Girls on the Run – Chicago Marathon Update

Well, folks my apologies for the less than consistent blog posts so far this fall.  As most of you already know, I also coach middle school and high school cross country and we’ve had a weird first half of the season with meets getting canceled due to heat and then too much rain or ground saturation and having to scramble to find replacements or re-figure training plans, etc.  The coaching life is a fun and very rewarding one, but can also be quite intense at times. With that said, here finally is my Girls on the Run – Chicago Marathon Update.

Two Weeks Out

I peaked two weeks ago at 20 miles.  I like to typically do 22-23 or so, but since the marathon this time is focused more towards the charity and raising awareness and also checking off a bucket list item, I decided it wasn’t necessary to do the few extra miles.

Last week, I started a 3-week taper that put my long run at 15 miles.  It was such a huge reprieve to finally have cooler weather and I actually felt like I just kinda wanted to cruise for a couple more miles, but then that would defeat the taper wouldn’t it?!?

This week, I’ll continue as always running with the kids at practice as they work towards their own peak in training.  That means 3-4 days a week doing between 3 – 7 or 8 miles.  I don’t typically run with them on their quality or speed work days, since I”m running the clock and coaching.  So have been taking these couple of days off or only doing 3-4 miles with the middle school kids or on my own.  Needless to say, my own training has been a bit more unstructured this time and it’s been a little bit of nice change.

Along with this more un-structured approach, I’ll admit that I have not been as disciplined towards my own strength and mobility, stretching or core work.  I would say on average, I’ll help lead the kids thru what they’re doing at practice and end up doing all or part of their workout, but often times am kinda all over the place with this and again coaching thru out.   However, knock on wood, I’m not experiencing much soreness or tightness anywhere and am assuming the extra off days in between have been a little blessing in disguise for recovery.

Fundraising Deadline and Dedicating my Miles

The fundraising deadline for my charity efforts and donations is Thursday 9/27/18.  So many of you have donated and supported me and for this I’ve been very humbled and so grateful!  It’s not too late, if you’d still like the opportunity to help me pay it forward you can do so thru this link. https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/2018-gotr-chicago-marathon/runnermomcoach

As of today, I have exactly 26 donors.  I will dedicate and run a mile for each of you during my 26.2 mile journey on October 6th.  If I end up being even more blessed with additional donors, then I’ll group your dedicated miles towards the end when I’m having to dig deep.  The extra incentive and purpose to run for you will be my motivation when my body and mind are tired.

My Bib number is #8877 and if you’d like to live track me during the marathon you can download the Bank of America Chicago Marathon App.

Race Day Goals

First and foremost, of course, to run for charity, raise awareness and check off a bucket list item with my running bestie.  Secondary, to run for fun and complete enjoyment.  No worrying about pace, no calculating miles and accumulated time in my head during the race, no obsessing over how I’m going to disperse what’s left in the tank and what’s left for course.

I’m determined to NOT forget my running shoes this time.  Remember this post – http://runnermomcoach.com/happy-running-hump-day-fabulous-debacle-ms-type/

My goodness!  Perhaps, I’ll even cross paths with another famous person in the running world again this time.  Last time I ran Chicago, I met Bart Yasso, dubbed the “Mayor of Running” by Runners World.  http://runnermomcoach.com/bart-yasso-blog-shrine/

I’ll see if I can figure out how to do some live video over Instagram or Facebook.  I’m not as tech savvy with these sort of things yet, but wouldn’t that be fun.  Then you can experience some of it along with me.

Good Luck to All!

Happy Monday everyone!  Hopefully, you are all feeling crisper with this cooler weather and finding your legs spinning beneath you just a little smoother and quicker.   Good Luck to any of you who may also be running Chicago, or the Twin Cities Marathon which is also the same weekend.  Enjoy the remaining two weeks of your taper and on race day go get er done!!

Picture Taken on a run in Bever Park in the Fall of 2015

 

 

 

Humble Running

Humble Running was some sort of cathartic declaration I made back in 2009, in my running journal.  It was a couple years after I first started realizing I could run longer distances.  I’ll never forget the first time that I ran from my house, out to school, and back.  It was 12 something miles and I may have lived off that high for several months.  That’s when I started to believe in the possibilities of running my first 1/2 marathon, which was Mason City in 2011.  I had been bitten by the distance bug and in 2014 signed up for Grandma’s Marathon to try and qualify for Boston.

