Friday, February 10, 2017

Working Through the Frustrations

I love my job.

I get to teach middle school students.

My official job is to teach a program called AVID and Social Studies.  It's so much fun!

But a lot of my job is teaching kids that it's okay to make mistakes.  That working hard towards towards goals is important.  That not making those goals is okay because sometimes we have things to figure out before we can make it work the right way.

AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination.  It helps teach organization, critical thinking, how to work with others, how to problem solve and a whole host of other skills that will helps students be successful in college or any other path they pick after high school.

Today I was working with my 6th grade AVID class on a worksheet that they have ready for class every Tuesday and Thursday, the Tutorial Request Form (TRF) and the tutorial process that goes with it.

There was some frustrations as I was asking students to do things differently and making sure they went through the process the right way, even though it meant some starting over and trying again.

One of my students looked at me and said, "You don't know what it's like to be frustrated.  I don't think I can do this!"


Guess what kiddo!  I totally understand!

I shared with my students about my track workout the night before.

We had a interval workout at the high school track near my house with my coach, my hubby and another friend.  I was supposed to do my warm up and then do four sets of intervals.  I had to do a 400 in 2:24 and then do 800 at a slower pace and repeat three more times.

I didn't do the first 400 as fast I was supposed to, not far off but not great.  The next two got even worse.  I was SO frustrated!  I knew what I wanted to do.  I was working as hard as I could to make it happen and I just couldn't get there.  I would start out okay but then the breathing would just be more and more of a struggle.  It also didn't help that I was getting in my own head, which means I was getting in my own way.

My coach was walking with me on my 800 before my last fast 400 and he knew I was not a happy camper.  We talked about what might be causing me to not to be able to make things work.  Jon was absolutely positive that I could do it. At this point I was absolutely positive I could not.

There were some tears from me as we talked and walked around the track.  Not uncommon for me since tears come easily when I'm frustrated.  Jon was great about talking me through it.  (Insert a snort from a 6th grade boy.  "You actually cried because you were frustrated?" Ha!  I told him me crying was not an unusual thing for me, happy, sad or mad. lol)

Jon decided that he was going to do my last fast 400 with me.  I was not allowed to look at my watch. I was just supposed to keep up with him and work on getting really deep breaths in.

Off we go.  It was hard.  Not going to lie.  Being frustrated didn't help because then I'm all tightened up which also doesn't help.  But it was better than the ones before.  Jon had me pick up the pace on the last straight stretch and evidently that's when my form and everything looked the best.

So he made me do a couple more 100 yard fast runs just to copy that good running form that I had somehow managed at the end of the last fast 400.  The requirement was to keep my form, work on my breathing and smile.  😃  They went better than I thought they would.

So while I was still frustrated a bit about not being able to do as well as I thought I should be able to, I wasn't feeling as completely deflated as I had earlier in the run.

Later in the evening I get a text from Jon.  Then I can see he is typing another one so I wait.  And then he is typing another one so I keep waiting.  Each text I get has me smiling and (bet you can't guess) crying at the same time.
Thanks Coach!
When I am pushing my students to do more than they think they can I know it is hard for them sometimes.  Life can be overwhelming for a middle schooler on a good day.  Many of them have a lot of stuff outside of school that creates an attitude of defeat and hopelessness.  My job is to 100% believe in them until they figure out they can believe in themselves.  Along the way I push and prod, encourage and support.  I tell them all the time that I am their biggest cheerleader and butt kicker all wrapped up in one teacher.  I don't care if they fail, I care if they don't try every single day to get better.

Funny that sounds an awful lot like what Jon does with his coaching.  😉  Probably why we work so well together.

I told my students about my track workout because I wanted them to know adults get frustrated and discouraged too.  Learning to do new things is hard, whether it is new things for the brain or new things for the body, it all takes work.  I am not asking them to do anything more than I what I am expecting from myself.  If I can do it, so can they!

I'm not going to give up just because I got frustrated so they don't get to give up when they get frustrated either.

The student who had said I didn't understand looked at me after I shared and grinned and said, "Guess you do get it."

Yep, I do.

One of the biggest side benefits of my healthy lifestyle is how it relates to so many things I'm trying to model for my students.  If I am going to ask them to keep pushing, to keep trying when it's hard, to set big scary goals and then go for it, to pick themselves up when everything falls apart and try again, then I better be showing them that I am willing to do the same thing!!!
This is going up in my classroom!!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

I Get to Play!!

Where did January go?  I just did the Hangover Run with my family and now it's suddenly February!!

There was a lot going on in January.  End of the semester at my school which translates into a lot of stressed out 7th graders who suddenly care very much about their grade.  Only because mom and dad aren't going to be happy when they get the report card.

I woke up on MLK Day of Service with a horrible cold.  That whole week I couldn't work out.  I slept, got up and took DayQuil all day at work, came home and went directly to bed.  Kind of a rough start to the beginning of getting serious about triathlon training for the upcoming season.

My "tired thing" (as I like to call it) has been over the top worse then usual.  It would be easy to lay blame on the cold I had but it is more than that.  All month I have been doing my workouts, doing my job and sleeping.  That's about it.  I go to bed before 8:00 p.m. and sleep over eight hours.  And I still wake up completely butt dragging.  SO sick of this!!  On top of everything else I have gained about 10 pounds in the last four weeks.  Not the end of the world but very frustrating considering how careful I am being about my eating and how much working out I'm doing.

