Olympic Trials Preview: Erin Moeller

Erin, looking strong, steady and kinda stealth, as she gets her run on.

Mother of two; marketing director; soccer coach; religious education teacher; Meals on Wheels volunteer; and, crazy fast runner. If another mother runner had a spokesperson, it might be 34-year-old Erin Moeller of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, whose gracious spirit comes through loud and clear on her e-mails. (“I’m always interested in doing what I can to help motivate others to believe in themselves,” she replied when we asked her to be profiled, “It might not come easy, but as a mother, we’re capable of accomplishing most anything we set our minds to, right?”) Erin qualified with a 2:37:28 at the 2010 Chicago Marathon.

A typical week in the life of this mother runner:

  • Mondays are usually recovery days so I do a short run in the morning before work and do a second run over my noon hour.
  • Tuesdays are typically a workout, so I'm up early (4 or 4:30), head down to the treadmill or into Mt. Vernon to do my tempo run, repeats, etc.
  • Wednesday is my mid-week long run: generally 15 miles. For the longer runs, I figure out approximately how long my run will take and then work backwards to determine how early I need to be up so that I'm back to the house (or off the treadmill) no later than 6 a.m. to help get the kids up, shower, get ready for work, pack lunches, and have dinner organized before heading out the door by 7 a.m. Usually, I have to be running by 4 a.m. in order to allow for stretching, the drive time into/back home from Mt. Vernon, the run, and an occasional bathroom stop. Admittedly, I dread Wednesdays because they require such an early start to my day.

    In all her spare time, Erin coaches soccer--and an undefeated team at that.
  • Thursday is usually a recovery day, so I really try to do this run over my noon hour. However, I volunteer for Meals on Wheels, and deliver meals to elderly individuals sometimes I end up doing this run early in the morning as well.
  • Friday is typically a longer run as well, so it's another 4:15 or 4:30 a.m. start.
  • My weekend runs depend on our family commitments. I teach second grade religious ed at our church on Sunday mornings before mass, so I also work backwards from the 9 a.m. class start time to fit my long run in. If I have a long tempo run or simulated race, Andy and the kids are terrific about meeting me out on the course to hand off water bottles and shout words of encouragement along the way. It's common to see our silver van driving the streets of Mt Vernon, Lisbon, or Cedar Rapids as I work through my longer runs/workouts. I can't imagine doing these runs without my fam; they are truly my rocks.

    Date lunch break: I do my shorter or recovery runs during my lunch break, and I typically meet Andy to run so we can catch up on things for a couple of miles. It might not seem like the most romantic way for a couple to spend time, but we've found it's really good quality time together that allows us to talk without being interrupted by the kiddos.

    Sound familiar?: My work day generally wraps up by 5, and then I pick up the kiddos. From the moment we walk in the door until their 8 p.m. bedtime, it's craziness! The kids are both starving, so I do my best to get dinner on the table quickly as Andy generally come home about 15 minutes after we get home. I encourage Ryne, my son, to work on his reading while I finish up dinner. We eat as a family, listen to the various highlights from everyone's day, and then clean up dishes before heading to our basement for more family time.

    What not to wear: Andy and I were celebrating our first Christmas as a married couple. I had recently run my first Chicago Marathon (3:17) and was pretty confident it was the most painful experience I had ever put my body through. Honestly, I had no desire to ever run one again. However, when I opened up his gift, Andy told me that if I was going to be a runner, it might be a good idea if I at least looked like one. At that point, my entire running wardrobe consisted of baggy mesh shorts and cotton T-shirts, many of which were XL.

    My first "official" running outfit came from Target; the tights were black with coral and orange on the sides. Shortly after I got it, our dog got a hold of the top and chewed the right sleeve. Because it was the only "official" running top I had, I continued wearing it with the added personality. In fact, I wore this running gear for years and disguised both pregnancies with the running jacket that matched the rest of the gear. If I recall correctly, I wore the entire ensemble into my ninth month of pregnancy with both kiddos. Thankfully, I'm sponsored by Mizuno now, so now I have some more stylish gear.

    Mind games: Many times when the going gets tough, I repeat my kid's names over and over in my head as I visualize their smiling faces. Or I think about the crowds, finish line, and competitors at the Trials, which pushes me to dream big and strive for accomplishments I never thought were possible. As my college coach always said, a positive lie is better than the negative truth; and what the mind believes, the body achieves.

    Like mother, like son: check out the air under his feet!

