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April 28, 2011

Setting great example for her five kids: Gina before (at ~225) and now at 167 pounds

Gina Mooney is a member of the Run Like a Mother: The Book Facebook tribe—she recently posted a photo of herself wearing a Run Like a Mother Bondi Band. Despite only taking up running about 15 months ago, Gina won her age group and was second woman overall in a recent 5K near her home in Seminary, Mississippi. Even so, find out why her blog is called Slow Is the New Fast.

Best recent run: A 7.7- mile one because I felt great!!  I didn’t set my Nikeplus for a certain time or distance (something I normally do), and it was liberating. I also used visualization on my way over to the paved trail where I run, imagining it being a great run—and it was. The flowers were blooming; as I zoomed along the trail, it was the most amazing feeling to smell the flowers and not be gasping for air. I felt so strong at the end that if I could have, I would have gone much, much farther (had to get home to kiddos, though).

Gina sporting her hard-won hardware

Slow is the new fast: Compared to many runners, I’m slow, but I remind myself I’ve only been running since February 2010. I have “speed envy” when I see other runners breezing effortlessly past me in races or even when I read posts about fast run times. But in the last few months, something has finally clicked, and I’ve been consistently putting up some really impressive numbers…for me. I PR’d three weeks in a row at three different 5K races. (32:04, 31:08, 29:47). While these race times would make most fast runners hang up their running shoes for good, it was a miracle for me! I’m owning my newfound “speed,” so Slow is the New Fast seemed an appropriate name for my blog.

Dropping pounds—and depression: I became depressed after the birth of my fourth child, who is now five years old. My doctor put me on antidepressants, but they didn’t make me feel much better. Because I still felt bad, I began to gain weight and because I gained weight, I felt even worse! Before I knew it, I was on more than one blood pressure medication plus the antidepressants. I was miserable. When I got pregnant with youngest daughter (now 1 year old), I actually began losing weight while I was pregnant. It wasn’t intentional–I think it was because I was off the meds. After I having her, the weight started coming off because I was nursing and started walking. I started running when she was six months old, and I’ve now lost roughly 57 pounds. It hurts me to look back and see how unhealthy I’d become because I’d always been the “tall, skinny” girl when I was younger. I’ve decided now I don’t have to be skinny. I just want to be the strong and healthy mom! I hope my blog will help other moms realize they can accomplish this, too.

Gina and her beloved booster/husband, Jason

One for each finger:Juggling five children is not easy, but it can be done!! The hardest thing is they are all at different stages of development [age range 1.5-19 years]. I have to switch from “changing diapers and watching ‘Sesame Street’” mode to “Why haven’t you cleaned your room and be home by 10” mode. I have one child who has just learned to walk, one who is learning to read, one who is struggling in the stage of leaving childhood and being a teenager, one who’s nearly ready to graduate high school, and one that’s right on the cusp of adulthood. Having such an age gap can make things easier at times, too. My older kids are very sweet to the little ones and help me out tremendously. My oldest daughter has been key to me being able to run during the day. I would have never gotten in all of my miles for my half marathon training if it hadn’t been for her helping me out on certain days. Me-time comes few and far between. There have been many days that I haven’t had a chance to go run until dinner was cooked or after the little ones had gone to bed, which never seems to be early on nights that I’m pacing the floor waiting to go! My husband, who is also a runner, is a great encourager/coach and doesn’t let me skip out on a run when he knows I’ve got to work one in. I would definitely say it takes a team effort at our home for “Mama” to run.

13.1 down…: The only hard thing about training for a half marathon was not the three lost toenails but the long hours invested in getting ready for it. I always have a little voice inside my head reminding me of the time I’d been gone from the family. As much as I love running long distances, though, I want a do-over for my first half-marathon [in January]. There were no mile markers, so I had to go by my Nikeplus, which congratulated me for completing my half marathon miles before the finish line. *Sigh.* I finished 20 minutes later than my projected goal time, a huge letdown. I nearly threw up on my way back to the hotel, and I wonder if it was just utter disappointment. Next up, though: a half marathon this November, and a marathon in either January or March.

