Practicing What I Preach – My Response to COVID-19 & School Closure

On March 13, I posted a Letter to Our NPHS Athletes on the website, challenging them to stay active during this time away from school while sports are on a hiatus, and, more importantly, to grow in other aspects of their lives.

This got me thinking: I should transparently lead by example.  I need to let them know I’m practicing what I preach.  Through this web page, I plan to be accountable to our athletes and encourage them to:

  • Stay active
  • Continue to grow as lifelong learners

This may end up being a complete waste of time or something to help motivate some of our students.  I don’t even know if this is the best format to do something like this.  I can’t guarantee I’ll exercise every day, but I’m going to try my darnedest! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Several weeks ago, I read The 5am Club, by Robin Sharma.  It shares ‘Pioneering Principles + Proven Tactics to Multiply Your Productivity, Accelerate Your Performance and Create a World-Class Business and Life.’  It was a little cheesy for my likes, but the message is spot on.  Due to the unpredictable nature of my job, I had to find time to create a routine.  The only time I could do this was early in the morning.  I had been waking up at 4:30 am, going for a run (usually about 1 3/4 miles in my fairly hilly neighborhood), meditating and/or praying for 20 minutes while I cooled down, and then reading for personal growth for about 20 minutes.  Now that school is not in session, I can be a little more flexible in my schedule.

Day 1 Saturday March 14

Jog/walk.  Picture taken immediately after 1.19 miles @ 11:25 pace.  I cut my run short because it had been raining.  Of course, the rain virtually ceased as I was finishing, but I had already lost my mental edge, and wasn’t going to start back up.  As a former athlete, I wasn’t happy about the result.  However, I find solace and complete satisfaction in focusing the process – I got up off the couch, out of the house, and worked out!  This switch from being results-oriented to process-oriented has been such a key mindset shift that I’m learning.   More on that in future updates.

“You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response. Your options are to complain or to look ahead and figure out how to make the situation better.”  -Tony Dungy Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life

I refuse to be a victim in this circumstance.  Instead, I choose to find opportunity in it.

Day 2 Sunday March 15

Jog/walk 1.85 miles.  11:40 pace – my best for the normal distance to date. I pretty much jog the flats and the uphills, and walk the downhills to save my knees that are in really bad shape.  Let’s face it, I don’t have the runner’s body type.  A few weeks ago, I did a lot of research on running shoes, and bought a pair built for underpronators (aka supinators?) like me.  Gotta say, they have made a WORLD of difference over the shoes I had been running in.  My knees ache much less after runs now.   If you are running with long term goals in mind, do what you can to get the best running shoes you can.

I shaved off the beard last night.  My own little lame COVID-19 protest.  I weighed myself today, something I do intermittently.  I look at the number but don’t gauge my success on what the scale says.  The number is just an indicator for me.  It is a byproduct of my mindset – focus on the process and how I feel after working out.  Weight loss is not my goal and doesn’t define the effort I’ve put into improving my health.

“Fall in love with the process, and the results will come.” – Eric Thomas
Day 3 Monday March 16

Jog/walk 1.85 miles.  11:50 pace – My lungs were struggling today.  Don’t be fooled by what looks like a smile in the picture, I was saying “Three.”  However, I was able to access the athlete mindset and persevere and push through the temporary pain.

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin

Glad I ran this morning.  It dumped rain this afternoon!  I only got a little bit of drizzle.  Now I know what it’s like to run in the Pacific Northwest.  It leads me to wonder if I hadn’t taken the initiative this morning, would I have weathered the storm and ran after it stopped?  Somehow I doubt it.  No time like the present to work on your goals.

Day 4 March 17

Jog/walk 1.88 miles.  12:20 pace.  Oops, forgot to end my workout when I finished.  Oh well, I got out.  Maybe I was just so excited to see blue skies and the sun shining this morning!  Good thing I got out early.  The rain came down in a big way just before noon, and then we had hail in mid-afternoon.  Blue skies came back out after, so the wifey and I went for a walk for almost 2 miles.  I got to show her my route and get a little more vitamin D.  That’s nearly 4 miles of work I put in today.  Every little helps.

I asked our coaches to please give me names of books/resources they recommend to read to keep your edge.  I hope to have the list started in the next few days and will post on the website.  If you have a public library card, download the OverDrive app (available in the iOS App Store and Google Play) and sign up.  Overdrive lets you download ebooks and audiobooks directly to your smartphone or tablet.  Hopefully many of these titles will be available.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”  – Arthur Ashe

If you have assignments that you needed to turn in, please reach out to your teachers to see what can still be turned in.  Then, make sure to FINISH THOSE ASSIGNMENTS! You have an incredible opportunity RIGHT NOW to get makeup work done, boost your GPA, and return to a slight semblance of normalcy(you know you need it)!  Hopefully an opportunity like this will never come again!

Day 5 March 18

Jog/walk 1.84 miles.  13:00 pace  Dangit, forgot to stop my workout.  Ruined my pace.  Does it matter?  Nope, I accomplished my running goal this morning.  Do I need to focus on my routine at the end of my runs.  Absolutely!  Always increments to improve on each day.

