Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Race Report: Baltimore Ten Miler - Dedicated to Mr. Stanley

A little over five years ago, my husband was finishing up graduate school in Indiana and we were making plans to move back to Northern Virginia where we began our teaching careers.  As music educators we wanted to live and work in somewhere that not only had high academic standards but also placed value in the arts.  We would not only be teachers, but eventually parents, in this school district.  I sent out my resume and soon received a phone call from a school in Vienna, VA.  I could tell right away from speaking to the principal that this was a man who didn't see children as test scores, but as... children.  I had a great conversation with him on the phone, and was excited until I found out the position was a year long maternity leave.  Did I want to fly out for an interview at a school where I could likely lose my position at the end of the year?  

I looked at some other schools, but something kept pulling me back to that conversation, so one Monday morning in April I sent him an email expressing how much I would love to come out to interview.  Monday and Tuesday  came and went and I hadn't heard back, and I was crushed --- he must have found another music teacher.  Then, Wednesday morning I get this message:  "Sorry I have not responded sooner but I just got back from running the Boston Marathon."  Well, that was that . I had to work there.  

And what an amazing five years it has been (yup, I got to keep the job longer than just that year.)  I have never met anyone who cares mo
re about each child, and about each staff member.  I went into teaching because of educators I had in my life who influenced me profoundly, and I strive to be that teacher for my students.  After finishing up graduate school, I didn't expect to find a mentor for myself.  And then I met Mr. Stanley. He is my role model in so many ways.  There are a lot of administrators out there, and I don't believe they are all in the job for the right reasons.  Mr. Stanley is in there for all the right reasons.  

Oh yeah, and he runs.  A lot.  Not just marathons, but ultras -- 50Ks, 50 miles, even 100 miles!  The first year I taught there, I had signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon, and the week before the race things kept appearing "anonymously" in my mailbox.  A good luck note.  A children's book called  Run Miles Run Some running quotes.  Who does that?  I've run 5 marathons since then and he never forgets.  I also sincerely appreciate the fact that he does not consider me crazy for all the running I do.  When I broke my foot running the Shamrock Marathon and was in an air cast for two months, he got why I was so miserable.  When I ran through my pregnancies and people told me I was endangering my babies (I was not), he cheered me on.  When I was training like a madwoman to break four hours the past spring, he told me I could do it.  When I finished in under 3:55, after my husband and my father, he was the first person I wanted to tell.  

He's retiring at the end of this school year.  I've been lucky to have some pretty great principals in my career, but I've never met anyone who genuinely cares about people as much as he does.  We all feel valued because he values how we feel.  The children love him.  I can't tell you how many parents have said to me something along the lines of "Mr. Stanley really is in this for the kids -- he really seems to care about them."   

On to the race report.  BIG TIME PR.  Granted the last ten miler I ran was 8 weeks after Susanna was born, giving me a sum total of about 4 weeks to train, but still... I ran a good 20 minutes faster this time around.  I wasn't sure how fast to go out -- I did that surprise half marathon a couple of weeks ago at an 8 minute pace but had run a fast 11 miles the night before, giving my legs no  recovery time.  For this race I actually did a short taper and carb loaded/ hydrated the day before.  I decided I'd try to hit below an 8 minute pace average and break 1:20. I crossed the start and headed off on what I thought was a pretty easy first mile.  It was downhill most of the way, and when my Garmin buzzed I glanced down and saw I had done it in 7:14.  What?  Okay, too fast.  The next mile had some uphills and I did that one in 7:42.  I tried to maintain that pace for the majority of the race, and as long as I concentrated I could do it - it wasn't hard yet, it just took focus.  I noticed that if I started daydreaming, my pace would slow.  But I wasn't tired.  The midpoint of the race had little rollers but no major elevation changes.  Then I got to mile 9, and it was straight uphill.  I glanced at my watch, and saw my pace was suddenly close to a 9 minute mile.  Then I remembered Mr. Stanley's impromptu speech to the children the day before.  "Let me tell you something, I do love to run, but I've learned a lot from running and sometimes running is tough.  You have to keep moving forward."  Keep moving forward.  Keep moving forward. I gritted my teeth and gave it all I had.  Mile 9 clocked in at 7:51.  Still under 8s!  This was the first race I'd done where all the miles were under 8s.  

My splits:

Race Swag:  Check out our jackets!
Chip Time:  1:17:13
Age Group Place:  16 out of 524
Gender Place:  87 out of 2670

16 out of 524?!?!  Really?  I'm not bragging, I'm just shocked.  

Anyhow... we can now return to our regularly scheduled Ironman training program.

And Tim, thank you for all the encouragement, motivation, and lessons in running, in teaching, and in life. Thank you for guiding our feet on The Hill, and I hope our trails meet again.

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