Thinking back on BLC 23
Monday, December 16, 2013
Well, the 23rd round of the BLC is almost over. It has been, for me, a really really hard round--not because of anything that my team (Azure Destinations) did, but because I was both retaking my comprehensive exams (I had timed out from when I had taken them the first time, so I had to redo them) AND massively revise my dissertation into a (hopefully, knock on wood) defensible draft, which I had to submit at the end of this past semester.
As a result, I've been working 10 hours a day at least 5 days a week, and most weekends as well, since March. I've had almost no social life other than weekly fencing practices, which I justified as a stress reliever. Since August, those hours bumped up to 12 hours a day and EVERY weekend. I haven't made a fencing practice since October. I had multiple stretches in there where I worked until 3 or 4 am, slept a little bit, and then woke up and continued working. I pulled more than one all nighter. I've been stressed, sleep deprived, and physically in pain (my carpal tunnel/pinched ulna nerve/tendinitis has flared up with a vengeance). I've not slept well when I did sleep because I'm so stressed. My headaches have gotten bad again. I'm struggling to remember to eat and when I do eat to not eat crap because it's easy. I've barely seen my husband some weeks because he's been going to bed before I emerge from my office.
My goals for this round were embarrassingly modest. I wanted to at least maintain my weight. I wanted to maintain my exercise streak--so minimum of 20 minutes of exercise 5 days a week (I need those 2 days of rest physically, but I often exercise quite a bit longer than 20 minutes normally). I wanted to drink tea instead of soft drinks for my morning caffeine. I wanted to eat breakfast every day, even if it's usually just a wedge of cheese. I wanted to meditate every day as a means of controlling stress. And I wanted to take at least a little bit of "me" time every day because I knew that I need that. I knew that stress was going to be my big enemy this semester and I knew I was going to be pushing myself VERY hard. And I wanted to pass my comprehensive exams and get my dissertation submitted.
How did I do? Well, as far as my health related goals, it was a bit of a mixed bag. I gained weight over the semester--not as much as I might otherwise have, but I gained. I maintained my streak, admittedly some days by the skin of my teeth, and my workouts have progressively gotten shorter as my time got tighter. But I finished the round as a streaker (or at least I will assuming I workout today or tomorrow) but it was... close. I mostly remembered to eat breakfast, though I wasn't perfect. Almost every morning started off with tea, and not pop, and I'm kind of proud of the fact that for my second exam and the last week on my dissertation, while I was up to 3 *pots* of tea a day to keep going, I didn't drink pop. I didn't even especially want it. I started out fairly strong on the meditating but then it slid and I finally gave up on that goal. I did however take at least 15 minutes of "me" time just about every day. And I passed my exams and submitted my draft, all without completely losing all of my healthy lifestyle goals--they've deteriorated, but I'm still holding onto them.
So I call the round I success, even if it wasn't a spectacular success.
As for Azure, I feel like I was often the anchor holding them down, which I am sad about. I wasn't as helpful/supportive/encouraging as I felt I should be... I was barely holding myself together. I didn't travel, I didn't post a lot on blogs and sparks pages, and I wasn't losing weight. My team, however, has been awesome, constantly full of support and encouragement and even being willing to sending me text reminders so I wouldn't forget to weigh in and go floater because I had that few brain cells left for anything that wasn't grad school (I even completely forgot about jury duty, and that's not like me at all. I realized it a month later and called them up to apologize--thankfully they were really nice about it and rescheduled so I'm now due for jury duty in early January). So my team has been extremely awesome and I'm very grateful to them.
I'm hoping that next round, while I still be busy with grad school (I have to defend and do any necessary rewrites) that I will be able to give more back to the team. And hopefully do better on the healthy lifestyle front and maybe even lose a little weight before graduation *grin*