An offer too good to refuse…except I had to

Way back when, seven years ago lol!, I started my teaching career. My first year I was so scared and intimidated by everything and everyone, especially the veteran teachers. Here I was, 22 years old, fresh out of college, wanting to teach high school juniors American literature–what the heck did I know about what I was doing??

The school that hired me had an absolutely amazing English department so I knew I was in good hands. (It still does despite many teachers retiring or moving on)

One of those teachers was a man named John–he worked there my first two years and his wife, also an English teacher, was actually my student/teacher mentor. John has a no nonsense aura about him; he doesn’t mince words and is super, super smart. Like you’re afraid to say something stupid in front him smart. I remember the first time I met him, I called him Mr. Prather, like if I was a student! He quickly said it was okay for me to call him by his first name, after all, we were co-workers. (eek!)

John was known for being a top teacher. All the students liked him and not because his classes were easy–in fact, his classes challenged the students and they loved it. At the time, he taught the same subject I did and yes, I felt like I was way out of my league compared to him.

In addition to being known as a fabulous teacher, John is an accomplished runner. He currently coaches our high school’s cross country team. He has the same success with his athletes that he does with his students in that they love his coaching style, respect him, and take on the challenges he gives them.

So when I got an e-mail from him last month offering me an assistant coaching position, I FREAKED OUT. I mean, I screamed out loud after reading.

This is a man whose intelligence I’d admired and respected, who I’ve always (even now) been kind of afraid to even talk to, asking ME to work beside him!

I didn’t know what to say.

A million things went through my head–yet, the main question was, could I do it?

I already knew the answer to that.

No.

😦

The high school I work at is a 40 minute drive from where I live. I have to leave at 6:30 in the morning to make it there on time and I drive against traffic both ways. With practices, I wouldn’t be getting home til past my kids’ bedtimes. Traveling would further keep me away from home. I couldn’t do it to my kids or my husband.

And oh yeah, I’m currently training for a marathon.

It just wouldn’t work. So, I e-mailed back a sad no.

I let him know that I was extremely honored to even be considered and that it would have been a dream to work with him. I know that I could have learned so much–with my own running and especially working with student athletes, something I’ve always wanted to do.

It was such a great opportunity, one that I hope I’ll get another chance at in the future when the time is right. I just know that that time is not now.

I made sure the e-mail went into the Saved folder so that I could go back and look at it every once and a while–I know that it’ll always be a good pick-me-upper when I need one 🙂

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Have you ever had to say no to something you really wanted to say yes to?

Do you always have a lot of things going on because you don’t want to say no? (For some reason, this is me. But I’m learning.)

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More than halfway done!!!

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If you’ve been reading the last couple of months then you know that I’m currently on a summer challenge of 100 Days of No Soda. Well, I’m past the halfway point!!!

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People have told me that once I’m done, I’ll probably not want to drink soda any more…..yeah……no.

I know it’s sad, but I still crave it. Like, a lot. I’m fairly certain that I won’t drink it as much as I used to–6 to 8 cans a day–but I think if I managed to keep it under 3 that would be enough for me to be content. A breakfast, lunch, and dinner soda. 🙂

I’m pretty proud though that I’ve gone this far without cheating. Not even once. And I’ve really wanted to.

People have asked me why or what my purpose in doing this is. What I wanted to see is how much, if anything, my body changed with marathon training and a healthier diet. And it has! Pre-challenge I had 5 pesky pounds keeping me from my pre-pregnancy weight. Well, 53 days into the challenge, they’re gone. I also feel less heavy in general, like the bad food I was eating was weighing me down.

I knew that by eliminating soda, I would be helping to improve my diet. A lot of what I ate (and okay, still sometimes eat) is fast food, meals that come with a soft drink. Since I’m not drinking soda, I feel less compelled to order a # whatever from a drive thru. Instead, I make something at home and eat it drinking water.

I haven’t replaced soda with anything either. I’m not a tea drinker nor do I like many juices. I’ll have a recovery drink after workouts–I’m currently loving Rockin’ Refuel chocolate milk (I don’t care that some people say it’s not good for you. Chocolate milk is amazing.) and I’ll put Tailwind in my water during runs, but besides that, I’m really just drinking plain ‘ol H2O. I don’t even like lemon wedges or cucumbers in my water. I like just water. I’m seriously a plain Jane when it comes to food.

