This is one of my favorite running shirts, because I have been there and done that. When I started running, I had not a clue what I was doing. I progressed slowly to running a mile, then a 5K, to a 10K, then a ten miler, and finally took the leap into a half marathon…all while maintaining a brisk 15:30 pace. Yes, really, that was all the clue I had. And when race day came, I was sick, but determined to run it since I had been training for months. It was awesome and gruesome combined. But I learned lessons that I will never forget – learn to run properly, good shoes that are broken in are essential, there is a place that serves smoothies on the corner of the Seawall and 63rd and they are yummy because the nice lady gave me a sample when I thought I was going to die at mile 9, the Gu packets at mile 11 were not a good idea and made me want to hurl, my husband and son are awesome, and hydration and rest are essential. I limped across that finish line – barely – and was done. I was too wiped out to even stay for the after party.
I just finished my first season as an assistant cross country coach, and I crawled across the line. We had been practicing since June, and just ran the state meet the last weekend in October. Two practices a week during the summer, four practices a week during the first three weeks of August, and then when school started, four practices, study hall, and a meet each week. Bouncing between JV and middle school teams (coaching over 30 middle school kids by yourself is a challenge) and writing practice plans three days a week. All this, and I was still teaching a full load of classes and taking care of my family. It, too, was awesome and gruesome.
Seriously, I crawled – stressed, exhausted, at the end of my rope – and then collapsed.
But from this too, I have learned. I learned I needed to figure out the best way to help build up the kids so that they did not make the same mistakes I did. I wanted to be sure that they could run properly, and run they did. I learned that I had to have the right equipment – good mental shoes if you will – to make this happen. I prepared everything, from making sure lessons were planned and ready to go weeks in advance to making meals and freezing them for two months ahead of time. I learned that people will be unexpectedly kind, and just when you think you cannot do another thing for yourself or anyone else, someone will do or say something amazingly kind that helps move you along. I learned that it is good to stick what is known. I learned that I have to make taking care of myself a priority, because if I am sick and worn, either nothing at all gets done, or the quality is terrible. And my husband and son remain awesome. So the lessons are not necessarily new, the context of them has changed.
But this time, I stayed for the after party, and my family stayed with me. We had worked too hard not to celebrate.