Ten Little-Known Perks of Being a Teacher

I wasn’t going to blog today. My plan was to run (8.2 miles in the nice, cool morning air. Glorious.), have breakfast and coffee, and then head in to work to start working on my classroom. But J is going in today, too, so we decided to carpool, and he’s taking a long time to get ready. This is a post I started yesterday, and since I was waiting around, I finished it up.

Ten Awesome Things about Being a Teacher

Obviously, the best parts of teaching are watching kids “get it,” getting to know your students and sharing in their successes and failures, being the shoulder to cry on or the palm to high-five when a kid needs either. Those are the reasons people get into teaching in the first place. But once you are a teacher, you discover that there are some other fun little perks that come along with being an educator (and no, they’re not “June, July, and August.” The next shmuck that makes that joke gets punched in the throat). Here are a few:

  1. The massive paycheck. Ha. Ha. Ha. Just kidding. But since we don’t get a massive paycheck, we do get…
  2. Discounts. While the media may hate us sometimes, people in the real world like us. And they know that we don’t make much money. Many places give teacher discounts (here’s one list ), and even those that don’t advertise discounts might hook you up if you mention that you teach. J and I have gotten discounts on everything from clothes to gym memberships to travel by mentioning that we’re educators.
  3. You don’t have to sit at a desk in a cubicle all day. Sitting is killing you. This recent Runner’s World article is one of many that I have read recently that explain how terrible for you all-day sitting is. As a teacher, you’re on your feet, walking around, literally all day. Extra calorie burn, anyone?
  4. No one judges you for your caffeine addiction. I think it’s actually a prerequisite to drink copious amounts of coffee. I tell my kids that they should probably expect a coffee spill on at least one paper per year.
  5. Or for reading adolescent lit. This took up a fairly substantial part of my summer. It’s research, right?
  6. You’re easily excited. Some things that excite you:



  7. You get to wear a new outfit on the first day of school. I still do this. Every year.
  8. Someone will always laugh at your incredibly unfunny jokes. It’s probably the kid who really wants an A in your class and hasn’t realized that kissing up doesn’t actually affect her grade, but at least you’re guaranteed a giggle.
     (I will forgive the missing commas here because I like what it says.)
  9. You still get to go to prom. Actually, that’s not a perk. It’s kind of gross to watch your kids grind up on each other, and you realize that you’re super old because you’re exhausted before the dance even starts.
  10. It’s never boring. Every class is different, every kid is different, and every day is different. It’s awesome.

Yep, being a teacher is pretty fantastic. I’m getting excited for the start of a new year!

What are some perks I forgot?

If you’re not a teacher, tell me some little-known perks of your job.

Feeling Productive and Target Practice

Happy Monday! I’m feeling productive this morning, especially for a Monday. So far, I ran 6.2 recovery miles, cleaned my whole house, washed a ton of dishes, and did two loads of laundry. And it’s not even 10:00! I guess that’s the one good thing about not having air conditioning — it makes me get up and get things done before it’s 100 degrees.

For the last two weeks, I’ve copied borrowed the idea of a weekly “target practice” post from Fit. Fun. Femme. It’s a great way to set goals for the week and to be held accountable. Here are my targets for this week:

Target Practice

Life: Get a solid start on setting up my classroom. We don’t officially report for another two weeks, but getting set up and ready to go before inservice week makes me a lot less stressed out. I had a dream last night that five minutes before class started on the first day of school, I realized that I hadn’t copied any of my syllabi. I don’t want that to happen in real life, so I’ll start getting set up tomorrow.

Health: Focus on proper post-run nutrition. I’m reading Matt Fitzgerald’s The New Rules of Marathon and Half Marathon Nutrition (review coming this week, I hope!), and the recovery section made me realize that I need to put a little more focus on recovery nutrition.

Fitness: Complete all my scheduled training runs and strength train three times. This was a goal last week, too, and I only strength trained twice, so it’s a goal again this week.

This is a picture-less post because I’m a terrible blogger and never remember to take any. Maybe  I should add “actually take photos” to my goals for the week.

What are your goals for the week?

Least favorite housework chore? Mine is dusting. Followed closely by vacuuming the stairs.

Getting Super Strong

It’s a beautiful morning (bah dah dah)!

Be glad you read that and didn’t actually have to hear me sing it. I’m not exactly a gifted singer.

I finally ran outside yesterday. It was amazing. Eight miles of outdoor bliss. My foot still isn’t 100%, and I am NOT doing my long run on the treadmill tomorrow, so I did today’s seven-miler inside just to make sure that my foot could handle the outdoors tomorrow.

