Like so much of my social life these days, I intersected with Lesley Jones online. On Twitter, to be precise. This mom of three in Garland, Texas, stood out for a few reasons, including looking like a tall gal in photos (turns out, indeed, she’s 5’ 11” like I am) and being days away from running her first ultramarathon. I imposed on her, asking her to answer a handful of questions mere days after she slogged through ankle-deep mud and clay at the Rocky Raccoon 50-miler. Find out how she got to the point where she could tackle that challenge.
Best recent run: With only two of my three children in school, I am a treadmill runner during the week out of necessity. I have learned to embrace the treadmill, both at home and at the gym. My favorite recent run: The day after Christmas, I headed to the gym to find that several of my friends were there, too--Emily, Elaine, and Ashley. We lined up on the treads and just enjoyed lots of laughs while sweating off our Christmas meals and sweating out the holiday stress. I don’t think any of us have ever smiled so much through 10 miles!
Bye-bye, 50 pounds: After baby #3 and seven years of what was a mostly sedentary lifestyle, I decided to reclaim my body. Because I had run casually to lose weight in college and also ran before children (though mostly <3 miles), it just made sense to gravitate toward running again while also focusing on improving my diet. When a friend suggested White Rock half marathon in 2009, and I realized that the beneficiary was Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, it was clear what was next for me. I lost 32 pounds in the process, and I lost the last 18 a year later.
A Paige from my book: My youngest daughter, Paige, was born with a severe left club foot. With the help of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) and a special massage technique, we were able to correct it completely before her first birthday. Paige is now 3.5 years old, and she loves to run like mommy! This is why it was so important to me to run White Rock. I fundraise for TSRHC each year I run White Rock Marathon--three years so far with no intention of stopping.
Going long: I never thought I would do an ultra. But I carried mileage that kept me marathon-ready for a large portion of 2011, and my body held up. When a friend came back from his first 50-miler, he suggested I try one. Always looking for the next challenge, I started looking at training schedules to see if I could handle it, time wise, with my mom responsibilities. Training wasn’t a huge step from what I was already doing, so I was in. And once I commit to something mentally, I am pretty determined to make it happen to the best of my ability.
Children’s intuition: I have three awesome children – Patrick (9), Lily (7), and Paige (3). I love that they embrace my running, want to join in when they can, and are constantly trying to learn more--asking about distance and questioning whether certain foods are good fuel. On weekdays, I drop the older two at school and immediately Paige asks, “Gym today?” I love that she knows this is the routine! On weekends, the kids know it’s long run day. When I get home, they know it’s movie time: We all watch from my bed together so I can have some post-run time to relax. It’s one of my favorite parts of the weekend! I love that they seem to “get” running and what it means to me.
Looking good, feeling good: I spend most of my time playing mom. Races are my time, and I enjoy getting to “dress up”! You can usually see me in Athleta or SkirtSports. Sometimes you can see me coordinating with friends. I also coach, and when several of us attend the same event, we love to show up as a united team front: It’s a way to remind one another that we’re never alone. At a recent race, we all wore Team Sparkle skirts with matching tanks made for me by Family Fan Club. It was awesome when I’d see a red tank and a silver sparkle on the horizon!!!
A full year for me: My goals are always evolving. On January 1st, I completed my third marathon in 63 days qualifying me for Marathon Maniacs (#4850). This really sparked a fire. I realized not only could I handle marathons so close together, but I still felt great--I didn’t feel fatigued or burnt out. I am really enjoying the marathon distance, and this will be the year of the marathon. (Although I have a sneaking suspicion there will be ultras in there.) I can’t wait to enjoy some great events this year…all of which will involve a lot of friends, because running friends are the best part of running!