As I write that title, I realize that I’m nowhere close to finishing anything. I’m trying to convince myself that there’s light at the end of the tunnel while I cram for my next two midterms (both on Monday), but I’m a first semester grad student who just started chipping away at a long list of prereq’s. With school, volunteering, training and much more, it’s go-go-go all the time. And this is supposed to be the easy semester!

Forgive me for being a physiology nerd, but this graph kinda sums up my life right now:

If you’re familiar with muscle contraction, then you know what I’m talking about. My big finish line is graduation, and that is a LONG way off – unfortunately it will take me much longer than 300 milliseconds to get there!

However, as with anything, you have to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks to avoid going insane. I can’t help but focus on the future, but I’m trying my best to also be fully present. I’m trying to enjoy the craziness (it’s stressful but awesome stuff, for the most part) and take things One. Step. At. A. Time.

My physiology midterm this past Tuesday morning was my first big step. It was my first exam in eight years, I studied my butt off for it and I CRUSHED it. I only missed one question! It had been so long since I had taken an important test, the closest thing I can relate the experience to is racing. And really, when you think about it, racing and testing aren’t that different. You set goals, you work hard to prepare – and then you perform and get your results.

I woke up early Tuesday morning and pretty much went into race mode until I handed in my exam. I was even wearing running clothes (since I had planned a tempo run following the exam)! I ate a good breakfast, drank lots of water, gave myself a little pep talk in the mirror and then headed to campus, blasting upbeat music to rev myself up. In the classroom, I blocked out the chatter of my classmates with some calming music, closed my eyes and just chilled out. I was focused and ready, just waiting to begin. I could’ve been at a race start – same exact feeling!

So, with my physiology midterm under my belt and my last NYC half marathon long training run completed as of this morning, I’m going to let myself consider the next couple of weeks my HOME STRETCH! Two midterms and a race – I can handle that. Sure I have another midterm the week after spring break, and mountains of reading, assignments and a billion other things to deal with in the meantime, and then another round of exams shortly followed by final exams, all very tightly packed together, but I’m not going to think about that right now.

What I AM thinking about right now is the incredible bagel I just ate. Whole wheat everything Ess-a-bagel, still piping hot from the oven, with cream cheese and eggs (made a mini omelet with egg white and feta cheese) on top. It was so delicious I nearly cried. Ah I love my post-long run food! The second bagel is taunting me – but I’m going to try to save it for tomorrow morning. I did a HUGE shop at TJ’s earlier this week and have tons of other tasty things waiting to be cooked!

I logged 16.85M this morning at 9:12 average pace, bringing my weekly mileage to 40.45M! AT LAST, I crossed the 40 mile threshold. It’s been awhile – since Portland marathon training, I believe.

Today’s long run was very wet, but awesome – my last long run before the NYC half marathon on March 18th. My hamstring was a bit tight at the beginning and end, and I was tired from not sleeping enough lately, but overall I felt really good. I ran with a friend for the first 11.5M and then finished on my own. As you can see in my Garmin details, we covered most of the race course, which starts on 64th st, loops counter-clockwise around the park, cuts over to the west side highway and finishes at South Street Seaport. I really appreciated the change in scenery – I love Central Park, but after a loop or two I get bored. I suppose one way to alleviate that would be to a loop of the bridal path and reservoir – I’ll do that next time. It was also really nice being able to run back to my neighborhood and immediately stuff my face with a bagel!

I ran in my new shoes, and they were very comfy. I got the same ones I always get – Saucony Omni 10 – but in a new color. Loving the black shoe laces! I almost didn’t wear them given the rain, but I figured they’re bound to get nasty eventually, so it may as well be today! Plus, I need to get some mileage on them before the race. They were soaked by the end of my run, but still I’m glad I wore them.

Lastly, I just wanted to mention that I learned something quite useful in the park from my running buddy today. This is probably common knowledge, and I feel a bit silly admitting this, but I didn’t realize that every lamppost on the loop is marked with a cross street. I often wonder where I am in between the larger park entrances and exits, and now that will never be an issue!

I should probably stop procrastinating and start studying for my Intro to Food and Food Science exam. I wish I could take a nap! Instead I get to learn a long list of food borne illnesses and other things relating to food safety and sanitation; various pigments in fruits and vegetables and how they react when cooked; all kinds of information relating to potatoes; tons of information on fats, oils, sauces and emulsions; how to make stocks; “mother” sauces (that just sounds so wrong to me) and their various uses; and much much more! It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds, but at least it’s all very interesting. My other midterm, Nutrition & Health, is your typical intro to nutrition, so things like dietary planning and guidelines, digestion and absorption of the macronutrients (fats, carbs, proteins) in great detail etc…I’ll tackle that tomorrow. Fun weekend ahead!