Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 29) – Continued Progress

Well, I needed that.

It’s good to be back. Again.

After my five consecutive days of three-mile runs, two weeks ago, the next week, I set out to do four consecutive days of four-mile runs.

It didn’t work out.

After the second of the planned four four-milers, I felt pain in the back of my right leg. A somewhat familiar pain. Stiffness.

Coming back after an injury can leave a person somewhat paranoid. Any pain in the back of my right leg makes me think, “Oh no, I re-injured the Achilles…”

But, after a short time, I realized it was just my calf that was stiff and tight and uncomfortable. The pain was way above the Achilles where I had surgery. Whew.

The calf was telling me that I was overdoing it. (I have a tenancy to overdo it, I want to back, 100% right now.) What makes me a different runner than before is that I am smarter now.

The pain, I quickly realized wasn’t an injury, it was my body telling me to slow down. My body said, “Don’t rush the recovery. I’ll come back in time… if you let me.”

So I took a few days off…

and that led to more than a week.

Have you ever been the principal of a school that looked to open a new academic year after being closed for about six months all during a pandemic?

Neither had I.

But we did it – and it was a success. I knew we’d be able to open. We have great people at the school highlighted by an amazing staff of teachers. It wasn’t easy. It was a week full of angst and stress and so much more.

But in order to do it, we all had to work hard, and the principal (that’s me, of course), who always works hard, never worked harder. I always give the job 100%. I work 24/7. Last week I had to gave 1,000% and work 48/14 in a 24-hour day.

Everything was new. Some people were scared. There were a plethora of new procedures and schedules. We had students learning from home and some coming into the school. There were questions. Lots of questions. A plethora of questions. And I tried to answer them all immediately. I tried to be everywhere and do everything. (And I think I was – and did.) Each day I was at the school for about 14-hours. There were no lunch breaks, or dinner breaks. I lived on energy bars, iced tea, and sugar-free soda. (Certainly not the breakfast, lunch, or dinner of champions.) That’s no exaggeration either. I literally didn’t have dinner all week.

And none of that is an exaggeration or hyperbole. I literally did not have dinner for a week. (On the bright side, I lost a few pounds.)

Within all of this, I refused to take a day off of exercise. I didn’t have the time to stretch and run – and since I was leaving so early for work each day, I didn’t want to use the treadmill (which isn’t the quietest thing in the house). So, I used the quietest things I have – dumbbells and my exercise bike.

Up by 4:00 a.m. (usually earlier), on the bike or pumping iron by 5:30 a.m., and off to work soon after. It was a week that was truly unique.

But I did it. I survived. The school opened. The kids were happy. The parents were happy. And the teacher were happy too. We pulled off the impossible. And we did it extremely well. This was a success story. All of the hard work paid off. (Doesn’t it always?)

Yesterday morning, I did an easy two-miler on the treadmill. It was my first run in about nine days and I didn’t want to push it. I then did a radio/youtube video podcast with the great Mac and Jack show before heading to see my family at the beach. (They had left a few days prior. Why not? I wasn’t around anyway… why not enjoy the last days of summer?)

After all of that, today was the run I was looking forward to – a nice 6.2 mile route at the New Jersey shore. My own personal 10K – a run I have done for two decades or more, from Chadwick Beach Island to the end of the Lavalette Boardwalk and back.

This is one of my favorite runs. I love this run. This run is one that gives me confidence. It is long enough to be a challenge but it’s flat and fast and, well, if one is at the beach, most often (not always) the stressors melt away.

And I did it.

This was my longest run outside since last October when I finally gave up on the marathon because of the Achilles pain.

Oh, how great it felt to be out in the early morning hours, just me and the road and the boardwalk (and the the road again). Just me and the sun and the warm air. Just me and summer, saying goodbye to each other.

Just me and the run.

I used to do this run countless times each summer, but this year I was only able to do it once. Today. Just now.

When we lose things and find them again, we appreciate them more.

Boy, did I appreciate this.

I went the distance, 6.2 miles, without stopping. I felt great. My stretching before felt great too. I have no pain or discomfort.

I’ll be home tomorrow morning.

On Tuesday we’ll be back at it at work, but it should be a better week because we worked through the kinks. We’ve got this.

My run is in. I feel terrific.

And life is good!

Teachers Affect Eternity…

I have told this story before, but it is one I love to tell.  It needs telling, as well. 

Especially in these times.

One of the most wonderful ministers of all-time, a pastor who preached from the heart, made church interesting, and even made God accessible, had moved on from our church.

There was an emptiness.  I felt it deeply.  The minister who had left was a man I admired greatly.  I was thrilled that he had been the man who married my wife and I.  We all missed him greatly…

Continue reading “Teachers Affect Eternity…”

The Humans of Teaching Podcast!

The newest episode of the Humans of Teaching podcast has been released!

This episode, #013 A Principal’s Principles, features Dr. Paul Semendinger who shares his great insights, philosophies, and more!

You can listen to this podcast through any of the following links:

 

“Graduation” Speech – 2019

Often times after I give my fifth grade “graduation” speech at the end of the school year, some parents and others ask for a copy of my words.  In addition to sharing me speech with them, I figured that I would also share them here.

***

Moving Up Ceremony 2019

And so we come to the end…  I don’t like this moment, because I don’t like to say goodbye. 

A number of parents, moms mostly, but a few dads as well, have asked that I don’t make them cry today.  I can’t promise that because I might cry myself. 

So, let’s not make it goodbye. 

***

This is a great class of students – dear to my heart.  I have spent a lot of time with these students, especially this year, talking with them about so much. 

I want you know something very important at the start.  This is a special, a super special, group of students.  This class has been complimented time and again for their kindness, respect, calmness, understanding and more.  They’ve been praised more than most – maybe more than any other class. 

These are really good kids. 

I am very proud of them. 

I know you are as well.

As parents, you did well.  Very well.  (Apples, most often, don’t fall far from trees.)

And, I’d like to think that as educators, we also did well.

I’d like to share some big ideas that we all talked about over the years, one last time, with the hopes that the students will remember these ideas always – to find success in life.

First – Success isn’t what we get or end up with.  Success is something deeper, something that comes from hard work, perseverance, and kindness.

We become successful when we focus first on being good people – supportive, loving, and understanding. 

When we know how to appreciate and empathize and care, we find success.

Continue reading ““Graduation” Speech – 2019″

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story Part 10 – RAIN!

My third start of the season was scheduled for Sunday, May 5.  We were going to be back to Wright’s Field in Bloomfield to play a different team from the area. It seems that a few towns, Bloomfield being one of them, have more than one team in the league. I was looking forward to this opportunity to see if I could build off my modest success the week before.

This would also be my first chance to pitch in back-to-back weeks – a true test of whether or not my arm, and body was up to this challenge.

It wasn’t to be.

Rain, dreadful rain, washed away our chances to play.  

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story Part 10 – RAIN!”

Living The Dream

Those of you who have known me long enough have read stories of my hopes to be a published author and all of the trials, travails, failures, and bumps along the way I have faced as I pursue this dream.

Along the way, there have also, of course been some successes, but these only came after much failure, many rejections, and more than a few (sometimes harsh) criticisms from those in the business of publishing. 

Continue reading “Living The Dream”