels okay to run again.  No insanity (aka lots of jumping) this week either.  I’m going to feel so restless. The bike just doesn’t do it for me.  It’s a great workout, just mentally it doesn’t satisfy me. 

I’m on a roll making things I enjoy and that are (reasonably) healthy for dinner.  May I present, homemade flatbread pizza!


And because I’m probably going to annoy you all with Olympics talk for the next two weeks (along with my buddy Carson, fellow Olympic-phile), I shall give you a little personal update today.  Most of you know I’m in a PhD program in English.  My program is one of the top few programs in the world and is very competitive and sadly, that doesn’t end after you get in.  There are these hurdles you have to go through at multiple points in your career.  I’ve completed roughly half of my 300 page dissertation and have had to defend my work with that oral examination I took a week ago today.  There is a panel of 2 examiners I’ve never met and who have not read my work or the text I’m writing about.  They judge not only the work they have in front of them, but numerous external factors that I can’t control.  They could love my written work, but not think it’s right for this school or think I’m not engaging enough with theory or whatever and it’s something that might pass one set of examiners but another set will fail you so it really accentuates just how subjective this discipline is.  If you fail, you have to leave the program.  That’s right…you just go home, no more PhD.  To show you how subjective this may be, my supervisor had a student who failed, they didn’t think her project feasible or suitable for this school.  She left and applied to other schools, and graduated with her PhD from Stanford.  I already experienced this in the admissions process, I was denied from a school I really loved because I don’t use a lot of theory in my work and they are a very theory-based program.  Everyone wants to see different things from their students, even among the top 10 institutions, they’re just not all created equal.  Hence my stress levels last week…I will find out in 4 weeks whether I stay here and write the second half of my dissertation and get my PhD in roughly one year from now, or have to move back home and reapply to PhD and start the whole process over again.  One more year or four more years to get a PhD.  Obviously, this has led to discussions as to whether I’ll even try to go elsewhere because four more years is a huge commitment and Joe has already moved for me to do a PhD once.  It’s an incredibly stressful time and yet, in the last week when thinking over my options, I’ve come to terms the best I can with the potential outcomes.  I have a list of schools I’d apply to if I fail and I can decide after I get results if I’d like to do it all over again but at least I have a starting point.  I have a plan for what I would do in the interim, or at least ideas for a plan.  And I of course looked up some races in Virginia in the spring and fall because the only way I’ll stay sane amidst all the turmoil is with running and excitement over new races and things to train for.  None of this ideal but I’m ready to find out.  Sorry for the downer of an update!  I’m very rarely negative but it’s such a HUGE thing that is going on and you might be very confused if I switch from training to one race to another at a completely different time all of a sudden, but it would be because I have to move!  I’m putting it out of my mind until I hear the results so back to your regularly scheduled running, pizza, and puppies 🙂


This is from about a month after we got Stevie.  The size difference still cracks me up. Can I please have my tiny tiny tiny puppy back?


Do you ever make homemade pizza? Favorite toppings? (that’s kalamata olives, pesto, goats cheese, balsamic, and sundried tomatoes on mine above!)

Favorite workout on the bike?  My plan for today is the intervals I would have done running!  5 minutes hard, 2 mins easy x 8 🙂


39 thoughts on “Restless!

  1. Oh no, your poor toe!

    I’m definitely not going to say I understand what you’re going through because we are in totally different programs, but I definitely feel for you! I left a program after one year because they essentially told me even though my work was great, they didn’t feel I fit in with their faculty. They wanted me to stay but wanted me to know their true feelings. Um…ok…thanks?

    When do you find out? It’s such a stressful waiting period but I have a feeling you rocked it.

    • Oh no! That’s exactly what I’m afraid of, I’ve had great feedback on my work and everyone seems to love my project but I worry I’ll be told they just don’t think I fit the program for intangible reasons. And I passed up a school where I felt super connected to everyone on the faculty and incredibly supported because this one is the most prestigious. I find out in 4 weeks 😦 how do you feel about the switch and the delay and such?

      • Ugh that wait…. 😦

        The switch was interesting. I started at a “prestigious” school and moved to a state school so, at first, that led to some hard feelings amongst some of the other students that took a while for me to get past.My research also, of course, got slightly delayed and I’m still trying to catch up on that some but the worst part was the first semester when I was trying to learn the ways of the new school.

        Overall, the switch and the delay was quite rough at the time but I think it was worth it. Do I feel some regret about leaving? Sure sometimes, but the support I get from my advisor where I am now is amazing and I know it was the right career choice for me in the end.

