It's Featured Member Friday! Each month we plan to feature one of our magnificent members so you can get to know our crazy crew. How do we decide who to feature? With a super fair draw out of a hat by the closest toddler in tow.
If you see a Michelle Kwan look-alike deftly guiding a Double B.O.B. around town, or downing a Cardamom Latte with a Morning Glory muffin and a side of breakfast taco from Whole Foods, you have probably spotted Yvonne R. (AKA Vonner, Vonny, Vonnex, or "The Boss")!
This Taiwanese-born Texan is a Sr Business Analyst, mom to Max (3) and Clara (11 months), and wife to Matt. Her favorite place to run is Town Lake, where she frequented the East side of the trail pre-kids, back when she was able to run more than 4-5 miles without meltdowns. These days she uses snacks and the iPad to keep them busy as she bustles around, and dreams of completing more half marathons, Ironman races, or Olympic distance triathlons in the future (as well as the day that Theo James and Sam Hunt show up on her doorstep).
In her down time she enjoys watching bad reality TV, such as The Bachelor, collecting Snuffle Gund Bears "for her kids", and baking cookies with her feet behind her head. If she could police the internet, it would be to ban those Toy Review videos on YouTube, or at least to find out their secrets for making mega bucks with them! Speaking of money, if it were no object, she would be a part time fitness instructor/yoga teacher and a chef on the side. For now, she's rockin' two-kid motherhood, and trying forget the day her son opened the door on her mid-pee in a public restroom and ran off with no pants on because she had forgotten a spare pair.
After completing 40+ races, her favorite piece of swag is a race t-shirt from the Austin Half Marathon circa 2009. The songs she uses for motivation? Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off" and Eminem's "'Till I Collapse". Her Garmin Forerunner 310XT keeps her mileage, but she hopes to upgrade for a smaller one soon. If you see her at a run you'd better guard your dark chocolate, because that's her main reason for running these days.
Someone asked me today, as she was pushing her double BOB uphill (opinion ahead: BAD TIMING), 'Why doesn't this ever get any easier?'
Well, dear friend, you see, our kiddos continue to gain weight and the amount of stuff we are 'ordered' to lug around only ever increases. Today, for example, in addition to 2 cushy blankets and an array of winter attire (think scarves, mittens, lap warmers (yes, homemade lap warmers -- thank you 'Martha' for making my kid high maintenance--I blame you eternally), hats, boots, etc.), I had enough snacks to sustain a grown, obese man for a week. Oh, and did I mention it was over 50 degrees when we were running? Clearly all the winter attire was necessary. And let's face it, if we didn't have it, it was certain to begin flurrying... in Texas... And as if that plethora of goodies weren't enough, let's throw in some diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, multiple water bottles, our bribery bag, often 1 or 2 of the heaviest books we own, and the weight of a 23lb double stroller. Who's ready for 4 miles, uphill both ways, in this blisteringly cold 50 degree weather? Sign me up.
And for some added fun, let's throw in the optional sleepless night to boot. Unfortunately teething, sickness, bad dreams, persistent baby daddy or all of the above creep up on us and leave us for (what feels like) dead. Those days are most definitely harder than others.
There is good news in all this though, I promise. Even though sometimes we would much rather cover our heads with our fluffy duvets and imagine Channing Tatum bringing us breakfast in bed, we don't. We get up, we wipe booties, we cook breakfast (I use the word 'cook' lightly here), we hook up our IV of coffee, we gather up our homes, we pack them Tetris-style into our cars (and then our strollers) and then... we walk/trot/run. It may not get easier, but we sure as sh*t (and we know sh*t) get stronger, faster and more capable. The beginning is never easy, but the improvements come without fail.
So, will it get any easier? Probably not, and hopefully not. Be thankful that with each run you're being challenged--by your kids ever increasing weight, by their caravan of toys and by the good ol' trails of the ATX. And just think, with each finish you are a better version of who you were before you began.... of course I would argue that I may be a better person if Channing had actually served me breakfast in bed.
Stay-at-home-momming is my current profession. I've been a teacher, a lifeguard, a swim coach, a hockey coach, and for a short stint, a concession girl at a roller hockey rink, where as the only female employee, I was in charge of cleaning the bathrooms and doing anything the guys did not want to do. No matter how many "lunch boxes" I cleaned out in the bathrooms, or how many head-sized hairballs I fished out of the deep end of the pool, nothing could prepare me for motherhood's toll.
By the end of a day at home I am usually at my breaking point with being touched, talked to, and generally needed by others. If I have spent the whole day actually at home (which is rare), I am usually just a few steps from the proverbial edge by the time my dear husband steps through the door. Thankfully I have found a cure to this. A way to take the edge off without taking anyone's head off.