What’s up with light?  Well, remember me saying that before this pandemic turned everything upside down, I woke up at 4:30 am to go run?  Well, our neighborhood is darker than most.  Our street winds through a fairly rural neighborhood of Thousand Oaks.  No sidewalks.  No street lights.  It’s dark (nobody trick-or-treats in these parts)! I had ordered the Biolite 330 Lumen No-Bounce headlamp, which arrived the day that everything changed.  My routine changed that day, and I hadn’t taken the opportunity to run when there was no light out since.

I woke up a little after 5am, and my thoughts were racing.  I thought a lot about the coming changes to school, and what I could do to step up and facilitate these changes?  Since I couldn’t get back to sleep, I finally seized the opportunity to try out the new headlamp during my run.  It lived up to it’s name, and is a game changer for me running before dawn.

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” – Francis Bacon

Many of us are in dark times with the uncertainly that lies ahead.  I charge you to intentionally discover how to then then go be the light for your family, friends, and community.

Day 6 March 19

Jog/walk 1.84 miles. No point in logging the pace.  I stopped to talk to another principal who is a neighbor of mine (keeping plenty of space between us), and didn’t pause my Google Fit.  I almost didn’t run today. I waited until mid-afternoon, and I had all of the excuses lined up not to run….except for one:  accountability.  I didn’t run well or have much energy, but I got out there and did it anyways, the best I could.  Not happy with the results, but happy with continuing the process and having the mental fortitude to not give up.

Yesterday was a tough day.  We got word that schools in the county were closed until May 4.  Although no official word from CIF yet, that pretty much ensures the spring season is over for sports.  I figured as much when this whole thing started, but knowing is different than guessing.  Once again, my heart breaks for our spring senior student athletes.  This leads me back to my prior statement of not being happy with the results, but being happy with having the mental fortitude to not give up.

“Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and don’t give up.” -Rachel Corrie

The going is tough right now for many of us, our family, our friends.  It’s important to believe in ourselves and in each other to get us through these tough times.  The cancellation of spring sports is a setback, for sure.  But all of you have a dream.  Continue to persevere, even when you don’t think you can!

 

Day 7 March 20

Jog/walk 1.85 miles.  11:30 pace My run started off a little rough, my Achilles was bothering me.  Wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to continue, wasn’t sure how last night’s Stay at Home Order would play out, wasn’t sure what my next move as an AD should be, but then I stopped focusing on the unknown and the bad and started to focus on today’s lesson.  I thought about the changes coming to online instruction in our district.  I thought about a Zoom video conference I had this morning with a national speaker who helps leaders and teams get better.  He had a ton of quotables that I plan to use in the coming days, but the one that really stuck with me was:

“Social distance doesn’t mean social disconnect.” – Kevin DeShazo

Those of you who know me usually see a smile on my face on campus because I am truly happiest being among y’all.  I find myself missing the daily interactions with students and staff members.  Many of us have supplanted the daily face to face conversations with video group conferencing, and it’s the next best thing. In this new reality of Stay at Home for everything but essential functions, it’s more important than ever to reach out to your friends and family members who you haven’t talked to for awhile.   I want to encourage you to video conference with them.  Start a group video chat to reconnect and see each other’s facial expressions, smiles, and reactions to your conversations.  Start to make the new normal, more normal.

Day 8 March 21

Jog/walk 1.86 miles.  11:25 pace.  This picture looked a lot better in my mind than I apparently executed.  I was trying to gladly take in the Vitamin D from the sun on a beautifully clear day.  However, I just look like I’m in pain!  Sad.  Regardless, I had my best pace today, which I am proud of.  Nothing notable to all of you athletes, but I’m not competing against you.  The process is working, and I am so thankful for my health and the opportunity to get outside and enjoy my world.  Lung capacity felt better, and my Achilles only hurt right at the beginning.

“…and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” – Louis Armstrong

This was the first song that my wife and I danced to after we got married.  For me, it’s a song of love, hope, and thankfulness to appreciate all of the gifts and blessings bestowed upon us throughout our lives.  Sure, the situation kinda sucks right now, but we all choose our response to our situation.  I choose to believe we will get through this together if we all work to make a difference in each other’s lives.  Make an intentional difference in your life today, whether that be something physical, emotional, or spiritual.  Grow.  Make an intentional difference in someone else’s life today.  Carpe Diem, seize the day, for it is a gift.  Be a gift and a blessing to those around you.

Day 9 March 22

Changed course today and walked 2.95 miles with the wifey.  Such a beautiful day to enjoy outside…before the rain comes this evening.  We have never seen the neighborhood so busy with individuals and families getting outside and getting fresh air.  It was awesome to see.  Also awesome to see was these homemade hearts that someone put all around the neighborhood. Can you find all 3 in the picture to the right? Such a simple but fantastic way to make a difference in the lives of our neighborhood.

