When I ran the 800 in high school, I ran with guts. I would get outta the gate quick and run till I couldn’t. Turns out guts don’t replace gas, for the piano would often jump on my back around the last bend.
When I raced mountain bikes in college, I would do the same. And though my tactics did yield some success, even wins; it still turned out that guts aren’t gas, and too often, my efforts would fall short, especially in races over 2 hours.
And so, though one would think I would have gained some wisdom from my former follies, I entered the teaching profession with the same go-for-it gusto 21 years ago. And, as one might guess, I have encountered the same, crawl-to -the-finish-line reality that I faced as a racer long ago.
And here I am again. The end in sight. The needle on E. And the promise–formed from my pain–that I will not do it again. I will pace myself next year. I will pace myself next year. I will pace myself next year. No I won’t.
I will jump outta the gate. I will bury the needle deep, thinking I can keep it in the red, believing I have finally gained the endurance to sustain the gutsy pace I like to set, but then, near the end, the engine will sputter, the legs will falter, and I will begin the “I-will-never-do-this-again” crawl to the line.
Of course, teaching isn’t exactly an individual sport. I was alone in my lane on the track. I was alone on my bike on the trail. But I have passengers now. I no longer cross the line alone. I have a 150 in tow. And while we all are generally moving in the same direction all year long, there are lots of side trips, lots a rest stops, lots a circle-backs to pick up the stragglers, and all sorts of other did-not-necessarily-account-for’s along the way. But we make it. We always do. And usually it’s a crawl.
And now after 21 years, though I’d like to boast that I will eventually find a way to pace myself. I can’t put much weight behind it. I am who I am. And I will no doubt live in the stuck-on-repeat history of my past, crawling to the end, eager to step to the line again, believing I can do it this time. On my mark. Set. GO!
Happy Friday, all.