With summer the time for adventure, we wanted to check in with Pam Serpico, a 54-year-old mother runner who lives in Elizabethtown, KY, who is biking 2,000 miles from Portland, Oregon to Colorado Springs, Colorado to benefit Heart Strides, the AMR non-profit partner that supplies running shoes and gear to mothers of kids who are critically ill or have special needs. She’s biking with Tony, her husband; together they have two boys, ages 22 and 20.
Before two wheels, the history of her two feet: I started running when my oldest son was in preschool and I was home with my youngest. We'd walk Jon to preschool, the Nathaniel, in the jogging stroller, and I would take off for a run. Another mom at the preschool noticed what I was doing and asked if she could join me. We were both brand new runners, so we started off running 5 minutes and walking 5, for a total of 20 minutes. Little by little we started running more and walking less, within a year we were doing a min of 40 minutes and up to two hours. We became close friends, as running partners do; we discussed everything under the sun. Highlights of my running career include running my first marathon (Rock & Roll in Nashville in 2007) and running alongside my BRF for her first marathon in Carmel, IN last April.
The family that rides together: Tony and I love to do bike trips together; it's extended, active time together with no distractions while seeing beautiful countryside and having amazing experiences. We did bike trips together before kids while in Europe—we lived there for 15 years through the military—then with kids in a bike trailer, and kids on tandems. Now it's back to just us!
Best Meal: Ha! Every meal. Seriously, waitresses love us. Every time we eat it's like, "Oh my gosh. This is SO good!"
Best Sleep: In the cool mountain air in our tent. The hotel nights are a treat, but I never sleep as well as I do camping in the mountains.
Fastest Speed: 37 mph. I'm a chicken. I feather my breaks on descents. Tony would just fly down, but I'm not that brave! He's amazing, he always rides behind me so I don't feel pressured to ride faster on the ascents, descents or flats.
Mantra: "I can do this!" I've needed to repeat that to myself over and over, many times on this trip!
Coolest person met so far: Charles, the 90-year-old camp host we met the first week. He has a big motor home that he uses to work as a host in the summers, then drives to Arizona to spend his winters. He's active, positive and has a goal to live past 100. He told us that he wants to, "go out being shot by a jealous husband!" What a feisty, inspirational guy!
Most innovative shower: After a recent 80-mile day with crazy winds, I was covered in dirt, dead bugs and salt when we finally made it to Lander, Wyoming, only to find that every hotel was booked. The town offers free camping for bikers in their city park, so we were set! However, there wereno showers. And I really needed a shower. So I did what any upstanding 50+ year old woman would do; I took a sink shower in McDonalds bathroom! Washed my hair and everything!
Her extensive wardrobe—and a little TMI: I get to choose between one biking skirt or one pair shorts and two biking jerseys. I'm loving the skirt, it has the BEST padding to keep the butt somewhat comfortable. And this may be TMI, but the "store" is rarely open for business because it's just WAY too tender!
Number of flat tires in the first week: 6.
The bigger purpose: I first learned about Heart Strides while listening to the AMR podcast with Denise, the founder, during a run on the dreadmill on a cold, snowy day. I was in awe and knew immediately that this was a cause I wanted to get behind. I'm a special education teacher and I've seen moms struggle as they pour all of themselves into caring for their kiddos. I know how much running/fitness has helped me as a mom, and I can only imagine how much more someone facing these struggles would benefit from the gift of fitness. I rallied my Sole Sisters running group and we put together a large suitcase of shoes and running clothes, which I took to Denise when I flew out to visit my BFF in Colorado Springs last April. After meeting Denise and chatting over coffee, I felt even more inspired to help out. A few weeks later while biking with Tony, I thought, I can dedicate my tour this summer to raising funds and awareness for Heart Strides. It seemed like a perfect opportunity!
If you'd like to donate to Pam's ride, you can do so through her campiagn here. Also, here again is the Heart Strides main page if you want more information and/or to donate to their general fund. Thank you!