Picture of a sunrise coming out the front door of the house I lived in at the time.

Humble Running

by Corrie Enyart on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 10:00pm

I read an article today that hit home. In it was an interview of a very famous man in the mountain running world. Who said that he doesn’t measure his running success by miles or minutes or a clock. He just goes until he can’t go anymore and doesn’t race for glory or fame. That would be too greedy and self-absorbed. He doesn’t buy all the latest greatest gadgets or shoes. He finds a pair that fits him and then buys the store out. He doesn’t obsess with all the Power Bars and Energy Gels. He eats what’s available and doesn’t spend a whole lot of money on something that’s not going to be there tomorrow. I’ve often asked myself , Why do I run? I know I run because it makes me feel better and I feel like I’m a better me when I do. I run to meditate. I run to escape responsibility and feel free. I run to maintain good health and be able to keep up with my kids and someday their kids. I run because when I don’t, I feel like every aspect of my life is off. Running regulates me and fulfills me and makes me content. I fear the day that may come that I won’t be able to run. And running won’t become a choice anymore. I run for strength; physically, spiritually, mentally, metaphorically. To run is part of who I am!

When Did You Start Believing?

Distance running is all relative right?  Like the first time, you run a 5k and you never thought you’d be able to run that far.  As gluttons for goal setting, runners like to up the anty after each goal is attained, myself included.  It’s like the possibilities become infinite and you ask yourself to what limits you can get to.

I’m not one of those (yet) that has ventured into the Ultra-marathoning realm, but I can’t say that my mind hasn’t questioned what the next step is after the marathon and after qualifying for my last marathon bucket list, which is New York City Marathon.   But had you asked me 10 years ago if I’d have ever thought I’d run a marathon or qualify for Boston, I would’ve laughed in your face.

Something us coaches have to remind our athletes all the time is that, “you’re stronger than you realize”.  It seems like if you can just get someone to believe in their capabilities or tenacity to go after a goal, then the sky is the limit.

I assume if you’re reading this blog post, then you currently consider yourself a runner, have contemplated running at some point, or already have a string of hardware at home from races you’ve completed.  Can you think back to when you first were “bitten” by the running bug?  Can you remember the elation and euphoria you felt when you completed your first race?  We have to remind ourselves once in a while where we came from and how we got to the point we’re at now.  It’s humbling, yet empowering!  If you can remember when you started ‘believing’ then you can use that as fuel to drive your confidence in what you can accomplish.

Happy Hump Day Runners!  Feels like a Journey song should be cued….”Don’t Stop Believing!”

What is Footstrike Hemolysis?

Isn’t it funny how we start the thought process or researching of one thing and it leads us to something else?  Last week, I was thumbing thru a book in my library on ways to “Boost Your Immune System” in search of ways to keep my athletes healthy.  While reading up on the therapeutic effects of different vitamins and minerals and specifically iron and the conditions of anemia, I came across a term I was unfamiliar with called “footstrike hemolysis”.  Perhaps, you’re asking yourself the same thing I did which was, “What is Footstrike Hemolysis?



Iron and its Function in the Body

Let’s first tackle the importance and function of iron in the body.  In a nutshell, without getting too biologically descriptive, iron in the blood presents itself as red blood cells and is called hemoblogin.  Hemoglobin, or these red blood cells, is essentially what carries oxygen thru out our bodies.  And more specifically from the lungs to our tissues, like a muscle.   It is our body’s requirement for respiration (breathing) and energy metabolism.  Iron was highlighted as a mineral responsible for maintaining the immune system in the book.

Of course, as runners, we rely on ample stores of iron in our blood in order to not only stay healthy but to be able to run at our best.  If we’re low on this essential mineral than we can suffer from what’s called iron deficiency, or anemia.

Causes of Anemia and “Footstrike Hemolysis”

There are various causes of iron deficiency or anemia.  A few of the obvious are blood loss, not consuming enough of the daily recommended amount, iron absorption problems, and some other various medical conditions.  You can do more research of your own and certainly my surface level recap here is not at all all-inclusive.

