Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful Things - Day 5 and 6

Thankful Thing - Day 5

Today I am thankful for my cross-country kiddos. I've talked about how I'm a teacher before but never really elaborated on it. Fact is, I teach at a K-6 school in an urban area where a lot of the children sadly don't have the opportunities their peers in other areas do to get out and be active. Whether they live in an unsafe area, or have other responsibilities that take precedent, many of our students aren't as active as they need to be.

Luckily, our school has an awesome athletic program that affords 5th and 6th graders the opportunity to be involved in a multitude of sports throughout the school year. During the fall, students can choose between volleyball and cross-country. Having run xc in high school and still being active in the running community today, it wasn't hard to decide where I would be helping out.

I unofficially dubbed myself "assistant coach/cheerleader" and showed up to as many practices as I could. Whether I was yelling encouraging students from the sidelines or pacing them in a run, I've been working with a small group of students for the past 2 months.

They are a great group of kids who seriously picked me up with their spirits on those days when I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed. I always left practice with a smile on my face.

In this time I have been able to watch first hand as my good friend, Bridget (the real coach) did some amazing things with a bunch of adolescents who, a few short months ago, struggled to run a lap around the track. Today many of that original bunch ran their little hearts out at the state meet for over a mile and a half! It was so amazing to be able to witness this awesome personal growth in such a short period of time.

And so the countdown to track season begins!

Thankful Thing - Day 6

Today I am thankful for good friends. Plain and simple.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thankful Things - Day 3 and 4

It is really hard to keep up with this whole blogging everyday thing so it's probably definitely not going to happen. Even blogging once every two days is still a long shot. Anyways, on to my thankfulness.

Thankful Thing - Day 3

Today I'm thankful that in less than a month I'll be on a flight to California to see my good friend, Mr. Johnathan Brecht, for the first time in far too long! You see Mr. Brecht and I have not seen each other in almost a year. This time last November, Mr. Brecht made the long trek from warm(er) California out to the greater Boston area for a visit. While he was here, we:

did some sight seeing:

did some team-teaching:

did some obstacle course racing:

and did some partying:

Then this thing called life happened, and no more visits were planned. Fast forward to about six weeks ago (aka the terrible week before the marathon) when A LOT of bad things happened all at once. I was miserable and Mr. Brecht was there to dangle a visit out to sunny California in my face in an attempt to cheer me up.

While it cheered me up, temporarily at least. Almost six weeks later, and we finally found a time that works for both of our schedules. Before it could change, I booked my flight!

In less than 4 weeks, I'll be flying out to California to:

do some hiking.

do some running.

do some cross-fiting.

and do some relaxing.

But mostly I'm just looking forward to hanging with this crazy guy,
before he heads out to dominate his dream and become a Navy SEAL. Hoorah!

Thankful Thing - Day 4

Today I'm thankful for the smile that has been plastered on my face all day.

It all started off with a wonderful morning. I'll just leave it at that for now.

It was soon followed by a phenomenal work conference, where I spent 7 lovely hours with two of my coworkers listening to an amazing woman speak passionately about teaching. We walked away re-energized, and filled with a renewed fervor for our ability to shape and mold young minds everyday.

As soon as I walked in the door from my conference this afternoon, I was greeted with some spectacular news on the dodgeball front. Since dodgeball was my Thankful Thing on Day 1, you already know how much this means to me. Again, I'm going to leave it at that for now, but trust me. It is EPIC.

After relaxing for a bit, I (begrudgingly) proceeded to a VERY cold softball game. While I may have spent the first 5 minutes entire game complaining of the bitterly cold temperatures, I thoroughly enjoyed being back out on the field with a lot of my old teammates. To make the trek into the chill even better, we completely demolished the other team. Competitive much?

While this hasn't happened yet, I will soon be ending the night hanging out with good friends, drinking and dancing the night away :)

Seriously, so blessed!

A Marathon That Wasn't Meant To Be

So the last time I posted, I talked about signing up for a marathon. Obviously, that has come and gone, and I did a phenomenal job of keeping up with documenting that.

I trained, got injured, and then had A LOT of not so wonderful things happen the week before the race. I knew it was a long shot that I could finish the whole 26.2 but I wasn't about to let my best friend, who was training over 300 miles away from me this entire time, down. So on Sunday morning, I toed the line with her.

