Sometimes when we’re well on our way,
we forget where we started.
Or when we cross that finish line,
we forget that first day of training
and what it felt like.
Reflection is a powerful, powerful thing.

My cousin emailed me the other day
to share with me that she’s thinking about starting running.
I excitedly emailed her back,
trying not to overwhelm her with all my “getting started” ideas,
and then began reflecting on my own beginning.

I didn’t start running until 
my third semester of my teaching credential.
It was my mentor teacher 
who inspired me to try it out.
“How was your weekend?” I’d ask.
“Oh my husband drove me to ________
so I could do _______ race.”
I played soccer on the weekends,
and visited the gym once or twice a week,
but nothing crazy.
I finally said to myself,
If she can do it, so can I!

I started by running
to a stoplight in my neighborhood and back.
Ha!  I can remember multiple days
feeling crazy for trying this “sport.”
Rubbing my side,
waving my hands over my head,
hoping for the side ache to just go away.
And sometimes, just plain giving up and walking.
I probably looked like a huge idiot.
But something kept me going.
Soon, I was able to make that run
without stopping.

And then came the addiction.

That summer I worked as a camp director.
I had to report to work by 7am.
By the time I’d get home from work,
it’d be blazing outside
and running on the treadmill became less fun.
I’m not really sure how I convinced myself into this,
but I started setting my alarm
 for 5:45am two times a week,
just so I could sneak in an early morning run.
Who was this girl?

—Flash Forward—

Here I am now.
I would call myself a real runner.
Obviously I’ll never be an Olympian
or win my age group in a race.
But I’m a runner.
I relish on improving as much as I can.
And I honestly never thought I’d be where I am now
when I first started the trot to that stoplight long ago.


Teaching and running are so similar,
it’s actually kind of nuts.
Maybe that’s why runners make good teachers.
And/or vise-versa.

The end of the school year always brings a reflection
of where we are and where we’ve come from.
And, more importantly, where we want to go.
Though I came into my “first year of teaching”
with a lot of experience in a TON of classrooms,
I think I’ve grown more than I ever imagined
in these first two years of teaching.
I feel like I’ve finally found my teaching identity
and I’m excited to see where it’s going to take me.
How it will evolve.
And I’m sure in a few years,
I’ll look back and reflect on my first two years teaching
and view them as my runs to the stoplight.
Because things will look so differently then.
I can’t wait for that day.

It’s hard to see the finish line when you’re so early in.
But looking back from the finish line,
that’s the fun part.

And when you finish,
that’s only the start to another race.



Running is a mental game.
And sometimes teaching is too.

While running miles and miles
it’s easy to become bored,
frustrated even.
But when those moments arise,
it’s important to give your mind a reason to wander
just so you forget all about the 
temptation to give up.

Only 18 teaching days until summer vacation!
And so, with that, I have decided
upon 18 things that I hope to do this summer
to give my mind a little motivation
to daydream about
“My Best Summer Ever.”

My Best Summer Ever will include…
1. Road trips – South Lake Tahoe for my family reunion, Santa Cruz with my mom, and more!
2. Watching So You Think You Can Dance! I vow to not miss an episode this year!
3. Spend as much time by the river as possible! 
4. Early Morning Runs to beat the heat
5. Camping – hopefully beach camping so I can cross something off my 30 things before I’m 30 list
6. Bike Rides galore! – I hope that this is the summer my brother and I actually follow through on our plan to bike ride from Sunrise to Negro Bar.
7. Making salsa and trying out other fun recipes with the tomatoes I am growing.
8.  Spending lots of time by the pool while getting a great tan.
9.  Paddle Boarding for the 1st time! 
10. Sewing projects with Abuela 
11. Finally learning a weights routine at the gym
12. Eating a crap-TON of my favorite summer fruits – cantaloupe, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, etc!
13. Baking/cooking as many of the recipes I’ve pinned on Pinterest as I can.
14. Watching Baseball – Rivercats, Giants, A’s, who cares!
15. Saving money to plan an AMAZING Disney trip for my Fall Break/Birthday
16.  Antiquing/Thrifting a little more often 
17. Reading at least 1 book for every week of summer vacation- 7 total!
18. Donating – Time & things I don’t use anymore.

You ever hear people talk about a
“runners high?”
Well, this is all where it stems from.
Mental games.
Because when you allow yourself
to daydream or make lists in your head
you forget what mile you’re on
and you just keep on going.

Before you know it,
you’re done!
And the best part has arrived!
The finish line!

new books!

I remember when I was in the credential program
I had this professor who was obsessed with literacy.
She was always so amped to share
her latest idea to hook kids into loving reading.
I always thought she was nuts.

Don’t get me wrong,
obviously as a future teacher, I thought literacy was
super important and should be promoted to students.
But I never really saw what she was so excited about.

But now, two years into my teaching career,
and I’m starting to see what she was so hyped about.
There is nothing I love more than 
having discussions about reading with my kids.

