Saturday, June 30, 2012

Always look for the positives in life

Recently, my dad told my sister, "As long as 2 of the 3 things in your life are going well, you're pretty lucky." (My sister claims he stole it from her coach, but I'm giving dad the credit)  Basically, he divides life into three sections: family/friends, profession/education (school or work) and running/athletics.  As long as two of those things are going well, you're living a pretty darn good life.  

This past week, my 3 of 3 became 1 of 3 and I freaked out.  My Achilles flared up just a little, but enough for me to panic.  Every single month this year, something has caused my running to suffer... in May it was the whole banging my knee on the door frame issue and in April it was being sick with bronchitis.  I was pretty pumped that I was 20some days into June and no real issues, but then my Achilles felt funny.  Not bad, just funny.  I took a few days off of running to solve this issue.  However, during this time is when I received two of my "sorry, you didn't get the job, you finished in second place but we only have one job" calls.  So, I was an emotional wreck for a day, until I ran again and realized that I have a pretty darn good life.  Who cares if I don't have a job? I'm working on getting it.  Who cares if I can't run right now? I'm healing my body.  I have fabulous friends and a phenomenal family that love and care about me, what more do I need??

As some of you know, I've been searching a lot for a teaching job.  To date, I've had interviews in 4 different districts (5 technically, but I don't count one for reasons that only family know of).  In 3 of the 4 districts, I have been 2nd place....which is great.  2nd place is always something to be proud of, whether in a job search or in a race, but it's not 1st.  And, unfortunately, in the state of Illinois at least, 1st place is what I need to be.  

Every single phone call where I get the news that some other candidate was selected contains a part where I am asking what I could do better for future interviews.  The principals seem to stumble over this question and each one has told me that there was really not much I could have done differently.  "Maybe provide an example for every single question; I know you did for most, but maybe do it for all instead? I know the teachers like that."  That's most of the feedback that I've received.  The other part of it is that I don't have enough experience, which is frustrating because I can't get more experience if I don't get a job.  

I am very lucky in that the most recent district that I interviewed at has given me some good advice on how I can really WOW everyone for the next time around.  I was even told that if it was solely based on personality and had nothing to do with experience, I would have had the job easily.  Unfortunately, I have to work on making it sound like I am super experienced as I am competing against candidates who have 20+ years of experience.  

So, I've changed around my resume, I've revisited all of the questions that are typically asked and even have written flashcards to quiz myself with the questions (with then the "proper" response on the back as well).  

While teaching is 100% my #1 priority in life right now (yes, even wedding, house and running have taken the back seat to teaching), I do have to remain focused on everything else.  Ryan and I are getting married in 3.5 months, we are hoping to have our housewarming party in 2 months and I may possibly be racing a HUGE race in 3 months (Ryan is for sure; I am only if I do not get a teaching job).

The plus is that if I don't get a full-time teaching job, I will be GOING WITH RYAN TO FRANCE TO REPRESENT THE U.S. IN THE DUATHLON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!

That being said, my focus is currently on building up enough strength and speed to have a great opening 10k so that I can help my US teammates (and myself) get into the lead or chase bike pack.  Doing this will help all of us out in terms of placing high in our race.  The end run is just an all out run, every man/woman for themselves.  My teammates are some of the best duathletes in the U.S. and I feel honored to be racing with them (if, of course, I get there:)). 

If I end up getting a teaching job, the training won't be going to waste as I still plan on doing a fall marathon.  If I do compete in Worlds, then my marathon time might suffer a bit, but that's okay because it's the WORLD FREAKING CHAMPIONSHIPS!!! (although I do still plan on bettering my performance from last fall)

The last thing that I feel that I really need to write about is the car accident on Tuesday.  My summer job is to take kids to practices.  Not just any kids and not just any practices.  I take two 14-year-olds to their Elite Triathlon team practices (and I take a 10-year-old to his sometimes too).  These kids are the next group to get to the level that they are provided scholarships (for school) and the opportunity to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado.  Their former teammates competed for a spot on the Olympic team this year-- how cool is that?  That's how good these kids are.  

Back to Tuesday night... the coach for this team is very good about making sure the kids are safe.  She comes from a swimming background, so when the kids bike in St. Charles, she travels around on car to make sure everything is good.  Well, Tuesday night things weren't good.  I was in charge of riding with the stronger kids (20+mph average for the 38mile loop), which I didn't mind at all:) Well, 8 miles into it, one of the newer kids got a flat tire.  Lucky for me, Ryan taught me how to change a tire the Saturday before Father's Day, so I taught the kid how to change his.  We kept calling the coach (always bring a cell phone when you're biking fyi) to tell her she no longer needed to come look for us as we changed his tire and were heading back in....she never picked up.  We were a little upset until we got back and found out why:  she had been in a car accident. 

She was possibly (no one knows for sure, just the police guessing) looking at her phone (she has an iPhone, so might have been looking at the GPS on it?), rolled into a ditch, was ejected from the front windshield due to not wearing a seatbelt and the car possibly rolled over her.  The result? She broke her pelvis in two places, fractured a vertebrae, lacerated her liver and kidney, had to get a few staples in her head and on her legs, and has road rash pretty much everywhere.  She was airlifted from St. Charles to a hospital in Rockford.  The doctors told her she is so lucky to even be alive.  Thank God she is, because these kids need her.  The parents have stepped up with helping in practices and I am administering workouts now as well, but I really can't emphasize the need to wear seatbelts and ignore your cell phone while driving.  

After this all happened on Tuesday night, I really got to thinking: I am living this incredible life.  I have so many good things in my life, why am I getting upset over a job?  Granted, yes, teaching is my dream job, but still...soooooo many other positive things going on in my life.  Time to stop letting the little things get to me.

*Always look for the positives in life*

PS I'll do a running/biking/swimming recap next was kind of a down week with my Achilles.


Jennifer Harrison said...

Great to see you at the LAKE this AM. I did hear about this accident b/c she brings the kids to LITH every WED night....horrific story. I am just glad she will be OK.

CHIN UP too....when you are racing and training at a very high level and we push the body, things will heal from the achilles and be back at it.

GOOD LUCK with your teaching hunt....Fingers crossed for you.

jacqui said...

Aww, Jen, just saw this now... thank you!!:)