another mother runner

a virtual aid station
from the authors of Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother


Follow This Mother!

Nicole at last October's Nike Women's Half Marathon. She ran with Team in Training. "Raising money for a charity that you believe in is something I think everyone should do at least once in their life."

Nicole at last October’s Nike Women’s Half Marathon. She ran with Team In Training. “Raising money for a charity that you believe in is something I think everyone should do at least once in their life.”

Nicole Zelenak, a.k.a. Running While Mommy, calls her son, Michael, 7, and daughter, Abigail, 4, her greatest running inspirations. “Without them, there would not be a running while mommy,” says Nicole, 41, who resides with her husband, Dave, and their kids in Narragansett, R.I. She just signed on for her longest distance, the Philadelphia Marathon, held Nov. 17. She’s contemplating following a plan from Train Like a Mother (we’re a little biased, yes, but we say YES, go for it, Nicole! We’ll be with you every step of the way!)

Best recent run: A 3-mile run with my running friend Jackie. We were able to leave the boys with her husband but had to take the girls in the jogging strollers. It had been a while since either one of us had to push the jogger, but we really wanted to get it done. With the girls being older, we are now pushing approximately 70 pounds! We set out and right away, fell into conversation. After about a mile, we saw our friend Mary who was just finishing up three miles. She turned right around to join us and the three of us ran, talked, and laughed for the next two miles. I learned that Mary runs “naked” for every run—she has a general idea [of her mileage] but just runs for the love of it. And Jackie killed a hill while pushing the stroller. I know this because I watched while trailing behind said hill. I also remembered some of the reasons I liked pushing the stroller. Lots of storage for one. But mostly because my daughter had fun and loved seeing mommy “racing.” Both girls yelled, “Faster, Faster” and giggled almost the whole time.

Nicole's kids made this sign for her. Photo was taken after the Run Strong, Think Big virtual 5K that she hosted to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Nicole’s kids made this sign for her. Photo was taken after the Run Strong, Think Big virtual 5K that she hosted to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Bring on 26.2! When I trained last year for my half-marathons, I ran 4-5 days a week with very little cross-training. I have had issues with my hip ever since, not to mention a deteriorating disc in my back—fun, right? My core is weak and I have worked very hard to become stronger. This time around, I want to run 3-4 days a week with cross-training for a total of 6 days. I also need to be able to change my running days around in case of sitter issues. I like the idea of the “bail if necessary” and the “bailing is not an option” in the TLAM plan. I am not sure if I will fall in love with this distance so I want to be able to enjoy it with very little pressure. It is going to thrill me to run through my childhood streets with family and friends along the course to cheer me on.

Power of 10 (Miles): I think it goes back to the first time I ran that distance—this number scared me. I woke up to a dreary day and I knew it would start to rain. I hurt, I was tired, and I got drenched in my last mile, but I felt like Superman! The following weekend, I ran the Blessing, which is a very popular 10-mile race here in my town. It was like a giant party and I had a fantastic time. The other side is mental. It is easy for me to tell myself that I am going out for two, 5-mile runs. Why is that different than saying two, 6- mile runs, I don’t know, but I like it, it works for me.

Favorite piece of running gear or clothing: My shoes. I did not know the value of good running shoes when I started, but found out quickly. I am currently running in Asics GT-2160s but they are on the last few miles. Waiting patiently in my closet, with just a few miles on them, are Asics Nimbus 14s. I do have a favorite race outfit: my Run Like a Mother tank with my Kyodan hot pink running skirt with ruffles. How can you go wrong with that! The tank, by the way, I won from one of the Hump Day giveaways.

Finding Herself+Family Fitness: I was having a bad day, maybe it was a week, Mr. RWM was away, the kids were running around like lunatics and I was making mac and cheese for the 1000th time. I was feeling lost and confused. How did I get here? Before kids, I was a flight attendant and lived a pretty cool life. I love my family but I was lost in them and needed to find myself again. I laced up the next day with the Couch to 5K plan downloaded on my phone and never looked back. I ran, I walked, I ran again. I had my own music, my own thoughts, and I felt free and alive! I was a better wife and mother because I had something that was just mine. We are all a little more health conscience and my son is now running with me. He is 7 and is up to two miles! What started out to be, “just mine” is slowly becoming a family affair and I couldn’t be more proud. I sometimes hate to tell this story, as I think I sound a little selfish because I started by “running away.” But by doing that, I ran into pure joy and we are all better for it.

Just before the Blessing 10- miler, "in my fav race outfit!" Nice!

Just before the Blessing 10- miler, “in my fav race outfit!” Nice!

Up Next…: This year the big goal is to run 26.2 and stay injury free. And, I do have a goal for 2014: there are three half-marathons in RI that make up a triple crown—the Cox Providence Half, The Jamestown Half, and the Amica Newport Half. By running all three next year, I will become a Triple Crown recipient! Beyond that, I just hope to run, stay healthy, and enjoy life. I hope to still motivate others as well as be motivated by all of you. I started Running While Mommy to keep me accountable and never dreamed that I would have readers besides my mom. I am humbled and excited by every runner who I meet and talk with. I have learned so much in such a short time and I look forward to everyday of knowing you, in real life and virtually. Run Strong, Think Big!

Follow This Mother on Twitter and at her blog Running While Mommy.

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11 Responses to Follow This Mother!

  1. Drewhebtern says:

    Oh my goodness! an impressive article dude. Thank you However I’m experiencing problem with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone obtaining identical rss difficulty? Any person who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

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  2. I always enjoy these features. I’m planning to run Philly, too– maybe I’ll see you there, Nicole! :)

  3. Summer says:

    Loved this!! So relatable. I’m a 2160 girl too!! I h e to get me a rlam tank! I want to buy a skirt, but I’m so afraid of “chub rub” ha ha. I too want to work on cross training after my half in 3 weeks.

  4. Sue says:

    Great piece, enjoyed reading about your journey and you are an inspiration. Good luck in Philly.

  5. Kristen says:

    Try TRX classes or buy your own TRX strap for a great strenght training tool. Look for classes in your area. We use it at our gym and it is amazing. It is an amazing core workout. Great job, i feel inspired to run again this weekend. It has been 6 months and i need to get going again. Thanks for a great read!

  6. Good luck!
    I a training for my 6th full marathon.
    I am currently running in Asics 2170s I love them.

  7. Lisa Nadratowski says:

    Way to go, Nicole….such an awesome accomplishment!!! You are definitely a role model for us other mommies out there:). Keep up the amazing job!!!

  8. Kathleen Liscio says:

    Nicole Rose, I could not be more proud of you. You are my inspiration, my hope and my best friend. You give of yourself without
    worrying. You are a TRUE inspiration to everyone you meet. Stay healthy, safe and happy. Remember our Lord is always by your side, as well as, Grandmom Rose, Mom Mom Lucy and Pop Pop. (your Angels)
    God Bless and I love you,

  9. Connie Ciampanelli says:

    Thank you for sharing Nicole’s story. She has become a cherished and inspiring friend. I am thrilled to see her story featured on your site. Best wishes, Nicole, on your journey to full marathon.

  10. Nicole… I LOVE this! I am smiling and tearing up a bit at your great inspiration and motivation for all of us out here. You have such a wonderful joy and honesty in this thing called running. And you’ve got me seriously thinking about the 2014 Triple Crown! You are going to soar in Philadelphia, and I am SO excited to follow your journey. I am SO happy to know Connie and to have connected with you through her. Now go run like a mother! xo!

  11. Thanks for featuring me! It is such a thrill!

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