May 27, 2011

My Attempt at Optimism

Is my glass of pinot grigio half-full or half-empty?

I'm not going to lie.  Right now, I'm in a half-empty kind of mood.  Hence the need for a glass of pinot grigio to take the edge off of a looong week...While I am completely exhausted by school, that's to be expected by this point and there is definitely an end in (near!) sight, and it not what's causing my emo-ness.

What's bumming me out this weekend is the fact that, after I had finally allowed myself to believe that I just might be in the clear in terms of running injuries, BOTH of my IT bands decided to act up this week.  By act up I mean tighten up like WHOA causing knee pain in both knees and some fun muscle tenderness that I just can't run through.  It has been injury after injury for me lately, and I can't help but just think, "Well, I had a couple good weeks there, right?  I guess that's all I have in me..."  I'm trying my best not to wallow too much and to stay optimistic, but I'll admit that I have already cried twice this week over this.  :(

Okay, now that that's outta the way, on to the optimism I promised.  Things to be happy about:

  • That the pain I was feeling in my knee is not some new joint/bone problem.  I guess I'd rather an old issue resurface than enjoy the fun in taking on something new!
  • It is still early in my training and a few missed runs right now aren't the end of the world.
  • I have good insurance that will cover physical therapy as soon as I jump through the hoops of seeing my primary care doctor (again...) and waiting for a referral.
It's a short list, but it's a start.  And now, some optimistic quotes because that always makes me feel better. :)

Believe in yourself and all that you are.
Know that there is something inside you
that is greater than any obstacle.
Christian D. Larson

My definition of optimism is simply the belief that setbacks are normal
and can be overcome by your own actions.
Martin Seligman

May 23, 2011

Hug a Vegetarian :)

Happy Vegetarian Week!  (Who knew there even was such a thing?!?)

What better way to celebrate than to have a meatless day or even a meatless meal this week. :)

May 22, 2011

Sweaty Six

I ran my first six miles EVER five months ago while training for the Princess Half.  It was snowy and freezing out that day and I was stuck inside on the treadmill.  I remember that it was really tough to make it through the end of the run, and afterwards thinking, "MAN!  How am I EVER going to run more than DOUBLE that?!"  The next week I ran my second EVER six mile run.  This time, it was December 26th, and let's just say I was not in the best shape after an extremely *festive* Christmas celebration the day before with my family which had been filled with beer, baileys, and general debauchery.  During THAT six miles on the treadmill I spent the entire time staring at the trashcan located about 10 feet away from me and repeating "you are NOT going to throw up" over and over in my head.  That was a fun one.

Today's six miler (the first in my training cycle for the Rock 'n' Roll Half) did not include snow or near-vomiting.  THANK GOODNESS.  It also didn't involve *fear* because this time the distance is not scary to me.  :)  Been there, done that!!  That being said, my first run of the year in 80 degree heat was a bit of a challenge.  Like a good little runner, I went to bed early-ish last night after putting on my running clothes (obv) and laying out all of my things...
...including the new pair of Brooks Ghost running shoes I bought yesterday!  My Nike Vomeros still have about 200 miles left in 'em, but I've been wanting to try a new pair that's a little lighter.  Mrs. Mentor Teacher moonlights as a fabulously knowledgeable salesperson at her local running store, so I trekked out there yesterday with my mom and tried a bunch of shoes before settling on these Brooks.

This morning the fabulous Girls on the Run Coach Melinda was running in her second ever 8K race, so I dedicated my run to her. :)  It was a gorgeous sunny day, but a little warmer than I expected, and leaving my water/gatorade in the car was a mistake.  I definitely wish I had brought my hand-held water bottle, because by the time I passed my car after 4 miles I was parched!  I took a quick break and GULPED down water/gatorade and saw that I had a text from Coach Melinda that she had PRed in her race!  YAY!  

Coach Melinda shares my affinity for compression gear and the color pink.
How amazingly vibrant are her sleeves?!
After my quick break, I set out on my last two miles feeling MUCH more hydrated, but still exhausted.  Let me tell ya, they were pretty tough, but it definitely could have been worse.  I finished strong (albeit tired and mega dehydrated...), having kept a solid pace throughout the run.  I LOVE the Brooks shoes--they felt great!

What I Learned: It's better to bring too much water than not enough!  I definitely was wishing I had another entire bottle of water for after my run, not to mention the fact that I could have used my hand-held bottle throughout...It is now officially WARM OUT, and (duh) I need to be bringing water on long runs.  Period.

