Moms that Run, Runners that Mom: Meet Tai

We have been  highlighting #motherrunner journeys over the last 2 weeks. In sharing these beautiful and challenging stories, we are reminded to move forward with compassion. Everyone’s experience with motherhood (and LIFE) is different… compassion for all mothers, mothers to be, mothers who have lost babies, and those trying to conceive. There is far more than meets the eye when it comes to judging another person. We hope reading the stories over the next two weeks moves your heart, inspires you to keep lacing up, motivates you to make time for yourself so you can be the best for others, and help another mother out whenever possible. We are stronger and better together.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Let’s get chat…

My name is Tai Pherribo Christensen. I am originally from New Jersey but moved to Utah in 1999 and have lived here ever since. In addition to running I love cooking, traveling, red wine and my dog Charley. I have 3 beautiful daughters; Kelsey who is 14, Maya who is 11, and Dylan who is 5.

 

She.is.beautiful: When did you start running and what inspired your entry to this movement?

 

Tai: I started running outside in 2013. I was trying to lose weight from my third baby and thought running might help me.  I signed up for a 5k and my only goal was to run the entire race without walking.  My first run to train for this race was 2 miles and it took me almost 30 minutes. I almost vomited twice. I was so out of shape. Finishing a 5k at that point seemed like a pipe dream. The next training run was a bit better, and the one after that was better as well. Slowly but surely I started getting stronger and faster. I went from dreading my runs to planning my whole day around them. I finished the 5k and ran the entire race! I had always had “run a marathon” on my bucket list, and after the 5k I knew I could do it! Two marathons later and I’m still going strong!

 

 

SIB: If you ran before having kids, how has your relationship with running changed since becoming a mother? 

 

Tai: I was not a runner prior to having my daughters. In fact, everyone who knows me from elementary school and high school cannot believe I run now because I was the least athletic person back then! Running the mile in gym class was the most torturous experience for me!!

 

SIB: What has been or is your biggest challenge with running since having children?

 

Tai: Two words: time management. When you are a mom your time is “shared” time. Whatever you are doing, whether it’s working, driving, carpooling, or running, ultimately you have little people that are priority for the 24 hours you have in your day. You are in essence sharing all of your time with them. If I don’t manage my time well and create pockets where I can fit in my runs, that time will quickly get eaten up with familial responsibilities. I have to make running a priority in order to get my miles in.

SIB: How has having child/children changed your relationship with your body?

 

Tai: Oh the love hate relationship with our female bodies! I love that my body has carried three babies. All of my girls were preemie and I was on bedrest with my youngest two. Scary months of laying in bed or on the couch, willing my body to keep my babies safe inside and not deliver them too early. You share your body with your babies. I always say the thing I love most about pregnancy is it is the only time the baby is truly mine. I don’t have to share her with the outside world just yet. It’s she and I, coexisting together, forming an unbreakable love. After the baby is born, then comes the “hate” portion of body image for me. I will be honest, I have stretch marks. I have skin that no matter how much I work out, it’s just not as tight as it used to be. After nursing my youngest for 12 months, my breasts looked like wet tea bags!! It was very upsetting for me. I had a hard time excepting the new, slightly used and abused, version of my body. I made a choice to change what I could and work hard on excepting the rest. I have strong legs and arms thanks to running and working out. I am grateful for a body that enables me to hold my girls and be active with them. I’ve accepted the fact that being strong and fit doesn’t necessarily mean thigh dimple free!! Some things are just here to stay!

 

 

SIB: What do you admire most about other moms?

 

Tai: I love the fact that we moms all want the same thing for our children; happiness, security and love. So often times we get defensive over whether we work or stay home, we nurse or bottle feed, etc, but in actuality we all want the same exact things for our kids. Safety. Comfort. Happiness. And above all love. We want our children to know we love them unconditionally and with all of our heart. The ability to have unconditional love for our children is what I admire most.

 

 

 

SIB: How has your children inspired you (in running or in life)?

 

Tai: My daughters fuel my every step. During my races when I even think about slowing down or stopping, I think of them waiting for me at the finish, smiling and proud. I want my girls to know that if you push yourself, work hard, dream big and plan well, anything is possible!!

 

SIB: What is something you are proud of in your running and something you are proud of as a mom?

 

In running I am proud of my determination. I will not give up. I may not be the fastest runner or have the best form, but my resilience keeps me going. My girls have the same determination. They are all extremely hard workers and they push themselves to always be better. They are kind girls who are helpful and courteous. I could not be more blessed to be their mom!

 

 

SIB: What is the best advice you have for other runner moms or runner moms-to-be?

 

Do not quit. Know it’s going to be hard. Know there will be days that you do not want to run. Know there will be runs that you feel like a complete failure. Just stay committed! I have found my best runs come after my most epically bad ones. Remember running is quality time with yourself!! Give yourself this time to focus on you and your body!

 

Fill in the sentence below:

 

I mom so hard I _________________

I mom so hard I run to accept the things I cannot change and drink red wine to make peace with the rest!

 

Thanks Tai! Follow her journey on Instagram @ brwngrl_inutah_runs

 

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Moms that Run, Runners that Mom: Meet Maggie

We are highlighting #motherrunner journeys over the next 2 weeks. In sharing these beautiful and challenging stories, we are reminded to move forward with compassion. Everyone’s experience with motherhood (and LIFE) is different… compassion for all mothers, mothers to be, mothers who have lost babies, and those trying to conceive. There is far more than meets the eye when it comes to judging another person. We hope reading the stories over the next two weeks moves your heart, inspires you to keep lacing up, motivates you to make time for yourself so you can be the best for others, and help another mother out whenever possible. We are stronger and better together.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Let’s get chat…

My name in s Maggie Bigler. I was born and raised outside of Seattle Washington. In 2012 I married my high school sweetheart, and we started our new life together in Northern California. I am now a stay at home mom to my 16 mo old, Jacob, while my husband is doing a critical care fellowship at Stanford.

