Motivational Shoes

This year, as I have said before, I plan on running in my first full marathon. Training for that particular race isn’t set to start until February 13th, 2017 but in my mind, I’ve already started training. It’s almost like I’m training to get prepared for training.

I’m starting this new year and new training plan with a new pair of shoes. I tend to buy new shoes fairly often because as soon as I start getting shin splints, I know I need new ones. In the past, I have been mostly a fan of Asics but two half marathons ago I had an excellent pair of New Balance shoes that I still love to wear but are not “road ready”. I recently purchased a pair of New Balance M720’s for the first bit of my training (I’m anticipating having to buy at least one more pair prior to the marathon).

As a present from Kait, I received shoe tags that provide some motivation for me as I run. One says, “Keep Going” and the other says, “You’ve got this”. I was spending some time thinking about it and I think these are a great idea. In the middle of a run, your feet or legs may be tired and close to failure. You want to stop. But when you look down at the things that are causing you pain, they are a source of motivation and inspiration, telling you you can do it and you can keep going. I think that is just great and I’m really glad I have them on my shoes. It’s day one of 2017 and I am really looking forward to seeing how far my running takes me this year.img_3843


New Year, New Goals

It is officially 2017! Looking back at the past year, a lot has happened in my fitness and running life. Here’s a look at 2016 by the numbers.

  1. I ran 13 races this year.
  2. Seven of my 13 races were races I did for the first time.
  3. I ran races in a total of 4 different states (Ohio, California, Louisiana, and North Carolina)
  4. I ran 3 half marathons, bringing up my total to 5.
  5. I was unsuccessful at PR’ing this year, so that number is a 0.
  6. I played my first season of professional women’s football.
  7. I got to be in 2 games for a total of 7 plays. I also had my first tackle during a game.
  8. I only had one injury during football (tore my UCL in my elbow). I was able to avoid having surgery because I am left handed and I tore it in my right.

Looking at these numbers, there is a lot that I know I can work on. 2017 is the year of my first full marathon. I will be running the Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon in June. Because my training for that is going to be very time consuming, I’ve decided (after much debate with myself) that I’m stepping away from football for the season to focus my effort on running. Training starts in February and I’m very excited!

Other goals for 2017:

  1. Start a Master’s program.
  2. Read 25 books.
  3. Update my website weekly.
  4. Spend more time with my Grandma.

The Evolution of My PE Philosophy

IMG_2244I didn’t always know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Even when I got to college, being a PE teacher wasn’t quite on my radar until I took a few courses in Kinesiology and realized that I wanted to work with kids on their fitness. You can find out more about that story HERE.

One of the first assignments I had to do once I changed my major from Exercise Science to Physical Education Teacher Education was to write about my philosophy of physical education. I will admit, this seemed a little odd. I hadn’t spend more than a semester in PE related courses yet. How could I have a philosophy? Looking back now, I can see that writing that assignment when I did put some things into perspective, at least for me. 

Why was I becoming a PE teacher? What did I think, at this point in my schooling, was important in a successful PE program? Was I becoming a PE teacher for the right reasons?

I recently pulled out that assignment and looked it over. I’m not going to bore you with all 10 pages that I submitted but I pulled a few excerpts for your perusal. This was written on November 22nd, 2010.

Physical education is much more than giving students a basketball or dodgeball and saying “Go play”. Physical education is just as important as math or science or reading within the curriculum even though many school administrators believe otherwise. It is because past physical educators have led those who now control the fate of the physical education programs in the United States to believe that physical education is nothing more than dodgeball and embarrassing activities that show their inferiority in movement which has made physical education take a back seat to core subjects like math and science. New programs are now preparing future physical educators to do much more than just “roll out the ball”.

Physical education is not about beating each other up with dodgeballs or embarrassing people who are not proficient in moving. Physical education is about creating a sense of accomplishment and teamwork as students strive to enhance their abilities in not only sports such as basketball or soccer, but their movement in general and to provide them with information and motivation to become healthy individuals who do not dread moving.