If you don’t think a small act can make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in the room. – Julie Foudy

Panthers, my charge to you today is to go make a difference in your neighborhood today.  However large, however small.  However public, however private.  Bring a smile to someone’s face and warm their heart.

Day 10 March 23

Jog/walk 1.81 miles.  10:50 pace. At 5:30 my alarm went off.  My brain was so confused.  It took me a minute to figure out that it was Monday, and all administrators had to go into work in a few hours.  Naturally, I wasn’t too thrilled about that, but converted the negative energy into motivation.  I got to use my Biolite 330 Lumen No-Bounce headlamp for the second time, which gave me a little energy boost.  The run started off great, then started to rain pretty hard about 3/4 the way in.  I used the frustration of being in the rain to push myself harder.

“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” – Roger Crawford

While we cannot control our circumstances, we can control our response.  Use the good and bad in your life as motivation to push yourself to rise above your circumstance.  By doing this, you will find much more satisfaction in your life and go on to do great things.

Day 11, March 24

For the past week and a half I’ve been talking about overcoming circumstances with your mindset and following your heart to make a difference in the lives of those around you.  Today I needed to follow my body.  I had the weirdest feeling this morning.  I woke up at 5:30, got dressed to run, made the bed, and then something inside me told me not to go out this morning.  Nothing in me hurt or felt particularly off, but something in me was absolutely convicted that I absolutely should not go.  Unable to really put my finger on it, I listened to my body and rested.

Day 12 March 25

Walk/Jog 2.47  miles.  13.25 pace.  I was highly frustrated this morning.  I woke early to go exercise, got out on the road in the dark and started to jog.  Something just didn’t feel right, & my body refused to cooperate.  I think my lungs were the only part of my body ready to cooperate.  My jogging today was minimal, so I ended up walking nearly the whole time.  Since I was forced to slow my pace, I adjusted and did a longer route, which gave me a longer time to think what I was going to write today.  I was able to come up with today’s lesson quite easily.

“You can lie to me, but you can’t lie to yourself.” – Pete Tuiasosopo (former teammate of mine)

I could have made something up and posted it here.  But why? Oddly enough, yesterday I worked together with the Athletic Directors from Westlake and Thousand Oaks to come up with a unified standard on how student athletes who are enrolled in an in-season or off-season athletics classes will earn a grade.  Athletes will have to log in the amount of time they were active.  Unable to verify, we have to trust athletes will be truthful with themselves and report how much they actually did. The number of hours they input are completely on their honor.  We trust their true character will be reflected in the time they state.

Edit:  Still unhappy with my morning workout, I got back out on the road when I got home from the office and jog/walked for another 2.47 miles at a 12:45 pace.  Not great, but far better than this morning, and the overall mileage for the day more than double my daily average. Picture of me saying, “No.”  I had a setback this morning,but I’m not giving up without a fight.

 

 

Day 13 March 26

Walk/Jog 2.22  miles.  13.35 pace  Word of the day:  Frustration.  I didn’t run this morning.  Waited until after school hours to get a run in.  Felt good to go.  Got out there, and my ear buds were dead and wouldn’t connect.  Oh well, I figured I’d be more in touch with my surroundings.  Then I started to jog and my lung capacity was just not there.  I was gasping for breath (much more than normal for this outta shape big guy).  I went for about a half mile, turned around, went home, took off my good running shoes and put on my old running shoes that I now use for my (power) walks.  At least I got some steps in today.  I already knew what today’s message was going to be, and it ties right into my frustration.

On Tuesday night, someone chose to sabotage the CVUSD board meeting that had to be done via video conference due to the current restrictions.  Before the meeting was able to start, this person chose to use profane and racist language, and add inappropriate images for all to see.  On a much smaller scale, we have had teachers report similar incidences happening during their online lessons.  Cowards hide behind a false name and attempt to sabotage their online classes.  It’s not just happening at NP, it’s happening all over the US.  Now many teachers aren’t using video conferencing, which can be such a wonderful tool, especially because it allows students to have the next best thing to face to face conversations in the classroom.  It needs to stop!  It saddens me deeply there are people who are so self-centered and don’t even think about or care about anyone else’s education.  They steal the freedoms the rest of us value and screw it up for everyone.  It’s a microcosm of the what’s happening with citizens who refuse to follow societal norms, such as social distancing.  They screw it up for the rest of us, and the powers that be are forced to make more restrictive rules that strip everyone’s freedoms.  At what point will they learn?  Hopefully before our federal, state, and local governments are forced to take the most restrictive of actions….

Day 14 March 27

Jog/walk 2.66  miles.  12.20 pace + a 1.65 mile walk earlier in the day with the wifey.  My pace was actually much better, but I always forget to pause my Google Fit when I stop to talk to neighbors! Oh well, I’m still very happy with the results.  Today was a good day out on the road.  Started a longer route today that had a good hill to run up.  Today was the first day my legs were pretty rubbery at the end of the run.  Haven’t had that feeling in a while, and in a sick sort of way, I kinda appreciate it.  It’s an indicator that I pushed myself harder today.

