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: 11/15/15

Week two of training is officially in the books!

I’ve been having some trouble this week with pain in my legs. Even on my other run days, my right leg starts to feel like I have shin splints. I can tell that my form is suffering when I start to feel it. My foot thumps into the ground, which I’m pretty sure isn’t helping the painful situation. Needless to say, I have been running pretty slow this week. At this point, I’m disappointed with how training has begun but I can find some positives in this as well; at least it isn’t the week before the race. I’m trying to figure out how to help myself. Stretching more before, during, and after a run hasn’t proven to be IMG_2440beneficial. The only other thing that I can think of is my shoes. I’ve run into this problem before where the new shoes I pick out feel good for the first couple of runs and then I find that they aren’t the right fit for my feet. I may give these shoes another week before I make the decision about whether or not I need to try out a new pair.

Anyway, back to today’s run. Seeing as how I was struggling with some pain, I had a pretty rough run. I ran from my house to the library down the street. There was a lot of walking involved. My right calf just felt tight and my ankle was bothering me. The weather was great though, around 55 degrees. Great day to be out. I got to the library which is about 2 miles from my house. I decided to walk a little bit to try to loosen up my leg a little bit before I started to run it out again. On the way back to my house, I was finally feeling in the groove and the pain was subsiding a little bit when a big reddish dog came charging off the front step of it’s house. It was barking and was following me. I did what I do anytime a dog comes after me, I just start walking. Walking seems less threatening than running. He (or she) wandered out into the street behind me. That’s another reason I walk. If the dog follows me, I don’t want it  to get hit by anything. Eventually, by the time I got to the edge of it’s yard he (or she) retreated back to the porch and I continued on my way.

I finished my run in just under 43 minutes. Definitely s a slow day but not the worse I have ever had. Whenever I have a day like this, I find that it’s important to remember that some days running is going to come really easy and feel really great and other days there is going to be a struggle (and some pain). You need the bad days to really enjoy the good days of running. Running isn’t a easy thing but the daily challenge is what makes it worth it.

Athlete Profile: Jakob Pezar

Your Name:

Jakob Pezar

About Jakob:

I am originally from Perry, Ohio but I currently live outside of Washington D.C. I work at George Mason University as an Office Manager for their International Programs Office and am also a student in the MBA program.

How do you know Brittany?

I went to school with Brittany from elementary school through high school.

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

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 6.50.35 PMI ran track and cross country in middle school and continued with track in high school. I really started running as something to do with my time when I wasn’t too busy with other sports and music programs. I would occasionally keep running in college because I found it to be a good way to clear my head and prepare for tests and assignments in my classes. I never really ran for exercise, so I was not always consistently running, but I always felt I was in shape enough where I could go out for a run keep up with whoever was running with me.

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

I definitely need to have my wireless headphones when I run. I enjoy the fresh air and the surrounding as I run, but I need my music to keep me going. It could be all of the years of band/choir/musicals in me, but being able to have a constant beat going help me to keep moving along. They do need to be my pair of wireless headphones, because the wires annoy me when I run and I don’t need those distractions. I also need to have my compression knee braces when I run. My knees got a little torn up after an incident with a racecar, and If I do not have these I feel my knees falling apart a mile into the run, but this doesn’t stop me from going out and running!

What is one of your biggest running pet peeves?

One of my biggest pet peeves when I run is coming across walkers. If I am running on a sidewalk or a path in the woods, the last thing I want to come across is a group of 4 or 5 people walking and talking while taking up the entire width of the sidewalk. If a sidewalk is supposed to be a shared area, then I feel it should be treated that way when it is being used by everyone; walkers, runners and bicyclists alike. This is the one thing that drives me crazy when I am out running, especially after running 5, 6 or even 7 miles.

What is your biggest motivation for running?

My biggest motivations are simply that I am competitive and I like getting cool medals. I am fortunate enough to not really need to run and exercise to lose weight or for health reasons, I am pretty lucky in that area. I like being able to do things where there are winners and losers after an activity. I like to be fast, whether it be faster than my competitors or even faster than my last time out, but
I like to feel that I can win. I also really don’t like looking like I am performing poorly in front of a crowd, so if I see people watching a race and cheering us all on, I always want to look good, fast and like I am doing a great job. Another major reason I run is because I like getting medals and free running shirts for completing races. I find that to be something fun, and I figure if it gets me out there to run and be healthy then that is even better.

