How do you know when it is time to stop? As I move deeper into my 50’s, I wonder how/when I will know when it is time to move on, to cut back, to change up my running program?
Running has been a part of my life for a long time. I am a morning runner – most of the time during the early morning dark hours. Running helps me stay healthy, process different situations, sweat out anxiety and worry, and solve problems. I have seen countless gorgeous sunrises as well as millions of bright stars and stunning full moons descending to the other side of the world.
I recently trained for and completed my 15th half marathon, the Trenton Half Marathon. I have also completed 2 full marathons – The Shamrock in Virginia Beach and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. While I was training fort his recent half, I realized that it was harder, that it took much longer for my body to heal, that I was sorer and stiffer and that I was taking more Advil than I ever have. I decided that it was going to be my last long distance run.
The fun part of the training and what kept me motivated was that I was going to do this run with one of my sisters, Sue, and two of my nieces, Grace Ann and Ellie. Another niece, Coleen, was running a half marathon in Greenville, SC on the same day. Also, this run was taking place in my home state of New Jersey, although it did cross over the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.
I am not retiring from running – I am not ready to give up all the benefits that it gives to me – especially a good sweat, but I am going to dial it down. I am really happy running 4-7 miles and so are my knees and the rest of my joints and muscles. So, I pass on the long distance running torch to my much younger nieces and nephews – have at it – enjoy nature, enjoy the healthy feeling, enjoy having some time to yourself, enjoy challenging yourselves, and mostly, enjoy a really good sweat!
As a principal in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, we gather in Avalon, NJ once a year for 2.5 days. Professional development is a big part of these days. This year we focused on Human Resource issues, technology integration, and continuous improvement surveys. Each day we celebrate the liturgy together as well as have a few hours of retreat on Friday morning.
The highlight for me was our keynote speaker, Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. I was really excited to listen to him because he spoke on on one of my favorite topics, Fostering Resilience in Adolescence and Teens. Resilience is the ability to face difficult things and bounce back from them – to deal with some of the “lemons” life gives us and turn them into “lemonade”.
Another wonderful part of going to Avalon for a few days is being able to talk and share with other principals and leaders from the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education (OCE). I am often inspired by the leaders from our Catholic school system – hard working principals and OCE leadership. Their deep faith, dedication, and innovation spur me on to be a better principal and leader.
It is also great to be together for a few days to laugh and relax. We were entertained one night by the Office of Catholic Education. As you can see from the pictures, they are a very talented group. Beside helping to build a very strong Catholic Schools system here in our Archdiocese, they can really sing and dance!
The annual Principal’s conference is a blessing to me – from the inspiring keynote speakers, to the communal prayer time – from a walk on the beach, to the camaraderie with my peers, the time in Avalon is renewing and energizing. It allows me to come back to St. Pat’s with some new ideas, a clearer perspective, and with a deeper love of my vocation in Catholic Education. Go Warriors!