PS: A big hug and shout out to Coach Lauren who had a rough race this weekend but is still a superstar (cue sparkle fingers)

May 21, 2011

Here Lies Said

One of my big professional goals for the year was to successfully implement Writing Workshop in my classroom.  While my writing workshop is by no means perfect (I already have many things I plan to improve next year...), I definitely think it has been a success!  I've heard about this fun mini-lesson many times, and I have no idea why it took me so long to actually do it with my class, but I'm so glad I finally did!

Last week, I announced some sad news to the class.  As I always do before a mini-lesson, I gathered all of the kids on the carpet with their writing notebooks.  On our chart, I had drawn a big tomb stone and written the words "Rest in Peace" across the top.  Needless to say, the kiddos were immediately intrigued.  (Why are 5th graders so interested in death, BTW?)  I put on my saddest face and announced, "Boys and girls, I have some sad, sad news to share with you.  There has been a death.  And I think this death will greatly affect you and your writing."  As they begin to ask, "Who died???" I turned and wrote "SAID" on the chart.  "Yes, Said is now dead.  He died from exhaustion and overuse.  We have been using poor said far too often in our writing, and he just couldn't go on any longer.  What words can we now use in our writing since said is dead?"

Oh my goodness, I was not prepared for the DELUGE of alternatives that the kids supplied me with faster than I could write them on the chart!!!  They came up with TONS of creative words, several of which I wouldn't even have thought of myself!  After we filled up the entire tombstone, I had the kids look back through their writing notebooks, find two places they used the word "said," and change them to one of our new words.  The kids loved this lesson and have been coming up with even more words to add to the chart ever since.  

A few days later we "burried" some other overused words like "nice," "went" and "sad."  The kids LOVED it (and that's saying a lot--it has been tough to get them excited about ANYTHING lately!).  I hung both pages from the chart on our Writing Workshop bulletin board to reference over the next few weeks.  Next year, I plan to teach this lesson early on in the year and make construction paper tombstones with all of the words afterwards to put up around the room.  Hopefully we will add to them all year long!
Please excuse my god-awful handwriting...
it all just turns to crap when I am leaning sideways to write on the chart from my rocking chair...

Have any great writing workshop mini-lessons to share???  I would love to hear your ideas!!

Egg-citing Purchase!

I have calmed down a bit after my egg-cellent vegetarian crisis of being the other day aka Miss Teacher starts googling treatment of egg-laying chickens and ends up on the PETA website almost crying...gosh, I need to learn to STOP EXCESSIVE RESEARCHING.

Anyways, while I am toying with the idea of a "vegan summer," I decided a step in the right direction was to stop at the Farmer's Market this morning and buy a dozen of these beautiful babies...

Can you believe the CRAZY colors of these eggs?!?  No, they are not dyed!  The vendor said that there is a type of chicken that lays these awesome rainbow eggs!  (The 8 year old in me is positive that each color of egg will taste different. :)

And now, I am off on an adventure/quest/mission to buy some new running shoes.  :)

What are your Saturday plans?

May 19, 2011

My Current BFFs

Kleenex, tylenol cold, and Glee.  I will never understand spring colds, but I am NOT happy to be suffering through my billionth cold of the school year...annnd cue wallowy violins...

May 18, 2011

On Being a Vegetarian, Part 3: The Egg Question

Okay folks, it's time to talk veg again...I don't think I've thought as much about being a vegetarian in the past few years COMBINED as I have in the past two months.  I'm not sure what it is, but it's weighing on my mind lately, and I thought I'd share my thoughts with you lovely readers...

**NOTE: If you are a meat-lover and uninterested in animal ethics/vegetarianism, this post may not be for you.  As always, this is strictly MY opinions and a reflection of the thoughts running through MY mind.  I am NOT here to convince anyone to do or think anything.  I do not look down on anyone who chooses to eat meat. :)  If I did, I'd have a total of maybe 2 friends!!