Overall, my philosophy of physical education is that you are there to learn to move and that you must move to learn. Physical education is about much more than playing dodgeball and embarrassing people. It is about providing students with skills and confidence to move and perform throughout their entire life, no matter how it is that they are choosing to move. Physical education is about helping students work cooperatively, not competitively. It is an outlet for students to burn off energy and learn how to live healthily. Physical education is as important, if not more important, than any other core subject because it provides them with fundamental skills and information that they can use their whole life.

I wanted to teach my students new sports that they hadn’t been exposed to yet. I wanted to inspire them to love moving. I still want to do those things. I still love to play. The one biggest change that has hit my philosophy is the concept and importance of fitness.

Do I think students need to learn sports? Absolutely. They are great fun. Most students love them. But when I really think about it, which would I rather have; a student who leaves my class knowing what a face-off in hockey is, or a student who understands what cardiovascular endurance is and how to improve or maintain it?

That’s an easy question.

What I’m not saying is, “Let’s take the sports out of PE”. I would rather use sports as a catalyst for teaching fitness concepts. One of the greatest examples of utilizing this idea of a sports-and-fitness combination is the curriculum base called “Focused Fitness”. I was first introduced to this curriculum after the district in which I teach became part of a PEP Grant. We’ve had multiple trainings on using the curriculum and I’ve been a huge fan since day one. 

The part of the Focused Fitness curriculum that strikes me as so important is their mission to “Make students their own personal trainers and nutritionists”. That should be everyone’s goal, right? Yeah, its cool that they know how to play hockey or basketball, but knowing how to be active and healthy once I’m not around? Knowing how to maintain or improve flexibility or muscular endurance? That is key. That is what is going to be the most beneficial to my students in the long run which is now why it is the core of my PE philosophy. 

If you would like more information about Focused Fitness, check out their website, You can also check out their Twitter @focusedfitness2 or their YouTube channel, Focused Fitness.

How did I get here?

Sometimes when I’m sitting at my desk in my office during my lunch or after school, I catch myself thinking, “How did I get here? Who decided it was a good idea to give me a roster of kids and a classroom and a gym?”. It seems pretty unreal that I went to school for 4 and a half years and now have a job doing something I’ve found passion in.IMG_1668

I can’t say that I’ve always known that I wanted to be a PE teacher, or even a teacher in general. Last summer I was talking to someone I went to high school with and when I told her I was a teacher she said she couldn’t believe it. I had too short of a temper to have the patience for kids. So how did I get here?

I can remember being in fifth grade and being really interested in exercise. I was athletic. I liked PE. I played a couple different sports. When I got into high school I was undecided as to what I wanted to be when I grew up. I considered going into the police academy. I wanted to do something with biology. My brain was all over the place. As I got closer to graduation, I went back to my interest in sports and exercise and decided to go in that direction.

This idea was put on pause momentarily when I had to have surgery on both of my legs for compartment syndrome. I thought, “If I don’t recover well from this, I can’t do anything fitness related.” That’s when I started working more towards architecture and engineering. Thankfully, I recovered from my surgery and have become an even stronger athlete for it. I went to Bowling Green State University for Exercise Science.

One of the first classes you take as an Exercise Science major is Intro to Kinesiology. This course was great in helping you learn and decide what kind of career field you wanted to go towards after graduation. There were a lot of possibilities; cardiac rehab, personal training, corporate fitness, physical therapy, occupational therapy. I just couldn’t get excited about doing any of those things. I did know that I liked working with kids (I was a highly sought after babysitter) and I liked to play and participate in sports. All these things led me to change my major after my first semester. And I never looked back.

OnPoster_hce I left Bowling Green, I immediately began to work towards a second teaching license in health.

Now, I am a teacher at one of the biggest districts in the state of Ohio. I’ve had people from other districts, the National School Board Association, and Apple come into both my health classroom and my gym to observe my lessons. I love that and encourage anyone to come visit anytime because I’m proud of the work I do and I am more than happy to share my ideas, lessons, and creativity with others.


Sunday RunDay: 12/20/15

Getting closer and closer to half marathon day!

Today was a first for this stint in half marathon training; it was snowy! It snowed quite a bit on Friday and Saturday but when I woke up today, no snow was on the roads. I still want to be safe when I run, as everyone should. I know that very few sidewalks would be cleared unlike the streets but Lori suggested I head to the bike path in Chardon because they plow them.

