Striving For Your Personal Best

Step after step after step, the last 10 kilometers of a half marathon is always the toughest, especially when the half marathon comes after a 1.9km Swim and a 90-kilometer cycle! Your body is telling you, ‘Just walk Andy, it’s ok, no one will know. We will feel much better if you just walked’. Your heart rate is exploding, your muscles aching and your stomach is a cramp of sugar and liquid carbs used to create energy. Yet with each stride length, I was getting closer to the best 100 meters you are able to run, the coveted red carpet finish that is iconic of Ironman races.

Why do I push myself like this you may be asking? Because I have a chance of a personal best or a point of self-celebration or even a celebration of the achievement of just getting through the 16 weeks of intense training leading up to race day. Yet at the end of the event I smile, I recover and I start preparing for the next event coming along where I get a chance to be my personal best all over again. 

Competing in races has been a part of my makeup all of my life and it is not too different from my career as an educator.
– As an athlete, I dedicate 20-25 hours a week to being my best

– As an educator, I dedicate 40-50 hours a week to being my best

– As an athlete, I celebrate milestones

– As an educator, I celebrate milestones

– As an athlete, I fail many times during the weeks of training

– As an educator, I fail many times during the weeks of teaching

As you can see, and as you know all too well, sport and education run on parallel rails but create opportunities for flourishment and growth. Goal setting for short-term and long-term achievement is essential and knowing how to assess these is critical but don’t be too harsh on yourself if you did not make your goals. Exterior factors can alter your timeline of achievement. Just like Ironman training, I am often affected by the conditions around me. Mindset and self-forgiveness allow you to make friends of the negatives along the way to your personal best.

In schools in 2021, we live in a culture of uncertainty of forces we can not control.  Where we could exist peacefully in sacrificing some of our personal time for the sake of bettering ourselves as an educator may have shifted. As a result, our mindset may be feeling like we are not doing enough to find our personal excellence each day. Know that personal bests are real and that you matter. Know that together we are experiencing an education system that has shifted focus to a heavier understanding of personal resilience and inner strength and with these comes an amazing and beautiful opportunity for you to fall in love with yourself over and over. 

When you truly love yourself, your self-belief is endless and your personal best possibilities can grow from ZERO to HERO. Where are you on your journey and how are you going to reach your personal best next week, next month, or next year? How can you grow as an educator and as a person? Who is going to be your cheer squad and how will you celebrate your achievements? Go Hard, Go Strong and Go Passionately. 


Love you all

Andy Hair 

This microblog post was a featured post in #slowchathealth’s #microblogmonth event. You can search for all of the featured posts here. Please do follow each of the outstanding contributors on social media (including Andy Hair, the author of this post) and consider writing a microblog post of your own to be shared with the global audience of

Pair this blog post with:

13.1 Ways Quarantine Life is Like Running a Half-Marathon by Mike Roberts

You Can’t Pour From an Empty Bottle by Dale Sidebottom and Craig Daly

The Happiness Boomerang by Dale Sidebottom

Also, check out Dale Sidebottom’s new book – “All Work, No Play“, which is also a #slowchathealth Book of the Month.

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