Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Today I forgot my wedding ring. I don't know why. I take it off when I get ready in the morning so I don't get girlie products like make up and hair spray all over it. Normally I put it right back on, but today I didn't. I don't know why. Don't go reading more into it because it was more about my Dory memory than anything else. No hidden meanings so just get over that one.

All day long I kept finding myself rubbing my thumb down my ring finger trying to figure out what was wrong. I must have touched my ring hand 2000 times today hoping it was magically back. It felt wrong, exposed, incomplete.

I kept expecting people to notice all day long. I thought people would wonder. Maybe they did, but no one said a word. I seemed to be the only one aware of it's absence.

I guess I should have know that the ring was just a preview of my entirely off day. You know that song "You had a bad day". That was me today. Turns out the missing ring was the best part of my day.

I have a student teacher who really is trying but just doesn't get it yet. The problem is, she thinks she does. She gives empty threats to the children. They have her number so they misbehave knowing there are no consequences because there is no follow through. I have talked to her about it, but she doesn't seem to want to hear it and makes no modifications to her behavior. When I was a student teacher I lived in the classroom. I ate up anything my mentor teacher had to teach me. I was exhausted and exhilarated all at the same time. My student teacher arrives 5 minutes before the students even though my contract hours begin an hour earlier. She stays maybe 15 minutes after school, even though I work until 5 or later every day. Today I watched the worst fractions lesson I have ever seen. She had no idea what she was teaching and it was because she didn't take the time to prep. She tried to wing it. A seasoned teacher can wing it on a very lucky day and those don't happen often. A newbie often flounders on a well prepped lesson. Winging it is not an option.

While it is painful for me to watch, it is the kids that I feel bad for. We have worked hard to establish classroom routines, procedures and plans. The kids know the rules and mostly follow them and they treat each other and me with respect. They don't treat my student teacher that way and quite frankly, she hasn't earned it yet by the way she is inconsistent with them. There are some things that can't be taught.

My day ended with a long meeting that raised more questions than answers. Yes, it was just that kind of day.

Tomorrow I shall put my ring on first thing. Hopefully that will restore the center of my universe and get my footing steady again. If not, I'm glad I at least already have plans to meet a friend to run after work. I don't think I can take another day like this for a while.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Revelations on the Clearance Rack.

I'm not sure what the bigger question here is. Why a company would produce a shirt that says "Failure" on it? Or why I felt so compelled to purchase it.

Failure. It has such a negative connotation to it. It is something that we all strive to avoid. Don't Fail. Failure is not an option. Why? Ever since I felt the need to purchase this shirt off the clearance rack of the Newport bike shop yesterday, I've been pondering my attraction to it.

Then it occurred to me. Failure is not a bad thing. Failure teaches us things about ourselves and about life in general. I've learned more in this life of mine from the things I've failed at than I ever have from my successes. Failure makes you pull yourself back up and try again. Failure makes you feel alive. Success just leaves the room for questioning. Sure, I did it, but it could have been different, I could have done better, faster, stronger. Doubt creeps in with success. But with failure, there is no where to go but up and it acts like a challenge to do better. I would argue that the only true failure is the failure to try in the first place.

And so I go forth embracing my failures as I use them as building blocks to move forward. Closer and closer to real success that you feel in your soul. Because a life without failure really isn't much of a life at all. Maybe that's why I was so oddly attracted to a little yellow shirt on a clearance rack on a sunny day at the beach.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Being Tested

My IT band is not happy. This means neither am I. I hadn't had any IT band issues prior to training for the half marathon this year. It started with a strange twinge on the track and progressed from there. It got progressively worse as the race approached so over the two weeks prior to the actual race, I cut my running way down. It has now been nearly two weeks since the race and I have logged exactly 2.2 miles. I have also ridden spin bikes two times. The IT pain however, continues. I foam roll, ice and have been downing Advil like a corner junkie. Nothing seems to be working.

Today is a day off so I spent the last hour researching online forums, medical articles and treatments for words of wisdom on how to deal with this. It appears that the ITBS (Illio Tibial Band Syndrome) is pretty much the kiss of death for any kind of activity until it gets resolved. Kind of what my Dr. warned me about as well when I saw him to decide if I wanted to do the knee surgery or not. Kind of ironic that I decided against the surgery, took it off his impossible to get onto calendar, because I didn't want to ruin my summer in recovery from surgery. Good thing, because now it looks like I"ll be sidelined rehabbing my IT. Biking and running are major triggers for me. So much for my favorite activities.

In my ongoing quest to find the silver lining in everything I found an activity that seems to be allowed in all people. Oh yes dear friends, I can still swim. Great.....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What not to wear!

Today I looked at both the outfits I pulled out over the last two nights that have been hanging in the bathroom. Neither one seems to fit the bill. What will they think? Does this make me look lazy? Do I look like a tyrant in this? Do I look too primary? Does this one say "here's why your kid can't pass the state test". How about, "I know we have only done one field trip this year, but my own personal bank account can't swing a second."

