It is time for another installment of “One Fit Mommy”! As I surf around the blogosphere, I come across fit moms (and dads too!) who inspire me to fitness. From there, I hunt them down and force them to tell me their secrets, which I then share with you!
Today’s fit mommy is Caitlin, who blogs over at Running Through Life and has also launched a fantastic site called Mommy Athletes. She a busy mom of two who credits her own mother to inspiring her to fitness.
Caitlin is running the Steamtown Marathon this Sunday, so please be sure to leave her a comment wishing her luck! Please read on for more about Caitlin and why she is definitely “One Fit Mommy”!
Q: Have you always been fit? What inspired you to live a fit lifestyle?
Yes – I have always been fit, even during my college years when beer was the main dish on my menu. My mother was a avid runner when I was kid and would run about 25 miles a week at a quick paced speed. She was in phenomenal shape and very dedicated to her sport.
I played volleyball for nearly 10 years competitively in high school, college and beyond. I still dabble in sand pit volleyball a bit recently during the summer months but not nearly as much as I would like to. In college I was very dedicated to a routine workout at least 5 days a week, which was when I began running. I would run a few 5K’s throughout my junior and senior years but mostly to gauge my fitness level and not to compete. Back in the 90’s timing races was so different. Timing chips for measly 5K’s weren’t really around then but instead it was done with one person standing at the finish with some sort of hand held calculator looking thing. I’m not sure how it worked but it all seemed pretty accurate. My time was always between 25 and 26 minutes back then.
It wasn’t until more recently, within the past 3 years, that I started to run competitively and to finish with respectable standings within the top three for gender and\or age. See www.mommyathletes.com for my whole story. My mother is my role model when it comes to strength and passion. She was a ballet dancer for decades and a fantastic speed runner in her 30’s and 40’s. I grew up having a “hot mom” who was is the best shape a middle aged woman could be. She too was a busy mom with a job outside of the home and managed to find time to run, dance, maintain an impeccably clean home and support her children in extra curricular activities. More recently my mother won her toughest race yet, against breast cancer. She isn’t nearly as active as she was in her 40’s but she is 63 now and still living an active lifestyle. I usually print a small breast cancer ribbon on my arm or leg with marker for the duration of a grueling race to remind myself of the battle she endured for a year. It makes me think that if she can get through something that tough, I can get through my race.
Q: What advice do you have for moms who claim they don’t have time for exercise?
Time is a relative thing. We can all make the time whether it means waking up an hour early or going to bed an hour later or skipping out on watching your fave show. My training tends to be a bit more strenuous than most and can take anywhere from one to three hours. I wake up way before my kids are up and either hit the ground running by 6am or hit the gym by 5:45am. I save my longer workouts for the weekends when my husband is around to share the parental duties. And if I weren’t a morning person, I would do my workouts at night, after the kids were fed and in their PJ’s. I personally love having the dawn hours to myself. By the time the kids are up and ready to start their day, my workout is over and done with and there is nothing more rewarding than that feeling alone.
Q: How many days per week do you run and do you follow a specific training schedule?
I take one day completely off, Tuesdays! When I am training for triathlons or marathons, it’s important to balance my daily routines with proper mileage (either on the bike, in the water or in my sneakers),solid core workouts, some light weight lifting and stretching. I can fit all of those components into my week within 6 days. I am, however looking forward to a bit of a break between November and January. I plan to keep my mileage at a low until January 2010 when I will begin to train for my third, yet most important, marathon…. BOSTON!!!!
Q: Do you have any mental tricks that you use when you just don’t feel like working out?
I would like to say that listening to my Ipod is a great mental trick but only for short distance running. After about 12 miles of running with headphones on, I get annoyed as the headphones become more of a bother than help. When I’m running, I try to imagine that my core is like a solid board as my arms and legs are the one parts moving. Every time I feel like I’m losing good form or getting fatigued, I concentrate on that and just try to pull myself through the motions. I also calculate my average speed in my head for each mile during a long run. It keeps my brain occupied at every mile marker…..so if at mile 1, I’m at 7:10 and at 14:35 by mile two, I do the math in my head to realize I have average a 7:17 Minute mile. I do this for every mile as it becomes my mental game throughout an entire race. If I don’t play this game, I easily concentrate on the measly annoyances like a shoe tied tighter than the other or that my hair is tied too tight or not tight enough etc….
Q: What is your favorite brand of running shoes/clothes?
I have a ton of favorites. I love Nike sneakers mostly because they make the lightest ones although for full marathons, I find it hard to part with my clunky ol’ New Balance sneakers which weigh about 8.8 oz. You kinda have to choose brands accordingly and by that I mean a downhill course would require a sneaker much different than a flat or uphill course.
For other attire, I am addicted to Nike running shorts. They are the cheapest (usually $28) and most comfortable. I also love the Nike racer tank for training and race day which are ultra light and very comfy. I also love New Balance sports bras which are super supportive and comfortable as well. I tend to stay away from running shirts that have built in bras because of lack of support and comfort. I also love my Asic ultra light, ankle running socks. They are a bit pricely for one pair of socks ($15) but excellent and well worth it. For the fall time, Asics also make these really cool arm warmers that are 50 to 55 degrees and\or rainy. For the winter I absolutely LOVE my Brooks fitted running hoodie which is very form fitted and warm. I also just bought an Under Armour form fitted hoodie which has a hole in the hood for a ponytail. I have yet to try it but am very excited to!
Q: How do you reward yourself after a tough race/workout?
I reward myself with SLEEP and not moving after a difficult race! My husband knows that after I over exert myself with either a fast paced race or a long distance 20 miler, I will lay in bed for a good hour before I get up (and of course, after stretching). I also like to indugle in massages and wonderful pedicures that offer a solid 20 minutes of a foot massage.
When it comes to a dietary reward, my weakness is ice cream although I would eat it regardless of my active lifestyle. I used to have a bowl of ice cream every night but when I started having some stomach issues the morning after and during a run, I had to limit it ;-(
I also LOOOOVEEE – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! I can also indulge in a full jar of peanut butter. In my opinion, peanut butter is WAY better than any cake or cookie out there. I usually grab the jar, a spoon and a huge glass of milk and enjoy!
You can see more interviews with other fit moms (and dads too!) over here.