However, while reading about iron deficiency and runner’s anemia the term “footstrike hemolysis” was introduced to me.  It’s somewhat self-descriptive in its name.  Hemo meaning blood and lysis meaning breakdown.   The red blood cells called hemoglobin sharing the root of the word hemolysis, and thus rupture or destruction of the red blood cells.   And of course, footstrike just as it sounds.

Another name for “footstrike hemolysis” is “march hemoglobinuria”, which was discovered and coined during the 1800’s from an army physician who had observed a soldier who had completed some arduous field marching exercises and thus became anemic thru the impact of his footstrikes breaking down the red blood cells in his body.   We as runner’s can suffer from the same “runner’s anemia” or impact destruction of red blood cells.

In extreme cases, as documented by scientists and sports physicians, long-distance track runners have been reported to have blood in their urine.  Or in other extreme cases, long-distance runners or marathoners reporting blood in the urine after a race from the repeated footstrike trauma.

Runner’s Specific Precautions

As you can deduce, it is easy to understand how our repeated footstrikes while running long distances may be the culprit to our feelings of fatigue, lethargy, and tiredness through “runner’s anemia”.

A few precautions that can help you avoid this annoying debilitator to peak performance, are to make sure you’re replacing your shoes periodically and not running on worn out soles.  A general rule of thumb is to replace shoes every 300-400 miles for heavier or larger framed runners or 400-500 miles for lighter more petite runners.

Change up your running surfaces!  The harder the surface, i.e. asphalt or concrete, the more impact and destruction there is to the red blood cells.  Consider a pea gravel trail or softer trail surface.  Perhaps even consider a grassy park or someplace off the beaten path.  Be creative!  Think cross country running!!

Also, if you are female you may be more susceptible to anemia due to menstruation cycles.  Read more pertaining to this thru this article written by Kathleen Woods for Women’s Running.

Kathleen gives the reminder of food consumption and dietary recommendations.

“Recommended foods that are iron fortified include red meat, eggs, spinach, oatmeal, oysters, dried fruit and whole grain or enriched cereals. Vitamin C helps to absorb iron, so a tall glass of OJ with a nice lean steak could be just what the doctor ordered. Iron supplements are also available over the counter at your local pharmacy, but always consult with your doctor before adding any extra supplements to your diet.”

Great Articles on Footstrike Hemolysis or Hemolytic Anemia

I’ve attached a few of the articles that I researched that go into more depth on this condition, it’s causes and symptoms, and ways to prevent.

Take care of yourselves runners!  Eat well, recover well, run in the right gear and vary up your surfaces. Happy Coaches Corner Friday!!

Hemolytic Anemia from Footstrikes – A Runner’s Perspective

Two Huge Causes Of Anemia In Female Runners

 

 

 

NewBo Half Marathon Recap

Congratulations to all of you who may have run this past Labor Day Weekend’s NewBo Half Marathon or 10k.  Today’s blog post is my race day and Chicago Marathon training recap.

Personal Goals

First part of my recap is that I chose to sign up for the NewBo Half this year to use as part of an 18-mile training run towards my build-up with running the Chicago Marathon on October 7th for the Girls on the Run Charity.  Most of you already know this (donation link on the right of this page if you’d like to support me).

 

6:30am @ Caseys

J. Bo and I started at 6:30 am from the Casey’s on C Street and ran just shy of 5 miles down to the market just in time to make a quick Nascar pit-stop before toeing the line.  Gun went off at 7:30 am for the 13.1.

7:30am at the Starting Line

It was incredibly refreshing to be able to participate in a race and observe more along the way and to not feel the need to worry about pace.  I also must say that I usually have to wear my hydration belt, which doesn’t fit awesomely, along on long runs and was liberated to not have to since the well-organized race had water and Gatorade stops planned out at every couple of miles.

NewBo Race Organization

Thank you NewBo race directors and volunteers for the well placed hydration opportunities and even the energy gel along the way.  The course was a beautiful mix of Iowa rolling countryside, soft tree-lined trails, and a downtown send off and energetic greeting to the finish.

I felt it was a relatively flat course and enjoyed running on the trail surface as well as along some scenic waterways.  It was also quite nice to have each mile signs posted and be able to count down the distance along the way.

PGXC Gives Back to the Community

There were many volunteers from various school’s teams and local running groups thru out the morning, including our very our Prairie Girls Cross Country Team and a few parents.  We had about 25 athletes and parents combined working the finish line and food and drink there afterward.

