HERE )Welcome to the fifth installment of Bada$$ Moms Monday (and hey, it's actually Monday!), where I introduce you to some fellow obstacle/mud running moms who aren't afraid to push their physical limits. These chicks don't tip toe daintily over the mud puddles, they destroy them. They eat barbed wire for breakfast and do burpees for fun, all while raising a family and juggling a household. I hope you, moms, non moms, and dudes alike, find these amazing woman as motivating and inspirational as I do. (Links to past posts can be found at the bottom of this page
Today's post is going to be a little different, but I swear I'm not playing favorites. Yes, I have met Jane. I know her story, and I also know that if we had an island of "bada$$ moms" Jane would probably be the mayor. Or at least hold a GIGANTIC gold ceremonial "key to the city" (or in this case, the Run Faster, Mommy Island of BadA$$). I sent Jane the same 11 questions I send all of the amazing moms who volunteer to be featured on these posts. But Jane's answers, well I loved them all. So in today's post, I'm sharing her entire interview.
She is proof positive that ANYONE can do ANYTHING they set their mind to. I really hope you enjoy reading Jane's story.
Jane Coffey, who turns 41 in two weeks, lives in Middlesex, Vermont with her 5.5 year old daughter Aida Mae, and her husband of 12 years.
Jane has been running for two years. TWO. That's it. And she's about to attempt an INSANELY physically, mentally , and emotionally taxing race this summer...the Spartan Death Race.
RFM: Tell us about your first race.
Jane: My first race was in 2011, a 10 mile "fun run" in Pittsfield, VT at Peak Races, directed by Andy Weinberg. I met him that day and he has been super supportive in my development as a woman athlete who wants to better herself! Then, he finished a triple iron man in 2011 which inspired the hell out of me so I signed up for the 2012 Peak 50K and finished, slow, but I did it! Then, with his encouragement, I decided to try my first obstacle course race, the Spartan Beast in Killington last September. AMAZING!!! I had never done one before but what the hell...i went for it. I finished in 8.5 hours and had the best time! I did it by myself but the Spartan Athletes racing that day offered help when needed. What an amazing group of people and community! During that race, I saw the Team Death Racers completing the same course with 70 pound sand bags and full backpacks. I thought, "I want to do that." So, a month later, I signed up for the Summer 2013 Death Race. Think big, right? I know it is going to be 500% harder than the Beast but time to really exit the comfort zone.
RFM: Do you find this to be a mostly male dominated sport, and if so, do you feel welcomed?
Jane: I have completed two Death Race Camps this month in which i was only one of 2 females at each of them and my training partner is a guy and I absolutely feel welcomed and treated as an equal. I don't feel like anyone is treating me differently or condescending or patronizing. I think there is a lot of respect for women in endurance sports because the playing field is pretty even when men and women are competing for hours on end. Mental toughness takes over after hours of competing and sleep deprivation and I think woman even the playing field. Look at the women who finished the Death Race last year? Amazing toughness. Inspiring to both men and women. I am thankful to have found a sport where men respect women so much. Thanks, guys!
RFM: What does your family (especially your kids) think of your decision to tackle these types of races? Do they join in on the training/racing/spectating?
Jane: When I was preparing for the first Death Race camp and packing my car, i told my daughter "mumma is going to do another all night race with her friends." "Ok, mumma! Have fun and be safe!" She knows I train a lot and I hope she sees that as inspirational as she gets older. My goal is to raise a strong woman and show her that she can do anything. She joins in on yoga stretches after my workouts and when I get home from a race she always asks "mumma, did you have fun? How was your race?" And she takes my bib number and medal and runs around with them. That makes me so happy. When I got home from the first Death Race Camp a couple weeks ago, I had not slept in almost 65 hours, was completely exhausted and walking through the door, I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Those big events can strip you down and make you realize how beautiful life is! RFM: the big question….tell us HOW you train with kids. How do you find the time? Do you incorporate the kids or is this your “mom” time? How do you balance training with the responsibilities in everyday life? Tell us a little bit about your training routine (days per week, etc)
Jane: Oh boy, the balance is so tough! I started training in November focusing on my core which I have never really worked on. I have lost 12 pounds since then! I started with a basic interval training/body weight program of push ups, burpees, planks, jumping jacks, mountain climbers and lunges. This takes about 30-40 minutes and I do this after a 4 mile run 3 times a week and I do a longer run of 6-10 miles or so on the weekends or hike. Right now, I am also training for a 50k in April in CT (Traprock 50) so I will do much longer runs on the weekends now but I am basically using this event to help with the mental training of pushing myself in the Death Race even though historically there is not much long distance running in the DR. I also will start carrying heavy stuff up mountains soon! I have been training by carrying a car tire on hikes as well. I did carry that car tire for 15+ miles during an all night training session with my training partner in December. See my blog for a recap ;) I also have been splitting lots of wood, about a chord at this point. I LOVE splitting wood! One of my favorite training tasks! Basically, i fit these workouts in when I get home from work...I do alot of running in the dark with a headlamp right now. My goal is to also do 4 more sleep deprived training sessions before the Death Race in June. Yes, I see this as my Mom Time definitely. I work full time, am married and a mom and I look forward to these workouts SO MUCH. I need this time for myself to re-energize.
RFM: tell us any future goals you have in this sport. Jane: My future goals. I have none. I just want to participate in these events, do the best I can, and finish if possible. If I don't finish, not all is lost! The path leading to these events; the training, the meeting of new people, the community of those who want to help and see you do your best, that is what it is all about for me. Not winning, but the experience. I encourage anyone to volunteer at one of the Death Races and see what I am talking about (RFM sidenote, if you want to volunteer, send me an email, email@example.com and I'll get you on the list. ) It is truly amazing and can't be put into words; the camaraderie the athleticism, the dedication, the respect for others, the skills of the race directors to keep 300 people moving and pushing their limits. You won't find anything like it anywhere else. And, I feel lucky to live hour away from Pittsfield, VT and all of this awesomeness. Again, it has changed my life.
RFM: What is your favorite obstacle? Least favorite obstacle? Or , if you’ve yet to race, which one are you looking forward to/terrified of? Jane: The Death Race is terrifying yet the thing I am most looking forward to in 2013! I will show up on June 21 and not know what we will be doing and not know when the finish is. Last year, it lasted 67+ hours. I will be subjected to insane challenges, such as lifting a rock for several hours, chopping wood for hours, hiking for hours during the night with no food or water, being told I will quit repeatedly by the 3 raced directors as their goal is to break you and make you quit. Why am I looking forward to this though? Because these race directors are providing the experience to push you to your limits and out of your comfort zone. And, when you exit that comfort zone, you learn so much about yourself. Why wouldn't you want that experience? I think more people should strive for that in their lives. RFM: What would you say to a fellow mom/female who really wants to try an obstacle/mud run but is intimidated? And/Or best piece of advice you have been given regarding these races? Jane: We have alot more umph in us than you think. That is why I am doing the Death Race this year; to figure out what I have in me if the going gets really tough. Do I quit or do I have it in my to keep pushing? As for obstacle racing, go and do one! I had never done one and I just showed up alone and did it. People are willing to help you over those walls, up the ropes, through the barbed wire, if you fall, etc. Just have confidence in yourself and try something new. Don't wait. Just go and do it and you will forever be thankful you did!
RFM: Share your blog, if you have one! http://vermontscrubnut.