29 3 / 2014

The following is an excerpt from “Voices in Your Head” an article from Peter Sagal’s column in Runner’s World magazine.

"Sometimes my monologues are quite personal. Even when I leave my iPod behind, I still carry my mistakes with me, and my anger at those who hurt me, and my regret for those I have hurt. The words – of retribution, of apology – seem to flow a lot easier when there is no one around to catch them and throw them back in my face. Perhaps some of these words should be spoken to the people they’re addressed to, but until I have the courage for that, the air will have to do.

And every time I let off this toxic steam – rising and evaporating with the other noxious gases from my sweaty self – I can feel the tension leave my arms and legs, my gait become looser and freer. I come from a long line of shoulder-hunchers, and as I run and rant, I can feel my back straighten and my head rise. It’s as if the dark thoughts I give silent voice to are quite literally holding me down, weights tied to my neck and collarbones, and as I indulge them, I cut them loose and let myself rise again.”

Sagal, Peter. “Voices in Your Head.” Runners World Australia and New Zealand. Runner’s World, Nov. 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.

23 2 / 2014

running will be easier.

19 2 / 2014

I originally was inspired to open this page and write a blog post about how everything has not been that great lately.  Last week was my first official week of training for my first half marathon, and I ran about 13-14 miles.  However, that’s not what I was going to complain about.  I was going to sound off on work and stress and the typical day-to-day and people not thinking before they speak and this freaking terrible, long and horrendous winter.  Then it hit me…

In order to help you fully understand what I’m going to say I need to tell a small story.  This training schedule that I have started for the Borgess Half Marathon has been a little bit difficult for me to start.  I have been highly unmotivated (I’m sure the things that I had intended to complain about originally are to blame.) It also, more likely, has a lot to do with me starting running all over again.  I am returning after about a 4 month stint of working out whenever and however I wanted, but not typically running, if working out at all.  So this leads me to this first week of training.  I set out on a 4 mile run last week, and as I was busy hating life and sloshing my way through the last half mile, a song came on my iPhone.  The song was “The Man” by Aloe Blacc.  The lyrics are completely narcissistic and over the top, a real ballad of someone with serious confidence.  It helped me to finish that last half mile at a pace faster than I had been running the entire time, and even after running on the slush, snow and ice covered streets of TR.  I was “The Man”.  I sure felt like the man, and I did feel like you could tell everybody that I was the man.  

This brings me to today.  I sat in my classroom at 3:47pm thinking about what work to do, and trying unsuccessfully not to think about things that upset me.  When I started to emotionally boil over, I opened this blog post window to throw a proper fit, and thought about that 4 mile run.  

That 4 mile run was hard, and it had mostly sucked.  I was feeling down about my pace times being slow, about the paths not being shoveled and feeling like for every step I took I slid another half step backwards on the slush.  My shoes were soaked, my hips hurt from the uneven surfaces, and I was tired of being cold.  I could have just as easily chalked it up as not my day, and walked home.  But I’m the man.  The song came on and I started thinking positively.  I started thinking about how I was almost done anyway.  I thought about being warm and eating food when I was done.  I thought about how many calories I had burned, and how delicious water will be.  I thought about how beautiful the park was, even though it felt like a treacherous ice trap at the time, it really was beautiful with the sun low in the sky and the snow everywhere.  

Now it’s 4:32pm, I’m listening to Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” on repeat.  I have a three day week (with one day down) and my lunch today was really good. I made some time for mid-morning coffee today, and that was nice, and soon I’m going to order tickets to see “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” (NPR Quiz Show) live on my birthday!  That will be fun to look forward to.  Good vibes. 

I have a 5 mile run to do when I get home, with fartleks.  Wish me luck, but I think I’ll be okay, ‘cause I’m the man.  ;)

16 1 / 2014

Once upon a time, I created a goal setting sheet for some students in my class whose good behavior was, let’s say, sporadic.  I made this little sheet and asked them to identify issues that were interfering with us having a good classroom experience, and then I asked them to write down some possible solutions.  At the end of it, we talked about how the solutions would work in action, and what my role would be if the student fell off track.  At the end of the meeting, I remember feeling accomplished, as though I had already completed a miniature goal of my own.  Over the next few weeks I found myself, reminding the student of the goal setting meeting and referring back to the consequences of not meeting “our” goal.  Over time I realized, that even though the students filled out the sheets, and assigned the consequences on their own.  It had become my responsibility to make sure that those goals were completed.  

By the end of the semester, however, everything got really busy and the students’ behavior became just another thing, and we moved on.  We never revisited those goals; and even though I do think that there was an improvement just from originally creating a marker to shoot for, we never discussed our success rate.  This made me wonder about other goals that I have set and taken part in that I haven’t reassessed.  

I often set a lot of goals for myself, and I’d like to think I’m not alone in this.  Goals are a normal and an important part of creating positive change in our lives.  My goals are constantly changing, and I set both small and big, and then some extremely large, goals.  They’re usually about finances and my health, and they turn into “resolutions” and the beginning of every new year, but to me it’s still the same - they’re my goals.  

