Sunday, January 22, 2012


Last weekend I was supposed to run a 12 mile long run in preparation for the half marathon in February.  I've never run 12 miles before.  But I've been training for this and felt I was ready.  I set out on the run with a good attitude and ready to go.  The first six miles went quite well for me.  I stopped to get a drink and then continued.  Somewhere in the seventh mile I knew I simply could not go on.  I had hit a wall.  There was no way I was going to make another mile much less FIVE more miles during that run.  I know runners have to push past walls, but I was also dealing with some severe knee pain.  I had no stamina to continue.  

That was the last time I have run for a week as I've been dealing with some sort of sinus congestion.  

This past week in the classroom I was working with small groups and again reminded just how similar learning is in any setting and how similar my learning to run is to these young children learning to read and write.  The learner must have the stamina for whatever the task is...large or small.  And some days our stamina shifts and doesn't allow us to complete something we thought we could.  

You and I might look at a simple sentence like "The _____ went in."  and think "any early reader should be able to fill in the blank and write those four words.  It's not THAT hard".  Still, I had some of my best readers and writers struggling with just that task.  Their stamina was low.  Their wall was up and we weren't going to be able to continue.  

Just like the readers, there are great runners who would look at my slow running and say, "C'mon 12 miles is NOTHING...especially at the pace you're doing."  As I've told many of you, I couldn't run 30 seconds last March.  And if someone had told me then that I'd even consider running 12 miles all at once-- on purpose--I would have LAUGHED and said, "There's NO WAY!"  I simply didn't have the stamina for it.  

The truth of the matter is this...sometimes what we don't have stamina for one day, we can build up to for another day. It's a gradual thing.  And it takes time.  The readers in our classroom will be fine. And, for that matter, so will their runner teacher!   In no time four words will seem like nothing at all.  While I don't think you'll hear me say that "12 miles is nothing at all".  I know it's getting easier to do.  We all just need to keep pressing on and building our stamina. 

Inch by inch, word by word, lesson by lesson, practice session by practice session...we'll get there.  

Happy Learning!

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