Thursday, December 15, 2011

I did IT!!!

Most of you already know that December 4th I ran the Angkor Wat Half Marathon in Siem Reap, Cambodia!  I trained for over two months (next time I'll train longer) and it snuck up on my quick.  I know I have always been a runner so what is the big deal, right?  Well even after running Cross Country for 10 years I have never had the urge to run a half or full marathon, just sounds crazy.  Don't get me wrong, I love running, but running that long and far, CRAZY. 

Well how did I get signed up for this race then?  Well last year I went to Siem Reap and toured some of the temples with my friends Jen, Danielle, and Aly and there were just unbelievably.  I heard about this race and thought how cool would it be to run around Angkor Wat, the unofficial 8th Wonder of the World.  I can't believe looking back that I did it, just seems like a dream.  I need to get the photos up so I can "believe" it really happened. 

During my training I ran further and longer than I ever have in my whole life and to top it off at almost the heaviest I have ever been.  It was painful and hard a lot of the time, but also there was times when I remembered why I love running so much.  Even with all the extra weight I still consider myself a runner and always will be, just heavier and slowier.  That being said I still finished a HALF marathon, that is just crazy to me. 

The field was pretty intense and strong, not many people were at the back of the pack with me, but I had a few people around to motivate me.  The night before I was a mess and the morning up, even worse.  I was like "What the heck are you thinking?" "You aren't ready for this!" "What did you get yourself into?" It was an adrenaline pumping morning to say the least but I did my warm-up and reminded myself that I just want to finish this race, I don't care about my time.  I really wanted to run the whole thing, because I've never walked in a race before, but all the other races have been mostly under 4 miles :-) 

Well the run started and it was pretty cool with all the people cheering and then we headed up onto the course.  I went out a little fast, but not too bad.  The first 4 miles were pretty good and then I started to hurt, around mile 6 I wanted to die.  I honestly didn't think there was a chance in hell that I would finish this race, I was hurting so bad and only about half way done.  It was at that point I had to walk, I cried because I have never walked in a race before and I really wanted to run the whole thing, but my body was saying, "NO!"  Funny enough that when I started walking I was actually walking faster than my running speed was before I stopped to walk.  So I actually passed a few people in my walk.  At that point I was down but was going to finish this race, no matter what.  But I really didn't think I was going to be able to run again.  Well low and beyond I only walked for 2 miles and then jogged in the last 3 plus miles at a pretty good speed.  So I finished strong, no smile though (saw the race photos, yikes) but after I crossed that finish line I was smiling.  I thought I was going to pass out but I was so unbelievably proud of myself for sticking with it and not giving up.  It wasn't perfect but I did it.  I DID IT!! 

Thank you for all your support, advice, and love during this!  I really needed it and thought about you all during the run, a lot!  So guess I can check one off on the ol bucket list now :-)  I think someday I would like to do another one, but first I want to lose a good chunk of weight and get my right foot checked out by an ortho.  Anyways I just wanted to fill you all in on the experience and say thank you!

Jenn, Half Marathon Finisher, have the medal to prove it :-)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Terry Fox

Not sure many of you know who Terry Fox is but he was/is a big name in Canada.  He was diagnosed with cancer at 18 and lost his leg from it.  While in the hospital recovering with his new prosthetic leg he saw lots of children suffering from cancer and he decided he wanted to do something to help them.  He trained for 18 months running over 5,000 miles and then started off on the Marathon of Hope, his goal was to run across Canada, he ran a marathon everyday and over time got more and more followers, he ran for 140 days straight before the cancer came back to his lungs and he was forced to stop.  He passed away at 22.  But he left a legacy behind, they have Terry Fox Runs all over Canada and the World, we even have one in Vietnam.  I walked it last year with the other teachers. 

