Sunday, March 4, 2018

Wrapped up in books

"Our aspirations are wrapped up in books
Our inclinations are hidden in looks."

- Belle and Sebastian, Wrapped up in Books

Where have you been? Are you still running? Have you abandoned your blog? All fair questions, you guys, and I'll be brief about this:

Where have you been? Still here! Nothing of substance has changed about my life in the last eleven months since my last post. Still happily married (17 years and counting), still caring for my now-geriatric dog Norma, still loving my job managing the education programs at Alzheimer's San Diego, and still squeezing in as much travel and local adventure with friends as I can. Marc and I took a nice trip to Denmark and Iceland last summer, but otherwise life has been mostly pretty quiet, and has mostly kept me close to home. I read a lot of books.

Are you still running? Yes! Last August I volunteered as an ambassador with Run 4 All Women, and co-chaired (and ran) an all-day outreach and fundraising event for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest with my friend and fellow ambassador Whitney. It was a 40-mile run from Encinitas to Chula Vista, with groups of runners hopping on and off the route to join us along the way. It was my longest run ever - by a lot - and a ton of fun. I didn't run any marathons in 2017, because the planning of that event took a lot of my time and energy, but I did a few local shorter-distance events. This January, I ran the Houston Marathon, and although I haven't gotten a recap up yet, I do plan to eventually! The short version is that it was cold, flat, and a really great time with some good friends and some seriously good food. My sights are currently set on the Taos Marathon in June.

Have you abandoned your blog? No! I mean, not altogether. But having made the major, life-altering decision to return to graduate school (more on that in a sec ...) it's going to continue to be pretty spotty here for the foreseeable future. I continue to enjoy all that running - and writing about running - brings to my life, but as I've re-calibrated all of my various roles, responsibilities, and interests over the past several months, a few things have necessarily had to fall away. Because one thing I've decided I'm not going to skimp on this time around as a student is sleep. 

So here's the scoop. I've recently begun a Master of Library and Information Science program through San Jose State University, with the intention of shifting my long career in social work and community health education into work in public librarianship. This will be a lengthy endeavor, as I plan to work full-time while I study and intern on just a part-time basis. My current timeline is about five years for the completion of the degree, which at this point sounds like an eternity, but I know (hope) that it will actually seem to go by in the blink of an eye. That will put me in my late-forties when I'm making this huge career change, which feels vaguely terrifying but also thrilling. I am loving my early coursework and learning about how humans seek and use information, and am excited to participate in the evolution of public libraries in the U.S., which I see as critical to our social safety net, and vibrant centers of community.

To that end, I'm working on my first research project, an examination of an "information community" of my choosing - a group of individuals that use, share, and create information around their common interests to meet their individual and shared needs. Naturally, I chose amateur/recreational distance runners as my information community to study! I'm not conducting primary research, so won't need to be doing any interviewing, surveys, etc., but as I begin my search for the various sources of information that distance runners use, and how they use it, I want to go outside of my own experience and knowledge base on this subject. So I'd love to hear from you! Please take just a minute or two and write a quick comment to tell me where you go when you need or want to share information about any of the following:

  • Selecting your next race
  • Training plans or advice
  • Injury prevention or treatment
  • Shoes and other equipment
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Motivation techniques
  • Daily experiences as a runner
  • Personal running data/stats 
  • Favorite routes 

Would you visit a website? If so, which one(s)? Social media sites or groups? Other online forums, or the blog(s) of other runners (professional or amateur) or coaches that you follow? Would you consult a magazine or other printed publication? Would you ask the staff at your local running store, or check in with your friends or running group? Do you use a fitness tracker, and if so do you post/share that information? Where else do you spend your time as a user of running information? I'd love your feedback, and thank you in advance for any thoughts you're willing to share!

Hope to check back in with you all over my next academic break, friends, and in the meantime I wish you good health, happy reading and information-using, and of course: HAPPY RUNNING! XO~Amy