The Monday Mile

by Carlos Lainez

Over the past few months, the #fitleaders movement has hit unprecedented levels as we realize that we indeed do lead better by living better. My fitness journey started with what has now become a hallmark of the movement…a challenge. In 2012, @Asael_Ruvalcaba challenged one of our peers and I to a “Monday Mile” as we ran “4 simple laps” around our district’s high school football field. To be fair, while I am a Navy veteran and an avid baseball fan, fitness and exercise were never really things that I looked forward to. As we hit the second lap, I realized that I was really out of shape and needed to do something about things. 

Through the course of that particular summer things aligned themselves in a way in which he became the principal at the campus that I worked at, the assistant principal happened to be the other person that was on the track that day, and I was serving as the Dean of Instruction. One of the things that the three of us have in common is that we are very competitive. In typical R fashion, as the guys refer to him, he introduced us to the Nike+ running app and issued a challenge (anyone else see a pattern?). Slowly I started with just trying to complete a mile. I was obviously not getting that “runners high” that people would describe. I didn’t give up. Eventually, a fourth person joined the app along with us…now things were getting interesting. So here we were, four competitive administrators keeping track of each other’s mileage. I had surpassed the one-mile threshold and had built up to a 5k after a month’s time. It wasn’t long after that where a 5k was the low mileage for me on the week. We were hitting 36+ miles weekly (keeping in mind that we still had our admin duties to tend to). It got to the point where we would see that one of the guys had hit a run and we could not allow for that person to even be a tenth of a mile ahead of us, so, you would see one of the people in the group one up not too long after a run was done. We were all certainly getting those endorphins going. Then suddenly one of our buddies had a medical situation that brought our running to a screeching halt. Under medical orders, he was instructed to stop using the app. We slowly started winding our competition down. However, not before I realized that running was no longer necessarily just for the physical benefits that came along with it, it was very important for my mental well-being. I started seeking a different avenue to let go of the stress and discovered weightlifting. 

The results of the initial “Monday Mile” speak for themselves. I have had the opportunity to compete in multiple 5k events, several ½ marathons, a 26.1-mile hike, and a Tough Mudder. I aim to lift 5 days a week and enjoy the occasional bike trail. More importantly, the movement has rubbed off on my kids. My daughter just started her 1st year at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She joined the powerlifting team that represents the school after having been on a team that won three state championships (minus one year due to COVID-19 cancelation) while in high school. My son loves to run (I try to keep up with him) and is starting to take up on riding on trails. They both love baseball. 

Manson’s Law of Avoidance states: The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid doing it. The #fitleaders have taken on that law head-on. There is no time for procrastination. The time is now! ”Live better, lead better” and “boycott average”!

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