I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to interview Kathryn.
In this interview she shares:
- how prioritizing her health was the best thing she could do for her son,
- how to continue trying after becoming discouraged,
- a genius trick to workout even when you don’t feel like it and
- many more amazing insights!
Molly: Tell us a little about yourself…
Kathryn: My story is sort of long and complicated but I will try to keep it short.
I was a single working Mom for 15 years. When I had my son, my son’s father had already decided to leave the picture so I knew going into this that we would be a family of two.
Raising and providing for my son was my only focus during the first 11 years of his life.
I was his sole provider emotionally and financially, so I was completely committed to raising him in a loving home with an involved Mom along with working a demanding full time job.
As much as I absolutely LOVE being a Mom, during this time I completely lost myself. I never took time for myself and certainly put my health and interests on the back burner.
The result of this ended up in me being approximately 125 pounds overweight, a smoker, a drinker, and a very unhealthy eater.
I was miserable on the inside and very depressed with some health issues beginning to occur such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.
One day when I had a blood pressure scare, I realized that I had better start taking care of myself or my son may not have any parent around for long.
I was not living the example that I wanted him to have.
I had to make one change at a time and I was determined to make forward progress.
First, I gave up all alcohol and started exercising slowly. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in about 6 years.
I started walking 3 miles a few times a week on a trail around a playground where I could watch my son.
Eventually, I started going to a gym that I could take my son to as well. After a while of working out in the gym regularly, my weight started coming off pretty quickly.
I started tracking my food and making healthy nutrition changes.
Finally I quit smoking cigarettes for good!! About two weeks after I quit smoking, I took my first step on a journey that has been so rewarding to me — running.
I always wanted to have the ability to run, especially outdoors in nature. My first attempt of running was comical.
I was all set, new shoes, at a gorgeous trail, started running as much as I could and had to stop and catch my wheezing breath after about 2 minutes into it!! I shamefully walked back to my car, completely deflated. But….I went back to that same trail the next day and the next and the next…..I still remember the day vividly when I had run my first FULL mile without stopping. I was ecstatic! Now I run regularly 3-4 times a week along with strength training.
I have completed numerous 5Ks, about seven 10Ks, one 12K, and one half marathon. I am getting ready to start training for my second half marathon this Spring.
Within the past year, I recently got married (finally my soulmate arrived after a long long wait!) So my family now consists of my wonderful husband, my 15 year old son, and my 13 year old and 11 year old sons by marriage. Plus, our very old co-dependent dog that we love dearly!
Pretty crazy crew we are…..and ironic how pure happiness and joy started to grow around me once I made sure I fully loved and took care of myself as well.
This is the point I would love to drive home to any parent that feels over extended and sort of lost inside.
You cannot fill another’s cup if yours is empty. It just does not work.
Molly: What do you enjoy doing for fun?
Kathryn: When I had the revelation that it is imperative for a parent to take care of him/herself, I really thought hard about what I wanted to do for fun.
For me, two things came up….since I was a little girl, I always wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle and I also wanted to become an outdoor runner.
I call it my ride and running life!! I enjoy going on short road trips with my husband on our motorcycles.
I enjoy running and working out almost daily as my stress reliever and energy dose. Of course, I cherish my family time with my husband and our three boys.
Molly: What is your favorite part about being a mom?
Kathryn: Being a Mom has so many rewards and pure blessings.
I think my favorite part has been watching them evolve into unique amazing young men.
I love the baby and toddler stage so much, but the teenage stage has actually been a ton of fun.
Yes, trying at times. But so fun to see your child grow into their own unique person and mature into great little people right before your eyes.
Molly: How do you motivate yourself on days that you don’t want to exercise?
Kathryn: Honestly if I don’t feel like exercising, I simply put on my workout clothes and shoes.
There have even been times when I put on my clothes and shoes then go right back to bed.
But eventually, it will hit me to go step out the door and start moving for just a few minutes.
I mean I’m dressed for it, might as well get it started.
Then if I want to quit after those few minutes, then I could. I have never quit once I got started. Works like a charm!!
Molly: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about living a healthy lifestyle?
Kathryn: Focus on one single step at a time.
I was in a place where I had to make so many different lifestyle changes that it was overwhelming and seemed impossible.
But once I started breaking it down into one step or thing at a time, I started making progress and checking things off my unhealthy list.