I love when they ask me what I’m reading
and I love when they ask me to help them pick out a book.
I love the look on their faces when I ask them
how their latest book choice is going.
Or when I ask them if they think I should read 
their book choice next.
And I especially love the surprised looks they give me
when I tell them it’s okay that they need to abandon a book.
You’re actually telling me it’s okay to put this book down?
Yes, yes I am.
But I’m also asking you to go find one that you won’t want to put down.

A few months back,
I got an email from Donors Choose,
a website that helps teachers fund projects for their classrooms,
saying that many companies have been fully funding
projects and encouraged members to post a new project.
Sadly, I had already posted two projects with no success.
But I thought, eh, why not?
So I created a project called “Reading Like Its Going Out of Style.”
I chose over $300 worth of books
I thought would never actually make it to my classroom.

But then yesterday,
I awoke from a well-deserved nap,
and checked my email to find a message that said
Bank of the West had fully funded my project!
I have to admit I almost even forgot I posted the project in the first place.
But I was so excited!

Afterwards, I had the best time looking through
the list of books that I had chosen.
After rereading the synopsis of each one,
I made mental lists of which students in my class
might want to read each of the books first.
But hopefully among the stacks of books that will be arriving 
will be the one that a student just can’t put down.

I guess I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessed
with literacy like my professor was.
I think I’m just more obsessed with
my students actually loving to read.

So hooray for acts of kindness
and hooray for new books!

30 things before I’m 30: #2

A friend of mine from my running group
invited me to sign up for this race a few months ago.
I wouldn’t consider myself a Diva
but she was new to Sacramento
and I’d never done a race outside of my city.
Sounded like a pretty good idea.
Not to mention her informing me that the finish line would
greet me with pink champagne,
pink roses, a pink boa, and a medal given to me
by a shirt-less firefighter.

I guess you wouldn’t call this race a 
destination race but for me it was
only because it was my first race outside of Sacramento.
So technically, I can cross something off my
30 things before I’m 30 list.

Here’s a list of true destination races I have on my list so far:
-Disneyland Half Marathon
-Wharf to Wharf from Santa Cruz to Capitola
-Rock and Roll San Diego
-Big Sur Half Marathon
-Bloomsday 12k in Spokane, WA
 and I’m sure they’ll be many, many more!

Fried Brains and Hand Phones

This was a long week.
Due to testing, 
my kids brains are fried.

So today,
I broke out the “hand phone”
as we played
Who Wants to be a Science Millionaire.

Hand phone?” you ask?
Don’t tell me you’ve never pretended to
use your hand as a phone before.

What would have been even better 
is if I would have had a banana handy.
But I had already ate mine for snack at recess… 

As a way to get my kiddos excited to review science
I busted out a powerpoint millionaire game
a teacher had emailed me.

I used my equity sticks to choose a contestant for each question.
They stood up to the challenge.
If they could answer the question without help,
they earned 6 class dollars.
But they also had the option to 
“phone a friend.”

Though I hoped that they could answer each question
without help,
I almost wanted them to phone a friend
just so I could use my “hand phone” and fun phone sound effects.

“Brrrrrrrrrring! This is the host of 
Who Wants to be a Science Millionaire.
Is this _________?
Well I have ___________ on the line and they need your help
to answer this question.  You’ll have 30 seconds.”

Anyway, you get the idea. 
The kids LOVED it!
I feared they’d lose all control as I turned on my 
game show voice and sound effects.
But they didn’t.
It was so fun!

I love when spur of the moment,
crazy, fun learning happens!
It’s sometimes better than those lessons
that you spend time planning.

a little sleep can be magic!

Maybe all I needed was a nap…
Because today,
I felt like little miss sunshine!
At track practice, a parent asked me
“Did you drink one of those Monster drinks?”
No energy drinks.
Just a little dose of a nap afterschool,
an early bedtime,
and 15 extra minutes to let myself “sleep in” this morning.
And wha-lah!
And the best part is,
Tomorrow is Friday!
Oh the things sleep will do for you!
What sunshine and perspective it brings!
Hopefully all this sunshine of mine
will bring me a nice little PR
at my race this weekend.
*fingers crossed*
And if all else fails,
a friend reminded me,
there’s always another race to enter.

the fight

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight,
but the size of the fight in the dog.

Well, people, let me tell you
this girl’s got fight!
I am doing all I can to power through
these last few weeks of school.

Track meet trials.
State testing.
Friend’s wedding Saturday.
Half marathon this Sunday.
State testing again.
Track meet finals.
End of the year benchmarks.
Then four weeks of school left.

I’ve got this!

Teaching is like a marathon.
You feel like a rockstar during some of the miles.
Then a few more later, 
you want nothing more than a glimpse of that finish line.
All you can do in the meantime,
is give yourself a little pep talk,
drink some more water,
and keep on truckin’.

One of the mantras I use during races sometimes is:
Warriors don’t quit.

So, with one foot in front of the other, I proceed.
The kids are exhausted from testing
and are just about checked out.
(That’s what 5th grade-itis will do to your students.)
But I won’t let them give up either.
It’s time to embrace the end of the school year fun.
Art projects.
Science Experiments.
Field trips.

It feels so far away.
But I’ve got this!

Warriors don’t quit.