or how I came to grips with my limitations.........
This has been a bad summer for blogging......well, at least for me. I've been reading everyone else's, making comments right and left, but not doing any writing of my own. It's not that I've got nothing to say....quite the contrary, yet something prevented me from posting regular updates.
Well, that's probably all about to change. You see, I'm a teacher, and I've been enjoying the HECK out of my summer vacation. I've been running a lot, relaxing a lot, enjoying my family a lot, and doing a whole lot of nothing a lot.
That all changes on Monday.
I've been stressing out lately and procrastinating like mad on all the prep work needed to be ready for the coming year, but over the past week, I've been pretty productive. It's funny......my running and my working styles are VERY similar. I liken myself to a diesel engine.......it takes me a while to get started, but once I'm started, I can run forever. Might not be the fastest engine around (we'll get to that again in a moment!), but I'm steady and reliable. It took me a long time to start on my schoolwork, but my "motor" is running now. This is going to be an interesting and challenging year (they're all interesting and challenging....just some more than others) as I'm taking on a new curriculum for the first time in my career. For the past 7 years, I've been teaching 8th grade US History only, but this year, I'm now on a "split" team, so I'm going to be teaching 2 sections of 7th grade World Geography and 3 sections of 8th grade US History. To make things even more "interesting", my team of the past 7 years has been split up, so now I'm teamed with new colleagues. It's all good.....I like challenges.......if I didn't, I wouldn't be a runner OR a teacher! Anyway, I still have a few days to get the last few things together for the first few weeks, and I don't meet my new students until Wednesday, but the anxiety level is pretty high here at Fine Manor. Barb is also getting ready for her new students, and she's been an invaluable source of moral support as I've slowly started my process. It's so wonderful to have another teacher nearby to bounce ideas off of......I only wish I felt I helped her as much as she helps me.......
But back to my limitations.........
As a runner, I keep wanting to get faster. At the same time, I want to avoid injury. As I'm now training for my 3rd marathon (and 2nd this year), all I'm trying to do is be smart and put myself in a position to be happy with my results at the end of the day. This year, I've stayed healthy and uninjured, allowing me to be more consistent with my training than ever before. My mileage is way beyond any previous year and I feel like I'm recovering better than ever. Yet there's that nagging question......why am I not getting faster? I've been avoiding speedwork, for fear of injury....could that be it? I'm not doing intervals.......haven't been doing core-strengthening exercises.........so clearly, I haven't been trying to get faster. Yet I somehow keep imagining it will just magically happen? What am I.......crazy?
Or maybe I really DON'T want to get faster.......maybe I'm just not willing to admit that I'm never going to be in the top quartile of my ridiculously competitive age group. That as someone who took up running only 4 years ago after a lifetime of obesity and complacency, I've very proud of having run dozens of 5k's, 10k's, several half-marathons, 2 overnight relays, and 2 marathons. That I'm actually PERFECTLY OK with being a middle-of-the-pack (on a good day!) to back-of-the-pack finisher. That it's about accepting who you are and what you can do, rather than wishing to be someone else and lamenting what you cannot do. The wanting to be faster is symptomatic of my desire to see constant improvement in everything I do.....and what better way to gauge improvement than with the numbers on my Garmin.
Actually, there's another way I can gauge my improvement as a runner. How about in that as I accept my limitations, I actually become a smarter runner! When I was training for Boston, I had hopes for a "good" time, but the conditions that day forced a different plan. I ran a good 45 minutes "slower" than I was capable of running, and I finished on a day when many didn't. Even now, more than 4 months later, as I sit here at my desk, I glance to my right and the shadow box holding my 2012 Boston Marathon medal and bib are in plain sight.....reminding me of my ability to persevere and overcome my limitations to do something truly remarkable. The picture I chose to display with it is not the finish line picture, but rather a shot taken from the side as I was heading down Boylston Street....the finish line in sight.....my jaw set in determination. What doesn't really show are the tears that were streaming down my cheeks, as my dream was coming true. That was a day where I learned that victory isn't determined by the clock, but rather by what you feel inside.
So I'm slow......
I'm a freakin' 50-year-old DIESEL.....I'm UNSTOPPABLE!!!
So what's on tap now, you ask? Long run of 18 miles this Sunday....then 13 next Sunday, followed by 20 the next.....then running the Surftown Half Marathon (http://www.hartfordmarathon.com/Events/Surftown_Half_Marathon___Relay.htm), then another 20 on 9/23 before beginning the taper for Hartford. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks of training, and then going for it in my 3rd marathon. And because I'm feeling so good, I'm trying to figure out what marathon I'd like to try next Spring......thinking Vermont City is a distinct possibility.
So here's to my accepting my limitations.....and making the most of what I've got!