The phrase “mother runner” often conjures up an image of a woman with a ponytail pushing a stroller. The struggles (and joys!) of running while also mothering a baby or a toddler can be intense and are frequent topics of discussion at Salty Running and in the running-while-mothering world more generally. But those children don’t stay little forever, as relatives at every holiday gathering will surely remind us. What happens when the little ones are no longer quite so little, and mom is still running?
When I was a kid, there were four words that were sure to strike fear into my heart: Presidential Physical Fitness Test. Thankfully in 2012, President Obama got rid of this evil inflicted on America’s youth.
For those of you fortunate enough to be young (or Canadian), here’s a little history. In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson created the Presidential Physical Fitness Test as a way to motivate American kids to exercise. School gym teachers across the country forced elementary school kids to perform such tasks as the sit-and-reach, sit-ups, flexed arm hang, and the mile run. Kids who scored in the top 15% received a special accolade …
Or so I’m told. Not only was I never in the top 15%, but I couldn’t even reach the end of the box in the sit-and-reach. But neither the sit-and-reach (failed) or the flexed arm hang (couldn’t even come close, had to do them modified in a room by myself) brought me as much distress as my least favorite aspect of the Fitness Test: the mile run. Read more >>
It took less than a week before you dragged your heavy limbs through the door and mumbled, “I hate cross country.” You were too tired to shout it. Your shoes were soaked with creek water. Your face, though you hid it from me, was soaked in tears.
You had your reasons, and they were good ones. Running hurts. It isn’t fun. It’s every man for himself. It’s not a team sport. No matter how fast I become, I’ll never win.
I had my reasons for wanting to quit training for my last marathon too. This season was never about winning. You’re barely 12 years old, so I guess I can’t expect you to know how little it means to win. Empty and fleeting, the cheers will always die down. No one claps forever, and cloud nine turns to wisp or rain.
There will always be someone faster (unless you’re Mo Farrah). There will always be someone with more muscle, more talent, more strength, more opportunity. If your goal is to win, to “be the best”, then yes, you might want to pack it up now, because otherwise it would be a long and disappointing season. But that is not why you run.
Her stride is long and graceful, her form better than mine will ever be. She’s running down the street laughing so hard, she’s snorting. She’s only five years old. She can run a mile in nine minutes and seventeen seconds and she’s taught me more about running than I ever thought possible.
Addy’s my oldest daughter. I should have known she’d love to run; I ran during my pregnancy and of course she’s always seeing me travel to races or asking me why she can’t have a turn on the treadmill. What has come at a complete shock to me is how much I’ve learned from this kindergartner about running. Read more >>
So I am a few steps ahead of elated to tell you that they nailed it, and even placed in their age group.
Here is how it went down:
To begin, I know this is a somewhat controversial topic. I’ve never been one to shy away from that sort of thing though, so let’s jump right on in.
This summer, I am coaching my son and 2 of his friends to run the Madison Mini Half Marathon in August. My son is currently 12 years old, but all 3 boys will be 13 on race day.
I know, I know, I know. Some people think it’s crazy to allow kids that young to run a half. They say people should master the shorter distances first. They warn that kids will get burnt out. They caution that the kids will get hurt. These are all very valid points I have carefully considered and researched. Yet, I think it is all very individual and I know not every child at their age is ready and able to conquer 13.1. But these kids are ready and I know they are going to crush it. Read more >>
It was one of the most anticipated American female marathon debuts ever. On May 19th, North Carolina high school sophomore Alana Hadley toed the line at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon looking to run somewhere in the neighborhood of 2:40 for her first crack at the 26.2 distance. Would she turn those 1:16:xx half marathons into marathon greatness? Would the 111 mile weeks pay off? Or would she crack under the pressure or crumble under the controversy that swirls around her?
Sixteen year-old Alana Hadley isn’t like most young American runners. She didn’t wait until middle school to pick up the sport; instead she began formal training at the ripe old age of 6. Unconventionally, she decoupled her running from her studies, choosing to forgo high school cross-country and track in favor of training on her own for road races under the watchful eye of her coach and father, Mark Hadley. Mark is the coach behind Molly Pritz’s debut 2:31 in the 2011 ING New York City Marathon and has coached many elite, sub-elite and average-Joe athletes. (You can read more about his coaching on his websites: Maximum Performance Running and Elite Marathoning).
Chances are you have a strong opinion about whether it was wise for such a young runner to attempt to race a marathon at such a high level and I invite you to share your opinions in the comments. I honestly wasn’t sure what I thought, but since Alana and Mark were going to be right in my neck of the woods, I headed to downtown Cleveland with Ginger the day before the race and sat down for a chat with them about being a young runner, about the controversy surrounding Alana’s jump to the marathon and about Mark’s training theories. Later, after the race, we discussed how her debut went and what’s next for Alana on the road less traveled. Read more >>
Over the last few months, I’ve introduced you to the young activist athlete, Winter Vinecki. I shared some insight into her training for 7 marathons on 7 continents before she turns 15 years old – all while training with an elite aerial skiing development team.
I’m happy to report that Winter is continuing to rock her goals. She ran her 3rd marathon on March 30, and during that race, she came in 3rd overall female and set the world record for becoming the youngest person to run a marathon in Antarctica.
