Teaching. Training. Triathlon.
( Disclaimer: This may be a long un-edited ramble session with no rhyme or reason. It is nap time and my fingers just feel like typing. Proceed with caution)
After a succesful Army-10 miler, it is on to the next event-training of course. I beat my goal of 1:30 andfinished RIGHT at 1:25 on the dot, winning my first running trophy for finishing 6th place out of all of the females. I guess it would have been my second had I stayed for awards at the 15k where I placed 1st in my division but either way, this meant a lot.
It has been a year since I stepped foot in a classroom. If I said that I didn’t miss it everyday I would be a liar. The first school I worked at will always have a special place in my heart. Thinking about those kids and the teachers brings on a flood of emotions. I truly think of it as a hidden gem as far as elementary schools go in Tucson. The kids there leave a strong impact on your life, and the teachers all deserve infinite awards for their kind hearts and wonderful teaching. To say I was fortunate to teach there is an understatement. Even thinking about it makes me want to teleport to Tucson ASAP and start teaching again.
Last year, as I found myself teaching 5th graders right before our PCS to Fort Rucker, I took over a classroom in a different school with totally different demographics. The kids there were impacting in a completely different way. They were intelligent far beyond their years. One student in particular has been on my mind lately. Let’s call him Johnny. Johnny was obsessed ( to put it lightly) with the military and specifically Army aviation. He lived, breathed, dreamed helicopters. When my husband brought posters from work of an AH 64, he almost cried.His mother informed me that he immediately placed it above his bed and stared at it each night. Nothing lit up this childs face more than my husband swinging by our classroom in his ACU’s. The most fascinating part was that no one in his family ever served. His Dad was a local radio personality that knew very little about the military. Johnny simply had a passion inside of him to learn about the Army, a passion that I am certain will take him far in life.
At the end of the year our students did a research project on an influential person of history. I may have been a bit lenient in allowing some students to pick people such as
Bob Marley and Ryan Sheckler, but overall the class did an outstanding job. They put on a wax museum for their parents and friends where they became the “wax figure” and transformed into their influential person of history. Now, you can imagine my surprisewhen the class picked their top 3 choices and Johnny pics Audie Murphy as choice 1,2, and 3. I assign each student their top pick and highly doubt Johnny’s choice since I am not familiar with the name. I run the name Audie Murphy by my husband and he stares at my in disbelief of my naivety of the most decorated war soldier of all time. Of course! Of course Johnny wants to learn more about and transform himself into one of the most famous soldiers of all time, Sergeant Audie Murphy.
Johnny does a fantastic job transforming himself on Wax Museum night. He becomes his hero as I learn everything about the most Decorated War Soldier of WWII. At the time, we were unclear of when our PCS to Rucker would be happening. It had been 9 months of uncertainty and 9 months of me researching and finding out EVERYTHING about our new home so that we would be prepared when orders came. Being a new runner, I often found myself looking up different events in my area. The first one that came up at Fort Rucker was the Audie Murphy Sprint Triathlon. An event that consisted of a 5k run, 1/4 mile swim, and 10.6 mile bike ride. Being 5 months pregnant and still running and swimming I thought it would be a walk in the park. That in June, if we were in Alabama, I would compete in the Sprint Triathlon. For myself but also for all that I had learned from Johnny about his hero who the race is dedicated to.
June 2010 rolls around, we receive orders and move within a week. I find myself living in beautiful Alabama with a blink of the eye. IMMEDIATELY I realize that my idea of competing in any event in this humidity with THIS big of a belly was ridiculous. I had to let myself down and my former student down as I had told him that I would compete because of all that he had taught me about such a prominent soldier in our military.
Now it is May 2011, and what is coming up in a month? THE AUDIE MURPHY TRIATHLON! We now have a beautiful and amazing 9 month son, my husband is finally beginning flight school Monday, and I have competed in 6 races since September. It may be a year late but I am finding myself more excited and ready for this event than anything I have done before. It brings back memories of not only teaching, but of all that I learned from my former students and specifically “Johnny.”
Training physically for this event will be different as I will begin swimming again and biking which will be most awkward for me… ESPECIALLY HAVING TO WEAR A HELMET, GROSS! ( I know it’s a bit juvenile but what I am least ready for is having to wear a helmet on my bike) All 3 distances are relatively short but combining the training in only a few weeks may be a challenge. I am trying to convince my husband to train with me but I won’t hold my breath.
The impact that children have on their teachers’ lives is unbelievable. Every time I drive by the museum next to my house I think of Johnny and how much he would love to see the home of Army Aviation. I can’t wait to get back into the classroom in the future. My husband gave me my time to begin my dream career, now is his time to begin his dream of being an Army Pilot. Not too far in the future we will both be able to enjoy our careers together as we watch our family grow.