Blogging has become a luxury as I approach my first round of exams, but I need a break from the skeletal and muscle systems! The 4th floor graduate study rooms in Bobst have practically become my second home. I’d take a photo but this pretty much sums it up: a table, two chairs, three blank walls (no padding), and a door. Try spending 8-10 straight hours in one of these things for several days – then you’ll know how I’m feeling right about now. At least they’re quiet and great for studying (unlike my apartment).

Also, I can get boxes of cupcakes delivered here, as I found out on Friday! E had arranged for a box of 25 mini cupcakes from Baked by Melissa to be sent to me on Valentine’s Day, but I was – of course – at the library all day and night, and also during the rest of the week. Thankfully, they finally found me on campus and I received my goodies at the library entrance. It definitely brightened up my afternoon – they were so adorable and came in such unusual flavors!

  

Ironically, I was reading about carbohydrates and lipids for my Nutrition & Health class as I proceeded to stuff my face with these little, yet lethal morsels. So wrong, yet so delicious. I ate about half the box and felt a bit guilty but okay, and shoved the rest as far away from me as I could (which was about two feet towards the other wall). But who was I kidding? By 10pm, ALL 25 of those things were GONE. It wasn’t my proudest moment, I must say, and my stomach was not happy with me.

Lesson learned – never get a box of cupcakes delivered to your jail cell library study room, particularly when you’re stressed, tired and don’t have much self control at the best of times! But hey, I was just following orders on the t-shirt E sent with the cupcakes.

I suppose tasting and gorging yourself aren’t exactly the same thing, though…

This week has been a perfect example of what grad school – as well as my NYC half training – has been like recently. Constant ups and downs. I am loving this program and so many amazing things have been happening – equally, I don’t think I’ve been this stressed out or exhausted in a very long time.

Let’s start with the positives – I got an internship! A couple weeks ago, I applied for my first nutrition-related position, since I need to begin building my resume for my dietetic internship application. I started on Friday morning at Physical Equilibrium, a small nutrition and fitness boutique in NYC, with a great RD and I’m beyond excited. The woman I’ll be working with is an ideal mentor for me at this stage of my education – she received her personal training and triathlon coaching certifications before attending NYU’s Master’s program in Clinical Nutrition, then worked in a hospital for several years and gradually transitioned into full time private practice. She splits her time between personal training and nutrition counseling.

The opportunity is a great fit for me as a future RD, while also allowing me to contribute and further develop my coaching, writing and marketing skills. I’ll be doing a wide variety of tasks relating to the private practice – some marketing/PR related, and some more nutrition/researched focused. I’ll gain tons of exposure to running a small business while learning from her diverse nutrition and fitness experience. It will be a wonderful introduction to both industries – it will also give me a sneak peak into what I ultimately hope to do before I begin my clinical training.

This past week’s lab was also quite fun. The basic set up is that we arrive in our uniforms (chef’s coat etc), our teacher talks to us for a bit about what we’re doing that day, we spend the bulk of class cooking a variety of things (each team makes something different) and then we taste and discuss as a group before cleaning up. It’s a bit crazy trying to find everything in the kitchen and finish everything in time before presenting to the class (it really is like those cooking shows), but I love it, especially since my team includes two of my closer friends from my program.

  

We didn’t do any “real” cooking last class – we conducted a few experiments (like adding vinegar and baking soda to two pots of cabbage to see the effects of adding acidic and alkaline substances to different vegetables), practiced basic cooking methods (we had to steam, roast, grill, broil, sweat etc a variety of vegetables), and made applesauce (each team had a different type of apple so we could compare flavors during our tasting). We also learned knife skills – I definitely need to practice my new technique. It’s a bit tricky if you’re not used to it! Next week the real cooking will begin! I can’t wait.

As for the downs…well, I’ve really been a bit all over the place this week. Some days I feel great, others not so much – and that goes for my training as well as my emotions, which for you runners out there know are often linked! School is stressful even when my body is feeling great, so without that exercise outlet, I really struggle. Plus, I was really hoping to do well in the NYC half, and it upsets me that I’ve missed so many important workouts – mainly my speed work, but overall mileage has been very low.

My hamstring, which started to trouble me after I got back from London, was still not feeling well even after several days of rest. I finally dragged myself to a PT on Tuesday and again on Thursday, started to do various exercises she recommended and didn’t run or cross train for several days. Meanwhile, I was spending hours on end sitting in the library, walking less (I have discovered the NYU bus, so it’s a bit easier to be lazy) and not sleeping well, which surely didn’t help things. I finally did a short run on Friday, which felt okay but afterwards I didn’t feel great, I rested yesterday (went for a nice walk along the river) and ran 9 relatively pain free miles today at 8:46 average pace. Here are a couple of photos from my walk – it was such a beautiful night! On a side note, I discovered the voice memo feature on my ipod nano – I created my own physiology “podcasts” by reading my notes aloud for each chapter, so I can listen to them as I walk, run or cook. Pretty handy!

 

My legs are definitely better but I still don’t feel quite right. My energy levels are lower than ideal and my muscles are tight, despite tons of stretching and foam rolling. I’m sure stress is part of it. I’m getting a 75-minute sports massage tomorrow so I’m hoping that will help. I never go this long without sports massage, but as a student in NYC, it’s definitely not something I can afford to do even on a semi-regular basis. But desperate times call for desperate measures!

The half marathon is in a month. I haven’t given up entirely on my hopes for doing well, but I’m realizing that now may not be the best time to put pressure on myself. Clearly my body is sending me a message, and I need to listen. Perhaps I just need to adjust my definition of “doing well.” Either way, school, and my health, must come first. Hopefully by the time Chicago rolls around, I will have managed to find a better balance in my schedule. I keep forgetting that I’ve only been in this program for a month – it feels like so much longer!

At the end of the day, this is what’s important: I am exactly where I want to be. Even in that tenth hour of studying, when I’m burnt out and ready to butt my head against that unpadded wall because I’m convinced I’m going to fail my physiology exam – I never doubt the decision I made to become an RD. I didn’t expect this path to be an easy one, which doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally envy some of my working friends, with their paychecks and social lives, but I know all the pain and joy I’m experiencing right now is part of my chosen adventure.

So let the fun continue – back to learning the muscle system and banging my head against that wall…

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