Let’s be honest: I was going to call this series “motivational moms Monday”, but from the start the title didn’t seem fitting. A motivational mom does a lot of things: keeps her house clean, balances a hectic schedule, and maybe even attends school or has a full time career while raising children and still doing great things like training for a marathon. Highly motivational and inspirational for sure. I’m still baffled how people can keep a house clean with two little wrestle maniacs…I mean 3 & 5 year old boys. Or even complete a blog post in one sitting. I digress…
But these moms, they are so more than that. They leap fire and climb 9 foot walls and army crawl through sharp gravel under barbed wire for miles and miles and hours and hours….for fun. They find serenity on mountain sides and inner strength in burpees, all while raising a family, building careers, and balancing the same everyday “life” the rest of us face.
Welcome to the first Bada$$ Moms Monday, where I introduce you to some fellow obstacle/mud running moms who aren’t afraid to push their physical limits. I hope you, moms, non moms, and dudes alike, find these amazing woman as motivating and inspirational as I do.
Janice Marie Ferguson is the mom of 2 daughters, ages 11 & 13, and lives in Biloxi, Mississippir. Janice has been a competitive runner for all of her life, but competed in her first mud run at the Seabee Volkslauf Mud Run here in Gulfport, Mississippi in 2009. Janice said the mud and obstacles added a change of scenery and new challenge, and she became immediately hooked. So it’s no surprise when I asked her if she preferred obstacle course racing to traditional road racing, she answered “ABSOLUTELY!! It is so much more challenging and entertaining. I’m never bored!”
An already experienced runner, I asked Janice if she felt that obstacle course racing was a male dominated sport, and how females are received. “Almost every sport is mostly male-dominated. Obstacle races are no exceptions. I really like the steps that Spartan Race is taking to attract women and bring attention to the female obstacle athletes. It takes a special kind of woman to want to do something like this. Only the hard core and toughest chicks can do this.”
And what does her family think of her running? “They love it!! My girls are obstacle racers, too! They have run the Volkslauf with me twice. As a matter of fact, they have been 1st and 2nd place in the student category (age 13-18) for two years in a row. They were only 11 and 9-years old when they won their first title in 2010. I’m so proud of them both!!”
Janice admits that having older children makes it much easier for her to find time to train. “They both do a good job of helping me around the house. They cook, clean, do laundry and just about anything that needs to be done. I am so blessed to have such a supportive family” And her training style of choice includes very little running, and a lot of CrossFit (yay!)
Her favorite and least favorite obstacles? “I love sandbag carries. But, the PA (Spartan) race sandbag carry was just plain mean!! I love all the obstacles. In PA, my first Spartan appearance, I passed all successfully. NO BURPEES!! I was really happy about that. I have said this before. Joking, sort of. The running is my least favorite in an obstacle race. The views are nice though!”
What would you say to a fellow mom/female who really wants to try an obstacle/mud run but is intimidated? My best advice to any female, mom or not, is to find a good support network. Spartan Race has figured this out! The Spartan Chicked group was essential in planning my first Spartan Race (it should be noted that ALL of the ladies I interviewed in this post said the same exact thing. Check the Spartan Chicked group out here). The experience those ladies have is invaluable for the first-time racer. I used that group to my full advantage and posted many questions ranging from what type of shoes to venue-specific information, travel and etc.”
Janice lists her future goal in this sport as a podium finish. You can follow her training and racing at her blog, http://www.janicemarieferguson.blogspot.com/
Kate Hassett is a Spartan Mom to Autumn age 5, Logan age 4, & Mikey 16 months, from Wilkes-Barre PA. Kate started traditional running/road racing 89 lbs & 4 years ago and hasn’t stopped since.
But her story is more motivational than just the baby weight loss.
