Editor's note: The Runners profile is back! Enjoy this first in a new series of profiles of runners across the Triad by meeting Paul Travers.
Wife, Ashley; son, Breez, 6; son, Anchor, 4; twin daughters, Paisley and Sailor, 1½
Click on the video to hear Travers discuss their children's names:
Principal, Washington Montessori Elementary School, Greensboro
Why I run
“In middle school, I had a P.E. teacher (Brian Betts, Neelsville Middle, Germantown, Md.) who created a 1-mile cross country course. I absolutely fell in love with running. It was then that I realized I could run a long distance for a long period of time. Something about being away from a bit of the world, kind of in your own place, being able to feel the breeze running through. I get energized by even the hurt from it. …
“One of the greatest things about road running is being able to hear honks and see people. Those honks on the street, people waving and saying, ‘Hey, Paul.’ That keeps me going. Greensboro has a great running community. Being able to run into people, run by people, is encouraging.”
My runner's high
“Right around mile 3, 3½. I like to stick to those 5-mile runs, so right around 3½ where you are feeling the burn from the previous part of the run and then you run into a long, gradual hill and then you just hit it. You just feel good, and you just hit it. I thrive, and I thirst for that.”
What I'm doing when I'm not running
“Playing tag with my boys in the back yard.”
“One of my friends, Mark Cummings. A good old friend from high school, Ryan Murphy; he was one of my rivals.”
Morning, afternoon or evening?
“Whenever I can get it in. I’ve got four kids: Sometimes it’s mornings, sometimes it’s right after work, and sometimes it’s late in the evenings after I’ve got the kids down.”
Roads or trails?
Workout I hate
“I hate quarter-mile repeats. They’re tough, and it’s fast and it’s long and it seems like it never ends.”
Workout I love
“I just love a good tempo run. Right around 5 miles. My sweet spot.”
“An old one, ‘The World’s Greatest,’ R. Kelly. For some reason that has just always done it for me.”
“I honestly try to empty the old belly. I’d go with some granola and that probably would be the extent of it. Granola and water.”
“A burger from Five Guys.”
My brush with greatness
“I got the opportunity to interview the mayor, Nancy Vaughan, for career day. That was cool; that was awesome.”
Worst running mistake
“High school, cross country championship. The very start of the race, everyone is closing to a real tight place. I wanted to come out not too hard. I got caught up, rolled my ankle. Instead of really toughing it through, I sulked a little bit. That’s probably my biggest running mistake, not really being mentally prepared and not giving it my greatest.”
“I actually have not raced in quite a bit. It may have been a Cannonball Half, three years ago, four years ago.”
“Probably the Cannonball. I know that’s for sure. If I can line something up before, this summer, I’ll do that, probably in the 10K range.”
About being a principal
“It’s got to be the most fun job ever. This is my third year here at Washington. It’s a great thing to see kids read every day and learn to read. If you’ve ever experienced that with your own kids, that is one of the greatest things. But also one of the most fun things that we do here is getting kids active and getting them to be able to see Greensboro. We’ve added a running club. We’ve done some great things with our outdoor spaces to get students learning outside.
“Then being able to expose our students to different places in Greensboro. Every Wednesday I go to a different location in Greensboro. The great thing about the pandemic is we’ve got all of this technology and we’re looking at technology in different ways. So I live-stream from a different place in Greensboro every Wednesday. Our students here at Washington have been able to see all over Greensboro, places that are close that they can get to right in their neighborhood, right in their community.”
Or click on the video to see Travers discuss being a principal:
About the running club
“We meet Tuesdays and Fridays. Tuesday morning at 7:30, students get right out of their car and we come out here to our back track and we put in miles. We do participate in the GO FAR race, and that’s what we lead up to, but my students have loved it so much that we’ve continued past that race. We’ve continued to meet and run.”
What the pandemic took away, what the pandemic provided
“Last year I had a big goal of a thousand miles. Previous to that, I had like 800 miles in the year. The hard part of that is that as I started to accumulate a lot more miles, I wanted to race. Not being able to jump into some races once I felt like I really started getting back into some good form was difficult.
“But at the same time, it gave me more flexibility with schedule. I was able to hit more miles than I wanted to. There was one month that I did one mile for every student in the building. I alternated that between biking and running. I hit about 400 miles in a month, which was fun. That flexibility in schedule let me do something fun that I would not have typically done.”
What I've learned about myself from running
“Hitting a wall and going through it. Perseverance. Something about that runner’s high when you’re about to hit that gradual hill after mile 3.5, and it’s difficult but you’re getting ready to finish that up and you’re getting ready to finish something big and you also want to finish strong. In life, that perseverance piece, the endurance to continue to go through something difficult. As I think about the work that I’m in here, my life at home with my family – there’s tough times, there’s difficulty, but there’s rewards. Being able to endure through that, you just get stronger.”
Words to the wise
“Consistency, consistency, consistency. As much as you can stay consistent with running and whatever type of goal that you have, just stay consistent with it. Put in a good plan. And be flexible. I would love to be able to run every single day at 7 o’clock in the morning, and that’s just not reality. Try to be as consistent as you can possibly be with giving yourself grace.”