This is a guest blog post written by Audrey Kobsar. This is part of a series of posts from women of all walks of life, sharing tips and their passion with other women.
I have not always been a runner.
In fact, until not too long ago, I referred to myself as a “runner” – as if I had to justify the description because I am not fast, and I can’t run for miles on end without walking.
But let me back up…
I am a mom of three awesome kids, and while I was blessed earlier in life with a good metabolism, after giving birth to baby #3 at age 30, I started feeling very tired and out of shape. I decided to give running a try, in an attempt to lose a few pounds and get back into shape. I had no idea where to start. Not only did I not love running… I’d never had any interest in it at all.
But then my sister introduced me to RunDisney – which hosts races of varying distances through Disney theme parks! So as a 32-yr old novice runner, and a mom of a 7-yr old, 4-yr old, and an 18-month old, I signed up for my first ever race in 2013 – a 10k at Disneyland.
I looked into various training methods and programs for how to train for a 10k, having never run any real distance since the turkey trot in grade school. I tried a “couch-to-10k” program, which promised to convert a couch potato to a runner in only 12 weeks! But I didn’t stick with it for long, as the mileage increased too quickly, and the running intervals were too long for my inexperienced and untrained lungs.
However, the RunDisney races promote a “run-walk-run” method, which involves alternating running and walking for short intervals (for me, one or two minutes at a time). I found this training method to be perfect – it was something I could stick with and actually improve my cardio/distance.
I would be lying if I said I properly trained for that first 10k, between the demands of a full-time job and being the mom of three kids. My training schedule called for running at least twice per week, but I found myself running only once a week, on Saturdays, while my husband watched the kids. As I trained for and completed my first 10k, I didn’t feel confident calling myself a runner because I wasn’t flat-out running the whole distance. I felt like I was somehow cheating because I was alternating with walking intervals.
Nonetheless, when I finished my first 10k, my first thought was: I can do a half marathon.
I registered for my first half marathon in 2014. While I had skimped on the training for the 10k, I knew I would have to be more dedicated for a 13.1-mile race. I followed a 3-day per week training schedule (two 3-mile weekday runs, and a longer weekend run), and stuck to my training plan. Now – I am NOT a morning person. I found it easiest to train in the evenings during the week, after work, around sunset. On my long, weekend runs, I sometimes had to run indoors in the brutal Arizona summer. I am no fan of long distances on a treadmill or on an indoor track, but I was always motivated to get my distance in for my upcoming race.
Fast forward to present day – I completed my 12th half marathon and my 13th 10k last month – all using the run-walk-run technique. I no longer feel like I’m cheating because I do walk intervals – I feel strong when I finish my races, and feel good about my race pace. I’m never going to be the first person to cross the finish line, but that’s never been my goal.
I have found that registering for several races throughout the year keeps me motivated to keep up my training.
I was excited to involve two of my kids in races recently!
Below is a picture of my oldest son running the Super Hero 10k with me (and will be running with me again in November)!
And my daughter ran a 200-meter dash at Disneyland this past May.
I don’t know that I’ll ever love running.
But I do love what I get from running: a feeling of accomplishment with every race I complete, confidence with every PR time I set, a mental break and “me” time, and an overall sense of bettering myself.
And that keeps me running! I hope other moms that want to try running, but don’t love to run, know that there is more than one way to be a runner!
More about Audrey Kobsar
I’m a 36-yr-old native Arizonan and am married to an incredibly selfless and supportive husband, Jamie. We have been married for 12 years, and have three amazing kids: Jaden (11), Jackson (8), and Keira (5). Jamie has been so encouraging of my running hobby, and has graciously watched the kids while I train or when I travel out of town for races. I work full time in commercial lending at a local bank, and I am a self-proclaimed numbers geek. I love Disney, and try not to take myself too seriously (as in… dressing in costume for Disney races)! I plan to run a full marathon someday… I’m just not quite ready to commit to that distance yet!