Monday, June 3, 2013

Real Mom on the Run: Erin - 5K HER way!

I had this idea to write about some of my friends who are also “real moms” and have just started running and finished their first races.  When I contacted one about sharing her story, this was her initial response:

“Sure, but just FYI, my training was not one to brag fact after spring break there pretty much was none! I am doing the Color Vibe, but honestly I have not run since Mothers't know if you want to blog about me....

I did love the run though!”


First, let me back up.  WAY back.  I have known Erin since I was in college and she was in grade school, (she was in my youngest sister’s class).  She comes from a very loving family who are always there to support one another.  Her mom is a creative dynamo, and Erin is just like her!  She has 4 kids—twin boys who are 7, a little girl who’s just about to turn 4 and a 10 month old baby boy!!  (Just let all of that sink in for a few minutes…)

Back in March, when I posted about the Run Like a Mother 5K, Erin was one of the first people to respond.  She tagged me in this post on fb… from her phone!

“Thinking about running my first 5k. I am definitely NOT a I crazy or go for it??? Training suggestions for mom of 4 to find the time???”

I love that she posted that from her phone—say it out loud, to the world and to Facebook, before you have a chance to change your mind!!

And when she asked about finding the time, she wasn’t kidding.  Yes, mom of 4, but like so many moms, she’s not just hanging out at home with the kiddos…  

“I did work at preschool one day a week teaching toddler class. I am nursery coordinator at church, so that's weekend time, and occasionally an evening or two during week. Gracie has school 3x a week plus gymnastics and dance. The boys both do sports and sing in church choir. Hubby works till 5 and 5-8 is crammed with time together doing dinner, homework, baths and playtime! I never want to miss anything so I hardly ran during that time when I technically ‘could’.”

First of all, WOW!  And, I’ve been there.  This was my life just a few (ok 10) years ago.  And I can promise you, I was not running.  I was not even thinking about running or ANY kind of exercise other than keeping up with little kids.  So my hat is off to Erin for even considering training for a 5K!!  Sometimes, all it takes is the courage to start!

And start she did!  After she signed up for the race, she was running on a pretty regular basis, which is amazing considering how busy her days were at that point.  I asked her how she fit it in when she did:

“At first it was the honeymoon period and I did it right before dinner. I'm lucky that my hubby likes to cook so I could go then and dinner was usually ready by the time I was done. However, that meant he was trying to cook with all 4 kids wanting his attention, especially the baby! So eventually I only ran on weekends when I could time it around activities and nap time, etc. Unfortunately it got too easy to skip weekends, too, because we're just as busy then as the, the "lack of training"....everyone I talked to said to have a workout buddy but then there's two schedules to work around so that didn't happen either. I did have two friends who were also doing Couch to 5k that would check in daily and try to motivate me. It worked sometimes.”

I can so relate to all of this!!  Even now, having a workout buddy doesn’t work for me.  Between my schedule and my moods, the weather and whatever else is in my way on a given day, I never know when I’m actually going to run until I’m just about to step out the door!  A workout buddy is a great idea IF it works for you.   But the important thing is, you don’t have to do what works for everyone else.  Try it, sure.  But if it doesn’t work for you, try something else!

So, despite a training plan cut short after about 5 weeks (out of 9, so she made it more than half way!!), Erin completed her first 5K on Mother’s Day.  

But first, her older kids ran the one-mile fun run with her dad!

If you know her family, this does not surprise you at all!!  When one of them is in, they're ALL in!!  

Her ever-crafty mom got in on the act and made these awesome signs for her cheering section:

I asked her about her impressions after finishing:

“I, too, was very intimidated at first thinking I would be the only walker and definitely last (I know someone has to be last but I just didn't want it to be me with my whole family there watching). You don't know the pride and confidence I had when I turned the corner to head back and saw tons of people behind me! Not only was I not last but there were quite a few people way behind me!! I know this sounds like a "yea right" comment but honestly I think I could've even run more but I hung back with my friend who needed to was her first time, too!”

Every time I read that it gives me goosebumps!!

Because here’s the thing(s): 

~ Running your first race when your training didn’t go exactly as planned is HUGE!! (a lot of people would have dropped out)

~ Doing better than you expected in your first race is HUGE!!  (just goes to show, you’re always stronger than you think!)

~ Finishing a race and feeling like you could have done more is HUGE!! (what a great inspiration to sign up for the next one!)

~ Running with a friend who’s running her first race is HUGE!! (I don’t even need to explain that one, right??!!  That’s the part that gives me goosebumps!)

And what’s next for Erin?  Well, like she said, Color Vibe.  But she’s not just running it—she’s got a TEAM together!  So far there are 8 on her team, and it’s a first 5K for 6 of them!!  Even better—the race is on one friend’s 40th birthday, so they’ll all be helping her check off “running a 5K” from her bucket list!  How awesome is that??

On completing a 5K after a less-than-perfect training program:
“It works for me.  It’s not going to get me “in shape” but it’s low stress, low pressure and makes me happy.” 

And I always say, if it’s not making you happy, what’s the point of doing it??

Congratulations, Erin! 
Congratulations on making that promise to yourself! 
Congratulations on having the courage to start!
Congratulations on not giving up!
Congratulations on inspiring others!! 

You are one AWESOME MOM!!! 

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