She.is.beautiful: When did you start running and what inspired your entry to this movement?
Maggie: I started running after high school as part of my fitness routine, but didn’t enter my first race until I was 30. It was a cold and rainy St. Patty’s day 5k. I was ridiculously overdressed and slow, but I was hooked! Over next few years I ran my way to a first place female finish, and started running half marathons. We moved a few months after having Jacob, and I joined the Oiselle Voleé to connect with other runners. For the first time in my life I feel like I have a running family. It has been so inspiring to follow other women’s journeys, from all over the country.
SIB: If you ran before having kids, how has your relationship with running changed since becoming a mother? 
Maggie: Before I had Jacob I was hard on myself to be constantly pushing and improving my fitness. As a mom, I am much more forgiving of my body. I run for fun! There is no such thing as a bad run. Running is an opportunity for me to connect with my old self and spend time outside with my baby. If I get fitter or faster while doing that, I am a lucky girl.
SIB: What has been or is your biggest challenge with running since having children?
Maggie: My biggest challenge being a mother runner is accepting the lack of freedom that I have with when and where I run. I love trail running, but now I am pushing Jacob 90% of the time. I usually head out my front door carefully squeezed between naps, snacks, and play dates.
SIB: How has having children changed your relationship with your body?
Maggie: Since having Jacob, I have gained a whole new level of respect for my body. Growing, delivering, and caring for a baby is the ultimate endurance event. I know that I need good food and balanced activities for energy. There have been times when I was terrible to my body, and that is definitely not how I want to live my life.
SIB: What do you admire most about other moms?
Maggie: Mothers have an unmatched capacity to love unconditionally. I could never have imagined someone could be so patient and completely selfless. I see it everyday in my mom friends.
SIB: How have your children inspired you (in running or in life)?
Maggie: Jacob inspires me to be the healthiest, happiest version of myself I can be. I want to be a good example for him as he grows up to be an active little boy. Some days are NOT easy. At the end of the day I know that I tried hard and loved harder, and that is good enough.
SIB: What is something you are proud of in your running and something you are proud of as a mom?
Maggie: My husband told me a few months ago that he was impressed with my ability to get out the door and just grind through miles, despite how much sleep I’ve had, or the weather conditions. I am very consistent as a mother and as a runner. Some days I might not look pretty, but I always show up and put and put in my best effort. I’m pretty proud of that.
SIB: What is the best advice you have for other runner moms or runner moms-to-be?
Maggie: My advise to other mother runners would be to learn to be flexible! You might not get to run when or where you want to every day, but if you get to run at all it is a win. Take more rest days, you deserve it. Set goals, but be flexible with how you get there. Don’t push yourself to be what you were before, because being a mother is better.
SIB: Fill in the sentence “I mom so hard I_______________.”
I mom so hard I put coffee in a sippy cup for my morning run.
Thanks Maggie! Follow her journey on Instagram @MaggieBigler
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Why Training for a 5k is TOTALLY AWESOME by Coach Mary

We are so excited to partner with Mary of Train With Mary to offer all participants of She.is.beautiful Santa Barbara a complimentary 5k Training Plan! We believe following a training program months in advance will not only give you more confidence on race day, but you’ll get stronger, feel better, and have more fun along the way. Who’s IN? The training guide will feature 3 different experience levels and will be emailed out each month starting in June, so if you haven’t registered for She.is.beautiful Santa Barbara yet- what are you waiting for?! The next race registration price increase is coming May 23rd so sign up soon! Coach Mary will now share with you why training for a 5k is TOTALLY awesome and can get you in really great shape. Now all you have to do is drop all negative self talk  and jump on board- we’re on YOUR team and YOU are ready for this. Let’s roll…

 

Why Training for a 5k is TOTALLY AWESOME by Coach Mary

Congratulations! You signed up for a 5k–probably one of the most fun and rewarding distances to train for. In other words it’s the perfect distance so you can still have your full, busy life while carving out a little bit of time to train. If you’re anything like me, you squeeze your run in between various responsibilities (hello life!), and you might have a tendency to just “run whatever you have time for.” While this is awesome and totally has its place (yay for making time for yourself!), if you’ve signed up for a 5k, and you have a goal, your best bet is to stick to a training plan. You’ll be much more likely to achieve your goals, feel fitter and faster than ever, and actually free yourself more time for life than if you were doing a hodgepodge approach.

 

Here’s why:

 

Following a plan takes out the guess work:

We’ve all been there. You suddenly have a 40 minute window to run, and then you start thinking, “Hmm maybe I’ll run 30 minutes.” or “I can’t figure out where to run…” or “My training partner isn’t around, so maybe I’ll just go for a walk…” or “I ran yesterday, so I’ll just take today off.” When we’re not exactly sure what to do, we tend to just do whatever we feel like in the moment. Some weeks, we run every day, while other weeks we don’t run at all because we simply haven’t factored in the time into our lives. It’s great to have flow and flexibility in training, but if we have a goal in mind and no plan, we end up on a running roller coaster ride and more likely to get injured or burnt out because we just haven’t found that magic balance of consistency.

 

However, when you have a plan to follow, you’re much more inclined to stick to it (healthy peer pressure!), you can plug it into your busy calendar a week in advance, find a training partner or a few, and let the people in your life know that you need that 40 minutes Wednesday evening at 6pm because it’s part of your plan. Oh yeah, and you can remind them (and yourself!) that you’ll be walking in the door a faster, fitter, more productive, and kinder person!

 

You’ll be faster and fitter:

When we don’t have a plan, we tend to do whatever is comfortable. The same running routes, the same distance. This is awesome to have a routine, but it can also get stale and our bodies adapt to the same old stuff and we don’t necessarily see an improvement in our fitness. However, insert a planned once-a-week speed session or hill repeats, and you’ll be blown away how much you improve. You’ll feel new muscles building and by practicing different paces, you’re actually teaching your body to run fast. So when the gun goes off on race day, you’ll be confident knowing that you can actually run faster because you’ve done it before in training!