Last year, when her youngest was only 5 months old, Kate’s family lost their home in a flood. So what did she do? She ran a Spartan Race, turning an incredibly emotional day into one of the best moments of her life. I asked her if her family was supportive of her obstacle course running, and she said this:
“My kids LOVE spartan (races). It was the first thing we did 24 hours after losing the house in the flood so it kind of saved them. My 5 year old talks about running and often does planks, burpees and push ups with me. She often runs around calling herself a ‘spartan tot’. She will run the kids race at the VA super in a few weeks and Logan will be doing it next year. My whole family attends all of my races. The only one they wont be at is the Ultra Beast. “
Kate’s little ones also join in on her training with their own pretend sandbags and “sprout” yoga at night.
Kate has found her home in obstacle course racing, and when asked if she preferred it over traditional road racing she says: “Absolutely 100%. There are very few road races I will ever do again. I like the challenge, the people, the atmosphere, the course. It combines my love of running with my love of hiking.”
And because you know I had to ask: “My favorite obstacle is the barbed wire crawl or anything heavy. My least favorite are heights because I get very dizzy and I worry about falling off something. “
Kate’s advice to wanna be but hesitant obstacle racing moms? “I would tell her she would be able to do it. I would tell her my story of running 5 months PP and 24 hours after losing my house in a flood and how I was so emotional at the end, it was one of the best moments of my life. I would tell her that she wouldn’t be left behind, everyone helps you and your time isn’t important. The best advice I have ever got was to just trust the other racers. It was true.”
Kate’s future goals in this sport include running all elite Spartan heats in 2013 and to survive the Ultra Beast this fall You can follow Kate’s training and racing adventures at her blog, The Road to Thermopylae
Monique Landry is the mom of two young kids, ages 3 1/2 and 2, and resides in Caraquet, New Brunswick, Canada. She has been running for about 5 years now, and started with traditional 5 & 10k road races. Brand new to obstacle racing, her first course was no feat: the Ottawa Spartan Beast just last month. When asked if she preferred the mud to the road, she said this: “ prefer obstacle racing by far! It’s about overall fitness, unexpected challenges, pushing physical and mental limits. I am much more motivated to train hard for these races. I know I’ll have to push myself more on the course than I would doing the same distance of road racing. It feels so much more badass.”
Monique’s family is not only supportive of her new found love of obstacle racing, but just like Kate’s family, chooses to join in on the fun. “My husband also races and shares the same love of the sport as I do. He’s an athlete and a great source of motivation. He takes care of the girls when I go to the gym or hit the trails and from time to time we do longer 2h Spartan trainings together. He’s on board with proper nutrition and agrees that family vacations can be planned around Spartan races! The girls are a bit too young to really understand what the races are, but they know ‘Mommy and Daddy go running’ and they like to come along in our double running stroller. They do ‘beuh-pees’ in the living room with us and say they want to race when they’ll be ‘big enough’ “
This support from her family lends into her ability to get her training done. “Training is a priority for both my husband and I. We make time for it. The house is clean but far from spotless and we don’t watch much TV. I get home from work, make diner, eat with the family, play with the kids, put them to bed and then I hit the gym at 7:45 pm. My husband trains during his lunch hour, and so he stays with the girls in the evening. I do Crossfit and find it to be ideal for my schedule: about an hour long, intense and totally fitness oriented. I do it 4 to 5 times a week, plus I add one long run (10k +) per week.”
Monique’s favorite obstacle? Rope climbs or maybe getting my 5′ frame up a 8′ wall Least favorite obstacle? Spear throw.
Monique has her eyes on the prize…when asked what her future goals are in this sport she said: “Going for the Trifecta this summer! (completing a sprint, super, and beast distance Spartan race in one calendar year) Next year I’ll be running against the clock. I’d like to get faster! ‘Sword and Helmet’ fast! Watch out ladies of Sparta!”
I asked Monique advice she would give a fellow mom/female who really wants to try an obstacle/mud run but is intimidated? You are stronger and are capable of more than you think. Give it a try! And/Or best piece of advice you have been given regarding these races? Hydrate well, pace yourself and keep going. And ENJOY the race 🙂
The response I received from my spartan chicks was overwhelming, and I hope to keep this weekly series going. If you are or know of a bada$$ mom that should be featured (doesn’t have to be mud runs only!) feel free to send an email to email@example.com