Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Underdog

This weekend, our students completed either a Half Marathon or a 4-Mile Super Swim in the ocean. In the beginning of the semester, they chose either "swim track" or "run track" and began training for their events.The students have spent the entire 100 days training for these events (on top of their vigorous school work). I volunteered to support both of these events.

On Sunday, I got up at 4 am and promptly locked myself out of my house at 4:15 am to head to the support meeting for the Half Marathon. I was going to be a "roving bicycle" throughout the event. I didn't take any photos, but my experience was amazing. I had some great conversations with students. One of the moments I enjoyed was when a student was telling me that the run felt like he was back home in NJ and that he felt like he was running home at that very moment. Then, he got very philosophical on me and said "Well, I guess in a way, I am running home."  Another favorite moment was when I was riding with two girls 5 miles out from the finish. They were both struggling - one had the worst shin splints and the other confessed to not drinking enough water the day before. I gave them both electrolyte pills and some encouraging words. A few sweeper vans passed by and I told them it would be okay if they dropped out, but neither wanted to. Near the finish, the girl with the shin splints asked if it was okay that she walked to mile 13 and then sprint to the finish. I told her that this was a great plan and she meekly asked "does this still count as running a half marathon?" I made sure she knew how proud I was of her and that OF COURSE it still counted as running a half marathon! She finished so strong and crossed the finish line in tears. The students waited at the flagpole (their finish line) until every student crossed. And every student finished - no one dropped out - under three hours! I am so proud of all of them.

Photo Credit: The Island School

During the Super Swim (on Monday, so I guess not the weekend), I was boat support for the last pair of swimmers. I had 6 students on board with me and they were quite quiet in the beginning. However, after we followed the last buddy pair to the turnaround, the excitement grew. The kids on my boat were cheering as loud as they could, dancing, jumping in the water, and being incredibly supportive. This energy kept up until our pair finished - under 4 hours - and we headed back to the boathouse. This swim was amazing, though, for reasons more than just the support and excitement the students felt for one another. Everyone who participated in this swim finished this event as well. But, there is one boy who really stands out. This student came to the Island School 97 days ago and could not swim. On Monday, he finished a 4-mile swim in the ocean and did not finish last. Another thing that made that moment so special? Jack Johnson was there to witness it and support him. Jack Johnson had been on campus all weekend as part of our Youth Island Action Summit against plastic pollution. He was pinned as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNEP and decided he wanted to compete in the swim as well. He shared this touching photo on Instagram

"Jack couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate #WorldOceansDay than by waking up and jumping in the water for a four-mile swim with friends and ocean advocates. Jack was most excited about his new friend, Jeremy, who learned to swim just 97 days ago and crossed the finish line with everyone!  @thetorpedopeople and all the @theislandschool kids"

My heart is so full and when I saw that photo and caption, I was almost moved to tears. I am so proud of all of these students and what they accomplished. I also think that this has motivated me to volunteer for more races when I move back to a place where races are offered more frequently. 

Have you ever volunteered for a race? What was your favorite moment?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Queen of the Weirdest Injuries

Since moving to the Bahamas in August, I think I've become the queen of the weirdest injuries. I never really deemed myself as clumsy before, but since I've been here, I've been a walking disaster.

A list of some of the injuries I have incurred here include:
1. Tearing the cartilage in my right knee by tripping over a log in the dark because I was chasing after a van trying to get a ride home
2. (Potentially) Fracturing my shin because I dropped a cooler full of sharks on it
3. Cutting open my foot on a piece of coral because I had to go pee and jumped onto a small piece in the shallow waters.
4. Swollen/jammed hand due to a strong sea turtle crushing it with its flippers

I fall on boats all the time, bang up my legs on various equipment, cut my hands and feet on various objects, get scratches from sea turtles, get stung by jellies, and am just an all around klutz. Yesterday, I incurred another incredibly interesting and weird injury. Scroll past this next picture if you don't want to see a bit of blood ;)

Part of my toenail was ripped up by a tote full of seaweed. What kind of job do I have? Yesterday, we took students from the local primary school to collect seaweed for the community garden. The seaweed acts as a natural fertilizer/mulch and is great for their plants. When I was helping unload the van, I moved the last tote and the person I was handing it to grabbed the handle to pull it towards them. Well, my toenail got caught in the mix somehow (not sure how), and I yelped in pain. I didn't think much of it until it started bleeding.