 

Keeps things fun:

One thing is for sure: it’s really hard to run if it’s not fun. This isn’t to say that every run will be like a Beyonce concert. Because let’s face it. Running is tough! But we are wired to do tough stuff and seek self-improvement. The endorphin high alone is enough to keep going back out there even when we don’t want to. We can train ourselves to enjoy doing the challenging work. There will be many times where you’ll think, “the last thing I want to do is go on a run, but I know that I’ll come back so much happier.”  Eventually, this becomes a habit and there’s less of the internal battle to tie those laces and just go. Training for a race is a totally fulfilling way to set ourselves out on a journey and chase goals.Training plans allow enough variety where you’re never getting bored, and they also have the added advantage of an end goal: the race! When you have your eye on a goal–whether that’s to finish your first 5k, hit a PR, or win the race–you’ll be so much more motivated to do the training. Few things are more fun and fulfilling than setting off on a journey based on self-improvement, as we remind ourselves that we can do hard stuff if we put our minds and bodies to the task. A training plan sets you up for success and keeps you motivated and inspired to get out the door and keep dreaming.
Let’s get started!

Progress not perfection,

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You can follow Mary on Instagram @train_with_maryFullSizeRender-5

Moms that Run, Runners that Mom: Meet Sarah

We are highlighting #motherrunner journeys over the next 2 weeks. In sharing these beautiful and challenging stories, we are reminded to move forward with compassion. Everyone’s experience with motherhood (and LIFE) is different… compassion for all mothers, mothers to be, mothers who have lost babies, and those trying to conceive. There is far more than meets the eye when it comes to judging another person. We hope reading the stories over the next two weeks moves your heart, inspires you to keep lacing up, motivates you to make time for yourself so you can be the best for others, and help another mother out whenever possible. We are stronger and better together.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Let’s get chat…

My name is Sarah Robinson, but you might know me as Mac. I am a self-proclaimed Faux Pro (sub-elite) runner as well as a celebrity handler (mom) to a PJ. PJ is a spirited 2.5 year old. We live in Tacoma Washington, and yes, it’s raining.  

She.is.beautiful: When did you start running and what inspired your entry to this movement?

Sarah: I learned about SIB through Steph Rothstein Bruce who is my hero in running and momming. I am behind anything that encourages women to be confident in exactly who they are. We are enough. 

SIB: If you ran before having kids, how has your relationship with running changed since becoming a mother? 

Sarah: I wasn’t sure I would want to return to competitive running after PJ. I mean at first I thought I would return, but by the end of the 9 months and unplanned C-Section I felt leveled and it wasn’t a priority. I found that running was still my happy place though and I slowly built up with my coach (Stephanie Rothstein Bruce). I did two half marathons, nothing special, but after the second one my fire to make the OTQ in the marathon was reignited, I went all in, and ran a 2:42:36 when PJ was 16 months old. 

SIB: What has been or is your biggest challenge with running since having children?

Sarah: Sleep. I didn’t get more than a couple hours at once until PJ was 13 months, once I slept I felt supercharged. But before that I really needed to listen to my body and respect what it was doing while sleep deprived. 

SIB: How has having children changed your relationship with your body?

Sarah: Honestly, not really. Other than for 2 years I felt like it was on loan. Now it’s mine again, and it looks a little different, feels a little different, but I love my body for what it’s capable of. 

SIB: What do you admire most about other moms?

Sarah: Patience. 

SIB: How have your children inspired you (in running or in life)?

Sarah: PJ can be hard on herself, and get frustrated when she can’t do something perfectly. Having the conversation with her about doing your best, and finding joy in the process of growing is a great reminder to me. We all need to go easier on ourselves and not let perfection hold us back from trying things we want to. 

SIB: What is something you are proud of in your running and something you are proud of as a mom?

Sarah: I’m proud of my persistence as a runner, I’ve come back time and time again, and it’s never easy. 

In my best moments, I’m proud of my attention + imagination as a mom. PJ is no one else, she is herself, I find when I really listen to her and then use my imagination to engage, encourage, calm, … her. That’s when we most successful as a mom/kid team. 

SIB: What is the best advice you have for other runner moms or runner moms-to-be?

Sarah: Don’t compare yourself to anyone, including yourself. You’ll never be the same as the past you, or the future you, you can only be yourself in the moment you’re in. Be there. 

SIB: Fill in the sentence “I mom so hard I_______________.”

Sarah: I mom so hard I always have snot on my shirt.

Thank you for sharing your journey! You can follow Sarah’s journey on Instagram at @thatsarahmac .  Sarah McKay is also so badass that she has a pair of Oiselle shorts named after her- Mac Roga Shorts.

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Moms that Run, Runners that Mom: Meet Becky

We are highlighting #motherrunner journeys over the next 2 weeks. In sharing these beautiful and challenging stories, we are reminded to move forward with compassion. Everyone’s experience with motherhood (and LIFE) is different… compassion for all mothers, mothers to be, mothers who have lost babies, and those trying to conceive. There is far more than meets the eye when it comes to judging another person. We hope reading the stories over the next two weeks moves your heart, inspires you to keep lacing up, motivates you to make time for yourself so you can be the best for others, and help another mother out whenever possible. We are stronger and better together.

 

I’m Becky Lavelle, I’m 42 years old, I’ve been married for almost 15 years and I have 2 children, a 6 yr old daughter Caitlin and a 3 year old son Evan. I was born in Minneapolis MN and grew up swimming competitively. I then attended LSU on a swimming scholarship and earned a BS in Kinesiology. I started racing triathlons during the summers in college and I turned Professional after I graduated in 1998. I then moved to California in 2000 after meeting my husband Brian at a triathlon training camp in Kona Hawaii. I raced triathlons professionally for 14 years, competing all over the world, was a member of the US National Team and in 2008 I was an alternate for the Beijing Olympic Games. I am now a stay-at-home mom, triathlon coach, race director, and avid runner.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Let’s get chat…

 

She.is.beautiful: When did you start running and what inspired you to start?

Becky: I did one season of HS track, mostly for the social aspect of it and I also did some running as cross-training when I swam at LSU. However I didn’t really start running seriously until after college when I became a Professional Triathlete. I definitely enjoyed swimming and biking much more than running for quite some time. It took my body awhile to morph from being a swimmer to being/feeling more of a runner… and with that change and improvement in my running ability came more confidence and more enjoyment with running.

