Today's guest post comes from Susan Geidner. I put out a tweet last week asking for guest post and have been so excited about the people I've met and the stories I've heard because of that tweet. (I already LOVE Susan's new blog (BRB) and excited to read it regularly!) From what I can tell, Susan has figured out how to do it all--be a teacher, a mom, a wife, a reader and a runner! You can follow Susan on Twitter at @SusanGeidner. Here are her brilliant tips!
When Franki put out a request for guest bloggers, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life. During what I like to call a "happy accident" I stumbled upon Franki's request on Twitter recently while vacationing from Facebook. I had reached a point where FB posts seemed in large part to either be negative, emotionally draining, redundant, and/or self-involved. I had briefly experimented with Twitter in the past, and have an account for my library, but the combination of my FB vaca and winter break gave me the perfect excuse to delve a little deeper into the Twitter world! This quickly led to exploring blogs written by other teacher/runners/moms for inspiration, and I can honestly say I have never felt so empowered and supported by a community of complete strangers! It was just the stimulus I needed to reflect on where I've been, where I am, and where I want to be as a runner, teacher, and mom. As a result I spent much of my winter break creating my own blog. In part to make my journey more meaningful, but also to hopefully play a more active role in inspiring others as I have been inspired. The cherry on top? Over the course of the past week, everything I have learned has re-connected me to Facebook, but in a much more purposeful, positive manner. Love it when that happens!
Here are a few tips from my life as a running, teaching, mom...
- An open mind and a sense of humor is essential! There is rarely a reason boys do what they do-as Nike says "they just do it!" So when my oldest declared that May 21st is National "Ryan appreciation day" and everyone should honor him by waving Twizzlers out the window, you just go with it! Love them for the unique little creatures that they are!
- Safety 1st! Boys WILL do crazy things! They are simply wired that way, and I have to admit that over the years they have taught me that this is not always a bad thing. So instead of saying "no" to all of their hair-brained ideas, I tend to say "yes." (And I wonder why they don't ever go to their dad for permission!) They simply have to explain to me what safety precautions they have in place. This has forced them to become very creative about how they perform their crazy stunts, and it has saved us many trips to the ER! (Plus they tend to be less sneaky & more upfront about their plans if they know I won't automatically shoot them down.)
- They ARE capable of taking care of themselves! A wise friend once told me that if a child can work a Playstation, he can also work an appliance. Consequently my boys have been doing their own laundry, dishes, etc... since about the age of 7. Their clothes may not always be pretty, but they're clean, and I get more time to run & read! :)
- The hardest step is the 1st one! Sometimes I spend 3X as long procrastinating and psyching myself up for a run, than I do actually running it! (And some of my runs are several hours long!) In 3 years I have never once regretted a run, but I have definitely had days when I have regretted not running! (Which I usually respond to by eating...NOT GOOD!)
- You do not have to be in perfect shape to be a runner! I am proof! No one would ever look at me and think, "Wow! She's obviously a runner!" I am 5'2" and 25 pounds overweight. 3 years ago I participated in a Santa Shuffle 5k on a whim with a friend and got hooked. I have run over 4,500 miles since then, and while I still battle the weight, I know I am far healthier now than I was 3 years ago.
- Run races for the right reasons! Unless you're an Olympian and/or an elite runner, the purpose of running a race is NOT to win it. The reason everyone gets a medal is because everyone that crosses that finish line truly deserves one! Be inspired by other runners! Most have overcome some type of challenge and running is their reward. It is evident in the sea of personalized bibs and t-shirts. Set goals for yourself including longer distances, PRs, new terrains, or even visiting new cities; but mostly just enjoy the adrenaline and euphoria that comes with completing something amazing!
- Read for a variety of reasons! Read to relax, to laugh, to grow, to wonder, to learn, to challenge yourself, etc... I can't think of one good reason not to read!
- Read "outside the box!" In other words, don't get too stuck in one genre. One of the reasons I love working in a k-5 library is that I get to read lots of picture books and "kidlit." Don't ever outgrow these wonderful treasures! That said, it's also important to read grown up books both for pleasure and professional growth. Give a new genre an honest chance before you decide you don't like it.
- Share your reading! While reading itself is most often something you do independently, books really come to life when you discuss them with others. One of my favorite things to do at school is to casually make sure that the book I am currently reading is visible at my circulation desk. It is guaranteed to spark interest and conversation with students and staff alike! (Not to mention, an impressive hold list!) Social media makes it so easy to discuss books, so don't hesitate to jump into a virtual book group!
I taught grades prek-3rd for 20 years, before becoming the ITC director/library media specialist for Avoca West School in 2009. I live north of Chicago and randomly started running in December 2009. I completed my 3rd marathon last October in Chicago, qualifying for Boston by 48 seconds! (This was another "happy accident!" Running Boston was never a goal of mine, and the reality of it all probably won't sink in until I'm crossing the finish line on April 15th!) Oh yeah, I also have a husband and 4 wonderful sons who range in age from 11-18! Needless to say, life is crazy, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
Follow my new blog at BRB! I've got...Boys(to raise), Races(to run) & Books(to read)!