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines how well you do it.”  – Lou Holtz

My ability is nowhere near what it used to be, or what most of you can do.  I accept that and will continue to work to improve.  My motivation fluctuates day to day, and I wish it were more consistent.  I’m working on that too.  My attitude has been my saving grace through this pandemic.  Hopefully this has been evident.  As I continue to intentionally improve all three of these areas, I sincerely hope you do too.

Day 15 March 28

Hike 1.4 miles.  Hundreds of times I’ve driven by that trail on Hillcrest between Westlake and Skyline that goes straight up the side of a hill in the Hillcrest Open Space Reserve.  I woke up before sunrise and thought that would be a great morning hike for some crazy reason, and tackled that beast!  I dusted off my hiking boots since I hadn’t hiked in quite some time.  The trail was not muddy whatsoever, and was in good shape.  I think I’ll wear running shoes next time…yes next time! Maintained my social distancing with the 8 other people I came across the trail.  I got to watch the sunrise, take a few pictures, and record a quick clip as part of a video our coaches are putting together.  Stay Tuned!

“By always looking out and always moving myself forward and being disciplined and being open to new experiences, I think that’s how I was able to diversify because it felt right to me creatively.  I went for it.  It didn’t matter if I knew how to do that, I just did it because my creative heart felt pulled to it.” – Merle Dandridge

I encourage you to try new experiences in your journey during these uncertain times when you have more free time to do the things that you haven’t been able to because of your busy life.  Get out and live!  We are so blessed to be surrounded by so much beauty.  Diversify you experiences and enjoy the beauty we have taken for granted for so long.

Edit: less than an hour after posting, I learned the Conejo Open Space Foundation has closed all trails in the area.  So sad to hear this.  So grateful to have the opportunity to get out this morning.

Another setback, but there are plenty of other ways for us to take in the beauty around us, and even create beauty around us.

Day 16 March 29

Went on a 4 mile brisk walk with the wifey this afternoon.  I knew my legs wouldn’t have much pep in them for a good run due to the 2 days of previous “hill work” I had done.  Just like yesterday, time to diversify and do something a little different.  It was a beautiful day with my beautiful wife so we decided to take in some natural and man made scenery.    We walked through our hilly neighborhood up and down roads we’ve only ever driven.  Got to look at many gorgeous homes for inspiration on landscaping and exterior paint colors.  You get to see so many more details when walking than you get when driving.

“So if you choose, even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities.  If you so choose, you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance.”  – Ralph Marston

I’m still disappointed about hearing the news that our local open space was closed yesterday, but I understand why.  With LA County closing down their trails and beaches, they were fearful of a massive influx of users onto our trails.  We hadn’t gotten out of the house as a family for a couple of weeks, so we traveled to the Ventura coastline and took in the beauty there as well (while we still can before that gets closed too).  It was nice to be able to get out of the house for a little bit and spend quality time and have a shared experience as a family.

Day 17 March 30

Oops, forgot to take a pic this morning.  Jog/walk 2.61  miles.  11.55 pace.  Got out at daybreak again today.  It was just me and a few of the early risers driving to work this morning.  Not a whole lot of strength in my legs (today is the day after the day after the hike up the hill.  We ALL know about the day after the day after….).  But why do I even bother to push myself?  I’m old, out of shape, and of all things, definitely not a runner!  This frame of mine was not built for this! I don’t have any event or competition I’m training for. So what drives me?

“People with a growth mindset believe they can improve with effort.  They outperform those with a fixed mindset…because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.” – Travis Bradberry

Back on Day 1, March 14, I stated, “I find solace and complete satisfaction in focusing the process – I got up off the couch, out of the house, and worked out!  This switch from being results-oriented to process-oriented has been such a key mindset shift that I’m learning.”  Why do we try to improve at anything?  Why do we value learning moreso after we aren’t required to?  Admit it, you hated reading more when you had to do it for a class!  We all did.  For me, it’s all about growing, improving, and striving to be better in some aspect of my life.  Some moments I focus on the physical.some moments I focus on the mental, and not nearly enough of my focus is on the spiritual.  There are a lot of things I don’t have control over, especially in these chaotic times.  My mindset I do.  To be continued….

Day 18 March 31

As usual, I jogged the flats and uphills, walk the downhills 2.64  miles.  11.45 pace.  Surprised my pace was that fast.  I felt like I was really struggling today.  The struggle was real!  But I persevered through it all, thus the smile on my face in the picture to the left.  I focused on the process during the whole workout and didn’t worry about the outcome.  Shockingly, I achieved a result I am pleased with.

I want to share an email that I sent about a month ago to a senior NPHS athlete after meeting with him.  One of the topics of the meeting was asking this spring sport athlete who is one of the best in the league where he got his satisfaction in sports.  He told me he was only truly satisfied when he won.  I drilled down a bit and asked if he got any satisfaction by seeing personal improvement in his game, and asked him why he practiced.  He was adamant that the only satisfaction he got was from winning, and that was the sole reason he practiced.  Now that he is no longer competing because the season is essentially over, he has no one to beat.  This email becomes even more relevant than ever:

Dear (student)

I couldn’t help but perseverate on our conversation today, and it got me to thinking about Nico Young, an NPHS athlete who is currently the fastest high school distance runner in the nation.  Did you hear that he came in LAST place in a race recently?  No, really, he did!

