June 5, 2010, I started the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend, Indiana. The day was going well. I was on pace to beat my PR (personal record), by about 20 minutes, set a month earlier in Cincinnati. Somewhere between Mile 9 and 10, I started to feel an aching in the ball of my right foot. The pain increased through Mile 13, where I realized my foot was broken.
I probably should have dropped out, but I wanted to finish on the field at Notre Dame. I walked the last 13 miles, running only the last two tenths into the stadium and across the finish line. My time was exactly eight minutes off my PR.
Why do I tell this story? I tell this story to illustrate the power of finishing strong despite things not going my way. I could have given up. I could have stopped. Instead, I chose to continue to give my best. I chose to keep moving towards my goal. The race was not over. I was not finished.
Earlier this week I attended an All-Pro Dad Day with my daughter, Elise, at our school. The message of the day was to make sure that whatever you do, whatever happens to you, you need to finish strong. Immediately, I thought about the school year. The end is near. Some schools are down to their last week. We have one month left.
The year has not gone the way I had planned. I have not accomplished all of my goals. However, I cannot write off the year and the students. I need to do my best to make sure every day I give the best I can. I need to finish strong. The children are counting on me. My co-workers are depending on me, and I am relying on them. We have to work together to ensure students continue to grow.
I cannot write off the year, because it is not over. I have to continue to give my best every day. I have to consider my goals, reflect on my progress, and determine what steps I need to take to achieve them. I have to take the steps today to guarantee the year ends strong. I have to be prepared for the new school year to be better.
If I slack off now and choose to give less than my best, I am telling others they can do the same. I cannot expect the best from students, if I do not give my best. I cannot expect the best from my co-workers if I do not give my best.
While the end of the school year signifies a finish line, true learning never ends. The new school year begins in less than 13 weeks. New opportunities, new goals and new students await. If I set a precedent by giving less than my best, I may find myself accepting less than my best at other times.
Please share your thoughts about finishing strong. Let me know what you think about my blog entries. Your feedback is important in helping me to reflect, learn, and grow.