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Welcome to the fourth (and very delayed) installment of Bada$$ Moms Monday (yeah, I realize it’s actually Wednesday, we don’t like to follow the rules around here), 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. (Past posts can be found here, here, and here!)
Holly Joy Berkey lives in Clearwater, Florida, and is the mom to Mason who is 3 1/2 (quite possibly four, I interviewed her forever ago.) Holly is a newbie to the running world: she has been at it for less than two years, and started the same way as many of our fellow running moms…as a way to shed the baby weight. She trained for her first 5k, and become hooked. Her first OCR? 2011 Tough Mudder in Tampa, Florida. A few co-workers showed her a youtube video of the race, after which she proceeded to google “has anyone ever died doing a Tough Mudder”.
“It was finally a moment of stubborn pride that caused me to sign up, directly after my husband looked at me incredulously as I explained the run and said ‘There is no way you would do anything like that! You don’t like to get muddy! And I’m afraid you may not be in good enough shape, I don’t want you to hurt yourself.’ Immediately I signed up, and vowed to prove to him, and to myself, that I could do this run, and do it well! So I kicked up my training and began to prepare myself for Tough Mudder. I knew it would result in one of two outcomes. I would either have the experience, be able to say that I did it, and then move on with my life, or, I would fall in love with it and have to come back for more! The latter result is why I find myself where I am today!”
Finding the time to train as a mom is always a challenge, so how does Holly do it?
“The only way I find time is to get up early! I usually get up between 5-5:30 am during the week and get my run or workout in before my boys wake up for the day. It’s my quiet time, and is a great way to clear my head and prepare for the day. On the weekends I’ll go a little later, but definitely before the sun gets too high since the heat and humidity this time of year are brutal. I don’t like to spend too many “waking hours” training and away from my family, so prefer to be out when they are sleeping.”
And what does her little dude think of mom’s love of obstacle course racing?
“My son is in awe of obstacle racing! He thinks it is fantastic that his mommy runs in the mud and jumps over fire! “
Holly , who describes herself as ” not that runner with no upper body strength, I can be quick, but a tank as well” has big plans in the OCR world. Not only does she hope to be competitive one day on the Spartan circuit, but more importantly, she says this:
“I want to be the voice for women who have not been running their whole life, and are struggling with their body image, to let them know that it is never too late to achieve great things in fitness! It’s possible to lose the weight, to feel good about yourself again, and to have a great time doing it”
Holly and more of her amazing motivation can be found at her blog, Muddy Mommy
Kim Acevedo, West Islip, NY (Long Island, NY), is the proud mommy to a two year old girl. She started running over ten years ago, but didn’t complete her first obstacle course race until her daughter was 4 months old. That first race? High Rock Challenge in Staten Island, NY in April 2011
I asked Kim if she felt that OCR’s are a male dominated sport. In true Spartan Chick fashion, she answered:
“At the spartan sprint: a guy from behind me starts talking loudly – I can’t believe I’m getting beat by a girl in a tutu. Oh my god! Look at her socks (They say bad ass on the calves). I finally turn around and he said: And you’re filming it?!?!? You’re probably a cross fitter. I said no. I just run hills on my lunch break…then i dusted him.”
“Easy, I work full time. The only time i can workout is either on my lunch or after she is sleeping – but i have to make time to eat and sleep and clean too. I work out on my lunch hour. Five days a week and then i take off on the weekends. Sometimes i do two workouts a day – one at night. “
Kim’s (awesome) advice for first timers, or those wanting to sign up for an OCR but are intimidated?
“Running these races calls for an overall fitness…you don’t have to be the muscle man to do it and you don’t have to be a distance runner to do it. You have to be dedicated and have a lot of heart and not give up. That’s who can do these races.”
You can follow Kim and more of her training at her blog: Ordinary Jane
“About a year ago, a few friends invited me to join their team for the Dirty Girl Race. After spending nearly three years full-time either being pregnant or taking care of babies, I had really let my own interests drop to the bottom of my “to-do” list. I was out of shape, overweight and honestly, pretty depressed. That invitation became the perfect opportunity for a change. “
I asked Leslie if she prefers OCR to traditional road racing:
“I love obstacle races! I get an opportunity to trail run and also to use some of my past outdoor guide skills – just instead of wearing a backpack, crossing rivers and bushwhacking up mountains, I’m hauling buckets of rocks, scaling walls and maneuvering under barbed wire. I also find that my heart, grit and desire to win are tested more than in road racing. Of course, you get a lot dirtier in obstacle racing, and that’s pretty cathartic, too! “
How does she find the time to train? In true BadA$$ mom style. Forget the sandbags…this chick has a diaper bag!
“Finding time is a juggling act! Luckily, a few friends of mine also race and have children so we find creative ways to support each other. We try to meet weekly to switch off watching each others’ kiddos. One of things we do regularly is bring our combined six children to Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison and let them run and rock climb while we switch off using the stairs to train. We usually end the day with a picnic at bottom of the amphitheater, and instead of having our little ones take the stairs back up, we try to make it fun (and throw in a challenge for us). Since there are barrier walls of varying heights going up, we strap on our diaper bags and heave each of our kids — 30, then 40 pounds — onto the walls, then pull ourselves up…again and again and again…until we are at the top! In the process, we usually pass people doing basically the same thing, but with weighted vests and sandbags, instead of diaper bags and babies “
Leslie’s advice to a first timer?
Leslie doesn’t have a blog (or maybe she does by now, ack, sorry again for the delay!) but she did start a facebook page called Colorado Obstacle Racers – “It is for both men and women in Colorado or beyond, where we discuss training and preparing, review events, post deals, find and create teams and just in general support each other in growing this awesome sport! “ Check it out!
**update** since I interviewed her in August, Leslie is now ranked 2nd in Spartan points and am training for the 70k Survival Run in Nicaragua . Bad. A$$.
Real moms. Real athletes. Proof that it CAN be done, if you don’t let excuses get in the way. Thank you ladies, keep on inspiring!!!
If you are or know of a bada$$ mom that should be featured (not limited to mud runs!) feel free to send an email to [email protected]