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 https://towpathtrilogy.com/ 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!

New Fitness Adventures!

With training being my real main focus the past few weeks, I haven’t had time to tell you guys I have begun two new fitness adventures! These are both things that I have wanted to try and be a part of for a long time and the time has finally come for me to pursue them.

First up, the Cleveland Fusion. Never heard of them? The Cleveland Fusion is Cleveland’s women’s tackle football team. Real Women. Real Football. They are a part of the Women’s Football Alliance,  a league that crosses over the entire country and has 40 teams in it. Cleveland iscleveland-fusion-logo-225 currently ranked fifth in the nation, having 10 All-American players last season. Our home stadium is in Maple Heights and the season begin in April. I’m pretty pumped about it.

There are probably some of you who are aware that I have zero football playing experience but experience is not a requirement for making the team. We have not yet begun to have legitimate practices but we have started conditioning (which I love) and I’ve gotten a chance to meet some of the players. They have all told me that I’m going to have a good time this season and they seem really supportive and want to help me figure all this out. Go Fusion!

My second fitness adventure is a bit of a piggy-back on the football team. Currently for conditioning, we meet at a Crossfit gym in Bedford Heights. That’s a bit of a haul for me to do three times a week so I only trek out there on Monday’s. I still want to be working out and lifting weights, something I have never had much interest in, but I didn’t know where to do that. I usually just lifted by myself at the Y but I didn’t feel challenged necessarily and I didn’t have the motivation to do it myself. After telling my assistant principal about making the team, he told me I should look into going to the Crossfit gym he goes to  (not a new topic of conversation for us). I finally gave in and checked it out, thinking that it would be easier for me to get to it than Bedford.TheBarCrossFitLogoFNLblack.png

I’ve only been to one class really, along with one 1 on 1 Athlete Development session but I already love it. The people there are super cool and very nice. They just want to help you and teach you how to do things correctly. It’s been great. Everything can be modified to your needs and your strength so even with my shoulder being iffy sometimes, I can still feel like I’m working hard and making progress.

I’m super excited about both of these fitness adventures. Just another way I can continue being an athlete in my own eyes.

Sunday RunDay: 11/22/15

Sunday RunDay has come once again! Week three of training is officially in the books and I have created some new goals for myself already.

When I woke up today, there was snow on the ground. Not a significant amount of snow that would normally force me to go to the gym for my run, but still snow. There was a lot of debate with myself about where to run IMG_2472today due to the fact that it was 34 degrees and the wind was a little out of control. Do I really want to fight the wind for 5 miles and probably be discouraged and maybe not run as well today? The answer is always no. I headed to the gym to get on a treadmill.

I had a little bit of bad luck when I got there. Most of the treadmills at Anytime Fitness face out the window but I wound up on on of the treadmills that was in front of a wall. No big deal really. The treadmills at Anytime are really nice and I was able to watch Teen Titans on my TV as I ran.

My pace was much slower today than normal and I felt super slow. It has been an incredibly long time since I have run a significant amount of miles on a treadmill and I am coming to find that I struggle during those runs, even though the terrain is flat and I am able to monitor my pace much easier. It’s just so boring! To me, at least. I’m not trying to knock anyone who is an avid treadmill runner. I used to be able to handle it, but apparently not any more.

This is where my new goals come into place. I don’t think training on a treadmill is that beneficial for me. Thinking about it, my first ever half I spent a majority of my training on a treadmill and didn’t do so great in the race. My second half, I trained 99% outside instead of on a treadmill and I felt better and ran faster. I felt much better prepared and I didn’t have to walk-jog any of it. I know that the weather isn’t going to cooperate all the time during training, especially since the snow and cold temperatures will be coming. Getting up at 5am to run in the snow might not be my safest option. Afternoon runs after school is going to be part of my new plan. November through January isn’t the best time to be training for such a big race in Ohio but I’m going to make the most of it.

Tips for Your First 5k

With the announcement of Runkeeper’s Global 5k taking place around the world on December 6th, 2015, some users will be embarking on their first ever 5k race. How do you go about running a 5k, or any race? If you have ever been into running before, you might not know where to start or what to do. One great thing about the running community is that everyone is a part of everyone else’s cheering section. We share in the excitement of people’s first races and we love hearing other people’s stories, adventures, and accomplishments. If you are looking for help, you won’t have to go far to find it.

Getting Started

Where do you begin when it comes to embarking on a running adventure? The best thing to do is to set goals for yourself. These goals can be a number of things and can cover a whole spectrum of topics and measurements. Perhaps your goal is to simply run a 5k. The next question you should answer is what 5k do you want to run specifically? In my own experience, signing up for a race is one of the biggest motivators I have when it comes to training. You need that race in the back of your mind with that very real deadline to help push you to keep running through the weeks. Goals for running might even be more specific in terms of saying you would like to run a 5k in under 28 minutes, or that you want to train 3 times a week.