In March I started giving some thought to the animal by-products I consume, reading more about cheese/rennet and gelatin...I started wondering if my lacto-ovo vegetarian diet was really doing enough...wondering if it's hypocritical to say I won't eat animals themselves, then going and eating foods made using substances taken from slaughtered animals.  I decided to limit rennet (enzymes taken from cow stomach and commonly used to make cheese) and gelatin (a substance from animal skin and bones) in my diet.  Soon after, I became completely overwhelmed by the rennet issue, partly because it's tough when some labels just say "enzymes" without specifying whether they are vegetarian enzymes or animal enzymes, and party because I just really really love cheese.  I did decide that I could handle giving up gelatin, even after my horrific discovery that it is in SO MANY THINGS.  It hasn't been that hard.  I miss gummy bears, but swedish fish have filled that void in my life. :)

This's eggs.  EGGS.  I love eggs.  I love omelets.  I love scrambled eggs.  I love french toast slathered in eggs.  I love baked goods that have eggs in them.  Eggs are delicious.  They are one of the few meals I can make.  They are an amazing source of protein.  Eggs rock.
Then I read this post on Healthy Tipping Point that kick-started my crazy brain...then the research started...

See I'd always kind of known that the mainstream process of raising chickens for eggs is just as cruel as raising chickens for meat...but as with most things, once you start looking for information about the food industry in the US, you tend to find out more than you ever wanted to learn.  I always kind of knew that hens lived in cages in factory farms, and that their conditions were pretty awful.  But I thought that the "cage free" eggs I try to buy come from humanely raised chickens.  It turns out that to earn the "cage-free" label, it is not required for the hens to have outdoor access.  Worse, beak cutting is still permitted under this label.  Well, gone is my little mental image of chickens happily roaming a farm and laying eggs at their leisure...

I know that I shouldn't get worked up about these things.  I know that there are terrible things going on all over the world, and that if you obsess about all of them suddenly you're not sleeping at night.  The truth is that I'm feeling really overwhelmed.  Which I rationally know is silly.  But I can't help it.  

I'm not sure what my next step is going to be...

I am not saying I'm going to be a vegan.  While I GREATLY admire vegans, and while I even think I could manage to resist the cravings for my favorite animal-based foods, it's more the social things that I think would be too much for me.  Like how hard dinner parties and restaurant meals would be.  And how it ends up kind of annoying friends and family. 

But I AM saying that it's getting harder and harder to justify to myself that being a vegetarian is enough.  And I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by this realization.... :-/

Anyways, that's the soul-search that's currently going on in my crazy head...

May 15, 2011

Giveaway Alert!!

Do you follow Amanda over at Runninghood?  If you don't, start now.  She's a former teacher, a mom, and a distance runner.  All of which make her fabulous!  She is holding an amazing giveaway right now for a SIGNED copy of Kara Goucher's book Running for Women.  Yes, a signed copy!  How awesome is that?!?
Gosh I hope I win!  Make sure you check out her blog and the giveaway!

Rainy Sunday

I feel like for the past 2 months all I've done is complain about the weather, but seriously this is getting ridiculous.  Tuesday it was 90 degrees, humid, and scorchingly sunny.  Today with wind it "feels like" 35 and is rainy.  WHAT THE HECK.  Where is Spring???  At least it has given me a lot of excuses to bust out my beloved rain boots lately:
Last night I took the train to visit Best Friend in the city.  Best Friend and I were planning on going out to a wine bar, but when we ventured outside, it was so cold/windy/rainy that we only made it as far as the liquor store to buy a bottle of wine!  Pajamas, blankets, a movie, and wine definitely beat staggering around in that freezing rain though!  A delicious addition to the night were these vegan marshmallows Best Friend bought just for me!  How sweet is she?!?  These babies are DELICIOUS!  So dense and creamy...totally different (and way better) than their gelatin-filled brethren.  You better believe I snacked on these paired with handfuls of chocolate chunks straight outta the bag all night long...good for the soul. :)  (Read about my decision to stop eating gelatin as part of my vegetarian lifestyle in this post)
Since our plans to go out last night were spoiled, we decided to go out for breakfast this morning instead.  I am still crazy full!!  Um holy eggs and veggies goodness...

That's balsamic drizzled over the top, not chocolate...although now I'm wondering how chocolate and eggs would taste, and I have a feeling it might be kinda tasty...
And now, as I am every Sunday afternoon, I am faced with the question of, "to grade, or not to grade?" But let me tell you a little secret.  My grading folder is MUCH thinner this weekend because I decided not to even pretend I was going to grade our weekly literacy went right in the recycling friday after school.  Does this make me a bad teacher?  Idk about that, but I sure am an exhausted one these days!  I was hoping for a bike ride today but with this wintery weather I think I will be opting to log some time on the indoor bike trainer while watching Glee. :)

Happy Sunday!