I thought this was a fantastic idea. I wouldn’t have to worry about cars and it has been a pretty long time since I’ve done that route. Perfect for my seven mile run today. Or so I thought. Unfortunately, while the

 path was plowed, it didn’t stop it from being slick with ice. I managed about a mile before I decided I needed a new venue.

I ran the last few miles of my seven in Lori’s neighborhood and beyond. I felt pretty great. I love running in colder weather. I ran in this same neighborhood earlier in the week because I was running later and it was dark out (again, trying to keep myself safe). Lori’s street was decorated for Christmas by so many houses. It was nice to see and a good distraction as I ran. I wish I had stopped to take some pictures.

One other fun fact about today is

 that it marks the nine year anniversary of the surgery I had on my legs for compartment syndrome. At that point in my life I never would have guess my legs would have run so much and had completed all of the races they have. I’ve come a long way.

Sunday RunDay: 12/13/15

Last official race of 2015 today and it was one of my favorites. Today I ran in the “Run, Santa, Run” 5k in Mentor, Ohio. This is the second year I have participated in this race and boy did it grow from last year. There were an estimated 1000 participants!

Last year, it was pretty chilly out during the race. There wasn’t any snow on the road and I don’t quite remember if there was snow on the grass or anything but I do remember that I had to wear a long sleeved shirt and pants as well as gloves and a hat while I ran. My time previously was 28:42 which was my fastest time of 2014. I was pretty pumped to finish my running season on that note.

Fast forward to this year and I finished in 27:18…and it was 65 degrees outside. I had a t-shirt and shorts on. It was actually pretty balmy. The sunIMG_2555 wasn’t out but this weather was perfect for my last race of the year (but not my last race of the season as I have my half marathon in Los Angeles coming up next month).

One of the goals I set forth for myself was to beat Lori. She is currently 5 months pregnant and was doing a lot of assuring me I would be passing her eventually since she hadn’t run more than 2 miles in quite some time. We started off together for about 2 seconds and then she took off. I had her in my sights for the first two miles and then I randomly lost her. She finished about a minute ahead of me. Not terrible, but still. I will say I am proud that she is still running at this point.

What I love about this race is that it is Christmas themed. I love Christmas and although I don’t dress up like other people do (like Santa or elves or Christmas trees), I like the shirt design of a Santa running and you get a Christmas hat and a glass with the logo. The glass is so you can partake in Christmas ale post race but I am not really a fan of that beverage. I’m sure IMG_2552next year we can’t bank on having great weather like this but I’ll take it where I can. It is much easier to convince myself to go for a run when it is in the sixties as opposed to being in the twenties.

The other fun part of today was after the race. Kait and I headed downtown to see the Browns take on the San Francisco 49ers. We won! It was a great day all around!

Athlete Profile: Ashley Pavicic

family race day 2Name: Ashley Pavicic

A short bio about yourself (where you are from, what you do for a living, favorite whatever)

I am a 30 year old wife, mother, teacher and most recently, A RUNNER! I grew up in Perry, OH and am proud to say that I’ve spent the past nine years as an elementary school Spanish teacher at my alma mater. I am a 2007 graduate of the University of Mount Union (GO PURPLE RAIDERS!!!!)! My favorite things (besides running) are baking, crafting and reading books on my Kindle! I also like to shop!!! I am married to my wonderful husband, Paul and together we have two sweet boys: Tommy (5) and Luke (2). We are also parents to a 6 year old yellow lab named Bernie. Our family likes to keep our social calendar busy because it truly makes our hearts full to be with friends and family!

How do you know Brittany?

I know Brittany and her family because we grew up in the same town of Perry, OH! I was also lucky enough to work with Brittany at Perry as she served as a sub on many occasions.

When did your running/fitness adventure begin and why (who or what convinced you you should run)?

A group of my girlfriends started the summer of 2015 with a small running challenge and invited me to participate! Even though “I didn’t have enough time” to run, I committed and powered through the month and the challenge of running thirty miles in June. Jessica, afinish line colleague and friend, suggested that I run a half marathon with her in the fall of 2015. She created a training plan that terrified me. When a “non runner” sees 10-11 mile runs on a training plan, she thinks “How will I ever…..?” Every run became a fun challenge – mapping the route, running a faster pace than the last run and finding out how far a double digit run could take me around the city of Mentor.

