Ali Mc runs

Saying ‘I’m a runner’ still feels weird to Ali Mc, but a runner she is! Although she became one quite by accident. This is her story!

I wanna get bridal beach ready

When Ali and her boyfriend Colin unexpectedly found themselves pregnant there was no question in their mind: they were going to have the baby. So they bought themselves a house and set up home. Their love continued to flourish and they decided to get married. And what better place then Hawaii to do it in! However, Ali Mc had one concern: she was still carrying some extra pounds from her pregnancy. To get bridal beach ready she started working out and watching what she ate.

Couch or 5K? Ali chose the couch

Now, don’t start thinking: ‘Oh I know júst how this story goes! Ali started running, lost all the weight easily, and was all annoyingly svelte during her wedding day!’ Because that’s not how it went. Ali hated running, and couldn’t stick to any of the running programs out there. When it came to couch or 5K, Ali went for the couch every time. So carry on reading, and find out how Ali eventually díd fall in love with running.

Running on the spot, in front of the tv

Ali: ‘I started running in June of 2011. It’s weird thinking back to how it all started. I hated running, and only started incorporating it into my weight loss/fitness journey as a pre/post workout routine to warm up and cool down.

And I would run on the spot, in front of the tv. I was calorie counting, and if I ate too much I’d start running on the spot while watching Cake Boss or Food Network and time myself. Eventually I got a treadmill and Colin was happy that our rug was being saved. Then somewhere along the line, I started prefering running outside instead of running on the threadmill. That’s when I fell in love with running, and the self confidence that came with it.

Ali’s motivation to run

For Ali running means connecting to her body. ‘I used to hate looking at my naked reflection in the mirror. I couldn’t stand how vain I was, but I wasn’t ready for what motherhood had done to my body. Also, I spend so much time in my head it’s nice to remember that I have a body too. I gain satisfaction in seeing what my body can, and will do, if only my mind stays quiet. I run to feel free.’

Running and motherhood

Ali definitely sees parallels between running and motherhood! ‘Being a mom and a runner is a constant mental battle! You’ve got to breathe, focus and relax in order to be good at both. Sometimes I think the patience that has grown from being a mom, makes it easier for me to relax and let go while running.’

When her son is older, Ali plans to introduce him to the joys of running. ‘I can’t wait till he can race with me. He loves doing yoga and working out with me. He’s always asking if he can come on my runs with me, I always respond: one day.’

Apart from looking forward to running with her son, Ali prefers to run alone, although she has found that sometimes people can help get her through a run by providing distraction. But unless other people’s pace is the same as hers, it can get annoying fast. When it comes to longer distances, she loves running in groups though.

Running frequency

Ali used to be addicted to running, and ran almost six days a week. But then she got injured and saw herself forced to incorporate other forms of exercise to keep herself balanced. She started up a relationship with strength training and now only runs three times a week. ‘I do one recovery run, one speed session’ and one long run.’

Running environment

Ali prefers to run in the country: she loves trees, and feels like she could run forever in a natural setting. Whereas in the city, she finds it a struggle to continue. For most runs she drives to the trails. This Fall Ali plans to try running on the track for the first time, to do some speedwork.

Where Ali runs plays an important role in whether she runs while listening to some tunes:

  • Races – no
  • Trail runs – not always
  • Group runs – no
  • Treadmill – yes
  • City runs – yes

Racing

In all the enthusiastic stories about racing, one thing seldom gets mentioned: they cost money! And that is why, though Ali likes participating in races, she can’t do too many. So she chooses a few ‘special’ races. So far she has raced two 5Ks and one 10K, and is currently training for her first half marathon.

Running and reading

Ali only reads about running when something pops up, and she needs to find some answers. She tends to favour running blogs, magazines and online resources to books. Which explains why most of the running books she gets from the library go back unfinished.

However, there are two books she did like: 3 Months to Your First 5k, and Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide: Advice, Plans, and Programs for Half and Full Marathons by Hal Hidgon. This last title inspired her to plan a full marathon in the fall of 2013.

Running clothes

Ali likes her tempo shorts. Running skirts remind her of the skirts she wore as a child growing up in the 80s, and she thinks they look ‘funny’. However, since she hasn’t tried them, she’s reserving judgement. ‘Don’t knock it till you try it,’ is Ali’s motto as far as running skirts are concerned.

