Going Back to School – The Details

Last week, I let you in on a little secret. I’m going back to school! This is something I’ve been thinking about  for almost 2 years now, but the timing never seemed to be just right.  I currently have an Associates degree in Marketing that I’ve gotten by and done well with, but I know I could do more and not having that Bachelor’s degree is really holding me back. After some encouragement from “outsiders” (non-family/friends) and talking it over with the Tall One we both agreed that it was a good idea and something that I need to just do. I also realized that the time would never be exactly perfect, but then the stars aligned juuuuuuust enough to convince me to go for it.
I usually never open fortune cookies. The one time I did - I got the message I needed.

I usually never open fortune cookies. The one time I did – I got the message I needed.

The Background:
I did quite a bit of research and started looking at my options. It became obvious pretty quickly that online classes would work best for my schedule; I just couldn’t imagine working full time, then driving downtown or somewhere else 2-3 nights per week for 3 hours, plus spend all day Saturday in a classroom. Not ideal.
Once I decided that, my options became a little more limited. Ideally the online program would also have a brick & mortar school, be well known/recognized AND be localish just in case I decided that online was not the best option for me. Cost was also a factor and after a long search I set my sights on Point Park University’s online Accounting program.
I contacted them, got an unofficial transcript evaluation, got some Financial Aid guidance and decided to apply. I waited on pins and needles for what seemed like ages (more like a month and a half. There were some mix-ups with my transcripts….) and finally just last week got the news that I had been hoping for!
In the meantime, I had been doing a lot of other research and Pinning back to school things (do you follow me?)- it’s been a while since I’ve been a student and I needed to get back in that mindset. At the same time, I didn’t want to get too hopeful, just in case things didn’t work out and I wasn’t accepted. This is also one of the (many) reasons I haven’t blogged much. I was afraid I’d spill the beans, not get accepted, and then be humiliated when I’d have to share that I was rejected. I don’t do well with public humiliation. Who does?
The Plan:
Since I am an “adult learner” (for some reason that phrase makes me feel really old) AND doing a fully online program I’m considered an accelerated learner. This means that one term is broken into two 8 week semesters; instead of just the Fall Semester, I’ll have Fall 1 (August-October) & Fall 2 (October-December). Thanks to my Associate’s Degree, I’ll be entering Point Park as a Junior; I registered for my first classes yesterday and I’ll be taking:
Fall 1
English 205
Science 111
Fall 2
TBD
I didn’t pick my last classes yet – I’m waiting to see if anything else opens up in the next few weeks. These first 2 are Gen Ed courses that I need and I figured I might as well get those all done and out of the way so I can dive in to the accounting and business classes. I was told to expect 12-15 hours of work per class, per week so It’ll be a good way to reintroduce myself to the world of college 🙂
How I’ll Make It Work:
Honestly, I don’t know! I feel like there will definitely be a learning curve with this. It’s been almost 8 years since I’ve been a student but I’m hoping that it’s like a riding a bike! Although, I was never very good with bikes so….hopefully it’s a little better than that! Having Sunday as an “off” day from running I think will be critical. This will hopefully give me time to start the week’s assignments or finish up anything last minute that may be due AND still get things done around the house like groceries, meal prep, etc.
School and Half Marathon Training:
Training for a half marathon at the same time as starting school may not have been my best idea ever, but I’m not going to stress about it. If I have to miss a workout due to school work, then that’s what will happen. I’m hoping to look at running/training as outlet rather than another chore or task that needs to be completed and hopefully that will keep things in perspective. This is something I GET to do, not HAVE to do. This may mean that I have to adjust my goals, but since I really don’t know what my race goals are yet I’ll be able to go with the flow a little more. I have no idea what I’m going to do about racing after Buffalo Creek though. Another full marathon may be off the table until I’m done (we are estimating about 2 years, maybe less, to complete the program) but I’m not ruling anything out just yet. That is all TBD!
School, Half Marathon Training, AND Vacation:
We booked our vacation to Hilton Head RIGHT before I decided to go back to school and I quickly realized that I would be taking school work to the beach with me. I’m fine with this – that’s why they invented laptops. I might be that person at the pool with a computer and I’m fully ready to embrace that 🙂 I’m always pretty flexible with running while I’m away so again, I’ll get done what I can but if I miss a run….oh well!
I bought my first school supply - Peanut is just as excited as I am :-) !!

