It is time for another installment of “One Fit Mommy”! Each week I scour the blogosphere to find other fit moms who inspire me to fitness.
This weeks fit mommy is Sarah, a busy mom of four who still finds the time to train for and run marathons. Sarah doesn’t let life get in the way of her workouts and makes fitness a priority by waking up early and getting it done. (notice a trend gang?)
Even though I have never met Sarah in person, I think we’d be great friends. I understand what she is saying when she talks about distance running and how it is “all about what you are made of deep down inside”. That is so very true as it takes way more than aerobic capacity to push yourself through 26.2 miles!
I also like how Sarah mentions the relationship between exercise and staying happy and sane. Running is the cheapest form of therapy out there. If you are having a bad day, a short sprint around the block can do wonders for your mood.
And my favorite quote –“My least favorite workouts are the ones that don’t happen!” Well said Sarah, well said!
Please read on for more…
Q: How many kids do you have and how old are they?
I have 4 children, all of which are strong-willed and as smart as can be. Waverly is 9. Henry is 7. Oscar is 4. Alice is 13 months.
Q: Have you always been fit? What inspired you to live a fit lifestyle?
I started running in junior high when I joined the Cross Country team. I was not naturally fast and I remember it being a very painful experience! Why I continued?… I really don’t know! I also ran Cross Country and Track all 4 years in high school. My older brother was a 1 and 2-mile track star and I guess I was hoping I had some of his talent. I really looked up to him, but I found my own love for running in the process. The big draw for me was the nature of the sport. Distance running is all about what you are made of deep down inside. I was obsessed with competing against myself and my will to keep going even when it hurt. I often tell myself when I feel like quitting, “If I can push through this pain and make it to the end of the race, I can do anything!” This is one of the reasons why my good friend and running partner, Kelly, and I started the Marathon Mommies blog and MomsThatRun.com. We know that running a long race is a great analogy for motherhood. And often the inner strength to do one gives us the strength to do the other.
Q: What advice do you have for parents out here who claim they do not have time for exercise?
I recently read somewhere that you will have a 50% better chance of success in sticking to an exercise program if you do it early in the morning. Ask anyone who knows me well… I LOVE to sleep in! I hate getting up early! But I also know that if I don’t get up at 5:15 AM to meet my group of running buddies I will not run that day. Period. I have to remind myself every morning when the alarm goes off: “Sarah, you will not regret getting up early to run. But you will regret NOT getting up to run.” And every time I finish a run I feel so wonderful, so awake, and so alive! I silently thank 5:15-AM-Sarah for making the choice to get out of bed.
Q: Did you run during your pregnancies?
I did not run through my first two pregnancies. But as the years have passed, running has become more and more important to me. It fulfills several purposes in my life, the first being obvious: I want to stay fit. After my second baby I experienced some pretty serious post-pardum depression. It only got worse with each baby after that. Through my journey of counseling and medication, I also came to understand how important exercise was in order to stay happy and sane. For that reason, it was really important for me to run as long as I could through my last pregnancy. I ran until I was 6 months pregnant. After that the softening ligaments and joints just couldn’t handle the discomfort. I continued to walk and use an elliptical machine – which was a great substitute for running. During my last 2 pregnancies I felt that my regular exercise made labor, delivery and recovery much easier! I got back out running a month after my last baby was born, and I ran the St. George marathon 6 months later.
Q: Does your husband/family exercise with you?
I can’t wait until our kids are old enough so that my husband and I can run together! My husband was quite the speedster in high school – running a 4:21 mile! He did run the St. George marathon with me last fall (his first) but with minimal training. My kids don’t exercise with me, but I think the example I am setting for them is significant. My oldest is not naturally inclined to running or sports in general. But, she wanted to join the local track club this spring! My second oldest is doing it, too. It makes this Marathon Mommy very happy and proud to see her kids competing in a track meet!! And my favorite experiences during races have been when my husband has brought the kids to cheer for me. There aren’t many opportunities for kids to shout and cheer for their mom like that.
Q: What is your favorite exercise/workout and why? How about your least favorite?
I love to go out for a good 5-mile run. When I hit mile 4 I love to pick up the pace and see how fast and strong I can finish that last mile. I prefer to run with people rather than alone. I have become very close to the people with whom I share my morning runs. Sometimes it feels more like a therapy session than a workout! I love it. The combination of those conversations and running really helps me clear my head and get ready for the day. My least favorite workouts are the ones that don’t happen! Any exercise is good exercise!
Q: You recently ran the Salt Lake City marathon and you will be doing the St. George marathon in October. How do you stay focused during your long training runs?
Running with a group for those long runs makes a huge difference. When you run with a large group there is always someone ready to run the same pace you are, or who will push you a little bit. I sometimes listen to music. For long runs when there isn’t anyone around to chat with, I really enjoy listening to NPR or books on my iPod. Becoming engrossed in a storyline is the perfect way to keep your mind off of “how many miles to go”. I almost forget that I’m running!
Q: What are some of your favorite healthy snacks or meals?
OK, you’ve found my big weakness! My husband is the chef in our family. He loves to cook and he makes delicious meals that aren’t necessarily low-cal. During the day I usually end up eating what I’m feeding the kids: sandwiches, crackers and cheese, apples, toast… At the end of the day my favorite meals usually includes a lot of carbs: rice or pasta with veggies. And I LOVE desserts… especially chocolate cake. Its a good thing I’m a runner!
Q: Which was tougher, running a marathon or childbirth?
Running a marathon – definitely! My first 2 deliveries involved a LOT of pushing… but neither of them lasted as long as a marathon! But my last 2 deliveries were a breeze because I was in such good shape. I have had terrific epidurals with all of my deliveries. Unfortunately pain-killers aren’t a feasible option during a marathon!
Q: How about strength training, how does that fit into your weekly routine? (this is one that I struggle with!)
I don’t lift weights, but I like to pick up a yoga or pilates class once a week. In my perfect world I would do one of those classes 2 or 3 times a week. Usually after I run I do a series of ab exercises. A physical therapist recently told me I needed to strengthen my core to prevent the pain I was having in my feet and ankles while running. It is amazing how it always comes back to having a strong core! And no amount of running can give you that… especially after having a baby.
Q: Random question: You can go anywhere in the world for a week. Where do you go and would you take your kids with you?
I studied art in college, so I would love to go see all of the famous works of art in Italy. I would definitely NOT take my kids! Can you imagine the four of them touring the Vatican?? And all of those museums? That would be an un-vacation! And if they weren’t with us, then my husband and I could sleep in and then go for a lovely 5-mile run together in the Tuscan countryside!
Thank you so much Sarah for allowing me to feature you this week! I look forward to following your progress and training on your blogs, Marathon Mommies and Moms that Run.
I’m inspired to go running right now gang, how about you? As Sarah says, any exercise is good exercise! Get moving and enjoy your energy!
If you, (or someone you know), would like to be featured as “One Fit Mommy”,
please send me an email and let me know!