Follow This Mother!

A blur of color: Jolene was named best costume at her March half-marathon. Her prize: three laps around the Charlotte Motor Speedway at 165 mph (in a race car).

When Dimity and I are in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, N.C., this weekend at the Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon, we get to meet this week’s profiled mom: Jolene Cannady. Yet I feel like I already know this 37-year-old mother of two, thanks to the comments she posts on our Facebook page and blog. She’s Canadian born and raised yet married to a “handsome Southern boy,” meaning now she lives 1,000+ miles from our neighbor to the north. Alas, Jolene is injured right now—a bum left hamstring—yet she has her eyes firmly set on a fall marathon. Check out how this mom keeps all the balls in the air.

Best recent run: Since I have been dealing with injury I have had to behave and watch my pace. I am also only allowed to do short distances, until my full marathon training starts. So my best recent was two miles in a little under 16 minutes. Not the slow pace I am supposed to be doing, but I needed a little speed and it was on a track. Sssssshhhh!!!

Hamstrung: My recent injury is, without a doubt, my fault. I ran a half-marathon on March 29 that was supposed to be fairly flat around Charlotte Motor Speedway. I ran it with my husband, and I didn’t push as hard as I could have. Two days later, I felt good and thought I would do speedwork and weights. Bad idea: I got a Grade 2 hamstring strain, my first big injury ever. It sucks. It has reminded me I’m getting older and have to adhere to a pre- and post-run stretching plan; before this, I rarely stretched. I went through the stages of grieving with the injury and fell in love with physical therapy. Lesson definitely learned.

We suspect Jolene danced to "Pomp and Circumstance" at her recent graduation

Juggler extraordinaire: My juggling act includes being a mom of two, wife, full-time registered nurse, full-time student, and a runner. I just graduated with my bachelor in the science of nursing (BSN) degree after more than 13 years of being a diploma registered nurse; my next step is becoming a nurse practitioner. I only work weekend days on labor and delivery, which means I can juggle the full load with the help of my amazing hubby. However, it also means I miss out on all the races I would love to do. It also means my long runs take place during the week, and I have to manipulate my training schedule.

Stand for what you believe in: I am Stand Ambassador in North Carolina for an amazing foundation known as Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. I took on this role both as a runner and a registered nurse. I run my races for the foundation and raise both awareness and funds for childhood cancer research. I lost my father to cancer in 2007 and have worked with some of the oncology children in the past. Cancer sucks!! I run lemonade stands with family, friends, and a teen group that I mentor. We have a blast raising funds. I have a vivid green cape that I wear after my races, painted by pediatric oncology patients from the University of North Carolina hospital. I represent my heroes, those kids out there fighting.

The Cannady clan

On the horizon: I have three upcoming races. One is a 5K in my neighborhood at the beginning of June. An amazing family whose daughter has cystic fibrosis is putting it on. They are an inspirational family who I support whenever I can. However, since I am still healing, I am not supposed to “race” this 5K. Then I have the Ramblin’ Rose Half in Durham in October and a week later I am running the Marine Corps Marathon with my husband. We are running for Team Lemon, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundations group of athletes running for the cause.

Dancing fool: I can’t shout it loudly enough: “I LOVE MUSIC AND DANCING!” I am not afraid to break out in dance anywhere. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned life is too short to worry about what others think of you. So when a great tune comes on while I’m running and I feel like stopping and getting down, I do. In fact, a lady once approached me in the grocery store and asked if I was the lady she saw dancing at the side of the road one time. I blame these moments on a good Deadmau5 song.

Follow this mother at: and on Twitter.


12 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. I have had the honor and privelege of calling Jolene “friend” for almost 5 years now. She is as sincere and authentic as they come and I am honored to have her in my life, even if it means we’re now many miles apart. She is an inspiration and a force to be reckoned with 😉 Love ya, Jo!

  2. Thanks Dimity and Sarah. Your book was like my running bible when I started back to running. Thanks to all of you moms too. It is definitely an honor to be featured here. I love running and love what I run for. The hammy is healing very well and marathon training starts June 25th. I am very excited.

  3. AHH! I totally met her at the NC Half marathon! I was standing next to her at the awards ceremony and chatted with her briefly about her cape. She told me the story and I cheered for her loudly when it came time to vote for our favorite costumed runner. So happy to see her featured here!

  4. Jolene,
    I’m a former labor and delivery room nurse who is now also a mother runner and a family nurse practitioner living in Suburban Philadelphia. If you ever have any questions about the transition from RN to NP, please don’t hesistate to send me a message on facebook! I hope you hamstring cooperates for your races 🙂
    Ellen Van Haute Frazier

  5. What a cool Mother Runner! I run for charity too and can completely relate to her story. It’s always so nice to know others that are passionate about something you care about too.

    I’ll be following. Thanks again for sharing!

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