Not so functional.

Yeah, okay, not happening. I woke up with my cough being the same painful, productive mess AND it being difficult to breathe. On top of that, I’m back to feeling abnormally tired and lethargic (worse than the daily tiredness/sleepiness that I’m always dealing with). So, I’m going to heed the quote pinned to my wall and listen to my body. It doesn’t help that I’m also crampy and probably PMSing, and really just want my mom to come take care of me. Hopefully another few days off and I’ll be back at the running.

I have a homework assignment on the resolution of pronouns due on Thursday. There are several competing theories as to how comprehenders decide what a pronoun (he/she/it/they) is referring to. For this assignment, we’ve been given a pile of data (a transcript of a phone conversation) an we have to decide which theory best accounts for the data (the speakers’ usage of pronouns) and explain why. Then we have to try and find an alternative model that violates our argument. It’s definitely interesting, but feels a bit tedious when breathing is a chore. 

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Cough cough cough

My breathing wasn’t so bad during the run itself, but afterwards it took a long time for me to stop coughing and start breathing again normally. I’m taking this as a sign and scaling back my run for tomorrow. I’ll swap my build week this week with my recovery week next week. This works out well anyway because I already missed one run this week from being sick.

It doesn’t help that it was 1 degree celcius outside this afternoon with 41 km/h winds. Brutal! This photo adequately represents my trepidation for the impending chill:


Check me reppin’ The Right Shoe (thanks Caitlin!) and the BMO Vancouver marathon.

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Saturday Morning Stress

Going to the gym yesterday turned out to be a really good idea. I did a 20 min warm up on the bike, half an hour of weights and physio exercises, and then 40 more minutes on the bike. My lungs seemed pretty ok with the whole thing, and they didn’t burn afterwards, which is great! My abs are kind of sore today, which is always rewarding (oh yeah, I have abs!). Today I’m going to be brave and try a run. I still have a cough, but I really want to do my long run tomorrow. I figure if I can do 6k today without too much discomfort then my 17k (!!) run tomorrow should be doable. 

Schoolwork is really starting to ramp up. I’m supposed to pitch an essay idea to my Syntax prof on Monday, and I am absolutely terrified by the thought of that paper. I’m not always the most detail oriented in regards to my argumentation, and I’m afraid of tackling a topic that ends up being really technical, and then getting all the details wrong. I’m reading a really interesting paper (by  my supervisor’s PhD supervisor) that should hopefully give me some direction, but…eek! 

Not to mention I have a homework assignment due next week, and another paper to think of, and a dissertation experiment to design, and this editing project that I’m struggling to finish. Gulp! Wish  me luck!

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Typesetting and the Dreaded Scottish Chesty/Throaty Cough

Of course, as soon as I dedicate a space to blog about running, I get sick. Figures. I woke up yesterday  with a tightness in my chest, a woozy head, and the beginnings of a cough. After talking myself out of going on my scheduled run (good call, past Ali) I did some work until I had to be on campus at 1. I stayed and kinda floated around in a headachey, coughing daze until 5, then went home and promptly changed into my pyjamas. After kibbitzing with my flatmate, I crawled into bed and watched Buffy until I went to sleep. This morning I woke up with the same tightness now in my throat, a sometimes cough, and some lingering wooziness. I decided to take today off working out as well, and have spent the morning reading for class. I’ve decided that, barring any major deterioration in my health, I will at least get some sort of exercize tomorrow. I hope I’ll be feeling up for a run, but if I’m too tired or it’s snowing again, I’ll head back to the gym after class for some light cardio and maybe some weights. At this level of fitness, I can take about two days off in a row before I start feeling squirrely.

Since I was feeling woozy yesterday and having trouble focusing, I needed something to do that would not require critical reading/thinking but would still make me feel productive. So I decided to teach myself how to use LaTeX. LaTeX is a typesetting program kind of like MS Word, except it allows you to produce very nice looking documents, and allows you to have more control over their layout while simultaneously spending less time fighting with the program (if you’ve ever gotten into a battle with Word over bullets or spacing or chapters headings, you’ll recognize how this could be a valuable tool). It’s commonly used in disciplines that require equations or symbols (math, physics, comp sci, and apparently linguistics), but it’s useful for simple text-based academic  writing too. Both of my papers this term will likely require the inclusion of logical formulae and syntax trees, which LaTeX is also very useful for formatting easily and fancily. The trick with LaTeX is you have to give it commands to shape the document in the way you want it, and then you have to ‘run’ or ‘render’ the commands to see what the final document will look like. If you do it right (which took me several tries) you get a pretty sharp looking PDF. I only got as far as downloading the TeX suite, figuring out how to use the editor, and preparing basic documents with text and headings and whatnot, but considering at 10 am yesterday morning I had never even opened a LaTeX editor before, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself!

[Edit]: I feel that it’s ironic that I can’t get the formatting right on a blog post about LaTeX. Fuck you, unhelpful text editing platform!

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I never knew bad weather ’til I moved to Scotland.

This is just a quick post to say it is not going to stop snowing, not today. I was hoping to do my usual Tuesday 8k today, but like last week, the weather is just too miserable. I’m usually a bad weather runner (I like running in the rain and the snow), but it’s windy and the wind is blowing around little icy snow pellets, and then not sticking, so the wind blows snow/hail into your face and then freezes onto the ground. Lovely. And dangerous. 

I wanted to post a picture of what it’s doing outside, but it turns out there’s no good way to document snow moving in all directions at 30+ km per hour. Sigh.

I spent all morning procrastinating hoping that the snow would stop so I could go outside. It seems that was in vain (and also unproductive) and now I’m running out of time, so it’s off to the gym for me. 

Mental health note: Brain Hitler is having a field day about my unproductive morning. Trying to love and encourage yourself when you have a little fascist living in your head is hard!

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Sunday Long Run

Like a lot of runners, I do my long runs on Sundays. The run I did yesterday was scheduled to be 15k in 1h30. I know I tend to be about 10 minutes slower than the time Lara projected on the schedule, so I had planned for 1h40. I got lost at the beginning of the run, so it ended up being more like 16k, and my time was a tragically slow 1h55. My Garmin was acting up so I don’t have the pacing.

I usually really look forward to my long runs. Long runs give you the chance to explore the city more, to leave work and interpersonal drama behind, and to spend some quality time with your daydreams. I love that. Yesterday, however, I just couldn’t get past how hard it was. Every kilometer was hard work, and I felt tired from the very beginning until my watch clicked over to 16.00km. I’m chosing to see this as a humility check – I think for the past few long runs it was such a relief to be doing something for me, by myself, that the amount of work that goes into distance running had become secondary. Nothing like some heavy-duty exhaustion to get that hubris checked! I hope next week’s 17k feels stronger.

{Edited to add}: I just looked up my 16k runs from last spring on my Garmin Connect (yaaaay technology!), and I finished this run 8-10 minutes faster than I did the last ones. Go me! Even if it didn’t feel great, at least I’ve sort of improved :p

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This is me, runner edition.


This is me, academic edition.

I plan on using this blog do document two things: my running (including cross training and nutrition) and my research (including coursework, dissertation progress, and PhD application madness). I’ve been casting about for a way to record my activities, thoughts, and progress in regards to these two huge parts of my life, so hopefully this blog will do that. I don’t even know if I’ll share it with anyone yet!

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