Yes, friends...that is the sound of a dissertation that has been signed, sealed, and delivered. To the committee. Out of my hands. As in...no more work can be done on it. It is what it is. And I actually think it's pretty good. I finished writing it on Sunday night, but I've spent the rest of the week doing little things--table of contents, checking references, etc. And I spent the last two days reading every single word of it. I added a little, took nothing away, and finally decided it was time to let it go.
I have a little over a month until my defense. It is necessary to get the dissertation out to the committee a month before the defense so that they can come up with lots of really hard questions to ask you. So, this meant I had to get five copies made. One for each committee member, and one for the graduate recorder (more on that later). So I went to UPS.com. I do my printing there because there is one really close to me. I uploaded the pdf file, specified everything I wanted--what type of paper, binding, etc....and I just couldn't get myself to hit submit. I found myself wanting to read it just one more time. Let me check that table, that paragraph, the abstract...just one more time. For as happy as I was to be officially done writing it, it was really hard to let go of. I just sat there for several minutes, staring at the button. And finally, I did it. That document, in which I have been immersed for nearly two years, is now out of my control.
Those of you who have written a dissertation will understand what I mean. When you begin your doctoral program, everything you do--every course you take, every paper you write, every article you read--is geared, in some way, toward your dissertation. I can remember, during my first year in the program, viewing the dissertation as something that was SO far away....almost unreal and untouchable. And now, I have one. Like, a complete one. WITH MY NAME ON IT. Sure, it hasn't been defended...nor blessed by the graduate recorder. But it's done.
I am very glad I did not track how many hours I put into writing it. It would remind me of all the late nights, time away from my family, sleep deprivation, and all the multi-tasking I have done. I've worked on it while breastfeeding, administering Amelia's spelling tests, watching TV, watching Rowan play outside, lying under the robot, and in the car (not while driving). In other words, it has been a constant back drop in my life for a very long time. And now it's gone. I'm glad, of course. It just feels strange. But I can say that I am very pleased with the result. Every single sentence in that 250+ page document is meaningful (at least to me). The research I did is important, and I think the results will benefit many. And it will serve as the base of my research career.
So I'm picking up the copies tomorrow (and not looking at them because I'll die if I find an error), and delivering them to the committee on Monday. They already have electronic copies, but they need a hard copy to take notes, etc. I also have one for the graduate recorder. I've talked about her before. Very nice woman, but a thorn in my side. She will be reviewing, on Monday, my dissertation. And she will likely give me a bunch of work to do--things I need to change. But they won't be content-related. They'll be margin-related. And I have hired someone to help me with that. So it shouldn't be too bad.
The actual defense is on October 27th. After that, I can (mostly) count myself as done. And, boy, will I be happy.
Okay...running. I'm still in taper. I'm still dealing with the piriformis syndrome, but I'm about 70% better since my injections. I'm getting another round of them the week of the marathon. That's about all I can do. I don't know if my legs will be 100% by race day, but they'll be as close as they can be.
I (and all runners) always bad mouth taper, but at the end of my peak week...I was so ready for it. And I still am. This week, my legs have been SO tired. I'm only running 52 miles...but my legs just feel trashed. I'm hoping that next week's bigger drop in mileage will cure this.
Tomorrow is the Persimmon Festival 5K...and I'm running. I'm not racing it (not worth the risk with all my hip/sciatica issues), but I'm happy to be pacing my friend, Heather, through her first 5K. Heather is actually my ex-husband's wife. Yes...my ex-husband's wife. I'm good friends with both my ex (Yancy) and his wife, Heather. They are both tremendously good people and we consider them part of our family. It has worked out really well for Amelia--like she has one big, extended family.
Anyway--Heather used to be really anti-running. She thought I was crazy for running all these miles. Then, one day, out of nowhere...she started the couch to 5K program. And she has been running very consistently ever since. I don't think she's ever missed a run, and she's definitely got the bug (I've heard she even sneaks in extra miles--atta girl!). She has run 3 miles several times, but tomorrow is her first time pinning on a number. If you're a runner, you know that something magical happens when you shell out $20 and pin on a number. It's different. It's racing. It's awesome...and we are lucky that God gives us the ability to do it.
So I'll be pacing her, and she's going to do a great job. I'll run 7 miles early tomorrow morning, then 3 with her...giving me 10 for the day. After that....hmmm...I can do pretty much whatever I want. What I NEED to do is clean my house. But that can wait. I want to do something fun.
Oh...I almost forgot! Tim is injured! It's his back. It's the same kind of thing he did like 6 weeks ago, but it's back now. So he won't be racing Persimmon :( He probably could, but it's not worth risking Chicago.