One of the amazing things about The Longhorn Run experience is that it brings people together. Read on to learn more about how faculty member Heidi Toprac stays active and gets her students involved on race day!
In Nike’s mission statement, it states that anyone who has a body is an athlete, and is capable of reaching great heights, and travelling great lengths. “ I have heard about the Longhorn Run several times over the years,” Toprac says, “but never felt capable of doing it. This year, I just decided to go for it!”
In regards to motivation and goal-setting, “I find that I am much more likely to follow through on a commitment if I make that commitment public. Telling my class of 700 students that I wanted to run with them gave me the motivation to prepare.”
“Have you read the Wall Street Journal this past week?,” she asks me. “Scientists have long known that exercise reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases, but they have recently discovered the reasons why. I want everyone to be healthy and happy, which means I want everyone to exercise! Plus, it is often more fun to do things as a group than to do things alone.” A group mentality with her classes is not only a great motivator, but a great bonding experience as well.
Professor Toprac herself is an avid fitness junkie. “I run 3 times per week, plus I attend Shannon’s Tabata class at Gregory Gym once or twice a week. Now that the weather is nice, my husband (Paul Toprac of UT’s Game and Mobile Media Applications program) and I bike on the weekends. Plus, I often ride my bike to work during the summer months.”
“But I am WAY too slow to call myself a runner. I think “slogger” might be a more accurate description,” remembering that running is a journey, not a destination. The things you learn through training extend past race day, pushing you to just start, and from there, to get better each day.
Professor Toprac, a Senior Lecturer at McCombs, teaches the core Finance courses for undergraduate students—both those students in McCombs and those in the Business Foundations Program, and is also head up the undergraduate internship program for McCombs. Since joining UT 14 years ago, she has taught nearly 20,000 students! When not at work, she likes to spend her time biking, gardening, cooking and eating.