Not figuratively away from my family the minute Tim walks in, but literally. Although admittedly, sometimes it's the minute he walks in. I usually try to warn him if this is going to be the case, so he can prepare for the onslaught of crazy before he comes home.
Sometimes I run fast. Last night when I finally got a chance to get outside by myself for 30 minutes I ran faster than I have ever run (outside of one race). I got that elusive "Runner's High" and felt like I could just keep going forever. Unfortunately, I had to return in time for bedtime and give my husband a chance to hit the pavement, too (and then he went out and beat my time... but he skinned his knees doing it). It felt good, though, that run. Doing 3.36 miles with a sub-9 pace made me feel reborn.
Today, I woke up not wanting to lace up my shoes and go out, but I did it anyway. Being accountable to this network of Moms/Runners made me get moving, and I eked out 4 ugly miles. But I remember the beautiful run from last night, and I keep on going. Even when the kids are fighting, my head is not in the game, and I want to curl up on the couch instead.
I am officially rundependent. It never fails to make me feel better. Whether it's fast and furious, or slow and sluggish.
This next weekend is the Women on the Trail race (January 16th, 2016), and we are STOKED <doing my best dance moves>. Actually, that adjective is an understatement. I, and by 'I,' I mean anyone who has ever run one of these races, looks forward to this race series all year long, and it gives the holidays that extra boost of 'hurry up and end already.' I mean, what's better than panting your way up 'Holy Hill' and dodging skull rocks as you descend into a field of fluffy pine needles? My answer to that: nothing. It is a stroller-free race, which is sort of against what we promote, but this one deserves a spot on the blog none-the-less.
The Women on the Trail series consists of 3 races: Dirt Trails and Ponytails (which took place in November in Bee Caves), Bandages and Bruises (the one coming up next weekend in Georgetown) and the final race, Creepy Crawlies and Critters (happening in February in Buda)--all of which accept 100 entries, women only. Each race has its own unique challenge, varying terrain, and amazing scenery, but I can promise that the ending is always consistent--a complete sense of accomplishment with a side of smirk to boot. They are not easy races, but all makes and models are welcome. Walking sticks are encouraged for those that want to take it easy, and an extra set of balls is needed for those wanting to set a goal of actually running up Holy Hill. Whatever pace and whatever mode of transportation you choose, when you complete this race, you will feel like Trailhead Running family and you will feel GOOOOOD.
And no, I do not work for the co-creators (but I'm not saying I wouldn't beg for an open spot), I just adore what they've created--and their sarcasm certainly helps me like them that much more. If you're interested in learning anything additional, or want to sign up to become a Runner of Badassery, get the deets here:
We hope to see you on the trails!
In May 2014 I was struggling. With a 10-month-old suffering from severe reflux (think 20+ vomit sessions a day) and a 2 1/2 year old, I often felt more underwater and drowning than above the water floating. We had moved to Austin almost 2 years earlier knowing absolutely no one. While I had made a great group of friends, I felt a little lost without my weekly dose of hockey-induced endorphins (missing since moving to South Austin, where the nearest rink was a long drive through rush hour traffic away), and since skating with two kids in tow wasn't in the realm of possibility, I needed another athletic outlet. The email about a new Meetup.com group for moms jogging with strollers felt like a sign, so I went to the first one (though I did bring my dog for protection from the crazies -- it didn't work, now they're some of my closest friends). My husband and I had already been running on Town Lake every couple of weeks, but it was nice to meet with people more my speed, and to converse with other moms while doing so.
A year and a half later, my kids are heavier but I'm lighter (and faster), and my husband has leaped onto the running bandwagon. Maybe he realized he would not get to see us very much otherwise? It also helps that through our monthly family runs and other husband-friendly events he has a pretty serious bromance going on with Loren's husband. My kids look forward to our runs together, as they get to enjoy the outdoors, a park or playground at the end (and a dum-dum in the middle thanks to a literal truckload showing up at my 2-year-old's birthday party--thanks Loren). They even completed a few kids' races this year, and my 4-year-old daughter jogged for over a mile one day with me. Their enthusiastic cheering (and jeering when I slow down) is great motivation!
Other perks: my son has stopped puking on everything all the time (ok, probably not from running with the group, but they helped me get through the end of that nightmare), my mental state is much more stable, and I have met dozens of mamas who share my daily struggles and triumphs. We have run hundreds of miles together, searched out the best (and most horrible) places to run with a stroller, and bonded over our shared sweat sessions. Here's to many more miles, milestones, and memorable moments together!
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.