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Follow This Mother!

Jessica running the Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon, where she BQ'd this spring.

Jessica Hofheimer tackled her first marathon 12 years ago, finishing in 5:21:20. This year, the 36-year-old mom of three from Reston, Va. realized a long-held dream of  qualifying for Boston with a time of 3:34:46. When she's not working on increasing her speed, she's coaching fellow runners, teaching Pilates, and doling out inspiration over at her blog Pace of Me. Follow her on Twitter here.

Best recent run: My 14-mile run on Saturday was an awesome run. Everything just clicked and I felt strong from start to finish. It was my last day of vacation in Virginia Beach and I ran along my favorite route there - seven miles with ocean views and seven miles of trail running through the most beautiful state park. I paced myself perfectly and finished the last two miles faster than my goal race pace and had more in my tank when I was done.

Jessica and her running buddies: "The Honey Badgers."

Picking up the pace: what's helped you get faster?So many things! It took me a long time (10 years and 6 marathons) to realize what I was doing wrong as far as training and racing went (which was practically everything), and I am still a work-in-progress (and always will be!).  The biggest things I changed that I think have helped were adding speed work 1-2 times a week, honoring a purpose for every run, listening to my body even when it was telling me something I didn’t want to hear, figuring out what nutrition and hydration plans work for me, being consistent about my core strengthening and flexibility work, not giving up when I really, really wanted to, and just BELIEVING in myself--going after my dreams and not being afraid to fail!

Just call her “Coach”: Becoming a running coach and Pilates teacher has absolutely been one of the most amazing and fulfilling things in my life. The coaching class opened my eyes to all of the (many) things I was doing wrong as a runner and I was so excited to apply what I learned because I believed I was capable of so much more than I was accomplishing at the time (and I was right!). Pilates has taught me a greater sense of self-awareness and has helped a great deal with my running. I used to have no intention with the way I moved and held my body and as a result I was frequently plagued with lower back pain and muscle imbalances that led to overuse injuries. I’ve met the most incredible and inspiring people through coaching and teaching, and I am just so grateful to be sharing my passion with others. I am constantly amazed by my students and clients.

Happy mom, happy kids. Jessica with Abby, Will and Gus.

Sweet success: Having a creative outlet is just as important to my life’s balance and my sanity as running is. For all of my life I have had a need to be busy with my hands, whether drawing or sewing or glittering or painting - I just love to get into a project (or 10!). It was always a dream of mine to make an ice cream cone growth chart for my kids and a few years ago I finally did it. Friends and family members loved my creation and encouraged me to make more and sell them. It was scary, but so exciting. I asked one of my best friends to be my business partner and Sugar Cone was born!  Now we are in a few retail stores and have our own web site and it is just so wonderful! As far as time management tips go - I take it one day at a time, honestly, and I have got to prioritize. I’m a total list maker and am constantly fiddling with and tweaking my schedule. I try not to stress over it - and trust that it will all get done! I’m so grateful to be filling my life with my passions and always remind myself of that when I feel overwhelmed.

Can’t run without ____: Toilet paper! I know this is terrible and may be TMI, but I am prone to stomach issues and though I plan my routes where I know there will be places to stop in case of emergency, I can’t always count on there being toilet paper available.  I’m always trying to find ways to solve this problem of mine, but in the meantime I run with a few sheets of T.P. in my pocket just in case.  Almost nothing is worse than having to stop and not being able to feel comfortable afterwards! I really hate that.

Boston-bound (and beyond): I have some of the best running buddies on the planet. We call ourselves “Team Honey Badger” and get together no matter what the weather is (freezing cold, hotter than hot, raining, snowing...) most mornings before the sun is up. I don’t know what my specific training plan or goal will be at this point [for the Boston Marathon], but I do know for sure that I will be running a lot of the miles with my honey badgers! We support one another through it all and even if we are running different paces we are all at the track or on the trail together doing our thing. As far as my other running dreams - the list goes on and on!  I am fulfilling a big  one next month when I run my first relay - Hood to Coast with Nuun!  I am so excited about that and really can’t believe it is happening.  Truly though, my biggest running dream is to be running for all of my life.  No matter the pace or the distance, I want always be moving my body.

17 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. Thank you so much everyone!! All of your comments just make me smile so much. I love the RLAM community – all of you are so inspiring and WONDERFUL!!! We are so lucky to have one another for encouragement, support, motivation and inspiration. I hope everyone has awesome runs this weekend!!

  2. Thank you for featuring a runner who went from slow to Boston! I’ve never run a full marathon but I predict that my finish would be around Jessica’s first finish time. I too believe that I am capable of much better and can’t push the BQ possibility from my mind. Inspiring!

  3. I love reading Jess’ blog–had no idea her first marathon was 5:21. Gives me hope since my first was a bonk of 5:20 too. Maybe in 10 years I’ll qualify for Boston if I keep working towards it!

  4. Her last goal is mine, too. I want to be running forever. But she sure has helped me realize that Boston may not be out of my dream list. 🙂

  5. I am so honored and EXCITED to call this mother runner my coach!!!! As a busy mom of 3 myself she is helping me stay on track, accountable and INSPIRED!!! Thank you for featuring her!!!!

  6. So inspiring. Glad to hear from another mom with stomach issues (she says after she had to stop 3 times during a 6-miler this morning — thought the bathroom was right around the corner from the treadmill)

  7. I use Cottonelle moist wipes for my 2, 4, and 6 year olds. Often the boxes come with little packaged samples. Tuck one of those in your pocket and you’re covered for potential bathroom emergencies on a run!!!

  8. Awesome! I just moved to the Reston area and am having a hard time finding people to run with. Also I am battling an injury that may or may not keep me from running the MC marathon this fall. I just checked out your blog and would love to try your run club and maybe some personalized coaching or training plans. I couldn’t have read this at a better time!!!

  9. I appreciate Jessie’s thoughts about constantly modifying and readjusting goals for running and life. I can also totally relate to the TP. That’s not TMI. That’s practical.

  10. Jessie sounds like an awesome runner and probably a really great coach. I’m looking to find myself a coach to help me improve and to help with accountability. Someone like her near me would be great!

    1. I live in Illinois and I just hired Jess as my running coach. I am so excited to receive her help. I start on Monday having someone to help me improve and be accountable. I cannot wait to get started.

      She is an amazing inspiration

  11. This mother runner has a great outlook on life. Thank you for featuring her.
    I hope she reaches all her goals and her dreams become reality. And that all she inspires keep on.
    Great job Jess!!!

  12. I love Jess! She is such an inspirational running mom. I’m amazed at how well she balances her training, family, and other creative outlets, and still finds time to help others along the way.

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