Ask any mom if her number one priority in her life is her kids, and she will likely say yes. Ask her if she’s able to make time for herself, and she will likely say no. This time of year, getting more physically fit seems to be on everyone’s “To Do” list. However, busy moms know how hard that task actually is.
In order to help moms strengthen their commitment to getting fit and healthy in 2014, MetroFamily is partnering with the Redbud Classic, runhers and Red Coyote Running and Fitness to form a health and wellness support group called Strong Together. As the first step towards becoming more healthy and active, the Strong Together group will begin an eight-week 5K training program this month. Upon completion of this training program, the team will run in the Redbud Classic 5K on April 6, 2014.
The annual Redbud Classic has promoted fitness and family fun since 1983. With a 10k, 5k, 2-mile run/walk and a stroller walk, this race truly offers something for everyone—including biking events for cycling enthusiasts. Due to the wide variety of difficulty levels and emphasis on family fitness, the Redbud Classic is a perfect race for the beginning runner—making it the natural fit for the Strong Together group.
“The Redbud Classic is thrilled to support the Strong Together group,” says Patty Anthony, Redbud Race Director. “The efforts of these ladies are right in line with the Redbud Classic mission of providing fitness, fun and philanthropy to our community. There is truly something for everyone during Redbud weekend, whether you are serious runner or just starting out. We applaud the Strong Together moms for taking such a positive step towards getting healthy, and we are excited they are making Redbud part of their journey.”
Leading the charge will be four local moms who will complete the training program and blog about their experiences each week. Here are the four moms who will share their training journey online, highlighting all the challenges and successes that come with making a commitment to getting healthy and active.
Rachel Johnson is a former Realtor turned stay-at-home mom to three boys, ages 8, 4 and 21 months. “Fitness has always been something ‘I’m planning to do,’” Rachel explains. “But I’ve never made it a priority at all. I have the hectic schedule that comes with having three children and I have plenty of excuses to not exercise. One of my goals for 2014 is to make health and exercise a priority and to begin to structure my life to include those things.” Rachel is looking forward to the challenge that the eight-week program will bring and is excited about the chance to train with other moms. “I think anything in life that’s worth doing is so much better when friends are involved. The biggest selling point on doing this is being involved with a community of women who have the same goals regarding fitness as I do and who can encourage me to stay committed. Also, this idea scares me and usually that’s a good indicator that I need to take the leap!”
Alicia Currin-Moore is mother to two boys, ages 4 and 6. At age 41, she knows the importance of staying healthy for her kids. As they grow, she wants to be able to keep up with their busy schedule and participate in their activities. Because she is both a full-time mom and a working professional, finding time for herself and exercise has taken the back burner to the other demands of life. “I think that I am a typical mom. I can stand to lose a few pounds, but I never seem to find the time in the day to exercise,” explains this Oklahoma City Public Schools administrator. “I have become comfortable with my size, but I know I could do better for myself and my family.” This will be her first 5k race and she is making it a family project. Her husband, mom and sister are supportive of her and may even participate in some of the training.
Serena Hanson is married to her high school sweetheart and has four children ages 7, 10, 11 and 13. In addition to her duties as a mother, she is a Community Faculty Instructor in the School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma and a Training Director for the Oklahoma Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association. In the past, Serena says keeping motivated with dieting and exercise has been a struggle. “Diabetes and cancer run rampant through my family tree and I want to be an example of health and fitness for my children,” Serena explains. “Not exercising and food are my vice and I need to make a lifestyle change.” Knowing that other moms, like herself, are depending on her to participate and be held accountable is great motivation to make this training process successful. “The accountability and motivation that come from sharing my journey are just what I need to stick with it,” she adds. “For me, this 5K will be the beginning of a journey, not the whole journey.”
Carrie Chlebanowski is a teaching assistant for a special needs program at an Edmond elementary school. Carrie has five children, including two that she adopted, ages 9, 11, 12, 13 and 16. Being a mom to two adopted children has been a blessing and also a challenge. “One of our sons has significant struggles because of his past and parenting him is one of the biggest gifts God has ever given me. But, it isn’t without its toll,” Carrie says. “Many days are emotionally and even physically draining and it is becoming clear that for me to be the best mom I can be for all of my children, I have to focus on me sometimes.” In 2014, Carrie and her husband are striving to live healthier lives and she looks forward to the stress relief that running can bring. “I think there are a lot of moms out there who could use that encouragement—to not forsake themselves when times are difficult. If we aren’t strong, and if we aren’t focused on our own self care, then we run the risk of the whole ship sinking. We are worth the time and the attention. For our family, and for ourselves.”
And getting fit isn’t the only benefit to running the Redbud Classic. Each year, the Redbud Classic selects a local non-profit organization to serve as the beneficiary organization. The 2014 beneficiary organization is the Anna’s House Foundation (www.annashousefoundation.org), which provides a network of support for families caring for children in foster care. The organization trains and certifies adults to become foster families to the approximately 2,500 children in foster care in Oklahoma county. The need for foster care is so great that Anna’s House is working to build a community of eight foster homes with the sole purpose of keeping children out of shelters and placing siblings together. The proceeds from the Redbud Classic will be used to build additional homes.
To learn more about Redbud Classic, visit www.redbud.org. Sign up to join our team at www.metrofamilymagazine.com/fitness and follow along with our moms in their eight-week training process at www.metrofamilymagazine.com/strong-together.