I truly believe it to be a valuable lesson to teach the kids the importance to give back to running as much as they receive.  Many of them said it was so fun to be on the other side of things and see everyone finish.  One special senior on our team even hung the medal over my neck after I crossed the finish.  =)

Many of the other kids were able to also hang medals around their parents’ necks as the too crossed the finish line.  We had at least 3-4 team parents participate in the races.  J.Bo and I even got to run with one of our special running team Moms, as she too used the NewBo half as a build-up to another fall race.   It was cool to help each other thru the latter miles and cross the finish line together!

The unique medals are provided by the Cedar Rapids Ceramics Center and look like this.

NewBo Run Ceramic Handmade Medal in the Middle

And I don’t hate the nice collection of soft style t-shirts that I’ve collected over the years of helping volunteer.  This year’s color is one of my favorites!

Five Weeks Out from the Chicago Marathon

Next week I will drop back down to a 14-15 miler and let my body recover a little bit.  But will then cap off the peak of my mileage with a 20 miler the following week, which will be four weeks out.  After that, I will do a 3-week taper and just let things kinda ride on into marathon weekend easy.

Hopefully, I won’t forget my running shoes this time, haha!  If you want a good laugh or valuable lesson for traveling out of town to a marathon, then you should read my blog post called ‘The Fabulous Debacle of Ms. Type-A’.  

Best wishes to all of you that are training for fall marathons like myself and with these last few weeks of peak mileage build-up. I would love for you all to tag my Instagram of Facebook pages @runnermomcoach with your pictures and stories of your race(s).

Run Happy my Friends!!

 

 

Why Didn’t I think of a Confidence Journal Sooner?!?

I’ve always been a personal fan of Kara Goucher, one of America’s greatest long-distance runners.  She’s got an impressive running history that includes several showings on the woman’s side at the Olympics in distances spanning from 5,000m on up to the full marathon distance.  She is now carrying her work forward to helping others thru her website http://www.karagoucher.com/ and podium retreats.

But today, I’m especially inspired by a recent Runner’s World article written by Kara called “Kara Goucher Shares the Secret to Finally Finding Her Confidence“.  While reading it, I became enlightened by the idea of keeping what she calls a “Confidence Journal” not only for myself but also for the runners that I coach.  Why Didn’t I think of a Confidence Journal Sooner?!?

Running is 10% Physical and 90% Mental

You’ve probably heard some similar statistics relating to running.  Of course, this statistic is subjective but the point is that running is very much a mental game.  How do we trick our brains into accepting that our hard-wired instincts of survival of stopping something when we feel pain, isn’t necessary?  How do we overcome the mental and psychological demons that creep into the attic after a workout or race doesn’t go the way we had planned?  How does that physical relationship overlap into the mental and emotional relationship of running?

This phrase of 10% physical and 90% mental, is obvious when we talk about athletic character attributes like grit, tenacity, perseverance, etc.   But even taken a step further, if we consider that some of this mental is related to our attitude and the reflection that takes place after workouts or races then the correlation between being internally grateful and it’s possible effects on our performance can be key within the process of the journey.

“The Secret Link Between Gratitude and Performance”

I found another article relating to gratefulness and the possible effects of this positive outlook on our performance in an online article called “The Secret Link Between Gratitude and Performance” by Brad Stuhlberg written for a website called theoutsideonline.com

Research shows that a regular gratitude practice, such as keeping a gratitude journal or writing letters of thanks, is associated with reduced inflammatory markerslower blood pressure, and improved sleep duration and quality—all of which are critical to not only health, but also athletic recovery and performance. A regular gratitude practice could very well enhance your ability to adapt to training.

Brad’s article recommends these three steps to implement grateful practices into your athletic lives.

How to Be Grateful

The effects of giving thanks are strongest when you do so regularly. Simon-Thomas recommends the following three ways:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal: Every week (or better yet, every day) jot down three things in your life for which you are grateful. (Yes, there’s even an app for that.)
  2. Write a gratitude letter: Think about someone who has played a positive role at some point in your life and write him or her a thank you note. This only takes a few minutes and it won’t just give you a boost but also the person on the receiving end.
  3. Say thanks—out loud: Nothing beats real, live, and inter-personal gratitude, says Simon-Thomas. But, she says, you’ve got to do it the right way: tell someone what you are thankful for, acknowledge the effort they put in, and describe why it was helpful.

