XXXI: Week’s Worth


Officially I became an employee of the school district on 11/11/2014. Unofficially I’ve been rocking in the same building for well over two months now. However, today marked the end of the first full week in the position that I’m currently residing in.

The result?

What on earth have I been missing out on? Continue reading

#getyourpraiseon


Real world problems…
Tomorrow is “red, white, and blue day” at school. However, I didn’t know if that canceled out the standard casual Friday outfit of jeans.
Naturally I submitted a text to a teacher inquiring on the subject.
I think I could hear their laughter…
It’s a blessing to be able to share stories like this. When I was a substitute teacher I never partook in any of the celebrations in school because I wasn’t part of the actual staff inside the building.
These conversations are nice reminders that I’m already moving in the right direction, spending my time in the world of education.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Imagination Sensation


After school…
After lunch…
After a nap…
There lies a small town where the river bends. Through downtown of a tiny town, over the lone bridge in the community, carving alongside the ancient bluffs is a simple road that weaves along the flowing water. It’s level, it’s comfortable, it’s well worth running on. The lack of elevation on the road makes for a fast time, but there’s enough of a shift in feet that you’ll eventually begin to feel the lactic acid building in your quads and hamstrings.

It took me like...seven different attempts to get this thing right...

It took me like…seven different attempts to get this thing right…

Overall it’s a beautiful, isolated, and fast. It’s where lately I’ve come to love working on 5000 meter runs. My traditional road route is great for a solid workout, but speed rarely becomes a forefront thought due to the rapid adjustments in elevation (I’m still weak when climbing). This road though, this is the perfect escape route. Fast, smooth, and quiet. You can hear the river at mile mark one as it greets the road, and aside from a few vehicles, it’s going to be birds, shoes, and your own breath that’ll keep you company on this path.

That’s where I went tonight to cap off the week. Only running a few days this week had me down, and an aching Achilles didn’t help the mindset. I told myself to head west to the road, and just get in a solid run to head into the weekend with. What I didn’t know at the time was how solid of a run it really was going to be.

After messing with the phone for nearly ten minutes to stage a photo on the bridge (the one problem of running alone, you’re never going to get the really cool shots), I finally began my journey. Due to the road being on the east side of the bluff I was running against time, the sun going down was creating a rapidly dark environment on a road with no lights. Five minutes into the run I heard the robotic voice over my Yurbuds:

5 minutes completed, zero point five two miles completed, pace is nine minutes forty nine seconds…

Immediately I started to do the math in my head, if I could keep this pace for the next 2.6 miles I could ring in a 5K under 30:00.00, something I’ve never done in my entire life. I kept pushing, working on breathing, trying to stretch out, and at the same time not overexerting all the energy I had before hitting the halfway mark. At the turn around I learned that my pace was down to 9:44, I took a slight breather heading back and gained two seconds on the pace. By mile two though it was getting dark…quick. I mustarded up what I had left, started yelling at myself (out loud), and kept hitting the pavement. At minute twenty five I was at 2.62 miles. If I could squeeze out the final half mile in a respectable time I could still get it under the thirty mark.

At this point it wasn’t the burning that I was feeling in my muscles, it was the complete drain of energy. I hadn’t had enough food today, and I was paying a dear price with the final meters before me. In the distance, through the trees I could see the lights from the small town. The stars were nearly visible, and I was using headlights from passing cars as a guide to get me back into town. I definitely prayed a few times to get back without being attacked by a mountain lion…or a deer.

At the bridge, where this whole adventure started without even thinking about the idea of completing a personal record, I crossed back while ending the run on my GPS.

29:14.56

A time that I will forever treasure in my heart. Even at my age, and even at my weight, I was able to clock a 5K finally under thirty minutes. Interesting factoid about that actually, a few years ago I weighed a measly 230lbs, and currently I’m roaming around the 268lbs mark. During the “Turkey Trot” that year (a 5K race prior to gluttony for the day), the best time I was able to come up with was a very disheartening time around the 45:00.00 mark. Just a fun comparison to show you that not all weight is evil, and in some random cases it doesn’t mean that your times can’t improve.

What’s the point of sharing this runner driven story on here? Honestly, I just wanted someone to know personally I achieved something great today. Understand that it isn’t necessarily aimed at growing my ego, but I seriously just wanted someone, anyone to know that I did something that I wasn’t prepared to do, and something that completely surprised me.

