Follow This Mother!

Pretty in pink: Jill tackling 22 miles on the trail with a smile on her face
Dim and I have been buddies with Jill Parker, a 47-year-old mother of three, since writing Run Like a Mother. This Denver-based running coach and marathon-junkie even gave us training tips for the book, telling us how much training she recommends for 5Ks, 10Ks, and the like.


Best recent run: I feel truly blessed to live in a gorgeous place like Colorado and in the summer I love to take advantage of the abundant places to train. About a month ago, I went into the high country to get a little altitude and hill training. The past two years, I have run a race called The Mt. Evans Ascent, which is a 14.5-mile road race, with an astonishing 4100' elevation climb. Though it was physically very demanding, it was also one of the most rewarding races I've ever accomplished. This year, I didn't sign up for the race, but I went up with some friends as they trained for the race and I just enjoyed running it for no reason other than I could. I parked at Summit Lake, elevation 12,000' and ran 5.5 miles up to the top of Mt. Evans, elevation 14,133'. A true calf- and lung-burner, but awwww, I love it!

Favorite marathon: I have many which I hold dear to my heart, and each and every one has a different reason why, but I guess my favorite of all would be St. George in Utah. It was my very first Boston Qualifier. It was the first race I worked my tail off to get in excellent shape. In the months leading up to it, I ate clean, I weight trained three times a week, and my running kept getting faster and faster. Come race day, I had a plan and I executed that plan perfectly by not straying away from it and dying at the end, like I tend to do. I not only BQ'd but I surpassed my wildest expectations by having a spare15 minutes to qualify.


Girl power! I love things which scream girl, yet I don’t like to go over-the-top excessive. I don’t wear much, if any, make-up; I don’t like high heels; but I do love the color pink, lace things, longer hair so I can do “stuff” with it (mostly pull it back in a ponytail), sundresses, skirts, and flowers. I just like how this stuff makes me feel feminine and empowers me. I feel free and full of life when I don something girly.


Recovery effort: I run a lot of races, but the majority of them serve a purpose--prep for a major marathon. The races help me gage where my fitness level is and they are excellent speedwork--I can’t seem to hit faster paces when I run on my own. After racing a marathon, I take a mandatory week off of all activity. The following week, I resume running and weight training, but I do not push it this week. I just run some easy miles to build the base up and lift some easy weights to get the muscles ready to train again. The third week after a marathon, I will get back on a plan but if I feel fatigued, I will back off another week. During this recovery time, it’s important for me to sleep and get my nutrition back on track--these two factors really do help speed up the recovery. For shorter races, I always give myself a couple days to ease back into training. The body definitely needs to rest to recover better and I’ve been known to get injured if I jump back in too quickly. Oh, and I do take L-Glutamine for about a week after a marathon, I feel it truly helps speed up recovery. (I also take it for a couple days after a long run.)


Soul train: Running is a detox for my soul: It’s my reset button when I need to think or am feeling awful or the kids are cranky and I’m screaming inside. Running makes me a better “me.” Honestly, I am just a better person because I run. I am not a good runner because I am me, I am a good me because I run.


Post-run treat: This varies a lot, depending on my mood, finances, or how I feel I performed. I do believe there should be a reward for the sacrifices made and all the hard work performed, especially for marathon training. After I first qualified for Boston, I bought a bracelet that reads, “Embrace the Journey.”" I bought another bracelet at an expo that reads, “persevere,” and I wear it when I feel I need an extra mental push. I have a necklace from this year’s Boston Marathon, which has my name and the date, to remind me of that amazing day. The materialistic rewards I’ve given myself bring back fond memories and allow me to go to that “special place” when I have a rough workout or a bad day.


Follow this mother at:

Post-race glow: Jill and SBS after 2009 Portland Marathon, where SBS ran Jill in
Girly girls: Jill and Dimity at RLAM reading in Denver

15 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. Even though I’ve never met Jill in person, I feel like we’re friends — and that’s just through blogging,! Plus we sort of *know* the same people . I’m so glad to see her featured here!
    Running IS definitely detox for the soul! I loved reading that!

  2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Jill! Have been hearing lots about RLAM, mostly from Tall Mom, another running/blogging buddy, but hadn’t heard any ‘back stories’ about you guys, the authors. So glad to finally learn a little about you! I’m not a mother, but I do run, and support LOTS of moms who do – part of my mission to expand running to those gals who think ‘they just can’t,’ including my youngest sister, a young mom of three, who just ran her first 5K.

    Jill continues to be an inspiration, her posts reflective. Hoping she’ll race in Central Florida so we can eventually meet up! 🙂

    Bringing the RLAM tour to Orlando? Would love to say hello and exchange hugs! Any friend of Jill’s and Tall Mom’s….

    Thanks for featuring our Jill. She’s truly a gem!!!!

  3. Jill is an amazing athlete in her own right but also an enormous inspiration to others. She is very honest in chronicling the ups and downs of her training and how she feels about it, and makes the high goals she sets look achievable (and hey she does achieve them!).

    It’s great that you chose to feature her – it’s lovely to see a friend be highlighted like this..

  4. Jill LOVES motivating and inspiring others to run…she is a truly loving, kind and funny blogger who is always reaching out to others AND learning from the lessons that life brings to her every day!
    We LOVE YOU JILL and thanks for sharing some more of yourself in this cool interview!

  5. Jill is the BEST! She has been one of my fav’ fav’ bloggers who is honest, and a true marathon runner out there!

    She is beyond sweet with her words and a fabulous running mama model in life!

  6. One of my favorites in bloggy land! Jill’s kindness comes through loud and clear in every post. She’s on my list of “bloggers I’d like to meet someday.”

  7. WooHoo Jilly!

    She is such a nice person who honestly cares about others! She was one of the first running mothers on line to reach out to me in friendship. She is certainly someone you’ll be glad to know and someone who can offer experinced advice about running!

  8. Oh, man, how inspiring! Just what I needed to read as I head into a 50K this weekend starting at 6,500 ft with 4,200 feet elevation gain. Maybe I’ll go back and read it a few more times… rock on Jill!

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