Granted, he was racing with the best of the best, both collegiate and professional athletes.  He was the last athlete to cross the finish line.  He came in last.  Yet he broke 4 national high school records in the process!  Was he really competing against the other athletes on the track, or was he competing against the clock/records/personal achievement?

Rhetorical questions for you to reflect on (and never need to tell me an answer):

Scenario #1:  If you were in a parallel situation with (sport), playing against collegiate & professional players, how would you have felt with the result?  How would you have responded?  How satisfied would you have been with your performance?  Would you have found joy in your (game), or focused on the fact that you came in last place?

Scenario #2:  Same situation but you hadn’t broken a national record.  However, you (broke a personal record).  How would you have felt with the result?  How would you have responded?  How satisfied would you have been with your performance?  Would you have found joy in your (sport), or focused on the fact that you came in last place?

Scenario #3:  Completely different situation.  You’re playing against me and several other guys that clearly have absolutely no skill.  For whatever reason, you play horribly, maybe the worst game you’ve had in years…if not ever… but you still (win).  How would you have felt with the result?  How do you think you would have responded?  How satisfied would you have been with your performance?  Would you have found frustration with your (game) or focused on the fact that you came in first place?

My intention is to get you in touch with what drives people.  Humans are motivated in many ways.  I’m not implying that your motivations are wrong, but just want you to expand your thinking and be aware that people can find major success and joy in process-oriented thinking versus outcome-oriented thinking to achieve satisfaction and maximum results.

Have a phenomenal season!

Sincerely,

Michael Godfrey

Assistant Principal, Athletics

Day 19 April 1

I had planned to ride my bike to work today, but forgot to pull it out yesterday.   Had a horrid night’s sleep last night.  Was pretty grumpy most of the day, and decided not to work out today.  However, I prepared my bike for my ride to work tomorrow.  It’s been several years since that thing has seen some love, so I got my mountain bike-turned-commuter.  New tubes, road tires, a good wipedown, brake check, chain lube, and got all of my accessories back on board.  I’m excited to ride to school, about 7 miles each way.  I had done it fairly often when I worked at Pacifica and rode from my home in Ventura.  Thousand Oaks isn’t quite as flat, so I anticipate struggling through the gears a little more than before.  Today, I drove the route I plan on taking tomorrow.  There’s couple of stretches of Hillcrest where there is no bike lane, but the road was so empty, so it should be safer than under normal circumstances.

Day 20 April 2

Heck Yeah!  15 miles round trip from home to NP & back home.  Felt good to get back in the saddle again.  I didn’t break any land speed records today (the yellow jersey was purchased, not earned!), but was very pleased with my performance.  Passed out Chromebooks to families from our cluster schools on the final day at Newbury Park.  Once we finished that, a few of us started to put the high jump and pole vault pits away now that the season is unofficially over.  However, rain from a few weeks ago found its way into most of the pit sections, so we stood them on their sides to drain overnight.  Those things are really HEAVY when wet!

“We all have those things that even in the midst of stress and disarray, they energize us and give us renewed strength and purpose.  These are our passions.” – Adam Braun

Yesterday, schools from all over California were told that they would not reopen this school year.  It was a significant blow to many.  We can choose to focus on the negative, or choose to do things in our lives that bring us joy.  Today, I renewed my enjoyment of riding my bike.  I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a passion just yet (I gotta admit I stayed up late last night looking at biking accessories online), but it sure did energize me.  I’m so glad I got out on the road, despite it being years since last riding.  I actually did better than I expected, and today’s workout was .  another good workout that I can find satisfaction in.  What haven’t you done in your life for quite some time that used to energize you and give you strength and purpose?  I encourage you to try it once again and see if it re-energizes you, or renews your strength and purpose.  Perhaps you’ll renew a passion you once held dear.  We need those types of things in our lives right now.

Day 21 April 3

3 weeks.  Not really a milestone I wanted to celebrate.  Took it easy from the aerobic exercise today, but the day wasn’t a total loss.  Coach Klein, Plant Manager Kurt Scheffler, and custodian Brian Sheehan, and I took on the daunting task of getting 2 high jump pits and the pole vault pit into the Track shed.  It was the IMAX of Tetris, and let me tell you, those things were heavy!  We got some clean & jerk, dead lift, and bench press motions in trying to stuff and stack those big ol’ pads in there.

Today, CIF finally made the announcement that Spring Sports were officially cancelled.  Sad, sad day, but one I had been mentally preparing for since March 10, when the first local high school announced it was going to close for 2 weeks.  I’ve been preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.  As the Athletic Director, my heart breaks for our seniors, but sports is just a small part of life, and now is the time to focus on the big picture and take care of ourselves and each other by socially distancing ourselves as much as possible.  I refuse to let this consume me.

