Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Remembering Boston...My Run in 2001

Before getting married and having children, I had a list of things I wanted to do!  At the ripe age of 23, I began running marathons.  I have completed 9, but will likely never run a full 26.2 again.  After running the first Flying Pig Marathon in 1999, I was hooked.  I was sore, but couldn't wait to do another.  I then did Chicago, a few more Flying Pigs, and Columbus.  Before the Columbus Marathon, my two best friends from college who had moved to Chicago told me, "You qualify for Boston and we will meet you there in April!" 
My best friends, Nikki and Julie!
So I did.  In October of 2000, with a qualifying time of 3:39:57, I qualified for Boston.  In April of 2001, we met there and enjoyed the most amazing weekend.  There were 6 of us, my mom, Gram, sister, Nikki, Julie, and myself all crammed into one hotel room for 4 days.  My mom works for Marriott, so we had a room at the Marriott at Copley Square on the 33rd floor. 

My mom and I right at the starting line!

We spent the weekend having tons of girls time-eating, shopping, touring the city!  I remember thinking how I didn't want the weekend to end because everyone had to go back their seperate ways to their seperate cities.  But, it was a weekend I will never forget.

I knew I wasn't going to run the race of my life!  It is hard to sleep with two BIG snorers!  But that wasn't what mattered!  I had QUALIFIED to be there and I was going to soak up the time with my friends and family, and the race.

At the Expo, which is where you get your packets, chips, and some goodies from the race, I was listening to as many side conversations as I could.  "Don't take anything that is not in an unopened water bottle around Boston College-those kids have been known to put vodka in cups and the runners drink it thinking it is water."  "Don't eat any oranges from them either, because those tend to be soaked in alcohol, too."

Good tips-got it!  Another bit of advice that I had a hard time following was "Stay to the middle of the road on the course.  There are tons of kids and they all want to give you high-fives.  It will wear you out."  I think I high-fived until my hand was ready to fall off that day!  There were tons of kids, tons of screaming spectators, and for 26.2 miles, I wanted to take it all in!  So my time was slower, who cared, I was RUNNING BOSTON!

It was not an easy race.  Because my qualifying time was one of the last, women my age need a time of 3:40-with 3:39, I just made it, I had to leave very early in the morning to get to the start.  They bus the runners to Hopkinton Elementary School, where the runners wait for the noon start time.  My bus left at 6:00AM.  I sat and froze for over 5 hours at this little school before I had to begin my grueling run.  I remember thinking how I wished I were a Kenyan for the day-you see these elite runners get these amazing buses, step off the bus, and begin the race-no freezing cold sitting on cardboard for them.

Very nervous!
I ran a slow race-I finished in 4:06.  As I heard about the events yesterday, my time was only a few minutes shy of those caught in the blasts.  SCARY!  Prayers go out to all of those runners and families that were there for the EXACT same reason I was 12 years ago-because they qualified and because their families and friends couldn't wait to see them run!   It wasn't supposed to and shouldn't have ended this way!

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mystery Readers...Bringing Readers into the Classroom

Being on maternity leave has provided me the opportunity to do many things, and I am only 5 weeks in!  I have been able to really enjoy my family without the daily stresses of getting things accomplished for school.  While I LOVE being a teacher, it has been kind of nice AMAZING, I must admit!  Closets have been cleaned out and better organized, multiple trips have been made to take items to Goodwill, I have been able to walk to pick up both my son and daughter from school everyday, make dinner, catch up with friends and neighbors, and most importantly, catch my breath.  It makes me laugh a little to think that I may be more well-rested despite having a newborn, two BIG kiddos, and a husband, than I have been in months!

One thing I have loved about being on maternity leave is having the time to spend with my now 7-year old son.  Excitingly, it was his birthday yesterday.  One very cool thing that the first grade teachers do at his school is "Mystery Readers."  Every Friday at 11:40, a mysterious person comes in to read their favorite story before the kiddos head to lunch and recess.  It can be a parent, family member, community member-anyone willing to come in and read aloud to the students. 

Knowing that I would be on maternity leave and that April 12th is my son's birhday, I was eager to grab that spot.  My son's teacher, Mrs. DeWitt, asked me to e-mail her four clues that the children would be given to try to figure out who the "Mystery Reader" was.  My clues were:

#1: Reads lots of books with kids at home and at work.
#2: Loves to play outside, run, bake cookies, and go shopping.
#3: Has three silly children.
#4:Thinks Sponge Bob is kind of funny and loves "The Campfire Song"!
Being my son's birthday, with Spiderman cupcakes in hand and Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss, the classroom door opened, and I was greeted with the BIGGEST hug ever by my son.  As my eyes got teary thinking about 1. how old he is and 2. that I wish he would be this excited to see me forever, he proudly walked me to the front of the room where I had a special reading spot and he had the chance to sit right next to me in the very front. 

The birthday boy making bugs!

The book was a hit-the kiddos laughed about the idea of a bird taking them to Katroo for their special day.  They loved the tongue-twisters, and especially the illustration of the boy pictured in only his towel-silly first graders...I even got to stay and have lunch with my son, which I LOVE to do!  Cafeteria conversation in first grade is the best!
While I have worked for an incredible principal who used to come and read to students as well as take spelling tests in the classrooms right along with the kiddos, I thought that my 6th graders would even love this experience of Mystery Readers.  Inferrring based on the clues provided by our special guest.  In addition, with the focus of the Daily 5-the students have the chance to Listen to Reading.  They love to be read to, and would enjoy others-teachers, parents, community members to come read to them.  It is an enjoyable experience to listen to others share their favorite stories.  I will work to incorporate this into my classroom next year! Please let me know if this is something you have tried...

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