Follow This Mother!

Getting a high 5-K?!

My hat is off to mother runners like Ruthanne Genco of central Arkansas who homeschool their kids. (Ruthanne has five, ranging in age from 15 down to 5.) I am in awe of the energy, patience, and planning that Herculean task involves—not to mention adding running to the mix. Ruthanne, 34, completed her first half-marathon on March 31, with her husband by her side and their five kids waiting with high-5s at the finish line. Check her out.

Best recent run: My husband and I just celebrated 15 years of marriage. As part of our anniversary weekend getaway, we did a six-mile run through a beautiful part of the city. Parts of it were along the river with lots of trails. It was a beautiful spring day. I loved being outside and chatting with my husband without interruptions, all while doing something we both enjoy. I didn’t worry about my pace and just ran for fun.

Ruthanne + hubby + medals

Eclectic means to me: I started blogging four years ago on a whim. I had absolutely zero purpose for blogging. (Honestly, I’m still not sure I have a purpose!) I have lots of varied interests, and I wanted to choose a name that would give me the freedom to go in whatever direction I wanted. I’ve talked about many things over the years: homeschooling, owning a handmade shop, Jack Bauer (come back, Jack!), my warm fond feelings of affection for coffee, photography, losing more than 70 pounds, and most recently, running.

That first 20-minute run: On August 15, 2011, I began the C25K program. I struggled and wheezed my way through intervals of 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking; my heart and legs were screaming at me. As the weeks passed, I looked toward that first 20-minute run. When the day came, I somehow propelled my body forward for those 20 minutes. I’m sure any neighbors who happened to see me were wondering if they should cheer for me or call 911! It wasn’t pretty, but I did it.

Half with my man: In week nine of my twelve-week training schedule for a recent half-marathon, my man decided to run the race with me. I was thrilled! During the race, he was constantly checking on me to make sure I was still sweating (we had a scary training run where I became severely dehydrated), refilling my water bottle when I was getting low, and making sure I was refueling. He was also a fabulous encourager. He kept me moving and focused on the ultimate prize--our children waiting for us at the finish line. (Yeah, I think he’s pretty amazing.)

Home is where the school is: We’ve been homeschooling for more than 12 years. Our homeschool is a team effort as we both have flexible work schedules; I never have the feeling I’m in this venture alone. My man is in charge of math, French, and anything else I need to throw his way on any given day. I’m in charge of everything else. We love the flexibility it affords us. Since I’ve taken up running, we run together as a family two mornings a week as part of their physical education. I love that!

Ruthanne and family

Inner voice: I’m surrounded by some talented and amazing runners. My neighbor, my pastor, my husband, and some of my girlfriends are all graced with the gift of speed. There are times I want to run as fast as they do, and I become frustrated with what I perceive as my lack of progress. I have to remind myself, “Seven months ago you could barely run for 60 seconds!” That being said, I don’t believe all comparison is bad when kept in perspective. I’m running for health, life, and the experience of the journey, but that doesn’t mean I can’t improve along the way.

Can’t run without: Without a doubt, my Garmin 405. I have a serious love affair going on with my Garmin. I think it’s the best (financial) investment I’ve made for my running. I also have a pair of Under Armour Capri Pants that feel like butter. Since purchasing them, I won’t run in anything else. It’s kind of like having steak: Once you’ve had it, you don’t want to go back to peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

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15 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. Awesome, awesome!! It’s so great to see such incredible, courageous mothers out there!! I started running a year ago, completed two 1/2 marathons and I am now training for my first full!! I’m turning 33 this year, I have an amazing, supportive husband and friends (who are faster than me:)) and the best 4 cheerleaders (ages 2-8) a mama can ask for!! Coffee is my best friend as well and I look forward to my time alone while running! Congrats on your huge accomplishment, you inspire me to know there are other mother runners out there!!

  2. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing — I’m also a running homeschool mom and totally agree with “I’m running for health, life, and the experience of the journey, but that doesn’t mean I can’t improve along the way.”
    Join us in FL sometime for the runDisney events…it makes all the work so much more fun!!!

  3. Ruthanne, my friend, I am sooo proud of you. You motivated me to get off my fat butt and start running again. Please ignore all of my whining on Daily Mile though. Seriously, you are doing awesome!!! Now if we could all keep up with those Team Sparkle girls. 🙂

  4. Way to go, Ruthanne! I am also 34, started running last August, completed my first half-marathon March 24th, and am totally obsessed with my Garmin 🙂

  5. Ruthanne, you are a wonderful person and beautiful woman. I admire you for your accomplishments and you have a beautiful family. Your parents are wonderful people, as well, and the most treasured friends of Tom and me.

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