Keep On Movin’ Mama!

    Mama being active is a family affair!

    I have always been a pretty active person. From the age of 3 to 23 I donned a pair of ballet (and tap and jazz) shoes almost every day and pursed my love of dance. Being able to use my body to express emotion and art and empowerment came from something deep inside of me and, although I am not currently dancing in this stage of my life, I have always considered dance to be a springboard to why I am so active in my life today. But in reflecting on my life and what drives me to stay active, workout, and explore the world through my body I have stumbled upon another motivator – one that just may be even more powerful: my mom.
    Up until I was six years old my mom smoked. I’m not sure how much or how often but I knew it was one of her vices.  But one day, while washing my hair in the kitchen sink, my mom made me a promise: if I gave up my “blankey” (boo!) she would stop smoking (yay!). And so it was agreed – a weird mother daughter pact of sorts.

    Almost immediately after our agreement my mom started running. I remember going to the track and riding my bike with my sisters while my mom ran 1 then 2 then 4 miles. She met some moms of our friends who ran, too, and they all started running together 1 then 2 then 26.2 miles – yup, marathons. They formed their own little running club and traveled all over the country running, building great friendships, and setting an example for my sisters and I that carries on today.
    I think, subconsciously, watching my mom stay active while being a mom herself has stuck with me. Staying active has always brought me great joy, tons of energy, a sense of self-worth beyond a clothing size, happy endorphins (my hubby will tell you I am the happiest after a tough workout!), stress relief, and the ability to be a good wife and mom. If I go more than a few days without a run or trip to the gym I get moody, anxious, grumpy, and I’m not a nice person all around. And if I go more than a few weeks without working out, I get depressed. Like seriously. Taking into account everything above, both my husband and I know how important it is for me to get my workout time. And we do whatever we can to make it work.
    As a mom of 2 (with one coming in February) I know how tough it can be to stay active. Between cleaning and cooking and playing with the kids and schooling and husbands and sleeping (wait, what’s that?) it seems like there is no time to squeeze in any mom time. And if there is, we would rather veg out on the couch doing nothing rather than being more active by working out. But I am here to tell you that maintaining an active lifestyle is a major component of being healthy and happy and the best moms we can be. And, even if you hate walking, running, going to the gym, or anything active, I want to give you a challenge: do something you hate. ‘Cause it just might turn into something you love.
    Case in point: running. I hated running. With a passion. (Kind of ironic, though, because my mom was such a great runner and I look up to her so much.) But running was just something I couldn’t do no matter how hard I tried. I could hike, take an hour long spin class without breaking a sweat, rock P90X, and dance for hours, but run 2 miles? No way. My legs would itch, my chest would hurt, and I simply hated it. I looked up to people who ran (my friends, my mom) and wondered how they could do it. I shrugged it off as something that was “not me” and left it at that. Until one Saturday morning, about a year and a half ago, when I decided to go for a nice little jog.
    Why I did it, I’m not sure. I had just finished a round of Insanity, so maybe I felt somewhat empowered to conquer my fears (and I cannot stress it enough: hatred) of running. Or maybe I just didn’t care about what I looked like or how slooow I was going to run. I told myself that I would only run for as long as I wanted to, at the pace I wanted to. If I wanted to stop after 5 minutes, so be it. Shoes tied, out the door and 25 minutes later, I was still running! The next day, another 25 minutes. I didn’t know how far, but I didn’t care. Something in me clicked and the next weekend I gave it another go. I would nurse the baby and leave the kids to play with daddy for a little while, and then I would listen to music I loved, I would take in the beauty of late summer and the leaves changing and I would smile. Before I knew I had run 45 minutes. And then an hour. And then one hour and one minute. Once I conquered that, I was on top of the world.

    If you can’t leave ’em, take ’em!
    To keep myself motivated, I signed up for my first ever race – a half marathon on New Year’s Eve 2010. It ended up being 18 degrees, but with a good friend at my side, the sun in the sky, and 13.1 miles under my belt I was hooked. Within the next 3 months I ran 2 more half marathons. The last one was even more electrifying, as I had my sisters at my side – with them running their first ever race.
    Running gives you confidence – enough so that you don’t care what’s on your arms as long as you’re warm
    Since my last race this past May, I have been growing another human inside of me, so running is kind of out of the question…for now. But despite everything I have going on, I still make an effort to stay active. Moms, we need it. And it can work. A couple weeks ago Annie posted some great ideas on getting out with kids: nurseries at the gym, leaving them with hubbies, even trading kids with other friends. Other ideas include: waking up before kids get up, going after the husband gets home from work (letting him put the little ones to bed!), and putting on a show for the kids while mommy gets her workout time. There are no excuses! I have even nursed a baby right before and immediately after a half marathon, and have heard of moms nursing during full marathons. See, it can happen!
    I have used all of these methods and my kids have only benefited from the arrangements we have to make for mommy to get her time. My daughter reminds me every Saturday morning to go to the gym so that she can get her “daddy” time and she gets really upset if I’m ever too tired to go! Being a good example for my children mean everything to me, so it gives me so much joy to see my daughter lace up her tennis shoes, put on a pair of shorts, run crazily all over the house and say:
    “Mommy, I can’t wait to go running with you someday.”  
    I can’t wait either, baby girl. 

    Kristine is a stay-at-home mama to two beautiful children and one on the way. She’s in love with the Lord, in love with her husband, and in love with all things active. She’ll try any new fitness craze as long as it breaks a sweat and tests her limits. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where the scenery keeps running fun and the weather keeps it challenging. For more snippets of the life her family loves and the home they share, visit Kristine’s main blog The Fire Within
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      1. great post!

      2. My hat off to you!!! You had such great inspiration while growing up. I also enjoy being outdoors, but not running. My pace is more walking than running.

      3. I definitely agree about the example for the kiddos. It is good that they see us being trying to be healthy! Great job Kristine, I know you’ll be right back at it after this little one is born.

      4. Thanks, guys! And you just keep on walkin’, JATunnell! I think whatever we do to be active is onyl beneficial to us, and our families, in the end.

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