It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon.

I ran my first marathon in 1996 in Austin.  I remember that cool morning air and the high energy at the starting line.  I was excited, but also apprehensive. Could I really do this thing?  What was this going to feel like?

There is a feeling of shared experience among the runners that creates instant comradeship and mutual support.  There is lots of talk going on in that first half mile, before we are breathing too hard.  I recall the guy next to me asking “Is this your first time?”  I told him it was.  For him, this was old hat. He had run many marathons before, which is probably why he could easily spot the neophyte.

Then he made an interesting observation about running marathons. “It’s kind of like sex,” he told me.  “It’s always great…but there’s nothing like the first time.”

I’m sure he meant that comment to be supportive, but I didn’t see the connection very well. In fact, my response to him was “Well…this may be like sex for you. But I’m going to be out here for more than four hours.  Sex is not like that for me.”

Let’s remember that the school year is a marathon—not a sprint.  Pace yourself.  Take time to refresh yourself.  Drink plenty of water, and eat things that will energize you.  Go at a pace that does not labor your breathing.  Share the journey with those around you—the other teachers, administrators and the students.  Don’t focus exclusively on the finish line.  Pay attention to where you are right now, and enjoy it. One step at a time.