SOLS:2012.4 What Was I Thinking?

A few days before our first class the weather forecast promised a mild sunny day…unusual for February…possibly reaching the 50s…and the day turned out as forecasted.  Equipped with a few ounces of confidence and high hopes from six weeks of indoor walking I hit the Pumpkin Vine Trail near our house. I did have the sense to dress warmly and have something on my ears even though one could have been fooled by the bright sun rays shining through the house windows. I’m also equipped with a playlist on my IPOD that I had spent quite of bit of time finding music to inspire and to pump me up.  The playlist is very intentional and  begins with Chris Tomlin’s I Lift My Hands. 


The words, “Let faith arise…” are so powerful. As I begin to walk I notice that I’m surrounded by a beautiful countryside bathed in sunshine. Part of the reality though is that I’m thankful I have earmuffs on because that breeze is brisk and cool…takes my breath away…literally. I’m definitely not in the controlled virtual world of Rhythm Island 

My next song cues up. Somehow I’m just not inspired to break into a jog yet. Need more time to warm up those muscles. More songs cue up and I just keep on walking. The driving beat of another song comes up…it’s now or neverI begin to jogOMGthis is HARDok, focus…get to that bend up ahead…you can do it…no you can’t…think I’m hyper ventilating…breathe through your nose…out through your mouth…I have to walk now…how long was that?…that wasn’t even half of the chorus…maybe 30 seconds… I gather up my courage and try again. Same experience. I finish my first outdoor “run” with walking. I travel home as I face the realization that what little confidence and hope I had before is GONE.

My husband is home. His eyes open wide as these words spill out of my mouth, “We are in deep …” Now this is VERY unusual for me express myself in this way but it is what came out. “What happened?” he questions. “If you can’t do it with all of the walking you’ve been doing, there is no hope for me.”  Emotionally I reply, “I CAN’T RUN!  I couldn’t even get through a chorus. It is so different running outside. What are we going to do? What was I thinking?”  He answers, “Maybe this is too much. We haven’t had our first class so we don’t have to go. ”   I retort back, ” I’ve already told our class leader (she is a teacher also) why I’m doing this…reading…for those kids that don’t like to read and it is hard for them. I can’t back out now.”

Thinking of kids and reading:  I think of the many young readers with anticipation in their eyes as they sit in K and 1st grade classrooms…the anticipation of becoming a reader.  They finally have made sense of those lines and circles that translate to letters and sounds. They know some sight words. Then they pick up a book and … do they feel the same emotions I had on my “run”?

I regroup. My training is going to have to be more than walking to Rhythm Island. I buy a punch card to the Goshen College Rec Center where they have a pool. I love to swim and they also have an indoor track. And…

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6 Responses to SOLS:2012.4 What Was I Thinking?

  1. Your motives for running are a lot like my motives for entering the SOLC- to urge on those of my kids who don’t like to write, don’t want to write or don’t think they have anything worth writing about. I can identify with every word, both the running AND the intentions towards instruction. Thanks for sharing this. It’s always reaffirming to know you’re not the only one other there who thinks like this!

  2. I never thought I could run. I am asthmatic, and, well, lazy. However, once I discovered how to push myself through the tough parts and “into the zone” the reward was immeasurable. You CAN do it. Really!! Your reading analogy is really accurate. There really is a “zone” in running, just like reading. Once you get there, you will crave it. The best advice I got about running (from someone I thought loved running) was that she learned not to crave the feeling of running, but rather the feeling she had AFTER running. Keep at it!

    though there is no shame in running underwater 🙂

    • Deb says:

      What good advice…I’m still waiting for the discoveries of how to push through the tough parts but am noticing a few things. Love the your best advice…new thinking for me. 🙂

  3. Tam Hess says:

    Oh, Deb, what a story and a storyteller you are! You didn’t become the great literacy coach you are by giving up long time ago, and you won’t give up this time either. Go, Deb, go!!!

  4. Linda Baie says:

    Your story is intense & had me worried. I assume you have made a promise & plan to fulfill it for your students. I loved how you moved us through the anticipation to the reality-what an awakening, & what a response! Love it & best wishes. I’m a lit coach too-hope to see you in the slices!

  5. Deb says:

    Thanks so much for all the encouragement! I haven’t told any students yet. I knew it was going to be tough. I just didn’t know it was going to be this tough for me. I have told some teachers that I work with. I can’t give up. How can I look into the eyes of student who finds reading difficult and doesn’t want to read? Running is just hard for me. 🙂

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