The Secret (Health) Life of Successful Educators: Josh Stumpenhorst #365streak

image by: Josh Stumpenhorst

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.

You can find more of Josh on his blog and on twitter.

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One Response to The Secret (Health) Life of Successful Educators: Josh Stumpenhorst #365streak

  1. I’m excited about this series, Katie. What a great idea! I’m a few days behind in my reading, but will be catching up as fall break starts tomorrow. Can’t wait to learn from my fellow educators about what they do to take care of themselves physically. Best regards-

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