I would say undertaking a PhD alongside a Research Assistant position has been the most challenging over recent years. I should very soon be submitting my thesis but it has been challenging at times as well as enjoyable.
I think doing my PhD was very challenging – it was very tiring towards the end of the 4.5 years as the days were very long trying to get things finished off. I also learnt computer programming to speed up getting my results: that was frustrating starting off as it was like learning a whole new language. I’m still learning now, but the learning is definitely easier now! Physically, I ran my first half marathon in 2013 all along beaches and forest trails – it was a gorgeous sunny Autumn day but the ground was very tiring. Really enjoyed it though and a great feeling to finish.
I started my current job in August 2015 before I had finished my PhD and that was a challenging time – moving to a new country, starting a new job and trying to meet people/make friends in a new place whilst also spending my evenings and weekends trying to write up 3 years worth of work in my PhD thesis! But I was disciplined and got my head down and so managed to finish my thesis before Christmas that year which was a huge relief!
Physically, I’ve never done anything really gruelling, some long orienteering races and cycle rides and multi-day hikes but I tend to find that kind of thing quite fun so long as I pace myself right! I would like to do the OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) one day though and I think that would be quite tough!