Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Trying New Races, Anyone?

There are new races in San Diego--and it's a good thing too because the classics just fill up toooooo fast anymore. The running bug caught and stuck around longer than I thought. Years apparently. Oh well.

I put a few of the newcomers below: If you're doing one, let me know-- and if you did it last year, let me know that, too (and if you liked it or not).

March 11: San Diego Half Marathon (Inaugural Year... I'm not doing this one-- but if you're doing it I want to know about it!)

March 25: The San Diego Hot Chocolate Run 15K/5K

May 6: San Diego Zoo: Wild Animal Park 1/2 Marathon

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just be cool, man.

I had a good run today at Lake Murray-- the first 5+ miler I've done in a few weeks. It felt really good to let the week go (and it's only Tuesday!). So, you might remember that earlier this year a student broke into my classroom and peed on my desk. If not, here's the link to that happy tale. The kid was never caught, but I thought that was the end of gross things being done to my classroom this year. Not so.

For the past few weeks someone has been spitting on my classroom door. The first time I noticed it, was on a Monday after a long weekend and a big storm, so I didn't really think much about it. But then I began to notice that every couple days there was more of this gross, spit-looking substance accumulating on the door. Yesterday the kid finally went for the big guns (just in case I wasn't getting the message I suppose) and spit partially-masticated food all over the door. Not. Cool.

So, a custodian had to clean it up (which I feel really bad about because the kid isn't trying to punish her) and I hung a sign on the door that reads, "Just be cool, man." Today the spit appeared again on the door while I had my 4th period class down at the library...so I think I've narrowed down the perp's time frame AND that it is most likely not one of my current students. I'm working on a theory that it's one of last year's disgruntled 9th graders. There were some seriously evil children in that class. I don't say that lightly... I've had some squirrely classes in the past (this year's class included) but none that were just outright evil and malicious like last year.

I'm trying not to get in my head about the whole thing. If there's one thing I've learned over the years as a high school teacher, it's that you can not try to rationalize teenage behavior-- they don't even know why they do the things they do. Plus half the time their own actions have to be explained to them because somehow they forget that they just stabbed Johnny in the leg with a mechanical pencil or tried to give Carlos a papercut on his ear... "What did I do?!" as if they're so surprised by their own actions.

I had a realization while I was running today: this was my first school-related, NEEDED-run of the year... and by year I mean 2012. Hey, not so bad. I almost made it a month.

So in conclusion. To wrap it up. My point, ladies and gentleman is. Sigh.
If you're out there making someone's life hell with snide remarks, or backhanded compliments, or small devious annoyances (like my spitter), whether you think it's justified or not I have only one thing to say to you...

Just be cool, man.
Just be cool.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Mechanic's Advice

I found out recently that the mechanic I've been going to for the last 10 years, Fred Muranyi, used to run with the San Diego Track Club (or something like that...) back in the 70's. He's since stopped running long distance, but gave me some good advice while we chatted about the philosophies of ChiRunning and other techniques.

His run club used to tell them to, "Run as if someone is pushing you in the small of your back." So I tried that today, and it really works. It's kinda creepy! I imagined someone gently pushing me along and everything else relaxed and my form became more fluid and comfortable. And, it even made me go a little faster.

So thanks Fred!
And by the way: if you're looking for a good mechanic, Muranyi Automotive is the best. Honesty is so important--and Fred is as good as they come!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Change of Hobby...for the day

Over the summer I had the opportunity to work with the incredibly talented visionary, Jesse Rosten, and his incredibly talented crew, up in Redding, California. I became a boxer for the day-- it actually screwed up my shoulders...boxing gloves are heavy! So, I'm sticking with running, but it was so worth the soreness for the funniness that came out of it. I hope you follow the link below, enjoy what you see, and then share it around.

Click Here:Fotoshop (fake) Commercial by Jesse Rosten

Over a million hits!! Whoohoo!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Life is an improvisation"

The title of this post is a quote said by Ralph in Lord of the Flies. He says this after he and some of his classmates end up plane-wrecked on an island that, after a few days, starts to become "uncivilized."

Every year I have my students write a paper about the improvisation of every day life: we never know what the next day will bring, and yet, how is it that time passes without us even realizing it sometimes? Most of the time we go through the actions of our life with few surprises. Things may happen to us in a given year or month that shake us and turn us upside down, but rarely do we step outside our comfortable routines and make a memorable change on purpose. Rarely do we try to reinvent ourselves: "tweaking" is the safe version of change we use. This is the only possible explanation for why entire months--and even years--of my life are blurred or simply missing from my memory. I mean, there are thousands of days and hundreds of weeks that I know I lived but clearly was not present because I can find nothing of them.

The last 18 weeks of my life will be difficult to forget--in a really good way. I decided my daily improvisations, be them in front of a class of teenagers or taking a new dance class or running a new race somewhere, were still just copies of former improvisations. Allow me to use this metaphor to explain what I mean by copies of improvisations: As a teacher I have handouts that I use every year but can no longer find the original master copies...and I do not have them typed out on the computer. So, when I want to use one, I have to take one of the copies I made from the previous year and make duplicates of that duplicate. You know how when you make a copy of a copy it's never as good? And if you make a copy of that copy, it's even worse? Well, if you keep making copies of those copies you will eventually end up with a paper containing shadows and half-words that don't do anything but make the paper look dirty. That is how life can be sometimes. Copies of copies of things we've been doing for years. (I'm getting deep today, yes I am).

I won't go into detail about all the (aforementioned) things I attempted to "copy" this year from a younger me, but my attempt to create a master copy in my life recently involved learning improv at National Comedy Theater. It was something entirely new and at times f&*$ing scary. And now that the classes are over, and I've had time to think back on the last 18 weeks, I'm sad I won't see my funny friends each week and sad that I won't have something to be nervous about every Saturday afternoon. But I'm also glad that I have something in my memory that will set the year 2011 apart from previous years.

I will probably do the class again, even though it might seem, or might feel, like a "copy." However, the great thing about performance improv is that there is no such thing as a copy. There is no way to anticipate the scene you're about to walk into... one just has to follow one's own feet. I think we runners get that concept more easily than some... we've all had that long run or that race where it came down to simply trusting that your feet know what to do. Like Ralph who "found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one's waking life was spent watching one's feet."

Thanks to all the wonderful, funny people at NCT (instructors and classmates alike) who brought so much joy, excitement and especially laughter to the last 18 weeks of my life.

Merry/Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!