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

Rooster Day Run 15k

So I started this post back on the day of my race and then got sidetracked with other things, typically my full-time job and my family and basically not having enough hours in my day to do everything that I need and want to.  I think that is life in general though, don’t you agree?

So my race went better than I actually expected.  My unspoken goal was 90 minutes as I have only ever done one other 15k and it was while I was training for something else, so I was much better conditioned then I was coming into this.

This race actually took place on my “turf” if you want to call it that.  I always run out along this route.  Always some hill work involved and some good flat areas as well.  Plus not to mention I love the scenery!

So the race had a fairly late start compared to most races with a gun time of 8:30 am, which I think is mainly in part due to the fact this IS a family friendly race which I love.  I got to sleep in compared to most other races and get up at 7 am.  I had my usual whole wheat toast with PB, half of a banana and some honey.  This works perfect for me.  I good amount of complex carbs, protein and easy energy with the banana and honey.  Once I had my breakfast and got dressed, I headed to the race venue.  One of my favorite things to watch is the fun run.  I love being able to watch the kids and families take part in a healthy lifestyle together.  Plus I love watching the competitiveness of the little ones!  They melt my heart!

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After the fun run got underway, they got set up for the 5k and the 15k.  We were both starting together, which I kept having to remind myself in the beginning to pull back on the reigns as I kept wanting to stay up with those doing the 15k.  We looped around the park and then headed out towards NSU college grounds, which are absolutely gorgeous!  Somewhere around the NSU grounds is when a man came up and introduced himself as Mike.

I absolutely love the running community for the simple fact that everyone is typically friendly and will come up and just start talking.  This was Mike’s first run since his half marathon over a year ago.  His goal was under 90 minutes as well.  We chit chatted most of the way about our spouse’s and our kids and our “why” for running.  It’s so neat hearing everyone’s reason.  Along the way, he kept pointing out all of his B.A. Runner friends and even pointed out one that said he would give him $20 if he could pass him somewhere along the way.  Mike just chuckled and said he had to do this.  GAME ON!  Once we got onto the actual trail system where the hills start to take over, this is where I just look down and running becomes mechanical for me.  Right before the first big hill, we manage to come up to the gentleman that Mike said he had to pass.  Needless to say we did!

Hills are not enjoyable, but yet I find myself easily getting into a steady rhythm and pushing forward.  I began to pull away from Mike and he told me not to wait up and that he was going “to cry like a little girl up this hill.”  HA!  I just had to chuckle to myself and kept going.  Somewhere along the way after that first hill, Mike caught back up to me for a little bit before his running watched beeped at him, letting him know that his heart rate was too high so he kind of pulled back some.  We still have a few miles to go, so I pulled back some too as the sun was taking its toll on me and starting to get a little warm.  

I kept drinking more and more of my water and was getting towards the bottom of my bottle.  As we started up some more of the smaller hills, Mike slowed down and I just pushed forward.  The last mile was rough as you could see the finish line the whole way.  It was just pure torture as it was too hot for me at this point.

I felt like the ending was rather uneventful as I had pushed myself enough during the whole course that I had no umph to finish it off with.  I was happy to see though that I had beat my goal and even set an PR for my 15k time!

Another great year for the Rooster Day run!

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.

New Balance Minimus Ionix 3090v2

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So I have had my new kicks for a week now and absolutely LOVE them!  They are nice and light and fit perfectly.  I do have recurrent bouts of Plantar fasciitis so I did put my orthotics inside them to help with that as they are pretty flat and have little arch supports.  I do love the fact that they only weight 6.8 ounces and feel light and airy.  I have roughly 10 miles on them since last week and have had no issues with them as of yet.  These were definitely different from what I normally go with.  Usually I’m the one to pick out the shoes with the highly cushioned heels to lessen some of the impact from my heavy heelstrike.  However I have noticed since going through a more formal training group with my half marathon training earlier this year, I learned a lot more about stride, mid-foot strike and what which has helped me change my running stride tremendously, adding in the orthotics helped that as well!  I will definitely be buying these again!  Plus I must say I absolutely LOVE the color!  <3

Back to routine

So the last few days I have had my parents here visiting from Kansas. It was so nice and relaxing. I love sitting and talking to my mom about absolutely nothing in particular. I think the kids enjoyed seeing them as well. Well except for Mr. Taylor, I think he did, he just played bashful every morning with Nana and Papa. It was quite funny. Both of my kids got hair cuts, even “Tater Tot!” His 3rd hair cut already and he is only 15 months old. I had Nana cut his hair shorter than last time since it has been so hot out. He has lost his curls!!

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My little, curly headed little boy all of a sudden looks all grown up!  What happened?!?!  We will have to let it grow back out some.  I love his curls!  I’m sure he is much cooler though!

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So now that my house guests are gone (and safely made it back home), I have been cleaning, doing laundry and grocery shopping all day.  You know the usual mommy/housewife duties.  Tater Tot was also being a handful today.  I’m not quite sure what got into him, if he was feeling spunky with his new ‘do or what, but he was ALL over the place and making noise, and being destructive!  Oh my goodness!  He went to bed about 45 minutes early because he got to the point where he was laying on the ground crying and kicking one foot when he couldn’t stay outside any longer.  I was drenched in sweat from a run and he wanted to stay outside and play in the 90+ degree heat and high humidity.  No thanks!  Daddy and Sissy did take him on a walk and ride the little 4 wheeler with him though.  My daughter was even so kind to surprise me tonight by not only emptying the dishwasher as asked, but LOADING it up too!  (WITHOUT being asked I might add!!)  I had to close my eyes and walk into the kitchen so she could surprise me.  I think she picked up on Mommy getting frustrated with Tater Tot banging on every little thing imaginable with wooden eggs and clothes hangers!  I would definitely say my 3 mile run tonight was MUCH needed despite the high heat/humidity.  After Tater Tot got put down to bed for the night, the 3 of us went and enjoyed a nice swim.  Well my husband and daughter did, I got in, found it colder than yesterday from having gotten a lot of rain so sat out and watched them play “King Kong.”  Quite entertaining I must say!

Alright off to go finish the last of the laundry and get our bed all freshly made!