School’s OUT for SUMMER!!

If you didn’t already know, I’m a high school English teacher by day. Today is the last day of school and it’s always bittersweet. By this time, I’m anxious for the break but I’m also always sad to see students go. I teach freshmen, sophomores (and some years, juniors) so there’s times when I’ll have a student multiple years. Inevitably, I connect with some and seeing them grow, mature, and develop into young adults makes me so emotionally come graduation. They’re leaving. And I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again.

There’s nothing you can really say to an 18 year old about what awaits them. Life is something you just experience on your own. I worry about the struggles they’ll face, but I’m always hopeful that they’ll stick to what’s right and remember that there’s people that care for them.

That’s what  I try to instill in my students. People care about them. And the choices they make not only affect them, but those around them, those that care about them.

Every time my students leave my classroom, I yell out a “Be safe!” They tell me that that is something they remember about me, me constantly telling them to be safe. It makes them feel cared for.

This particular class is special to me. There were a couple of students that I had their freshman and sophomore year and who were my teacher’s assistant their senior year. I’ve become close to them and I’m sad to see them go. Whenever I do have students that I grow particular close with, I always tell them to stay in touch and some do, most don’t. This year I was pinky-sweared and promised that they’d let me know how they’re doing as they embark on their new adventures–one to the Marines, one to an east coast college to play baseball, and another to our state university.

I’m lucky enough to have many, many memories that will stay with me forever and before the seniors left, they managed to leave me (and the rest of their teachers) one more positive memory by way of their senior prank. Instead of doing something immature or detrimental to themselves or the school, they decided to have some fun while helping the community. Outside my room down my hall, a large group of seniors gathered in front of the balcony and proceeded to take off their shoes and throw them to the seniors who had gathered below. They in turn also took off their shoes and it wasn’t too long before we saw shoes everywhere! At first, we weren’t sure what was going on or what the meaning of the prank was but then the seniors explained. They were donating all the shoes to a local homeless shelter! The story even made our local news!

I love my job and I love my school. Like any job, there are tough days, but moments like the senior prank and occasional notes of thanks make it so, so worth it.

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I hope everyone has a great weekend!! Anyone stateside have Monday off?? <3 , helly

–Do you have a teacher that you fondly remember?

Hope Run 5k Recap and Why Local Races Rock!

I mentioned in my last post how this past weekend was extraordinarily awesome :D Well, Saturday was an epic meet-up between two of my fave running groups and Sunday, my husband ran a 5k!

I absolutely love that my husband likes running and seeing him is a lot of the times more fun than me running lol!

The Hope Run 5k is a local race where proceeds went to Save the Children and American Association for Lost Children. This is a huuuuge reason why I love running local. I like knowing that while I’m doing something I love, others are benefitting.

The International Missing Children’s Day is observed in the month of May each year. It is a time to remember many thousands of small children who are lost, trafficked, or disadvantaged.  Thank you for supporting the children! –Hope Run 5k, 10k

The race is in its third  year and has been growing steadily. I spoke with the race director prior to the race and she told me that she had over a 100 more registrants this year than last! (It turned out there was even more as there were quite a few same-day registrants. So much so, they ran out of medals as they were unprepared for so many last minute racers.)

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For a smaller, local race, they definitely didn’t skimp out on anything. Racers received a finisher’s medal AND t-shirt, the race offered age group awards not just overall, and they had a pretty sweet breakfast table set-up.

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The 10k runners began the show and ten minutes later, the 5Kers lined up. My husband had signed up for the 5k and we made our way to the front to get a good starting position. We chatted for a few minutes and then he was off!

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that’s him on the left!!

I knew that his goal was to PR–his previous 5k best was 21:07 and he really wanted to see 20. His ultimate goal is to see a teen but knows that’s a work in progress.

Oh, to be fast…..

Anyway, I hung out and visited a few of the vendors that were at the race. It wasn’t too long though before I saw the first place guy approaching. He. was. running.

One of the things I love about spectating races is that I get to see the race from such a different perspective. I would never be around the people who finish first and to see them cross the line is just super cool.

He crossed, grabbed his medal, and then made his way to me.

“Your husband’s right behind me.”

Say what????

Sure enough, there he was!!!

I could tell that he was giving it all he had as I’d never seen him finish with that much resolve.

I positioned myself to get a good finisher’s pic and as I was waiting, I saw the first place guy walk up to the finish line.

As my husband ran through, the first place guy reached out his hand to high five my husband.

: )

: )

The running community is amazing.

My husband grabbed his medal and I ran to him to give him a huge sweaty hug :D

I couldn’t believe he’d gotten second place and ran so well finishing in 20:47!!! A new PR!!!

