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

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, www.focusedfitness.org. 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: 12/13/15

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!

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!

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!