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Follow This Mother!

Jess after nailing a 1:58 half marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC this past February

Jessica McMullin, 37, of Peoria, Illinois, has a busy few months coming up: This mom of two daughters will be running three half-marathons (reaffirming her Half-Marathon Fanatics status) and a full ’thon. In addition, she’s organizing a virtual race that kicks off this weekend, the Jelly Bean. It’s not too late to hop on board!

Best recent run: While I enjoy the camaraderie of runs with my Sole Sisters, I treasure my solo runs. They give me time to decompress and think over current situations; I usually come out a totally refreshed person. Just last week, an average training run turned my entire day around: I had a hard time getting out the door, but after a long warm-up, I was hitting mile splits that made even myself proud. With too much on my plate that particular day, I had thoughts of skipping my run (the horror!). Thankfully, I did not. The run helped me to prioritize things. I came home, stress-free, with a clear plan of action.

Kicked back in in 2009: Despite running track in high school, I never considered myself a “runner.” I gained the freshman 15 in college, and began to use running as a way to counter the beer calories. Running was an on-and-off sport for me. I turned to it like a friend when I needed a good talk with myself or mending a heartbreak. Once I met my husband and started having babies, I had completely abandoned the run. I was living the dream life as a stay-home mom to a sweet toddler and a beautiful 6-month-old baby. Yet oddly, I was at my lowest point (and highest weight!) ever. Like so many young moms, I turned to walking to fight the extra pounds. My walk turned into an all-out run--and I’ve never looked back. In many ways, running has literally saved my life.

Born in the USA: Jess and her Air Force family

Designing woman: I’m a graphic designer by trade, so I’m obsessed with colors, prints, and visuals. As a curvy, short woman, I know the importance and difficulty of finding a good fit; I get so frustrated with sports clothing. What you wear says so much about how you feel and who you are. While women’s athletic fashion has come a long way in recent years, I still believe there is a huge opportunity to make fun running apparel for the athletic build. It’s my dream to pick out fabrics, stylize cuts, and create exciting new ensembles for “fastonistas” like me!

Half, half, full, half: In the next two months, my calendar has three half-marathons and a full. I use a busy race schedule to keep myself motivated and focused. It’s my own foolproof method to prevent slacking. My big goal for 2012 was to run a sub-2:00 half marathon. I knocked that out in February, so I’m feeling completely stress-free for my remaining spring half races. On May 5, I’ll run my second 26.2 at the Wisconsin Marathon. My training runs have gone really well with two 20-milers already in the bank. I’ve got my eyes on a big goal, taking a minute per mile off my time. To PR a marathon by 26 minutes would be grand!

Jess's first marathon, Quad Cities

Bean there, doing that: The 2nd annual Jelly Bean virtual race begins this Sunday (April 1-8). The Jelly Bean race celebrates Easter, spring, and the start of racing season. I started this event all in fun--to be silly, dress up, and run with pals. Or a chance to test out your spring speed. It is what you make it. Bottom line: It’s free and all finishers are entered in the random prize drawing. This year, there are more events (run, walk, or bike), more prizes!, and almost double the participants. There’s still time to join the fun.

Race all 50: During the last six years of pregnancies, babies, and toddlers, I felt really confined to the home. Our family is now at the stage where we can begin traveling (more easily!) again. As an encouragement to explore new places, I set a goal to race all 50 states in my lifetime. I thrive off running new routes and locales. An out-of-state event turns race day into a vacation, keeping fun and excitement high. I’ve only completed five states completed so far (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, South Carolina, and Wisconsin) but am registered to check off another four states (Ohio, Missouri, Michigan and Florida) this year.

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10 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. I love Jess! She’s so inspiring (and as a graphic designer, her blog is top notch). We’re all ready to knock off Kansas in 2013 together. I’m so glad you chose to feature her today.

  2. Love this series. I may have to go check out the Jelly Bean run! Thanks for sharing a part of your BAMR-ness with us!

  3. Girl was this inspiring! I hope one day you can make clothes for us curvy short running women! It is SUCH a challenge to find full length compression that isn’t too long or skorts that have shorts that are long enough underneath to prevent chafing and don’t cut into my leg LOL!

    ROCK ON! [email protected] mother runner!
    I LOVE being a part of this community and getting to meet you ladies virtually! It’s like a family!

  4. Jess, I can’t thank you enough for being my running partner on my long runs in preparation for my first marathon. When I run with you, I know my route will be planned out and you always know what to say when I’m having a hard time at the end. Thank you!

  5. Well what a wonderful way to start my day! Sat down with my cup of coffee in my 5 minutes of quiet computer time and clicked open my AMR email to see Jess’s beautiful face smiling back at me! I know this mother personally and she is a remarkable mom, runner, friend, coach and person!!! She has encouraged me as to become a better runner and has done the same for countless other women in the P-town area! You rock Jess!!!!! Thanks for posting this!

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