So…yeah…

-D-

P.S. Also thought of a awesome shirt to add to the “Last American Runner” collection, a shirt that reads “Keep The Pace”…a play off the phrase “Keep The Faith”

XXXI: Released


It was tiny.
Dainty.
Quaint.
Dark.

It held one bathroom, two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen/dining area. There was one window that peered above the bed, it nearly two feet tall and it was the only source of sunlight in the entire building. The carpet was thin, and was anchored directly the concrete slab that had been poured. The kitchen had a fake plastic cover along the floor, there was a partially operating air conditioning window unit that also doubled as a heater in the winter. All the rooms were covered in artificial wood paneling easily from the ’70’s area.

It was tiny.
Dainty.
Quaint.
Dark.

I never slept well during the night in this small living compartment. Most night I would spend online in the second bedroom that had been turned into an ‘office’. I’d work on applications for high school teaching positions, and randomly Skype individuals who were also up at that time at night. At the same time my wife at the time would sleep in the bedroom. I’d crawl into bed around 3:00 AM, and try to sleep through the distractions until she got up for the day (usually around 6:00 AM), and then I’d sleep until noon or 1:00 PM in the afternoon. My life revolved around that small apartment. I didn’t see sunlight very often for the first six months, and frequently slept on the couch.

It’s startling to believe that, that experience was nearly four years ago. I remember the sheer joy I felt the day I left that apartment for good, packed up with MC and Jim, I was released from a prison that I had created for myself.

I’m not really sure why I’m reflecting on the memory, aside from the fact that some of the medicine I’m taking for this recent bug has caused me to be extremely restless for about thirty minutes after ingesting the pill (who knew). Darco is quietly sleeping in our bedroom as she’ll be getting up around 4:00 AM to get ready for work, and I’ll head back in after finishing this and get a good nights rest prior to heading back to work tomorrow. I still probably won’t enter the track again until Friday, just one day in the real world again is enough to drain me, I’ve learned this from previous experiences.

Something about being sick causes you to reflect. I contribute that to the drugs and the insane amount of free time that you find yourself having in the middle of the afternoon, sweat pouring off your face, and wondering if the world is still moving without you. It’s one of the first times in quite some time that I’ve taken time to just reflect and overall compartmentalize life as I know it. As I frequently joke with Darco, I’ve already lived three lifetimes already, so that’s a lot of memories that have to be sorted through, compared, and analyzed.

I’m peering out my living room window, watching the night pass, as I write this. I think back to quick engagements, steady faith, marriage, and everything that’s accumulated to the point that brings us to now. Darco and I had a very, very unique conversation today; tying back into “XXXI”, and some of the goals that we’re striving for. From cooking at home to other more extreme discussions, we’ve had several of them as of lately. We’ve grown weary and tired of the town that we’re currently living in, I’m pushing myself harder each day physically, and life is just changing. I’m noticing in the realm of, “I want to do this, this, and this…” no longer appropriately describes my existence.

My life is less cluttered and more structured:
-Faith
-Family
-Work
-Running

That’s it. I’m no longer interested in obtaining five million different ideas, concepts, or creations. I love my job, I love getting lost in cyberspace, and I love producing results. I’m growing more and more in love with the church that Darco and I attend, we’re part of a weekly church planting group that meets on Thursday nights, and I can’t express how much of a blessing they’ve already been. MC and Jim continue to churn through their own lives, while ensuring that we survive ours as well. Jim was recently offered a full time job at a local school district, and that in itself brought a lot of ease to the family. Some days I firmly believe that Darco is a bigger blessing to me compared to myself with her. I learn something new about her each and every day, and how she isn’t afraid to try new things. Just because an individual lived a sheltered life, doesn’t mean that they fear adventure.

Finally, there’s something about those shoes. A pair of shorts, a pair of shoes, my sunglasses, and I”m good to go. Whether it’s a few miles, a mile, a time trial, sprints, or whatever the case may be…I’m not even close to perfect, but nothing feels greater compared to moving in stride with my soul.

Faith, family, work, and running…they’re all connected to one another. Each is required to ensure that the other remains. Those are all four things I was drastically missing inside that small apartment four years ago. They are all four things that I’ll forever cherish close to my heart.

-D-