Dear Former Gym Teacher

Dear Former Gym Teacher,

So on Sunday, I set out for my scheduled long run.  It started out rough as it was staying darker longer and I was trying to get out earlier to beat the heat.  Well after about 30 minutes of tossing and turning and fighting those inner demons in my head, I managed to pull myself out of bed and get ready.

As usual when it comes to my long runs, I tossed around different routes in my head and which way did I want to go today.  Down the paved trail where I would find rolling hill after rolling hill, or did I want to go through the park, where it was mostly flat, however I would have to circle passed my parked car at some point?  I ended up choosing the paved trail so I wouldn’t have to go passed my parked car and be tempted to call it good.

I’m sure dear former gym teacher, you would be so proud, I chose to go the path less traveled and “most difficult” in my mind.  So my run started out like any of my other runs despite the fact that it was already warm and a little too balmy outside.

Dear former gym teacher, you have to understand that on my long runs, my thoughts range greatly.  Most of the time, it is with great ideas and things I want to do.  Today it was a little different.  My thoughts went “dark” so to speak.  No I was not running in the dark for those that thought that.  I started thinking about growing up and being that “fat kid.”  I mean come on, I weighed 186 lbs in 6th grade (and you know, I haven’t even ever told my husband this).  I started thinking about when I did I start to feel self-conscious about myself and about my abilities or lack of abilities rather when it came to team sports and physical activity. When do I recall that I started to hate gym and physical activity?  I plodded along thinking and thinking and thinking.

It was you that made me learn to hate it and to dislike myself.  It was you that made me feel inadvertently self-conscious about myself and my body, even after I later on, became an athlete.  Definitely not a choice I made due to any encouragement from you that’s for sure.

I tracked it down to one particular instance.  ONE.  It only takes on time right?  This is it.

I headed to gym like any other day dear former gym teacher with my class and after our daily warm ups, we were instructed to go out and run two laps around the cinder track.  TWO.  For some, this may not seem like much, but for the 186lb 6th grader, who wore a size 20, this was a lot.  Yes, I get that your job is to instill good health, nutrition and fitness in our youngsters, but how you went about it in my case, was NOT helpful

So I remember taking off running to keep up with my classmates, because that’s what all kids do right?  Well about a quarter of the way around lap one, I, gasping for air had to stop and walk.  I felt defeated but I was determined to keep going, I remember thinking I could walk a bit then start running again.  I never saw myself different from others before, until this day.  So there I was having to stop and walk because I was gasping for air, when I heard you yell out my name along with a few others and sent us to time out by the football field posts.  Coming from the kid that had never gotten in trouble at school, to being reprimanded (in my mind), because I was too fat and couldn’t run 1/2 a mile without having to stop to walk like all of the other kids and your football players.  Really?  Did you try to come out and run with me, to ENCOURAGE me to keep going?  No.  Instead I had to sit there in time out, while other kids ran passed me, laughing, giving me “those” looks.  Yeah I knew they were talking about me (or at least in my mind with their actions they were)  I never held it against them, only you.  You were the one that called me out.  The shy and quiet kid.

Here, you put me in time out and I was sent home with a letter to my parents telling them all about it (and in my mind that your child is overweight and not good enough).  I dreaded having to take that letter home.  I was devastated and upset.  I was furious and in tears.  I remember handing that letter to my mom at bedtime and crying (yet again).  I had went all day postponing the inevitable task of announcing my sorryness as a child.  I remember my mom reading it and not saying a word.  She didn’t get mad at me.  She simply signed the paper and hugged me.  She loved me no matter what.  You on the other hand, dear former gym teacher, did not.

Not only did I have to bring that ridiculous piece of paper back to you signed, but I was reprimanded and had to run that 1/2 mile again WITHOUT walking while the other kids did something else.  I remember taking off on that nasty looking, old, beat up cinder track and running, slow this time, because I wasn’t having to “keep up” with anyone.  I cried the entire way around those two laps (without stopping yes).  I was gasping for air, my legs and knees hurt, my lungs and throat burned, face red I’m sure, but yes I did it.  Not because you had motivated me or encouraged me dear former gym teacher, but because I was FURIOUS and because if I didn’t make it, I would have to do it again another day.   I.  Hated.  You.

