Josh Stumpenhorst is a middle school language arts and social science teacher, 2012 Illinois teacher of the year, and father of two boys. He is an avid runner and admired for #365streak, a challenge to run every day of the year. This week he will run about forty miles.
I remember when you posted on twitter about your #365streak. I initially thought it was some kind of nudist event. How did it come about? Were you a runner before this?
I just decided to do it because my wife had done a holiday RunStreak which is running a mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Years. I thought it would be cool to do a 365 streak…and here we are…I was not what I would call a runner. I would occasionally run and have done 5Ks and a few duathalons.
You still ran after you suffered a hospital visit worthy soccer injury. I also know you run through the Chicago winter. What keeps you running on days where most reasonable people would say it’s ok to take a break? How do you motivate?
I am motivated by the streak itself. I think I have an addictive personality and when I get something in my mind I just go with it. I have run through some injuries and illnesses but it has just taken on a life of its own and I don’t know what it would feel like to not get up at 4am and go for a run. I have run in 100% humidity and real feel temps in the triple digits and have run in -20+ degrees in the winter. In a sick way, I like running in the extremes. It gives it all a different perspective and a mental piece that is not typical of just going for a run.
Another piece of motivation is actually my father who started running in his late 40s and has done several halfs and a full marathon. He and I will be doing the Naperville marathon together and that motivates me as well. If my dad in his mid 50s can be doing this, then surely I should be.
Aside from the obvious of having more energy to get through the school day, how else has your passion for running influenced your classroom or school experience?
I just feel better about what I am doing because I am happy with my physical fitness right now and that translates into everything I do. I tell my students and coworkers about the streak. I even have a few coworkers starting streaks of their own which is cool.
What strategies do you use to balance work, family, and exercise…oh and sleep?
I run at 4am so that I am done before the kids are up and I won’t lose family time with it. My long runs (18 this weekend) do take a little out of me so I have been known to drop off for a weekend nap now and again.
What advice would you give to people who are thinking they want to make a similar fitness goal?
Just do it. Lots of people make excuses why they won’t get up and get moving. I used to do the same thing and the streak has kept me honest.