Inspirational Interview with Yo Mamma Runs

Good Afternoon!!!! 

I am so excited because I have another incredibly inspiring runner to share with you today!!!! 

Please meet Lisa from Yo Mamma Runs

#1. Why did you start running? and how quickly did you progress? 

My friend invited me to run the 2011 Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, and I went for it. The race is in April, and I started running in January. The month before the half, I did a local 8K to get a feel for things. I loved, loved, loved the excitement of the Nashville race and the medal (which for some reason I didn't realize you got just for finishing), and I wanted to keep running and build off the base I had started so I signed up for the Savannah Marathon in November. That started a cycle of races. I just finished my fourth marathon on Saturday. It was the Country Music Marathon, so I felt like I had come full circle. I also ran four half marathons between this year and last year. 

#2. How long have you been running? 

I played recreationl league soccer and other sports since high school, but I never ran just to run. So a year and a half ago was my first attempt at running, just to be running. I didn't enjoy it at the start. It felt too solo and miserable, but after the first race and discovering the community of running, I can't get enough. 

#3  Does your running interfere with your "day" job or your your a stay at home mom job (which is much harder in my opinion) ?

 I'm a stay-at-home mom to four kids (8, 6, and 3-year-old twins), and I do weird odd jobs like part-time editing and secret shopping (not so secret now!). Marathon training is definitely time consuming, but it's worth it. Luckily my kids enjoy the kids' club at the gym, and I see Saturday runs as a time for my husband and the kids to bond, especially because he works tons of hours during the week. Would it be more convenient not to fit in training, probably, but the benefits far outweigh the effort I put into training. The endorphins really help me be a better parent. WHen do you have time to train? I do all of my weekly training at a gym thanks to that kids' club. Some people hate treadmills and tracks, but I rely on them to work up a good sweat and get me to where I need to be in training. So I'm thankful for them. On Saturdays I run outside in the early mornings, but my husband is very excited about my training break so he can use that time for motorcycle riding.

#4 How many miles a week do you run and do you follow a specific training plan? 

I used the Hal Higdon novice plan for my first half and full marathon, and after that, I used the Hanson training plan for my next three marathons. The Hanson plan maxes out at 16-mile long runs but builds lots of miles in during the week and focuses on cumulative fatigue. It worked well for me so I didn't take so much time away from our family on Saturday, the only day we are all together uninterrupted. During the plan, I average from 40-50 miles a week. 

#5 About how many races a year do you run and what's your favorite distance? 

Since I'm so new to running, I don't really have a number I usually do. I've scheduled to revisit the Savannah marathon (my first) this fall, and I'd like to sign up for Rocket City marathon in Huntsville, AL, in December. I'll probably throw a few halves in there to run as part of marathon training. Also, this summer I'm hoping to do some shorter races and try to build speed.The marathon is definitely my favorite distance. It is such a mental challenge. It stinks when it goes worse than you hoped because of all the time you put into training, but if you succeed at your goal, the joy is amazing!

#6 Tell us what your favorite race of all time was?

 My favorite race has to be the Mercedes Half Marathon I ran with my brother here in Birmingham. We got a free entry from our insurance company (cool, right?) so there was no pressure to perform a certain way. We dressed up as super heroes, high-fived everyone, took tons of pictures and just had a blast in general. And still had a decent time. Plus the after-party for that race is indoors with tables and lots of good food and socializing. So fun! My second favorite is the Country Music Half (not the full!). The fans are so great at that race. You don't even need music (which I usually always need when running) because it's so fun the whole way.

#7 Does your hubby run too?
No. He's very supportive of my newfound love, but it's not for him. He tried to take part in a relay for Mercedes, but his back killed him. He has always had back problems -- maybe from growing up on a farm and all of his child labor.:) But I get to run regularly with my brother who lives in town, so that is awesome!