Follow a Training Plan

Want to help yourself prevent injury, burnout, and just pure frustration? You need to follow a training plan. There are a plethora of options and helpful websites and apps that inexperienced and even experienced runners can use to help guide their training. Runkeeper Go offers training schedules, help, and advice through it’s many training plans available through the app. There are also options that are aimed at helping you lose weight or even learn to run if you are a beginner. Other apps that seem to have grown in popularity are Couch to 5k which is another training plan that gives you daily workouts that help you progress from being sedentary to being on the course. Other runners may follow a particular trainer and his plan, such as Hal Higdon (www.halhigdon.com). He has varied training plans from novice to advanced runners who are looking to improve. The main thing to keep in mind as you begin a training program is to make sure that it is progressive. You cannot expect to be walk/jogging a mile one week to being able to run multiple miles the next. Just like any other sport or activity, running takes practice in order to get better at it.

Find Your Motivation

It’s true when people say that it is important to know why you are running in a race. Is it for the cool shirt? Is it because all of your friends are doing it with you? Is it to prove to yourself that you can be a runner? Everyone’s motivation is different. Some people use races as a motivator to enter into a healthier lifestyle. All reasons are valid reasons, you just need to know why it is important for YOU. So ask yourself (and be honest), why are you running?

Pump Yourself Up

As part of motivation, I would say that most runners would tell you that they have a particular piece of clothing that they prefer to run in. Maybe it’s a favorite shirt, a pair of shorts, or even a pair of socks. In order to pump yourself up about a race, sometimes you need to invest in some new gear. Have you ever heard the saying, “If you look good, you’ll feel good”? That saying is still relevant in the running community. Get a new pair of shoes, a cool t-shirt, some nice socks. It may not seem like a big deal but sometimes it is the little things that can get you excited for a race.

Rock it Out

From my own personal experience, I know that sometimes a music playlist you have been listening to for the past 8 weeks while training can get repetitive and has an effect on your morale during a race. Sometimes listening to a particular song reminds you of another run where you were listening to it and didn’t have such a great day. Help yourself out and keep your playlist new and inspiring by either purchasing some new songs especially for race day or go the route of a music system like Pandora, Spotify, or Songza. By selecting a playlist set to your pace and songs that aren’t necessarily on your music device, you may be surprised to find some new songs that get your legs moving faster and help you get through some of the miles. Runkeeper has also come out with it’s own “DJ” (Runkeeper DJ) where you select the pace and genre you would like to run to and it plays songs that are on your music device that fit your selection.

Research the Race

If you have never done a 5k before, it might seem a little daunting and intimidating. There are a lot of questions you may ask yourself:

  • When/where do I get my race bib?
  • How early should I show up for a race?
  • Where does the race go?

Some of these questions can be answered just by looking up the race online. Generally, it will say on the race page when and where you can pick up your packet (“packet” being the term for your race info including but not limited to your race bib, t-shirt, and sometimes some freebies). This usually takes place the day prior to the race although you can also pick up your packet the day of the race. It is recommended that you pick up your packet the day before if it is a large race. I promise it will cut down on your race day anxiety and you will have a smoother morning.

Through a consensus by the runners in my local community, they recommend getting to a race anywhere from 30 minutes before the start to 45 minutes before the start. Keep in mind, for a bigger race you may want to arrive earlier so you can make sure you can park and get warmed up without feeling too rushed. It’s also important to utilize the bathroom before starting your race so allow time for that too.

On your drive into the race, you may see where some of the course is marked and that can give you an idea of where you are going to be running. Many races also post a course map on their website or just may give written directions for you to read, assuming you know the area. This is also a good thing to do at the beginning of training so you know about any hills that you could encounter or any “off road” portions of the race. By knowing about these areas of the race, it will help you train for those “hazards”. Training on mostly flat ground will not help you in a race that is one continuous hill.

Runkeeper’s Global 5k

Whether it is your first ever 5k or if you are a seasoned veteran in the running community, this race is perfect for everyone. Runkeeper wants you to be a part of their largest event of the year. The reward for completing this challenge is the availability to purchase  limited edition Runkeeper Global 5k gear in the Runkeeper store. Runkeeper will also be sharing a ton of stats, like which country was the fastest and which country had the most participants! The race can be run anywhere at anytime as long as it is on December 6th, 2015. Just like any race, prizes will be awarded to the top 25 fastest runners. Both GPS and Stopwatch activities are acceptable. Run outside on the trails, in your neighborhood, on a treadmill in the gym, it doesn’t matter, you just have to track 3.1 miles by walking or running. Just get out and run!