May 14, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears OH MY!

aka my 5K at the Zoo :)

Remember my mantra last week that got me through two of my fastest runs in awhile?  (I mean Miss Teacher fast, not Boston fast...)

You've. Freakin'. Got. This.

Turns out I do freakin' got this.  <-- The English-y part of me just died a little bit inside typing that sentence, but right now I couldn't care less because....

I have a new 5K PR that blows last summer's PR 
outta the WATER!

I'm slow...super slow.  Last summer I ran my first two (ever) 5Ks finishing around 34:30ish for both.  My goal for this summer was to come finish a 5K in under 33 minutes.  I thought *maybe* I could accomplish that this morning at the Brookfield Zoo Run Wild 5K.  But when I woke up to 40 degree weather, dark skies, and a forecast of thunderstorms all day...that hope pretty much disappeared.  Add an incredibly sneezy nose (thanks allergies...) and a slightly off tummy to the mix and I was wondering if I should just call it a day and go back to bed.  Thankfully the cheap part of me that hates to waste race registration fees got myself outta bed and into the car.

Luckily the rain held off and the weather turned out to be *just* cool enough to run a fast and minimally-sweaty race!  I set my garmin to show my average pace on the main screen and focused on keeping it under 11 minutes.  When it showed a 10:30 average pace after the first mile, I knew I had this thing in the bag.

After passing a tiger, some zebras, a few camels, and a variety of other zoo residents, by the time I was nearing the 3 mile mark I was ready to pass some RUNNERS!  After a strong sprint to the finish, I looked down at my garmin and saw...


YESSS!!!  So. Happy.  No, it's not a fast time.  Yes, people were passing me too.  No, I will never be fast.  But I'm pretty darn thrilled about my time because not only did it destroy my previous PR, but I paced myself well and finished strong.  I guess I need a new summer goal!!  30 minutes, anyone??  Or maybe just to make it through half training uninjured. :)

Post-race snacks were zoo-themed including cracker jack!  I was most excited to see these...
 Yes, vegetarians eat animal crackers. :)  Unfortunately because of the chilly weather Amanda and I didn't feel like hanging around the zoo even though we were allowed to stay as long as we wanted to check out the animals and exhibits.  In a throw-back to our college days, we elected instead to head home to this mess of blankets and watch some mindless TV.  Real Housewives of New York, anyone???

Post-race refueling included a soy latte and reeses pieces...that counts for carbs and protein, right???
I'm off to foam roll these perpetually tight calves and IT bands while watching Glee (my new OBSESSION)...Hope your Saturday is wonderful!

What's your guilty pleasure TV?  What races are you getting excited for?

May 7, 2011

I've freaking got this!

Remember Thursday's infinite run?  Well, I was DETERMINED to recreate it for my long run today!
I decided to do my long run this week on Saturday instead of Sunday because College Roomie is visiting from Atlanta and we are reuniting with Other College Roomie tonight!!!  And I'd prefer not to wimp out early on our reunion tonight because I need to get my pre-long run rest...
Roomies & I sophomore year acting silly in IKEA :)

For my pre-run gel I picked up this chocolate gu at the sports store yesterday afternoon since my stash of Razz Clif Shots has been anything but appetizing these days...
Umm this was AMAZING!  How have I never tried chocolate gu before?  This was seriously chocolate frosting, I swear.  Ding ding ding!  I think I've found my new fuel!

Anyways, in the spirit of recapturing Thursday's magic, I decided to run without music again and on the same fabulous trail.  While I wasn't as speedy as Thursday's 3.1 miler, today's 5 miles were pretty darn fabulous!  And you know what?  I'm really loving this no-music running thing!!  While I do love some good Katy Perry & Eminem on my runs, It was pretty fabulous to be able to hear the birds and animals and things in the forest preserve this morning.  Love.

After 4 miles I took a quick stop at my car to take a few swigs of water spiked with powerade and lose a layer--yay for warm-ish weather finally!
By the last mile I was pretty tired, but I finished fast and strong.  My garmin even showed a 7 minute pace at one point!  Albeit I was running downhill and it was for only a minute or so, but as a 12-minute mile girl, it was pretty thrilling.  Today's mantra that got me through: 

You've.  Freaking.  Got.  This.