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

My longest race is a half marathon I ran in Williamsburg. I once ran this as a weekend race with an 8K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. This was called the Patriot’s Challenge, and obviously I was going to be crazy enough to run both races. Doing this challenge allowed me to win a bonus medal, so that was all the motivation I needed to run those races. My best time for the half marathon so far is 2 hours and 11 minutes.

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

I would like to be able to run a few more half marathons and throw in some shorter ones for fun. I think I will eventually try to run one full marathon at some point, but that point is not here yet. Maybe if I see one in a cool destination with a neat medal that I really want that will be the time to run a full marathon.

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]”?

I do say that I’m not good at running, and running does get boring, but do as Phil Knight’s company says and “just do it”. Running is sometimes hard but I still do it because there are so many benefits to running. You have to find some outside motivation or reason to get out and run. As I said I like to feel like I have won and getting cool medals, so that gets me to run. It has plenty of other health benefits, maybe it helps you relax, maybe it helps you think through a situation, but I think everyone can find a good reason to go out and run. You don’t have to come across the finish line first, have the fastest time or run and lose 100 pounds. Find what motivates you and get out there, it’s fun when you cross the finish line!

Favorite race you have run to date?

My favorite race so far has been the Hard Cider 5K that I ran in Charlottesville, VA. The race took place through the woods and an apple orchard and when you finished you got a t-shirt, a unique medal and a free glass of hard cider. Once I saw that I could get the medal and shirt PLUS some hard cider I knew I was in! It was a surprisingly difficult race because of a huge deadly hill for the entire duration of the 2nd mile, but I finished near the front of my heat group and felt pretty good after the race. And as I said, the free cider didn’t hurt!

Sunday Runday: 11/1/15

It’s back! I know that I haven’t posted a Sunday Runday in approximately three weeks, but I’ve had good reasons. I haven’t been running on Sundays. Or Saturdays. Or much at all.

I have thoroughly been enjoying my time off from training. I get to sleep in an extra hour and a half and I’ve been able to catch up on some work for school. I even started some new projects both in writing and at school. It may seem like I have been lazy because I haven’t been running, but actually I have been quite productive.

Today is Sunday but I would like to talk about yesterday because it was Halloween and I had IMG_2431a race. But not just any race. My favorite race of the whole year; Hallodash. I’m not going to lie, the reason that this race is my favorite is slightly shallow. It isn’t because the course is great or because it is big or because people dress up for the race. It’s because the shirts they give out every year are super cool and always my favorite (Don’t believe me? Check out the shirts from the last 3 years). This race is also important to me because it is one that I have done the most times so far.

The first time I ran this race I completed it in 33:17. Last year, 29:37. This year I finished in 27:24. Not only did I beat my previous times, I also did something I never did before. I didn’t have to walk up the giant hill at mile 2.5 this time. That hill usually always gets me and I don’t have the drive or strength to run up it but yesterday I was determined to do it. And I did. I may not have placed, like I did last year, but I made progress.

Tomorrow I begin training for the Griffith Park Half Marathon in Los Angeles which is in January. I was definitely feeling a lack of motivation prior to to the race yesterday but I told Kait on the way home that I think running Hallodash got me pumped to start training again. Twelve weeks of dedication. Let’s do it!

Athlete Profile: Becca Levine

Name: Becca Levine

About Becca:

  • Becca Levine
  • Chardon, OH
  • Instructional Coach/Mentor Public Schools
  • Interests- Running/Exercise classes/Reading/Family-Friend time/My Dog

How does Becca know Brittany? We work together at Ridge Middle School!

When did Becca’s running/fitness adventure begin and why? I have always been athletic, but I began running in college with my roommates. It was a joint effort to stay healthy and encourage one and other.

What is something Becca absolutely need to have for every run or workout? MUSIC!!! I cannot run without it!