Molly: What has been your favorite running race? Why?
Kathryn: The Great Santa 5K!!
It was one of my first 5K’s that I ever signed up for to run. And I have run it three years in a row now. I love it because it is usually the middle of December and so festive and fun.
I admit, each year, I try to run it a little faster and compare my times to previous years. The course typically does not change so I can really get a good idea of how my running time has improved in the year.
Then afterwards, I just soak in all the holiday fun that the race provides including a lot of fun inflatables such as elves and Christmas trees, holiday music, a great breakfast and coffee after the race, and of course Santa at the finish line!!
Molly: What is your all-time favorite healthy meal?
Kathryn: I would have to apply this to breakfast as most of my favorites are breakfast foods that I put together.
I have an overnight oats that I love so much and eat often that is made with oats, kefir, chia seeds, whey protein, and cinnamon.
A close second would be the sweet potato breakfast cookies!! I keep a stash of those in my freezer at all times.
Molly: What is your best piece of advice for a busy mom who wants to stay fit?
Kathryn: Schedule it like you would a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment.
Each day I have my workout scheduled. I have to be flexible sometimes and creative (like running around my son’s school while he is at football practice.)
But I cannot treat it as an option.
Molly: How have friends and family best supported you to have a healthy lifestyle? What is not helpful?
Kathryn: Before I met my husband, my parents were my rock. They would try to help if they could so I could go workout or take time to do something for myself.
Then once I met my husband, he has been so amazing. I have the normal Mom/Wife “guilt” when I choose to leave them for an hour or so to go run, but I hope they see this as an example of making your health a priority.
Then once I can do that, I have so much more energy to spend on family activities.
But I have to give my husband credit as he takes care of the home front on nights when I go run with a group and he also has been at every single finish line of all of my races (except one due to his work so I don’t count that!)
Molly: On your Instagram you encourage people to “celebrate every little success.” How do you do this? Why do you think that it is important?
Kathryn: Oh gosh, I think this is so important.
Sometimes trying to set a lofty health goal can really be overwhelming.
I see so many people that try to set a long term big goal, then just burn out or feel like they never will get there so they quit. Break it down and celebrate along the way. Then all of sudden, you will meet that huge goal that you set a while ago.
I think this prevents a goal from becoming unpleasant or daunting.
I don’t want to set goals just to burnout and quit. Or reach my goal of running a half marathon then never run again.
No, no, I want to run for a lifetime.
I want to continually strive for good health for a lifetime. To do this….I need to celebrate any little thing I achieve to keep the fire lit inside me to keep going and striving for higher lifelong goals.
Reminds me of an old saying “the end of the journey doesn’t matter, it’s the journey that matters in the end.”
So in my mind, I need to celebrate along that journey.
Molly: What is your favorite motivational quote?
Kathryn: Easy… “Progress not Perfection.”
If I expected perfection, I would have never returned to that trail a few years ago after my first attempt at running.
I recently started a new strength training program with a trainer and some of the things he is having me do is so hard for me.
But as long as I make little bitty progress each day, then I am improving. It does not have to be perfect.
Molly: How has living fit helped you feel great?
Kathryn: I truly have energy to enjoy life!!
I wanted my son to have an energetic actively involved mother, and I feel so great that I feel like I do have the energy to enjoy life with my very busy family!
My perspective on my overall life has evolved as well.
I think when you put health as a priority, it not only affects you physically but it really affects you mentally. Health and fitness is not just about muscles and toned bodies. It is more about mental health and happiness.
Molly: Any other advice or stories…
Kathryn: For moms out there, I would say my advice is to set aside a short amount of time each day just for you.
Whether that be exercise time, reading time, meditation time, whatever….just something that will make you feel like you are important enough to take care of yourself too.
Then I think you will find that you are able to actually offer more love and time for your children.
For those who may have some pretty big health challenges, my advice would be to break it down into baby steps, set a game plan that you can commit to, have patience, be persistent, and enjoy each accomplishment.
Molly: How can we connect with you and follow your story?
Kathryn: I have an Instagram account dedicated to my fitness journey with a few motorcycle road trip photos thrown in as well at ‘krp_run_n_ride_life’
Please follow me. It holds me accountable but I also enjoy following others for inspiration as well.
Are you a fit mom or do you know a mom that inspires you? I would love to share your story! Nominate yourself or another mom by commenting below or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 🙂