Substantive Updates – Summer 2013

I get tripped up deciding what to post on here, bouncing back and forth between “here’s what I’ve been doing” posts or “here’s how I feel” posts. The former can be boring to read and are sometimes hard to write because life’s constantly evolving – how do you sum up events in storybook chapter? But you can’t only write reflective “here’s how I feel” posts without the context of the “here’s what I’ve been doing” posts.

So, this is a “here’s what I’ve been doing” post, or rather “here’s what I did.” Deeper thoughts and insights to come. And this is still 1000 words long :( I’m sorry. I do a lot of stuff.

ut austin 1
Summer school at the University of Texas!

I went here because it’s in my hometown, and it was cheaper than Baylor (wrote more on that here). I wanted to go here for college my whole childhood, and I almost did – but I got waaay more financial aid at Baylor so I went there. As much as BU has tried to indoctrinate me, I’m still not able to hate the Longhorns, so getting to go here for a summer was its own special gift of status and achievement. Of course, after being at Baylor I didn’t really care anymore, but in high school this was something I really would have cared about. Even though that dream’s about five years expired, it makes me proud to say I was good enough to be a Longhorn this summer.

I completed three graduate-level classes – an Educational Psychology course that covered statistics, testing and measurement, and two advertising electives (creative insights and consumer insights). The ad classes were online, so my real stint as a UT student on campus lasted just 6 weeks. I went to school Monday-Wednesday, from 9-12. I’d ride the bus to campus, grab lunch with my dad (a time-honored Westenhover tradition began by my older siblings who used to go to UT), and sometimes study with my classmates on campus or just ride the bus home.

sanchez

In contrast to that burnt orange blaze of glory in the first photo … this is where I actually went to class. Yay Sanchez Building.

Some of my UT friends asked me if UT was harder than Baylor and perhaps making implications about the relative rigors of these two institutions. Ok, so I had a small sample size obviously, but the answer is a resounding “no.” It was higher ed and it was exactly the same.

  • We had class in a building built in the 1970s
  • There were some motivated, smart students who wanted to be there, and there were some slackers who complained.
  • I went to class, took notes, studied, and took my tests.
  • I had to do homework assignments, but nothing exorbitant or challenging
  • Sometimes my teacher encouraged my thinking on a subject and sometimes I was waiting for the lecture to end because I was bored.

EXACT SAME.

The best part of going to UT, even more than the prestige of attending the biggest school in the state, was getting a semester of grad school done in one summer … leaving just ONE semester at Baylor. I really think I can swing it. Graduation with a master’s in 5.5 years from a private school, debt-free. Praise God! Next up …

 

rogue cpJob at Rogue Running Equipment

I only got to work here 15-20 hours a week, and I had to quit in August when I went back to school at Baylor, but it was good while it lasted.

Since I already had run specialty experience from working at Waco’s On the Run store last year, a friend of mine got me an interview for the Cedar Park store, and I got hired in June! Rogue is  a company with a lot of integrity – stating their values and following through with them. They seek to build the Austin running scene on all sides, through their own training programs, sponsoring events, sponsoring their own post-collegiate professional team, and of course providing the right equipment through what we sold at the store. I have a lot of respect for the organization and it was so cool to be a part of that machine.

pirate run - azul ox

Pirate Run … yes, I did run 6 miles with a Beanie Baby pinned to my shoulder. (photos by the talented AzulOx – click for link)

Also, Rogue knows how to par-tay. I had a blast at their events like the Pizza Pirate Costume Run and the Sayonara Shuffle Pub Run.

rosslyn

Run Pro Camp in DC

This three-day conference was the real-life manifestation of RunPro.com, which is geared toward post-collegiate runners who want to continue their running careers and figure out the nebulous world of professional distance running. This is exactly where I’m at, so you can imagine how excited I was to meet other athletes like me dealing with similar challenges.

It was hosted by the Road Runner’s Club of America, and they brought in speakers on subjects that surround pro distance running on all sides. We had sessions on choosing a training group, finances, road races and appearance fees, avoiding injury and nutrition, building your personal brand, community engagement, not doping (thanks USADA!), USATF involvement, and USATF Foundation initiatives.

I felt outclassed by my fellow attendees there – they were all fresh off the USA Championship or at least the NCAA Championships – whereas I was like “I ran one good 5k race in 2012!” But hey that’s the power of the internet I guess – I applied in the spring and they accepted me. All the travel, hotel and food was covered. It was crazy hospitable! They wanted it to be a professional event, and that’s what professionals would get, so I guess it worked.

This was also an awesome trip because I got to stay a couple extra days with my friend/teammate from undergrad, Kristen! I’d never been to DC before so she played tour guide for me. Catching up about our Baylor days was pretty special too.

But back to Run Pro, the whole experience was eye-opening. It was a reality check that confirmed to me the goal of pursuing professional running would be more difficult than I realized, as in you can do everything right and still fail… but that it’s still worth pursuing.

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