Sunday, September 29, 2013

How Running is like Teaching...and Teaching is like Running. PART TWO

Every since I was a little child, I had a fascination with the process of writing.  Going into kindergarten, I could absolutely not wait to start writing (and reading). It was like magic to me. I loved just putting pen to paper. It was therapeutic. However, like many young children eager to read and write, school eventually turned me off to writing. The mechanics and grammar of it all were certainly not for me. To be honest, neither was the creativity of it all.

Eventually, I realized that even though I hated writing in school, I still loved to put pen on paper. So, I settled on list making. Obsessive, somewhat compulsive (alright, really compulsive) list making. I mean, really...what type of writing could be better for a type A, control oriented personality like mine. So I would make lists for everything. Places I wanted to see, things I wanted, lists of favorites, lists about lists to make (ok, not really, but you get the point). I also loved making lists of goals. Now, I'm talking here 2nd and 3rd grade. As summer drew to a close, and the new school supplies would be bought, I would spend my days making lists of goals for the new school year (this would also be repeated as December 31st came into view each year). Goals for extra curricular activities, goals for grades (as a teacher I now shudder at this), and goals for things to do. This became a ritual before every school year.

Many years ago while cleaning out my room prior to moving to Maine, I stumbled upon a very old notebook with some of my "goals lists" in it. I had to laugh at myself. It was so compulsive...and SO nerdy! But it is also something I've come to terms with.

I am an extremely goal-oriented person. To fault at times. This is also why running, and teaching, have been so good for me. They are both about goal setting. Plan, Do, Check, Adjust. Repeat. For the rest of my life (kidding...kind of...).

Last week in Kindergarten Land, I was tasked with the job of making individual goal setting and team work tangible to 4 and 5 year olds. We had spent the last few weeks coming up with our classroom code of cooperation (rules) and unpacking the nitty gritty of what each "rule" meant. Now, students would be choosing one "rule" to work on each week as their individual goal, with support from the team. The answer to this task was pretty obvious. Relate it to running.

So, I brought it some of my race medals, and a few pictures of my trackies/sole sisters at races. I told my kids about my running, passed around my medals that I earned from setting my individual goals, and then told them that I could NEVER have met my goals without the support of my team. I showed them the pictures of my trackies and introduced them to Miss. Alice and Miss. Audrey...and even to Miss. Jim, Miss. Scott, and Miss. Todd (just kidding Jim, Scott and Todd...I said Mr...although it was tempting to say Miss...). They were in awe. I told them we had a team name - "trackies" and that for our next race, we are even going to have team colors - our orange flowers from Fellow Flowers and our white/green track club singlets. We spent the rest of the week voting on our classroom team name (yea, we are "The Cool Kids Club") and our team colors (blue and green baby!). It was an AMAZING week. They were SO supportive of each others goals. On Thursday, I let a little tear of happiness fall as one of my little rough and rowdy scrappers noticed a friend following our code and started yelling "HEY - YOUR FOLLOWING THE CODE - GREAT JOB."
Trackie Love has invaded kindergarten!

Our Code/"Cool Kids Club" board, decorated with "Code
Catchers" Certificates and some of my race medals! 
So, our classroom is now decorated in "The Cool Kids Club" signs, blue and green team pendants, my race medals, and pictures of my trackie loves. This week, we will be making team pattern bracelets out of our team colors. My kiddos will set new behavior goals, and we will begin the long endeavor of setting and monitoring academic goals. They get it.

And then I thought...WHOA.'s two weeks till marathon day. What the hell is MY goal? If you had asked my 2 months ago, I would have said in a second, "Boston Qualifier." But not anymore. Partially because of all those people who qualified and still didn't get in. But also because this has been the most AMAZING training cycle ever. Which is funny, because I said that about the last cycle. How lucky am I that it just keeps getting better.

This cycle has been amazing because of the company. Alice, Audrey, Jim, Todd, Scott, Steve and Deb - you have made this cycle an unreal amount of fun for me. Running is not a chore, or something I HAVE to do. It is something I GET to do. Our runs are therapeutic. They are hysterical. And, they are very inappropriate.

This cycle has been amazing because of how I've felt. After my hip went out of whack a few days before GCI, I knew I had to do something. I started a hip/core regiment 3 days a week and the stability/strength I've gained from it has been unreal. I can feel it propelling me up hills and keeping me strong on 20 mile runs. And, I am down to monthly chiropractor visits, with no pain in between.

This cycle has been amazing, because, for the most part, it hasn't been about goals. It's been about feeling good and having fun, just like we've been doing in my classroom. Making goals FUN and rewarding...not WORK. And if that has been the goal, then man oh man, I've arrived.

So, what is the goal for Hartford? To feel awesome. To finish strong (I really want that "one mile victory lap" that Bob has been coaching us to have at mile 26). To have an unbelievable amount of fun with my loves. To make memories. To not get swept up in a time goal. To run on HEART RATE...because I know that if I run on heart rate, I will run a comfortable, enjoyable race. And, to enjoy the 26.2 mile reward that will mark the end of this training cycle...and, inevitably, the beginning of the next....

So, here's to you sole sisters! (And "Jem!"). Let's rock this 26.2! We are ready!

Sole Sisters helping me celebrate birthday #29!
Wearing our UNITE Fellow Flowers!

Deanne, Alice, Aud and I will be sporting this flower at Hartford in 2 weeks! 

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