At the start of 2013, I wrote a list of resolutions using the fancy “notes” app on my iPhone.  Every now and then I would stumble across the list in my phone, read through it, and think “oh yeah, I’m on track for that”, or “oh crap, I really need to get on that.”  The ones that seem to stand out the most were:

1. Lose 25 pounds: goal weight
2. Workout more: 100 mile summer & run races
3. Eat healthier: no fast food & no pop
3. Read more.
4. Be a better friend.

This year I opened up that list on January 1st, 2014 and looked through it.  I decided to reassess.  I had lost 13 pounds since I wrote that note.  Still not at goal, but half way there! I had run 7 races in 2013, including my first ever 10k and an Epic Relay, where I ran three legs each right around 7 miles long.  I didn’t count the miles for my 100 mile summer, but I looked back at the training schedule for my Epic Relay and realized that I had to be over 100 miles of running for those three months.  I did not eat fast food or drink pop for the first 7 months of 2013, and when school started in August I let my busy schedule get the better of me and caved in.  Did I read more? Not really sure, but I know I read at least 5 or 6 books.  Is that more?

Be a better friend.  Oh man, how do you measure that? 

Had I made new friends? Yep.
Did I have a ladies get together with as many of my girlfriends as I could fit in my tiny apartment? Yep.
Did I do everything I could to see my best friend in Florida? Yep, flew down in June. Drove to see her at Christmas, not to FL, but a few hours.
Did I lose friends in 2013? Yep.
Did I do everything I could to keep them? Not sure.
Are there more people I could reach out to more often? Probably… okay, YES.

And here in lies my problem, or probably more suiting, my addiction. My “friend” goal left me feeling like I had not actually done any of these goals. I wasn’t sure that I had COMPLETELY and PURPOSEFULLY accomplished even one.  I had done what I thought was a good job sticking to most.  I had marked improvement, but as far as accomplishing, in many of them I had failed.

I’m a goal setter.  After I read through that list, I assessed it, measured what was “measurable”, and then quickly molded it into… another list:

1. Workout more! - Do a 500 mile year. - Run my first 1/2 marathon & at least 8 other races. - More lifting; be able to do 15 push ups at year end (I MUST BE INSANE. PUSH UPS ARE MY ARCH ENEMY.)

2. Eat healthier. - No fast food. - No pop. (So far so good, but it’s only the 16th.)

3. Lose 10-15 pounds. 

4. Start and finish more crafts.

5. Read 10 books. (Glad that I made this one more measurable.)

6. Save more money!

… and I left the last one: 7. Be a good friend. 

Then it hit me.  Goals aren’t for accomplishing OR for failing.  Goals are just goals.  Hitting a goal feels good, but I felt just as satisfied knowing that I came really close to the others.  I was just as scared thinking that I had failed at being a good friend, as I was feeling great for thinking that I had made some people in my life feel special.  My “friend” goal isn’t at all something that I can accomplish, all I can do is try. Then try again. Then try again. I’ll never fully “hit” that goal, and I’ll never sit down on any 1st of January and go, “I was the best friend EVER this year.”  It’s life-long, and it will always be a goal. 

I think I’m realizing more every day that goal setting is both my blessing and my curse.  I have a hard time addressing all of humanity on this issue, especially because I don’t really know anyone who is this adamant on setting them, and if they are they haven’t made it public. (I might need to take a hint.) However, I do think that everyone shares in my need to feel like we are somehow bettering ourselves by setting goals.  

So here’s my message: Don’t worry about “hitting” your goal or not. Just make sure that when you draft a new list, you add “Be a good friend.”

01 7 / 2013

1. Happiness is… Removing your shoes after a 5 mile run. Ahhhhhh. #amazing #run #fmsphotoaday

1. Happiness is… Removing your shoes after a 5 mile run. Ahhhhhh. #amazing #run #fmsphotoaday

29 6 / 2013

Sturgis 5k! #TrailRace #SupportMilitary #FAFSOM 👟 💦

Sturgis 5k! #TrailRace #SupportMilitary #FAFSOM 👟 💦

03 6 / 2013

Apparently I need to keep a journal of my running (at least this is what Runner’s World tells me).  I feel like this is a good place for such things.  So here goes.  I took last week off, not really by choice, I was just extremely busy since it was the last week of school and I had exams to give and grade (which I’m supposed to be doing).  Today I’m going to pick it all back up again, and really start hitting my Epic Cache-Teton Relay Training today.  

Speaking of, I thought I’d be running an “easier” leg of 16.65 miles… turns out I’m the 2nd ranked runner, and I’ll be running 19.5 miles on some of the tougher terrain… so I better get running.  If you want to check out the race, here’s the site: http://epicrelays.com/cache-teton-relay/  I’m Runner #6 (2nd in Ranking), if you click on “course” you can see my legs. 

Today I want to tackle some speed work or hill running, but I feel like that would be pushing it after taking a week off.  I think I’ll do 3 miles today, then 45 minutes of hill running tomorrow, and take Wednesday off to recover. We’ll see how it goes.

14 10 / 2012


Submission:  decomposingclassroom



Submission:  decomposingclassroom