 

SIB: If you ran before having kids, how has your relationship with running changed since becoming a mother? 

Becky: Before kids I saw running as more of a ‘job’, something I had to do to make a living and compete at a high level. In a way I think I took the fitness (and the ‘high’) it gave me for granted. Since becoming a mom, I see it much more as a stress relief, a way to clear my mind and organize my thoughts, and a way to feel good (not only during a run, but after too!). It has become my #1 workout of choice. I feel like it’s the best full body workout you can get in the shortest amount of time, which is key for a busy mom. It’s also the only way my 3 year old will nap on most days, so the majority of my runs are with a jogging stroller!

 

SIB: What has been or is your biggest challenge with running since having children?

Becky: The biggest challenge has been not being able to go any time I want and not being able to run without pushing a jogging stroller. But I have learned to love and embrace the stroller… I get in a great workout AND my son gets his rest! It also probably makes me run more often than I otherwise would which is making me stronger and more fit.

 

SIB: What do you admire most about other moms?

Becky: I always admire how moms can juggle so many things and make it look easy, even if it doesn’t always ‘feel’ easy. It’s hard to be great at everything we do, but I feel like we all strive to do the best we can in every aspect of our life.

 

SIB: What is something you are proud of in your running and something you are proud of as a mom?

Becky: I am proud that I was able to make a living racing triathlons, something I loved to do and something that I hope will inspire my kids to pursue their dreams and work hard to achieve them. I’m also proud that I’m able to motivate myself to run as much as I do and that I can still push myself hard in training and racing.

 As a mom, I am proud and blessed to be able to spend as much time as I do with my kids (even though some days are harder than others!). I’m also proud of the way I am helping raise them to be gracious and loving children. Sometimes I do question if I really know what I’m doing, or am I doing the right thing, especially with discipline. But I try to focus on making sure they know how much they are loved and cherished and how proud I am of them.

 

SIB:Fill in the sentence “I mom so hard I__________________”

 

Becky: I mom so hard I sometimes forget to make time for myself!

 

SIB: When you first started Jenny’s Light 5k and 10k, what was your goal in putting on the event?

Becky: My goal was to do something special to honor my twin sister Jenny and her love of running, while at the same time spreading awareness about perinatal mood disorders and raising money for the foundation my family and I started in her honor, jennyslight.org. It’s been a rewarding event and experience year after year. This will be the 9th annual run.

 

SIB: We are so grateful that you have taken such a devasting experience and turned it into something beautiful, drawing awareness and compassion towards post partum depression. How has this changed your own personal outlook on motherhood? 

Becky: I lost my sister 3 years before I had my first child, so I was obviously very aware of postpartum mood disorders and hypersensitive to the fact that it could happen to me. Thankfully I was okay, but I did have many ups and downs throughout those first several months. It has made me much more receptive to the hardships of motherhood… it’s not all sunshine and roses, and that’s okay. It’s also okay to admit if you’re not feeling right and to ask for help. PPD is very common, but it is also treatable. Having gone through the loss of my sister has made me love and cherish my children more than I ever thought possible. They are such a blessing, and with my daughter I see Jenny living on in her in so many ways.

 

SIB: Postpartum Depression is a very real thing and we believe compassion and support is the best way to see through it. How would you like Jenny to be remembered/what did you love most about her?

Becky: I want Jenny to be remembered as the fun-loving, beautiful, talented and compassionate woman she was. Her laugh was contagious and her smile would light up a room. It’s hard to pick just one thing I loved most about her, but I loved the way she made everyone she met feel like they had known her for years. She also had an impeccable sense of style and always gave good advice. I miss her every day.

 

Jenny’s Light 5k and 10k takes place on Sunday May 14th, Mothers Day, in Vasona Park in Los Gatos. Learn more at: http://jennyslight.org Join us and register at: https://racemine.com/jennys-light-in-partnership-with-supporting-mamas/events/2017/2017-jennys-light-510k-kids-fun-run#Event-Pricing

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Moms that Run, Runners that Mom: Meet Anne

We are highlighting #motherrunner journeys over the next 2 weeks. In sharing these beautiful and challenging stories, we are reminded to move forward with compassion. Everyone’s experience with motherhood (and LIFE) is different… compassion for all mothers, mothers to be, mothers who have lost babies, and those trying to conceive. There is far more than meets the eye when it comes to judging another person. We hope reading the stories over the next two weeks moves your heart, inspires you to keep lacing up, motivates you to make time for yourself so you can be the best for others, and help another mother out whenever possible. We are stronger and better together.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Let’s get chat…

Hi! My name is Anne. I have been married to my husband, Russ, for almost 14 years. We have three children, a 6.5 year old son, Ryan, and 4.5 year old twins, Jonathan and Lissa. We also have one fur-baby, Lindy, who is my running partner almost every day!

 

She.is.beautiful: When did you start running and what inspired your entry to this movement?

Anne: I originally started running back in high school for cross country and track. However, my asthma was getting worse and harder to manage. During college, I stopped running competitively, only ran very occasionally, and eventually stopped altogether. Fast forward almost 10 years, after the birth of our oldest, I needed something to help me lose weight and to get me out of the house. Enter stroller running! And I have never looked back.

 

SIB: If you ran before having kids, how has your relationship with running changed since becoming a mother? 

Anne: In high school, my running was all about the competition with the other athletes in track and cross country. Since having kids, it has changed into something I do for my health and my sanity! It is also something that has gotten me through our struggle with infertility and miscarriage. It has been a way to run off the stress and emotion that comes along with that journey.

 

SIB: What has been or is your biggest challenge with running since having children?

Anne: The logistics of what to do with the kids is the hardest part. We have gone through many phases … stroller running (with a single, double, or a triple), treadmill running with them playing around me, early morning running. My husband is a veterinarian and works long and sometimes strange hours. So it can be tough to get in a routine, but we always seem to make it work!

 

SIB: How has having child/children changed your relationship with your body?