The time when I needed some encouragement and someone to SHOW me how to be healthy, you did not do that.  Instead you reprimanded me for something I couldn’t do.  I hated gym ever since.  Did you ever think to look that at home what I was dealing with?  The fact that my dad suffered from diabetes and was going on kidney dialysis?  The fact that I needed some guidance but my parents had too much going on with my dad’s health to help me.  Did you think about the long-term effects your choice of “fixing” the problem would do?  Did you think about how the kids would treat or see me after that?  Did you think about the fact that I needed help, and not being put in timeout?  Did you even know I was shy and quiet?  I got my feelings hurt easily back then?  Did you know because of you, I became aware of the fact that my dad was ashamed of my size?  No….

I.  Hated.  You.  It wasn’t for you that’s for sure, that I chose to go out for volleyball.  It was because of you that after middle school volleyball, I didn’t try out for high school volleyball, simply because there was a timed mile run and because of you, I was afraid.  Afraid of running.  Afraid of failure.  Afraid of being made fun of even despite the fact that I had a wonderful volleyball coach in middle school that encouraged me and knew I would try my best even when I made mistake after mistake and would have to run laps on the bleachers.  He saw that I would try even when I struggled.  I kept trying because he did not reprimand me and put me in time out.

It’s not because of you that I excelled at tennis during high school.  Instead, I had an amazing coach that made it fun and turned it into a game.  A coach that was patient and encouraging.  Not one to point out that I was still bigger than all of my friends, one that pointed out all of my strengths and what I had going for me.

It’s not because of you, that I later became a long distance runner and to this day have run numerous 5ks, six half marathons and one full marathon .  It’s.  Not.  Because.  Of.  You.

It’s because of you, that I was ashamed of myself growing up and afraid to go to gym.  I dreaded going to gym every day.  Even in high school when you were no longer my gym teacher.  The seed was planted.  I recall loving to play kick ball in grade school, but after THAT day in 6th grade.  No longer did I want to play any team sports or go to gym.

Dear former gym teacher, I hope that one day that this finds its way to you and that you take the time to read this and know, that’s it’s NOT due to you that I have learned to love running finally.  It was all of those other people and coaches in my life that encouraged me.  Please don’t take credit for something you didn’t do.  I no longer hate you, don’t get me wrong, but I still don’t like you.  There are far better ways to get someone to accomplish something especially a young mind, which you were put in charge of on a daily basis.  Life isn’t fair and kids are mean, I fully know this, BUT you are a teacher.  You were put in your job to help encourage young minds and shape them. You are put there to TEACH them.  Teach them to love themselves and each other, not to hate themselves and what they are.  Dear former gym teacher, I hope this finds its way to you and you learn that “tough love” doesn’t work all of the time.  Being a therapist, I know all about “tough love.”  It has a time and a place, once you get to know the person’s personality and if it’s appropriate for them.  Tough love isn’t for everyone.  Sometimes it can be more damaging than anything else.

Dear former gym teacher, it is because of you, I shed tears on Sunday’s run.  I shed tears because I recall how I felt just like it was yesterday.  I shed tears because I let you get to me like that.  I shed tears for all of the inner turmoil you caused throughout those years.

I have changed greatly since then.  I am no longer that shy and quiet kid.  I am a grown woman with kids of my own now and I will not let a teacher like you, do what you did, to my kids.  I am stronger and tougher than I used to be.  I am proud of what I have accomplished, all despite what you helped instill in me.  I am strong.  I am happy once again.  I run for myself.  I run for others.  I run to SHOW others that they can do anything they want to.  I, a former 186lb “fat kid,” am a MOTHERFREAKING.  RUNNER.  No thanks to you.

Warrior Dash both

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Sincerely,

Your former fat student

Playing catch up and ramblings

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So today I finally have some quiet time to sit and think before the hustle and bustle of the holidays start.  I can’t believe Thanksgiving is in less than 5 days!   That means it’s almost my birthday AND it’s less than one month til Christmas!  This time of the year just flies for me.  This is my favorite time of the year though.  I love all the decorations and being with family.  It is truly a blessing every year that we get to spend together.

