Before I re-started my running life, I wondered why it was that so many of my new co-workers were either marathoners or some other form of endurance sport competitors. While training for my first race, though, I realized that that marathon (or for me, 5k or 1/2 marathon) was the perfect metaphor for the teacher life. I pluck along each summer reading a teacher book here, writing a curriculum unit there. If I’m especially ambitious I take a class or two. I run, swim, and kayak. I cart Colby from camp to camp and force him to go to the beach with me. We eat late because we are busy fitting everything in. The last couple of weeks in August, I taper. Everything slows down. I’m still doing the things I usually do, but more purposefully, much more slowly. Everything I do is aimed toward the general goal of beginning the school year with a reserve of energy, patience, good will and good habits.
This school year, finally, the starting gun was less intimidating. Like a smart athlete, I had goals that I worked toward all summer long (organization and routines) and I have been able to see my, um, training, pay off. I’m waxing poetic about this because I’m proud of the work I’ve done, and so far, proud of the results. I tend to be one of those “fuck it I do the best I can” people, which really isn’t as effective as I think it is. I’m all for cutting yourself a break, but I needed to cultivate an attitude with more push and less couch. This has not been easy. However, if I can sustain this pace throughout the year … awesome things will happen.
Really though, I’m nervous about the 1/2 coming up at the end of the month. I’ve struggled with a weird left tibia shin splint since the week before my last 1/2, and my training has been on and off. I’ve integrated more yoga and bike riding into my training and I shelled out an obscene amount of money for a pair of new (ohsodreamy) running shoes. I’m trying to build strength and endurance without killing myself, because I reallyreallyreally want to break 2:30 this time. And now, my knees really, really hurt. So I’m going for one good bike ride per week.
Which brings me to the constant playing of Queen in my head. Because really? I want to ride my bicycle. I ride this gorgeous 7-mile loop right from my house and when I’m done? I can still walk! My knees don’t creak every time I attempt to lift my leg to say, walk to the bathroom. I pass four horse farms, ride up and down challenging hills, and observe the subtle seasonal changes. I have no plans to abandon my running life, but . . . I want to ride my (purple $20 yard sale little girl’s mountain) bicycle. The only thing better than riding that 7 mile loop on my yard sale bicycle would be riding the same loop on an actual road bike. In a pair of bike shorts with some, uh, strategic padding.
I want to go back out again right now, but I won’t. Thunder is rumbling, and I have a long run tomorrow, homework and housework today. And the looming presence of the Sugarloaf Marathon next Spring? I’ll keep the tab open on my computer, but will wait and see how the Maine Marathon 1/2 ends. Hmmm.