The obnoxious title refers to my recent completion of my MS in International Public Service – effective as of this past weekend’s graduation! Woohoo!! “Master Erin” is a bit too um, slavery-condoning, for my taste, but suffice it to say that I’m just super excited to have completed the program.
And what better way to start my graduation morning on Sunday than to run a race? My thoughts exactly.
This past week, I was in recovery mode following my running the Sunburst Marathon on 6/5. I didn’t run again until Thursday (again, recovery mode), and though I was tired from a long week of end-of-quarter deadlines, running-wise, I felt pretty good. Come Sunday morning, when Jack, Stacey, and I were running the 13.1 series half marathon along Chicago’s southern lakefront path, I was feeling pretty rested… unless you count the whole getting-up-at-4:30 a.m. thing. Anyway.
Last year, when I ran the 13.1 race, I went out like a bat outta hell (thank you, Meatloaf!) and suffered for it later in the race, though I finished with a 1:46. This year, I wanted to race more intelligently and finish more strongly. (This seems to be my mantra these days, for I held the same goal when I ran the Soldier Field 10 Miler a few weeks back). Though I still went out a bit faster than I should have, I held on (for the most part), and the decent temps (still humid, but not nearly as hot as the weathermen slated it to be) seemed to be on my side because I finished in a 1:43 and change–a good 3 minutes or so faster than last year’s time. Better yet, my second-fastest mile on the course was the penultimate mile. That made me feel pretty good. I had to rely strictly on water and gatorade the entire race because I accidentally checked my gels with my gear. I’ve done 1/2 marathons before, though, in the absence of gels, so I wasn’t sweating it too much. Plus, this race was purely for kicks–just a way of guaranteeing that I’d get in my long run this weekend, despite my graduation.
Though it made for a long day (thanks to a 2.5 hour ceremony), I have absolutely no regrets to have done a race on my graduation morning. In fact, it seems to make a bunch of sense because I’ve been running and marathoning the entire time I’ve been in grad school for the past two years. Graduating from my masters program has begged many questions of what my “next step” is, and for now, I’m happy at DePaul and intend to begin another Masters program. As for my “next step” in my running career, I’m still uncertain. I’d love to break a PR this year–preferably in the marathon–or maybe even venture into the ultra scary world of ultras. Graduation is all about closure and fresh starts, so in the spirit of graduation, what are your “next steps” in your running?
Like running, school ends, but learning does not. As Dean Karnazes says, runs end, but running does not. Perhaps that why I dig them both so much.