So not too long ago I posted on my Facebook page a question, asking people what they would like to read about to get ideas for my blog.  Everytime I get quiet time to sit down and write, it feels like I get “writer’s block” and my mind goes blank!  Yet when it’s crazy and chaotic I have all these ramblings in my head.  Go figure!  So one of the things someone brought up was running.  Not just the usual “how do I start running…,”  “why do you like running…” and etc.  They asked about specifically about my longs runs.  How do I get through the monotony of it?

Well to answer this question for the most part, I honestly enjoy my long runs.  Don’t get me wrong, I used to HATE them, dread them, and even resented them!  However I found a cure to it earlier this year.  For nearly 12 years I ran solely on a treadmill, or rather a “dreadmill” as I call it.  The only time I ran off of it was when I ran races.  Even the treadmills at the gym that have the fancy, smancy T.Vs on them I loathed!  It wasn’t until earlier this year and the beginning of last year that I learned to actually love my long runs.  For years, all I ever ran were 5ks, but this time last year my neighbor/friend talked me into training for a half marathon.  I signed up with a training group with her to run the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon.  It was truly a blessing in disguise.  I had learned some tips on running through my years of it before that, but it wasn’t until I went through the training group that I actually learned a LOT of stuff about running.  It was actually very informative even though it was mainly set up to give us a group to run with on the long run days.  Yes in the beginning as I transitioned from treadmill running to outdoor running, it was nice to have a group to run with.  I still enjoy having a running partner, that you run similar paces with and can chat with along the way.  However I find running by myself enjoyable too.  For the most part all my running is by myself.  I have little kids (if you haven’t heard this yet), and they or someone else is always wanting my attention, so to have time for myself, alone time to think, is kind of rare!  Running outdoors with just myself and my music is truly a joy.  I don’t have to worry about anyone for that hour or more that I have to enjoy.  I get to have complete thoughts without them getting interrupted.  I get to complete a task without having to stop and do 10 other things in the process.  It let’s me regain my sanity and clear my frustrations and energy levels.  At the gym I didn’t get this, I stared at the timer on the treadmill constantly, wondering when my time or distance would be up.  I would count down the seconds as they ticked by.  I tried to cover up the timer so I wouldn’t look at it, but it would never help.  Getting out and actually running outdoors was a blessing!  To get to see outdoors and places that you drive by every day in a different light is amazing.  Near my house we have paved trails and I always enjoy the people who I pass or encounter, no words are spoken or exchanged other than “Hi!” or a smile and a wave.   It’s almost like it is my time to meditate and reflect.  My husband has his storm chasing as an outlet, I have my running!

On the longer run days, meaning for me, 10+ miles, I have my moments when I have to turn my thoughts elsewhere when my body starts to tighten up and things start to ache.  It is amazing at how much sooner your mind gives out before your body does!  I look at things around me, the cows, the horses, just items around me.  I think about  my groups and things I want to accomplish, my goals, the people I help, my family and friends.  I think about the people I help on a daily basis with work that aren’t physically able to do this, that experience far worse pain then I am at that moment that push through it.  I keep running because there are so many people in this world that can’t.  I keep running because there are people with far worse things going on that keep them from running.  I run because it releases any stress I have and because I know at the end of it, I will feel like I can conquer the world.  The act of running is very monotonous, however when you look at all the things it does for you and how it makes you feel, it is not.  Yes there are days that it feels like a chore or like I am dying, but I look at aspects of it and the circumstances.  Am I tired?  Has it been awhile since I have ran?  Did I start out too fast?  Is it windy?  What is the temperature out?  Am I overdressed?  There are so many different aspects to running that you have to take into consideration.

Anyone that isn’t used to exercising and starts running, yes you will feel like you are dying and thing that running is monotonous, however don’t give it up, give it some time.  It never gets easier, BUT you WILL get better.

Passion

passion

 

So let’s talk passion.  No not the passion in the bedroom silly.  What is one thing you are passionate about and strongly believe in?  Have you ever stopped and truly thought about what is something that you truly are passionate about?   Some people are okay with being mediocre and keeping to themselves.  Not me.  I want to be different.  I want to encourage people to be the best they can possibly be.  I want others to see for themselves that they CAN physically do things that they never thought possible.  It’s not the body you have to convince, it’s the mind.