#8 How does it make you feel to be such an accomplished runner and have FOUR kids?
 (yes people, she has FOUR) 

Running is so weird because you never feel like you've fully accomplished something. It seems like you're always trying to get a little faster or qualify for Boston or something else. But I have to say that every time I have crossed a finish line, no matter what the race or time, I have felt amazing in that moment. Now my kids talk about running a lot, and we stand on our front porch and cheer on runners who are going up the hill in front of our house (it's a killer). Hopefully, I'm passing on some of the love and excitement of running on to them. I just read a quote from Bill Rodgers (who won Boston four times back in the day) where he said, "You only get cheered in running. Every other sport, you get booed." I love that. In every race I've been in, spectators are so positive. Even when you have to take a walk break, they are cheering you on. It's such a positive sport. 

#9 Do you have a just a few tips to help any of my readers who are not runners but desperately want to be?

 Having a race date really helped me start running. I knew I didn't want to waste money (hate doing that!) by not showing up to the race and being prepared, so I stuck to my training plan. There are so many free training plans on line that are easy to use and effective. Start at whatever race distance feels like it would challenge you, and build from there. And stick with it through that first race/goal. I honestly did not like running until after that first race. It felt like a chore. I remember reading Born to Run and thinking what an interesting idea it was that people ran just for fun, but now I can see it. It took some work, but once you get past the initial pain and awkwardness (for me anyway), it really does become a small version of flying (slooooowly). And don't worry about all the expensive gear. Just get some shoes and go. 

#10 Do you follow a specific diet plan or just try to eat healthy to keep your weight down?

 My sister is a major health guru, so I try to copy her as much as possible. My number one favorite thing is always keeping fresh lemons around for drinking water mostly, but then I put lemon juice on most of my food too. It helps me drink a lot more water, which I am bad at. Last year, with my sister's help, I quit Diet Coke, which was a major accomplishment for me. It's helped get rid of residual nerve issues I was having (weird, I know) and just made me feel more energetic overall. I try to always keep spinach and lettuce in the fridge so we can have something green with every meal. I have a major sweet tooth so before most races, I try to cut out desserts for a couple of weeks. Not surprisingly, I loose a couple pounds every time I do this, but it's mostly about having more energy for my race. It helps when you are not in a sugar hangover. 

#11 Do you plan on running races for the rest of your life? 

I really hope I can keep it up. Luckily, I've been pretty healthy and active most of my life, so my plan is to make running last a long time. It's something that you can do anytime and anywhere, which makes it such a practical form of exercise. 

#12 If you ever had the chance to go pro, would you take it? 

Definitely! I don't think I'm going to have to face that decision anytime soon, but I would love to have a coach and a nutritionist keeping me on track. And cool clothes from sponsors. Running gear can get so darn expensive!

A big huge than you to Lisa from Yo Mamma Runs. I am so inspired by her story and her life. Thank you so much for sharing it with us today!!!! 

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Lindsay said...

So awesome the people we meet via blogging. HOW blessed!

Susan said...

Wow. I am so inspired every time I read one of these interviews Hanna. People (including myself) are always complaining about not having enough time to exercise and here's this mama of 4 running marathons.
I need to move my butt!

Jane Craske said...

Fantastic overview of a great runner who is like the rest of us just trying to fit everything in. Thanks so much.

Melinda T. said...

Hello Hanna -

I've enjoyed reading about your adventures with running as I have recently began running to after losing 30 pounds. Could you please address safety in a blog/vlog post? Specifically, do you bring a cell phone on longer runs in case you need to call for help? Do you carry ID with you? I hadn't really thought about it until a month or so ago when I tripped and fell and got all scraped up.

Thanks! I am running a 5K on May 5...hope you get to run your marathon that day!

Hugs, Melinda

Jenny Petricek said...

Hi Hanna! Just wanted to congratulate you on being featured in the most recent issue of Artful Blogging! I found your story very inspiring, as well as your interview process "Brutal Truth is a Beautiful Thing." I loved the questions (and your answers) so much that I decided to post some questions/answers for myself on my blog! What a great activity for figuring out exactly who you are--and letting readers in on that! You can find it at

Jenny Petricek

Christy said...

Awesome! Especially love reading about runners. Will have to check her page out.

How is your shin today??


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