"Al's Health and Fitness:" The Uni High 5K for Parents and Faculty?
Published: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 12:11pm
Posted Monday, Feb. 22, 2010
Gargoyle graphic by Greta Goldbart
(click to enlarge image)
For a number of years, the athletic department at Uni High has done something that deserves much praise (even though it probably also garners a lot of complaints from students.)
Every year, each Uni student completes a mandatory 5K run in order to continue on to the next year or to graduate. As a runner and someone who is very interested in health and fitness, I really appreciate what the Uni High P.E. department is doing.
While the rest of the waistlines in America continue to expand, Uni sets a standard of opposition. I have seen students come to Uni horribly out of shape. These same students are the stars of their fitness classes and the top finishers at the annual Twin Cities Twosome by their junior or senior year.
Take myself for example. I ran cross country my seventh grade year before coming to Uni, posting a best time of 17 minutes for two miles. That's not very fast. Thanks to Doug's coaching and Sally, Merf, and Doug's fitness classes, I recently broke the school record with a 15:20 for three miles.
I am excited about what they are doing and thankful that they once forced me to run a 5k on a fateful day my Subbie year. I caught the running bug and am now absolutely addicted.
I love the feeling you get after a run and it keeps me sane when the stress of school is piling up. It also relieves my high-intensity, high-energy nature. I like to think that I have become less annoying since Subbie year thanks in part to the healthier (i.e. smaller) levels of energy I have during class.
I would like to advocate running to everyone. It is incredibly accessible as a sport. If I could pick up the sport and grow to love it after being a chubby 7th-grader with slow mile times, I truly believe anyone can do it.
For this reason, I would like to extend a challenge to the Uni High faculty members and parents to participate in the Uni High 5K.
I got the idea from Jeanine Bensken, mother of sophomore Wyatt Bensken. I asked P.E. Department Head Sally Walker what she though of it. Walker replied, "I think it would be a great idea for you to promote the parents participation and giving them some training pointers or a program would be well received."
"I would love to be able to provide a venue for the parents to workout and we had talked about making that happen at Kenney but I am not sure how to make it work, no pun intended," Walker said.
If you are a parent who has dropped a kid off at Crystal Lake Park or a faculty member who has heard about the 5K but never done it, I would encourage you to consider walking or running. You might find that you enjoy a walk or light jog through the park quite a bit.
You may wonder why I am writing this article in November when the Uni High 5K is so far away. While encouraging people to sign up for the 5K in May is one of my goals, a larger goal of mine is to help people develop a love for running/jogging.
To do this, I believe it would be fun to set up unique training programs for readers of my blog with a goal of peaking for the Uni 5K. People who haven't run before could begin with a walking regimen with a goal of running without stopping for the entire 5k. Those who are a little more experienced but haven't run for a while could start with light jogging and aim to set a p.r. (running jargon for "personal best") .
If you are a parent, teacher, or even a student with little to no running experience who is interested in setting up a training program, you may find this website of use.
At this website, you will find helpful advice for beginners regarding nutrition, running form, and training.
Furthermore, there are training programs through groups such as the Second Wind Running Club or the Champaign Park District. Beth Scheid, mother of sophomore Briana Hajek, is very involved with the Second Wind Running Club and would be a great resource for getting connected with the program.
I am excited for the possibility of seeing parents and faculty members running alongside our student body. I would like to extend an invitation to use the comment section of this column for sharing training advice and encouragement. I love talking about running and related topics, so if you have a question or something you would like to add, please don't hesitate to post a comment. This invitation also extends to parents and faculty members, as this column was written largely for you.
I hope you consider the possibility of running the Twin Cities Twosome and setting up a training program. Whether your aim is to stay trim or shed some pounds through the holiday season, or you want to set a new 5K p.r. this May, I feel this would be a great way to achieve your goal.
Know that Uni High is completely behind your goals. As Uni High P.E. Department head Sally Walker says, "I am in favor of promoting fitness in anyway we can to any and all Uni folks."Photos: 18th Annual Human Kinetics Twin Cities Twosome