Friday, May 15, 2015

One Journey Ends... Another Begins

One Journey Ends...

I have completed a journey that began three years ago, just as I was beginning to recover from the bike crash at the end of 2011. While still on the pain medications from the surgery, I decided to apply for admission to the Doctor of Education - Leadership and Innovation program at Arizona State University's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

During this journey, I left ASU Online to take on a new role as Project Manager for Instructional Design at the College Health Solutions and College of Nursing and Health Innovation. This role allowed for me to conduct the "participatory action research" required for my dissertation. The research focused the effectiveness of a professional development to prepare faculty to develop flipped and blended learning courses.

On Monday evening, my degree was officially awarded at the University's Graduate College Commencement and then recognized again tonight by the Teachers College Convocation. It was great to see family and friends during this time, including a surprise visit from Patrick and his wife. Eventually, there will be pictures posted here, but I have to wait for Lexi and others to send them to me.

A common question has been "What is next?"  First, I am not planning on going any where. My twenty year career in higher education has me in a great place, working with some great people. In the immediate future, I have an article that is currently being edited to be published in a newsletter for online faculty, I am co-writing a chapter for an upcoming book on flipped learning, preparing several conference presentations, and then I need to edit my dissertation so that I can publish an academic article or two from it.

So what will I do with all of my "free time" that I now have?

My Dissertation Committee Chair and I prior to Commencement

...Another Begins

A long time dream of mine has been to compete in the IRONMAN.  Over the years that dream has waxed and waned, but never forgotten or realized. We had been volunteering at the IRONMAN Arizona for the past several years and I thought I was getting close to being ready to finally realize the dream. Then the bike crash occurred. During the initial phase of the recovery I held on to the dream for motivation. However, that dream was nearly destroyed by the obstacles I had to overcome and in some cases are still overcoming.

Last November I made the commitment to make the dream happen. For the first time, we watched the 3,000 athletes begin the IRONMAN Arizona and watched them make the swim-to-bike transition. The process is a bit different from a traditional olympic or sprint distance triathlon as volunteers hand you gear bags (that you prepare) and bring your bike out to you as you run through the transition area. I started to assess my ability to finish the course within the 17 hour time limit. I believe that I can complete the 2.4-mile swim in about 1 hour and 45 minutes, 112-mile bike in less that 6 hours and 30 minutes, and run/jog/walk the marathon in 6 hours for a total time of about 14 to 15 hours.

Now that I am done with the doctorate, I have exactly 6 months from today to be ready for the IRONMAN Arizona in Tempe. To prepare for the race, I am participating in the following races:
  • Lifetime Tempe Tri (September 20) - 1500-meter swim; 25.08-mile bike; 6.11-mile run
  • Tour de Scottsdale (October 11) - 70-mile bike
  • IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona (October 18) - 1.2-mile swim; 56-mile bike; 13.1-mile run
  • Ragnar Trail McDowell Mountain (November 6-7) - fun trail relay race with friends
  • IRONMAN Arizona (November 15)
Here are some race day highlights from the 2013 race so you can see what I will be part of...

...and my photos from 2014:

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