Anne: In high school, I was stick thin. I ate like a horse, but had such a high metabolism it didn’t matter! As I got older and stopped running, that all changed and I gained 50 pounds and was very unhappy with my body. Having kids was probably the best thing that could have happened. After I started running again when our first was 6 months old, I lost all of the weight within the next six months (thank you breastfeeding!) and found a whole new appreciation for what my body was capable of. I fully embrace the #sportsbrasquad mentality and am proud of the stretch marks because they tell my story. There are definitely days where I wish the extra stomach skin from having twins and the saggy boobs that fed my three babies would go away. But I am not ashamed of the way I look and would never change a thing about what got my body to where it is today!

 

SIB: What do you admire most about other moms?

Anne: I love how strong and resilient moms are. We all have different struggles and challenges daily. But somehow we manage to make it through each day and wake up the next to do it all over again. And on the days when I feel like I am failing, it helps to know there are other moms going through all of the same things!

 

SIB: How has your children inspired you (in running or in life)?

Anne: My kids make me want to do my best and go for my dreams. I want to be able to show them that anything is possible through big dreams and hard work. And I want them to know that it’s ok to fall short of those goals and take a step back sometimes. But to ultimately never give up! I know my kids aren’t completely old enough to understand what a Boston qualifying time is, what a PR is, or if Mama won a race or just got a medal. But they pick up on way more than I think they do. And I want to be a good example to them in as many ways as possible.

 

SIB: What is something you are proud of in your running and something you are proud of as a mom?

Anne: I am proud of surviving the first year of our twins life with a 2 year old at home too! I know that may sound silly, but 3 kids in 2 years is hard! And I feel like we made it through strong. I know we had plenty of days that were hard (and still have hard days!), but I feel like we had way more good days than bad in a period of life where relationships and families are tested.

 

In running, I am proud of finding a way to make this whole running thing work with 3 young kids at home. There are so many things that I could have used as an excuse to not continue. There have been countless miles with movies on the iPad, and runs with pitstops at the park, but we have made it work even if it’s not ideal!

 

SIB: What is the best advice you have for other runner moms or runner moms-to-be?

Don’t ever feel guilty for taking time for yourself. Whether you just want to run a few miles at a time to stay active or you want to chase down a big time goal in the marathon, the time you give to yourself will be so worth it.

 

SIB: Fill in the sentence “I mom so hard I___________”

 

Anne: I mom so hard I____have to run away sometimes____.

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Moms that Run, Runners that Mom: Meet Mary

We are highlighting #motherrunner journeys over the next 2 weeks. In sharing these beautiful and challenging stories, we are reminded to move forward with compassion. Everyone’s experience with motherhood (and LIFE) is different… compassion for all mothers, mothers to be, mothers who have lost babies, and those trying to conceive. There is far more than meets the eye when it comes to judging another person. We hope reading the stories over the next two weeks moves your heart, inspires you to keep lacing up, motivates you to make time for yourself so you can be the best for others, and help another mother out whenever possible. We are stronger and better together.

 

My name is Mary and I have three kids (5 months, 3 years old, and 5 years old) and a stepson (18 years old) and a pretty awesome husband. I work in education as my day job and also co-founded and coach Arete Women’s Running Club currently based in Santa Cruz. Running is my passion, my outlet and my connection to the community for the past 20 years. Runners are a special type of person, and I feel so grateful to have such a deep connection to our running community. Running is also is a tool I use to cross-over into other aspects of my life; it reminds me out to set goals, be resilient, be fierce, dream and have fun.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Let’s chat:

 

She.is.beautiful: When did you start running?

Mary: I was an active and athletic kid and prided myself in racing and beating the boys in elementary school. I didn’t start running in a structured way until freshman year cross country where I met some of my current best friends and set myself up for a lifelong love of running.

 

SIB: If you ran before having kids, how has your relationship with running changed since becoming a mother?

 

Mary: I did pretty well competitively in high school and was fortunate to run in college. However, I wasn’t mature enough to have great perspective and I didn’t know how to balance the expectations of racing for a division one college along with the demands of school, working, and social life. After college, I didn’t run at all for five years until my first daughter was born. I had a very traumatic birth experience, and had a hard time healing from that. I rediscovered running in a healthy way. At that point I wasn’t interested in racing or even running fast. I just needed 30 minutes out the door to clear my mind and remind myself how strong and capable I was.

Today, three kids later, I crave running and I do everything I can to carve out the time. I also am more confident in my racing and goal-setting abilities than ever before. It’s probably because I realize there’s absolutely no pressure and at the end of the day, no one cares whether I make it to the Olympic Trials. I also enjoy the challenge of finding the time when sometimes I feel like there aren’t enough hours in my day to brush my hair, let alone run a mile. At the end of the day, my kids just want to run down the block with me in matching running shoes. If we can do that, I’d say our whole household has a pretty good relationship with running. Chasing goals is something I do for fun and to remind me to pursue my talents.

SIB: What has been or is your biggest challenge with running since having children?

Mary: Time. Like probably all moms, I struggle to find the time to run while balancing the other aspects of my life. I also have a tiny bit of running guilt, although not nearly as strong as I used to. Sometimes I ask myself, “Mary do you really need to go do a workout when it’s pushing the kids bedtime back?” The answer is generally no, I don’t need to do any of the running I do, but I know for certain that I always come home refreshed and feeling capable to balance the demands of a household. I also believe it’s good for kids to see their parents pursue passions and explore personal roles outside of parenthood. I know kids learn a lot from observing their parents, and although my kids might not be runners, hopefully as they get older they appreciate my commitment to self-growth.

SIB: How has having children changed your relationship with your body?

Mary: As a young competitive collegiate runner, I used to think of my body only as a tool to run fast, so I often felt pressure to get really thin. That’s neither healthy nor sustainable. Living and thinking about food constantly–whether it’s diets, restrictive eating, obsessing over pictures of your food or your next meal is just not fun.

Since having children, I honestly don’t think of my body much.  I think of it in terms of needing to keep it strong and well-fed to cross over from work to the track to walking up and down stairs at bedtime. So naturally, I want to fuel it with good healthy food.

