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Full Plate Mom: Nicole from Running While Mommy!

Posted Jan 18 2013 7:00am

It’s been a while since we have done a Full Plate Mom Friday post…what better way to start it back up than with my friend and fellow Team Tough Chick Member, Sweat Pink Ambassador, and Rhode Islander, Nicole from the awesome blog, Running While Mommy !  Even though we are both from the biggest small state of Rhode Island,where everyone seems to know everyone, living in opposite ends of the state (in Rhode Island the joke is if the ride is longer than 45-minutes you need to pack a lunch) I have only met Nicole in person once–last year at the Gansett Marathon .  I’m hoping we will hook up at the Blessing of the Fleet 10-Miler this summer though!  Nicole is totally a Full Plate Mom, as you will see from her guest post today:

First I would like to say a big thank you to Dani and Pam!  What a great idea and I am proud to be part of it.
Running While Mommy:  Nicole and her kiddos

Running While Mommy: Nicole and her kiddos

So, a little about myself first.  I am married, 9 years to my love, who is a pilot.  He is also retired from the Air National Guard.  We have two children, ages 7 and 4 and I stay at home with them.  Before staying home with the kids, I was a flight attendant for 10 years.  It was a very exciting job, traveling all over the world and meeting some great people.  I knew before I was even pregnant, that I would stay home with my children.  We knew that with both of us traveling, we would be like ships that pass in the night and our kids would rarely have us home at the same time.  This, we knew, would not work for us.  I know how lucky I am to be able to stay home and I thank God everyday.

This brings me to 2009 and my husband was leaving on what would be his last deployment.  He was going to be gone for just under 4 months, short compared to some, but still sad and hard.  My kids were 4 and 1 and it was the first time he was being deployed that I had both kids.  No problem, I got this.
Now, working out for me was a sometimes kind of thing.  And running, well, forget about it, no way!  However, reading the paper one morning I saw an add for a gym right near my home.  They were running a discount, plus military members and spouses got another $10 off.  They had a daycare room, so I went over and checked it out.  I loved it!  Not too big, had all the machines and weights that a person needs, plus classes.  The childcare room was really good to and that was very important, so before I left I signed up.
I started right away and for the first time since my husband had left, I felt good.  I mean really good.  Now I had worked out before but for some reason, this feeling was different.  This time I felt like I was doing something good for me and my head was clear.  I wanted to be there.
When my husband returned home, I continued to work out.  I knew it made me happy and I was getting healthy and it was all I needed until July 2011.
I found myself, one night, alone with the kids, cooking mac and cheese for the one millionth time.  My kids were getting crazy on me and I thought to myself, “how did I get here?”  Even though I had been working out, I was still putting myself last but I knew it didn’t have to be like that.  Don’t get me wrong, kids need us when they are so young and I will always be there for them no matter what age, but for me to be a good mom, I needed to find myself again.  I was completely lost in my family.
As I sat there stirring the pasta, I thought about different things that might make me happy but none of them were long term.  I wanted to do something that I had to learn, something that I had to work for.  Something that I could always do.
After completing her first 13.1

After completing her first 13.1

I replayed in my head, a conversation I had had with a girlfriend who runs.  She asked me to run with her and I answered, “sure, but only if I can walk.”  At that moment, I knew I would run the next day.  I have never looked back.  Since then, I have run 13 races, two of them half marathons.  In 2012, I ran 626 miles, something I though was impossible.  And now, my big 2013 goal is to run my first full marathon.

So how do I keep it all together, get to train and still manage my family.  Well, this is not easy for me.  I have a husband who travels for work and our families are not in Rhode Island.  But when you want something, you find a way to get it.
When I first started running, my oldest was in preschool, so I ran with the baby in the stroller while he was at school.  During the summer, I would take them to the gym with me and run on the treadmill.  When my husband is home, I get to run by myself.  I tried to always schedule my long runs when he was home.  It just made life a little easier not having to worry about the kids.  At that time, I was running 12 minute miles, so I was gone for a long time.  When he can’t be here and I rather run outside, I have asked friends or the neighbor girl down the street to stay with the kids for me. 
I get up early if I have to, something I still struggle with, but you have to do what you have to do.  When something is that important to you, you make it happen.  I also try to involve the family by taking them to races.  Just a few weeks ago, my son asked to run with me.  On our first run together, we ran for 2 miles.  It was one of the best runs I have ever had.  I know that my kids see how happy and healthy I have become and they want to live that way too.  This makes me so proud!
Nicole sprinting to her 5K PR!

Nicole sprinting to her 5K PR!

He would like to run a 5k with me, so we will work towards that together.  It is sure to be one of my happiest races and one of my best memories.  My little one pretends to be running in the house, usually dragging a puppy on wheels.  Very cute.  I found one of my marathon books in her room not too long ago.  I asked her why she had it and she told me, “Because mommy, I am going to run a marathon.”  Can you say WOW, she can’t read but she knew what book and plan she needed to get it done. Nice baby girl!

For me, my kids and husband are what motivate me the most.  I do this for them as much as I do it for me.  We are a family and we stick together.  We support each other in all that we do and I can tell you that there is no way I would of been able to do this without their support.  They understand that running is part of my life now and that is ok with them.  And since I have become more healthy and active, they have too.  We bike together, take walks and hike.  And of course, sometimes run together.
I pay more attention to what I am buying at the grocery store and we rarely eat out.  It is not always easy to cook three meals a day, but it is that important.  Eating out is costly as well as unhealthy.   Now, we try and save our meals out for special occasions or just a VERY busy day. 
My blog also helps with my motivation.  I am still amazed at how motivating and inspiring strangers can be!  I found myself reading blogs and short posts on FB running pages before heading out for my runs.  It always got me out the door and I wanted to give that motivation back.  That is how Running While Mommy came about.  I wanted to inspire as well as be inspired and it has been very successful.  I love my readers and have made a few very good friends.  My blog keeps me accountable also.  You can’t just say you are running a marathon and not actually do it!
Nicole at the 2012 Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon in California

Nicole at the 2012 Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon in California

So bottom line.  I train and run because it makes me happy and healthy.  To do that I make the time, I don’t wait to find the time.  If you want something bad enough, then you will make the time too.  I get up early and enlist the help of sitters when I have to.  I have the support of my family, friends and readers and without it I would not be successful. My support system is also my greatest inspiration. 

Running While Mommy is all about doing what you love while still being able to take care of yourself and your family.  I want to be the voice that says, “Hey, yeah, I know there are dishes in the sink and I have been washing the same load of towels for 3 days, but no worries, I will get it done after this run even if it means pushing the double stroller.”  Now I don’t always wash the same load for three days, but some weeks are better than others and that is OK.
There is no greater job in this world than raising children.  Everything they learn has to start at home.  They will learn by watching what you do and say.  They will be healthy if you are healthy, active if you are active, couch potatoes if you are a couch potato.  Right, you get the picture.  Be a good example, do what makes you happy, love the life you are living and go after your dreams and make them a reality. 
Thank you for reading and again, thank you Dani and Pam.
Run Strong, Think Big! ~~Nicole

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