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Follow This Mother!

Gail at the Tallahassee Turkey Trot (5x fast?!)

When I came across the blog of Gail Nestor of Smyrna, Georgia, via Twitter, I felt a connection with her. At 44, Gail is close to my age, and she runs a similar marathon time to me. Plus, the marathon she ran was in the pouring rain, making me flash back to the last 26.2 I ran (here’s hoping not my next one!). Plus, I just like the diverse interests of this mom of two (a son, 10, and daughter, 9), including reading and geneology. I think you’ll think she’s nifty, too.

Best recent run: I typically run solo, early in the morning before hubby goes to work. Whenever I can, though, I seek out a partner. Lately, my best partner has been my 9-year-old daughter, Ashley. I am helping her train for her first 5K in late April. It’s so much fun to see how much attention we gather when we run together! We recently increased our distance to two miles, and have been keeping just over a 10:00-mile pace. When we finished the most recent run, she excitedly looked at my watch and asked, “Was that a PR, Mom?”

Another mother runner's runner daughter (!)

When it rains…: After running all winter in nice, crisp weather, I expected my early March marathon to go smoothly. The training was in the bag. Alas, Mother Nature had a cruel trick in store for me. The day before the race, I resigned myself to the fact that I was doomed for a long, warm, wet run. Temps were in the low 70s rather than 50s. Lightning flashed minutes before the start, but no delays were announced. After eight miles, tornado sirens rang out, but we kept running. By Mile 12, I knew my feet were doomed to blisters and black toenails. The sky opened up and poured buckets on me from Mile 22 to the end. I didn’t melt, though, and I earned every step of that first 26.2!

Classic(s)! Almost three years ago, I challenged myself to read through the Easton Press 100 Greatest Books Ever Written series in eight years. I receive one each month and try my best to keep up with the reading. Through this exercise, I have developed a much better appreciation for classics than I had when I took AP English in high school. My favorites so far are The Count of Monte Cristo, Wuthering Heights, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and A Farewell to Arms. (I always welcome the chance to discuss them with others.)

Virtual backpacks? I have taken a novel approach to educating my kids. Rather than sending them to public or private school, or even homeschool, I serve as their “learning coach” in a cyber school setting. Publicly funded by the state of Georgia, but administered via the Internet, my kids have an excellent, nationally respected curriculum and receive guidance from certified teachers and from myself as well. They are able to move more quickly through subjects in which they excel, and they score very highly on the state standardized tests. They keep social skills sharp through scouts, choir, tennis, and play dates.

Blazing-fast half: My second half marathon was a mere two weeks before my first marathon. Figuring it would be a good way to begin tapering, I went in thinking of it as just a glorified training run. Somehow, though, I saw from the start it was destined to be a good race. I had committed every hill and curve to memory. A conservative start gave me enough juice to run sub-8s for the last two miles, bringing me in at a cool 1:45. Since my only goal had been to beat 2 hours, I was thrilled beyond words with this unexpected success!

At the Peachtree Road Race--largest 10K in the world

Raising our voices: Sometimes my life seems very compartmentalized. One of my other passions is singing in my church’s choir, which I have done since 1990. Although most of my choir friends truly do not understand my obsession with running, they are still very supportive. Conversely, most of my running friends have a similarly hard time understanding why I can’t go on those glorious Sunday morning runs. Life is a balance, and I sometimes have to make trade-offs with my time. I feel that both activities leave me very fulfilled, so I try to work them both in as best I can.

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9 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. Okay, so I love these bios of other mother runners, but definitely had to comment on her schooling choice. My kids have attended the same school but in Nevada. Congrats, Gail! It’s hard to make the time to run with a “normal” schedule, but doing it around the joy of schooling at home is even more intense and awesome. Glad your girl is picking up on your love of the sport.

    1. Thanks Kirsten! I love to get my run in before we start school for the day. It helps me be more focused and patient, and it really provides that all-essential “me” alone time since I don’t have that much of it. I do love the K12 curriculum, and I think this way of schooling definitely has some strong advantages for those who are suited for it.

    1. Actually, in the Winter I was very glad to wait until after church for a slightly warmer run. There were even a couple of times when I changed at church after the service, and slipped through the halls in compression wear and neon shoes to meet up with a running buddy!

    1. Why thanks, Erin! I do always get excited when my new book arrives. Summer is my time to catch up when I get behind. Books like _War and Peace_ and _Moby Dick_ definitely require more time than the shorter novels. 🙂

  2. Whoo-hoo! Another Southerner and book lover. Plus she listed “Wuthering Heights” as a fav book so I’m already a fan. Great profile and kudos to Gail. Keep up the good work, hon, and drink a glass of sweet cold tea for me!

    1. Thanks a lot, Ellison! Yes, I think sweet tea would definitely qualify as a super post-run recovery drink, especially in the heat and humidity we’re bound to have this Summer. 🙂

  3. Thanks for doing this article! One of the best things about running is all the new friendships I have made, but on the trails and in cyber-space. Runners are so completely understood by fellow runners, while those who don’t run think we’ve grown a third eye as mention things like “I ran 50 miles last week.” 🙂

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