But I rarely think of my body composition, and I’m so grateful I don’t have that focus anymore. In our household we eat healthy, balanced foods, but we also eat sugar. My goal is for my kids to know what healthy food is, enjoy it, and also enjoy having treats occasionally without any guilt associated. I’m all about moderation and listening to your body, and hopefully that’s something I can pass on.

SIB: What do you admire most about other moms? Who is your #MOMGOALS?

Mary: I love how much moms can juggle and still keep going. Like when you have a sick kid up all night and a morning conference call, moms can throw their hair back, drink a little extra coffee, wipe up the spit up, and keep rolling. It’s a universal testament to mom strength and just doing what you need to do and not dwelling on it. Motherhood is a labor of love.

I don’t have any real #momgoals because I think there are many ways to be a good mom, but I admire any mom who is doing the best she can and not trying to be perfect or raise perfect kids, because that’s just not reality and not fun to be around.

From a total runner girl crush standpoint, I love the runner moms who have gone on to achieve big goals postpartum such as Kara Goucher, Lauren Fleshman, Sarah “Mac” Robinson, and Steph Rothstein Bruce. They remind me how much strength we carry after having children, and if we wish, we can run faster than ever.

SIB: How has your child/children inspired you (in running or in life)?

Mary: In so many ways. Like I mentioned previously, if it weren’t for the birth of my first daughter and subsequent postpartum anxiety, I’m not sure I would have been inspired to return to running or love it the way I do.

On a daily basis, my kids remind me to dream. Their worlds are so imaginative and pure, and it’s fun to approach life in a childlike way like anything is possible. I’ve tried to do more of that in the last few years which really fueled the start of Arete. They also have inspired me to turn from a perfectionist to a recovering perfectionist; I want my kids to know that it’s actually great to make mistakes, learn and move forward. It’s how some of the greatest breakthroughs happen. They’ve inspired me to see that life is about progress, not perfection.

SIB: What is something you are proud of in your running and something you are proud of as a mom?

Mary: I am proud that after three kids I am running and chasing big goals. I made a goal in 2015 to run my first real marathon and do it under three hours while juggling motherhood and working. Since I was able to do that while staying healthy and having fun, I have refined those goals and look forward to more racing in the next few years and targeting the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time.

I am really proud that my kids are their own people with very distinct interests that they feel supported in pursuing. I’m also really proud that my kids are kind. That to me is huge as they move through life and discover the people they want in their inner circle. I’m also extremely proud that they don’t feel any pressure to be anything other than themselves. If my kids can learn to work hard, be resilient, pursue their interests, and be kind, I will feel like I did my job as a mom. If they run a few miles here and there, that would be a cherry on top 😉

SIB: What is the best advice you have for other runner moms or runner moms-to-be?

Mary: Think of your children as your greatest asset to running rather than a hindrance. True, you cannot run out the door whenever you want like you used to. However, if you change your mindset by reminding yourself that you get to run and that by making the sacrifice and doing something healthy and challenging for yourself, you’ll be even more inspired to rock motherhood.

SIB: Fill in the sentence “I mom so hard I_________________.”

I mom so hard I am not sure if the spot that’s been on my boots for the past couple months is spit-up or yogurt…and I don’t even bother wiping it off!

Follow Mary on Instagram @Train_with_Mary and for those of you  who will be participating in She.is.beautiful Santa Barbara stayed tuned as you will be receiving her 5k training plan for all levels!

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Moms that Run , Runners that Mom: Stacey

We are highlighting #motherrunner journeys over the next 2 weeks. In sharing these beautiful and challenging stories, we are reminded to move forward with compassion. Everyone’s experience with motherhood (and LIFE) is different… compassion for all mothers, mothers to be, mothers who have lost babies, and those trying to conceive. There is far more than meets the eye when it comes to judging another person. We hope reading the stories over the next two weeks moves your heart, inspires you to keep lacing up, motivates you to make time for yourself so you can be the best for others, and help another mother out whenever possible. We are stronger and better together.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Let’s get chat…
Hi! I’m Stacey! I’m married to this guy Jeremy, and we have 3 fantastic kids, Kailyn (girl) -13, Aidyn (boy) -8, and Liam (boy) -3. We have been married for about 5 years, I had my two older kids when I met him and he had 3 dogs! Ha! Together, we have 3 kids and 4 dogs, quite the busy house, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
She.is.beautiful: When did you start running and what inspired your entry to this movement?
 Stacey: I started running a little over 2 years ago. I had just stopped nursing my son and put on about 10-15 pounds because I of course continued to eat like I was nursing. I was unhappy with how I felt and how I looked. I would sit in the shower and cry because of how unhappy I was with myself. I actually got started with my weight loss through one of beach body’s programs, and on the days it didn’t have cardio, I found myself wanting to add it in, so I started running.
 
SIB: If you ran before having kids, how has your relationship with running changed since becoming a mother?
Stacey: I did not run before having kids, I had my daughter when I was 16, so my relationship with running has always been as a mom. Now with 3 kids, 4 dogs and a husband running is my time, I know a lot of moms/people say that, but its more than just alone time, it is my time to prove to myself I can do more than just cook, clean, and the normal day to day activities.
 
SIB: What has been or is your biggest challenge with running since having children?
I would say our schedules. During the week I am up around 3:45-4AM depending on the run for that day, I have to be at work by 6AM.
My husband and I work opposite shifts and he goes in at 4PM and gets off at 1AM in bed around 2-3, and then usually he’s up by 7AM to get the kids ready for school and dropped off, since I am already at work, that way I can pick up Aidyn from school and go home so he can go to work! On the weekends, my husband keeps the kids while I long run on Saturdays, and on Sundays I usually run with my 3 year old in the stroller and my 8 year old on his bike so my husband can “sleep in” one day!  

SIB: How has having child/children changed your relationship with your body?
Stacey: HA! Lets just say things are not in the same place they used to be and I definitely have to make sure my bladder is empty before running, whew!
I struggled to learn to love the stretch marks and stretched skin on my stomach, and some days still do struggle with it. I am trying to convince myself to run in a crop top in my next marathon, mainly because I want to teach myself to REALLY love my body and ALL that it has done and does for me.  

