December 27, 2010 · 7:59 pm
This story did not happen to me. It feels like it did though. It happened to my sister. She and I share an odd sense of humor, a strong will and a pitiful history where PE is concerned. So my little sister had a goal. (One I had too but didn’t actually achieve). She wanted to finish running the mile in high school PE and not come in last in her class. Totally reasonable goal. One day, she gave it her all. Ran like the wind. Finished ahead of someone. Looked up to heaven and closed her eyes to pray and to thank God, promptly tripped and fell flat on her face. Sigh.
I must point out here that another thing my sister and I share is a willingness to self-deprecate in order to have new blog material. She did in fact give me permission to throw her under the bus.
You know how in high school they try to talk you into buying an extremely overpriced coat so you can display your proudly earned letter? I had a letter but frankly wasn’t interested in wearing it. I’m not sure that Pep Band really qualifies, especially when you play the flute. The flute is designed for a symphony not a marching band. You can’t hear it over cheering football fans or a cadence from the drum line. Don’t get me wrong. I loved band. I just didn’t want to hear about it from all the sports people. I had a couple pins on this letter too…one for Honor Society and one for the Math team. In college, my debate coach thought it was hilarious to tell people I was on the math team. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that debate fell in the same category as competitive math.
My sister signed up with me to do the Warrior Dash this fall. Partly I think it was because she felt sorry for me because I came home from Rwanda with TB and she didn’t. Partly I think it was because it’s fun to surprise people and do something out of character. Partly I think because I’m the big sister and she’s used to sometimes doing what I tell her to. At any rate, we’ve been running for about two months now. We’re running at least once a week together just to stay accountable. The rest of the time we’re begging others to keep us in line and have acquired a couple of good coaches who push us. One of them is pregnant. I find it difficult to believe that I have a really hard time keeping up with the pregnant person. Sigh. Our other coach just finished this year’s Portland marathon. Starting running for the first time last spring and ran the whole thing. She’s my hero.
We all spent all last week eating. Decided yesterday we were ready for a “hard run”. Three Miles. Faster pace than normal. Really Really big hill. All three of us had to walk the last push of the hill. It’s a big hill. My friend said it felt like someone had ripped out her lungs. Clearly we all need a bit more training. Funny thing was when we finished the hill, the next bit was pretty nice. My sister had her best run ever.
In 2004 I did the Portland Marathon. I ran 1/4 of each mile and walked the other 3/4. At mile 15 or so I was feeling great. Mile 20 I was starting to get tired. Mile 21 my IPOD battery gave out. Mile 22 I was worried. At mile 25 with only one mile to go I had nothing left. I saw a little man shuffling ahead of me. I told myself “I’m going to try to run by this gentleman, maybe if I can encourage him, I’ll be able to finish”. So I ran in step with senior and said “You can do it, only one mile to go”. He said “This is my fifth marathon. I know I can do it. You can do it too. Don’t give up”. Okay then.
I did in fact finish all 26.2 miles. When I crossed the finish line, my mother burst into tears. She said she had a picture of me running a race in life and crossing the finish line into heaven.
I really don’t like to exercise. Not crazy about running. I do however like that my pants fit. I also like the extra energy when I’m faithful to run. I really don’t like much of what constitutes balance and discipline in life. Balancing my checking account, taking out the garbage, having those oh so hard conversations to iron out misunderstandings, saying sorry, getting out of bed even when the snooze button is calling me, devotions with my daughter, praying for friends, tackling the big hills.
Its easier to do anything with your sister at your side. And I know that it’s all worth it in the long run.
October 27, 2010 · 5:16 pm
I love October. I love the freshly harvested pears and apples. I love the colors on the trees and the smell of the first rains. I love watching kids climb off school buses with their band instruments bumping off their knees. I like talking to kids about what they are learning and what their teacher is like.
My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Chapman, was an amazing person. My first grade teacher, who shall remain nameless, not so much.
In typical early elementary school fashion, Mrs. Chapman had a thing for apples. She told us that she was a distant relative of Johnny Appleseed and taught us the song. She decorated with apples and we had apples as snacks. One very impressive day in October, she taught us how to make shrunken apples into little faces you could decorate as various Halloween characters. Looking back, this is a little creepy, but at the time we thought she was perfect.
My first grade teacher didn’t like me. Really. This might have something to do with the fact that I was a slob. She’d routinely dump my entire desk out on the floor and I’d have to stay in at recess to clean it back up. This didn’t actually cure me as my desk today probably could use a little dumping out. She also had little faces representing each of her students up along the top of the blackboard. If you were good, they smiled. If you were bad, they frowned. Mine frowned the whole year.
Now this whole story makes me grin. I’d like to go back to that little frustrated first grader and tell her its okay if not everyone smiles at you all the time and that a clean desk is not the indicator of a successful life. I’d tell her to try harder to keep it clean so as not to aggravate her teacher but not to take it too personally either. I’d like to tell her that someday she’ll watch first graders and she’ll really understand how it feels to be six.
A friend of mine made a perfect fall dinner the other day. Ginger Curry soup, Pepper Salmon, Fresh Green Beans and for dessert – poached pears. The pears made me feel six. Ah – October. Gotta love it.
October 26, 2010 · 9:37 am
Like a lot of people, I have a love hate relationship with excercise. Wait. Maybe that’s just a hate relationship.
I think this started from the usual terror stories of elementary school days spending PE trying to avoid playing Dodge Ball and spending recess trying to avoid getting hit in the head with the tether ball. My PE teacher was a rather large woman who may have at one time in her life been healthy but it was clearly before any of us had been born. She also had a very creative approach to physical education. One day, she lined us all up and started to roll a hulahoop down a line and told us to all hop through the moving hoop as it passed by. I thought she was crazy. Not a single kid could do it. I think she had visions of turning us into a circus act. The class bully shouted out that we’d try again when she showed us how. She put away the hula hoop.
We moved in the middle of my 8th grade year. First day at the new school I walked into PE and they were doing the final tests for the unit on gymnastics. They had been spending the previous eight weeks learning about the various equipment and putting together routines. The PE teacher made me take the test. This was not a good introduction to other middle school students. Really, if you had missed the instruction weeks and had to do a floor routine (no way was I getting on the balance beam or parallel bars) in front of people you just met what would you do? Somersaults really don’t cut it.
When I turned thirty, I signed up to do the Portland Marathon. This shocked everyone I know. It shocked me. I actually trained and I did in fact finish the 26.2 miles. I walked, I ran, I shuffled but I finished. I promptly quit running again.
So now, I’m turning 35 in two weeks and its about time to pull myself together again. I’m very clearly a project person. I have discovered the only time I get anything done is when I’m facing a deadline of some sort. So I’m signed up for the Portland to Coast in August and the Warrior Dash in September. That should do it. What I learned last time I trained was really the only thing you have to do to finish a race is just not quit. This is probably true in all areas of life. Even if it’s a love hate relationship. Just don’t quit.
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Tagged as PE, Perserverance, Running