After six weeks of anticipation, I received some incredibly exciting news via email a couple days ago: I have been offered a place in NYU’s master’s program in Clinical Nutrition! I just accepted my admissions offer and am officially on the road towards becoming a Registered Dietitian. YES!

I received NYU’s email upon returning to my car after a relaxing, restorative 6M run in Nisene Marks. My legs were a bit sore from Sunday’s race, but I was feeling anxious about still not having heard from NYU (they did say late November OR early December, but I am not the most patient person…) so I needed a distraction from constantly refreshing my email inbox. My application was strong and I had faith that I would probably get in, but you never really know and all the waiting/obsessing was making me paranoid.

Also, the weather was crisp and sunny – far too perfect to be cooped up inside – and I really missed the redwoods. My last run in the forest was the morning I flew to NYC in late October!

The run was lovely. All I could hear were my own footsteps and it smelled like Christmas trees. I stopped three miles in before turning around and took some time to listen to the creek and appreciate the peacefulness. Ahhhhhhh. What a special place. I took deep breaths, closed my eyes and reassured myself that everything would be okay, no matter what happened. And hey, if I didn’t get in, that meant more time to enjoy California and my favorite running trails!

I got back to my car, checked my phone and almost like magic that email I had been awaiting for so many weeks suddenly appeared. See what going for a run can do?!

I started screaming “I’m in!” and jumping up and down. Some mountain bikers next to me gave me strange looks. “Sorry, I just found out I got into grad school!” I continued my silly happy dance and then made a bunch of phone calls. My family and friends have been incredibly supportive and encouraging throughout this whole process – it felt wonderful to share the good news with them and receive so many kind words in response!

I cannot tell you how relieved I am. Classes start on January 23rd which means everything is happening VERY quickly. I have an endless to do list to get myself prepped for my first semester, including scholarship applications, finding a place to live, figuring out which classes to take, finding part-time work (I won’t bore you with the rest). I also have a VERY long road ahead of me before I can call myself an RD. It’s quite overwhelming.

However, I don’t have to do another round of master’s applications, take the GRE’s or figure out how to complete my prerequisites in California over the next six months when it’s practically impossible to get a space in a local community college course. I don’t have to deal with the fact that the various other schools I was considering all have different prerequisites. And as much as I love my parents and Santa Cruz, I no longer have to live at home, which is a bit embarrassing at 30 years old.

I got into my top choice program and get to start in just over a month – I am so fortunate!

I’ll miss California and my family (moving to NYC at the start of winter?! yuck) and am daunted by how expensive studying in New York City will be, but I know this is a worthy investment, and I am ready for this change. After so many months of talking about pursuing this new career, I’m finally taking action! No more waiting and worrying – I’m moving forward, or perhaps I should say, Eastward!

It’s pretty amazing to think that I quit my job three and a half months ago with only a vague idea of how I might achieve my goals, and suddenly here I am, at the start line. Once again, I have proven to myself that when I set my heart on something, I always make it happen. All I need is a vision, hard work, perseverance and faith in myself. I can’t say I’ve always had these things in abundance – I have my moments of crisis and self-doubt – but somehow I always manage to do what I set out to do. Knowing this helps give me the courage to keep going after what I want, particularly when what I want kind of terrifies me!

In terms of running, I feel newly inspired by my acceptance to pursue my dream of running a 3:30 marathon. Compared to last year, 2011 has been relatively mediocre in terms of racing, with mental burnout hindering my success in the first half and injury plaguing the second half. It’s time to get my racing spirit back, both mentally and physically. It may not happen during my first semester in school – I really want to focus 100% on academic over athletic success – and I currently have ZERO 2012 race plans (the horror!). I am strongly considering the Chicago Marathon in October, maybe a couple half marathons and another marathon earlier in the year too, but I haven’t committed myself to anything yet.

Either way, it will happen. Just like I told myself I was going to become an RD this past summer, and am now on that path. I feel empowered!