By WAYNE JOSEPH
To keep moving is the goal of many successful people and it’s also the secret to maintaining your current weight and size, according to Elizabeth Truesdell.
“I basically want to maintain my current size and shape like many women my age,” Truesdell said. “I wouldn’t mind losing some pounds and inches.”
Truesdell is a high school English teacher at Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii where she has also advised both yearbook and the school’s newspaper in past years.
“This is my 30th year in the classroom, 26th at Kamehameha,” she said. “I taught for 17 years at KS-Kapalama and am in my ninth year here at KS-Hawaii.”
Truesdell finds that the workload can be overwhelming and stressful at times and that is why she needs to exercise to combat that stress.
“The paper load for English teachers is notoriously high,” Truesdell said. “It definitely contributes to the stress at work.”
The solution is simple for her students.
“Of course, the students always say that I would have to work less if I assigned less work to them, but well that’s just crazy talk isn’t it?” she said with a wide grin.
She and her husband of 22 years, Joel, met in 1987 as new full time teachers at the Kapalama campus and they don’t have any children of their own.
“We enjoy borrowing our students and our cross country runners for the years we have them,” Truesdell said.
Truesdell serves as an assistant coach for the Kamehameha-Hawaii girls cross country team and she will run with the team beginning with summer practice and through the season.
“As I age, I am slowing down and experiencing more aches and pains,” she said. “Generally, I can say to the girls, I’m middle aged, if you’re behind me you need to pick it up!”
While growing up, Truesdell was not competitive in sports — preferring to study ballet and jazz dance in upper elementary and middle school.
“I took lots of swimming classes, including long distance swimming,” Truesdell said. “I was so far down the volleyball squad in ninth grade that I don’t even think I had a uniform.”
Truesdell never considered herself an athlete while growing up.
“My younger brother was the competitive athlete in the family,” she said. “Many of my close friends from high school in Tacoma, Washington know that I was a late arrival to regular exercise.
“It was a huge surprise to them that I got into running and eventually cross country coaching.”
During cross-country season, Truesdell will train with the team up to six days a week, but when she’s out of season, her exercise varies to some running, walking and swimming.
“I will do aqua jogging and some turbo-kickboxing,” Truesdell said. “Maybe just hauling laundry up and down stairs.”
Truesdell suffers from a chronic Achilles problem and prefers to aqua jog for cross training while not working out with the cross country team.
“When out of season, I may be inclined to skip more days of exercise to grade papers after school, but I have more opportunity to get into the pool or participate in the various exercise offered to staff members at Kamehameha,” Truesdell said.
For diet, she watches what she eats.
“I try to be wise in eating and in portion sizes,” she said. “But I love my sweets of all kinds.”
Truesdell believes that she was fortunate as a child because she was slim and remained that way as a teen and young adult.
“I could focus more on maintenance of a healthy size and weight,” she said. “I’m not snobbish about food and probably eat entirely too much of what is bad for me, but I enjoy fruits and vegetables and other healthy choices.”
Her favorite running distance as she gets older is the 10K (6.2 miles).
“As I slow down, longer distances are probably better, but what I mean by longer is up to the 10K,” she said. “I have no interest in doing a milestone distances like marathons or half marathons.”
Truesdell considers her racing days over.
“In fact, I’d say my racing days are long over,” she said. “I don’t do speed work when the cross country workout requires it. That is a bridge or two too far for me.”
Her favorite race was the old Volcano 5 mile and some of the 10K’s she did on Oahu.
“I was younger, fitter and faster,” she added. “Those were different days.”
Truesdell has never considered herself a competitive athlete but it hasn’t stopped her from making significant contributions to this island’s community.
Elizabeth Truesdell serves as a welcomed addition to the Warrior Ohana and as a true role model to her girls cross country team. We should all be pleased that she selected the Big Island as a place to teach and coach.
And someday should you happen to see a retired teacher come meandering up Shower Drive, remember to smile say “woof” and “Never Shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Email the Big Dog at firstname.lastname@example.org.