Erin and Keli are mother runners, best friends, and “basically the same person in different bodies and different parts of the country.” (Erin lives in Hebron, Indiana while Keli resides in Simpsonville, South Carolina.) They let us know the ups and downs of having a running buddy who lives in a different time zone as they embark on the AMR Virtual 5K.
How did you become a mother runner?
K: Running has always been the easiest sport for me to do, because it's the one thing I feel like I always have time to do. With three kids ages 5 and under, I can't seem to find time to join classes at the gym or hop on my bike or go to a yoga studio, but I always have time to get up early and run. My husband is also a runner, so it's something that we had in common when we were dating, and it's something we still enjoy to do together when we can.
E: I started running two years ago. My youngest son had been diagnosed with epilepsy and I was in need of some sort of outlet, plus I'd learned of a nearby epilepsy 5K. Although I didn't have enough time to train for and run the 5 at that particular time (as it was only a week or so after the date that I read about it), I made a promise to myself that I was going to run it the next year. I started the Couch to 5K program the very next day and I haven't stopped since. I started all of this to do a 5K for a cause close to me; I had no idea that I'd end up actually loving running and even running a half-marathon before that 5K rolled around.
What spurred you to do the AMR Virtual 5K?
K: After the birth of my son last June, it took me a few months to get back out there. I was doing really well in the fall, but then the holidays and sickness got the best of me, and I needed a goal and the accountability to get back on a good schedule. Once I saw the AMR Virtual 5K, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me to take it slow and start forming those running habits again.
E: I'm coming back from an injury following my last half-marathon. I've been taking it easy and not really following any sort of plan, though I've felt like I'm ready to do something. When Keli told me that she was going to do the AMR Virtual 5K to get back into running, I told her that I would do the 5K Own It plan "alongside" her to support her and keep her motivated. Since we both run in the morning, we will check in with each other via text. It's nice to know that even though I'm running alone, Keli is out there, too. There was a morning when I really, really wanted to ignore my 4:30 alarm, but I knew that Keli was going to getting up and I felt like I'd let her down if I didn't.
How has your friendship been strengthened through running?
K: Erin and I are basically the same person in different bodies, so running is just another thing we have in common. We have both dealt with some pretty heavy things while running--Erin was there for me when I had to completely quit running two weeks before my first half-marathon due to a miscarriage, and I have tried to support her as she has been dealing with sesamoiditis.
E: Keli was a runner before me. As I first started to build beyond three miles, she was training for a half-marathon and was such a huge inspiration for my own running journey. I remember being so amazed by the distances she could run and thinking I'd never get there, even though she assured me I could and would. On days when it felt tough or I had setbacks, she would always talk me through it via text or on the phone and remind me that it was normal. Having running in common is simply another way for us to connect and share and support each other.
How are you handling the miles between you [as in, living far apart]?
K: We text. A lot. I am an hour ahead of her, so it actually works out great in the morning, because she gets up at 4:30 to run while I get up at 5:30. She is usually the one telling ME to get my butt out of bed and get out there, but it works! We also text each other after our runs to see how it went and then throughout the day to see how our muscles and feet are holding up. We're like iMessage cheerleaders.
E: We text each other in the morning before some runs just to say, ‘Hey, I'm up and heading out.’ Sometimes the miles are hard. When life is difficult for either one of us, I wish that I could meet Keli at the end of her driveway, vent it out on a run, and get coffee and a donut afterward. Those moments are tough, definitely, but I'm glad that technology enables [us] to still figure out a way to handle the miles and train together.
What's your #1 reason for running?
K: My kids. I want to be a good role model for my children, and if my husband and I lead a healthy and active life with our kids now, I hope it will be easier for them to maintain that throughout their lives. I also enjoy being able to chase them around the yard and play soccer and run after my oldest on her bike without feeling like I'm going to hurl.
E: I teach 8th grade and I have two young kids. I feel like very little of my day is left up to me. From the moment I step into my classroom until I put children to bed, someone always needs something. While I don't mind that and love my kids and my job, running gives me a balance. The time when I'm running is just mine. I can lose myself in my thoughts and find a sense of calm and center before the whirlwind of my day starts. It makes giving up an hour of sleep entirely worth it (most days).