Can’t run without: My iPod with Nikeplus sensor and chewing gum. I have a love-hate relationship with my Nikeplus. I complain about it constantly, yet I have actually been nearly to my running trail, realized I’d forgotten it, drove back home to get it, then went back. So, yeah, it’s pretty much definitely on my list of “must haves” when I run. I chew gum just to have something to taste and to give me something to take my mind off of things if I start struggling. (It takes a special talent to juggle gum and Sport Beans in your mouth on a long run!)

Heat v. hills: Last May, one of my worst runs was at a race that had hills and heat–and I had a stress fracture in my shin (I thought it was only shin splints). That run left a really bad taste in my mouth for hills. I’ve been working hard to conquer my fears by doing at least one day of hill work every week. Heat, on the other hand, is still a huge problem. I believe it’s heat and humidity working together that causes the biggest trouble for me. When I hit “The Wall,” I hit it hard. Immediately, a battle starts, and it gets really ugly sometimes. I’m always excited when “She” shows up–the feisty girl inside of me who stands up to the wimpy girl who always wants to quit. They have heated arguments but in the end, “She” always wins, and I kick that wall down and run over it! When it comes down to it, I’m way too stubborn to quit.

Follow this mother at: http://ginamooney.wordpress.com/

32 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2011 5:37 am

    Down the street from the apartment where I lived in Italy there was a stretch of green along the Arno river. It was magical.

  2. April 28, 2011 6:31 am

    Oh our running lives are very similar…although you have more kids than I! But I’ve only been running since Jan/Feb 2010 and I’ve lost 50 pounds. Awesome job, all of this is really an amazing feat!

    • April 28, 2011 12:05 pm

      That’s awesome, Randi!! Keep up the wonderful work! You should start a blog and keep us updated on your progress! 🙂

  3. April 28, 2011 7:21 am

    That’s fabulous! I will definitely follow her for inspiration in my own journey.

    runningtobeskinny.com

  4. chiarts2043 permalink
    April 28, 2011 7:59 am

    You look fabulous and have made some great accomplishments. I don’t run much faster that you (5K PR was 28:10), but I find it equally as satisfying.

    • April 28, 2011 12:02 pm

      Thank you and that’s a great time as far as I’m concerned! Congrats on that!! I am going to keep working and hopefully I’ll see that 28 min 5k one day!

  5. April 28, 2011 9:18 am

    Wow! Wonderful story! Awesome!

  6. Tryna permalink
    April 28, 2011 9:24 am

    Very exciting, I don’t loose weight when I run, so need to focus on food, but your before and after pictures are very motivational.

    • April 28, 2011 12:01 pm

      Thanks Tryna. I don’t have any magic diet plan, although it would be nice, lol! I always eat breakfast, usually eat tuna for lunch and then eat whatever I cook for the rest of the family for dinner. I drink lots of water (with flavor packets because I’m just not a fan of plain water) except for breakfast and I drink skim milk. Other than that, I mainly think about what’s going to help my muscles recover after a run, going to keep me strong during a run or, on the other hand, what would make me feel terrible-I steer clear of those things! Good luck on your running! Don’t give up! 🙂

  7. April 28, 2011 12:22 pm

    What a wonderful mama to follow! Running has helped me battle various types of depression, too, and I wish I’d jumped on the bandwagon sooner. Glad to read your story and learn that there are others out there with ‘speed envy’ at any degree!

    • April 28, 2011 9:26 pm

      Haha, I’ll always have that I think (speed envy!) I’m glad that running has helped you so much too!

  8. Chandra permalink
    April 28, 2011 12:34 pm

    I’ve been running since March of this year and I definitely get speed envy! I only have 2 kids to juggle (2 years and 3 months) – so I’m super impressed that you find time to run!