What is one of Becca’s biggest running pet peeves? One of my biggest running pet peeves is running next to someone wearing a lotBecca Picture of perfume! I hate having to breathe it in!

What is Becca’s biggest motivation for running? Running has always been about staying healthy and active.

What is the longest race Becca has done to date? The longest I ran was a 10K and I finished in 54 minutes!

What goals or aspirations does Becca have for her fitness or running adventure? I really want to continue making running a habit. Sometimes it becomes hard to keep going when work, family, ad other commitments take up my time.

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]”? I would venture a guess that they are not choosing the correct running venture to fit their personality. I would suggest themed races, running with groups, or taking a class at your local gym.

Favorite race you have run to date? I really enjoyed the South River Winery 10K through the grapevines!

Athlete Profile: Samantha Quinn

Name: Samantha Quinn

About Samantha: I grew up in Bowling Green, OH but currently live in Cincinnati. I work as a Health Fitness Specialist for EXOS Medifit, a Corporate Wellness company, at Humana. I help Humana’s associates stay active and healthy by helping run an onsite employee fitness center.

I played basketball, participated in track and field, and ran cross country in high school. After high school, I lost my focus on long distance running and picked up a new sport; rugby. One helluva sport filled with sprinting up and down a field, tackling, and rucking. Quite possibly one of the best decisions I made in college.

How Samantha knows Brittany: Brittany and I had a few classes together during undergrad. I also played rugby with her sister, Carolyn (or as the ruggers call her, Crash).

When did Samantha’s running/fitness adventure begin and why: I had a few friends and my track coaches coax me into running CC my junior year of high school. I did it to get my butt back in shape between basketball seasons and to hang out with some of my track teammates. Little did I know that I’d quit basketball my first year on the Varsity team to focus my time on running. Coaches Richard Morgan, Stephanie Schneider-Sims, and Cindy Stanfield were the three that really convinced me to give it a try and were also my biggest supportglass city half 2015ers and role models in high school.

What is something Samantha absolutely needs to have for every run or workout? My Brooks running shoes and my watch are definitely up there. But, I also NEED a pair of bottoms that are long enough to prevent chub rub. That is absolutely essential! Chafing for runners is the worst. Nike has some awesome shorts with built in compressions that help with that, by the way!

What is one of Samantha’s biggest running pet peeves? I really really don’t like it when cars are not cautious of runners. Example: cars who pull out of driveways too quickly before looking for pedestrians. I also have a strong dislike for those who turn right on red without looking when a runner or walker has the clear to cross the street.

What is Samantha’s biggest motivation for running? My mental and physical health. I’m a pizza and beer fanatic so I need some sort of activity to balance my sometimes poor eating choices. I love the feeling I get during and after a run. I have a better focus and mental clarity because my stress has significantly decreased. Running is also a time for me to pray and reflect on all of that God has done for me.

What is the longest race Samantha has done to date? A half marathon (3, soon to be 4) is my furthest and my best time was 2:11 in this year’s Queen Bee Half Marathon

What goals or aspirations does Samantha have for her fitness or running adventure? I plan on running my first marathon in April 2016. I told myself a couple years ago I’d do 26 miles before I turn 26. Well, it’s very “Sam like” to wait until the last minute to do it. The Glass City Marathon is on my 26th birthday this year.

What advice would Samantha give to someone who says, “I’m not good at running” or “Running is boring/awful/hard/[insert negative connotation here]”? Start small. You don’t have to be able to run 3 miles at once to be a runner. Throw on your favorite tunes and work on run/walk intervals to build yourself up. Those same intervals could also cure boredom for those who get bored with running easily.

Favorite race you have run to date? Queen bee Half marathon. Extremely organized and fun! It’s hard to feel like giving up when you have spectators and all sorts of treats along the course. And I mean real treats…Krispy Kreme donut holes, Swedish Fish, jelly beans, and even Jell-O shots!

Beware of Injuries: Compartment Syndrome

Running is not a high contact sport in terms of bodies colliding and trying to smash each other into the groun
d in order to maintain or gain possession of an object. It is a contact sport in terms of bones and muscles colliding with other bodily stuff that cause pain and discomfort among runners. I am no different in that regard.