I feel lucky to share with you this interview with her coach, Mark Hadley. Hadley grew up as a runner in North Carolina, and for over 20 years he competed in long distance events and over the last 10 years he has focused on coaching. He now coaches athletes of all ages (youth to masters) and all levels (beginners to professionals), specializing in training elite marathoners and is currently heading up the 2016 U.S. Marathon Trials project. He has coached 2 runners to Top 10 rankings in the marathon in the U.S. during the last 2 years! Also among his star athletes is his 16 year-old daughter, Alana, who is participating in the U.S. Marathon Trials project and holds quite an impressive running resume herself.
Without further ado, let’s talk to Coach Hadley and hear his insights about coaching Winter and other young runners.
A few weeks ago, I introduced you to 14 year-old Winter Vinecki. She has some seriously big goals and I, for one, find her to be an incredibly inspiring young woman. Her greatest goal is to defeat prostate cancer. But she has a lot of other exciting plans too, which we want to tell you all about.
Winter is currently attempting to set a world record by becoming the youngest person to run a marathon on each continent. She has 2 marathons under her belt, one coming up very soon, and 4 more to go after that – all before she turns 15 years old.
She is also currently training with an elite development aerial skiing team and is hoping to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Training is going very well for Winter. She is having a lot of fun and she has already earned several podium placements this season with her team.
How does she do it? How does she juggle a multi-marathon training schedule, elite aerial skiing training and competition, and an almost 4.0 GPA at an advanced online school? We are here to give you the inside scoop on how Winter channels her passion and drive into making her dreams come true.
Someone call Alicia Keys and tell her to change the lyrics to her smash hit because Mary Cain IS ON FIRE. The 16 year-old running sensation is a true prodigy as she has smashed three national high school indoor track records so far in 2013.
There was the 4:16 1500 meters en route to breaking Debbie Heald’s 41 year-old mile record in 4:32. Then there was the 2 mile record in 9:38 at the New Balance Boston Indoor Games on February 2nd. And just this past weekend, she broke her own mile record, running a 4:28 at the Millrose Games to finish second in a field with professional runners.
There is no doubt that the future looks bright for Cain, but many are watching with a careful eye. A recent Runner’s World article briefly outlined some theories as to why many high school phenoms never live up to the high expectations set early on in their careers, or lack thereof as many end up burned out, injured, or as the stereotype goes, become “headcases”. Headcase is such a harsh word. And as both a runner and a licensed mental health professional, I’m here to delve into the issue with an educated approach. Read more >>
Today I would like to introduce you to Winter Vinecki.
Winter is the founder of Team Winter, a non-profit organization committed to fighting prostate cancer and spreading global awareness of the disease. Team Winter has raised over $400,000 toward the cause and has over 200 athletes on its fundraising team.
Winter is a two-time national champion triathlete.
One of her current personal goals is to set a world record of being the youngest person to run a marathon on every continent. She has run 2 of the marathons this year and has 5 to go before the end of 2013.
Winter also strives to make the 2018 Winter Olympics. She is now training on an elite development team of aerial skiers. She frequently speaks at schools and groups around the country about the childhood obesity epidemic.
She publishes a monthly health and wellness newsletter with recipes, nutritional tips and training tips.
She won the Annika Inspiration Award in 2011, an honor reserved for women who demonstrate athleticism, dedication, leadership and the ability to inspire others.
She is a highly intelligent and articulate young woman.
She turned 14 years old a few days ago.
As many of you know, I am a huge advocate of youth running. I actively coach 3rd to 5th grade girls to run 5ks in the Girls on the Run program, and I whole-heartedly encourage my own two boys to train and race. I think you should too.
But how far is too far when it comes to youth endurance running?
I love Thanksgiving. Spending time with family and slowing down to count our blessings for a few days is good for the soul. Kick it off with a road race and you have all of the ingredients for a perfect holiday.
Almost every year since 2005, I have run the Berbee Derby on Thanksgiving morning. The race features a 5k and a 10k. Both courses are hilly and you never know what mother nature will bring on race day: sometimes it is -20 degrees with biting wind, other times it is 50 degrees and sunny. Either way, it is always a treasured start to my Thanksgiving.
I used to get up early Thanksgiving morning and come out to race. However, as my children have grown, we have made the Berbee Derby a family tradition. Rather than racing, my husband and I run with our boys.
Imagine my delight when this year my oldest son told me he wanted to train for and run the 10k this year. Read more >>
People really are amazing. I love seeing what others can do. Sometimes I will watch someone and think, wow, she is really strong. Or smart. Or courageous. Or kind. Or bold. Or tough. Or all of the above. It is really cool. Particularly if I know that person. Why? Because I know she is an ordinary person like me. If she can do it, maybe I can too. So it is amazing and inspiring. Then there are the times your own child blows you away. It is incredible and in fact, there really are no adequate words to describe the impact.
I was lucky enough to have that happen to me last weekend. I want to share it with my fellow Salties because I not only like good stories, I also believe we can learn a lot from those that amaze us. Read more >>
This post is all about girls! Remember when you were in 3rd grade though 5th grade? You were running 5ks, feeling inspired by awesome, energetic women who stepped up to mentor you, right? You received timely tips on how to navigate the complexities of peer pressure, gossiping, bullying, and the stress of growing up? You were celebrated for being all around aWeSoMe!?!
But I wish I had because, man, that is a hard age. Preceding a much, much harder age. The foundation of a strong girl/woman is such an important, yet difficult thing.
Thanks to Molly Barker of Charlotte, North Carolina, there is a movement afoot to promote a strong / solid foundation for every girl / woman. And I am lucky enough to be chin deep in it here in my community. That movement, is Girls on the Run.
What is Girls on the Run? Read more >>
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