2015 was a year of change for me on both the running and personal fronts. I decided in late 2014 that the full-time blogging thing was not for me. Though the freedom of being my own boss was great, and financially I was doing well, I realized that as a career it was just not the right fit. Working from home was challenging (kudos to anyone who can do it, especially with kids), writing because I had to sucked the fun out of it, and I missed the sense of reward that I got from teaching. As a result of all of this, I decided to follow a new (yet familiar) path.
In August 2015 I returned to the classroom, this time as an intern at Bedford High School in New Hampshire. I had enrolled in the teacher certification program at the Upper Valley Educators Institute, and for the past 4+ months I have essentially been living the life of a high school biology teacher (and chauffeur to my children after school…).
After some initial apprehension about making this career change, I have come to love what I am doing. Being a teacher is my true calling – it’s what I loved about my old job as a college professor, and it’s what I want to do for the remainder of my career. Teaching fulfills me in a way that being a full time blogger did not, and it has been a very positive change.
I’ve also gained a great deal of respect for those who choose to pursue service in elementary/secondary education. Teaching is hard work, and I’ve come to realize that teaching high school is very different than teaching at the college level. My days are busy from beginning to end with planning and classroom instruction (vs. one or two lectures/labs per day as a college prof), classroom management has been a learning experience and is something that I am just starting to get the hang of, and approaches to instruction at the secondary level are very different (no 75 minute lectures to an audience of 100+ students). I’m glad I decided on the intern path rather than pursuing alternative certification as I don’t think teaching college kids is adequate preparation for all of the things you encounter in a high school (something I should write about at some point).
Next week I switch schools to gain experience in a different environment, and in a few months I’ll start applying for teaching jobs with a goal of being employed by a school in the Fall. It’s been a wild ride, but I’ve grown a lot in the process, and I’m really excited about the future.
One of the positive aspects of my career change is that I’ve come to enjoy writing/blogging again. I no longer feel compelled to write simply to put stuff out there, and I no longer feel like a slave to my stats, clicks, earnings, etc. I write what I want, when I want, and if a week or two goes by without writing a post that’s fine (time is limited these days!). It feels great to be freed from the bondage of my analytics and my inbox (I’ve gotten really bad at responding to email, something I need to work on…).
I’m fortunate to have a great contributor in David Henry, and he’s been fantastic at filling in on the trail side of things. I credit him with helping me keep this site alive while I’m back in school (never thought I’d be a student again!). (On a side note, I’m always open to guest reviews/posts if you like to write, though I’ll admit to being a slow editor these days).
Heading into 2016, I have every intention of keeping this site going strong. I’ve received a bunch of shoes to review in the past few weeks (too many…), and as long as I have the time I’ll continue to write about running. I just need to avoid nasty dogs on the trail…
I’ll use the mention of nasty dogs as a way to segue into my running.
In 2015 I re-developed a healthy relationship with my running. I stopped obsessing about mileage, pace, etc. (notice a theme here?), and just went out and ran however much I felt like running on a given day. I’ve gotten comfortable with ditching the GPS on occasion. I didn’t race much in 2015, but did a few 10-milers and had fun. My fitness wasn’t where it has been in previous years, but I’ve run enough to maintain a baseline that I should be able to ramp back up without too much trouble, and was in the process of doing just that when I was bitten by a German Shepard while on a run on Christmas day. Being sidelined for almost 2 weeks (had stitches in my leg) just as I was ramping my mileage back up was hard.
I’m now fully recovered from the dog bite – stitches are out, and I’m on track to log about 20 miles this week. I haven’t scheduled any solo races for 2016 yet, but I’m running Ragnar Cape Cod in May with a team from my kids’ school – volunteered to be the top mileage runner on the team with about 21 miles spread over the course of the relay. I’ve thought a bit about a return to the marathon, but I’ll need to see how much time I have to devote to training over the coming months as I finish up my certification and start applying for teaching jobs.
For now I just plan to slowly build up my running mileage, and work on shedding a few pounds that have accumulated over the past year. I’m excited about the challenge of building my fitness back up in 2016!