Two weeks ago, I reached a personal goal of mine: Finishing a half marathon run!
After I set my goal and signed up for the 21K (13.1 miles) Half Marathon of Buenos Aires, I decided to connect my passion of documenting learning with my learning experience about running during the training. I am a relative newbie to running, having started to run on a treadmill for the first time in November 2017 and running on the pavement in October 2018.
In May 2019, a couple of weeks before my official 12 week training started, I made plans HOW I was going to document the running and how was I going to make it visible, visual and meaningful for MY learning and the (potential) learning of others. I decided to push outside of my comfort zone and document the journey/the process not here on my blog, but via Instagram.
This meant taking photos (of me running!… not something I had done a lot nor shared (ever!) on my professional Langwitches account ). It also meant to learn how to connect (on something more of a personal level instead of professional level) and write in new forms (instead of hyperlinked writing more of a hashtagged writing).
I was ready to combine my interests and find a common thread between documenting learning, running and iPhoneography .
Take a read back to my blog post from May, where I outline the learning topics, I was looking to document (ex. Training, Places to run, “What runners do”, etc.).
I learned so much more though…
What I learned about running beyond the physical training?
- the connections between a sports coach and an educational coach… your coach is there to guide and inspire you, but YOU have to run the miles yourself to prepare yourself for the “big race”. No matter how good your coach is, if you are not willing to put in the time and effort, you will not be prepared to run the distance. Trust in your coach is essential. Especially in the beginning, when you are not able to see all the dots connecting. You have to trust your coach and that they know what they are doing, so you can follow until you are able to connect the dots for yourself. This happens with many little “Aha Moments” during your training and a final big Aha Moment during the final race when you can hear your coach’s voice in your ear. ( … thanks coach Amy!)
An educational coach is also not able to “run the race” for you. You have to trust your coach that s/he knows what they are doing. That they have gone through the process for themselves. Don’t dodge the process of putting in the miles, of experimenting with new forms of teaching and learning.
- the mental (mindset) part of training for running might be harder than the physical training. I know that I am not the only one with a brain that plays tricks on me… A little voice in my head that is screaming: You can’t do it, might as well give up… 12 miles? Are you kidding me, there is no way you can make it… Is there a pain in my hip, better stop now before it gets worse… How do we learn to expect these voices? How do we learn to keep going despite those voices? What are our strategies to overcome naysayers, uncomfortableness, etc. ?
“ With your feet you move, with your mind you run!”
In our educational environment, it is not that different. You might know all you subject area content, you might know how to use this tool or that, you are comfortable on this platform or that, BUT if you do not work on your mindset, you will continue to use new tools and platforms to continue to substitute old forms of teaching and learning.
- getting ready for a half marathon is a process, not an event. Documenting this process, made it visible for me… It especially helped in the days before the race when doubts started creeping up, if I really was prepared to do this or not… looking through my feed, it was visually there… I put in the miles, I followed the plan… the evidence was there… I knew I would be ready…
- sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees. It takes images that we can put next to each other to really see the process and the process. I looked in the mirror every day, but was not able to see the changes for myself, until I put these two images next to each other.
- trust the process, don’t try to take shortcuts… it’s about the process and experiencing THE PROCESS …the process is the goal, the race, the “the final product” is the cherry on top…
- inherent self-motivation and strategies to fuel your own motivation are essential… Don’t expect someone else to motivate you. Don’t expect someone else to be your alarm clock for those early morning/middle of the night runs. Be someone who motivates others by your commitment and freely sharing your passion and hard work.
What I learned from documenting my training experience?
- Since iphoneography was already an interest of mine, being able to practice, experiment and play with running photography, was exciting. It contributed to my motivation to get up, lace up and head out. It especially made me look forward to those early morning runs when I was going to be rewarded with a beautiful sunrise and backdrops for my photos.
I love experimenting with running selfies, different perspectives, flying feet, action shots, colors, metaphorical images, in motion and visuals that can convey the intangible… I learned so much from other running photographers on Instagram, Pinterest or blogs and then just experimented!
- After the run, it became my tradition to go through the photos I had taken during the run, select the ones I was going to share, edit and upload. The time, I spent “unpacking” the photos captured during the run, allowed me to reflect on how the run went, how I felt, what I had learned?
- The documentation learnflow routine of looking for learning, capturing the learning, reflect on learning, share and amplify learning WAS WORKING for my own learning… as I was going through the routine, I was hyperaware of experimenting with different variables as I was learning about all the little things I had never heard of before… It was about seeing how my body AND mindset reacted to those new adjustments (ex. speed work, fueling on long runs, heart rate, posture, cadence, etc.) Did they make a difference or not? My Garmin watch with its statistics and documentation of each run capabilities was instrumental in learning from the numbers of each run.
- Sharing my photos and reflection on Instagram, reminded me of the responsibility we have when we share of keeping “it” real. I started receiving more comments on my uploads (public), but also private messages of how my sharing was inspiring others to start getting active and my photos and reflections were becoming a motivation FOR others. As I was strolling through my feed of other runners, I also experienced a certain “demotivation” when I saw the perfectly toned, skinny, tight abdominal, muscular runners who shared their incredibly fast times, pace and tempo on photos of their running watches. What was I portraying with my feed to others? What was my responsibility to keeping it real so others would not get discouraged by my sharing. Of course, I was selecting photos from the ones that I captured that portrayed me in the best light with my best foot forward and not showing my stretchmarks (instead of a six pack) on my belly. Of course, the photos were with my leg muscles showing instead of my cellulitis made the cut to be uploaded. I was moved by the following quote (unknown) “In running, don’t compare your chapter 1 to my chapter 22”
View this post on Instagram
Instagram vs reality. We are all guilty of going through ourpictures and choosing the best picture to post on Instagram. Yesterday I took a few pictures but I didn’t really like Any of them. So I decided to post the one where the sunrise looked amazing. Often times I get messaged about how people wish they had my legs. While often times I wish I looked like the runner on the left, 99% of the time I look like the runner on the right. Mouth breather, double chin going for me and of course cellulite everywhere. Lately I been trying to make sure I post more and more of my true self. I get messages saying they wish they had a runners body. I always tell every person that messages me, if you run lovely, you have a runners body. No matter the distance or pace. Don’t compare your body to someone else’s body. Love your body and appreciate what it can do for you. #teamsparkle
- I learned that we have a moral obligation to start teaching our children the impact of what we see shared on social media platforms. We need to learn for ourselves and teach our children/students how to keep it real, even when others around us and in our feeds are not keeping it real. We also need to learn how we deal with others and their “feedback” when we are keeping it real and open ourselves up to vulnerability.
- I started connecting via #hashtags to a community of people OUTSIDE my traditional educational arena. Suddenly I was reading and connecting with people from all over South America, who were also training for the #21kBuenosAires or who were #21ktraining or #runningwithyourdog or were a #runninggrandma in #runjax. I started to fuel my own motivation by following #runningquotes and #runningmotivation.
Documenting my learning experience of training and running a half marathon was worth every photo, every moment invested in capturing, reflecting and sharing. I am convinced that it amplified my learning AND running experience! I am hooked and am continuing to document my process and progress as a runner.