Addition to My “Books to Read” List

Kara’s article in Runner’s World was apparently an adaptation from her book Strong: A Runner’s Guide to Boosting Confidence and Becoming the Best Version of You,.  Guess I’ll be adding this one to my “Books to Read” list.  Of course, that means I’ll have to have time to actually read for enjoyment.  Perhaps after the XC season,…November?

Happy Running Folks!  Next blog post will touch base on the NewBo Half Marathon coming up next Sunday – September 2nd, 2018.

A Heartfelt Message with Respect to Mollie Tibbetts

Runners, I want to dedicate today’s post with utmost sincerity to the most recent Mollie Tibbetts Case.  Many of you may already be aware of the Iowa college-age girl who was abducted while out on a run in the countryside.  My heart goes out to all of her family, friends, and community for their loss.  Your loss is dire!   My hope is that other runner’s, or individuals, may at the very least take extra precautions and safeguards and perhaps “A Heartfelt Message with Respect to Mollie Tibbetts” for your own safety.

In All Honesty…

I’ll admit, I used to be the purist runner.  It was so freeing and liberating to just head out the door without a specific plan, destination or route.  My runs were a way for me to escape to a blank canvas where I was the only one who could paint on it.

I NEVER ran with a phone, because it was MY time.  I often wouldn’t communicate with my family members where I was going to run or when exactly I’d be back.  Even, back in my college days of running, I would take off by myself without even telling anyone I was going to go for a run.  I now look back and realize how completely DUMB I was.  I was irresponsible and selfish!  Don’t be like I was and please take this message of caution to heart.

Run Safe & Run Smart!

Perhaps things change a bit after you have kids or realize that you have a responsibility to your loved ones.  Or, perhaps like me, you have come to the realization that there is absolutely no excuse to not take advantage of all the various tools for safety our there.  There are so many convenient resources of the modern day at our fingertips to keep you safe and for your our own well being.

Here is my checklist for you runner’s to consider;

  1. Take your phone with you!!  If you’re an iPhone user, turn on your location services and use Find My Friends or a Life 360 app. so you can be tracked by your family members.  Not to mention you’ll have it with you should you need to call for help.
  2. Let someone know you’re going for a run.  I told my own college daughter just the other day, that even if her roommate isn’t around that she should still leave a note.  Heaven forbid something would happen to her, but if it did at least authorities and us family members would then know that she had gone on a run or the nature of her absence.
  3. Route your run.  Use mapmyrun.com or upload your Garmin or GPS watch analytics to log your routes or create new ones.  Let your friends or family members know where you like to run or the general routes you take.
  4. Run during daylight hours or at least on well-lit streets.
  5. Run with a partner or running buddy – this could include a dog.
  6.  Run with pepper spray or a whistle to ward off unwanted people, strangers, or animals.
  7. NEVER run with earbuds in both ears or music too loud that you couldn’t hear someone coming up behind you.
  8. If God forbid you feel you are being followed, immediately get your phone in your hand and emergency numbers pulled up.  Or pepper spray un-locked and prepped.  Bee-line to the closest house, business, or public area and forget about any miles or workout you had initially intended on.  Safety first and always heir on the side of caution!
  9. Also, God forbid you are attacked, but you MUST do everything in your will to fight off your attacker.  Empower yourself and try your best not to be a deer in headlights and freeze.  One thing I learned back in my martial arts days of self-defense was, if you’re attacked from behind, lower your center of gravity as close to the ground as possible while maintaining your feet stance.  It is much harder for an attacker to move you if they also have to lift your weight.
  10. Don’t take your safety for granted!

Equip Yourself with the Right Gear

I’ve included a link here to some of the safety equipment or gear that I’ve used or currently use.  You do NOT need justification to purchase something that’s going to keep you safe.  There should be NO excuses!

Products & Gear for Running Safely

 

Learning How to Go with the Flow

Last week was the first week of our official Fall Cross Country Season in conjunction with my own personal first week back at training for the marathon distance.  However, this time I am doing something completely unlike myself.  I am going to try a very loose training progression and mileage plan.  I’m kind of excited about letting the control ropes go a little bit and giving a little slack to myself this time.  I’m “Learning How to Go with the Flow”.

