In Need of a Little Redemption

ImageRedemption.  The act of redeeming or being redeemed.  Deliverance or rescue.  Atonement for guilt.

I ran my first half marathon on June 24th, 2012.  It was the Fleet Feet/New Balance Inaugural Women’s Half Marathon, and I trained very poorly for this race.  Truthfully, when I get busy with school (I’m a high school English teacher in the western suburbs of Chicago), I am not the best at prioritizing my fitness.  At the time, I was serving as an interim newspaper adviser for my friend who was on maternity leave through the end of the year – and I was also the assistant JV softball coach for my school.  My schedule for the week tended to look like this:

Monday:  Newspaper meeting until 4, then onto softball practice (or game) until 6:30 or later.

Tuesday:  Softball practice (or game) from 4 – ~6:30

Wednesday:  Softball practice (or game) from 4 – ~6:30

Thursday:  Newspaper meeting until 4, then softball practice or game

Friday:  Softball practice

However, if newspaper was in a deadline week, I would be in the newspaper room until about 5, then if there was a game that day, I would try to catch the tail end of it.  Thursdays were deadline night during this week where we would stay until the issue was finished (sometimes until 9 P.M.).

When I got home after a newspaper meeting or softball practice/game (or both), I was not very motivated at doing anything other than collapsing onto the couch and decompressing (teacher code word for not wanting to talk to anyone and watching mind-numbing television shows such as Keeping up with the Kardashians or The Real Housewives).  I was terrible at just getting out and running.

And my performance during the half marathon reflected this.  Granted, it was approximately 85 degrees while we were racing that day, but had I been used to running outside during this type of temperature, I probably would have fared better.  At one point, I was so dehydrated that I started shivering.  Around mile 11, my poor training really started to show (I had never run over ten miles before that point), as it became incredibly difficult to put one foot in front of the other.  I also really started to feel sick.  I walk-ran for the remainder of the race – and even when I was running, there were other people who were walking faster than me.  However, I had made it my goal to finish – and finish I did.

Immediately upon finishing, I felt so sick and dizzy that I needed to hold onto a random person’s shoulder in order to be able to get out of the way of the finishing racers.  After this good Samaritan kindly walked me over to the grass, I couldn’t keep my head up anymore and had to lay down.  My friend Emily (who ran the race with me but finished way ahead of me) had to force feed me a banana until I felt better.  During this time, I vaguely recall making a declaration that I would “never run a half again”.

However, once my body (and even more importantly, my mind) recovered, I started getting the urge to run another.  What is it about our bodies that make us so quick to forget the pain that we went through and start craving another similar experience?  Maybe it was the endorphins, or maybe it was simply that I didn’t want to feel like that half had conquered me.  Either way, I decided that I wanted to try for a fall half marathon in order to redeem my performance in June.  This time, I want to be the one to conquer IT.

After a great deal of research, I settled on the Grand Rapids Half Marathon on October 21st.  October is my favorite month (I love everything about fall – well, except that it means impending winter), so I really wanted to find a race during that month.  I also really wanted to find a course in the Midwest (so I wouldn’t have to travel too far).  I briefly thought about doing the Detroit Half Marathon (there’s something appealing about running to Canada), but I ultimately settled on the one in Grand Rapids.  The Grand Rapids Marathon/half marathon is actually the same weekend as the Detroit one, but the GR one is much smaller.  I’ve heard many positive things about this race, such as the course, the race director really caring about everyone who is running, and PICKLE JUICE!

So, I’ve signed up, and I’m making this my redemption run.  This time around, I’m vowing to train appropriately for it.  No more excuses.  It’s time to man up (lady up?) and work towards redeeming my mindset on the half marathon.  Now, I’m off to complete a three-mile training run 🙂




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Big Ten Network 5k Review

Another overdue race review (although  not as bad as the one for the RnR mini marathon).  There has been a lot of craziness in my personal life.  I might post separately on that///

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Rock and Roll Mini Marathon Recap

This post is wildly overdue, as I ran this race over a week ago on July 22nd.  I actually made the decision to run this race at the last second, which is very unusual for me.  As a teacher, my brain is hard wired to plan – and to plan in advance.  Back in June, after I ran my first half marathon, the endorphins in my brain actually tricked me into considering running the Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon – until I came to the rational decision that, when I do my next half marathon, I want to actually put in the amount of training necessary to “do it right”.  

I didn’t find out about the Mini Marathon until a few days before the race.  I couldn’t make up my mind about whether or not I wanted to run it.  I kept going back and forth and weighing out the costs (it’d be part of my training plan anyway, I enjoy running large races, I’ve heard good things about the Rock and Roll races

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This is the Start of Something New!

Hi, my name Katie, and this is my first blog post on my brand new blog!

My intention is to use this blog to talk about my experiences as a high school English teacher while concurrently documenting my progress to become a long-distance runner. This is not my first experience with blogging, but, truthfully, my first go around was less than stellar.  As part of an assignment in grad school (back in 2008), we were required to create a blog and post to it twice weekly about our experiences in education. I have never been the type of person who is a great “journaler”. I have attempted many futile efforts in the past. However, I love to read blogs; I have a whole line up of daily reads. Recently, I’ve been addicted to reading running blogs. In fact, it is these blogs that have, in part, inspired my desire to tackle long-distance running.

Running is not new for me, but it’s only recently that I have attempted longer distances. In high school, I played softball and was a sprinter. Longer distances were only ever attempted in gym class when I was forced to do so, and, even then, the longest I probably ever ran was a mile. However, in undergrad at the University of Michigan, my friend asked me if I wanted to join a running group with her that would train once a week and would culminate in running a 5k. This was my first race ever. After that, I started running more as a way to combat stress during graduate school – but still never tackled a distance longer than a 5k. My friend of mine (who was student teaching at the same school as me) and I would run several times a week after school let out and before we had to attend our evening grad school classes. To top it off, I was going through a traumatic break up with a boyfriend and running allowed me to blow off steam. When grad school ended, I was fortunate enough to get a job teaching high school English in the north suburbs of Illinois. However, when I first moved here, I didn’t know very many people. To top that off, I was advising yearbook while also trying to survive my first year of teaching – and I didn’t do a good job of balancing my professional life with my personal life. My professional life took full precedence, and as a result of working late hours and not eating well, I gained 15 pounds. Fast forward a few years. I am now doing a much better job of making sure that teaching isn’t taking over my life. I now work for a different school located in the western suburbs, a job that does a much better job of encouraging its employees to find balance between professional and personal life. I realized how much I missed having an active lifestyle and, in particular, how much I missed running. I was craving that feeling of what running brought me back in grad school and how it helped me to decompress. On top of that, I had just gotten engaged and was looking for a way to get back in shape for the wedding. So I started running again and ultimately trained for a 10k. And, since then, I haven’t stopped. I ran my first half marathon last month.

I am hoping this blog will help in several ways. It will allow me a venue to write down my feelings about teaching and my wonderful, crazy, chaotic, but utterly rewarding job as a high school teacher. I am also hoping this will help me document my progress as a runner and ultimately hold myself accountable. Finally, I am hoping that in writing this blog, I will meet a community of teachers, runners, and bloggers and tap into their expertise and knowledge. Thank you for stopping by my blog! I look forward to seeing where this journey takes us!


P.S. Did you recognize the movie/musical reference in the title?  I’m a big fan of musicals (even super corny ones like High School Musical)!

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