And, sure enough, I did!  Finished my 5 miles strong!  :)  You know, I'm wondering if the difference in my last few runs is (besides less-injured muscles!) just plain confidence.  Remember my crazy anxious dreams when I started training for Half-Marathon #1?  Not so confident...But last night I had an awesome anticipatory dream about Half-Marathon #2!  I dreamed that I finished fast and strong--but I DID somehow forget to get my medal at the could be worse. :)  Anyways, I'm just so happy to be running again.  

**giveaway alert**

Megan over at *Fit* Crafty English Teacher is having the cutest giveaway!  She's giving away the fabulous embroidered towel:

Can you believe she embroidered this??  I can't even sew on a button.  (My mom wonders where she went wrong...)

Make sure you check our her awesome blog and enter this giveaway!  I love it because she is a teacher-runner-reader too!!

May 6, 2011

How many days until summer again?

Is anyone else just plain EXHAUSTED these days?  We have another month of school left, and I just may not make it!  My kids aren't really misbehaving or anything, but I'm just exhausted by a lot of the little things lately.  My current sources of exhaustion...

Is anyone else thinking seriously of changing their name because theirs is SO TIRED OUT from being called out one billion times a day?!?  "Miss Teacher!  Miss Teacher!  Miss Teacher!"  Seriously, kids, before you shout out my name, please for the love of god try to solve the problem yourself.  Because 9 times out of 10, when you shout out, "Miss Teacher!  I didn't get a handout!" it's right there at your desk.  EXHAUSTING.

Also, why is it that the copier is ALWAYS out of staples whenever I am running a million packets of things?  I was copying my literacy handout packets yesterday (Thursday = copy day...hooray...) plus a reading guide, a response journal, and an interact guide for our new social studies unit.  We are starting a Westward Expansion Interact that is completely outside of the social studies series, and I am having the students do a lot of cool simulations and responses.  But I like everything neatly stapled together...and there were no staples in the copier.  Cut to me stapeling about 100 different things together...EXHAUSTING.

Are the routines in anyone else's room UNRAVELING a bit?  Our Daily 3 (read more about it here) literacy block structure used to run like a well-oiled machine.  It's not BAD now or even falling apart...but some things need to be improved.  For example, when I take the "status of the class" before a rotation (call everyone's name so they can tell me what they're choosing for the rotation, and record it on my checklist), I am so sick of kids WHISPERING their choice.  I CANNOT HEAR YOU!  Seriously, I know these kids can speak up!  Come. on.  EXHAUSTING.

I am fully of the belief though that when it comes to management, I set the tone in the room.  More often than not when we have an off day it is because I am off, and I try to own that.  So today and yesterday I put a "hold" on guided reading and just focused on reteaching/practicing the Daily 3 routine.  We made a new chart of things to work on, reviewed it, and talked about things that went well/things to improve after every rotation.

Our regular Daily 3 anchor charts...

Things we really need to work on fixing in Daily 3...

This helps SO MUCH, not only in Daily 3 but in any area where the kids are struggling with routines.  It is the most important thing I learned from my first year teaching.  Things are never too bad to be fixed in the classroom--pausing learning and taking time to reteach is so beneficial in the long run.  It may be what gets us to June!

Since I am feeling just a bit burned out lately, I decided to do something fun and organize another cabinet.  :)  Okay, it was fun for me.  Soothing really.  Don't make fun.

My beautifully organized science and social studies cabinet!  Don't worry, I totally showed this off to multiple other teachers.  I am always grateful when people feign excitement over this type of thing for my benefit. ;)

Teachers, what is exhausting YOU these past few weeks??  

May 5, 2011

Infinite Run

Ladies and gentlemen...I just had the BEST run I've had in a LONG time!  I loved. every. minute.

Annnd....I finished 3.1 miles over 2 minutes under my current 5K PR!!! WOOHOO!!!!  I am pretty darn excited.

Let's back up a bit...remember my gigantic bag o' running clothes I dragged with me to school this morning??  Well, I'm glad I brought all of that stuff because the weather definitely was not what I expected!  When I left school, it was a perfect temperature for running.  About 60 with a enough to be comfortable but just warm enough for shorts.  Perfect.  Even more perfect that I got to run here:
 My favorite forest preserve is ON THE WAY HOME from my school!  How nice is that?

Since my IT band was a little sore today, I decided I was going to take the run easy but experiment a little with my pace.  Since I trained for the entire Disney Princess Half on the treadmill, I am still figuring out what a naturally comfortable pace is for me.  You know, when I haven't programmed the treadmill to go at that pace.

