In Her Shoes: Meridith (@runningwithcadence)

Happy Friday! I’ve got a special treat for you today – an interview with one of my favorite ultrarunners + supermamas, Meridith.

You might know her around the interwebs as @RunningWithCadence (a fun play on a running term AND her adorable daughter’s name)! I’ve been following Meridith’s running journey for two years now and her strength and dedication to training is nothing short of amazing. She balances motherhood, marriage, career, and getting in lots of miles (and of course, Maggie miles!) each week with grace and a big smile. Let’s read more about her and find out how she does it!

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Not always in running clothes! ☺ December 2017 with the family. Photo credit: Fine Afternoon Photography

Welcome, Meridith! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us today. 

Hi! Thanks so much for reaching out to get to know me a little better! I love this running community and the friends who I’ve met through running.

I’ve been married for 8 years to a pretty incredible person. Jon makes me a better person, and he supports my passions way better than I could have ever dreamed. He’s also a pretty amazing daddy to our 2.5 year old. We have another baby girl due in September, so we’ll be a sea of pink (including Maggie the golden retriever) with my husband as our trusty leader.

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My favorite training buddies

I’m super close to my family, and I get to work with my dad in our family’s business. My sister has four kiddos, so it’s always a party when we get together. God has been a central part of my life, and I’m thankful that I was raised to know Him as a loving Father through all stages of my life. I’ve found that worshiping God through my legs and appreciating the gift of running has been a big part of growing my relationship with Him.

What’s a typical day like in your shoes?

I’m a working momma, but I recently changed my schedule to be MWF in the office. This has been the best change for our family, and I’m so thankful for my Tuesdays and Thursdays with Cadence, our daughter.  It’s also a huge blessing to be able to stay plugged in at my family’s business while I work with my dad and amazing co-workers.

Whether it’s a work day or a Cadence day, I like to wake up and finish my run first thing. I run a lot of weekdays on the treadmill, but I also love running with the stroller or solo runs outside. Whatever gets the job done! Cadence is a great little workout buddy, so most of the time, I can manage to get in whatever I want with the help of Cadence and my husband. I do weights three times a week, so most of the time, I’ll use our home gym on Tuesdays or Thursdays while Cadence plays. Outside of training, we try to fit in as much playground time, library time, and snuggle time as we can!

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Cadence has taught me that you can still train as a momma. She’s the best little training partner, and I enjoy everything more with her by my side.

 

My commute in the evenings on MWF can be 30-60 minutes, so at night, we pretty much just have time to walk the dog, eat dinner, and enjoy Cadence before bed.  

How long have you been running, and what made you get started?

I have been into fitness for as long as I can remember, but I really started running in 2013 when I signed up for my first marathon. It took me several years to figure out training (instead of just going out for a run at random distances on random days—ha!). I really got the bug in 2014 when I attempted a BQ (got it on my 4th marathon) and also learned about trail running. Then we got pregnant with Cadence in January of 2015, and I REALLY learned to appreciate running by running through pregnancy. I came back postpartum as a faster runner, and I started to apply smarter training methods to be a better and healthier runner.

What are your proudest running moments?

I ran my first (and only) 100 mile race one year after having Cadence. It was a great race (2nd female), but most of all, I was surrounded by my family and friends crewing me and supporting me in this goal. It was a really special time for me, and I felt so loved through the process. I was still breastfeeding Cadence, so I had to pump throughout the race. Our bodies are incredible things! I also saw my husband’s support as he helped make it possible to train for a goal like this. There are lots of ways to be romantic, but one of the most romantic things my husband can do for me is to support me in my passions like he does.

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Around mile 50 of the Yeti 100 in 2016 with my sweet crew members. My parents also crewed, which was a really special treat. Cadence turned one year old the day before.

Do you have a favorite race distance, and why?

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My favorite person – after the 2017 San Francisco Marathon

Right now, I’ve got to say the road marathon. I love trails, but in this stage of life, roads are easier to train with family life. I’ve run some really fun and fast marathons lately, and I want to see how fast I can get. The time commitment for the marathon is a good fit for my life right now.

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Awards for the Georgia Silver Comet marathon October 2017 with my number one cheerleaders.  1st place female and PR of 2:57.