SIB: What do you admire most about other moms?
Stacey: I think I always look at other moms and think man they really have it all together, and then I talk to them, and they are REAL, they tell me they don’t have it all together. They too forget to sign a school paper, or struggle to fit it all in some days, and I really admire the honesty. I think in society today we are all so focused on looking perfect for everyone else, when all we really want are other Moms that understand our struggle. So for me, I admire the honesty.
 
SIB: How have your children inspired you (in running or in life)?
Stacey: I want my kids to believe that they can achieve anything they want with dedication and determination, and I want to be the one to show them that, they inspire me to keep going, to keep working hard for my dreams, so I can show them to work for theirs. I want them to know, no dream is to big, EVER! Last year, I set out to run my first marathon, I told everyone I was going to qualify for Boston, and they kind of laughed, they said it is your first marathon, just run it, try to qualify on your next one. I wasn’t okay with that answer, so I ran that marathon and I got a qualifying time for Boston, however, I missed the actual cut off to get IN by 40 seconds, so I had to try again. I was crushed and I shared all of this with my kids, so for the next year I focused on getting faster, and stronger, my kids watched some of my races, and listened to the good days and the bad. This year, I ran the same marathon, and qualified for Boston with almost a 15 minute buffer! 
 
SIB: What is something you are proud of in your running and something you are proud of as a mom?
Stacey: I would say teaching my kids to live a healthy lifestyle, not just with exercise but with nutrition. When I started running, I had a very poor diet and so did my kids. Since then we have changed our diet to a clean 80/20 plan. I still let them be kids and they get their share of ice cream or chips, I mean don’t get me wrong, I get my share of ice cream too! I wanted them to have the tools, and the knowledge to keep eating clean and filling their little bodies with good foods even after they are grown and on their own!
As a runner, I would say I am ecstatic about my qualifying time for Boston. It is just one of those dreams, you dream about through every training run or every long ride in the car, ya know, it just seemed so far away and so unrealistic for me.  

SIB: What is the best advice you have for other runner moms or runner moms-to-be?
NEVER GIVE UP, I know you read that everywhere, you see it everywhere and you are probably tired of it. Its one of the most common phrases used, but it’s so powerful. Whether it takes you 6 months, a year, or years to reach your goal, to get where you want to be keep working for it. Keep going, you will never get there if you quit. Take the bad days/runs and learn from them. BE FLEXIBLE, life happens, and there is no mile more important than your family. You may have to push your run back to later that day, or move it up to earlier in the morning, or you may have to save it for the next day, and that is OKAY. Don’t let your workout take control over your happiness.
 
Fill in the sentence “I mom so hard I_________________!
 
Stacey: I mom so hard I HAVE TO RUN!
Follow Stacey’s #motherrunner journey on Instagram @leowiferunnermom
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Moms that Run, Runners that Mom: Monica Jo

We are highlighting #motherrunner journeys over the next 2 weeks. In sharing these beautiful and challenging stories, we are reminded to move forward with compassion. Everyone’s experience with motherhood (and LIFE) is different… compassion for all mothers, mothers to be, mothers who have lost babies, and those trying to conceive. There is far more than meets the eye when it comes to judging another person. We hope reading the stories over the next two weeks moves your heart, inspires you to keep lacing up, motivates you to make time for yourself so you can be the best for others, and help another mother out whenever possible. We are stronger and better together.
Alright, let’s chat, tell us a little bit about yourself:
Hi, my name is Monica Jo Gilmore! I’m 35 years old, and am the mother to a beautiful eight year old daughter who is in the second grade. I have been running competitively for almost nineteen years and have been a running coach for sixteen years. I am a teacher and have also been a personal trainer for nine years. I was a four year, two sport (Cross Country and Track) collegiate athlete, and have competed at the Elite level ever since graduating back in 2003. Running has been a huge passion of mine ever since I discovered it, and I have said it more than once over the years that running has saved my life! I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the beautiful sport of running.
She.is.beautiful: When did you start running and what inspired your entry to this movement?
 
Monica Jo: I grew up in a small town and was always outside playing and doing something active. When I was around eleven, I remember I started to run the backroads of my small town because it was something to do! I would run or ride my bike everywhere. As I went through my teenage years, people would sometimes ask if I was training for something. My response was always, “No..I just like to run and ride my bike.” It wasn’t until my SENIOR year of high school that I discovered the sport of Cross Country! It was an instant love connection! I went on to run Track in the Spring of my Senior year and the rest is history..I was hooked!
 
SIB: If you ran before having kids, how has your relationship with running changed since becoming a mother? 
 
MJ: When I was a young girl, running was always a way for me to “escape.” And to this day, I have always been able to clear my mind, work out my emotions, run off my stress, and just “get away” from everything and sometimes everyone when I run. Also, before becoming a mommy, I could just get up and go run whenever I wanted to without having to consider anyone else’s schedule or needs. To this day running remains one of my number one stress relievers, and is always my first choice for exercise. But since becoming a mother, I now have to consider so many other factors and ensure that my little person is taken care of first and foremost. 
 
SIB: What has been or is your biggest challenge with running since having children?
 
I was a single mother for the first five years of Bella’s life, and before she started school, finding time to run was very difficult for me to manage. 99% of the time, if I wanted to run then that meant I was taking her with me and pushing her in the running stroller.  I started running with Bella when she turned four months old, and believe me, I battled with the stroller. I hated it at first! I would motivate myself to get out and run, but it was so hard because I basically had to relearn how to run and push a child in a stroller. I cried, I screamed, I threw lots of fits, and told myself I should just quit running because I wasn’t enjoying it at all!!! But, thankfully I got through my tantrums and kept at it (even if it meant that some runs I was crying the whole time), and for five years it actually became a very intimate and special time for me and my daughter to share together. She went everywhere with me and I pushed that stroller through every kind of terrain! I got a lot stronger because of that. 😉  However, now that Bella is in class all morning, I am able to do my running in the mornings and that has been very good for my soul! I need my alone time on my runs, but I know that when I have more babies, I am sure to return back to this struggle..but hopefully it won’t be as bad this time since I now have my husband who can support me with the “time-outs” to go run that I will surely need. ☺
 
SIB: How has having child/children changed your relationship with your body?
 