I also did some strength training yesterday. In the gym, for once. I usually just do some basic squats, push-ups, etc., but yesterday I decided to go lift some real weights. I went at 3:30, thinking the gym would be empty and I should enjoy these last couple of weeks of being able to work out whenever the heck I want. Wrong. Apparently 3:30 is 19-year-old boy weight-lifting time. It wasn’t a problem, just more crowded than I had hoped. And it was a little amusing listening to them complain about not being able to gain any weight. Enjoy it now, metabolism-blessed boys. It will pass.

(He used to be a skinny kitten.)

Since I was actually going to the gym, I re-read the strength training piece of Kara Goucher’s Running for Women (terrific book. Read it). She includes a two-days-a-week lifting plan designed by her strength coach, Tony Salazar. And since he coaches my best friend Kara, I decided to try it.

I met Kara Goucher(See? Best friends. We met at the expo for Rock ‘n Roll Denver in 2011. I’m sure she remembers it as fondly as I do. Move over, Shalane.)

Here was yesterday’s workout (which is supposed to be the first strength workout of the week, but will be my only one this week):

  1. Barbell squat
  2. Dumbell incline press
  3. One-leg dumbell Russian deadlifts
  4. Pull-ups (I used the pull-up machine. I am way too wimpy to do a real pull-up)
  5. Dumbell step-ups
  6. Tricep pushdowns on the cable machine
  7. Back extensions
  8. Crunches (I used a Swiss ball for these and the back extensions)

    And then I added some extra ab/core stuff.

Kara’s book says to do the program for five weeks, adding weight and decreasing reps each week and taking the fifth off. Then start the cycle again with heavier weights.

I need to get more serious about strength training, so I’m planning to follow this program on Wednesdays and Fridays and keep going to my favorite muscle class on Mondays.  Maybe having a training program for strength will help keep me on track like running training plans do. And I will get super strong.

Are you an in-the-gym lifter or an at-home exerciser?

What do you do during the “rest” part of lifting workouts? I feel like a fool just standing around between sets.

The Little Things

Good morning! Or good afternoon. Or good whenever you’re reading this.

I started my day with 7 miles of 800-meter repeats at 5k pace. It was mildly brutal since I haven’t done speedwork in several months, but I like speedwork nonetheless. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something when I’m done, and even though it’s a small accomplishment, it makes me happy.

Here are some other little things that make me happy (should I be concerned that they’re mostly food-related?):

1. I found these at Wal-Mart yesterday!

picture 004 If you don’t understand why that’s exciting, you’ve clearly never tried to buy Larabars in Fort Morgan, Colorado. I had never seen them here until yesterday. I may have done a little dance in the aisle when I spotted them.

2. This:

picture 005

We found this sweet potato butter at the produce stand we stopped at this weekend. It is pretty much the most delicious thing I’ve ever encountered. The nutrition label says it contains 38 servings. I think this company needs to hire a label-writer who can count.

3. This comic from The Oatmeal.

4. Summer eating. This was my dinner last night:

picture 006 Summer squash, snap peas, corn, sweet potato. Dessert was apricots and yogurt. Fresh produce makes me very, very happy.

See, it doesn’t take much to make me happy. Unfortunately, I can get annoyed by little things sometimes, too. Like these things:

1. Apparently this look is fashionable now:

(source)
No, this outfit. Go back to 1994 where you belong.

2. This is a show:


Apparently, it’s like Survivor. Only naked. Wrong, America. Just wrong.

3. Butter-wrapper protesters. Oh, yes, they exist.

4. Bacon obsessions. Not everything has to have bacon in it, you know.

That’s a bacon martini (source). Ick. It’s just pig meat, folks. Stop getting so excited about it.

I don’t want to leave you on an annoyed note, so here’s one more thing that makes me happy. You’ve probably seen it, but it makes me smile every time. This penguin:

What are some little things that make you happy or annoyed?

Weekend Fun and Tuesday Target Practice

Hello, friends! I’m back to the real world and the blog world after my long weekend. We left Thursday for my parents’ and came home yesterday. It was a great visit, but it’s always nice to come home.

My 10-year high school reunion was this weekend. It started Friday night in a bar. Bars are not good places for reunions, in my opinion, because when you haven’t seen someone in 10 years, it would be nice to be able to hear them talk. Then again, maybe I’m just an old lady. Saturday there was supposed to be a potluck/picnic, but somehow there was a miscommunication and only a few people showed up. Oh well. It was fun to see some of my old friends, anyway.

We also got to spend a good amount of time with my parents and grandparents, which was very nice. And we got to spend some time in one of my favorite places in the world: the mountains near my parents’ place. Here are some pics from the weekend, but I didn’t get any pictures of my mom because she was behind the camera the whole time. I know there’s one of us on her camera, though. (Hey Mom, send me that picture, okay?)

Olathe July 2013 003

Dad made me a hollyhock doll for old times’ sake. If you never got one of these as a child, you missed out. They’re cool. 

