Parent Teacher Conferences (3.25 miles)

The last few days have been a bit of a blur, and the next few promise to get even more blurry.  At school, my lunch periods have been co-opted by departmental inter-visitation meetings, on top of the mad push to try to have my heavy back-log of homework graded in time for parent-teacher conferences this evening.  And that’s to say nothing of the massive stack of essays I’ve only just started to actually read, or the credit-recovery project I eventually told my AP I just didn’t have time to create, or the fact that I’m going to be frantically throwing together about two weeks of lesson-plans to leave behind while I’m out for half a month.  (I’ll have more to say about that in a few days, if all goes well, as there are also some personal reasons the last few days have been a blur.  All good, I promise).

Anyway, all this means I’ve been constantly worn-out and a bit frayed at the edges – the sort of state when it can be hard to convince oneself to run, but when running is most essential.  Fortunately, despite my bone-tired exhaustion, I had no problem convincing myself to go for a run this afternoon.  For one, the weather was gorgeous: more early-hint of summer than even spring.  Bright blue skies, wisps of pale clouds, warm rays of sun alternating with cool swaths of high-rise cast shade.  And while I didn’t have any time during the school day to get out, this evening was parent-teacher conferences, so I was trapped at the school until 8 o’clock.  More to the point, I had two and a half hours between the end of the school day and the flood of freshman parents thronging at my door.  I really was supposed to use that time to make my room presentable and get my grade-book in order, but the good thing about a quick run is that it fits into extraneous blocks of time so nicely; I figured walking to some Chinese place and returning with take-out would take about 20 minutes, while running a quick 3 miles and snagging take-out on the way back would take just over a half-an-hour.

I did my regular out-and-back to Washington Heights via the MacComb’s Dam Bridge, though I added about a quarter mile by running  a few blocks north to start in an effort to avoid running past congregating masses of my students.  The weather really was quite warm, and for the first time this year I found myself actively sweating, although I was only wearing my shorts and a long-sleeve wicking tee.  I did pass a few of my students, but they were fortunately all one’s who just take pleasure in my eccentricities, and so they were all happy to see me and I them.  I didn’t push quite as hard as I did this Sunday and Monday (I was far too exhausted for that), but still managed to eke out something close to an 8 minute mile, so I think I’ve just become faster without quite noticing it.

On the way back towards the school, I again bore a few blocks north, this time not to avoid students but in order find some food along the more commercial 165th street.  There is a fabulously steep hill up 164th street on the west side of Grand Concourse, but it is short enough to make taking it quickly and aggressively possible and fun.  Kicking up the steep incline I re-crossed the Concourse, then slowed to a walk in order to grab some cheap Chinese take-out: broccoli and bean-curd, eaten at my desk while “Exile on Main Street” blasted through my room and I covered home work with my backwards, left-handed check-marks.  Then it was time to change out of my running-clothes, donning my teaching costume and a thin misting of body-spray just in time for my second sprint of the day as I readied to face the parents . . .

Distance: 3.25 miles          Time: 26:15

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About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
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