    • April 28, 2011 9:20 pm

      Hi Chandra,
      (I think my computer erased my comments from earlier because I remember writing you back, lol.) I know it has to be hard finding time with 2 little ones that age. Have you got a jogging stroller? I have a double one for my 2 youngest and it comes in handy on days that I need to bring them with me. Just be sure and do some research on the kind that would work the best for you. Congrats on your running and don’t give up! 🙂

  9. April 28, 2011 2:10 pm

    I love it when I’m already following the featured mother–feels like I’m part of the group in the know!! Impressive progress!! You’ll have to change your blog title soon!! 😀

    • April 28, 2011 3:42 pm

      Woohoo Dana! We can hope, lol! (About the title change.) I’m going to continue my speed training and hill training. Who knows what could happen? Thanks for following me!!

  10. Stephanie Barber permalink
    April 28, 2011 5:38 pm

    very inspiring story, impressive !!!

  11. April 28, 2011 7:33 pm

    totally relate! lost 70 pounds…the depression…and the large age gaps between kids. Mine are 18 and 7. Congrats on your victory!!!!

  12. April 28, 2011 7:35 pm

    Your story sounds very similar to mine although I only have two kids. I can really understand your feelings of depression and feeling bad about yourself, gaining weight and feeling worse as time goes on. I started running when my son was 7 months old and I’ve been going at it since then, making baby steps and slowly increasing my distance. Finding time to train is so difficult and as mothers we feel guilt for taking time out for ourselves. But I encourage you to keep at it! Thank GOD for helpful and loving husbands, because I know I wouldn’t be where I am without mine. Lastly, I also have a similar love/hate relationship with my Nike+. I can’t run without it because I need to make sure my hard earned miles are recorded somewhere. 😉 Anyway, you should feel incredibly proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished! Thanks for sharing!

    • April 28, 2011 9:13 pm

      Hi Deby!
      It is so difficult finding that time but in the end, it makes us feel so much better and we are better able to take care of our children. And yes, I am thankful everyday that God gave me such a wonderful husband! He’s my biggest cheerleader! 🙂
      Isn’t technology funny? I’m exactly the same…I want those miles recorded because I worked HARD for them,lol.
      Thank you for the sweet comment and keep up your hard work!!

  13. April 28, 2011 8:01 pm

    Wow, what an inspiring story… I have three kids and think I gained 10 more pounds with each kids, so I have 30 pounds I am trying to shed. I started running a couple weeks ago, it has been hard but my body is starting to feel stronger! Thanks for the inspiring story!

    • April 28, 2011 9:23 pm

      Thank you, Carlee!
      You will see that you keep feeling better and better. Remember that you’ll have some runs that better than others but with every run, you’re getting stronger! Congrats on your new journey into running!! Just take it one step at a time. 🙂

  14. Janna permalink
    April 28, 2011 8:39 pm

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story! You look so young…how can you have a 19 year old???

    • April 28, 2011 8:56 pm

      Thanks Janna! Lol, I’m 37. 🙂

      • Janna permalink
        April 28, 2011 9:33 pm

        You look amazing! I thought you were in your 20’s! I’m a year older than you…I hope I look as fabulous after I drop the 40 I need to lose. 🙂 Keep it up!

        • April 28, 2011 10:16 pm

          Thank you so much for the wonderful compliment! Update me on your progress when you get a chance!! 🙂

  15. Paula S. permalink
    April 28, 2011 10:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story! I also started running Feb 2010, and my first half was hot and humid- not a good combo. I, too, have speed envy and wish that I could run faster. Most of all, I wish I could lose weight! I’m glad to see that running has helped others, it gives me hope!

  16. April 28, 2011 10:43 pm

    Hot and humid is a horrible combo! Congrats on your first half and surviving the heat! You will lose weight. Sometimes it might seem slow because when you’re running, you’re building muscle too and muscle weighs more than fat. Keep it up! Y0u can do it!! 🙂

  17. April 29, 2011 9:02 am

    It’s so great to find another mom runner!! I’m not super fast either..my goal is to run my first 5K under 33 minutes. It’s always so wonderful to find other runners with similar times and goals.

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