WRAL-TV's Kelcey Carlson has served as an inspiration for me as I launched my journey to a half marathon this year.
Not only is she the mom of two young kids, but she has a demanding, full-time job that gets her up early for the morning news and keeps her busy for much of the day. Despite all this, she not only has found the time to run, but has found the time to train for marathons.
So we chatted about how she started running, why she does it and how she makes it work with her crazy schedule. Here's our conversation:
Go Ask Mom: How long have you been running? How did it all begin?
Kelcey Carlson: I started running regularly after college as a cheap way to stay in shape. I couldn't afford a gym membership at the time and running was the easiest way to get some exercise. In Battle Creek, Mich., I signed up for my first 5K and enjoyed the whole environment. After a co-worker signed up and completed a marathon, I thought, "I can do that," and I've been signing up for marathons since 2001.
GAM: How do you work it into your schedule? Did that change when you became a mom?
KC: Scheduling a run takes some creativity with these hours. I have a gym membership, a treadmill at home and I have a group of friends I can join. I look at my schedule on Monday and identify the five days in which I can run and where. Now that I have kids, I have to be very focused on the clock. There's no time to waste and I have to give myself deadlines, otherwise I can't fit a run in.
GAM: How many races have you run? Do you set goals each year for yourself?
KC: The marathon count is somewhere around 20. I lost track. Same goes for 5K's, 10K's and half-marathons. I'm not sure how many I've completed over the years. I'd like to be able to do one to two marathons a year. Without a goal on the calendar, I tend to lose interest. Goals keep me going.
GAM: Why do you run?
KC: Running is more than exercise for me. It's a great way to shake off anything that's bothering me. I use it to get a second wind after work and it helps me think without distraction.
GAM: What's your tip for a mom who is just starting to run or jog or walk around the block?
KC: If you're just getting started, set realistic goals. Try running for 10 minutes and walking for 2. Repeat. Find a friend who will meet you. You're more likely to get out there when you treat it like any other appointment on your calendar. And if you hate running, but want to love it, sign up for a race. A sense of obligation helps me get out there.
This is the latest post in our Runner Moms series.