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!


  1. I think in our lives we pass through different challenges in life and how we navigate our way through them shows true character and builds the blocks of our future. You will grow and get stronger with this I am sure.

    Go and enjoy that marathon ... and with every step may there be an evaluators face stomped on ;-)

  2. What kind of foot injury is it, Bill?
    Have you seen a doc?

    Go & enjoy the you said, enjoy the course. It sounds wonderful. I wish I was doing it.

  3. Awe Bill!! I'm sorry but your right! It's time to just get out there! Go and enjoy that Vermont marathon and just have fun with it! Listen to your body and just know that your out there! Your having fun and plan for 2014 to be the year! =)

  4. We all go through tough times and I totally see where you are coming from. When you are stressed all day at work it is difficult to come home and do other things when you are exhausted. I hope that once the school year is over you can relax a little, gather your thoughts and think all of this through. Having the foot issues is just the icing on the cake I am sure. It is great that your wife is so supportive. That makes it that much easier. Take care and hang in there Bill! It will get better and you can vent every once in a while. We are here for the good and the bad :)

  5. Life has a way of throwing curve balls at you. I know it all too well. With your family supporting you you will finish this marathon strong. I have no doubt about that. When the free entries to Boston runners came up, I wanted to do this one too. But unfortunately the date doesn't work for me.

    You were definitely noticeably missing from the blog world. I kept checking and making sure I wasn't missing you post. I was just about to ping you on Facebook!

    I'm glad you are still running it. Showing up to the start line is half the challenge. You got this Bill. I know you can still finish strong regardless. Skip the Fall marathon, take the needed break. But get ready for Boston next year!! You and me brother!

  6. Always good to see you posting again! I hear ya about the work thing and being mentally fried Bill. Different profession but similar issues... I just try to do what I can and try not to be frustrated.

    Many things, including my running, are not what I think they ought to be, but they are what they are. I too have a great family and with them in my life I am always blessed.

  7. I have a 7th grader, so I definitely understand....
    Glad to see you expressing your feelings...we're always here if you need us!

  8. Hi Bill,
    A lot to chew on 8). First: have fun in Vermont, take it easy and just enjoy. Any day you can race a marathon is a good day, no matter what the time.

    It is very hard to concentrate on training when the job situation is in flux. I went through that in the last year when i transferred to a different group in july. So much to do! All new! But good for the brain ;)

    I think the "moving target" problem is the biggest of all. That is rough. Having a clear path to success is so important.

    I am in awe of anyone that can wrangle a bunch of kids of ANY age and manage to cram anything in to their brains 8). I can handle one-one-one but a classroom sounds pretty daunting! Kudos to you..and thank you for doing a job that is so important and so difficult.

    Enjoy Vt! be realistic about pacing, avoid injury, and don't stress about it. Like the famous Walt Stack used to stay: "Start slow...and taper off.."


  9. It's good to hear from you Bill. Sorry to hear of the stress you've been dealing with. I love the way you talk about your wife and son - makes me smile. It's great you have them! Go and enjoy your marathon - just enjoy being out there! Can't wait to hear about it :)

  10. Sometimes it takes a moment to look back and really assess your life to see what you think isn't affecting you to find that it is. Everyone handles life differently and if you are an overall strong person you forget you need some rest, love and renew. I completely feel what you are going through! Some days I have to list what sort of things have happened in the last 6 months and just enjoy "those" days.
    Big Hugs and go get em!!
    (especially for being a teacher..that is an amazing profession!)

  11. You're totally allowed to have a pity party AND write about it. God knows, we've all been there at some point. You've definitely been dealing with a lot, so hopefully you're giving yourself a break.

    I was very happy to read that you're still headed to VCM this month! I've run it twice and enjoyed it both times immensely. PR's are definitely awesome and we all reach hard for them, but your attitude of enjoying it and finishing is its own special PR. Not everyone can get past the initial disappointment, so good for you!!!

    Hang in there and enjoy VCM!!