What Will I NOT Do this time?

With the training this time, and since I’m running with the sole goal of raising money for charity and experiencing the marathon with my running bestie, I’m NOT going to do planned or structured speed work.  No mile repeats at set paces, no tempo long runs, no Yasso 800s.

I will NOT abide to such a rigid training plan that gets me up at 3:30 in the morning to log mileage before morning practices.

I will NOT wrap myself so tightly around the time and pace axle, so to speak.  Again racing for pace is not my goal here.

I will NOT take for granted the gift of running!

What I WILL Do

I WILL however, log my usual daily average mileage with the cross country kids.  This varies depending on the day between 3 and 8 miles.  Usually on the higher side, when we fall into two a days and higher mileage runners.  And on the lower side when the kids have a hill workout or some sort of quality workout that keeps us centrally located on a route.

I  WILL also, TRY and run some frequent hill workouts for strength with them.  And when I say “try” it’s because we now have some feisty little speed demons that I’m not sure I can keep up with any more (LOL).  But I like the personal challenge and it’s always fun to coach them while being part of the mix.

I WILL most importantly give myself permission to have more of a “go with the flow” attitude and just ride the train for the experience and pure joy of running.

I WILL try and sponge into the memory bank every mile and memory with my J.Bo thru out our training runs and on the marathon itself.

I WILL try and slow down to take a look around more and smile at the fan support, thank the volunteers, and cheer on other runners beside me during the race more.

Dedicating Miles to my Donors

Lastly, I have decided that for every person that donates to me I will dedicate a mile to that person.  If there are miles left over than I think perhaps I will try and make note for something about my running that I am or have been grateful for.

I will try and keep you posted thru out the next few months until October 7th, which is when the Chicago Marathon is run, on how different my body feels or adapts to the things I have chosen NOT to do this time vs. the things I WILL do.  I like being my own guinea pig subject here.

I am still in desperate need of donations to reach my monetary goal of $1500.  Thanks for considering and if you choose to donate, I promise you that your donation dollars will NOT go wasted.  You WILL help a young girl be able to participate in the Girls on the Run program.  And you may just possibly be able to spark a change in her life for ever!!

 

The First Day to Greatness

It’s been over a week since I’ve written a blog post.  I’ve been busy!  Last week was filled with coaching and organizing a cross country camp for 52 of my 7-12 athletes.  It’s a full week which includes not just running, but PiYo (pilates / yoga) for runners, guest speakers from D1 college athletes, H20 Hunger Games (running in disguise.  insert evil laugh), cross training bike rides, outdoor movies and camping, trail running, swimming (cryotherapy), and clinic discussions (this year on GRIT).  However, this morning is the first official day of our fall cross country season.  It’s the First Day to Greatness!!

Have Faith in the Process

I’m reminded every time this time of year, how important it is to teach young runners to have patience with themselves.  So many are just learning to run and I mean this literally.  We have to teach them to be able to jog continuously for 100 meters.  One step in front of the other.  Then we set the next goal of 200 meters, then to a quarter mile, then so on an so forth until eventually being able to race a full 2 miles (for middle schoolers) or 5k (for high schoolers).

This process can be somewhat difficult to realize for young runners.  “Patience Grasshopper” is what I joke and tell some of them.  It’s so easy to compare yourself to other runners who seem faster or more fit and let it be the demon in the attic that is telling you that you aren’t a good runner.  This is hogwash!  In the seven years that I’ve been coaching now, I can’t reassure you enough by telling you how many times I’ve seen a new incoming 7th grade runner just stick with it by focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.  The short term goal at some point ends up turning into more of a long term goal and the kids come back out, year after year.  Before you know it, we’re reminiscing at their graduation parties and looking back at pictures of them in jerseys that they swam in because they were so little at the time.  

My current coaching tactics have me thinking that teaching kids how to draw themselves into the present mindset and to just focus on controlling what they can control.  If they can master this then, not only might they achieve what we refer to as “the zone”, but more so the bi-product of success can be achieved.

How Do You Define Success?

This can be a tricky question.  We’re teaching young runners to define their character and themselves thru the process with attitude and effort, and to take on the identity of being a “distance runner”.  A “distance runner” that tells themselves, “I do hard things”!  A runner who can look themselves in the mirror afterwards and be proud of the reflection of someone who has given their best.

