Elizabeth Gardner is busy! If she's not on the WRAL-TV morning and noon news forecasting the weather, she's outside doing something - playing with her kids, whitewater kayaking, biking, snowboarding and trail running.
As part of our Runner Moms series, I checked in with Elizabeth about why she does what she does and how she fits it into her schedule when her day begins in the wee hours.
Here's our Q&A:
Go Ask Mom: You are very active! What kinds of outdoor activities do you do?
Elizabeth: I love to run around in the woods. Whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, trail running and snowboarding are my favorite activities. Of course, you can’t do any of those with little kids. So far, my husband and trade off. We’ll go to Lake Crabtree Park with the kids and bikes. One of us will ride the mountain bike trails while the other plays with the kids on the playground and then we switch. We do that same sort of thing with the other activities. However, the kids are getting better at skiing. For the first time, my daughter can ride the lift with me so we can now ski/snowboard together. She also has her own whitewater kayak and is doing some class 1 rivers.
GAM: Tell me about your schedule. When do you find time to run and exercise? How has that changed since you had kids?
Elizabeth: That’s a challenge for everybody! I get up at 2:30 a.m., so I’m not going to run before work. I go to the gym once or twice a week during my lunch break (9:30 a.m.) for a toning class. However, I found I can’t run or do cardio during that time because my hair gets too frizzy and I have to be ready for the noon newscast. So … I try to run right after work which is early afternoon. I have a couple of neighbors who join me sometimes. I also have a group of gals that I do long runs with on the weekends. We usually go about 7 a.m. and run for a couple of hours. It helps to get it done early so it doesn’t impact much of the day.
GAM: Do you set goals for yourself each year?
Elizabeth: I sign up for 2 or 3 races every year so that I have a goal to train for. It helps to keep me from slacking off!
GAM: Why do you run?
Elizabeth: I used to hate running. I hated it for years. I would run about 3 miles around the neighborhood and just got tired of it. Then a friend invited me on a trail run. I loved it!! I only do it about once a week, but it inspires me to keep running in the neighborhood during the week. I enjoy biking, but I find that there is no better workout than running up and down some hills.
GAM: What’s your tip for a mom who is just starting to run or jog or just walk around the block?
Elizabeth: The most important thing to me is finding a friend to do it with. It’s easy to put it off unless you are accountable to someone. It’s not that hard to find a running buddy. Talk to your neighbors, your co-workers, your kids’ friend’s moms. Just keep asking around until you find some gals to run with. You will keep each other motivated and you’ll keep each other company while running.