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 reading......so 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!