In my class we have our own Terry Fox Run, every few weeks the students jog in class and I count all their laps and we chart how many miles the school does as a whole on a chart on our Terry Fox Bulletin Board.  Anyways the point of this post - This week we did our start up for Terry Fox, the run is November 27th.  I have been talking to the kiddos about Terry Fox again and the first grade class watched a video in their classroom.  While yesterday a little first grade boy came to class crying.  I asked him what was wrong and he was scared he was going to get cancer.  I had a chat with the whole class that they don't need to worry about that, just keep eating well, playing, and being a kid.  He then said but I don't want to get cancer when I'm older and die.  I told them that yes children rarely get cancer that usually it is adults but said that is why we go to the doctor when we are sick and doctors know more now to help.  I told the kids that my dad had/has prostrate cancer and had to have surgery but now he is all better again.  I told them they just need to keep eating healthier as they get older, keep active and exercise, don't smoke or do other bad things to your body. So I thought I handled it pretty well, I can see why they (he) were scared because Terry Fox was very young. 

Well I found out after lunch that this little boy asked to call his dad at lunch and told his dad he needed to stop smoking so he didn't die of cancer.  Ohhh, so sad.  But what is really sad is that many Vietnamese smoke and they don't seem to know all that we know in the U.S. about what it can do to you. 

Anyways poor little boy, here's hoping I don't get a parent phone call. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Major Milestone

Tonight I ran 6 miles for the first time in, heck maybe forever and at my heaviest weight ever.  So needless to say it was hard, well the first 4 miles were alright but the last 2 tough but I finished it strong and I am so so proud of myself.  There are only 5 weeks until the Angkor Wat Half Marathon and I'm not sure I will be ready for 13 miles but there is a 10K or 6 mile race that day too and after today I know I can do that. 

Even though I am way way over weight it felt great running tonight, given it was pretty slow but 6 miles in 80 minutes, I'll take it.  I went over a huge bridge twice too and a couple of hills so I am pretty pumped and very proud.  My friend Bekah shared something with me, that I didn't get this way in one day so I can't expect to change it all in one day either.  Great words to think about. 

Anyways I am happy with myself and no matter what race I do in 5 weeks I and loving that I am getting my running legs back!

6 miles baby!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pulled the band-aid off!

Today I handed in my resignation letter of sorts to the Head of School saying I wouldn't be coming back for a third contract year.  We were given letters of intent and would receive a $2000 signing bonus to stay another year and told to give them back this week and I handed mine back saying I would not be returning and then wrote an additional letter. 

Now you might say, "Jenn you told us a month ago that you were coming back to the states."  Yes that is true but finally telling the school and making it official was quite difficult, especially in this job market.  I am leaving a stable income, good job, and a bonus to go back to the states and the unknown.  It is scary to finally be out there, not knowing what is going to happen next.  I got a little teary eyed handing in the letter because I love the kids and I am scared.  So need my family and friends to help remind me why I am coming home and that it was the right decision (which in my mind it was). 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Almost jewelry heist!!!!!!

So today I spent the afternoon with our Curriculum Director who is here from the states for a month.  We got some coffee and did some shopping and I drove us around on my motorbike, I'm a very safe driver and licensed I may add.  We are driving on one of the busiest and well known streets in Ho Chi Minh and all of a sudden Nancy screams and slides forward into me and I plant my feet on the road and break and manage to keep us from tipping over.  I'm like "what the heck happened?"  I thought someone had ran into us or something but no, a younger guy on a motorbike pulled up right next to/behind us and reached out to grab Nancy's necklace off her neck.  So I have read about this happening here and been told not to wear fancy or expensive jewelry but never seen or known someone first hand who it has happened to.  Well it happened today.  It was scary, and luckily her necklace glasp is super strong and he didn't get it but he did manage to pull her forward into me and almost pull us over on our bike.  He left big scratch marks on Nancy's neck where he grabbed and a mark around her neck from the necklace being pulled.  The marks are still there hours later.  If I would have known sooner I would have had her get off and chase the bastard but wasn't sure what happened and just watched the jerk drive off.  I don't wear any jewelry besides stud earrings and a watch but I will for sure never wear nice earrings and necklaces again in the city, that was super scary.  Luckily I am a pretty sturdy driver and there was two of us on the bike otherwise I think we would have gotten pulled off.  People around saw it happen too and were looking after, it was just like out of a movie or something.  But we are both ok and wiser for the incident.  I just can't believe it happened.  I know the poverty here is massive but so many people try to sell trinkets or food on the street and make nothing.  This A-hole could have seriously hurt us or someone else by causing an accident all for a stupid gold necklace.  I will definitely be more careful now.  Wow!