Resilience: the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth. – American Psychological Association (https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience)
Day 22 April 4

Still a little weary, I put on my walking shoes and went out for two power walks today.  One in the morning by myself (3.56 mi), and one in the evening with the wifey (2.84 mi) on what seemed like some of the steepest streets in TO! The picture on the left doesn’t do that hill enough justice!  So we can’t go to open space trails, but we certainly can catch some amazing views on the streets along the local hillsides and more rural areas, as evidenced by these two pictures near Erbes Rd.  You just have to think differently and adapt to the situation you have been given.

Today’s reflection:  I saw this on twitter today, and it really hits the nail on the head.  Determine where you are in the diagram.  Is it different than where you want and/or need to be?  What can you do differently to get you to where you want/need to be?

Day 23 April 5

   

4.9 mile walk with some major hill work once again, as evidenced by the fun pictures we took at the top of several hills.  We walked streets we had never seen before, streets that hug the hillsides.  Going uphill was more challenging, but the rewards (views) at the top of many of the streets were definitely worth the effort!  Plus, many of these hillside neighborhoods have incredible houses on them.  It seems kinda silly, but I really enjoy discovering new neighborhoods, so I am making it my mission to walk as many new (hilly) streets in my general vicinity as I can when I don’t feel like running.

“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.” – Rick Warren

The unprecedented valley of despair that we are in right now will be a factor in everyone’s transformation.  How that transformation manifests itself in you will be determined by your response to this valley.

Day 24 April 6

Rest day.  Had a horrendous sleep last night.  Fell asleep, and about 15 minutes later I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep.  Finally fell asleep sometime after 1 am.  Waking up at 6 is no bueno!  My psyche had a rough day as well.  Fortunately, we were prepared ahead of time and have needed to go out to the grocery store only once. Today, I swung by Costco, saw the line outside, and kept driving over to Smart N Final.  Being in LA County with the new mandatory mask rule was very surreal, and quite unnerving seeing everyone in masks.  This whole situation finally hit home for me.  I wasn’t mentally ready. Coupled with the weather and lack of sleep, today was an emotional setback for me.

Day 25 April 7

So I didn’t have the energy to exercise again today.  Another terrible night of sleep.  This whole ‘can’t get to sleep’ thing is the worst!  It’s been going on for about a week.  I’ve tried melatonin, not eating after 8, my diet is fairly low carb, and I don’t eat sugars.  Perhaps part of it is psychosomatic.  I’ve been feeling pressure in my lungs, especially at night.  However, I have no problem/pain taking deep breaths.  The rainy weather during the day hasn’t helped my attitude either.  I need to do more activities inside.  All of my activities have been outside, and I’m not dedicated enough to exercise in the rain.

One thing I have been doing for the past few weeks is upping my intake of vitamins and supplements, trying to be a bad host for the virus.  I take half in the morning and half at around lunch time.  I’m no doctor, so I’m not recommending any of these things, nor any brands, just sharing what I’ve been taking and why.  Do your own research and consult with your doctor.

Vitamin B – immune system

Niacinamide (form of B3)– my dermatologist told me that studies have shown it to reduce some skin cancers (I’ve had several basal cell removals, including a fairly major removal and reconstruction of my left ear)

Vitamin C powder/Emergen-C – I add some to whenever I take my electrolyte drink or even just plain water.

Vitamin D3 – mineral absorption, immune system

Vitamin K – bone & cardiovascular health

Magnesium – bone & cardiovascular health

Move Free – Joint health

NAC – Lung health

Oregano Oil – Immune system

Zinc – Immune system

Day 26 April 8

Jogged (I use the term loosely) the flats and uphills, walked the downhills 1.87  miles.  11.35 pace.  Absolutely shocking because, despite me doubting that I would be able to run at all, I felt like I was jogging at a snail’s pace (for most of y’all 11:35 is a snail’s pace!).  Focus on the process, Godfrey.  Focus on the process.  I did more than the last 2 days combined, so that’s a win! Finally got a decent night’s sleep, but am still trying to recover from overall sleep deprivation.  Was in a fairly bad mood all day, didn’t get out of the house until late afternoon.  I had 4 online meetings today.  None of them were bad, but I let exhaustion get to me.  I need to get up earlier to exercise before starting my job from my dining room.  Need to renew my morning routine.  Time to get back to work on my attitude and mindset.  Tomorrow is a new day.

Day 27 April 9

Today’s a new day, as promised.  For that, I’m thankful.   I had multiple Zoom meetings once again today, and with the rainy weather all day, I really didn’t feel like doing anything…once again.  Then I received an email from one of our female lacrosse athletes (who shall remain unnamed so she doesn’t get teased for reading my posts!).  She told me that she’s been reading my entries (that probably makes about 3 people), was grateful for the inspiration I had been giving her, and encouraged me to get get back at it.  She almost brought tears to my eyes, but absolutely made my day, and made me not use the rain as an excuse: I got an indoor workout in.  I am thankful that my wife is a Beachbody On Demand Coach, so we have access to numerous workouts and I chose one.  Kicked my rear, and I’m sure I’ll be quite sore in 2 days.  FYI, I’ve heard they have all sorts of free workouts during the pandemic at https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/beachbody-free-workouts.  This has no ties to my wife and I receive no benefit either.  It’s just a possible change-up for ya if you are in a rut or are looking for something different.