 

 

Are there any goals that you’re currently chasing?

Baby due in September! Right now I am just trying to enjoy fitness and keep us all healthy. I’d love to run through this pregnancy, but I know that every week is a blessing. I hope to run a fast(er) marathon postpartum and another 100 mile race.

Do you have a favorite mantra or quote that inspires you?

For every goal race, I like to pick a verse to focus on during training and especially for a race. My verse for my 100 mile race was:

Isaiah 40:26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

It was so special to be running under the starry sky and thinking about how God named one of those stars for me. In 2017, I created a training cycle journal (4 months) so that I could incorporate my faith more into my training. I have found that I train so much better when my focus is on my Creator, not on my efforts. I am currently working on an annual training journal. Hoping to have it available for others to use by the end of the year!

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Middle of the night with my awesome pacers for the Yeti 100. Katie and husband Jon paced me for the last 34 miles of the race.  

What’s your advice to someone who wants to start running?

Enjoy the process! Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by all of the information out there. There are so many different methods of training, and all of them can be effective in their own right. Consistency is the most important element, but don’t be afraid to throw in some cross training on days when things aren’t feeling 100%. I’m also a big fan of strength training!  

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3rd place at the San Francisco marathon in July 2017. Such a fun race, and no expectations except to survive the hills! Lots of wine tasting as a reward.

What running products/gadgets do you swear by?

I love my milestone pod! It is a foot pod with a really handy app that will tell you tons of metrics about the run. I also really love it because it keeps a running log for all of my runs, so even treadmill miles get logged.

What are some of your favorite things in life, apart from running?

I love spending time with my family, preferably outdoors! We love to hike and take walks with our golden retriever. It’s the best way to connect and talk, and Cadence loves to be outside. My husband and I are also big readers. I get most of my reading done on the treadmill, but I also always have a book by the bed with a back-up handy as soon as I finish the last page.

 

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We love to be outside, even if we aren’t running!


 

Just for fun – what are three things that you’re grateful for?

Oh so many blessings to pick from!

  1. A healthy pregnancy (22 weeks as of May 15th)! We miscarried in December, and it’s made me so aware of what a miracle this process is.
  2. A husband who supports my passions. When I told Jon that I wanted to train for another ultramarathon last spring, he said he was totally up for that as long as we travel somewhere fun. We ended up all flying to Oregon, and Jon crewed me for 100k while babywearing our 18 month old. True love!
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This hunk is my hero! He wore Cadence all over Oregon to crew me for Gorge 100k in April 2017. True love!

3. Running friends! Running wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding if I didn’t have my friends to share the experience with. Running is such a special bond, and it tends to connect all of our other stages and phases of life.

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Running friends make it all so much more rewarding! Stroller running fun in Hilton Head with Sara May 2018.
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Running with one of my trail friends, Sam, at the 2016 Yeti 100.

 

Thank you for letting us see what it’s like to run a mile in your shoes, Meridith! Wishing you a healthy pregnancy and many happy summer miles!

Check out previous In Her Shoes interviews with strong, inspiring women.

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In Her Shoes: Virjinia from With Purpose and Kindness

Hey friends – hope you’re having a great week! Today I’ve got another interview for you with a fabulous runner, blogger, and friend. Not to be all Train here, but…Meet Virjinia!

Welcome! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us today. 

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My name is Virjinia and I live in Houston, TX with my husband and our spunky pitbull. When I’m not running, I’m a project engineer for a construction company that specializes in protective coatings. I come from a big Hispanic background and I LOVE to cook while I sing and dance in the kitchen. This lead to me auditioning for my church worship team on a whim and I’m currently in training to be on the of the principal
singers. I’m also a HUGE science nerd and you can find me watching YouTube videos in my spare time and reading weird science books about topics like quantum mechanics as “light reading”.

What’s a typical day like in your shoes?
I’m an early riser so my days usually begin anywhere between 4:30-5:30AM. I attribute this to my marathon training and it just stuck! I’ll head out for a run or the gym and I like to be done and eating breakfast by 6:30AM. After that I do my usual routine of bible study and getting reading. Thankfully I have a short commute so I am at my desk by 8:30-9AM. Depending on my training, I’ll opt for an afternoon workout around 5 or 6PM before dinner. Lights out is usually 9PM because of my early mornings! Depending
on the day of the week, I’ll have bible study and worship team practice sprinkled in there too so I do stay busy. So thankful for Google Calendars!

