I have an intense passion for running. Currently, I am on a streak of running 51 road races in each of the past 51 months. For those of you counting, that goes back from March 2017 to December 2012, which, coincidentally, has nearly spanned the entirety of my professional student affairs career. Running is truly my counter-balance to the rhythm of my work with students.
My work and my running balance each other in ways that make me a better professional and better person. As folks consider their own journeys in healthy work and healthy life, hopefully sharing my meager experience will challenge them to better find their own balance and what will make them better practitioners and people. Where shall I begin?
Summer: the living is easy!
– My runs are marked with accomplishment from the base I built during the winter/spring months. My work focuses on reflecting and assessing the past year.
– For running and student affairs, it is a time for reviewing past goals and setting future goals.
– In the summer, I feel able to dedicate time to focus on one arena at a time.
Fall: welcome back!
– As lazier summer months change to cooler fall days, my students and I are buoyed by the energy of folks returning to campus or coming to campus for the first time.
– Similar to my returning students, this is a path that I have trodden before. Tackling the energy that arises in student conduct when the students return and looking to register for my longest race of the year require concentration, dedication, and an understanding that any craziness will pass and lead to excitement and relative calmness.
– It is incredibly comforting to know that I have gone down this path before (in both my running and welcoming students back to campus). Yet the path continues to be intriguing with how the specific semester will shape up.
Winter: do or do not, there is no try.
– Winter brings a steep learning curve to everything that we do. Students’ habits and rituals are tested and tried for success. As a runner, I push to continue my monthly running streak and get my monthly miles, even when it gets hard.
– As my students and I adjust to the reality of these months, we find success in knowing what has worked for us before. We help support and encourage those who are inexperienced. We know the tips, tricks, and sneaky ways in which we can make everything work.
– The habits we created in the fall abruptly face the adversity we designed them to address: tests, study session, hail, light snow, blistering winds, and group projects. We can do it.
Spring: it is not a sprint, but a marathon…unless you are in student affairs.
– The finish line is close! The energy is palpable as better weather gives way to jealousy watching students walk around campus.
– Those rituals, habits, and work ethics that were tested in the winter are now bearing fruit. Projects are being completed, longer runs are being crushed, and exams are being studied for.
– With all of this excitement, we must remember to keep our pacing and tempo appropriate; that we avoid burning ourselves out, remember our responsibilities and commitments, and recognize that while spring goes swiftly, we must pack in our best efforts until the end. Patience and diligence will be our most useful tools to help us get through the craziness.
I am gearing up to continue my fifth year of my monthly running streak. It is amazing to see how my work and running impact each other. Since college, an academic calendar has dictated my entire life. Without running, I would be absolutely lost. For those who want to start running all you need to do is step outside and go. Maybe one day, years from now, you will be talking about how your very own running streak began!
This post is part of our #SAfit series for April. With the constant hustle and bustle of our profession, we can’t forget to put ourselves at the top of our to-do list sometimes. It is essential that we remember to take time for self care and this series highlights how our colleagues work #SAfit into their lifestyles. This can look different for each of us and your journey is your own. For more info, please see Mandi Stewart’s intro post. Be sure to check out the other posts in this series too