The first 6 miles felt good - minus the fact that I could not keep ANY liquids down. As soon as they went in, they came right back out. Also, my hands and feet were numb. No blood flowing to them. Definitely made for an interesting first 6 miles. Around mile 7, the GU I took at mile 5 decided it didn't want to stay down either.

Needless to say, I knew this was not going to be my race. Slowly the pain in my leg that had plagued me from halfway through my training cycle kicked in and I had to stop to walk. Lydia went on without me. I hated that I wasn't going to be crossing the finish line with her but I wasn't about to hold her back.

P.S. That's my awesome mama who rode her bike next to me the entire race, and then rode ahead and found Lyd and rode her all the way to the finish! Talk about a rockstar!

I thought I'd be able to run/walk the rest of the race, but as the race progressed it began to heat up. Not being able to keep any fluids or gels down, I quickly realized that even with walk breaks, finishing might not happen. To make matters worse, that old injury (that I had never let properly heal) was REALLY bothering me. Around mile 12, after much discussion with my mom, we decided it did not seem smart to push my body. After crossing the 14 mile mark, I finally saw my amazing cheering section comprised of my dad and (step)mom. I sadly walked off the course and hopped in their car, determined to see Lydia along the course and cross the finish line.

We got a little lost but headed to mile 18 in hopes of seeing her before the finish. We thought we had missed her but before long, she came out of nowhere looking great! She yelled to me that she missed me. While it broke my heart that I wasn't there running along side of her, I knew it wasn't my day. We cheered her on and then headed to the finish, as there wasn't anywhere else to spectate until the end.

As we waited, it was hard seeing everyone crossing the finish line, knowing that should have been me. But I pushed those thoughts aside and cheered my little heart out knowing that one day that WILL be me.

Before long, Lydia came around the corner and flew across the finish line! She had done it! She had completed her first marathon! She had run 26.2 miles! To say I was proud would be an understatement!

The next few days were rough as I had an wondered if I should have kept pushing. If I should have pushed through the pain. However, I know that if I had, I probably would have done more damage than good. While it was hard to pull out after only 14 miles, I still ran 14 miles!

And this isn't the end for me and the marathon. I WILL get that 26.2. October 9th just wasn't that day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful Things - Day 1 and 2

It's November (or Movember for all those hunky men out there growing out their 'stache for a good cause) and that means Thanksgiving! While many people immediately have thoughts of massive amounts of turkey, pie, and stuffing (okay sometimes I do too), I usually think of what I am most thankful for.

Some days it's hard to narrow it down to just one thing, while others it's hard to come up with a single thing I am thankful for. However, if this girl can come up with a list EVERY Thursday, I can come up with something once a day. I know I am seriously blessed so my goal is to detail one thing I am thankful for every day of November.

Thankful Thing - Day 1

Today I am thankful for dodgeball. This may sound silly to some people. I am thankful that people are purposely throwing balls at my head in an attempt to hit me? Yes, yes I am.


Not only is the sport itself - and yes, I consider it a sport - slowly taking the #1 spot in my heart over running, but the people who play it are some of the best around.

I joined a local league through Social Boston Sports about a year ago after being invited by a friend, Janna. I didn't know anyone on the team besides Janna so I was a little hesitant to say the least. I should have known not to be worried because everyone on my team was AWESOME!

Fast forward a year and many, many seasons of dodgeball, and most of my best friends here in Boston are those same dodgeballers that I was so scared of. I no longer just see them on Monday or Tuesday night out on the court. We have movie nights together, throw some crazy birthday bashes, and even head 6 hours away to run Zombie 5k's with each other.

They are the first people I call when I have good news, and the first ones to come to my aid when I need a pick-me-up. I can honestly say that I don't know where I would be if I had not met them throughout the past year.

And I wouldn't have met them without dodgeball. So dodgeball - I am thankful for you!

Thankful Thing - Day 2

Today my thankfulness is three-fold:

1. I'm thankful that Keith, my step-dad, so generously donated his bike to me over the summer.

2. I'm thankful to Andy for taking me on my first biking adventure since having said bike here, in the greater Boston area.

3. I'm thankful this biking adventure included 26 miles of dominating the Minuteman Trail.

I'm sure my butt will be thanking me tomorrow!