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How long have you been running, and what made you get started?
This is pretty funny because I was in an ROTC program in college so I HAD to run. However, I hated it and made every excuse to not do it. I wasn’t bad at it, I just didn’t like it. After college, I began to gain weight since I had a desk job and basically stopped working out altogether. It wasn’t until the fall of 2014 that I finally said enough was enough and dedicated myself to my health. Running was the easiest thing for me to
start with. It was hard at first but I slowly began getting into my groove. It became a thing I HAD to do because it made me feel good.

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What are your proudest running moments?
Running a marathon for sure! That’s my latest accomplishment because there was MONTHS of work that lead up to it. Learning that my body can handle it and actually making it across the finish line was amazing. My husband was there for me during every long run so it was just so amazing running into his arms afterwards and crying like a baby!

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My first half marathon experience was the same way. It was in that moment that I was hooked. I got butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. I remember knowing that it was going to take a lot of work to do it but I was so ready. That’s when running became like a drug to me. As soon as I finished that race, I wanted more!

Why do you think that weight lifting is so important?
Coming into running, I never cared for weight lifting. I learned the hard way and this lead to injuries. After speaking with my chiropractor, it turns out that a past car accident had its lingering effects. This meant that I REALLY hard to work on muscle balances and making sure that certain muscle groups were not over correcting.

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Weight lifting for runners is a big help because it keeps your core strong. Keeping your core engaged and strengthening your legs really helps your running mechanics fall into place. I’m a huge believer in building strength from head to toe so I think it’s complimentary to any stage of fitness you’re in!

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Are there any goals that you’re currently chasing?
It’s always scary to type these out because then you have to commit! I’m really focusing on one marathon this year: the Chicago Marathon in October. I want to PR and finish the marathon in 4:30. This will only be my second marathon but I think that I am stronger this time around and I can push for speed this time!

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Why did you start With Purpose and Kindness?
There’s so much negativity in this world and I want to be a small hope of love and kindness for something. Everyone is in different parts of their fitness journey and you never truly know what someone is dealing with on a personal level. I started With Purpose and Kindness as a place for people to learning about different parts of running and health and fitness in a positive and encouraging environment! I want to be everyone
else’s cheerleading because I get all the goosebumps seeing my friends accomplish their goals!

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What’s your advice to someone who wants to change their lifestyle and start working out consistently?
Start small! It truly takes time to create a lasting change so patience is part of the equation too. I would recommend starting with walks and slowly graduating to small weights and different forms of cardio. Also, find something you LOVE doing and stick to that. You’re more likely to stick to something if it’s something you enjoy doing!

What fitness products do you swear by?
I just upgraded to the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and I LOVE it! I enjoy having a tracker all day to really keep me accountable and not just sitting for hours on end. It’s also great for tracking my runs and my gym sessions. My Peloton bike is also a staple because it helps me with endurance training. While it’s not a substitute for running, it’s a big compliment and has helped me knock off time in my races!

What are some of your favorite things in life, apart from fitness and staying healthy?
God is a HUGE part of my life and I think that spreads into all portions of my life. I love to volunteer and help at community events held by my church. It’s so amazing to see people’s eyes light up when you give them basic care supplies and food. As someone who’s been on the other side, I truly believe in giving back. I’m also known as the “listener” of the group since I love to grab a coffee and just listen to people’s life
stories!

Just for fun – what are three things that you’re grateful for?
I am extremely grateful for a husband who encourages me when I get crazy ideas to sign up for marathons or try out new things. He’s willing to give up sleep just to ride his bike alongside me during long runs and puts up with my requests for Instagram photos!

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I am grateful for all the awesome friends I’ve made online and in real life through this crazy running community! It’s so awesome how one sport can unite so many different people from different backgrounds!
I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story with people in hopes that they will be motivated or encouraged with my testimony. Whether it’s in fitness or in ministry, if I can help one person then my job is done!

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Follow Virjinia on her Instagram and Blog.

Read past interviews with other inspiring women!