Weekend Wrap-up: I passed!!

This was one of the best weekends…one that I will remember FOREVER. I successfully defended my dissertation!! It feels really good to add PhD to the end of my name. Aaaaand, I only have two optional edits to make – that’s it! Before I get started on the crazy exciting thing that is a defense, let’s back up!

Thursday morning started with a run followed by breakfast tacos and then lots and lots of work on my presentation. 

I had a lunch break somewhere in there. 
Our 50 pound bag of Epsom salt was delivered…I wish you could’ve seen me trying to carry this into the garage. Not only was it heavy, but the box was awkward to carry. I think I stopped to laugh at myself 2 or 3 times just thinking about how ridiculous I probably looked. 
I took a break to enjoy my muffin and soak. 
Lu and I ran an errand together at some point during the morning. 
I spent ALL morning/afternoon working on my defense/presentation, then took Lu to my Grandma’s house. My Grandma is the BEST. Lu loves staying with her!
She also really loves riding in the car. 
Back home to more notes! Funny story – I spent hours condensing main points into those blue/green sticky notes and then didn’t even need them. I’ll show you all the notes later. 
Jake got home from work, showered and changed, and we hit the road! We stopped at Pappo’s in Osage Beach for dinner. We shared a salad….YUM. 
And pizza and wings. 
We were both starving, so we were excited for foooood. 
Here are all my notes! I didn’t get those pages with the sticky notes out one single time. HA! I wrote out my entire presentation and then wrote key words/phrases on notecards. It worked perfectly for me. I also slept super well the night before my defense. I was expecting not to be able to sleep, so that was really nice. I woke up and ran through my whole presentation. 
Then we grabbed breakfast at our hotel. 
We sat outside because it was such a beautiful morning. 
It was nice waking up to this email! I tend to be over-prepared…
Ready to rock my presentation! I really was feeling ready. After breakfast, Jake went to sit in the hot tub and I ran through everything two more times. I felt very prepared and way less nervous than I had been all week. 
This is the Dedication page to my dissertation. Right after I finished and found out I passed, I think I was in shock (I might still be), so I didn’t have a post to share or anything along those lines. I knew I had people waiting to hear, so I just shared this. I would not have been able to accomplish this PhD without MANY, MANY people – my family was definitely part of the biggest support tribe. 
Something cool that I didn’t realize until I got onto campus – this room, Townsend 205, where I presented, was where one of the first on-campus classes took place. Before my dissertation, when I was taking classes, I would drive to Columbia (about 2 and a half/3 hours away) after teaching for half a day. I would leave at lunch, get to campus about 3:30ish, take class from 4-7, then drive home. I didn’t have to go to campus very often – maybe 4-5 times each semester. But this classroom was one of my first classes! I thought that was awesome. 
Here’s how my dissertation defense went: I had the room all set up, my committee trickled in and we got caught up. I had four committee members – one moved to teach at a university in Texas halfway through my dissertation, but she asked to stay on my committee, so she Skyped into my defense. My committee dismissed me out into the hallway once they were ready to begin. During that time, I think they talked about any concerns, questions they were going to ask me, etc. That took about 10 minutes. They came out to get me and I began my presentation. I gave my whole presentation (20 minutes) without any interruptions – my committee decided to have a conversation at the end (there are various ways committees will choose to do this – some ask questions after every slide, some ask whenever they think of something, etc.). After my presentation, I pulled a chair over to the table where my committee was sitting. I was expecting them to throw question after question at me…I was also expecting not to be able to answer some of them. We ended up just engaging in some super wonderful conversations about my work. It was SO fun. They had a few questions for me, but they were more about wanting to know how/why I did something. I have never had so much fun presenting or talking about research. The whole thing was amazing. After our conversation, they kicked me out of the room again to decide if I passed or failed. (I think I knew at that point that I had for sure passed). I was outside in the hall for many 3 or 4 minutes. They called me back in and started clapping/cheering when I walked into the door. My advisor, the one on the right below, said she got to be the first to congratulate me – she shook my hand and said, “Congratulations, Dr. Bradley!” It was an awesome, awesome experience. Then we all signed paperwork, hugged, took pictures, etc. I didn’t want the day to end! These women are brilliant and I have been so blessed to work so closely with them over the past few years. 
When you try to take a picture to send your parents, but you’re too excited and accidentally take this. So many emotions. 
Jake walked into the room with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. And he got to meet everyone that had been on my committee! 
Jake also got me a 6-pack of one of my favorite beers! Shiphead. It’s a Ginger Wheat and it’s amazing. 
We had about 30 minutes before we met up with Dr. Baker for dinner, so I sat in the car and cried. I think I was just overwhelmed with emotions and couldn’t believe that everything was over. I still get a little choked up when I think  about it. They were good tears! Some were bittersweet, but for the most part, they were happy tears. I honestly cannot believe this journey is almost over. 