Olathe July 2013 007

Dad showing me something across the canyon

Olathe July 2013 021

The wildflowers were blooming despite the drought

Olathe July 2013 020

Jordan and me at one of my favorite lookouts. You can see pretty much the whole Western slope and part of Utah. It’s amazing.

Olathe July 2013 017

I nearly stepped on this nest hidden against a stump where we stopped to picnic. The momma bird was not happy that we were there, so we ate quickly and got out of her way.

Olathe July 2013 016We walked part of the way down into the canyon. Dad and I did the whole trail when I was eight-ish; we need to do it again.

Not a bad place to spend a weekend, right?

Here’s an update on the foot situation: I ran only once at my parents’ place — an easy four-miler (which was actually one of my favorite runs in a long time. My folks live way out in the country, and a lot of other people out there apparently think that living in the country means not having to pen up their scary dogs. So my dad rode his bike alongside me and protected me from canine encounters, plus we got to have a good talk).

Good news after the mostly-rest weekend: I ran my scheduled mileage today and yesterday (5 and 8, respectively). Both runs were on the treadmill, as my foot seems to like the softer surface right now. I certainly won’t complain — treadmill miles are better than no miles, by far. My foot is definitely on the upswing, so I think *knockonwood* it should be okay now as long as I pay attention to it. Phew.

And now, on to Target Practice.

Target Practice

I talked about Target Practice last week; it’s a weekly goal-setting idea that I borrowed from the ladies at Fit Fun Femme.

Life: Suddenly July is almost over. School starts again one month from today. This week, I need to make some serious progress on my curriculum adjustments for next year. I also need to update the syllabus for the college class I teach.

Health: This is an easy goal, but I don’t care. My goal this week is to eat as much fresh produce as is humanly possible. My parents live on the Western slope of Colorado, which is renowned for its fruit and veggies (especially sweet corn. If you’ve heard of Olathe Sweet corn, that’s my hometown’s pride and joy). We came home with corn, peaches, cherries, summer squash, plums, nectarines, beets, and bell peppers. This will be one delicious accomplishment.

Fitness: Get back on track to conquer Rock n Roll Denver! Complete all my scheduled training runs and strength train three times. And stretch at least a little bit every day. And of course, keep taking good care of my foot.

This post is really long. If you’re still reading, thanks. Have a great Tuesday!

 

What was the best part of your weekend?

Your goals for the week?

What are you training for right now?

Foot Karma

Remember yesterday, when I bragged about conquering my foot and making it run? Yeah…apparently the foot gods don’t like arrogance, so here we are again.

footI’m hoping that wrapping the ice in a pina colada towel will make my foot think it’s at a party. And no, I still have not repainted those scuzzy toenails. Maybe that’s why my foot is mad.

Anyway, here’s what happened. It is not an interesting story, but I’m telling it regardless. I tried to run outside this morning, and after two blocks, my foot said, “Yeah, no.”  I took it inside to try the treadmill again…no dice. So I went to the gym, did  30 minutes each of elliptical and bike, then some abs, and took my sulky self back home.This is pretty uncool, too, Mr. Foot.

I think I will just cut my losses this week, cross train some more, maaaybe run this weekend, and hope that by next week, things are back to normal. It just feels like I overstretched some tendons, so I hope that a few more days of R & R will bring it back around. I know that losing a few days, especially this early in the training cycle, will really have no detrimental effect. But it still bugs me, you know?

We’re headed over to my hometown tomorrow for my high school reunion. Kinda weird to think that it’s been ten years. Also kinda weird to think that I used to look like this:

high school 002(So old that my yearbook was mostly black-and-white)

I’m interested to see how many of my classmates have changed, too, and what they’re up to. I think Facebook has taken away some of the fun of class reunions, though.

That’s enough rambling for today, don’t you think?

Did you (or will you) go to your high school reunion? How much did people change?

What do you do when your best-laid workout plans go oft awry? (Bonus points if you can tell me whose quote I just butchered there.)

 

Target Practice Tuesday

Today’s Run: 6 miles. Take that, foot.

I woke up determined to get in my scheduled miles this morning, whatever it took. My foot still felt twingy (that’s a word), so I put on compression socks and took it to the treadmill. Running on the ‘mill on a beautiful morning isn’t ideal, but I hoped that the softer surface would be better for the ol’ foot.

mill

I’m lucky enough to have my own treadmill, which made it more bearable…I could at least watch The Bachelorette on Hulu. That show drives me nuts but I love it. Weird, I know.

Anyway, I think the compression and the treadmill were both good choices. My foot definitely let me know it was there, but never hurt badly enough to make me change my gait. It actually feels better now, a few hours post-run, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign. My letter must have worked.

I followed up the run with this strength workout, minus the mountain climbers because they hurt my foot, and some abs. It was a nice, quick-ish butt-kicker.