Well, about .5 miles into the run, my ipod just...stopped.  No "dead battery" light explanation...just dead.  Oh well.  It was an older generation shuffle I had picked up on ebay last happens.  So I found myself running outdoors in the forest preserve without any music.  And I can't even remember the last time that happened.  Occasionally my ipod will die when I'm at the gym, but it's so loud there already.  This was a totally different experience...and I kind of loved it.

When I was a junior in college, a local teacher came to speak to the ed students about his experiences.  He told us about how he had run the Chicago Marathon a few years ago and how he had used his time running every morning to pray for his students.  I always thought that was kind of cool.  When my ipod died, my thoughts naturally gravitated to one student who has a pretty tough life and for whom I often struggle having enough I decided to use the quiet time to pray for my students one by one down the alphabet.  I'm not telling this so you will think I am a super awesome person, I'm just sharing because it ended up being a really awesome experience.  It was the perfect thing to occupy my thoughts...that is up until I realized that I had a chance of finishing my run under 33 minutes, my 5K goal for this summer.  Then it was time to kick things into high gear.  I'm a big fan of mantras, especially when you need a little extra boost to finish strong, and today's was an old favorite:
Fight for it I did!  I finished at 32:18.02 and definitely felt "infinite" after. (Any Perks of Being a Wallflower fans out there?)
Which is super slow in the running world.  But super speedy in the Miss Teacher world considering my 5K PR last summer (pre-million injuries!!!) was about 34:20.  The best part?  Minimal IT pain.  Actually, make that NO pain!  Just some tightness/soreness after finishing.  (You can bet I'll be spending my evening with my good friends ice pack and foam roller!)  I am hoping I can pull a sub-33minute time at my 5K a week from Saturday...but as always, my goal is just to stay injury free. :)

I do want to share this picture since I have received a few comments lately (from multiple people...) about the fact that I CLEARLY wear my pink compression socks a million times in a row without washing them since there is no humanly possible way that I do laundry as frequently as I wear the socks!  I DO have another pair of recovery socks that just don't make it into pictures as often because...let's face it...they're just not as cute.
I promise these socks are at least semi-clean...
Sadly my wonderful mood was nearly ruined when the gas light went on in my car (unfortunately even Priuses need gas sometimes...) and I was greeted with this sign upon pulling into the gas station:
Dear. God.  $4.45???  So what's a girl to do but buy 4 (yes only 4) gallons of gas...

Oh well, ridiculous gas prices aside, this evening was pretty wonderful.  I am definitely going to try running without music more often!

Do you run with music?  Do you ever run "naked"?
I still had my garmin so it technically wasn't a "naked" run, but no music is a big step for me!

What's your favorite "running mantra"?
For me it's a tie between "reach for it, work for it, fight for it," "trust the process," and "when my body feels weak I run with my heart."  I would love to hear any favorites you have!

When in doubt, PACK IT ALL!

Um I have a problem.  As I've said before, I kind of (just *kind of*) am an over-packer...I've been known to bring the 60lb suit case on the 4 day trip or a full duffel bag for a one night stay...I can pack light when I NEED to, but let's just say I try very hard not to need to.  What can I say, isn't it better to be prepared?!?!?

Remember the huge suitcase I packed for the Disney Princess Half?  I was in Florida for 72 hours.  Trust me, I brought only the essentials...
(I may or may not have also had two carry-on items...)

But today I think I outdid myself.  I have a 3-mile run on the schedule for today and I would REALLY like to stop at the forest preserve on my way home to run there...that means bringing my running stuff to school and changing before I leave.  No big deal, right?  I go straight to the gym after school all the time!  Pick an outfit, toss it in the bag, throw it in the trunk...not rocket science.

Well, with the way the weather has been lately here in the mid-west (aka having a complete identity crisis about which season it is), there is no telling what temperature it will be after school.  Which means I am suddenly packing enough running clothes to last me a few weeks:
My ridiculously full duffel bag, packed for ONE short run.  My life is a joke.

I may or may not have 4 different tops in here and 3 different bottoms...and that is after eliminating a few things.  Oh and as usual I have at least 3 headbands...because one never knows...I have a problem.

(And after all this, even though it was sunny now I just saw that the weather forecast is a 90% chance of thunderstorms all afternoon.  So I will most likely be at the gym on the treadmill anyways.  Darn you spring showers...)

Are you an over-packer like me?

May 4, 2011

Serious Issues.