I made an appointment with my doctor and once again tried to figure out what my problem is.  I think my doctor is just as frustrated as I am!  I took him a list of the last 10 days food and the last 10 days of exercise.  He said I'm eating healthy and obviously taking my exercise seriously.  We discussed several options to go from here.  Some I am okay with, others I'm not.  We did more blood tests just to see if there have been any changes.

My doctor had wanted me to see this one endocrinologist a few years ago but he wasn't taking any new patients.  I went to a different one but all she did was pat me on the head and tell me that I needed to lose weight and exercise more.  This was when I was seriously training for my half marathons and was running more than 25 miles a week.

Doc decided that he was going to make a call and see if he could get the specialist to see me, even if he was not taking new patients.

We also decided to do another at home sleep study.  This is just to make sure that I'm really sleeping better than I was a few years ago.  Back then it was determined that I had mild sleep apnea but that losing 20-30 pounds would take care of it.  I have lost 40 pounds since that sleep study so I should be good but it's probably a good idea to be sure.

Doc also talked about having me take some weight loss medication, going to a weight loss clinch (like Monarch) to get help from a team that includes a nutritionist and weight assistance.  Either of these are a maybe at this point.

One other option that he mentioned was doing a gastric sleeve.  I tried to not dismiss it out of hand, even though my first reaction was no.  I told him that that wasn't really something I was interested in. I know people that have fantastic success with gastric surgery of one kind or another.  I'm happy for them!  But it just doesn't feel right for me.

I told doc that the weight isn't really what is the big thing that is bothering me, it's the tired.

I went home and did some internet research on this procedure since it's a little different than a full gastric by-pass.  Similar concept but it leaves more of the stomach intact and allows for a bit more food to go through.  However, I would be severely limited on my calorie intake and that would severely impact my endurance activities.

I would rather be a heavier person who does triathlons (and have a more energy) than a skinny person who can't do triathlons.

I just don't want to be tired.  All. The. Time!

Blood tests came back all in the normal range.  Just like always.

Good news though was my doctor was able to get me a referral with the specialist. I go and see him on February 13th.  The idea is that he will dig deeper and see if, while my blood work is in the "normal" range, maybe it is not normal for me and my body.

There is one part of me that is really hopeful and one part of me that thinks that I will just be told there is nothing wrong with me and I need to deal.

I know that I have a demanding job.

I know that I do a lot of exercise.

I know that a certain amount of tired is to be expected.

But I go to sleep exhausted and wake up barely one notch less than exhausted.

It's not fun.

I feel like a weenie.

Maybe it's all in my head.

Am I the only one who has this?

  • I don't have cancer.
  • I can use my legs. 
  • I can swim, bike and run.
  • I have so many things to be grateful for.  

But sometimes when I'm butt dragging it is hard to keep that in perspective.

Lucky for me I have people who love me and care about me who help me with that perspective.

  • I don't have cancer. 
  • I can use my legs.
  • I can swim, bike and run.
  • I am grateful for all these things. 

I was running with my coach last week and not having a very good day or a very good run.  One of those days where nothing seems to work easy.  Jon could tell that I was "off" and made sure that I cut myself some slack and at the same time remembered that even a bad day is better than a lot of peoples good day.

Our conversations often meander around some as we talk about different topics and experiences.

The idea of how we look at exercise came up.  He related a conversation he overheard between a parent and a child at the after school pick up line.  The parent said that the child needed to exercise more.  Jon asked his son what he thought about that later and Logan's response was that she should have encouraged the child to play more.

I get to play.

I play bike.  I play swimming.  I play running.

It was good to remember that.

For all of the fears I have had about my bike the thing that has kept me going is that thrill as I go zipping down a hill.  It takes me back to when I used to play bike with my sisters and my brother.

For all of the work that I have had to put in to become a "real" swimmer I love that I still feel like I am having fun playing in a lake or river like I did when I was a kid.

For all of the work I have put in trying to become a faster runner, I love that I get to be out there moving!

God puts things in my path to remind me to focus on the positive.

I am thankful for the people that are in my life that encourage me and support me and kick me in the butt when I need it.

I am thankful for the random comments, Pinterest memes and other ways that God makes sure I get the point.

Right after Jon and I had our conversation about getting to play bike I was able to go for a bike ride outside.  The first ride outside in months.  It was warm, considering it was January, and it wasn't raining.  I didn't worry about how fast I went.  I didn't worry about my heart rate.  I just enjoyed the ride.  It was awesome!!
This was my view when I played bike.  I am blessed!
A few days later I found this on Pinterest.

God is so good to send little reminders to help me remember to be thankful.

I'm not giving up on figuring out what's going on with my tired issue.

I do believe that it is more than the usual person deals with.

I'm praying for an answer.

In the meantime, I'm going to keep working towards my goals.  I'm going to not give up.  I am going to remember that I am able to do more and accomplish more than a lot of people.

What ever your "thing" is that is getting in your way, don't let it get in your way!  Keep working through it.  It may not be easy but it's worth it.  I should know!  So many frustrations this month and quite a few tears.  But I'm still working at it.  Still trying to get healthier and still trying to figure things out.  I'm focusing on the positive. I'm focusing on what I CAN do instead of what is getting in my way.

Beaver Freezer is the first triathlon of the year.  April 1st, which will be here in no time!  I'm excited to see how I do compared to last year.