 

Target Practice

Moving on. The ladies over at Fit. Fun. Femme. (which is a great blog…check it out) do a weekly “target practice” post. Here’s their explanation of Target Practice:

“This is where we (Sara and Natalie) share our list of  fitness, health and life goals, keeping us accountable and helping to achieve our weekly aspirations. Every type A girl (that’s us!) loves a good list – we hope you do too!”

They invite other bloggers to do the same, so I’m joining this party.

Life: Get a solid start on rearranging my grammar/writing curriculum for my sophomore classes. This was my biggest work-related goal for the summer. So far, I have read one chapter of the book I was going to use to guide me, and that’s as far as I’ve gotten. This has been me this summer:

I’ll remedy that starting today.

Health: Eat peanut butter and dark chocolate less than daily. This probably seems silly, but I have a major addiction, and since I’m home for most meals this time of year, it’s gotten waaaay to easy to have my favorite little dessert after every meal. And snack.

 So I need to cut that back a bit. But not out entirely, because that would be torture.

Fitness: Keep babying that foot so I can get my scheduled workouts in for the rest of the week!

And with that, I’d probably better get started on that life goal.

 

Are you a treadmill fan or hater?

 

What are some of your goals for the week?

 

Letter to my Left Foot

Dear Foot:

I sense that you’re feeling neglected lately. And you know what? You’re right. I owe you an apology.

I’m sorry that I’ve let your callouses get big and nasty again. I’m sorry that your heels are dry and cracking because I haven’t pumice-and-lotioned you lately. And I’m sorry that for the last two weeks I’ve talked about replacing your chipped toenail polish but haven’t actually done it.

Most of all — because this must be the real issue — I’m sorry that I haven’t given you the support you need. All summer, except for while we’re running, your wardrobe has exclusively consisted of flip-flops. I’ve made you spend entire days walking around town or a mall in those comfortable-but-bad-for-you shoes.

I’m sorry, foot. Please forgive me.

I know I’ve made mistakes, foot, and I promise to do better. But you’re not entirely innocent, either. Your behavior this morning was unacceptable. Yesterday was all about you. I iced you. I elevated you. I rolled you on a tennis ball and made J rub you. I stayed off you as much as possible, even though I went a little stir-crazy. We spent all day like this:

foot 001

Obviously, you didn’t appreciate my efforts. Was it too little, too late? Apparently, because this morning you made me cut my scheduled 8-miles-with-strides down to 3.6 miles. Not cool, foot. Not cool.

So let’s make a deal. I’ll spend another day taking good care of you. I won’t make you go to yoga, where you’d have to spend a lot of time on your toes, supporting me in downward dog. I’ll ice you some more. I’ll roll you some more. Maybe I’ll even repaint your nails. In return, you act nice on my run tomorrow. Let me complete the whole thing without pain. Deal?

For the rest of the summer, I’ll wear real shoes more often so you have the support you need. You’re an important part of me, foot, and I promise I’ll start giving you the treatment you deserve.

Love,

Cassie

Sundays are for Lazy

(I know that post title is grammatically incorrect. I did it intentionally because “lazy” sounds even lazier than “laziness.”)

Yesterday’s Run: 14 miles
Today’s Run: Nada

Happy Sunday! Sundays are probably my favorite day of the week. I almost always take a rest day on Sundays, and while I love my early-morning runs, it’s so nice to have one morning to sleep a little later, eat pancakes (I made these this morning…delicious), and have some leisurely newspaper-and-coffee time with the husband. And summer Sundays are even better. During the school year, Sundays are chore days (laundry, cleaning, groceries, etc.), but during the summer, I can spread those chores out over the week, so Sundays are even nicer.

On yesterday’s run, my foot started to hurt, and it’s still feeling weird this morning. So the plan for today is to RICE it while I do mass amounts of reading, and hopefully tomorrow it will be back to normal.

Aside from my run, yesterday was full of more politicking. There’s an annual rock music festival here in town (it’s a bunch of 80’s cover bands, mostly), and our teacher organization had a booth there for the petitions that I talked about here. Since the petition that was checked out to me is filled,  I was mostly there for moral support. Sarah and I alternated sitting at the booth and wandering around the downtown sidewalk sales. We also hit up Goodwill, where I got 14 like-new books for my classroom and spent a grand total of $10.50. Teacher heaven.


We decided to be nice and bring J lunch back at the festival. On the recommendation of some salesclerks, we tried a Chinese place we’d never been to before. Bad choice. The food was mediocre and made our stomachs hurt. Blah.

To make up for the bad food choice, we made a good choice and went to see Despicable Me 2 last night. So cute. I can’t get enough of these little guys:

Well worth the money.

And now, I’m off to begin my RICE and reading time.

 

What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday? 

Best movie you’ve seen lately?

 

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