I bought my first school supply – Peanut is just as excited as I am 🙂 !!

This is a very big, and exciting step for me! I’m hoping to blog about the experience – the good, bad, ugly and everything in between. So now in addition to being a crazy cat lady who runs, I’ll be a crazy running STUDENT cat lady!
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Buffalo Creek Half Marathon Training Plan AND Sharing Some Exciting News!

This is my first week of training for the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon (BCHM from now on because that is just too much to type!), and I have yet to post my training plan. I’m finally getting around to that, and to be honest, it’s the not the most exciting. I tried to make my own plan – I did. I sat down at the kitchen table 3 weeks ago surrounded by planners, calendars, books, printouts, 7 different colored pens and….I just couldn’t do it. Nothing was making sense, or flowing and to be honest, I just didn’t want to do it.
I was so overwhelmed for some reason that making a plan seemed impossible. I decided to go back to the basics and stick with something that I know works. I used Hal Higdon’s beginner half marathon (Novice 1, I think) plan years ago for my first race and since that is my 2nd best half marathon time, I figured that Hal wouldn’t lead me astray this time either. I went back and forth between the Intermediate and Advanced plans and was even going to “merge” them – I loved the idea of doing long runs by time instead of distance but ultimately decided that might not be the best option. I’m on the slower side and if the plan calls for a 2 hour long run I may only get 10 or 11 (at most) miles in. I don’t feel like that’s enough. With the intermediate I’ll get a 12 miler in, and I know I’ll feel much more confident on race day with a 12 miler or 2 under my belt. So, Intermediate it is!! I’m also slightly shifting the plan around so that Saturday will be my long run day (the race is on Saturday, and I have *thing* about doing my long runs on the same day the race will be. Don’t ask.), and Sunday will be a rest day instead of Monday. This doesn’t sound like much, but I hate running on Mondays. For some reason, my body just doesn’t like it. Luckily, Mondays will be easy days so I don’t think it will be too horrible.
This should do

This should do

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll be doing this all by heart rate so my zone are:
Recovery Runs (Monday): <155 bpm
Repeats (Every other Tuesday): 186-190 bpm
Tempo (Every other Tuesday): 170-178
Medium Pace (Wednesday): 155-160 bpm
Pace Runs (Friday): 170-174
Long Runs (Saturday): 151-164
For the last month or two, I’ve been doing a pretty good job of strength training 3x week and I’m going to do my best to stick with that, but we’ll see.
I have a little something extra going on in the background that will take priority over all of this, though.
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I’M GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!!!! I’ve applied, and been accepted to, Point Park University. I’ll be doing the classes online because I have no desire to go to night classes AND spend 9+ hours every Saturday in a classroom. The online option will give me more freedom and flexibility to continue working full time, and have a little bit of a life. I hope. This will obviously be my first priority and once classes start (August 23rd. I can’t wait!), I’ll have to see how training fits in. If I need to cut back and drop a weekday run then that’s what I’ll do.
I also have a vacation smack dab in the middle of this training cycle AND school that we’ll have to work around but I’ll worry about that when we get there 🙂
Gizmo is not thrilled with the idea. She'd rather sleep on the laptop than let me use it.

Gizmo is not thrilled with the idea. She’d rather sleep on the laptop than let me use it.

Obviously this is a huge step that warrants it’s own post, and once I have my classes scheduled and a better idea of what’s going on I’ll definitely be sharing!