Welcome back to our sixth week of #WhyIExercise. We have two more weeks of our series. I’m thrilled to introduce this week’s spotlight eductor, Brooke Perry. Brooke is from Tacoma, Washington and is embarking on a new journey as an Elementary Instructional Coach. Prior to this she was an ELA TOSA (Teacher On Special Assignment) and taught 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. Brooke earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Washington State University and her master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Ed Tech from Lesley University. Brooke is also the cofounder of the National Blogging Collaboration @Nat’lBlogCollab. Side note . . . I met Brooke when I was searching for a blogging coach. She’s amazing!!! Follow Brooke on Twitter @Brookster29.
Let’s get started . . .
I participated in organized group sports since I was a little kid. The sport that had my heart, though, was always softball. I loved the competition, of course, but looking back I have more memories of the friends that I made and of the support from my family. Summers were about softball and any and all family vacation efforts were channeled into travelling with my softball team. I played softball and soccer for my small high school and after I went to college, I just stopped. I’ll admit, it was strange to go from doing something for 12 years of your life and then just stopping. I think it caused a bit of an identity crisis on top of the awkward transition to college and adulthood.
A little disjointed … but I thought of this when I was running today. As a child and teen I HATED running. I thought it was boring and quite frankly I wasn't any good at it unless it was running the bases. I started playing soccer for the first time in high school and on the first day of practice the coach said, “Ok girls, I need goalkeepers to go over there and the rest of you come with me to run a few miles.” It was that moment that I became a goalkeeper! Luckily I was pretty decent at it, but I laugh now that I willingly run 20+ miles a week!
Lots of reasons, but honestly I just feel better about myself when I put effort into my fitness. I am addicted to feeling strong, athletic, and capable. Like many women, I’ve had my fair share of body image issues over the years. I’ve never had a hard time finding something wrong and picking myself apart. But, when I focus my energy on challenging myself or meeting a goal (right now I’m working on a half-marathon PR), there’s no time or energy left for being critical about the way I look.
Secondly, it wears me out! We have taxing jobs and I’m no stranger to laying awake for hours in the middle of the night stressing about this or that. There’s nothing better than that exhausted from an amazing workout feeling. It helps me focus on something other than work (which is something I’m trying to do while not at work!) and is a huge stress relief as well.
This year I’ve been focused on running. Depending on how far out I am from a race, my weekly regimen can change. I run four days a week which usually includes one or two “easy” runs (moderate paced, fewer miles), interval or tempo training, and a long run. Again, it varies based on where I am in my training schedule, but I run anywhere from 15-25 miles a week.
As far as training schedules, I’m currently using a half marathon training plan that is helping me run faster. I can run 13.1 miles, I just want to run them faster now!
I love food. My husband and I consider ourselves foodies who love to try new restaurants and cuisines. We also love beer and frequent the many local breweries in the Seattle area. That being said, I do focus on moderation and balance. I don’t count calories (I have in the past, which I think was good as it helped me learn more about the nutritional aspects of the food I eat), but I do focus on eating what makes my body feel good and work efficiently while also occasionally giving in to my addiction to Sour Patch Kids.
I’ve been a vegetarian for a little over three years now. That change has also been eye opening when it came to learning more about food and making conscious dietary decisions. The only things I struggle with and am always trying to watch is my protein intake (getting enough) and drinking water!
I tend to have difficulty setting work aside when it’s time to set work aside. After a busy day, when I go out for a run, I’m able to not only decompress from a busy day, but also devote my attention to my training and NOT work. By the time I get home from a five mile run, checking work email is the last thing on my mind.
What I’ve learned over the last seven years in education is that you can’t be everything you need to be in the classroom if you’re not taking care of yourself. On top of that, I spend 7+ hours a day focusing on the needs of others (which is a good thing for a teacher to do!), but running is something I’m able to do just for ME.
Some of my favorite quotes relate to one of my bigger challenges: TIME. I sometimes default to “I don’t have time,” when really it was about not making working out a priority, and sometimes that’s ok! However, taking responsibility of my time and acknowledging that it’s ME who chooses how to allocate that time, has been a shift in the right direction for me.
“It’s not about having time. It’s about making it.”
“Someone who is busier than you is running right now.”
Personal: Devote 100% of my attention to whatever it is I’m doing and wherever it is I’m at. If I’m at work, I’m going to focus on work. If I’m at home, I’m going to focus on family. I think that is a good priority to make for myself as I constantly strive to find more work/life balance.
Professional: I’m starting a new job in a new school district - so I have a lot of goals, the first of which is to not be awful! (kidding.. mostly). Really, I just want to build confidence in myself and develop strong and productive relationships with the teachers I work with. I want to continue to stay student-centered, to honor and learn from the experience and knowledge possessed by the teachers I work with, and play a role in increasing the effectiveness of instruction in my new building
Athletic: I’m on the hunt for a sub 2:10:00 half marathon!
When I think about someone who is tenacious I think confident, diligent, and focused. These are qualities that are not just helpful, but necessary when it comes to being an effective instructional coach (and runner!).
I’d like to personally thank Brooke for sharing her story with us. I love Brooke’s goal of giving 100% to whatever is in front of her. As we start gearing up for a new school year, that’s some advice to can latch on to. Work, family, and even quiet time deserve our 100%. Let’s commit to making it a goal for 2017-2018.
Brooke, good luck with your half marathon time. Your numbers are looking great!!! The #FitnessEdu and #FitLeaders tribes are cheering you on.
Marilyn . . .
As educators, we know the importance fitness has on both our bodies and minds. This blog is a celebration of educators and the role exercise plays in our lives.