Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Elizabeth Truesdell staying health and fit

Keeping moving is the goal of any successful person and the secret to maintaining current weight and size according to Elizebeth 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.”

 Elizabeth_Truesdell_mug      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 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 Joel, her husband of 22 years, 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 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 according to her.

“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 out of season her exercise varies to some running, walking and some swimming.

“I will do aqua jogging and some turbo-kickboxing,” Truesdell said.  “Maybe just hauling laundry up and down stairs.”

Truesdell suffer 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 Truesdell 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 work out 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 adding:

“I was younger, fitter and faster,” she said.  “Those were different days.”

Truesdell has never considered herself a competitive athlete but it hasn’t stopped her from make significant contributions to this island’s community

Elizebeth 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 waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

December 17, 2012 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kamehameha Teacher and Coach, Joel Truesdell, making a difference

Coach Joel Truesdaell

When young people are exposed to sports participation they often come into contact with a variety of coaches, some good and others who need improvement.

Coaches can enhance a young person’s experience or they can take away their enthusiasm in that particular sport.

For a young Joel Truesdell his love for sports led to the discovery of a new, more objective form of coaching.

“I have been interested in sports since I was in elementary school,” Truesdell said.  “I loved any sport that we were paying and my favorites were baseball, football and wrestling.”

It was through that passion for sports participation that Truesdell got a rude awakening into how some coaches show favoritism.

“In high school, I played football my freshman year, but had a coach that played his favorites and I was not one of them,” he said.

From his unfortunate life lesson in football Truesdell vowed to only participate in sports where playing time was based more objectively on his performance.

“I realized that in cross country and track that the stop watch does not lie,” Truesdell said.  “In wrestling, if you beat the guy above you on the weight class ladder, you take his place.”

By his college years Truesdell was running between 70 and 100 miles per week and considered himself to be in the best shape of his life.

“ During the summer of my sophomore year in college I felt like I had a touch of the flu for a week and when I ran my next race, I could barely keep a 6 minute per mile pace for the 5 miles,” Truesdell said.

The week before his 5 mile race Truesdell was running the same distance on a rugged course at a 5:10 clip, so he knew something was wrong, but he didn’t know what it was.”

“I went to the doctor and he just said I needed a little rest and that I would be fine,” Truesdell said.  “I wasn’t diagnosed properly until Christmas when my weight dropped down to about 114 pounds that’s when it was discovered that I had Type I diabetes.”

Truesdell stopped running for a while after learning about his diabetes and claims that his health started to deteriorate even further.

“I  started running again seriously when I got to Hawaii in 1981, at the age of 26,” he said.  “My health started improving and by 1983 I was running marathons.”

Truesdell’s health improved so much after ’83 that he joined the Hawaii Ultra Running Team, also known as HURT, and started running ultra marathons or distances beyond the 26.2 mile marathon.

“My favorite ultra became Run to the Sun on Maui,” he said. “It is a 36.2 mile run up Haleakala,  and my best time was 6 hours and 20 minutes and a 7th place overall finish.”

Truesdell has done Run to the Sun 11 times and is a testament to perseverance and a strong mind.

Today Truesdell is a Chemistry teacher at Kamehameha Hawaii campus where he also coaches, what else, cross country and track.

“My workload, as are all teachers, is very high and highly stressful,” Truesdell said.  “Coaching, while also a lot of work, helps to relieve my stress.”

Truesdell has been married to Elizabeth for 21 years who also shares in her husband’s coaching task.

As for diet Truesdell follows the Chris Carmichael diet, which is high in carbohydrates and low in fats and protein.

“Carmichael preaches to eat what you need and not stuff yourself,” Truesdell said.  “I will eat fresh food everyday and dessert only on occasion.”

Truesdell is very visible in his coaching duties as he will run with his cross country team.

“I stay active by running 4 to 5 times per week with the kids,” he said.  “We run 4 to 5 miles per day and I enjoy doing it as it is fun and also keep my Type 1 diabetes in check.”

Truesdell is a good role model for his team as he does everything he ask them to do, even if it means trying something different that he had never done before.

“Our team started doing cardio kickboxing for core training and we do it twice per week.  I’ll try to do it with the kids but I seem to have rhythm disorder,” he said with a grin.

Coach Truesdell is an advocate for good health through exercise and eating right and lives the lifestyle, serving as a positive influence for a sport that is dear to his heart, which he happened to stumble upon.

At age 56 Truesdell continues to benefit from a sport that doesn’t lie, “it’s all about the stop watch.”

“What I like best about working out is the feeling that I have gotten rid of a lot of stress and that I have taken an action that will help me live another day,” Truesdell said.

“There is nothing that I dislike about working out as I hope that I can be running for many more years to come.”

Truesdell and his Kamehameha Warriors will be playing host to the Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross country championships scheduled for October 22.

If you happen to come by the Warrior campus be sure to view the race at the one mile mark where you will see a sign called “Truesdell Trail,” in honor of a coach  that has made a difference.

And someday should you happen to see a jogger meandering the back trails of East Hawaii remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

October 3, 2011 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment