Monday, May 27, 2013

I didn't quit......


The race report will have to wait a little while, but I ran the 25th Annual Keybank Vermont City Marathon yesterday in Burlington, Vermont.  I knew going in that I was under-trained, and that I was probably going to struggle, and that the weather was going to be CRAPPY, and all of those were true.......but I didn't quit.

I'm more than a little sore today (right heel tender, but actually not too bad....the real problem is now my left achilles tendon, as I was probably compensating for the right heel and landing differently on my left....ugh!) but so proud of myself for fighting through the self-doubt and negative thoughts that hit me around the 10-mile mark and fighting the good fight all the way to the line.  Even though the wheels REALLY came off the wagon in the 2nd half (and REALLY REALLY came off the wagon between miles 20 and 26.2), I thought about my son at home.....I want to instill all the good values all fathers want for their sons (and daughters!), but particularly the value of persistence and perseverance.  I didn't want to try to explain to him that Daddy quit his race because he was having a bad day.  I cried in my wife's arms just past the finish line.......tears of frustration and relief.  It was BY FAR my toughest race.......and I didn't quit.

Full race recap to come later.....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Forget "the hay is in the barn".......try "the fertilizer is in the shed!"

In a recent blog post, someone whose blog I follow was referencing her marathon training with the saying "the hay is in the barn", meaning that the training is done and all that's left to do is run your race.  Turns out, we're both going to be running the very same marathon (Keybank Vermont City Marathon - Burlington, VT) this coming Sunday. 

In my case, as far as my "training" is concerned, I'll go with "the fertilizer is in the shed".  I sanitized the last phrase for your protection.  My training cycle......well, it never really got off the ground.  The good news is....I'm rested.........the bad news is.......I'm rested from LACK OF RUNNING.   #fail

Any expectations, any hopes of a particular time......all out the window now.  I'm going to find a slow pace group and hang on for dear life.

The expected weather.......looks CRAPPY.  rain....wind......and temps MAYBE hitting 50. 4th marathon with crappy weather.   At least it's not going to be hot like Boston last April!

My foot.....who the hell knows?   I might be fine, or I might start running and fall over.  I'm honestly not going to know until the gun goes off Sunday morning. me LOTS of confidence.

Part of me just wants to drive up to Vermont with my wife and enjoy a weekend away......take the DNS and move on..........but there's that other side of me that says unless I'm in a hospital bed, I'm running.  I feel like this is an internal argument I'm going to be having right up until the gun goes off.

So that's it......face it, when it comes to where I'm at so far in 2013, I'm depressed.  Definitely not turning out as I'd planned.

But who knows?  I might have a great time on Sunday and surprise myself........could happen!

So wish me dear friends whom I've never met.  Think I'll need your support......


P.S.  for those following along at home, I'm runner #3205

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Time to end the pity party!

I'm not going to lie to you.......this has been a tough period of time for me.  Since finishing the Hartford Marathon last October, my running has taken a pretty sharp detour to a relatively bad place.  I came into 2013 with big hopes and plans, wanting to run 2 marathons (Spring and Fall), as well as many other races........and since injuring my right heel way back in January, that just isn't going to happen.  I'm doing a little better physically, but my mileage is WAY off of both where I thought it would be, and where I know it should be.  I've got the Vermont City Marathon coming up in a little more than 2 weeks, and the plan was to try for a PR......well, that's not happening.  My goal now is to just enjoy a beautiful run through the lovely Vermont countryside, having a great time without worrying about my time at all.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll feel great and run a respectable time?   The main point is that I'm only running this to finish.....anything more will be a bonus.

Beyond the running however, is what could be seen as the real culprit behind my difficult year.  This has been BY far the most challenging year I've had since becoming a teacher in 2005.  I've had to work with new colleagues, which is a common challenge for educators.  That situation has normalized, but it definitely added to the stress I've been feeling.  Then, I've had to take on a different grade level.....for those who teach high school, that's part of their normal load, but in middle school it's a bit unusual.  For the past 7 years, I've taught US History to 8th graders, but this year, my load is split between 8th grade and 7th grade World Geography.  While taking on the additional curriculum is helping me become a better teacher, learning to deal with 7th grade students has been very difficult.  8th grade is practically high school, and those students tend to be more driven, focused, and mature.  7th grade is one step removed from 6th grade, which is basically elementary school, and their behavior is reflective of that proximity.  Again, learning to navigate through the curriculum while juggling all of the behavior issues will help make me stronger in the classroom, but just like ANYTHING else that makes you stronger, it's exhausting.  Most days, by the time I'm ready to leave school, I can barely muster the energy to get in my ride, let alone gear up for running.

Needless to say, I come home from work every day a bit beaten-up and mentally fried.......not terribly conducive to lacing 'em up and hitting the road.  I've been trying to fight through it as best I can, but combined with my foot injury, I find myself taking more days off than ever...........I keep hoping my foot will fully recover, and my school year will end on June 26th, so there's definitely light at the end of the tunnel.   My hope is that the physical recovery will spill over and improve my mental outlook.  That, in combination with a break from teaching, will be the tonic I seek.  Naturally, I'm already worried about next year, but that's just a bridge I'll have to cross at that time.

It's been really hard to blog this year, because I feel like all I'm going to do is vent my frustrations, and that doesn't make for good I've been noticeably quiet.  I appreciate all of you for reading, and I take great inspiration from all of your blogs......guess it reminds me that the sun will shine for me again, as it's shining for so many of you.  I thank God every day for my wife.....without her, I'd really be struggling right now.  She's been so patient, kind, and helpful with me as I try to navigate through all this crap.  She's always been my biggest champion and knowing she's got my back means everything to me.  "Into every life, some rain must fall...", right?  My girl does her best to hold that umbrella up for me, and I love her more than I can say.  Our son is also helping me through, in that way only a 9-year old can......just by being his usual goofy, sweet, adorable, kind, gentle self.   He makes me so happy and proud to be his Daddy every day!

So the title of the post says it's time to end the pity party.......and that's just what I'm going to be focusing on for the next few weeks.  I've never been one to wallow and I think this venting has helped already!!

See you all out there on the road!