Name: Kelly Caiazzo
Years Running: 1
Running Blog: www.iamrunningthis.com
Why Did You Start Running: I started running to treat some post-partum depression after my second child was born. I have two boys that are only 16 months apart, and when the youngest was 5 months old, I was so overwhelmed and exhausted. I remember being alone in the car and thinking “if I got into an accident right now, I could spend some time in the hospital by myself, just resting, in quiet…” The fact that I would even have a thought like that really scared me, and it made me realize that something in my life had to change. I decided to try running in the hopes that it could change my life. It did. Running forces me to make time for myself each week, and now I watch what I eat and drink so I can have a good run the next day. I feel happier and more energetic the rest of the day after a run. I even sleep better. I think some people are afraid to start running because they think they don’t have the time or the energy, but I’ve found that exercise makes me more energetic, and cuts down the time it takes me to get other things done because it improves my mood and my focus.
Favorite Race Distance: I’m not sure yet! I think it’s probably the 5k. I’m still in training for my first half marathon and have only run one 10k which wasn’t a lot of fun. It was an unexpectedly hot day in early June, and I wasn’t prepared for what the heat and humidity would do to my pace. I was so scared of not finishing that I probably ran slower than I needed to, and ended up feeling less accomplished than I’d hoped. What I love about the 5k is that it’s so attainable to new runners, so you see all types of people there participating in being active, and that’s really fun. They can be great community events. Now that I am running longer distances, I love the freedom of a 5k because I’m not scared of not finishing because I’m pushing myself too hard. I can just get out there and run.
How many marathons/half marathons have you run: None! I’m currently training for my first half marathon.
5k – 29:30 (Burn Off the Turkey, Gorham, ME in November 2012)
10k – 1:07:48 (Newton 10k, Newton, MA in June 2013)
Do you cross train or lift weights: I recently started doing an abs workout that I found in an issue of Women’s Health magazine. It includes lunges and some tricep curls, so I figured it’d help with running as well as building my core. It takes twenty minutes three times a week, which is about all I can manage with my schedule. It’s such a rookie thing to grab a page out of a magazine for your workout routine, but it’s manageable and better than me coming up with my own!
Running accomplishment you are most proud of: The first time I ran twenty minutes without stopping. I had been having a hard time with the mental hurdle of that twenty minute mark, so my husband brought the kids in the double jogging stroller and ran behind me for encouragement. Knowing my family was watching helped me believe in myself enough to actually do it. (Maybe I was just too embarrassed and stubborn to stop.) That was a huge breakthrough in my running because it was the first time I overcame a challenge in my running that was mental rather than physical.
Favorite Pre-Race Food: A bowl of cheerios and a cup of coffee. Or half a banana and a cup of coffee. Always the coffee.
Favorite Post-Race Food: Whatever they’re handing out from the little tents after the race. When you’re a stay at home mom, it’s pretty rare to get offered a snack that you didn’t have to plan, shop for, or prepare. I love those food tents!
How do you find/make time to train: Pushing the boys in the double jogging stroller on my shorter runs really helps me get my runs in. I can do 3 or 4 miles with them before they get cranky, although it’s been hard lately because the weather has been so hot! For my long runs I have to be more flexible with my running schedule; sometimes I go in the morning before anyone is awake, sometimes I run on the treadmill during naptime, sometimes I go when I have a babysitter. The hardest part is scheduling a long run during a busy week, but I’ve gotten up at 5 a.m. to go and I really enjoyed having the rest of my day left.
Favorite Quote: The slogan “Just Do It”. I always thought it was kind of a lame slogan until I actually started running, and realized how relevant it is when you’re pushing through a tough moment during one of your runs. It sort of reminds me of how my husband had run two marathons before I connected what those 26.2 bumper stickers meant (I didn’t focus on miles, I just knew marathons were really, really far and no one should be able to actually run for that long). Running makes me think differently about challenges now, and seeing that slogan reminds me how different I am from my pre-running self. Running has added resiliency to my character that benefits me in every aspect of my life.
If you could give one bit of advice to someone who wants to become a runner – what would it be: Start slow with a walk/run program, and give yourself a break when you have a bad run. Harness disappointments and channel them into your efforts on future runs. Think hard about who you want to be as a runner and what your motivation is to run. You don’t have to run that fast or that far for running to change your life, you just need to run regularly. If you find yourself enjoying creating and working towards new running goals, the possibilities are endless. Run your own distance, your own pace, your own race, and enjoy.
What race are you currently training for? The Divas Half Marathon on September 14th in DC’s Wine Country. It’s the day before my 30th birthday, and it’ll be my first weekend with my husband away from the kids. What better thing to do on the last day of your twenties than run your first half marathon?
What’s the best thing that has ever come from your running? Making it to the other side of post-partum depression without meds, and having the positive energy boost I need to keep up with two toddlers. Running has helped me so much that I started a blog geared towards other new runners, www.iamrunningthis.com. I love thinking about running and posting my favorite running thoughts on there for other new runners. It keeps me motivated to run, gives me accountability, and offers me a creative outlet and sense of purpose outside being a stay at home mom. I love to run, think, reflect, create and experience the joy of connecting to another runner and having my motivation and inspiration become theirs, too.
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