Welcome back to #WhyIExercise. We hope you’re having a fantastic summer. It’s an honor to spotlight this week’s guest, Joe Young, from Mountain View, California. It's exciting to announce that Joe is starting his first year as an elementary school principal. He previously taught fifth, second, and first grades and was an instructional coach. Joe received his B.S. in Human Development from UC Davis, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from UC Davis, Administrative Credential from the Santa Clara County Office of Education, and Masters of Science in Applied School Leadership from National University. Follow Joe on Twitter @Jyoung1219.
Without further ado, let’s hear from Joe.
Handball, jump rope, basketball, baseball, track and field, more basketball, swimming, tennis gold, racquetball, rock climbing, snowboarding, cycling, surfing, and more have always been active in my life. The list above is what I can remember all the way from handball as in elementary student. It continued to grow as I grew. There’s really nothing I won’t try.
Curiosity, social connections, family, and therapy.
Why do I exercise? Curiosity. I have always wondered, “Can I do it?” whenever I see a sport or fitness routine. That wonder is always followed by interest and action. I have enjoyed every sport or fitness experience I’ve tried.
Why do I exercise? Social Connections. Connecting with others before, during, and after exercising makes the time together extra positive and memorable.
Why do I exercise? Family. As a young child, I witnessed my grandparents’ struggle with diabetes and problems with their body weight. My grandmother passed away because of complications with diabetes. My aunt did as well. My father is pre-diabetic. Family history is one reason I exercise. I exercise so I don’t repeat my family’s history. I also exercise so I can live for MY family.
Why do I exercise? Therapy. I’ve been saying that running helps me process my day. When I run in the evening, I take that time to reflect on the day, filter the noise of the day, and clear my head. Running, for me, is like therapy.
My fitness regime consists of healthy living, running, and more running. Healthy living to me is first in my list because it compasses more than just fitness. It includes eating habits, constant reflection, breathing, mindfulness, and letting go of trivial things. Often it’s the small things that become big in my mind that takes over my life, so many parts of my life. That’s when running comes in. Running helps me filter the day. It helps me reflect on the day, process things, share them with my wife, and let go of the trivial things.
Running is also big in my fitness regime because of the many races I participate in. I used to cycle a lot - competing two century rides (among other shorter distances). I still get on my mountain bike and my road bike at times, but running is definitely a large part of my fitness regime. I’ve done many 5Ks, 10Ks, and 12Ks, 24 half marathons, and 2 full marathons. Some of my favorite races were the runDisney half marathons in Anaheim, the runDisney Star Wars Dark Side half marathon in Florida, the San Francisco Giant Race, the San Francisco Marathon, and the Big Sur International Marathon.
I have never really been a big food person. Specifically, I am not picky with what I eat, I have no food allergies, and I am open to eating pretty much anything. What role does food play in my fitness? It’s the fuel for my fitness and life. That’s all. I try to eat healthy but I also know I don’t always eat healthy. And that’s okay. No matter if I eat healthy or unhealthy, I know it’ll burn away on my next run. I really try to focus on enjoying the foods I eat at the present moment rather than worrying if I’m eating right.
A couple years ago, I had a conversation with a colleague about their #OneWord - balance. She felt down and defeated from the start of the year with her #OneWord. After listening and learning about her perspective, I realized she saw balance as a noun, a destination. For her, it was a single state of being, that she would arrive at that balance she was seeking. Balance for me is a verb, a process. In our conversation, I shared that perspective with her. Some days it will be easy to eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, … and other days it will be harder. The good news is that tomorrow is a brand new day and it’s another day to focus on the verb, to focus on balancing. From our conversation, she felt at ease with her #OneWord and the daily process of balancing. From our conversation, I was reminded that some days I will eat healthy and some days I will not. Tomorrow is a new day.
As a self proclaimed data junkie, I use a Fitbit Zip and my AppleWatch to keep track of my steps, minutes of activity, and more. I appreciate the notifications from my AppleWatch to stand up when it senses that I’ve been sedentary for too long. I appreciate being able to look at my Fitbit Zip to see how many steps I’ve taken. The data of the steps and the awareness to keep moving helped me when I was a classroom teacher. It motivated me to move around the classroom, engage in one on one conferences with my students around the entire room, and participate in the PE exercises with my students. When I transitioned to an instructional coach, getting steps on my Fitbit and AppleWatch was easier since I was going to many classrooms throughout the day supporting teachers and their students. As I transition to being an elementary school principal, I know that the data from these devices will definitely help me keep moving and not stay in the office. One of the best things an administrator can do is getting out of their office and going into the classrooms. My focus of hitting my daily step goal will definitely positively help me with this as an administrator.
Just put one foot in front of the other. I, like others, have fallen down and gone through stretches where I don’t work out, don’t focus on my fitness, and stop running. During those times, it is definitely hard to get back to the fitness routines. That small critical voice is definitely there whispering fear, doubt, and disbelief. Can I get back to marathon shape? It’s during those times that I stop and remember I just need to start. I just need to put one foot in front of the other. My marathon shape or any fitness shape didn’t happen with ease. It took hard work and that hard work took place over time. I just need to start with that first step.
Personal: I am looking forward to continuing my running. I currently have 3 half marathons scheduled for the Fall, with 2 on back-to-back weekends.
Professional: It is an absolute privilege and pleasure being an elementary school principal and I know that my goal for this school year is to be a servant-leader for the students, teachers, staff, and community.
Athletic: I am pretty sure this athletic goal isn’t for 2018-2019 because it will take a lot more training than just one school year, but I would really like to do a triathlon.
A sincere thank you to Joe for sharing his journey. It’s apparent that Joe’s dedication to fitness, family, and hard work have made him the athlete that he is. Joe’s running accomplishments and medal collection are an indicator of his passion and perseverance. It’s going to be exciting watching Joe take on his new role . . . principal! What a JOY and pleasure to hear your story, Joe! Your humility and desire to be a servant-leader are characteristics we all strive for. Thank you for being a role-model and inspiration.
#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.