Follow This Mother!

5K, FiveFingers: Erika coming in 2nd in her age group

We dig Erika, a SAHM of two in Arlington, Virginia, for a bunch of reasons—she started running to beat post-partum depression, and her goal now is to do one in every state! Plus, she’s experimenting with barefoot running.

Best recent run: My best recent race was a 5K where I rocked my Vibrams, a running skirt (not my normal style), and placed second in my age group. But my best run recently was this past weekend. Seven miles on a really cold, windy day. What made it special? Absolutely no Achilles pain.

Blew away the blues: When my son was six weeks old, I found myself spending part (okay, a large part) of every day sitting on the couch, crying while I nursed him. I mourned my old life and was convinced I’d never have fun again. Intellectually, I knew the baby days would fly by, but at that moment, I was certain my future held nothing but nursing, diaper changes, and no sleep. While waiting for my OB to call me back, I got on the treadmill. I won’t say life suddenly became all rainbows and unicorns, but by the end of the first “run,” I could feel a glimmer of my old self peaking through. It wasn’t a quick fix, but over the next few months, I slowly ran my way out of the darkness.

Leaving the shoes behind: I grew up running barefoot around my grandparents’ farm. I still love being without shoes, so it seemed a natural progression to try running barefoot. I built my mileage slowly and ran an awesome 5K in September in my Vibram FiveFingers. Due to an Achilles injury, I’m having to rebuild my barefoot mileage, but so far, so good.

Morning, nuun, and night: I’m not a fan of plain water, unless it’s hot outside and the water is really cold. This makes it difficult for me to rehydrate during and after a run. I found nuun after my first marathon and now drink it pretty much every time I run (and sometimes when I haven’t!) I love that it adds flavor to the water without adding a lot of calories or aspartame. Now my only problem is trying not to drink an entire tube of tablets every day.

Coach Erika: I love running, so it made sense to get my RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) coaching certification. I also plan to get certified with NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine). My target clients are new and returning runners, particularly moms coming back from childbirth. It’s going better than I ever imagined. I’ve already got a group of runners I’m training for their first 5K as well as a small number of online clients. And, umm, I haven’t even advertised yet...

Watch this: What? Doesn’t everyone wear their watch and their Garmin at the same time? I blame my older son, who did not sleep through the night until he was four. For much of that time, he woke up every.two.hours. I developed a need to know just how little sleep I was getting. He’s nine now (and wakes up a whole lot less), but now I’m totally addicted to knowing what time it is.

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Family celebration: Erika, her two boys, and hubby on trip to Alaska glaciers to celebrate 15th wedding anniversary

22 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. I did a HM in my Vibrams last Oct with no problems. After that, I did a 20 mile run in them where the last 2 miles were a bit painful. You definitely need to build up to that distance. I started out with using them on the treadmill and then transitioned to running outside.

  2. Thanks for all the awesome comments!

    I love the Vibrams, especially for hiking and walking. I had to transition into them very slowly and only made it up to 4 miles before I had to take a break. I hadn’t actually worn them for about a month when I got injured as it was starting to get too cold.

    I’ve seen people around here wearing them for half marathons and longer and a friend’s husband does his Ironman competitions completely barefoot, so I’m guessing the person you saw had not built up to wearing them for that distance.

    1. My husband and I each bought a pair of the sprints a few months ago. He LOVES them and I am slowly getting there! He went for a miles run in them on our treadmill the day we got them and the next morning he said his calves were so soar and tight from landing so differently when you run in these. I really like to Cross Train in mine but I am slowly giving running a try. I am always so excited to see other runners in them though – way to go for you!

  3. I am tempted to join the Vibrams cult but scared. I have some Free’s that I wear for walking around but I have yet to do a run in them.

    I ran a half in October and I noticed a guy wearing Vibrams during the race. I saw him after the race and asked him how things went with the shoes. He seemed to regret wearing them LOL. Not sure if that is due to poor transition on his part or if that sort of thing is just not meant for longer distance. What is the longest you’ve run in them?

    1. I ran Chicago in my Free’s and it went well. I’ve only been full time in them for about six months. My goal is to be in a pair of vibrams by next year.

  4. Gals, I just love the back-and-forth dialog going on in the comments section. It’s that tribe-vibe that makes RLAM so awesome, we think. Thanks for being so supportive and involved.

  5. Alright, that’s it, I’m going to get a pair of Vibrams. So cool.

    And seriously, there should be a group of Moms who want to run in every state. I know that you can join the club after you have run 10, but wouldn’t it be great to have a spot for all of us who are moms?

  6. Excellent! I’ve been running in Free’s for almost a year now. I really want to step into a pair of vibrams soon. I also want to run a marathon in every state! Sounds like this blog is right up my ally! I have so many vibram transition questions.

  7. Thank you for posting so openly about your PPD; too often we women sweep our problems under the rug and forget that we need to take care of ourselves! And I know all too well that in the throes of motherhood, that is easily done.
    Isn’t it amazing how you can dig yourself out of the pit just with a few miles and some endorphins?

  8. It is so refreshing to see that a featured mother is someone who battled post-partum depression and talks so honestly about it. I think I am still dealing w. my “new” life as a mother. My little girl is only 14 months old and I am still battling the before baby and after baby ME. Who is this new person?! I am juggling a toddler, my senior year in college, a husband being in Afghanistan and training for a marathon for the 1st time all at once and I think I may be experiencing DOMS (delayed onset Mommy Sobs). It’s hard to have so many balls in the air but running helps clear my head in a way that not much else can. This featured mom is very inspiring to me – she has two kids, a job, and still runs her butt off! Way to go Erika!

      1. Sarah, things can seem dismal after the baby is born and they are crying and pooping all the time. But I’m 3 1/2 years into my first baby (and 18 months into my second); it gets better. You can find a balance. And you seem to be a good juggler!!

        1. Thanks for letting me know it does get better! I often wonder how other mothers do it… I see them w/ multiple children, pets, jobs, etc. and I think – I need to stop being so stressed – my problems could be worse!

          1. Sarah,

            I’ve found that parenting doesn’t necessarily get “easier” (third grade homework may just kill me), but it gets different and more manageable. I’m an older mom and I still sometimes have trouble figuring out the new me. Hang in there. Sounds like you are doing a great job juggling a lot of stuff!

      2. Sarah, things can seem dismal after the baby is born and they are crying and pooping all the time. But I’m 3 1/2 years into my first baby (and 18 months into my second); it gets better. You can find a balance. And you seem to be a good juggler!

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