No, these aren't MY issues we're talking about for a change...although I certainly have a lot of them (or "ish" as my college roomie and I like to call them)! :)  Today I am going to share some of the SERIOUS day to day issues plaguing 5th graders.  After a long and exhausting institite half-day today, my team and I were getting a bit silly as we munched chocolate covered espresso beans when I happened to discover Mrs. Mentor Teacher's long forgotten "issue bin" which had been instituted early in the year by Mrs. Social Worker and completely abandoned.  Taking a quick peek inside, I noticed that it was PACKED with issues.  Of course we took this as a sign to immediately stop all work (or stop pretending we were working) and read them all.  

Cue hysterics.  Every "issue" topped the last, and Mrs. Mentor Teacher attempted to identify her students' handwriting on them since they hadn't written names...which makes it pretty hard to solve any of the issues!

Some of our favorites...(now remember, these are VERY SERIOUS issues and must be taken VERY SERIOUSLY.

 "Somebody make me frown"

 "No one has respect"
Our response: You are right.

 "Someone keeps on staring at me."
Very specific.  We'll get right on that.

 "I think some people need to use a steerch ball to cuntrell there anger."
(Spelling original) ^My personal favorite.  Not so much an issue as a suggestion...

 "the New girl"

"I Have A Issue with the people in Front of me"

Anyways, after a LONG LONG LONG day, these certainly lightened the mood. :)

Note:  Please don't think I'm a bad teacher or a bad person.  I take issues of bullying very seriously in my classroom.  But you have to admit, this is pretty hilarious...

May 3, 2011

**Giveaway Alert!**

Okay runner friends, check out this fabulous give away that the even more fabulous Melinda (aka Coach Melinda--she is one of my wonderful Girls on the Run co-coaches!) from I Hate Running has going on...

She is giving away this awesome timex ironman watch!
I have a less-fancy timex ironman that I LOVE.  It's great to record my splits on the treadmill so I don't forget them by the time I get to the locker room and want to write them down, and it makes a nice break from the bulky garmin once in awhile. :)  

Go over to her blog and become a follower ASAP to get a shot at winning this baby!

I thought it couldn't get any better...but then it did.

Did you get a chance to read my student's tribute to Justin Bieber?  When I read that, I thought that my class had peaked in (creative!!) hilarity in the writing department...then today another student shared these epic song lyrics with me.  A.MAZ.ING.

Sorry about the photo quality...her pencil marks were SO LIGHT so I had to darken it up...gosh, don't these kids KNOW they need to write darkly and legibly so I can take awesome pictures?!?

In case you couldn't decipher that...
Boys try to figure you out, 
then try to get to your head
and leave you roaming alone
through this cruel, cruel world
leave you roaming alone,
leave you roaming alone
They might be the light of your life
to lead into a lie
Well it's a big big lie
Big big lie

^True. Wisdom.  Out of the mouths of 10 year olds...

God I love my job.

True Love, 5th Grade Style

You cannot even know how much will power it took to sit through a writing conference with a student last week while she shared this piece without bursting into HUGE FITS OF LAUGHTER:

Don't worry, there was another whole page. :)  AMAZING!!!!!

May 1, 2011

1 down!

Today wrapped up 1 week of half-marathon training!  My calves are continuing to be annoyingly tight no matter how much stretching and foam rolling I do, and my IT band is definitely not 100%, but all in all I was able to get in my 3 scheduled runs this week without any real problems.  I'm just happy I am running again!!! Plus the weather was absolutely gorgeous this morning.  Could spring FINALLY be here to stay?!?  Gosh I hope so!

This week was an easy start: two 3 mile runs during the week and a 4 mile long run this morning (+ cross training).  Pretty simple, but after my spotty past few months of running, an easy start is exactly what I need!  When I trained for the first half-marathon, I used Hal Higdon's Novice half-marathon training plan.  I liked a lot of things about it, but I decided I wanted to tweak some things for this training cycle...First, I wanted to add in some recovery weeks between the long runs as the mileage builds up.  Also, I wanted to add a little more of a taper.  I altered these two things, plus a 12 mile long run like I did for the last half-marathon (Hal's plan only gets you up to 10 miles).  
This week I remembered that I actually really dislike the taste of energy gel...yuck.  Oh well, it does the job, and at least I didn't get it all over my computer or cut my mouth open today!  Note to self: experiment with some other flavors and brands of gels this summer...

Hope you had a wonderful weekend and got to spend some time outside!!
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