I’m so thankful for Spring Break.  It’s been extremely difficult for admin not to perseverate on the pandemic’s effect on school 24/7.  We just haven’t been able to ‘turn it off.’  Looking forward to that opportunity…and the promise of better weather all week!  What a blessing!

Here’s a fun Thank You Video that the NPHS Admin team made for our faculty and staff today:

Day 28 April 10

Wow.  That picture looked so much better in my mind…SMH

Today is Good Friday.  Perfectly named.  Still on my inspirational high from Elise’s email (yeah, I burned ya out!) from yesterday, I continue to be thankful for so much.  I’m thankful that the rain abated for a few hours this morning and I was motivated to get out there and push myself: 2.67  miles at a 10.55 pace: One of my top 3 paces since starting this almost a month ago! Felt great when I took that picture and proud of the effort I was able to give today.  I had only one Zoom meeting today: checking in with our varsity head coaches.  Otherwise, I’ve done a pretty good job today distancing myself from the stressful thoughts of school.  It kinda feels like a break…Spring Break!  Also, I’m thankful to be able to compartmentalize my thoughts…so far.

Good Friday has another special meaning for me:  It was on this day 20 years ago that I proposed to my (now) wife on the Ventura Pier!  One of the smartest moves I ever made!  I’m so blessed to have her in my life.  The things I’ve mentioned in these posts over the past month are just a small fraction of the things I am thankful for.

Day 29 April 11

OMG, what a beautiful day!  Everything was near perfect.  Went for a walk with my daughter: 3.06 miles with some significant hills (as evidenced by the pics). What a treat to spend some quality time with my daughter.  Several highlights included: the time spent together, the conversations, the views, the video she shot at the top of a hill, and the walk by all of the baby goats at one of the residences.

Today is the dreaded day after the day after.  I did that Beachbody workout 2 days ago, and muscles I haven’t used in a long time are quite sore, as expected.  There’s a big difference between pain and injury.

“Pain is weakness leaving the body.” – John Bradshaw (my JC football coach)

I’ll continue to step out of my comfort zone.  I hope to incorporate more weights and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in the coming days and weeks, but prefer to be outside and will continue to spend time out an about.  I’m more of a field mouse than a gym rat.  I will be more intentional to spend more of these moments with my kids.  I hope you are able to spend some special moments with your loved ones and connecting with them in new and interesting ways.

Day 30 April 12

Day 30?  Seriously?!?! What did I get myself into?!  Just kidding.  Happy Easter, everyone!  Got in an Easter morning walk with the wifey, 4.43 miles, with hills, of course.  If I ever get a chance to run or walk in a completely flat area, I won’t know what to do!  So many open space trails connect to the streets that we’ve been walking, and I’d love to get back onto the dirt for some hikes, but we’ll just have to wait until the social distancing orders are eased for local open areas. I’m happy to sacrifice some of my freedoms to keep my family, friends, and community safer.

I was never a very good writer or the philosophical type. The mathematical, logical side of my brain is much more developed. My infinitesimal sacrifice mentioned above is my poorly developed segue and theme for today.  His sacrifice is the reason we celebrate Easter, and we too shall rise from our resting places when this whole thing is over, hopefully for the betterment of mankind.

Day 40 April 22

Sorry it’s been a while.  I promise I haven’t given up.  Here’s what’s transpired in the past week:

April 14 – I killed it with a 10:10 pace for 3.17 miles!  Full disclosure: I did stop 2x to talk to neighbors for a decent amount of time and remembered to pause my workout on Fit.  Regardless, I felt great while running, as would have had a great pace without the breaks.

I’ve had some sleep and other health concerns I needed to address, so I took a break from specific workouts.  The rest of Spring Break, the majority of my days were spent working on the property.  Considering we have quite a bit of land, this was no small task! The 15th & 16th were spent converting our pond in the backyard back to a pool.  It was considerably green, and it took a lot of hard work to get it looking pristine again.  Now, all we need is a heater so we can actually enjoy being in it!  Brrrr!  The next 2 days involved doing Spring Cleaning and Honey-Do projects around the house.  The remainder of the break was spent in the backyard cutting down chest-high weeds all the way down to the dirt, digging up and removing the stumps of bushes and small trees, cleaning & spraying backyard furniture with bug spray to make the area usable.  The backyard had been completely ignored since last summer to get an idea of how overgrown everything was!  I’ve been working on it in the evenings this week as well, because there is still much to do!  While this exercise didn’t have as high of an aerobic component to it, I actually had many more activity minutes every day and got more steps in than the days I run!  I even managed to shave off a pound of weight in the last week, so I’m doing something right!