 

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I am passionate about fitness, exercising and nutrition.  Why you might ask?  On a daily basis, I see individuals that the majority of them have never took the time to think about their health and wellness.  They just kept going either 1) thinking that would never happen to them 2) didn’t know the outcomes that might come to them from actions they chose (i.e. smoking) 3) the knowledge/education wasn’t there or 4) they didn’t choose to try to correct the issue until it became a problem.  Because of my job, I feel the need and desire to help others obtain a healthy life BEFORE the problem arises (for example diabetes).

Yes diabetes can be hereditary, but in some cases it can be prevented by proper nutrition, diet and exercise.  Why wait til you get diagnosed with it to finally take charge of your life and do something to keep it under control, when you could have done it prior to being diagnosed with it that could possibly have prevented it.  See what I’m saying?

We are all about prevention these days, so why shouldn’t our health and nutrition be a part of that?

When it comes to be healthy, it’s not all about your diet.  Exercise is a vital component to it as well.  A body in motion, stays in motion.  The physical therapy motto you could say, and it’s true.  Do you know how many times a day I hear “don’t get old'” or “getting old isn’t for the weak?”  I can honestly say I hear a phrase similar to this on a daily basis.  DAILY people!  So what gives?  Why does getting old have to be a bad thing?  Yes in general getting old,means our bodies are wearing out and things are going to go wrong with it that are beyond our control, but why not take care of it?  It gets us around and does all those fun and adventuresome things that you so badly wanted to do in your youth on a daily basis, so why not show it some love and get it out and move those joints.  Joints are meant to be in motion, when they aren’t they get stiff.

A couple of years ago I went to a continuing education class that was based on “How to Age Successfully.”  I found it very interesting and appealing.  It not only talked about the physical aspects of aging, but mentally and spiritually as well.  I found it interesting that it was recommended to decrease risk of dementia to have 1-3 drinks daily.  Now if you were to go to your doctor and say you had 2 beers a day, they might question you.  Now I’m by all means not saying to go out and have 1-3 drinks a day, but I found that tidbit fascinating.

However the part that stuck with me the most was the physical aspect of aging.  Most people tend to think that as we get older that the less we should do, when in fact that is not the case.  According to the information that I got from that continuing education class, the physical exercise regimen for a 90-year-old is the same as an 18-year-old surprisingly enough.  This completely blew my mind, as I can’t fathom the idea of a 90-year-old doing what a 18-year-old does.  But then once it was broken down for me, I began to see it on a different perspective.  For “substantial health benefits” and aerobic fitness, it is recommended that you get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week (i.e. walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week and it should be done in increments of at least 10 minutes if you can’t get the full-time in a day.  They did also go on to say that for even more benefits you should reach upwards of 300 minutes a week if possible of moderate intensity.

  •  For example 150 minutes of walking, that is 30 minutes of walking, 5 days a week.  (Three 10 minute walking segments a day is just as good as one 30 minute segment).

Muscle strength should be at least two times a week incorporating all major muscle groups and work up to 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Flexibility and Balance should be three times a week, for 30-60 minute sessions (i.e. Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates).

That is incredible!  How many of you actually follow something like this?  I’m sure not many do!  If you want further information on this, you can go HERE, which is where the info was pulled from according to my continuing education class.

So with that said, you now see why my passion is health and fitness.

 

QOTD:  What is YOUR passion and why?  I would love to hear what yours are.

Weekly Chase #1

So this is my newest endeavor on my part that I picked up from one of my frequented blogs ( www.roadrunnergirl.com – Thank you Mindy! )  As you all are well aware of my love for running and fitness, this pertains to all of those categories.  Something to also keep me accountable to my goals so that I see some progress and goals being met.

So my goals this week are:

1)  Complete ALL of my P90x workouts…meaning, yes….even Yoga!!  This includes doing all my Ab ripper X too!  

2)  Log at LEAST 4 runs.

3)  Be a positive role model for everyone in my 7 Day JumpStart Challenge group.

4)  Take at least 3 walks with my family.

5)  Ensure that my friend Jennifer has a successful Thirty One party hosted by ME!  (AHHH!!!!)

 

Will keep it simple this first week.  🙂