Friday, June 27, 2014

Running Slump.

It’s not uncharacteristic to hear about a professional baseball player who is going through a ‘hitting slump’ where they simply cannot seem to make contact with the ball like normal. Or, perhaps it is a basketball player going through a ‘shooting slump’ who cannot find his normal shooting touch. At the moment, I feel as though I am in the middle of a ‘running slump.’ The miles I have been putting on are normal distances, and relatively normal terrain. However, I have been having far greater difficulty than I would prefer with most of my runs. A certain split that I would deem easy and ‘normal’ has recently been difficult and left me out of breath. After what should be a normal and easy run leaves me tired – there is a growing impatience and frustration. Fearing I might be losing some of the fitness I have worked so hard to achieve, I quickly began replaying everything I have done, everywhere I have gone, everything I have eaten, hoping something would provide justification for my running slump. 
Today, I felt as though I had that “a ha” moment: In the past three weeks I have been on seven planes, I have slept in 8 different places, driven over 1,000 miles, and have gone for runs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Pacific Ocean. During that time runs were consistent, yet sporadic. One day it was early in the morning because I had to fly later in the day. The next day it was a mid-afternoon run because jetlag had done a number on my sleep patterns.
When the baseball player goes through a hitting slump he is told to keep swinging, and the basketball player is told to keep shooting. Eventually things will start clicking again. Therefore, the times may not be where I want them to be, and the trail may not be as easy-going as it normally is, but I will keep lacing up the shoes and put in the miles. Only 78 more days until #10!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Closing with a unique opportunity

The past couple of weeks have gone by extremely fast as they have been filled with a lot of traveling, and a lot of different amazing opportunities. As was mentioned in last week's post, I recently had the privilege of standing with a close friend as he said his vows and started the journey of his married life. This past weekend I had the honor of addressing the graduating class of 2014 as their commencement speaker.
In the days leading up to the graduation ceremonies, I surprised myself in that I wasn't very nervous. Truthfully, the fact I wasn't nervous actually made me a bit nervous. However, as soon as I stepped on stage and began speaking I felt completely comfortable and at ease. I was aware of the opportunity to speak a few months prior to the date, and used a lot of different runs to let the ideas roll through my head. It wasn't until probably two weeks prior to speaking that I actually sat down and typed everything up - however, by that point I knew exactly what I was going to say. Typing it up was simply to give me the reassurance that I knew what I was doing.
The entire experience truly was enjoyable. It was a very high honor and something I have yet to fully comprehend. Throughout my time on stage, I felt as though I was able to share from my heart and give the students a challenge as they embark on this next chapter of their lives. Knowing this message was coming from my heart is one of the main reasons I wasn't too nervous. Thankfully there were no random voice cracks, no random brain farts, and not too many mispronounced words!

The two events mentioned have brought a quick end to the final weeks of my first school year as a teacher. Many have recently been asking me, "So how did the first year go?" My go-to answer has been, "I cannot fully answer that right now, I need a few weeks to get away and process everything before I can completely wrap my head around the school year." Therefore, I am headed off on a vacation. I am leaving the state, and in a few days, leaving the country.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Celebrate good times

Weddings are always a joyous occasion to celebrate. However, the wedding I attended this past weekend had a special and unique flare to it. My good friend, and roommate for my final two years in Germany, was getting married to an awesome woman he met while we were serving in Germany. Not only was it a great time to celebrate the start of their marriage, it was a great opportunity to reconnect with so many close friends from Germany.
One of the things that really touched me over the weekend was the way in which these two modeled attitudes of pursuit and persistence. Due to circumstances beyond their control, portions of their relationship were long-distance. And by long distance, I'm not simply talking about a state or two away, distance being... 4,000 miles and seven hours time difference. When we shared an apartment, I was able to see the challenges they faced and the difficulties that could come about because of the distance. Yet, even with the obstacles, there was a mutual pursuit that was inspiring to see. They desired to spend time together, and little was going to be successful in keeping them apart. They desired to be together and an ocean could not drown out their pursuit.
As I stood and watched them recite their vows, one phrase they each stated was, "I promise to fight with you, and fight for you." Through the past few years I have seen them fight for each other and join hands and fight together for the sake of their relationship. Having been fortunate to have an up close view of their relationship, it was such a blessing to watch them celebrate. I found myself excited to hear those vows, knowing I had already seen them live them out. It was an incredibly beautiful service, that will no doubt serve as a catalyst for a beautiful marriage.

The other amazing component of the weekend was the opportunity to see so many individuals I consider family. At one point after the ceremony I found myself in a booth at a restaurant with five others. With some, it had been multiple years since we saw each other - despite that, as we sat and talked it felt as though we were transported back to Germany. At one point we laughed and commented on how it felt as though we were back at Ryan's (our favorite hang out spot in Germany) or O' Reiley's (our spot just across the Swiss border). A lot has happened in all our lives, but it still felt as though no time had passed and we were hanging out on the weekend like we always did. It is such a blessing to have friends that you can instantly reconnect with within seconds of being reunited.
It was a tremendous weekend to share some of the struggles and challenges of this wonderful thing we call 'transition' At one point I shared a story about a frustrating situation I was in, and the story was met with nothing but laughter. The laughter was not directed at me, rather it was in the tone of, "I have done/felt the same thing." Whereas when I have shared that story with others, a response of, "You're pretty weird, I don't understand why you reacted that way" is more common. Simply put, to be reconnected with friends and family filled my heart.

There were definitely a lot of good times to celebrate.