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Motivating Mom of the Month: Meet Kristin

For Kristin running has always been a time for her to connect with her thoughts, faith, self, and a time to refocus and center. After completing her first half marathon she challenged herself to complete one race for every month for a year. Read her inspirational story here.

Running has always been a time for me to connect with my thoughts, my faith, my self, a time to refocus and center. As far back as middle school I remember turning to running when I’ve been mad, sad, motivated, and unmotivated. It’s a sport that requires very little gear, no teammates, can be done pretty much anywhere at any time, and can get you past mental and physical hurdles. When I was pregnant with my first child, I got out of the routine of running regularly. Being pregnant was so new, unknown, and rapidly changing everything (my career, my life, my body); exercising regularly got put on the back burner. After I had Charlsli, I decided to leave my career as an engineer and become a stay at home mom. I knew that I wanted to be home with my kids and be the one to teach them and raise them day in and day out. However, I quickly learned that I needed something that was for me to work towards that could be seen as my “me time”. I rejoined the YMCA when Charlsli was about 4 months old, it was there that I saw a flyer for FIT4MOM Madison. I debated going for a few months because, well as a natural introvert it is WAY out of my comfort zone to try something new on my own, what if I was terrible at the workouts? What if I had to talk to everyone or introduce myself to a group? (cringe) I finally decided that it was worth a try, so at the end of October 2016 I tried my first class. I loved it! Other moms, in the same boat as me, many with kids the same exact age as mine.

When I became (unexpectedly) pregnant the next summer with twins (shock of my life), I tried to continue my FIT4MOM classes, but eventually had to put my membership on hold. Carrying two babies at once took a toll on me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Eventually, walking from one room to another felt like a daunting task. So when I was cleared to workout again 5 weeks postpartum, I went home and jogged in my neighborhood that day. I didn't make it very far but I remember thinking “I could barely walk for months, now that I have my mobility back, I will not take it for granted”. A few months later, I saw the FIT4MOM Madison run club ladies finish the Bridgestreet Half (2018) and I thought “that’s so awesome, but I could never go that far”. The furthest I had ever run was 6 miles in college and I still remember how I felt, it wasn’t fast and it wasn’t timed or in an organized race, but I still remember that sense of accomplishment.

When New Year’s Eve 2018 came around, I sat down to make some goals for 2019. We had just celebrated Oakleigh Claire and Landon’s 1st birthday. Having 3 toddlers, two 1 year olds and a 2.5 year old, and giving them most of my time and attention each day took a toll on me. So I really wanted to be intentional about having a few goals to work on something specifically for me. I thought back on FIT4MOM run club and saw that the entry fee for the Bridgestreet Half Marathon was about to increase on January 1st. So I added it to my goals for the year, signed up and bought a treadmill online that night. I had never gone that far and honestly, had never done an officially timed race of any distance.

I had to be strategic about my training plan and having a treadmill for nap time runs was a necessity. I trained 6 days a week (4 runs, 2 cross training). Some of my runs were done with my kids and husband, but a lot of my workouts became “me time”. A time carved out during the day where I could once again reflect on life, my faith, my goals, where I wanted to go and what I wanted to accomplish.

Completing the my first half marathon in April 2019 was pivotal for me. It was a stepping stone to proving to myself that I could truly achieve anything if I was dedicated to seeing it through. I learned that I needed to be willing to “be bad” at something and step out of my comfort zone, in order to be able to learn and grow.

My motto became “you can slow down, just don’t stop” and I told myself often “if you can carry two babies in your womb at once, you can run one more mile”. After my training plan had ended, I wanted to keep my motivation going, so I decided to add a new goal: one race a month for the next year. From April 2019 to April 2020, I ended up doing: numerous 5ks races, a 5k a day for a month challenge, a couple 10k races, and 3 more Half Marathons. One of my favorite races was the Run Disney Princess Half Marathon in Disney World. My sister and I completed it this past February and I am so thankful we had that experience together, especially before we were all quarantined.

Becoming a mom, comes with a lot of selfless responsibilities and tasks. Running, or exercise in general, is a way for me to prioritize myself, if even only for 30 min each day. At first I felt selfish for taking the time to prioritize my health and goals, but I have learned that taking 30 minutes each day to intentionally prioritize physical fitness has helped me to be a more present mom and wife. My kids and husband enjoy going on runs or doing yoga together. Moving together has made us stronger as a family. No matter where life takes me, I know that I will be thankful for this season of life and for my FIT4MOM Madison tribe.