Susan Swan’s rise and grind
By Isaac Escovedo, Reporter
They say the early bird gets the worm, but I recently learned a new proverb: the early Swan spends half an hour running around the high school. Physics teacher Susan Swan likes to get her workouts in before school, which means I got to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to experience her fitness regime. We prepared for the run with a minute of stretching, where Swan dropped effortlessly into downward dog and I almost fell over trying to touch my toes.
As we headed off on our run, I discovered Swan is no stranger to athletics.
“I’m from Anchorage, Alaska, so cross country skiing was my sport,” Swan said. “I started skiing in kindergarten clubs after school. I raced in high school. I was nationally ranked and then went to a division one ski school.”
Looking at the way she runs, and how she describes her fitness habits, her history of skiing makes sense. Swan runs at a constant pace that is neither too fast nor too slow. She’s recovering from injury, and you can tell the run is slower and shorter than she’d like, but it doesn’t stop her from keeping her workout regimented and organized.
Swan’s commitment doesn’t stop when she steps off the track.
“I work with a running coach,” she said “My watch will track this workout, today’s box will turn green, and my coach will get a little ping.”
High-level athletes often build habits like this: taking advantage of every tool they have access to in order to squeeze a little bit more out of their performance. Although Swan’s division one skiing days are behind her, these habits have carried over, and she approaches training and recovery the same way many professional athletes do.
Swan doesn’t just run, however. She hosts an ultimate frisbee club after school on Mondays, and she has more plans for the future.
“I want to figure out how to get a female fitness time started in the weight room,” she said. “I’m not going to go in there with all the guys, and I want a time for females to feel welcome to lift weights.”
It’s easy to fall into the habit of seeing our teachers as one-dimensional. They assign us homework and determine our grades, often making it feel as though we struggle against them. In actuality, teachers work with us, their students. They’re capable of finding other jobs, but they work with us because it’s rewarding and interesting.
Teachers are far more than autonomous education machines, and running with Swan showed me the level of thought and intention that teachers, especially Swan, put into everything they do. Swan doesn’t just run, she plans and logs her workouts. It takes patience and effort to be a teacher, and Swan is a monument to the power of perseverance. Swan isn’t the fastest, but she is training every day. Swan is proof that slow and steady wins the race.