The challenge will get harder once I get back to work in August. I’m not exaggerating when I say I drank a lot of soda. In my classroom, I have a mini fridge under my desk that I would stock with Coke. No joke.

I’ll tackle that battle when it comes…..

Any habits you have that are/would be tough to break?

What’s your favorite drink to quench your thirst?

 

 

Ultimate Direction Wink Hydration Pack {Review}

I’ve been complimented and asked several questions on the type of hydration pack I use. I’ve been meaning to write a full review on it for quite some time and today is finally the day. If you’re in the market for a hydration pack, or just like reading about them, here you go!

The hydration pack you’ve seen me use in my pictures is the Ultimate Direction Wink (the Wink is the women’s version, the Wasp is the men’s).

I bought the pack when I was in the middle of training for my first marathon. A lot of my girl friends in my running club have the Wink and raved about it–knowing I’d also be trekking the Canyon, I figured it’d be a great purchase.

When my marathon came, I went back and forth a million times on whether or not I should run with it. I had trained all the way leading up to the big day and many of my running buddies said I should stick with what I had trained with, so I did. In retrospect, I think I would have done things differently. By mile 18, my shoulders ached and were slumping forward (of course, this isn’t only because of the pack but because I was dying of exhaustion) and all I wanted to do was rip the pack off. When my husband reached me at mile 20, I unclipped it and handed it over. I did feel a lot lighter.

What I recommend: If you want to run your marathon with a pack, I suggest a lighter one with a smaller bladder.

However, I absolutely LOVED the pack when I did the double crossing of the Canyon. Like, I thank all the heavens above I had the Wink.

One of the things we were told in preparation for Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim was that we had to have ample space in our packs for all our gear (food, flashlight, sunscreen, poles, etc. and of course water). The Wink has amazing space. AMAZING.

Canyon ready!

Canyon ready!

When I was training, I’d practice weighing it (by that I mean making it heavy to mimic how it’d be when I crossed the Canyon). Despite it’s weight, it was super comfortable. The straps do not dig in to my shoulders, the pack does not bounce, and it is super easy to refill the water–which I had to do multiple times.

When I crossed the Canyon, I had an orange, four rolled up tortillas, a bag of pecans, a bag of beef jerky, 1 Honey Stinger waffle, a bag of Oreo cookies, 2 Gu packs, a bag of salt tablets, sunscreen, a flashlight, Chapstick, my phone, hair ties, bobby pins, band aids, my EPI pen, a towel, a jacket, a walkie talkie, and my poles. Oh, and with the reservoir filled up to the 70 oz mark.

Whew! But everything fit perfectly and I was actually super comfortable!

With my poles attached to my pack

With my poles attached to my pack

 

at the finish line of the Canyon :)

at the finish line of the Canyon 🙂 45 hours of wearing the pack

I used it for when I did the Adrenaline 27k Night Run and it worked perfect for that race. I was really glad I had it then too.

Adrenaline 27k

Adrenaline 27k

And I also used it this past Sunday for our under 3 mile hike up Camelback Mountain. In this instance, since it was a strict hike and no running, I didn’t mind using it at all for this short of distance. Loved it!

Sunday's #RunEatTweetAZ hike

Sunday’s #RunEatTweetAZ hike

In short, here’s a PRO/CON rundown:

Pros:

  • Large reservoir of 70 oz/2 L
  • Very, very comfortable (designed for the women’s body)
  • 4 front pockets for easy access (this was a big plus for me because I didn’t have to keep taking it off for items I needed often)
  • Simple refuel process (another major plus)
  • Does not bounce
  • A lot of storage space (there are 3 main zippers–a small one for an ID and money, a large one that holds the bulk of your stuff, and side zipper for extra storage)
  • Easy to maintain care

Possible Cons:

  • I think it’s best for longer runs where there might be a shortage of fueling stations. A smaller pack is ideal for distances shorter than 15 miles in my opinion.
  • The velcro clip that attaches to the tube fell off relatively quickly. I just tucked the tube under one of the front straps and went about my way with zero problems (like in the last pic).

I hope you’ve found this review helpful! Let me know if you have any more questions about it 🙂

Do you/have you run with a hydration pack?

Ultimate Direction did not compensate me in any way for the write up of this review. I purchased the Wink and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.