    Sound familiar? (Part II) I feel like I'm a better, calmer wife and mom when I'm running. Because of this, I make it a priority to work my run into my daily routine. As I mentioned above, this often requires me to start my day awfully early.  I've found that if I don't get up early and plan to just "fit it in when I can" the day can easily slip away, leaving little or no time for a run.

    Running early in the morning provides its own challenges though. I encourage women to find a running partner. Since I don't have a regular running pal, I make a point to let Andy know where I'll be running and always carry my cell phone in the event I find myself in a precarious situation. Sadly, I've needed to use it a couple of times. Each time I was really thankful I had a way to reach someone. After becoming a mom, I feel a lot more responsible for doing to be safe when I'm running because I know there are two little ones who I want to watch grow into incredible people.

    Goal for the Trials: I respect the fact that there are many, many extremely talented women competing in Houston on January 14. Additionally, I understand that many of these ladies have made running their entire career. As much as I love to run and thrive on the joy of competition, my game plan will likely be much different from many of the front runners. My goal is to run my race and not get caught up in a more aggressive (early) pace than I am capable of. If my legs are still feeling good in the second half, then I can have some fun and see if I can run some of my competitors down. I really hope that everything comes together: that I have a great race, and my family and I can celebrate a good showing that will make us proud of everything we've sacrificed the past several months/years.

     Tune in: NBC will televise the Olympic Trials--both the women and the men--on Saturday, January 14th from 3-5 EST.

25 responses to “Olympic Trials Preview: Erin Moeller

  1. Erin impressed me 20 years ago? when we ran against each other in high school and junior high and continues to impress me now! I very much enjoyed reading this post and hope the trials go well!

  2. Best of luck Erin! I ran with the XC and track team at Cornell in Mt. Vernon for 4 years and I wish that we had “run” into each other because you are so inspiring! Enjoy the race!

  3. I do not think I have ever been more inspired. I am a working mom as well, but to see what Erin does really blows my mind! Erin, thank you for setting this example. I wish you nothing but success on Saturday!

  4. I feel a bit guilty for ever thinking my 430 am start time was rough! Inspirational to see all you do for others. God bless and prayers for speed, strength and endurance

  5. I feel lazy and whiny after reading about Erin, but also inspired! Proof that having/doing it all it IS possible. My hubby is starting to train and work up his mileage – I hope one day we can have running dates! I am not good about carrying a phone or an ID, but with Erin’s story and the recent MT runner, I am definitely going to start carrying something. I’m an Iowa girl, so I’ll be rooting for you, Erin!! Good luck!

  6. Such an inspiration! Seriously, shows there are no excuses out there to say that you don’t have time bc your a mom to get miles in!

  7. So awesome! I felt really lazy after reading that — but also inspired. I love that they have run dates. And I LOVE her advice to always carry your phone with you when you run. It’s so important to help keep you safe.

  8. Wow Erin! You are the inspiration I need right now to get my fanny out of bed for early morning runs!

    Also, as your fellow Iowan, just 30 minutes to the south in Iowa City, you can bet I’ll be cheering for you!!

  9. How awesome! I love that she gets up so early to do something for herself to make sure she has enough time to care for her family. 4am and I don’t get along, so this will most likely never be me. 😀

  10. Wow! Totally impressed by the dedication you put into everything you do. And I was just lamenting the fact that I might have to get up around 5:30am if I wanted to get some exercise in before I start my new job… I’ll take 5:30 over 4am anyday! Good luck!

  11. WOW!!! Erin is a rockstar!!! I am in awe. If she can qualify and train for the Olympic Marathon trials and still manage to juggle her busy life without dropping any balls, I can surely haul my sorry butt out of bed two days a week to run at 5am without complaint. Just…wow. I hope she has an amazing run. I will definitely be cheering for her. Can I say again, I LOVE this series! So inspiring!

  12. I am LOVING these Olympic marathon trial profiles! It is so fun and inspiring to read about these incredible women! Thanks for taking the time to interview and be interviewed for these amazing posts. So inspiring. I can’t wait for Saturday!!!!

  13. I’m so impressed. I love reading about the schedule. Enjoy the trials and run like you stole it, which you probably could, as no one would be able to catch you.

  14. Holy holy holy cow! Erin rocks for being able to maintain her life and her running. And to think I declare myself badass if I get up to run before 6AM to squeeze in a handful of miles.

    These posts about Mamas in the trials are fantastic and I imagine each lady will give me 100 reasons to root for them. Makes me wish ALLL of them could go to London!

  15. Wow! This makes me think of that saying, “Someone busier than you is running right now!” I’ll be rooting for you, Erin! Love this series, by the way!

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