Monday, October 10, 2011

30 looks good on me!

So I'm 30 now, I know none of you knew that or gave me any crap about it...Bekah Chell Peavey!  I honestly can't belive it.  If you would have told me I would be teaching in Vietnam, traveling around the world when I was 30, I would have probably laughed in your face, but here I am and I don't regret the decision to come here at all. 

My life the past couple of months has been crazy busy - the start of a new school year, moving into my first solo apartment, getting a VN driver's license and motorbike, flying home for Kelly's wedding, and turning the big 3-0. 

I'm finally getting back on track from Kelly's wedding trip back home.  It took a lot out of me doing such a short trip home and back but I wouldn't have missed that crazy girl's wedding for anything.  It really was one of the most beautiful, magical weddings I have ever been too.  If you haven't been to Mackinaw Island in Michigan, you must go stat, it is breathtaking.  It is like going back in time, only bicycles and horses are allowed on the island for transportation.  Kelly and Andy got married at The Little Stone Church, it was adorable and Kelly looked amazing, that dress was made for her.  It was great to get to be there by her side as she got married and was thrilled to have my mom there as well - Kelly always was like a sister. 

That experience really solidfied my feelings about the future, for the past couple of months I have been trying to figure out what I am going to do after this year in Vietnam is done (I have a two year contract).  I have been going back and forth, making lists with pros and cons and I have finally made my decision.  I AM coming back to the States after my contract ends here in June.  It was a hard decision and it will be an uphill battle finding a PE job but it is the right decision.  So everyone spread the word you know an awesome K-12 PE teaching that needs a job for the 2012-2013 school year, I can be persuaded to move as long as my kitty, Meelo, gets to come with. 

Many of you ask if I regret coming here and honestly I don't, not one bit.  I have grown so much in the past year here and learned so much about myself and what I want in my life and who I want in my life.  As you know I have always wanted to teach overseas, it was a dream of mine and I got to do it, I am doing it and for the most part it is pretty amazing - the benefits, the kiddos, the traveling, etc.  If I wouldn't have come I would have always thought, "What if?" and regretted not taking the chance.  I absolutely love my job and know I found my career.  It took coming here to realize how much I love all the things I had back in Minnesota, yes I am saying I missed things from MN, it is hard saying love and Minnesota in the same sentence, but it is true.  All those sayings are too, distance makes the heart grow fonder, and so on. 

So I am happy to say I am coming back to the states to teach next summer.  I am excited and terrified because I am well aware of the job market and economy back home right now - part of the reason I went overseas to begin with.  But I am one determined woman.  Many said I wouldn't get a teaching job overseas without any experience and here I am, so BRING IT ON!!!

Just wanted to update you all on my good news!  Happy Monday!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Big Step

So last year I had some teacher friends from another international school run in the 10k at Angkor Wat in December and I just thought that was so cool.  Well everyone knows I have always been a runner and love running even thought lately my body doesn't show it.  But I was intrigued by this and started researching it a few weeks ago and looked at the route of the 10k which is an out and back route and would be cool but the half marathon is around a bunch of temples (some that I got to see last January on vacation).  Anyways it looks amazing and I thought, "how cool would it be to say I ran my first half marathon around the 8th wonder of the world, Angkor Wat."  Well it is an international half marathon so pretty big and the airlines that fly from Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap are pretty limited and filling up fast, very fast.  I finally found a cheap flight that would work for me and booked it today.  I already found a 12 week training plan that would have me start on September 12th.  This is a pretty big step for me because I am running 20-25 minutes only right now pretty slow but I like a challenge. 

So gonna need a lot of support to stay on track for this but I am pretty excited about it, part of me is going crazy thinking WTF did you do but it will be awesome. 

Sorry I haven't updated lately on here but I wanted to share this info with you. 

I am running right now and doing personal training to get off a little weight before coming home for Kelly's wedding in a few weeks. 

School is going well, this is our third week of classes already, crazy!  Hope to hear from you all soon about my adventure!