It was exactly one week ago that I stood in front of the students and staff of #SiglerNation and shared the slide below with the hope we have as adults for the students in our building. As I stood in front of just over 400 students and
articulated each hope we have, I couldn’t have predicted the impact of the message nor the person it impacted most. ME!
It was 8:00AM on Sunday morning. I was standing with thousands of marines and over 30,000 runners from all over the world at the starting line of the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington DC. I had flown over thirteen hundred miles to run one of the largest marathons in the world and it almost did not happen.
When I went to bed Saturday evening I did not feel right. My body was trying to tell me something and I simply did not want to hear it. I went to bed feeling cold and woke up countless times feeling hot, sweaty and needing to go to the bathroom more times than I could count. (Without getting all TMI, we will stop there) At 5:45AM I woke up my wife questioning whether I should run the race I had spent the last 20 weeks training for. After some prayer and counsel, I made the decision to run, but promised myself and my wife I would listen to my body should things get worse. With two Aleve in hand, I was out the door headed to the shuttle which would deliver me to the starting line.
As the howitzer fired, sending 30,000 runners off onto a route stretching across 26.2 miles, I felt great! It was around mile 10 I realized I was in for a long day. By mile 13 I had to stop at the medical tent and seek the advice of medical staff. With the reassurance I was not going to cause further harm upon my body, I set out for mile 14.
I was done.
I have never quit a thing in my life, but with 12 miles to go, I was miserable. I was way off pace, way uncomfortable and mentally checked out of running 12 more miles, let alone a total of 26.2. I wanted to quit.
All of a sudden it hit me.
I am running through Washington DC. I am running through a city that embodies struggle, perseverance and victory. I am surrounded by marines, willing to give their lives to fight for MY freedom. Then the students of #SiglerNation came to mind. My hope for them just two days ago was “don’t give up” when things get hard. How could I possibly fly back to Texas without a finisher medal? What kind of hypocrite would I be if I quit this race after telling a gym full of students to not give up when things get hard? I wanted to quit, but the marines, the city and the students kept me going!
The final 14 miles were dreadful. It was excruciating. I stopped. I walked. I was miserable, but I persevered. I did not give up. I did not quit. I crossed that finish line and I could not wait to get back to school with my head held high. While the time I posted was far from my best, I am proud of the accomplishment. It is my worst time in years, but is my most fulfilling run yet. Simply because, I did not quit. I did not give up.
The Marathon Impact
You may be reading this wondering, “How does this impact me? I don’t run marathons.” I beg to differ. We all have “marathons“. We all have the thing that pushes us to our limit. The thing that makes us question what we are doing. The thing that seems easier to quit and walk away from than seeing it through to the finish. Regardless of what your “marathon” is, do not quit!
As a school principal I want to be the example to the students, teachers and families I serve. Life is going to provide us with moments we want to walk away from because it would be easier than the alternative. If you walk away once and you quit, what stops you from quitting the next time? The time after that?
I walked up to the start line at 8AM with a goal in mind and I crossed the finish line with a sense of accomplishment completely unrelated to my original goal. Some days we celebrate the goal, some days we celebrate the journey and some days we celebrate the accomplishment. As I crossed the finish line I celebrated the hope I have for our students. It was the very hope I have for our students that I found for myself while on a 26.2 mile journey.
One week ago, I would not have realized how the hope I had for our students is really the same hope I have for myself.
What do you hope for your students? Do you hope the same for yourself?