Running gadgets

Besides her spatulas ;) Ali uses a Nike+ for a rough estimate on her distances. Otherwise she maps her runs. She has never used a Garmin, but would love to try one.

Ali’s message for moms who are thinking about taking up running

DO IT. When you’re a mom, not only is your body different than it used to be, your self-esteem is sometimes lower. Suddenly you’re in charge of other beings, and have a whole list of jobs you’d never thought one person could handle – you NEED your own time! Lots of moms start running just to get out of the house and ‘live’, and I am one of them.

Would you like to find out more about Ali?

Then visit her blog Running with spatulas!

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Rachel Hammond runs!

Rachel Hammond (34) is married with children, aged seven, five and three. When Rachel and her husband knew their family to be complete, she figured running would be an easy, quick and cheap way to get back into shape, especially with small children.

From couch to 5k

Like most people Rachel used the Couch to 5k program. She signed up ánd paid for an upcoming race to keep herself motivated to stick to the program. She can now easily run three to four miles, and the furthest she has run is six miles. Someday Rachel plans to run a 10k.

‘Do you need a ride?’

Rachel: ‘There is a great app that I used when I just started out, that signaled loudly when I was supposed to run or walk. I confess that there was one time, right at the beginning, when a guy stopped to ask me if I needed a ride. I guess I looked like I was about to keel over? It was a little embarrassing, but I haven’t had that happen since.’

During Summer Rachel runs three to four times a week. Because she doesn’t like running in the cold, she’s planning to get herself a threadmill to use during Winter.

Running solo or in groups

Even though Rachel took up running for the physical benefits it offers, she now also runs because it helps clear her head and decompress from the little and big stresses of daily life.

Rachel: ‘On those days that I need to decompress, it is helpful to just be alone with my thoughts and my plodding feet. But I also really like running with others, because they motivate me to get up and do it, and to finish strong. And it’s nice to have someone to talk to! Besides this, I love the energy that comes from being surrounded by other runners, especially at the start line of a race. It really is something to experience!’

Running environment

Rachel doesn’t belong to a gym, so it’s the open road for her! Since she lives in the suburbs she’s used to running through neighbourhoods with a variety of houses and businesses, and random barking dogs. But when she visits her inlaw’s farm she runs the quiet country roads. Rachel: ‘There is something peaceful about the quiet road.’

Running with gadgets

The only running gadget Rachel takes with her is her music. Lately, she’s been running to Pandora, because of the variety of music it offers, instead of listening to her same old running mix over and over. But she also has a running mix that helps her power through and keep her pace steady.

Rachel hasn’t yet tried out any running skirts, but she does sport Chili Arms! Rachel: ‘They are great for people like me who get cold easily, but don’t want the bulk of an extra shirt!’

Parallels between running and motherhood

While she was running a 5k in Traverse City, Michigan, Rachel was struck by some distinct parallels between running and motherhood.

Rachel: ‘Runners come in all shapes and sizes and run at different speeds, but with the same destination in mind. Moms are the same way.

We all do motherhood differently: we start at different times, speed through it or take our time, but it is definitely a journey. It also reminded me how important it is to have people to support you along the way, both on the sidelines, and in the thick of it with you as you run the race of motherhood.’

Rachel’s message for moms who are thinking about taking up running

Rachel: ‘Do it. Now. Don’t worry about not being able to make it to the end of the block. You will be amazed how quickly you will be able to run five minutes… then ten minutes… then more! It’s time you can take for yourself, and you will come back better for yourself and for your family.

I will run as long as I possibly can, in concert with other more low-impact sports like yoga. The simplicity alone is worth it, and the physical and emotional benefits are priceless.’

Wanna read more from Rachel?

Then visit her blog MomColoredGlasses.

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‘Ama runs!

I love reading the stories of other running moms, and what makes them run! So I’m picking up the thread of portraits I started in 2008, and I’ll be posting portraits of running moms regularly again!

I proudly present the (running) story of ‘Ama!

When did you start to run?

I started running in 2009 when I signed myself and my non-runner hubby up for the Race for the Cure. We had a blast and continued running, though admittedly, my husband was more into it than I was.

I found out I was pregnant in January of 2010, and ran very infrequently during the first and second trimesters, and not at all during the third. I returned to running, again infrequently, when my son was about 7 months, and then ran the Hershey Half Marathon in the fall of 2011. During that race something clicked, and I was hooked. I’ve been running more consistently ever since!

