Perseverance, struggle and a little grit: How running a 53km race relates to Education

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Its done its done and im alive to tell the tale

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So this Saturday I did something I never thought I could possibly do, I ran a 53.9km race. This was and has been one of my biggest accomplishments but also has me thinking about goals, perseverance and having a little grit.

This race was not what I was hopping for. When I first started out on the journey I was feeling the best I have ever felt (when it comes to running) but then well injury came into play and right at the peak of my training. This was devastating, I was devastated. I had to shut it down and started to rebuild. This also made me reevaluate my training and my goals for this race. And then there was the race. For the first 25km of the race it went according to plan. I was keep pace and felt amazing.

But then that is where it went down hill. I hit a wall at 28km and than another at 35km (this was the farthest that I have ever gone due to my training being cut short). But then something came over me and at 45km I just said, “enough!” and pretty much willed myself to the end.

It was a pretty huge feeling crossing the finish line and being able to say that I ran 53km but this blog isn’t really about me running a race it is about education. So how does running a race relate to education.

  1. I recently wrote about if we want our students to _____ than we need to show it. Reaching out of your comfort zone isn’t something we as human beings naturally do. We like our comfort blank and we like keeping the status quo and yet we as educators all want our students to go beyond this. This has something that is still nagging me but I will come out and say it. If we want our students to persevere, to do something that no one has done, to take risks than we as educators must also do this. Now it doesn’t need to be running 53km, it can be as simple as trying a new lesson, learning something new and visibly sharing the learning, writing a blog post even though writing is something you struggle with or whatever pushes you out of that comfort. We as educators must show that risk and that risk taking is important if we truly want our own students to do this. Last year, I ran 21.3km a half marathon. That was the most I have ever run, till now. The same day in which I did this the world record for a marathon was broken. The human limit is endless and only grounded by what we put it too. Show the students they are more by being more.
  2. This race also taught me the importance of grit. Grit isn’t something tangible. It isn’t something that can be truly taught but it is something that can be learned and often learned through hard fought lessons. I wanted to give up. There was one point in my race I went to stretch and fell down because my muscle cramped so hard it wouldn’t even hold me up. But I didn’t. Why? Because I was going to cross no matter what and nothing was going to stop me. That same grit needs to be discussed and show to our students. How often do many of them want to give up? Why? Because they haven’t had the experiences of wanting something or learning how hard it is to learn and grow. Life doesn’t really get better, we just get better at understanding. We understand by making mistakes and we learn by pushing our limits. No one learns when someone does things for them.
  3. No good goal can be done alone! I want to say this again. No good goal can be done alone. I had a huge team behind me all the way from my family, my friends, my physiotherapist (who also ran the race) to my running groups. This accomplishment was a group win and the same goes for our students. Yes, they need to have the goal. They need to realize it is important. They need to put the work in but they also need to realize that they will need help along the way. Helping our students understand to work together, to sacrifice their own goals to help others, to be kind and share joy goes along way. As I was running, the constant voice of “you are done, you aren’t good enough and you should stop” was met by other voices of, “You got this, I am hurt like you” and cheers of you did this. The bad was balanced if not out weighed by the good and we all need that in our lives.
  4. Sorry one more: No matter what always smile

Overall, this was an amazing experience and one that I will always treasure. It has shown me that I am capable of so much more and that I can and will continue to do amazing things. Love to hear what your goals are and if I can help let me know that too. Post in the comments or tweet me.

All photos where from Sue sitki photography.