It’s that time of year. I’m living my dream job with teaching kindergarten. And for 179 days of the year, it’s fantastic. I get to spend my days teaching children how to speak English, read in English, and everything else your 5 year old needs to learn.
But for 1 day a year, it’s torture. ABSOLUTE TORTURE. That day is testing day. Yes, I know I’m fortunate that we only have 1 testing day instead of a full week like our 3-12 grades. For that 1 day, my babies are tested on their reading scores. They are given a declaration of benchmark, strategic, or intensive. It matters not how much progress they have made. It doesn’t measure how far they have come from the first few days in America to now reading full sentences in English. They have to be able to understand the test instructions, and read the words fast enough. Accuracy is useless if they do not read the words fast enough.
Lately, I’ve been running a lot. A LOT. This week, I’ve worked myself into a frenzy because I’ve had extra challenges this year and unfortunately, it is going to show on my final spreadsheet of summative results. The extra kids, extra number of non-English speaking, and extra special kids=they are all extra-special in my book – mean that I’m probably not going to have 100% benchmark. And that is unacceptable to me.
When extra stress piles on, I run. But I stick to 3 rules.
1. Run easy
Some days, I just move my feet. I try to zone out and just run with my music. No training or mileage or goals in mind. I just need to run until the stress eases. I let my mind wander where it wants to go. When I have days of hard running, I need the easy ones to prevent overuse injuries.
2. Run hard
You know those days. I have to literally pound the pavement until I can’t feel legs and I can’t hear the music over my breathing. I need to run until something else hurts more than my stress headache. I usually have speedwork or mileage goals to keep me focused. When these runs are finished, I’m exhausted, numb, and I feel 100% better.
3. Know my limits
If there is one thing I don’t want to repeat, it’s a long injury cycle. I’ve battled hip issues, IT band issues, and a brief fling with PF after tight calf muscles in CrossFit. I know the warning signs of overuse injuries. I know MY limits with trying to increase speed too quickly. I’m no speed demon. I never will be until I can run long without stopping to test my blood sugar. While I like feeling like I’m invincible, complete with a cape, I’m not. And keeping my body healthy is more important than going all badass with every single run.
Wish me luck today. Not that I can do anything else to prepare them. But I hope to have some good surprises, and if not, handle the discouragement graciously. And if it goes well, I’ll go run. If it’s not a good day, I’m going to run. And maybe cry. Definitely run, though.