And you know what he said to me when I told him his time?

“I’m getting closer to 19.” Hahaha!! I love him. Runners are so competitive with themselves, aren’t they?? ;)

We chatted with the first place guy for a while. He and my husband talked about how the course had a quite a few loop de loops that made it a little confusing. He was 20 and had ran cross country in high school. He said he preferred longer distances but runs 5Ks for fun. LOL.

The awards weren’t too long after and it turned out that my husband was able to get the first place medal for his age group and the second place overall award. Usually, I’ve seen races only give one if you’re the winner for both.

My speedy

My speedy

The age group award is pretty sweet. It’s a small first place plaque that hangs off the main medal. For the second place finish, he won a $15 certificate to Road ID–score!!!

The Hope Run 5k was just another race that solidified why I like running local. I get to meet and support people in my community and the race proceeds go to great causes.

Wearing daddy's medal <3

Wearing daddy’s medal <3

Last month, I ran another local race, Run3rd 5k, where I got to meet Sean Astin. It was the race where I thought I had placed in my age group only to find as I was walking up to the podium that someone else had won. Remember?

Well the race director read my race review and contacted me to let me know what had happened! She said there was an issue with two racers whose bibs conflicted with the timing chips. They had to manually fix their times and one of them finished 3rd overall bumping the girl into placing in their age group instead–mine.

And the girl who started 2o minutes super duper late? It turns out she started about 5 minutes after (which to a runner feels like eternity right? ha!).

I thought it was so nice for the race director to go out of her way to explain to me what happened. Again, this is why I run local. These people seriously care about their runners <3

I hope everyone is having a good week so far!!

<3 , helly

–Do you like running local races or bigger races?

–Ever won a race? or came close?

 

 

When Two Groups Collide

This weekend was one of the funnest I’d had in a long while. I mean, every weekend has elements of awesomeness but this Saturday and Sunday it just was overflowing–so much so, I’ma have to split it up :D

Saturday I woke up bright and early at my usual 5 a.m. This is nothing new as it’s my start time during the work week. Today though, I was going to be meeting up with two of my fave groups, Run Eat Tweet AZ and Moms Run This Town.

I’ve talked about both before. I used to be a RETAZ ambassador but had to step down because of life commitments. That hasn’t stopped me from still being involved in other ways though. And then I started a local chapter in my city for MRTT last year that I still lead along with my buddy, We’re Running a Marathon?.

Run Eat Tweet AZ wanted to host a group run for all Phoenix valley MRTT chapters and we all of course jumped at the idea. My city MRTT meets weekly but we don’t often meet with other neighboring cities in the valley.

I was prompt at arriving at 6 a.m. for the start of the long run, 10 miles. I wasn’t going to run the 10 though but just do a quick out and back and meet up with the second group, the 5 milers, that would start at 6:30. I wanted to be there to greet all of my MRTT  ladies.

My group is the newest MRTT chapter at barely over a year old but guess what? We had the most of all the chapters! I was so proud of my girls! Six arrived at the 6 a.m. start and then 3 more at the 6:30. :)

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But first, a selfie. (I'm horrible at these--can you tell?)

But first, a selfie. (I’m horrible at these–can you tell?)

I managed to get in 2 quick miles before the second group started and then I went back out for another 3 to make 5 miles total. It was an easy going run where I wasn’t at all concerned with my pace–just hanging out with everyone and chatting up a storm.

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Having a blast…as usual :D

Afterward, all the chapters took a group photo along the bridge where we had met up.

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Such a great turnout!

It was such a beautiful Phoenix day–cool and cloudy and just the right amount of cold :) Run Eat Tweet AZ even had coffee and breakfast for us!

Best. Weather.

Best. Weather.

They also had hooked up with some vendors who gave away neat prizes–free race entries, jewelry, t-shirts, running fuel. It was just an awesome good time.

I’ve mentioned before how life-changing it was for me not only as a runner but just as a person to get involved in local running groups. There are three that I’m actively involved in and it really gives me the motivation and support I need to keep me going. It’s impossible for me to ever get lazy (not that I ever would anyway ;) ) because my friends are constantly inviting me to run or workout!

At first, it was tough for me to branch out and get out of my comfort zone. But, getting involved and being a part of a group has helped my running so much–I’m faster, stronger, and smarter. The latter being the most important in my opinion.

I really can’t praise it enough. There’s absolutely nothing I regret about joining a couple of running groups. My wallet begs to differ–because my races have increased, but I’ve acquired some pretty amazing friendships and experiences that make it ALL worth it. So if you’re on the fence about it, just do it!!! (And if you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips!)

Hope you all have a great Monday!!

<3 , helly

–Do you have a running group?

–How many running friends do you have?