In the same token, there is a definite real tangible goal that we strive towards.  We want personal improvement and PR’s (personal records).  We want them as a team to strive for top placement at each meet.  We hope that our end goal is qualifying and getting to the State meet.  We hope that the bi-product of all their combined hard work and effort and daily “controlling what you can control” mindsets, will get them to “the deck” (top placement at the State Meet).

Between these two personal short term and long term goals, and our team short term and long term goals, we will achieve greatness.  The runners will find success in themselves and a process and effort put towards something bigger than just themselves.  This is SUCCESS!!  And today was the first step on our way and First Day to Greatness!!

Holy Mother Runners from Iowa

Do you get paid to run?  Are you endorsed by running shoe companies to wear their shoes while running fast, with the hopes that it’ll influence watchers to go out and buy XYZ shoe brand so they can be fast too?  Do you get to include daily naps and massage and a dietician into your lives so that you can run and train all day every day at maximum ability? Do you have a nanny that comes and keeps watch over the children so that you can go log miles?  For the vast majority of you, this is NOT our reality or running way of life.  Today’s Holy Mother Runners from Iowa blog post features two “real” women from the Midwest and how they have kept running in their lives despite work, families, and the day to day chaos so many of us keep as a barometer of normalcy.  It may find you just as motivated if not more to put that next race on the calendar, once you hear how relatable and real these “mother runners” from Iowa are.

Response to the Holy “Mother Runner” Campaign

Last week after posting a contest for my Holy “Mother Runner” campaign, two local Moms won an RMC t-shirt and guest feature for my RMC podcast.  Ironically both mother’s who have daughters that run cross country at the school I coach at.  Their daughter’s have both participated in the program as 7th and 8th graders and will be entering their third year this coming fall season as incoming Freshman.

Holy “Mother Runner” Campaign

Iowa “Mother Runner” Suzie Johannes

Suzie has two teenage children both heavily involved and active in sports and activities.  She herself is a child physical therapist and has a service-oriented career.  I believe she may also assist her husband at times with his custom home building endeavors.  Needless to say Suzie lives a busy life but still tries her best to live an active life of fitness as well.

Suzie strives to teach her kids that being active and setting goals for themselves should be fun.  And to do what you can thru the process towards those goals so that you can “look back with no regrets”.  As a mom who understands the importance of the journey, she says she does all she can to offer support but let her kids somewhat define what that support looks like.  She offers to take splits for them during their races, and of course emphasizes the lifestyle of eating well, and helps them with the at home physical self-care that’s necessary to prevent injury.

First Time “Half”er Tami Flockhart

Tami had running seeds planted at an early age with her involvement in track and field as an short and middle distance track runner.  Since then, she’s continually defining her running life and returned to it after a bet with her husband that he’d take dance lessons.  Tami has recently trained and completed her first ever half marathon.  She chose to run the Des Moines Women’s Half Marathon as her first and says she may choose to do another this fall.

Tami also attests to the difficulty of how to manage work, kids, life and yet have enough ambition to complete long runs on the weekends.  She inspires for her daughter to follow suit and turn it into a life sport.   And of course takes the opportunities with her daughter to teach life lessons from her participation in the sport and thru the empathy of being a distance runner herself.

RMC Podcast Interviews

The three of us sat down and recorded the informal style podcast.  It felt like a casual chat about their own running and kids, or just a down to earth heart to heart from Coach to parents.

What I appreciated most, and hope that you will as well, is Tami and Suzie’s candid real runner mom balance and perspectives.  Sometimes these “real” stories motivate us more since we can relate and realize our fight to fit our own goals and running identities into our lives, are successfully shared amongst so many.  If you’ve ever asked yourself…How do they do it?  Can you do it too?

YES, YOU CAN!!!

 

Holy “Mother Runner” – Deena Kastor

Last week I started a blog post campaign called the Holy “Mother Runner” Campaign.  My intent to starting this focused campaign is to introduce and highlight some of my favorite professional “Mother Runners” (a few that have inspired me over the years), as well as empower those of you out there that have figured out ways to incorporate running into your post-childbearing mother runner lives.

