Meet this week’s Teacher Feature…
Name: Elizabeth Jorgensen
Role in school: High School English teacher
Years teaching: 18
Favorite distance to run: 10K
“I set 5K goals and watched my times fall by minutes. My weight dropped. I gained muscle and strength. I kept running…”
In my early thirties, I hit my heaviest: 170 pounds on my 5’6″ frame. I struggled carrying water softener salt to the basement or hauling dog food to my car. I had been a mediocre high school athlete, and in my twenties, I sometimes jogged through my neighbourhood. Now, I was frustrated with my body. I wanted to be stronger and knew I should be lighter.
That’s when I received an email from my city’s Chamber of Commerce promoting their weight loss challenge. They offered to pair participants with a local trainer, so I scheduled a meeting with Ryan Bloor at Right Body Fitness. At our first session (like all that would follow), Ryan was encouraging, realistic, and optimistic. He assured me: with his help, I could reach my goals through a plan and accountability.
The six-week weight loss challenge produced results: I lost 7.4 pounds and 7 inches. I registered to continue with Ryan, and over the next five years, Ryan’s consistency, positivity and attention to detail have been essential in my running journey.
I set 5K goals and watched my times fall by minutes. My weight dropped. I gained muscle and strength. I kept running, but Ryan knew my body could do more. He challenged me to compete in a half marathon! I trained for six months and shattered expectations, running under 9-minute pace.
Although my sister Gwen Jorgensen, the World and 2016 Olympic Triathlon Champion, is the true runner in our family, I used her techniques to see progress by:
- Focusing on the process, not the outcome
- Setting measurable goals
- Seeking out mentors
- Training with a group
Emphasizing these methods helped me stay positive, execute a daily process and enjoy progress. As a teacher, I recognized my methods in running paralleled the work students and I did in the classroom.
“This project has been a way to merge the world of athletics with academics. To motivate young people with a role model and offer tools and information to inspire their own journey.”
Gwen is a longtime champion of mentoring, has volunteered with charitable organizations, and created her own Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship Fund for young athletes. So when she proposed a middle grade/young adult book, I was eager to work as her co-author on Gwen Jorgensen: USA’s First Olympic Gold Medal Triathlete.
In this text, we incorporated information about triathlon, about Gwen’s journey to the Olympics, and the action-packed Rio 2016 triathlon race. We designed the book to be interactive, so Gwen wrote letters to the reader and then asked readers to respond. There are worksheets and suggestions that help students identify mentors, set process goals, and use personal skills to achieve their wildest dreams.
“… the best part is that it’s applicable to more than athletics. It’s for anyone with a dream, whether that is athletic, artistic, academic, or personal.”
This project has been a way to merge the world of athletics with academics. To motivate young people with a role model and offer tools and information to inspire their own journey. And, the best part is that it’s applicable to more than athletics. It’s for anyone with a dream, whether that is athletic, artistic, academic, or personal. I would be honoured to talk with any school groups or sport teams who read the text, and also to share this free educator guide with teachers or coaches interested in using the text.
Click the link bellow to follow Liz’s active journey on Twitter!!!
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