A Slice of Life is a weekly blog hosted byTwo Writing Teachers, Ruth Ayers and Stacey Shubitz. Click on Two Writing Teachers to be taken to their website to learn more about this week's Slice of Life.
Note: I'm posting this using a Blogger app on my iPhone. My apologies if there are bizarre formatting issues - it's my first time using the app. 😉
Yep! That's me during the Rim Run. 😃
This past weekend, I joined my friend, Dana, for the annual Rim Run in beautiful Crater Lake, OR. Crater Lake is a six hour drive from our homes in Newport but the Rim Run holds special memories for Dana. This was a nostalgic run for her in memory of a beloved cross country coach & teacher who had past away this past year. I was honored that she would want to include her friends in a run that holds such deep, happy memories from her youth.
Before we go any further, I should point out that I do not run. Not even close. Add to that that the terrain is hilly (is that a word?) and is at 2500+ feet. For someone who lives at sea level, the altitude was a tad bit of a concern. And, to be honest, I'm horrible about working out. I had good intentions to train but with multiple road trips prior to the run my plans to work out never materialized. While we picked the shortest of the three distances (6.7 miles), I went into this "run" as a walker and was still somewhat concerned about the pain I would experience.
The start time the morning of the race was 7:30 a.m. It was COLD but there's nothing like the rush of adrenaline prior to a "race". I found myself excited...albeit, strategically located at the back of the pack.
POP! People cheered as the starting gun sounded and everyone took off. Up hill. I sighed. This was not a good way to start my walk. Up hill. Another sigh. 6.7 miles.
And another sigh. I can do this.
At one mile, I thought to myself, "Wow! That didn't take as long as I'd thought it would." Even better...everything was down hill at this point. I was actually inspired to jog. In no time, I was at mile 2 and had that feeling of "I can do this!" After all, there was only 4.7 miles remaining. From mile 2 to mile 3 it was again up hill, but this hill was far more steep & I found myself wishing for that inhaler that I told the doctor I didn't really need any more. It was here that I thought to myself, "What were you thinking?" The only welcome sight at mile 3 was the liquid refreshment. More discouraging thoughts crept into my brain, "You're not even half way done." As I made my way to mile marker 4, which happened to be heading down hill, it occurred to me that I wasn't even enjoying myself. I was in a beautiful part of my state and I was missing out on it. Furthermore, I was alone with plenty of time to think, reflect, goal set & I was missing out. This rare opportunity for quiet was passing me by because I was so caught up in negativity. Negativity that I was imposing on myself. I shook my head, like one getting rid of cobwebs on the brain, and changed my attitude.
From mile 4 to mile 5, I noticed the trees and the rock walls, I caught glimpses of the lake, I felt the warmer temperature, and I recognized that my breathing was not labored. By the time I hit mile 5, I experienced what my friend calls a "runner's high" (only for me it was a walker's high) where you just have that burst of energy & it's almost euphoric. Mentally, I started planning for next year's run. By mile 6, I realized that I was well ahead of my pace & that I'd finish sooner than expected. And, I only had 0.7 of a mile to be finished. The downer? Up hill. I asked myself, "Who plans a race to end up hill?" I quickly switched the thought to, "You have made it this far. You go girl!!!" I dug my heels in (literally...I had blisters on my feet) & finished at 1 hour 40 minutes...20 minutes faster than expected. Everyone gets one, but that medal they put around your neck when you finish is a pretty big deal, in my opinion.
During that last 0.7 of a mile, I thought about how my emotions of the day were a lot like what most of the beginning teachers I mentored talked about with the stages they went through in their first year of teaching. They were excited and full of anticipation to begin the school year. Shortly thereafter they experienced a period of time asking themselves "oh my word! What have I gotten myself into?" when the reality of the job hit. Soon they found their rhythm with things running smoothly (so to speak) only to dip down further wondering if they were cut out for this work. But, there was a time when momentum pulled them upward again and they realize they really could lead a classroom. They felt successful & began to look ahead at what they will keep the same & what they will do differently for the following year.
My take away from the Rim Run experience is to enjoy the run or the walk. Feel it but don't get bogged down. Embrace the pain of the hill but do not let it own you. My goal for my next Rim Run is to celebrate each mile. My hope for the teachers I support & mentor is that they'll celebrate each student, celebrate each success but more importantly, celebrate each struggle (that's what makes us better) each day. At the end of the run, we all win.