  2. Hope that toe feels better soon, lady! And sending positive vibes your way that you passed and will not have to start over. If I can give my two cents, I think the process of failing you out based on subjective opinions a year before you’re done is pretty terrible.

  3. Between the toe and the stress of your program, I would be going BANANAS. Though, I am pretty sure you won’t fail. Everything looks awful when you stack up all of the unknowns- so my advice to your stressed brain is to be confident and just keep moving forward.

    I HATE THE BIKE. I can barely tolerate spin class. I prefer swimming/ aqua jogging over the bike any day. I don’t love swimming, either- but it gets the job done.

  4. I’m going to send out positive vibes to you – both for school and your toe! You rock and they’d be idiots to lose you. You may not be able to go for a run right now, but there’s always pizza!

  5. That is seriously CRAZY! I have never heard of such a ridiculous policy for PhD programs. I don’t blame you for being stressed, but at least you have some pizza that tastes good! I think I might make some this weekend too 🙂

  6. That sounds super stressful! In my PhD program they do a review after 1 year to decide if you should move on or graduate with a MSc. But it was also science-based and less subjective – that’s why I avoided the humanities. When I was really stressed out I would allow myself 10 mins every day to freak out and that was it. Then no more thinking about it.

    PS Your pizza looks great.

    • Sometimes I wish I was capable of the math/science thing where everything is far more objectively measured, my whole family and husband are in those fields and they just cannot comprehend how ridiculous some of the humanities stuff is.

  7. I loved hearing how your PhD program works! Don’t love how stressful this is for you and how subjective the whole process is. Good to have a plan though. I find that having a plan for all scenarios helps to decrease my stress (just a little bit 😉 ). I was considering going back to school for a PhD in cancer biology. I’m having a quarter life crisis right now because I don’t think that’s what I want anymore. We shall see…Baby Stevie is soooooo adorable!!!! And of course I make homemade pizza!! I usually buy dough from Trader Joe’s (because it’s a lot faster and I’m lazy), but right now I’m into my cauliflower crust!

  8. Wow, I really liked the inside scoop on your PhD program. That was stressful for me to read, so I can imagine how nerve wracking it is for you to wait. It’s insane to me that they could just kick you out. BUT… that’s not gonna happen. Positive vibes that you’ll continue in VA!! In the meantime, try not to stress too much. What’s done is done. Nothing you can do about it now. Have a great weekend Emmeline 🙂

  9. Oh goodness, I can just imagine how stressed you must be. I really hope you can find things to occupy your mind for the next 4 weeks. I’m sure you did super awesome! I can’t believe they will just basically tell you to hit the road if you don’t pass?!?!?

    Can you do pool running? It’s supposed to be a great alternative for runners who aren’t supposed to put force on their legs/feet. Take care 🙂

    P.S. I’m plain Jane in terms of pizza: Multigrain crust, cheese and sauce. Pretty wild. 😉

  10. Ugh, your school sounds so stressful! Pizza is definitely in order! I like to make my own as well, the Hot Hawaiian I already mentioned in a comment. I have a stationary bike I got years ago when I tore my ACL and it was really the only workout I could do. I still use it when it’s snowy and icy and I don’t feel like running or going to the gym.

    • My husband wants to get one and I think I’d hate biking a lot less if I didn’t have to venture to the gym to bike while I stare jealously at treadmill runners 😉 he tore his ACL years back as well so he became very good friends with biking!

      • Get one. They’re not that expensive and you can watch TV or movies and wear bike shorts without looking like a dork at the gym (at least I think I look like a dork in them).

    • I prefer spin bikes but have no access to one where I love now 😦 stationary is not my favorite. At my old house I had my tri bike set up on an indoor trainer which was wayyyyyy more fun but no room in our teeny tiny rental townhouse.

  11. Never apologize for a “down” post. It’s your blog, and you can share whatever you’d like. I applaud you for sharing this part of your life w/ us. I can’t even imagine the anxiety you must be feeling while waiting to hear the good or bad news. Please know you will be in my prayers from here on out. It’s obvious how passionate you are about your studies, so of course I only hope the best for you ❤

    As for your toe – boo! Just remind yourself though that this is just a TINY sideline from running. You're still young & have years and years ahead of you. Sure riding the bike or other workouts may not be what you want, but things could always be worse. I've been sidlined for almost 2 years, and can definitely say it wasn't easy to grasp at first, but things do get better!

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