Dr. Baker, my advisor and head of my committee, took us out to celebrate. She took us to an amazing wine bar. This was covering the walls – isn’t it awesome? Wine boxes and corks. 

We had champagne and Jake and I shared a salad, a burger, and fries. 
We also all shared chocolate fondue, which was incredible. 
After dinner, Jake and I hit the road for home. I think I cried again, haha, poor Jake, but then it was all smiles and jamming out to good tunes until we got home. I walked into the kitchen to this – thank you, Kayla and Jordan!! You two are SO sweet. 
Friday was seriously one of the BEST days!!! 

TMI time – scroll past if you don’t like gross stuff!! Back to normal life…I don’t like pedicures. They have always given me anxiety because I ALWAYS worry something is going to happen to my feet – plus, I’m super ticklish, so I just don’t find them relaxing. Well, I went to get one last week and the nail tech pulled part of my dang toenail off. As soon as she did it, I knew it was not going to be good. You can’t really tell in these pictures, but my big toe was infected. It hurt SO bad. The heels I wore for my defense hit right where it was hurting the most. When we got home, I saw that I would have to pop it. This is after the third or fourth time of popping. UGH. I had a long run the next morning, so I was nervous it was going to keep me from running. It was really, really sore. I dumped peroxide on it, too, so I think that helped. I popped it again when I woke up and it didn’t bother me too badly during my run. Lesson learned: no more pedicures for me. 

Jake and I ran together Saturday morning. He had 10 and I had 15. He’s so wonderful – he even did my workout with me! I had a 3 mile WU, 2x 5 miles at marathon pace (with 5 minute walk in-between), a CD. I could tell I celebrated a little too hard Friday, but it was worth it!
Jake let Lu run down the street to meet me when I finished my run. She was SO happy. (So was I.)
I was super pleased to see that I had hit my paces! I laid on a towel on the kitchen floor with my legs up before we went to eat lunch. Miles 1-3 were warm-up, 4-8 and 1-14 needed to be between 8:30/8:45, then a cool-down. 
Lu joined me on the floor. 
We went to the Pitch and had their brussels appetizer and sandwiches. 
I can’t really remember when we did Saturday day…I unpacked all of our stuff and maybe took a nap? Who knows. Then Jake took me out for sushi! 
We had planned to grab a drink somewhere after dinner, but we were both worn out, so we came home and watched some Netflix before calling it a night.
Sunday morning breakfast – waffles and eggs/veggies. 
We stocked up on some Gu….
I got started on meal prep, too. These are my favorite veggies! They’re always on sale at Lucky’s, too! 
I made chicken, rice, and veggie bowls for Jake this week. He has a hundred on Saturday, so we will eat really clean this week. 
All the veggies. Mmmm. 
I forgot to take a picture of lunch before I started eating – chicken and veggie wrap. 
My lunches for the week – cod, brown rice, and veggies. 
Jake’s lunches. These have chicken, rice, and cheese on the bottom, then I topped them with broccoli, green beans, and corn. 
HA! This made me laugh really hard. All. The. Time. 
We ran lots and lots of errands Sunday afternoon – I think we have just about everything for this weekend for Jake’s race! I told him it’s just like us to do two huge things back to back. Between my defense and his race, we are going to need a vacation!
We met Jake’s parents for dinner, so that was a blast! We always have so much fun with them. Then it was back home and relaxing until bed!
Wow – this is a long post. We had a very full, very wonderful weekend. I am definitely still in shock about everything. I’m going to make my optional edits this week and get everything submitted – it’s SO weird that I’m finished. 

This is also my last full month of training! Holy cow. How is it already October?! My full is the first weekend of November. 

Training last week:
Monday – Recovery miles 6 @ 9:34
Tuesday – REST – sore knee
Wednesday: 9 @ 9:11
Thursday: 7.5 @ 8:58
Friday: Defending! Rest day. 
Saturday: 3 WU, 2×5 miles at MP, CD = 15 @ 8:54
​Sunday: REST!
Happy Monday, friends!


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  1. Amanda

    Hey! Just wanted to say congratulations! I am a wife/teacher/runner/type A personality…and my husband’s name is Jake too. I have enjoyed reading your blog for a long time…found it from a link on HRG. I live in VA. Best of luck to Jake this weekend!!

    • Chelsea

      Hi, Amanda!
      Oh, what a good husband name, huh?? 🙂
      Thank you for your kind words!! I love having you as a reader!
      I will give him your luck – thank you!
      You said you’re a runner – any races coming up??
      Have a great night!

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