My main injury of sport is shin splints. Shin splints are caused by repeated stress to the shinbone and the muscles surrounding it. Generally, the pain runs up and down the shinbone and there may be some notable soreness and perhaps inflammation. For most, rest and ice can help a runner get back on their feet without much else. For me, shin splints are one indication that I am in need of new running shoes.

I suffer from shin splints a couple times a year but there was one time, prior to my running adventures, when I thought I had shin splints and I actually had something more serious. When I was 16 I found out I had compartment syndrome. Now, compartment syndrome is normally found in athletes who are college aged and participate in sports like cross country, not high school softball players.

Compartment syndrome is a problem that can be found in the lower extremities. Basically, there is a thin layer of fascia that surround your muscles. As you exercise, your muscles get warm which causes them to expand. You fascia is supposed to expand as well. When your fascia doesn’t expand, it constricts the muscles and in doing that, constricts the arteries leading to your legs. All of this constricting results in numbness in your legs and feet.

I was working out with the basketball team when I found out that I had compartment syndrome. We were going on 3 mile runs once a week and by the time we got done, I had zero control over my feet. It was like they were flopping around and I had to really focus and watch where my feet were going to make sure they were underneath me. And it was super painful. I talked to the athletic trainer at my school and after checking my legs before and after the pain, he suggested I go see a doctor. I saw my physician who sent me to an orthopedic doctor who sent me to an orthopedic surgeon.

Three minutes in the room with the surgeon and he already knew I would need surgery. We still had to go through the process of checking the pressure in my legs. The procedure to the test went like this:

  • Using two really small needles, they stuck me in two of the four compartments of my legs.
  • We waited for my legs to go numb from the needles.
  • The doctors checked the pressure in my legs by using a larger “knitting needle” (as described by my mom since I refused to watch) in my leg to see what the pressure was.
  • I walked around until I felt the pain and numbness in my legs as I normally did when exercising.
  • They used the large needles again to see what the pressure was.

For those of you who are interested, normally, your legs have an internal pressure of 0-5 (I don’t remember the units) and after you have done exercise, it should be between 5-20. The pressure in my legs was 20 to begin with and after exercise it was around 30. That meant I was headed for surgery.

Being the active person I was, along with the fact that I had never had surgery before, I didn’t know what to expect with recovery or anything. I had already formed the idea that I would be doing something exercise related in college, whether that was physical education or exercise science. This huge life moment made me consider other careers because I didn’t know how this was going to affect me. Would I be able to run still? Would I be able to be pain free while exercising. I thought it would be pointless to be in the fitness spectrum of jobs if I wasn’t actually able to be fit myself. I was very close to becoming an engineer. I didn’t change anything though. I thought I would give it time before I made a big decision like that. And I’m glad I did.

The surgery went very well. I now have four scars on each leg, about 2 inches long. They had to cut the fascia in two of the four compartments of my leg from my knee to my ankle but were able to do it arthroscopically. I spent all of winter break that year on the couch recovering. Although it was surgery on both legs, I only had crutches to get around. My family was very helpful in their attempts to keep me occupied and involved in our holiday adventures, rearranging our traditions so that I could participate. They also played a large role in just helping me get around the house safely.

I came back much stronger and faster than they thought I would. I was blowing my physical therapist away with how much I could handle and how fast I wanted to do things. I was running on a treadmill within 2 months of surgery. My main motivation was that I wanted to get ready for softball season. Missing out on basketball season was one thing but I needed to be back with my softball team. Once softball began, my coach was taking some precautions. I wasn’t on varsity and it wasn’t my senior year so I was fine with my new role as designated hitter. I had a career high 2 home runs that season.

This year is the 10 year anniversary of my surgery. I can’t believe it has been that long. I am proud to say I am fully recovered and am in better shape than I was before surgery (and my scars are still pretty cool looking). I get a little worried each time I start to feel the familiar pain of shin splints, hoping it is just that and nothing worse. After all, there are two other compartments that didn’t get released. This is just one of the few injuries I have sustained during my life and shaped my character of being injury-prone.
Stay tuned for more fun stories on injuries!