For the past 2.5 years, I have been running a Fun Run club at my school. Truth be told, it has sometimes been really discouraging. It seemed like no matter what I did, no one was interested in running next to me, behind me or in front of me. Running helps keep me sane and able to do my job. It de-stresses me and relieves anxiety that can be devastating in the teaching profession.
I tried several different ideas to get people excited. Different days, different lengths, different routes, incentives……nothing seemed to work. I eventually got a trusty group of walkers. While I enjoyed spending time with them, I knew they weren’t receiving the mental benefits that running brings.
Still I persisted. Every Friday, I ran my miles. I knew that someone was always watching. Students would see me run by at their after school program. Teachers eager to start their weekend would see me on their routes home. Parents would see me and honk. And then finally…..I started getting some real members. This fall, I started offering boot camp after school. At first, it was just a reason for me and my friend Nestor to work out together at school. Then someone joined us. And then more and more.
One of the beauties of working out with your colleagues is that you are all under the same stresses. You would think that this leads to an hour long complaint session but it ends up being the opposite. Now, every Wednesday AND Friday, I have a steady group of 5-9 people that show up to sweat. Even though we finish sweaty and smelly, it’s so rarely about the calorie burn.
I look forward to boot camp days all week long. We have administrators and teachers, all struggling with the same exercise or interval. Everyone is at their own level and doing their own thing. It usually takes some convincing of new members that we aren’t so tough. But most importantly: WE LAUGH. I have gotten to know my colleagues in a brand new way because of this. Everyone leaves smiling and feeling good.
I used to hope that just one person would join me on a run, that I could infect just one person……..this past Friday we held a Boot Camp 5K and 10 people ran. My heart was so full! I have so many proud moments as a teacher but this one is definitely going toward the top of the list.