Welcome back to #WhyIExercise. This week’s spotlight educator and guest blogger is Mr. Gregg Bruno. Gregg is the proud principal of Saint John Vianney Catholic School in Wyoming, Michigan. Gregg was raised in Boston, Massachusetts and now calls Grand Rapids, Michigan his home. Gregg has a BA in History with a Justice Studies Minor from University of New Hampshire, a MA of Teaching and Learning from Boston University, as well as a MA in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University. Gregg is a regular source of inspiration on Twitter with motivational quotes and words of encouragement to members of the #FitLeaders tribe. Follow Gregg at @PrincipalSJV.
Without further ado, let’s hear from Gregg.
As a kid, I tried to play football, hockey and baseball. My dad had been all-state in all three. Though I loved them, academics were much more my strong suit. In college, I ran into the dreaded 'Freshman Fifteen,’ not once, but twice, so I really packed a lot of pounds on a small frame (I’m 5’6’’). I had become friends with a guy who helped me get in shape. He ended up being my best friend, best man at my wedding, and we're still close to this day. With his help I slowly got back into shape, and even walked on to the lacrosse team. In trying to get in even better shape to get off the bench and get more playing time, I started running on my own. In doing so, I learned that I loved to run. I wound up becoming an avid distance runner. I've raced every distance up to the marathon. I’ve been blessed to coach both cross country and track. Coaching those kids, especially the distance group on Byron Center’s 2010 State Championship Track team, is a top 5 professional experience.
Originally, it started out to get in better shape, and that has remained a consistent thread. I want my children to know it’s important to be active. A big part of it now is that I actually love to run. It’s my classroom of silence. It allows me the quiet time I need to reflect, solve problems, and grow. I’d always encourage everyone, it might not be running, it might be cycling, rock climbing, lifting, crossfit, swimming, but whatever it is, find it and embrace it. My wife is an amazing best-friend and partner and her encouragement has been essential to my success.
I generally shoot to run 4-6 times a week. I vary distance and pace, with a long run generally on early Saturday morning with my brother-in-law. I try to do push-ups, lunges, and chin-ups 3x a week.
As best I can, I try to eat relatively healthy, i.e. lean meats especially chicken breast and turkey. My wife and I drink a ‘green thickie’ for breakfast which is primarily spinach, flax milk, and dates. I’m not much of a supplement guy though I do take fish oil and glucosamine/chondroitin regularly even if it’s just because the ‘placebo effect’ is real and documented.
Running allows me to recharge. It also helps provide me with time and space to clarify and solve problems. Many of my best ideas and solutions to issues have come during a run.
I often have to get up around 4:30 AM to get my run in. I’ve been using individual packets of instant coffee so I can make a quick cup without waking my family. Tastes a bit rough, but gets me out the door.
Personal: To be present to my family and not be so easily distracted.
Professional: To support my staff as we continue to create a school that is truly inclusive of all of God’s children.
Athletic: To bring consistency back in my training. I’m fully recovered from a chainsaw injury two years ago that nearly took my left thumb, index finger and middle finger, required surgery, and caused me to miss almost a full year of running. (The doctor had to stitch numerous tendons in my hand back together. If I tripped and fell and tried to catch myself with my hand out, everything would shear back apart.) I haven’t truly resumed consistent training since. I’d love to put together a really good race. I resumed racing this fall for the first time in two years, and while I’ve had some good segments, I haven’t been able to put it together for a full race.
My one word is trust. Our priest, Father Loc, gave a great homily on the need to trust God when we do our best. That we need to do our best, but then trust that in the end, doing our best will be enough.
I’m grateful to have the support of #FitLeaders, an excellent social media PLN that is wonderful for building everyone up! I think my experience has taught me that sometimes we try too hard to be good at things we’re not designed or meant for, and that instead we need to truly find our talents and passions and ‘run’ ;) with them!
I’d like to personally thank Gregg for sharing his journey with us. I absolutely admire his commitment to God, his family, and fitness. The message we can take from Gregg is the importance of following our individual passions, be the best versions of ourselves, and be true to who God created us to be.
Gregg has coined the hashtag #RunBeforeTheSun. May we all find the beauty this life has to offer, as well as conquer our fitness goals.
#MuchLove . . . 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.