What motivated you to start running?

To be honest, I don’t remember why I signed us up for that first 5K. I was wrapping up my first year of graduate school at the time, and after a year of intense study, I think I just needed to move my body. I was very active as a child, and also athletic in my teens, but for some reason I took the decade of my 20s off. Probably because I thought I ‘had a life’. As I entered my 30s, I yearned for that physical-mental-emotional connection I had grown up with.

How did you start running? Did you use a programme, if so which one?

Basically I just started running. I used the Race for the Cure 5K as a goal to get me off the couch, but I didn’t join a running program.

Do you participate in races? Why, or why not?

I do, and I love it. As I mentioned, I was athletic in my youth and racing reinvigorates my competitive side. That said, when I race I only compete against myself. I don’t race to compete against others…yet…:) Plus, I kinda like the swag and the bling.

Why do you run?

A deceivingly complex question. I could just say: ‘I run because I love it,’ but there is more to it than that. Running impacts every other aspect of my life in such positive ways that I can’t imagine life without running.

  • As a mother, running teaches me patience, balance and to not sweat the little things so gosh-darn-much.
  • As a person, running builds my character, makes me smile, makes me easier to be around (truly. ask my husband).
  • As a woman, running makes me feel strong, makes me feel sexy, makes me feel empowered.
  • As a professional, running keeps me focused and disciplined, and helps me manage my time.

Do you have a favourite book about running?

I recently read that ever-popular book, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seenby Christopher McDougall.

My husband read it when it first came out, and basically revealed all the spoilers, but I still LOVED the book. Very well written and a gripping read. Marshall Ulrich’s Running on Emptyis currently on my nightstand, and I want to read Scott Jurek’s Eat and Runthis summer too.

Do you like to read about running?

Yes, but I also like to read non-running-related books, primarily fiction. My favorite book so far this year is The Art of Fieldingby Chad Harbach.

Do you read the magazine runner’s world?

Yes.

How do you feel about running skirts?

Are running skirts with shorts under them considered skirts or skorts? Because I really like those. Running skirts without shorts seem a little too free-lovin’ for my prudish preferences.

What’s the biggest distance you’ve ever run?

15 miles

Where do you run?

Mostly urban road throughout our neighborhood, though during Summer I will try to get some trail miles in on some local trails.

Which do you prefer: running in the city/suburbs or in the country?

I prefer running on the trails, but logistically they are more difficult to get to. I really hate competing with traffic when I run, so I would prefer to run in the country if that were a possibility.

Do you have running gadgets? If so, which?

I used to run with just the Runkeeper app on my iphone, but I recently received the Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Blue)so I’m running with that now. I like it, though it is taking some getting used to.

Do you run with music?

No.

Do you promote running to your kids?

My son is only 20 months, but we already have him running laps around the living room! Just kidding.

We want our son to be active, but how he stays active will be up to him. The Hubs and I participated in multiple team sports as kids and, honestly, the camaraderie one gains from being on a team is a really rare experience in adulthood. So I think we may encourage team sports while that is still an option, and encourage running as an option for later in life.

How often do you run per week?

I’m doing the #RWRUNSTREAK so right now I am running 7 days a week at least 1 mile. Otherwise I try to run 4-5 days a week.

How do you see your future as a runner?

I’m training for my first marathon in the fall, and we’ll see from there. I hope to be running ultramarathons within the next few years. But ask me again after November 10, and we’ll see.

Do you prefer to run alone, or with other people?

The only other person I’ve run with is my husband, so I’m not sure. There are days I miss running with him, and there are days when I appreciate being alone and tackling the run myself.

Do you see parallels between running and being a mom?

Yes. For me, the most significant parallel is that running and being a mom can be very difficult, but in the end both are very rewarding.

Running takes perseverance, motivation, commitment. Some days thats easy to do. Some days it’s very hard. Either way, the rewards from running are huge.

  • I feel great.
  • I’m happier,
  • Im healthier
  • I’m a better mom

Likewise, being a mom requires patience, sacrifice and strength. Some days the mommy thing comes easy. Some days its very, very hard. Either way, there is truly nothing more rewarding than being a mother.

Do you have a message for moms who are thinking about taking up running?

DO IT! Make the sacrifice! You will be doing such a great thing for yourself and for your family. A happy, healthy mom  =  a happy, healthy family.

Wanna know more about ‘Ama?

Visit her Run ‘Ama Run!