Notes from the Field: The AMR Challenge

A month's worth of work that brought Robin to her first sub-25 5k--and to an age-group win. (AND it's her birthday today, so she got an early present! HBTY, Robin!)

195 of you completed the first-ever AMR Challenge, and my challenge has been to find a slice of time in this jam-packed summer to get the bumper stickers sent. Finally found it, so they should be shipping tomorrow and you should see them next week.

While the stickers are certainly a nice reward, what's more rewarding for us--and hopefully for you all--are the discoveries and lessons you learned through one month of scheduling your workouts and getting them in. Here are some helpful--and insightful--entries.

Shelle had a huge revelation:
"I'm also not afraid to run in front of people anymore. Before I decided to do this challenge, I let my self-consciousness about being chubby and a very, very ugly runner prevent me from running the roads by our home. I worried what the neighbors might think, or that drivers would joke with their passengers about the chubby lady trying to run. Then I fake-decided I didn't care and ran anyway, waving at the neighbors when I went by. By the middle of the month the fake-decided turned into real-decided, and I just didn't care. I realized my neighbors were actually really nice when they'd see me come by and one even commented to me about how I was pushing the stroller much faster than before."

Kate discovered two new loves:
"During this challenge, I discovered how much I love Pilates!! It has become my cross-training of choice.  I love what it's done for my posture, both while running and in everyday life. My most unusual workout (for me) was lake running. My mom and I ran laps in waist-deep water, which was an incredible workout. Between fighting our own wake, the wind, and the sand, which kept sucking our shoes, we got our hearts pumping very quickly!  I plan to keep that one in the rotation this summer."

Susan had an a-ha moment:
"It's not as hard to get five days of focused exercise per week as I thought. I can see results, too: I'm leaner and look
stronger, and friends have expressed the same sentiment. Best moment of the month: At my son's dentist appointment, the hygienist asked out of the blue if I was a runner, "because you look like one." That's NEVER happened before, and I'm delighted every time I think about that and the fact that two years ago, I couldn't have run a quarter-mile without stopping to catch my breath!"

Anne named her runs:
—Loose cow: a 4-mile loop thru a ranch where we get our milk and eggs (how cool does that sound?)
—Violett’s : another 4-mile loop named after one of my favorite running couple
—Contour: a nice out-and-back above the college where I work

Susan crossed a her first 10K finish line ("Automatic PR!"):

"Maybe I should open my eyes when I run," says Susan. That, or you could wear sunglasses and avoid the issue totally...

Susan learned to slow down:
"The biggest 'challenge' for me was the rest day. I don't rest. Ever. I know the importance of it and how I'll perform better afterwards. I even remind OTHER people to do it. Unfortunately, it was still a struggle to get myself to *gasp* skip a workout day. The first couple of rest days were tough, as the word 'lazy' echoed through my head all day long, but by the end of the month one rest day a week has become just as much of a habit I plan to hold onto as I do with the rest of my workout schedule."

Gail racked up some serious mileage:
"My running mileage was the highest it has ever been for a single month: 227 miles.  I've been trying to build up a good base before I start an 18-week training program to shoot for a 3:30 on the Marine Corps Marathon."

Jackie learned some seriously good lessons:
"Notes on my month:
I can do more than I think I can!
FUEL is very important!
There is a fine line between training hard and over training. Haven't crossed it yet (no injuries) but challenged to take runs off because I didn't feel like it.
I did use the 'outside bathroom' once running long country roads filled with vineyards...thanks for TMI Tuesdays and book info (no underwear is a cinch!)"
Aleksandra's son pitched in on her calendar:


Bronwyn, mother of a 1- and 2.5 year old, found some balance:
"In my pre-kid life, I trained for distance, and I trained with volume. I didn't know how to train in the much smaller windows of time I have now. My trainer is helping me get in quality workouts that will help me meet my goals (to build my fitness base again, run some happy, confidence-boosting events this season, and get back to marathons next year). My program involves an early morning strength/stretch session, and four mid-day trail runs a week (one tempo, one interval, one hills, one fun, all 40-50 mins). My workouts are feeling GREAT, and I am getting so much energy and power from this training program."

Jen took a (justified) extra rest day:
"This was a great motivation to keep running even in the hot Carolina summer. One week I had three rest days because Aunt Flo came! And trust me: 100 degrees, running, and good ole Aunt Flo don't mix!"

Rebecca wrote a haiku on the run ("It's your fault I do this," she says, referencing our bike haiku contest):
Summer has arrived
Hot, humid, muggy air thick
Speed work really sucks

Sarah set a future goal:
"My goal is to keep the 5 days a week going.  Also, to remember that whether I am walking or running, I am doing it. Two years ago on July 14, 2010, I changed my life. Since then, I lost 70 pounds and ran a half-marathon. I have kept it off, and while I can't always run, I can walk a few minutes here, and some more there, and get it in. For me, it's important to remember that I just need to get it in.

Thanks for the encouragement ladies, and I look forward to sporting your sticker."

Forget car seats; this is accessory every mother runner's car needs.

We look forward to seeing it, Sarah, on your bumper--and on the bumper of nearly 200 more mother runners. Congrats, ladies!

7 responses to “Notes from the Field: The AMR Challenge

  1. Susan doesn’t have her eyes closed! After photographing A LOT of H.S. XC races, I can tell you, her eyes aren’t closed, she is just keeping her head up while looking at the ground in front of her (maybe the finish line?)! Some of us who may… on occasion… be klutzy, tend to run this way all the time. 🙂

  2. When I came home from my swim training last night my husband asked me who “Another Mother Runner” was. I said, “Me.” He said, “No, the return address on the letter you got.” So I ran to the table where he put the mail and tore open the envelope and proudly held up the bumper sticker and … he didn’t really care. I mean, he cares, but not really. You know how it is.

    I’m not sure I could write a haiku on a training run. But now I have a new game. The difficulty will lie in counting all the way to seven. And then remembering the haiku for more than 2 seconds.

    (By the way, that’s me in the picture above running with my eyes closed.)

  3. I LOVE that my son’s scribblings ended up here!! Got my bumper sticker today and proudly displaying it on the back of the family Prius. 🙂

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