Life has been so busy but also SO GREAT the last few weeks.
Here’s a little about what’s been going on:
- I ran the Providence marathon with my students! more on that below:)
- I started a new graduate program! Last year, I realized that my current role as a multi-subject Special Education generalist wasn’t necessarily the most rewarding role for me anymore. Then a chance encounter with a neighbor brought me to a role as an after school first-grade-phonics tutor made me realize that what I truly want to do is help young people with reading challenges improve their skills and find their own path to literacy. So I applied to and accepted a seat in the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions program in Literacy and Language. The coursework- which is highly scientific- is tough but also totally fascinating. I am SO. FREAKING. EXCITED. to be moving forward with such a cool career path.
- I moved: Nothing puts the stopper on all blogging pursuits like having to pack up and move all of your earthly possessions. Loving being back in my childhood neighborhood, though.
- I Cut Back on Milage: Like, I’d love to be able to go back through and document my milage throughout the last month, but I honestly have no idea what it is/was. My doctor told me to cut back, and boy was he right. I ran the Providence marathon on fresh legs, and have had no issues with the shin splints I’d been nursing on and off for almost a year since then. I hate taking breaks, but BOY OH BOY was it needed.
- The “GREAT SUMMER OF TRAVEL” has been planned and booked:) My credit card is a little weary, but I’m excited to experience- and run in- SO MANY new and amazing places in the next few months!
Okay, so, here’s a bit of a Providence Marathon race recap for those of you crazy enough to still be reading.
My fellow mentors, my students, and I converged on Saturday night for a pasta party at a hotel near the starting line of the Providence Marathon. At this point I realized that I was in the extreme minority in that I was not staying overnight at the hotel. I got all kinds of weird looks as I explained “I just like sleeping in my own bed. I don’t mind driving 45 minutes in the morning for a 6am call time.” But, alas, that’s how I felt. I was in bed by 8:30 the night before and awake by 4:30am on race day.
Race day dawned cold and drizzly. (Which is pretty much how all of spring has been in New England) I’d been hoping to wear just shorts and my team singlet, but I realized with temps forecasted to top out in the low 50s, I was going to need more coverage. I opted for a short sleeved dryfit, the same blue Lululemon crops I’ve worn for my last two marathons, and a hat to keep the rain out of my face in addition to my singlet. I also had a throwaway hoodie that I wore until we started running. I had toast with peanut butter and a banana for breakfast, plus some pretzels while I was waiting to start.
I started with my Dreamfar “family;” a group of two kids and another adult who I’ve been training with all season. One of our kids had been struggling with some IT band pain throughout the season, and we weren’t sure how the race was going to go. The other boy is also on my school-based team, and I knew he was totally ready to PR but often took racing a bit more conservatively than he needed to.
All in all, over 75 student runners and adult volunteer mentors were at that starting line wearing Dreamfar colors. Providence isn’t a huge race, so we stand out as a team and got tons of positive feedback from spectators right from the get-go.
My running family and I set a goal to stay around a 10-minute mile. Our runners are just 16 and 17 years old, so keeping their paces a bit chill is a huge part of preventing injuries. As usual, our kiddos started off hot, and we were logging 9:30s-9:50s until Mile 10. At mile 10 I kind of put my foot down and made my two students stick within a larger pack of runners near the 4:30 pacer. I reminded them that we’d set a goal of 4:35-4:45 based on our training, and we should not be going wild out here, no matter how good of a day we were all having.
At mile 15 I also had to facilitate a bathroom break for the whole squad of us. I honestly wasn’t even able to think about how I was feeling, I was so busy keeping an eye on my students. This was a gift and a curse, and I’ll explain more later.
At mile 20, my co-mentor and our two students started to feel like they needed a walk break, and so the whole squad of us slowed to a walk. We walked and joked around and started blasting showtunes and 90’s music for about 5 minutes, and then one of the students was feeling ready to run again. He and I started running, and with a nod our little family split up.
This is one of those things I always dread when I run with people. Last year when I ran Boston, I nearly cried at mile 1 when my friend point-blank said “I cannot do your pace. Go on without me.” Running is so individual. So running with a team can be super weird and emotional and…sigh.
So my one student and I ran onwards through the drizzle. We passed so many struggling runners; the cold, wet conditions had gotten the best of a lot of people. I paused a few times to check in on orange-clad student runners who I saw trudging. I was about to turn onto our last .5 mile stretch when I finally stopped focusing all my energy on literally everyone else and realized OH MY GAWD I’M ABOUT TO FINISH ANOTHER MARATHON HOW LUCKY AM I?!?
I was smiling like a crazy person as my student and I turned our final corner. For the first time in any marathon I’ve run, I was able to turn on the after burners and run for the finish line. My student- who is the most polite, well behaved kid ever- saw the time on the clock and started shouting “Oh S#$T!” as he realized he was about to earn a 20+ minute PR.
We crossed the finish with a 4:36! Not my fastest, but my student got an amazing PR and I was so, so proud of him!
I wanted to wait for my running family to come through the finish line, but as soon as I got off the course the cold conditions (+ my lack of thyroid) made me start shaking and my mom, who has graciously driven me and waited at the finish for me, walked me back to a nearby hotel to change into dry clothes. Which is how I ended up looking this fabulous for all our post-race group photos:
So…that was that. My 4th marathon passed like it barely even happened. Weird, right?
I keep telling people, I am so, so happy that I was able to do this with my students. The DreamFar program has brought so much joy and such a sense of accomplishment to so many at-risk kiddos in the Boston area over the course of it’s existence. And I was able to facilitate that joy and accomplishment for a couple of really great kids this season.
That said…. Real talk: I run in part so that I can feel joy and a sense of accomplishment. And while this program came with its own set of rewards, it added a whole lot of responsibility to my plate that made it hard to draw the same joy from the marathon experience that I’ve been able to while running on my own in the past.
Anyhow! I hope you’ve enjoyed this long-awaited post! Hopefully I’ll get my s@#t together and start writing regularly again soon. But until then, HAPPY TRAILS, FRIENDS!