Friday, November 21, 2008

2 years ago

2 years ago this week was the beginning of the relationship that would form the triathlon team.

A student, we'll call him Dustin, was in my geometry class my first year teaching. I made acomment that if 'they' didn't understand slope, they should have failed Algebra I. He came up to me (big, 6 foot plus football player) afterwards and admitted that he didn't know anything and had somehow slipped by.

So he came in for about six weeks every day at 7:30am and we went back to the basics. And the focus of the conversation was the occasional 'how's it going' etc.? But after a while, we started talking a bit more. I challenged him to do winter water polo, and he accepted (mostly because his girlfriend played water polo at that high school so he'd get to see her for 10 minutes before practice started.).

The week before Thanksgiving break, we decided to do some running to stay in shape between water polo/football ending and winter water polo. We decided to run the five miles between Fresno State and McLane. But he asked a few questions about life as we started, and we pretty much jogged/talked the entire way there and back. I was a new teacher, and he was thirsting for an adult to talk to. He's lived with his grandparents most of his life and because of the teacher-student relationship we had due to the math tutoring, the seed was planted. At the end of the run, he informed me we'd be doing it again the next day. And we did - more running, but still tons of talking before and after the run. I hardly said a word; just listened. I remember going up to my parents that first thanksgiving break being very excited about this new opportunity in teaching - already I could tell I was actually forming a helpful relationship with a real student. For sure the first teacher-student relationship of any substance.

The first day at water polopractice, even though he had a swimming background, he just about drowned, but started to get better. After six weeks he was a proficient water polo player. At one point I knew he was comfortable with me when he noted as we were running during Christmas break, "what kind of deodorant is that?"... could have been awkward but I thought it was quite disarming and showed the level of comfort he had with me and the other kids that were now running with us.

So we were sitting as a class before Christmas break in 2006 watching a movie, and he asked me the question as a teacher you want to always hear:

"So Mr. Dorman, what can you do to challenge me next?"

Prompted by my inability to compete with a friend in mountain biking a couple of months before, I suggested we try triathlons. We did an internet search and found the Ice Breaker Triathlon in April 2007. We learned that not all triathlons were ironman distance... but that there were sprint, olympic and half ironman distance ones too (news to us.). So without bikes, running shoes, or any idea of what was going to happen next, we set a practice schedule for Christmas break and shook hands.

And the Triathlon team was born.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving Break

It's almost thanksgiving break! We're doing imaginary numbers in class right now, and the kids seem to be kind of enjoying learning something cool. I'll be posting today's quiz up on my website with answers after the day is done.

Unfortunately, last night I went for a run and after about 2-3 miles, my left knee really started hurting again. IT Band. So I started walking and immediately iced it on both sides. Then i did some single-knee squats nice and slow to strengthen the muscles around it. I knew i'd been favoring my right side because of the plantar faciitis which hasn't been flaring up since the half marathon which is good news. So... a day or two more of rest and these exercises and I should be back on track for 20 miles by December 1st.

The guy in charge of things at Millerton is 'really' supposed to call today... the ladies in the office know it's me now when I call because I've left about 3 voice mails and called every day for the past week. I've also sent two emails... all of it talking about the splash and dash. I will be meeting with some more people tonight to talk about what needs to be done. This weekend I'll be looking over some documents with my dad (former attorney and registered CPA) in order to incorporate at the beginning of the year.

Some more donated bike gear came in yesterday! The plan is to bring in some bikes for repair on Tuesday of next week! run on monday at 2pm.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Ok, so after the marathon in February:

- I'll be doing as little racing as possible to save $$.

- Kids won't be doing Olympic Distances as much as possible.

The latter advice from a couple of leading USA Triathlon people, so I figure it's time to stick to it!

- Meetings every day this week regarding triathlon stuff; which is great but already getting a bit too busy. Good thing next week is thanksgiving break and I can try to get ahead on school stuff! (I'll make myself!).

- the back of my left knee started to hurt running yesterday. I iced it again today and then went also to a hot tub and did some walking/'running' motion stuff underwater. tomorrow will do absolutely nothing except go to a concert with meagan for a guy named Matthew West. very cool guy/music; we saw him in february too. best song is probably either 'More' and i really like 'life inside' and 'You are Everything'. he's a christian dude so if you're not into that don't be offended/you've been warned.

