Why I’m Running a Half-Marathon: Cancer Sucks!

BAA_Logo_400sOn Sunday, October 9, 2016, I’m running my first half marathon.

Why?

Cancer sucks and we need to support those who are working hard to find a cure.

 

How I Became a Runner

If we’ve met, it may surprise you that I run. Frankly, it surprises me.

I’ve never liked running. Yet, I started to run in March 2016 as between travel and schedule changes at my yoga studio, I needed an activity that would focus and quiet my ever chatty brain.

At first, running was tough. I wasn’t out of shape, but I wasn’t in running shape. I’d tire after a mile or mile and a half, but I kept at it and my endurance increased. By May, my short run had lengthened to 5 or 6 miles. Today it is 7-7.5 miles.

I’m not fast, but I don’t need to set a world record to enjoy the quieting effect running has on my brain.

In April, I told a good friend that I was running and how I had come to enjoy it. She responded that it would be only a matter of time before I signed up for a marathon. I told her she was crazy. Then in July, I saw the sign-up for the Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon and felt a strong urge to do it.

 

Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Dana Farber HalfThe desire to run this particular half marathon has to do with the fact that it’s a fundraiser for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

The Dana Farber Cancer Institute is one of the oldest research centers for cancer. It began in 1947 as the Children’s Research Foundation Center. In 1969, it began seeing patients of all ages. Today, Dana Farber supports more than 300,00 patient visits per year and is involved with approximately 700 clinical trials.

Cancer has made some of my good friends and their family members sick. It has also taken a few of their lives. More immediately, cancer came for my partner Tim in 2013.

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Was My Dissertation Just a Dissertation?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve read many blog posts wherein authors discuss their successes and struggles with turning their dissertations into publishable book manuscripts.

I’ve enjoyed, sympathized with, and benefited from these posts because I too have been trying to turn my dissertation into a book manuscript. However, there’s one type of post on this subject that I haven’t yet seen: How to know if your dissertation is just a dissertation.

This thought has been churning in my mind for most of this year.

 

Is My Dissertation A Book?

By all accounts, I should be able to turn my dissertation into a book.

I was fortunate and privileged in my graduate education. I attended a good, funded doctoral program where I worked with one of the best historians and writers in the profession. Ever practical in his outlook, my advisor does not direct his students’ dissertations, he directs first drafts of their books.

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Talking Politics: Interview Tips for Historians

Election2016The 2016 election cycle has been difficult. Not only does it have me worried about the future, it’s presenting me with unexpected editorial headaches.

Since April, I’ve had to consider what to do about guest references to Donald Trump in Ben Franklin’s World interviews. Mentions of Trump occurred sporadically until the Republican National Convention. Since the RNC, I’ve been confronted with decisions about whether to leave these references in episodes or edit them out on a near weekly basis.

 

What To Do About Trump?

I don’t make editorial decisions lightly. When I edit each episode, I listen for the flow of the conversation and what I can do to improve it. Most of the time that involves removing verbal ticks, pauses, and breath sounds. Other times editing involves cutting tangents that don’t add to the larger point of the episode. Sometimes it means moving answers to follow-up questions into previous answers so listeners have the context they need to follow what’s being said and enjoy the episode.

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Historian, Podcaster, Business Owner?

Wonka MemeSince January 2016, I have been traveling across the United States speaking about history, podcasting, and digital media at conferences, events, and interviews.

The experience has revealed that people have 3 key questions for me:

1. What is the role of podcasts and other digital media in the future of historical scholarship?

2. What has the impact of Ben Franklin’s World been on furthering historians’ ideas about history?

3. How are you making a living/what are you doing with your career?

I answered the first two questions in a previous post, “Digital Media and the Future of the Historical Profession.” In this post, I’ll answer the third question(s): “How are you making a living/What are you doing with your career?”

 

Digital vs. Traditional Scholarship

I’m not making a living podcasting.

I’m still living on the “18th-century patron support plan” provided by my partner, Tim.

I am making some money podcasting. The Omohundro Institute pays me to produce the “Doing History” series (we share series editorial and production decisions) and I make about $140/month from crowdfunding pledges. These funds have and do pay for most of my monthly podcast expenses. They do not pay me for my time.

I’m in the process of figuring out how I will make money from podcasting to support my scholarship and work. The delay in figuring this out has been the fact that I’ve needed to undergo a HUGE mental shift in how I view myself as a historian.

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Digital Media and the Future of the Historical Profession

Digital MediaIt’s August and I’ve somehow found myself with 7, straight weeks at home. It’s the first time I’ve been home for a full month this year. (Hence why this blog has been a bit of a ghost town.)

Since January, I’ve been on a type of “history podcast tour.” Historians & history lovers have become fascinated with Ben Franklin’s World and its success, and they want to know more about the show, how I produce it, and the role podcasts and other digital media will play in the future of historical scholarship. As such, I’ve spoken at a lot of conferences and sat for interviews for podcasts, blogs, and radio.

I’ve participated in a lot of conversations about podcasting, historical scholarship, and the historical profession over the last 7 months. It’s been a lot of fun and these experiences have revealed several key questions people have about these topics:

1. What is the role of podcasts and other digital media in the future of historical scholarship?

2. What has the impact of Ben Franklin’s World been on furthering historians’ ideas about history?

3. How are you making a living podcasting/what are you doing with your career?

I’ve heard these questions enough that a couple of blog posts with answers seem like a good idea. In this post, I’ll answer the first two questions. In a second post, I’ll answer “how are you making a living/what are you doing with your career?”

 

What is the role of podcasts and other digital media in the future of historical scholarship?

When most historians ask this question, what they really want to know is: do podcasts and digital media compete with traditional books and articles?

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