Is this too dressy? I have to work all day first so it can't be too fancy or it will end up with Capture the Flag all over it.

It must be Parent/Teacher conference time again. Sigh....Release the Hounds.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The days after

Sunday I set a new PR for my 1/2 marathon time. This time I finished in 2:27. Approximately 26 minutes faster than my time in the Dirty Half last year. I am happy with that time, although I really had hoped to come in closer to 2:15. Next year!

I don't have any good pictures at the moment. I'm hoping to gather some from the friends who have some great shots. The one's I currently have include closed eyes or blurry scenes. No worries, pictures will come later on. I have the pictures in my mind and that is fine.

I also have the hardware. Really that is what I was in it for this time anyway. I should include a photo of that. I'll add one in later.

My bigger issue is what to do with myself now. I have spent the past 13 weeks thinking, planning and training for this event. Now that the event is done, I don't know what to do with myself. Unfortunately I've been filling my time with food. Yikes, that can't be a good idea!

I'm hoping over the next few days as my body and mind finish the week long recovery process that I'll come through the other side recharged and refreshed.

Oh, and with a new obsession logged on the calendar.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stop, Look and Listen

I have two student teachers this term. Needless to say, it is a challenge to balance the needs of them with the needs of my own students and my need to be a control freak. On a daily basis I'm doing an awful job for all of us. But whether or not I'm happy that I accepted this responsibility is irrelevant at this stage of the game, I must move forward and suck it up.

I had an amazing mentor teacher and I learned how to be a great teacher from her. However, she never fully turned over the reins and she would constantly teach over me. It drove me nuts and made me feel both small and incompetent. I swore I would not do that to my student teachers. Turns out though, it is much more difficult not to do than it looks. See, I have spent the past 8 months building these children. We have rules and procedures for doing things. There are reasons I manage the way I do and the children have become quite the well oiled machine. Until someone new is in charge. Suddenly they pop out of their seats, they blurt out answers, they talk over each other and the teacher. All the things they did when we first worked together but we had worked past. Now there is someone new, so they revert to their old lazy ways. It's like the kids that get told "no" by one parent so they go ask the other. And through it all, I have to grit my teeth and let it happen. It is maddening.

One of my student teachers talks to me non stop. She asks questions about everything all day long. It is completely exhausting. She does a lesson and then talks it to death with me. What she needs to do is to stop talking. The answers to her questions are not in my words but rather in the words and actions of the children. They tell you all you need to know if you can just be quiet long enough to hear them. Look around the room, what are they doing? Are they engaged? Are they working? Do they understand the task? Listen to their words and hear what they are saying to each other. That will tell you all you need to know. Be comfortable with the silence, be willing to just shut the fuck up long enough to really be present in the room.

Because the truth of the matter is, the greatest teachers in the room are not me, but rather the 25 eight year olds who are there with open minds waiting for you to fill them up if you would just Stop....Look...and Listen.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One Week!

No, not the Barenaked Ladies song of the same title, although it does keep running through my head every time I think "one week".

I'm talking about The Corvallis Half Marathon, which takes place exactly one week from today. Yikes, one week. Seven days. One hundred sixty-eight hours (give or take). I'm ready. Well, I plan on telling myself that for the next week in the hopes that by the time it gets here I will actually believe it. Today I picked out my outfit. By picked out I mean I purchased it. I broke all the rules, and got a whole new outfit for the race. I have never done that before and I hope that it doesn't backfire on me and give some sort of bad juju for not having been part of the process all along.

Come to think of it, the one time I bought new socks for an event I had the worst blisters of my life. Well, that settles it, I'll wear old socks!

My chosen outfit is black stablix 3/4 length tights with periwinkle trim and a nice blue shirt. I selected blue because that is my favorite peep color and because it is the color of Dory from finding Nemo. Since my mantra (thanks Sean for helping me with it) is "Just keep Running. Hopefully it will bring me all the luck I need.

Hopefully I won't need any luck other than the luck necessary to keep my IT/knee in check. Because I really have worked my butt off for this event. I've faithfully attended track nights and long runs for the past 12 weeks. I've cut back on junk food and alcohol consumption and upped my use of arnica, frozen corn, foam rollers and the marathon stick. I tape my knee, I wear two IT band stabilizers and I look forward to my new compression tights. Yes, pain is my friend. But I feel strong. I've downed countless pouches of Hammer Gel, Gu, Energy by Power Bar, no caffeine, extra caffeine, in the quest for just the right balance to keep the body happy for 13.1 miles.

I had my last long run yesterday and it felt good. I worked out with Olivia after and I still felt pretty good. I got up this morning and I feel good. So I'm hopeful that this will go well and that I can be proud in exactly one week.

I'm so excited about actually crossing that finish line and having that medal placed around my neck. I have dreamed about it, I can see it in my mind's eye. It is beautiful, I am strong and I am proud.

Now if I can "just keep running....."