My fitness and health adventures have continued beyond running.  The running challenge group has since turned into an online Girlfriend’s Monthly Fitness Challenge group where we lift each other up, embrace imperfections and hard days, encourage healthy lifestyles from food to fitness to mental health and provide accountability!  For a mom of two and a full time teacher, this is the perfect venue to maintain my health!

 What is something you absolutely need to have for every run or workout?

   What I love about running is that I actually don’t need a lot to do it!  I can’t get through a workout without comfortable clothes, my iPhone with headphones, the MapMyRun app to track my progress and Pandora radio (on shuffle).  For long runs, I need a pre-planned route and a small water bottle; for my short runs I like the challenge of creating the route as I go.  I believe that your MINDSET is everything!  Whether my run is long or short, I set out knowing exactly what my goal is and with the attitude that I can do it no matter how tough it gets.    

    What is one of your biggest running pet peeves? (Ex: I hate when cars don’t move over or running without my headphones)

   I get most frustrated when I forget to turn on my running app or if someone calls and interrupts a good song while I am running!  I also learned on a rainy run this fall that it is super annoying to step in a puddle the first mile of your run…running in wet shoes and socks is NOT enjoyable!

What is your biggest motivation for running?

   I found that running really makes me FEEL GOOD!  I am a better mom, wife and teacher….an overall better ME when I make time to take care for myself.  Running gives me an opportunity to have time alone, get lost in music, let go of thoughts and worries and at the same time burn calories, colleen kingtone my body and become a healthier version of myself.

I know from experience that one can lead by example!  When I started running this summer and posting about it, I had several people private message me to tell me that my journey helped them to begin their own!  It is exciting that I can inspire people by running.  Of course, I hope that this example is carried through to the lives of my children, too!


What is the longest race you have done to date? What was your time?

My longest and ONLY race so far was the Towpath Half Marathon on October 11, 2015.  My time was 2 hours 6 minutes at an average pace of 9:38 per mile.  The Towpath was a beautiful, FLAT course and I highly recommend it for someone who wants to make a race debut.  Visit to check out the 2016 Trilogy series.

My sister in law, Mary Pat Pavicic, ran the race with me (and was third place overall female!!!!!), my co-worker, Jessica Miller also ran with me and I re-connected with a college friend, Colleen, through training and met up with her!  Running connected me to so many people!

What goals or aspirations do you have for your fitness or running adventure?

I don’t know how many races are in my future.  I don’t run to compete – I run to complete!  🙂  My goal is to maintain my running.  While I have been on a little bit of a hiatus after the race in October, I just started my plan to get back to running 2-4 days per week.  Since I started my running adventures, I have inspired my mom to start running, too.  She will start officially training for the Cleveland Half Marathon in January and my hope is that I can train with her!

What advice would you give to someone who says, “I’m not good at running” or “Running is boring/awful/hard/[insert negative connotation here]”?

quote and gear   I used to be THAT person that said “I’m not good at running” and “I’m not a runner!”  I even used the excuse “I don’t have time to run!”  I learned this past summer that ANYONE can become a runner!  If you’re looking for a good way to exercise without tools, an expensive commitment to a gym or a lot of time, running is a great option.  Taking one step at a time on that pavement can carve the way for your future in fitness and health!

Favorite race you have run to date?

Towpath Half Marathon – October 2015

Sunday RunDay: 12/6/15

Runkeeper’s Global 5k today, people! IMG_2518

Haven’t heard of the Global 5k? Runkeeper challenged the world to complete a 5k today. The cool thing about this race is that it could be run anytime, anywhere. Treadmill, beach, mountains, farm country. Anywhere. Tracking a 3.1 mile run or walk today entered you into the race. People all over the world are participating. I will have more numbers and stats for you later this week after the run officially closes.

I was slightly skeptical of my ability to bust out this super awesome 5k due to the fact that my runs have been a struggle lately. Last week I was only able to get in 1 mile on Sunday before my legs started to really bother me.IMG_2519 The following day I was able to successfully run 4 miles which made me feel a little better but I’m still frustrated. Being gone Wednesday through Friday this week on a conference trip, I didn’t take part in any running (just lots of stairs at the water park).

