Posts Tagged ‘Running’

The title of this post comes directly from a ‘misquote’ inspired by ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ – and was something I was thinking about when I was out on a bit of a run with the Trainers of Glory yesterday.

Having been ‘off’ running for a few weeks I had been a bit worried about making it through the event, but with the support of my lovely running buddies the day went well – even with the unscheduled ‘pit stop’ with the lovely chaps of the St John’s Ambulance – so I think the conclusion was that I am back on track with the plan for our ‘big’ challenge later in the year.  

Thus, whilst out in the Warwickshire countryside, my thoughts turned to my PhD journey; which is now into its 4th year, and has seen many twists and turns.  The 4th year is an ‘extension’ period, rather than being an originally planned 4th year, and is reflective of how time-consuming a PhD can be when things do not go to plan.  The concept of ‘loneliness’ is not a new one when discussing PhD students, the advice is plentiful as to making sure you have regular contact with peers, outside activities, contact with your department etc; however the ‘burden’ of responsibility towards your project, and in many cases those who have given their time and help to you, can make you feel isolated – solely responsible, dealing with issues that no-one else will understand or even be interested in… 

So, the PhD is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint – and what I’ve learnt with my running is that the support of others is key; and I realise that over my PhD history the hardest times have been when I have felt isolated.  The past week was very difficult, because I felt I had the weight of the world – or rather the project – on my shoulders, and that I had to try and solve all the problems, all at once, and all alone. Wrong.  Once I started to discuss the issues with some key people related to the work I was amazed at how much better I felt – it didn’t feel like admitting failure, nor did it result in complete panic/astonishment/horror in their eyes; just an understanding ear, a shoulder to lean on, and more offers of help than you could possibly imagine. 

To complete the analogy then, I’ve decided to see this past week as my ‘unscheduled pit-stop’ – and thus I am very hopeful that the outcome will be the same as Sunday, that I can now go on to complete successfully.  Time is growing short, and no-doubt there are more challenges ahead, but exciting times too – including the HPA2012 conference next week, and a number of sessions with staff at my case study site to keep me rooted in the active research….

Smooth Pit Stop – essential for success! (picture from uk.eurosport.yahoo.com)

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Warwick Castle seen from St Mary's Church in W...

Warwick Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


 This week, albeit only 3 working days, has been something of a struggle.  After a couple of great weeks where the research really felt to be gathering momentum this week has definitely felt somewhat sluggish in comparison.  I think I’m going to be terribly British and mumble something about the weather, realise I probably had one too many Jubilee cupcakes over the holiday, and focus on a very busy next week – including Interviews, Observations, and an IDH team photo.  It’ll be interesting, challenging, and never boring, that at least I know in advance!

Before then I shall be literally taking on an uphill challenge, running from one glorious castle to another, in the annual Two Castles 10k run on Sunday.  I may be alone in being thankful we’re not enjoying a flaming June at present….!!

Kenilworth Castle, whence besieged followers o...

Kenilworth Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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 My part in the WMG Doctoral Conference yesterday ended up going well – having had a weekend with no voice at all and having to stay somewhat horizontal for 48 hours, this was quite a relief!!

I got asked some great questions at the end of my Presentation, and this has given me plenty to think about, and research further.  I shall be uploading the Conference Abstract later this week.

What was excellent was that the themes of the questions coming out (e.g. Hand Hygiene Quality, Individual Differences in what is “Inherent” etc.) were all things we had touched upon during the course of planning this research, and underpin much of the investigative modes of research we plan to use – underpinning the need to really engage the Healthcare Workers in the debate.  

My next goal now that this Conference has passed is to continue planning for the active research stage, including recruitment which is now underway, and looking at attending two further Conferences later in the year – the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the Infection Prevention Society (IPS).

I also need to get back out running, having had to miss the race on Sunday…however the weather here is a bit prohibitive at the moment, so tomorrow is looking like a better option.  For the record, tonight I shall be digging in to a rich luxury chocolate cupcake…rewards are essential in research!

Chocolate celebration cake

Cake and Research - natural partners... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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    Monday (16th April) will see the WMG Doctoral Conference: Digital Technologies take place at the IDL, University of Warwick.

IDL - location for WMG Doctoral Conference Image courtesy of WMG SME Team Blog

One of a series of 3 Doctoral Conferences (the other themes being Materials and Manufacturing, and Operations and Management) it is designed to give an opportunity to all the WMG Doctoral students to share their PhD/EngD progress.

I have prepared my abstract now, and am putting the final edge on my Presentation.  Having the “just before lunch” slot I am hopeful that the Q & A session will be short as people’s desire for food overtakes their desire for knowledge….

Once I have presented I will upload the abstract here, and give a bit of a debrief as to how the Presentation was received.

In the meantime my post-Lent return to cakes and a 10k run in Royal Leamington Spa are giving me much needed distraction….!

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