MJ: Before having my daughter, I was in the best shape of my life, and I had finally come to enjoy my body and what it was physically capable of doing. I was strong and fast, and had worked so hard to accomplish my running and weight lifting goals. When I was in middle school and high school, I struggled with low self-esteem and a negative body image, but when I discovered running, it really helped me change the way I viewed myself and my body.  I grew to love my body, and I had been living such an active and athletic lifestyle that when I got pregnant, I thought fitness during pregnancy would be a piece of cake! I was so wrong! When I was pregnant with Bella, I had to stop running at five months and was basically limited to walking and light hiking. I also dealt with nausea throughout the entire pregnancy, and this was all very hard for me, because I was uncomfortable almost all the time, and didn’t have running as an outlet for relief. I only ended up gaining nineteen pounds throughout the entire pregnancy, and when Bella was born, I lost the weight fairly quickly because I was breast feeding. (I had) the feeling that my body was no longer my own, at least in the beginning [of coming back postpartum], was something I had to keep reminding myself was only temporary!  It was hard though because I breast fed Bella for almost two and a half years..yes, I know that’s a long time, but remember, I was a single mom, and she was practically glued to my hip, so weaning was very hard. Plus it was also another way for her and I to bond in those first precious years of her life. Since growing a baby in my belly, giving birth, breast feeding, getting back into shape, and successfully getting my child through the first eight years of her life so far, I am impressed with the female body, and more personally my own!
 
SIB: What do you admire most about other moms?
  
MJ: Like I said above, I am impressed with the female psyche and body! To be physically capable of growing a baby in our bellies, and to go through such dramatic physical, mental, and spiritual changes during birth and beyond-  I really do think moms are real life super heros! We are so incredibly strong, courageous, resilient, and tenacious!  I know my journey is similar to other moms…and I admire the heart of a mother who is able and willing to learn how to balance life and adjust to looking past “self” and caring for in a very mighty way, our little people!
 
SIB: How have your children inspired you (in running or in life)?
 
MJ: Isabella Grace changed my world for the best in every way possible. The moment I found out I was pregnant, my life shifted, and the little person growing inside of me became my priority.  I sacrificed and endured a lot as a single mother, but I do not regret anything because I am proud of the mother she has inspired me to be.  Isabella has truly motivated me to be better in every aspect of my life. She is my greatest gift and has been worth every sacrifice and every struggle that she and I endured together.  Isabella is my only living child, but my husband and I have endured the painful losses of two babies in the last two years. When I went into premature labor on May 20th, 2015, and gave birth to my still born son, Sydney, on May 21st, I thought I would never recover from such a devastating loss.  This was definitely the lowest point in my life, but with God, my family, friends, community, and especially my husband and daughter, I was able to pick up the broken pieces of my life and keep pressing forward.  Isabella truly inspired me to keep striving towards healing because I believed she deserved the best of me, and the only way I could give her the best was if I was healthy! It’s incredible how having children to care for and love can inspire us to rise above the most tumultuous of times. I also believe that my son and my second Angel baby (that I lost early on) are in Heaven and want me to keep living a life that I love…no matter what!
 
SIB: What is something you are proud of in your running and something you are proud of as a mom?
 
MJ: In my running, I am proud that I have continued to improve and have not given up on pursuing my goals! Running is still one of my biggest passions, and I am proud that I have made it a lasting part of my life! I have accomplished a lot through my running. It has opened up many incredible doors of opportunity over the years and so I am very grateful for the amazing adventure I have enjoyed because of my relationship with running! I am also proud that I have been blessed to coach, teach, and inspire others to run, and live passionately, and have been able to make it into a successful and satisfying career. I am also proud that I do not take running for granted. I know what it’s like to be injured, too sick to run, and pregnant and on bed rest, and so having an able body is a blessing that I cherish because I know how fast it can all be taken away. I will definitely remain active and RUN for as long as my body allows me to…and I pray that is for at least another 35 years and beyond! 😉
 
As a mother, I am proud of myself for making my daughter my number one priority.  My biological mother died when I was three years old from a drug overdose, and for many years I held a lot of anger and hurt in my heart. I thought for a long time that she was selfish to choose drugs or ANYTHING over me, and it affected my perspective on life for many years. Thankfully, by the Grace of God, I am healed from that pain, but a long time ago, I made a resolution that when it became my turn to be a mother, that I would make sure my child would always be my priority.  And so, when I learned I was expecting Bella, my dreams, priorities, and goals shifted, and everything I have done since has been with her best interest in heart.  I love my daughter above anything else and I am proud to be her mommy..and I am certain that she knows just how much she is loved! 
 
SIB: What is the best advice you have for other runner moms or runner moms-to-be?
 
MJ: My advice would be to not give up…on life or on running! If running is important to you, then keep trying to implement it into your routine and life. It’s ok to “strongly dislike” the process at times (like I did!), but work it out, and persevere through the hard times. You will be so much stronger and wiser because of the amazing lessons you will learn! Learning how to run as a new mom, especially as a single mom, was not easy for me, but it was worth the battle, and it has helped me to set a healthy example for my daughter.  I have taught her everything she knows about health and fitness, and have role modeled for her the importance of good nutrition, daily exercise, and courageous living. Let your child(ren) inspire you to continue to grow into the best version of YOU , and know that in return, YOU will truly be their biggest inspiration in life as well! It’s a beautiful trade-off! ☺
 
 
SIB: Fill in the sentence “I mom so hard, I __________________
 
MJ: “I mom so hard … I cry sometimes!” 
Monica Jo: Thank you for letting me share a small snippet of my crazy yet beautiful adventure and journey! ☺❤🙏🏻 Instagram @bodybymojo
Photo of Monica and her daughter Bella below. She got it from her mama!
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