I'm going to try and run on it today, but we'll see. It's throbbing a bit and there's still a bit of bleeding/blood trapped under the nail. I'm wondering if the injured part will reattach or just fall off. The fun of being me ;)

On another note, something that I still love despite sometimes causing me minor injuries? Turtles.

Please note that the front flippers of the sea turtle are the strongest joint. This turtle was out of the water less than 10 minutes and was on its way back to be released to the ocean when this photo was taken

What is your weirdest injury? Are you accident prone?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Two Weeks In

So, I've successfully completed two weeks of my workout plan to get me back into running and off of my lazy ass. I even survived Parents' Weekend, keeping up some semblance of a schedule despite working 4, 16+ hour days in a row!

I'm still running in the single digits, but I will soon be in double digit running weeks + back to back days of running. Right now, I'm running every other weekday for 3 days of running a week. It's hard to believe that I used to run 4-5 days a week and be fine.

One day, training months will resemble the months on the left again

I definitely need to get new shoes, but I won't be able to unless I order them to someone in the states to bring them down for me. I'm not sure when the earliest I can get them will be, but I need to figure that out sooner rather than later. Because I can't go to a running store and try on new models, I'll be ordering a pair of shoes that I know works for me!

Maybe another pair of Brooks will bring back some of my "speed"

What's your favorite site to order shoes from? What was your favorite workout this week?

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Week Back At It

Thanks to those of you who have stuck around in my hiatus ;) This past week was my first venture back into my old routine, and it went relatively well! I've created a workout plan that starts me back out running 3 days a week, doing a Nike Training Club (NTC) workout two days a week, having one true rest day, and doing yoga + stretching on Sunday.

I had no problem getting up on Monday and Wednesday at 5:15 to go for a run. Monday was accompanied by some NTC core work and Wednesday was followed by some intense stretching. I forgot how amazing I feel when I get up early and get my workout done before the sun comes up, even if it's a short workout.

Friday was where it got a little hairy. Thursday was my prescribed "rest day" and I took advantage of that. Friday, I woke up early, but because I didn't sleep well, I didn't get out of bed to go running. I planned on running once I got home. Instead, I fell asleep, and when I woke up again, a friend had come around to share some amazing news (she got the professional development award she was waiting for!), so we had dinner and drinks instead. I then went around to my boss' house for drinks and planned a run on Saturday morning before a trip down island.

Saturday morning I woke up after 4 hours of sleep and got ready for my trip instead of running... When I got home from my trip, it was time for one of my co-worker's going away party. She's been here 3 years (relatively long for non-managers here) and has been such a huge influence in the community. The party was AMAZING, with coworkers and locals coming out to celebrate her. Sadly, I was feeling a bit under the weather and couldn't enjoy it to the full extent, but I did have a great time nonetheless.

On Sunday, I woke up determined to make up for my two days of excuses and did the run I had planned for Friday. I threw in some body squats every half mile and then did some NTC when I came home. Later that evening, I did yoga + stretching, so I've stuck to the plan for the most part, getting in all of my planned workouts!

This week is going to be insane because all of the students' parents are coming down tomorrow. That means that I will be taking parents out into the field, watching my students give presentations, having parent-teacher meetings, and schmoozing with the parents all weekend! I'm going to need all the motivation I can get to make it through this week and stick with my workouts.

How was your week of workouts? Are you good about sticking to a plan or making up missed workouts?