The RMC Podcast

If you follow my social media accounts you may have seen the contest and post to follow last week’s blog post, which was to highlight the first three “mother runners” out there to comment by highlighting your stories thru a podcast interview on my RMC Podcast on iTunes (a link can be found on the right of this page) as well as reward you with an RMC T-shirt.

I couldn’t believe how immediate the response was by two fellow “mother runners”, Tami Flockhart and Suzie Johannes.  These two women are both Iowa locals and have successfully passed the running bug onto their daughters, who participate in our school’s cross country program.

So, stay tuned for their podcast interview later this week and get to hear each of their personal running stories and journeys with running.

“Mother Runner” – Deena Kastor

The feature “Mother Runner” in today’s blog post is Deena Kastor.  I have been a huge fan of hers since she won the Bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, the first in over 20 years.  To sweeten her likeness, she is also an 8 time champion in cross country.

What’s super cool about Deena now though, and pertinent to this campaign, is that she not only had her child in 2011 but has been able to return to the marathoning and half marathon community.  Before we get to her post-baby accomplishments, let’s talk about some impressive performances from her past decade’s highlights reel.

In 2008 Deena won the US Olympic marathon trials.  This specific race was strategically symphonic with an underdog turn-over for her after chasing down Magdalena Lewy Boulet during the last 10 miles.  Watching this takedown happen and evolve via live coverage put goosebumps on my arms.  Go, Go, American women distance runners!!

She has placed consistently in the Top 10 professional women’s field over the past decade in races such as the LA marathon (3rd – 2013), World Championship Marathon (9th – 2013),  and NYC Half Marathon (2nd – 2010).  But the creme de la creme in my current opinion was her return after having her daughter Piper Bloom.  Not only had she returned to running successfully after having a child, but also entered the ‘masters’ division and found a new balance for herself both as a mother, runner, motivator and author.

Here is a link direct from deenakastor.com with her Bio and Stats – http://deenakastor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Deena_Kastor_Bio.pdf

Kastor as a Master

Kastor has been running post-baby now for seven years and has been throwing down ‘masters’ division records in both the half-marathon and full marathon distance.  There is hope for us running Mom’s after all!

Her record times range from 1:09:39 for the half, which she ran at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia and a blazing 2:27:47 for the full marathon which she nailed at the 2015 Chicago Marathon.   Her Chicago masters marathon record was faster than the previous record by almost a full minute.

Not only has she been lighting up the half marathon and marathon distance at the Masters level, but she has figured out a new balance for herself as mom/athlete.  She’s implemented the power of positive mindset into life and as proof of going beyond, she’s even written a book called “Let Your Mind Run”

“That’s what this entire book is about,” she said. “It’s about pushing your limits and figuring out a way to mentally to get through physical struggles so you can condition yourself more positively, more optimistically.”-letsrun.com


This book is next on my iPhones notes list of “Books to Read”.  I can’t wait to be recharged by what lies within the pages as I’ve always been a believer of positive mindset and the limitless power that embracing this mindset can offer.

Obviously too with being a top-dog runner mom she had to figure out what new realistic goals to set for herself.  Letsrun.com, wrote a flattering article on Deena Kastor explaining just this – ‘RRW: At 45, A Rejuvenated Deena Kastor Ready To Ride The Hills At Boston Marathon’.

Kastor was nearly 39 years-old at the time, and had to totally reinvent the way she lived and trained to find a new balance.  She had to stop trying to mimic the training she did as a 29 year-old, reduce her mileage and the number of runs she did every week, and lower some of her training intensity.  She successfully re-booted her marathon career, taking third at the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon in 2013, ninth at the IAAF World Championships in August of the same year (as a 40 year-old), and tenth at the TCS New York City Marathon in 2014.

– http://www.letsrun.com/news/2018/04/rrw-45-rejuvenated-deena-kastor-ready-ride-hills-boston-marathon/

Kastor Kickstarts the “Mother Runner” Campaign

Next blog post will hopefully include details on my Iowa Runner Mom friends Tami and Suzie.  After that, you can look forward to posts including mother runners Paula Radcliff, Kara Goucher, Gwen Jorgensen.

If you would like to recommend or nominate another mother for inclusion or highlighting within this campaign, please comment or e-mail me thru the Comment/Contact tab at the top of this webpage.  And as always, please help me pay it forward to other “mother runners” out there by sharing and liking this post.  Power to all you runners out there and especially you “Mother Runners”!  😀