“in some countries that would be considered walking”

By some strange twist of fate, I have been asked to and have decided upon “helping out” with the cross-country team where I work. I do not say coach because, well, in the grand scheme of running I know nothing. (And more importantly, if someone walked into my classroom and started calling herself a teacher, I’d be pretty annoyed.)

At any rate, the title of this post was overheard during a drill.

When I went out to run alone yesterday, I thought about this. Not about my speed because I am ridiculously slower than the students with whom I work. But I thought about it in terms of effort. Usually when I run, I do it at the easiest pace I possibly can.

And I wonder why I make such slow progress.

So, I eliminated music from my runs. Which was a really hard thing for me to do. But I completed a two-hour run without music and knew that I would be okay relying on the sound of my breathing and my footsteps.

Once that hurdle was passed, I decided to make a conscious effort to improve form and speed. Doing the same thing in the same way over and over again (slowly in my case) just ensures that you can do that very thing in the same way forever, I realized.

And already I feel much better about my progress this week.

Nice to know that “to teach is to learn” applies to coaching as well.

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missing…

It’s been a long while since I’ve written here. I guess I’ve been busy. Like technically busy and also mentally busy.

During the gap, I have:

  • reached the 10 mile mark in my long runs
  • reached the Chapter 45 mark in my novel
  • went white water rafting for the first time
  • biked 15.5 miles with a 2200-foot elevation gain
  • spent a week+ in Big Bear
  • visited my cousin(s) in Oregon
  • spent 3 days on a road trip to Monterey with one of my favoritest people ever
  • gone to more than a few Dodger games (even though it’s not always fun)
  • reevaluated life (yes, again)
  • realized that I will always, always be in a state of reevaluation and that’s the perfect way for me to be
Mostly, I have thoroughly enjoyed a summer in a way that I haven’t in a long time.

I hope that one day you care enough about something to light yourself on fire.

I passed a student in the hallway today who had told me in class that she didn’t understand the point of protesting. Specifically, she didn’t understand why a person would light himself on fire to protest napalm.

And for the longest time (up until today), I was kind of upset. A little annoyed. A little sad.

As I passed her, I realized why. I thought that if I was around to see her graduate high school that would be my wish to her: I hope that one day you care enough about something to light yourself on fire.

This comes on the heels of a week where I was told that sometimes I will have to make sacrifices for my work.

I have never been so offended in my life. Obviously, this came from someone who does not know me or what I have been doing since I graduated from college. But either way, it is still a very inappropriate comment.

I hardly lit myself on fire.

But I did give the best of what I had. I gave energy when I knew I would have the most of it–my early twenties. I gave my education and intelligence when both were freshest–right after college and during graduate school. And I gave my devotion before I could become completely jaded.

Worst of all, I gave as I was taught to give. From the best of what I have. Not from the leftovers.

No, I never lit myself on fire. But I definitely hurt myself. I definitely sacrificed. And at the end of the day, I am quite pleased with what I have done. I am happy with the legacy I think I have created.

But mostly, I’m proud of myself for knowing what was important to me—what my “issue” in this world is—and for giving until I could quite literally give no more.

the other side

I made it.

It was supposed to be 6 months, but it turned to 8. I promised I wouldn’t push it past January, but the opportunity was much too great for a clean slate. I finished 40-hour a week contract work and moderating a high school yearbook all yesterday. Funny how both had the same deadline.

I finished at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning for my contract work deadline. (Day 97 in a row without a full day off—today is the first!) I looked out the window of my bedroom and stared at the dark street. I could see the bus stop ad where we stopped that one morning. I think it was around 4 a.m. And we broke into hysterical laughter about the ad for Dos Equis and that “guy.” I told you about the interview I heard where the actor said he was about to quit his dream of acting when he got that first commercial for Dos Equis.

And you couldn’t stop laughing because you said he held onto that dream until he was on the cusp of death.

So, we promised right there. This was the pinky swear night.

No giving up until we’re on the cusp of death.

In your absence I have found my bliss. It is part writing. But it’s mostly creating. It’s a little teaching. It’s freedom–like I guessed when you first asked me. I’ve worked hard days, long days, lots of them. But I work on my own terms–except for teaching 2 hours a day. And I love, love, love it.

I would do every moment of the past 97 days all over again.

I’m proud of myself–which is not common. And I can feel your energy. I know somewhere–you’ve found it, too.

love.

my life as a runner: are we born to run?

I came across this video on running and have to share it because it says so well things I’ve figured out over the past three years of running.

I’ve been thinking a lot about it during the last three weeks as I haven’t been able to run. My stress level has risen, and headaches have returned along with my red eyes at the end of each day.

I was pretty mad when I had to stop running because it had become the best part of my day. For four to five miles every morning, I didn’t think about a single thing. Without that, I’ve not been myself, but as I wrote before I am appreciative of the time to reevaluate things without running. It’s been a cleanse of many things.

And I’m happiest to say that I was able to run twice this week and with all of the leg-strengthening exercises, I’ve eased into an easy under 10-minute mile. So, all in all it has been a blessing in disguise.

Then, I came across this tonight–a talk by Christopher McDougall.

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

Sundays

I was thinking about the evolution of my Sundays this evening. There was a definite period of time when I would get depressed around 5 or 6, knowing that I had to get ready for work — iron and make a lunch. Perhaps grade something left ungraded. Or get lesson plans ready.

Now, it doesn’t bother me so much. Probably because I don’t have to be anywhere officially till Monday afternoon. It’s funny though because I’ve been html-coding math lessons for the last 6 hours (with a short 30 minute break) so it’s not like I’m having a great time or something.

Suffice it to say, I prefer this. But I will say it is not for everyone. And I think about that in the moments of fleeting jealousy I have for people I see during my walks during the week–how nice must it be to punch in and punch out, never take a bit of work home with you, never have to stay later without extra pay, never have to go in Saturdays. Then, I realize  I would never make it.

And I think it’s funny that some people envy me because I know they wouldn’t make it. They’d either not work (which if they can manage that, more power to them!) or they’d run for the hills the first time they had to stay up till 1:30 in the morning to meet a deadline for one job and be back up at 6 the next morning to prep for another job.

It’s a fabulous double-edged sword, but like all things in my life, I feel fortunate that I have been able to find such great joy in this.

And with that, I figure the last task before I get some reading in is my goal list:

  1. Read a book. A whole one. This week. I was doing really well for a while, but then work overpowered my life.
  2. Go back to 3-pages a day on the 1st draft of the second book. I’ve only been working on the first book right now because it directly relates to the class I’m taking.
  3. Review my taxes once more. Hopefully, submit them. But I don’t think I can so I’m not making that an official goal (one of my forms for the freelance work was unavailable from the IRS last week).
  4. Find the last 3 months worth of pay stubs. (Haha. Because I think I may have found the neighborhood I want to live in today.)
  5. Give myself legitimate rest days from running. (At least till my shoes arrive.)
  6. Finish the bedroom closet (from last week’s Simplicity attempt).
  7. And oh yea, no calorie counting! I was really tempted today, but I convinced myself not to.