Starting next week I'm going to kinda recount the history/specific cool stories of the Tri club thus far. Two years already. just an FYI. I'm going to also work on growing the readership of this blog by trying to comment more on other's; I'd really like this to be a place for others starting up youth tri clubs/interested in the movement to be able to come for community and I've really been realizing lately that I do have a formidable leadership position in the Fresno tri community when it comes to kids doing triathlons. Time to really start developing my Program!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

social justice, environmentalism, and triathlons

Few things it seems to me are more connected than the aforementioned topics.

Triathletes swim in lakes/oceans, bike on roads and on trails, and run... well, everywhere.

And I see a lot of tri-companies promoting environmentalism. (blue-seventy changed their name to reflect the 70%ish nature of the Earth, etc.)

But I wanna see more. Not just because that is part of the focus of my new company to be formed in 2009 (a tentative mission statement reads:

"The goal of ________ is to enhance the lives of students in the Central Valley to experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in fun, safe, and supportive environments. Through challenging physical and social activities, we hope to foster a spirit of social and environmental justice in the lives of young people."

social justice is becoming more and more one of my life focuses (insight) - some focus on africa (google invisible children) and well, I focus here in Fresno and spreading that focus across california and perhaps further.

Today i was able to spend 4 hours at school grading papers and am all caught up. Now it's just a matter of doing a good job preparing for new lessons and good quizzes for the future. going to bed now to go on a nice run tomorrow morning...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

another half marathon

It still does strike me as somewhat odd when i felt myself thinking after sunday's race, "that wasn't that bad!"... or maybe it was when I realized I'd been running for over an hour and I wasn't even tired. of course, those things conspired together to mean my time on Sunday wasn't super fast - but just two days later I did 3 miles and could do them injury free still!

Of course, the real awesomeness of the day was that my student and athlete Albert Noyes finished with a time of 1:30! Wow! He arrived to the race site a bit late so was getting up to the line just as the gun went off, so raced hard to try to catch up to me... after about 5 miles he hadn't seen me so figured he'd passed me after all! And he had... but he kept running! he ended up placing 26th overall in a field of almost 2000 runners! this coach was very proud and hope that albert gets to recognition he deserves... just gotta keep his ego in check, his grades back up to the 3.0+ range, and ... no little alberts running around anytime soon! (sorry bad joke. albert's a great kid and i'm not worried about that really.)

Oh yeah, I got 1:59. At least I broke 2 hours :-) I'm going to run again tomorrow though and keep on trying to push myself both distance and speed wise for sure! Tomorrow probably will try to six miles if I'm still feeling ok and try to do another half marathon perhaps this coming weekend on my own and see how fast I can do it in. It's time to bust out my USAT Coach book and really put together a good plan for myself complete with goals and all that stuff... just as when I coach my students!

I was informed indirectly this weekend that fresno PAL will no longer be able to sponsor the Triathlon Club. This saddens me if it's true (hasn't been confirmed yet) but regardless, I will be creating a non-profit corporation soon in order to handle the Splash and Dash. So I've been looking a lot @ the IRS and Secretary of State websites for articles of incorporation, etc. I'll have my kids help me define purpose of the corporation as well as picking a good name... pretty exciting though too I think. Just adds to the work I'm trying to get done in the offseason. However I will be able to apply grants now too as a stand-alone 501c(3) instead of as part of PAL which will expedite the process of writing them and also reimbursement stuff because I'll have the finances under my control (as well as a Board of course!).

anyone with cool ideas for names?

teaching-wise, things are humming along in algebra II with factoring/translating quadratics. to me, more of what I remembered liking from algebra II and I think I did a good job preparing the kids for it when we spent a TON of time working with distributive property earlier in the semester as well as absolute value graphs/piecewise functions. Sorry non-math people reading this... basically what we're doing now is when you change where a graph goes.

Geometry is doing proofs and I have a cool activity for them tomorrow if I have time at lunch to finish it. if not, Friday. I'll have a sub Thursday as my small learning community, Turning Points Academy , meets.

names i'm thinking about include:
Youth Adventures
Fresno Triathlon Club
Youth Multisport

... something that demonstrates we don't just do (nor do we just want to do) triathlons/duathlons/aquathlons/races, but camping and living a healthy lifestyle is a big part of what we do too... things like community service, going to the zoo, etc... it all fits. and of course i wouldn't tell the kids, but the mentoring is the biggest focus part of it for me... it's the part that makes me committed to it all! (and often seeing their grades rise/attitudes get better simply because they've involved in something new/cool and have positive peer pressure as well as adult pressure to do their homework/study hard!)