My official time for Runkeeper’s Global 5k was 32:00 flat. Holy snail pace! For me, at least. I’m blaming the fact that I dead lifted yesterday. My legs felt heavy. Because I am in the middle of training, I needed to do more than 3 miles. I stopped when I hit my 3.1 and walked a little bit before starting the app again and running the last three miles that I needed. I still felt heavy but I was able to gIMG_2520et all 6 miles in that I needed. Definitely progress from last week. Tomorrow I am thinking about looking to get new shoes. I have to figure this out. I hate being uncomfortable when I run. It makes it less enjoyable.

Next week marks my last race of 2015 with “Run, Santa, Run”! A nice, flat course with some cool gear to go along with it. Stay tuned for my final race results!

Athlete Profile: Katie Hartranft

IMG_0636Your Name: Katie E. Hartranft

A short bio about yourself (where you are from, what you do for a living, favorite whatever)

Hi, my name is Katie Hartranft and I am a graduate of Willoughby South High. I grew up in Eastlake, Ohio and have spent most of my life in this area. I have an undergraduate degree in Visual Arts and a Master’s of Education, both from CSU. I returned to school to obtain my Middle Childhood Math and Science Licensure and am now a 7th grade Science teacher at Ridge Middle School in Mentor, Ohio. I have been married for one year and have a stepdaughter named Eleanor, who is in 4th grade at Hayes Elementary school in Lakewood, Ohio. In my spare time, I like to spend time with my family and friends, workout, or enjoy a good book. My faith and church, Grace Church of Mentor, are very important to me and you will find me there often.

How do you know Brittany?

I know Brittany as a fellow teacher at Ridge Middle School.

When did your running/fitness adventure begin and why (who or what convinced you you should run)?

My running/fitness career started in 4th grade.  I attending a Catholic school where sports started in 4th grade.  I ran cross country and track starting in 4th grade and I’ve never stopped running.  As a 7th grader, I knew fitness was important to me so I took some strength training classes at the YMCA so that I knew how to use gym equipment and also what exercises impacted which muscle groups.  Running and working out has always been my go to activity to help me reach goals and find success.

What is something you absolutely need to have for every run or workout?

My family and running buddies think I’m a dork, but every run I go on, I wear a water belt so that I can stay hydrated and carry my cell phone for safety. I also wear a special watch that has a GPS chip that tracks my running speed and distance. I usually run with friends so we talk the entire run, but if I’m running by myself, I always listen to music. My final accessory is a hat, I hate sweat dripping onto my face, so a hat does the trick.

What is one of your biggest running pet peeves?

A big pet peeve of mine is when people dont say hello back. Every time I pass a person I say hello”or “good morning”when people don’t respond back it drives me crazy! I also don’t like when people don’t use running etiquette when passing others.

What is your biggest motivation for running?

I really enjoy meeting a goal. When I sign up for a race, it is motivation to get out there and run, even when its cold or rainy. When I finish a race, I feel accomplished and this is my motivation!

What is the longest race you have done to date? What was your time?

My longest run is a half marathon and my best time is 1 hour 57 minutes 43 seconds!

What goals or aspirations do you have for your fitness or running adventure? Although my running goals seem to shift with where I am in life, I think that at some point Id like to do a full marathon. Im not sure I will, but it is on the bucket list, which means I probably will, that is just how I work. As for fitness aspirations, I strive to always stay in shape and take care of my body. I had a great-grandma live to be 103 and to her end she was well enough to move around and interact, I want to be like her and that means taking care of my body.

What advice would you give to someone who says, “I’m not good at running” or “Running is boring/awful/hard/[insert negative connotation here]”?

Running is a mental game.  IF you say you “can’t”, you probably won’t.  So my advice is to be positive and set goals that are achievable.  SO if you have never run, set a goal to run for a minute the first time out.  Then gradually increase your goals.  It is a bad idea to set goals so far from your current situation and think you will achieve them, be reasonable and be positive!  Anyone can run, you just have to go out and do it.


Favorite race you have run to date?

My favorite race to date is the Chocolate Run in Columbus, it is a 15 k or 9.3 miles and at the end you get hot chocolate and chocolate candies and all sorts of stuff to dip into melted chocolate. If you like chocolate, this is a great race!