I wanted to run yesterday before heading out to the school to pass out lawn signs to our seniors, but had another bad night of sleep.  Today I was a little worried about how well I would do.  It had been a week since I last pushed myself running.  I didn’t have much confidence in my aerobic capacity, but I woke up at 6:00 am and got out on the road.  To my surprise, I did much better than I expected:  11:35 pace for 2.66 miles on my usual hill route.  My legs felt heavy, which I didn’t expect, but I was much happier to have that problem than any other.  I feel so much better having put in the effort this morning, and am glad I got back out there

“Take each day as its own day, and don’t worry about it if you mess up one day.  The most important thing you can do is just get back up on the horse.” Henry Cloud
Day 41 April 23

Rode the bike to and from school to pass out lawn signs and decals to seniors.  14.23 miles total, 13 mph avg on the way there, 9.95 on the way back.  I hit several more red lights on the way home (Google Fit doesn’t auto-pause, unfortunately), I was a little worn out after taking about 12k steps around campus today, and there’s more incline on the way home.  Oh, and it was HOT outside!  I had two offers from peers this morning to throw my bike in the back of their truck and get a ride instead of cycling home.  I’m glad I sucked it up!  The heat didn’t really get to me until about 1/2 mile from home (which is almost all uphill for the remainder of the ride).  Anyways, I survived.

As I was riding to school this morning, some skinny cyclist on a real road bike zipped right past me going up a hill.  It must be nice!  My massive body frame was not built for biking up hills!

Lots of exciting things in store for NPHS now there’s so much time that there’s no school on campus.  The rusty rain gutters have all been removed and are in the process of being replaced.  I got to provide input for the major facelift that the school will be getting.  That’s’ right, every building will be getting painted, and I am so excited to see how it turns out!  I don’t want to give anything away, but the outside aesthetic will be VERY different, and something that we can be proud of.  The custodial & maintenance crew has been up on a scissor lift removing the high volume of dust that has shared to the ceiling over the years.  They are only halfway done, and the difference is incredible.  They have also replaced the safety harnesses for all of the basketball backboards in the gym.  Three new water stations are scheduled to be installed on campus, including one in the gym!  Lots of silver linings to be thankful for!  Lots of little wins that need to be acknowledged.

“I’m counting every silver lining I can get.” – Dabo Swinney (Clemson Head Football Coach)
Day 45 April 27

So I’m finding it difficult to check in as often as I was before Spring Break, as I have been doing more things around the house/property.  I’ve actually been active for many more minutes than before, it’s just not aerobic activity. Take for instance yesterday;  I was up and down a ladder all morning stringing up strands of solar lights on our multi-trunk tree in the backyard.  According to my phone, I climbed the equivalent of 57 floors.  I’m busy around the house, but it’s not much to report about and probably not very motivational for others.  However, it’s been activity that has led to visible changes and has brought joy and enjoyment to our lives.  If we’re going to have to stay at home, we might as well spruce the place up!

“Look for joy in your life; it’s not always easy to find.” – Charles Kerault

I got up at 6 am this morning and did my run/walk route: 2.66 miles at an 11:15 pace.  I struggled a bit, but had an improved pace from my last run.  Glad I got up early, and plan to be more regular about it.  It’s much easier to motivate when it’s not so hot outside.  Although I’m not a fan of waking up early (well, 6 really isn’t all that early), I find joy in my sense of accomplishment.  Once I get my heart rate down, my mornings are much more energized. My overall mood for the rest of the day is better.  This past month and a half, I have forced myself to look for joy.  I’ve found it, and often it’s always been right there in front of me, I just wasn’t looking for it.  Intentionally look joy in your day today.  It’s there.  You may have to do some work to find it, but it’s there.

 

Day 47 April 29

I was frustrated with myself yesterday.  I originally planned to bike to NP again, but I needed to pick up a ceiling fan at Home Depot, and riding through Thousand Oaks on a bike with a big box strapped on the back would be a little awkward, difficult, and quite suspect!  I should have run in the morning instead.  But I couldn’t muster the energy to do so, and I’m finding less and less motivation after school hours in the late afternoons and evenings.  Yes, administrators still work our normal hours every day at a minimum.

 “If you don’t find the time, if you don’t do the work, you don’t get the results.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

I was determined to push myself to compete today, so I went running soon after waking up.  I think I got as many steps in before 8 am today as I did all day yesterday! Today was the first day that I set a specific goal for myself:  11:00 mile.  I had a goal this morning of an average 11;00 mile.  I ran/walked 2.94 miles at exactly 11:00 without having to try to catch up at the end, so I’m pleased with achieving my goal.

Apparently my wife signed us all up for a virtual 5K this weekend. What a great idea!  Proceeds benefit local kids with disabilities through a local church.  We can participate anywhere and anytime we want on Saturday.  They mailed out a shirt and medal (meh!).   I’m so much more excited about the prospect of running and pushing myself on Saturday.  I plan to run on a flat “course” and am curious how much different that time will be from the hilly course I normally work out on.