Follow This Mother!

Mom of four Christa Zoch after PRing at Borgess Half Marathon this spring.

Christa Zoch, 35, is a mom who rallies: She organized a fitness challenge for mothers of preschoolers in and around her town of Portage, Michigan. This stay-at-home mother of four (ages 9, 7, 4, and 2) is also one of the Runner Diary writers for this year's Chicago Marathon. Check her out:

Best recent run: Borgess Half Marathon in Kalamazoo, Michigan in April. I had no time goals for this race. My ultimate goal was to make sure the ladies doing our fitness challenge cleared the course. I promised them I’d only go as fast as the slowest person, which, ironically, was me for a while. But then I partnered with one woman who yielded me my fastest half marathon time--2:32.

MOPS or broom: M.O.P.S. for sure!!! It stands for Mothers of Preschoolers, an organization helping moms of young children through local chapters and their website. I joined MOPS in 2002, and have been enjoying it ever since. This year I had a fitness challenge with the moms, ranging from a 5K walks to full marathons. As moms, we normally put everything else first; husband, kids, housework, etc. I wanted moms to know that it is okay to do something for themselves. Not only does it make you happy, but I really think it makes you a better mom. Your kids see you striving for something and completing it. Mops is a wonderful organization--I recommend it to everyone!!!!

Zaniest part of having four kids: There is always something going on. If there is silence, it means trouble. Having two girls and two boys, there is always a lot of drama and destruction going on: organized chaos. Kids are more capable than most people give them credit for. They pretty much go everywhere we go. If they aren’t invited or the event is inappropriate for kids, we don’t really need to be there either. Some may say it is zany but really, it is my life and I wouldn’t change (nor do I know anything else).

Why Chicago: I am repeating the same marathon again to redeem myself.  Last year, I ran the marathon, but finished in a not-so-pretty time of 6:05. I tore my IT band in the middle of August and was told the only way it would heal was if I rested it, no running. (Not exactly what a runner wants to hear). I told the doctor that not running the marathon was not an option. I had trained too hard, plus the 2009 Chicago Marathon was huge event for my family. I was running the marathon with my two brothers and our father, so skipping it was not an option. Many hours on the bike, workout tapes, and some physical therapy put me at the starting line. Since I didn’t run for the last six weeks of training, I was super-ecstatic with my finishing time. The fact that I finished the race without re-injuring my knee was enough really. But now I am going back to prove what I am made of: My goal is 4:48.

Tunes or no? Tunes for sure. Even though I can’t recall a single song from a run except for the last one, I need very upbeat music. I like to run to the Top 40 hits or a late-night party mix. Not the best music to listen to on a daily basis, unless you’re a teenager, but incredible running music. It is amazing how a song can affect your pace.

Must have pre-marathon night: A nice pasta dinner. Time to get in the zone and look over all the marathon stuff. Get my number/chip in place.  Hopefully, a good night’s sleep. Great big hugs and kisses from husband and kids, since I sneak out the door in the morning before they wake up.

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