Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mom to Mom with Kara Thom

One of my new favorite books on fitness and motherhood is Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom.  I love the common sense approach to raising kids while making time to get sweaty that is presented by the books' co-authors Kara Thom and  Laurie Kocanda.
BIG NEWS!  On November 30th, Kara & Laurie will be stopping here at Kids Running Wild on their Blog Book Tour!  I'll have several posts from them PLUS I'll be giving away a copy of their book!

More information coming soon!  First, Kara Thom took time out of her busy schedule this week to answer a few questions for me!  Here's our Mom to Mom chat...

1. How old are your kids?
My twin daughters turned 8 in August. I have another daughter who is 6 1/2 and my son is 2 but acting more and more like the 3-year-old he will become in February, which is to say he is forsaking naps. Sigh.

2. Do you ever take them for a run? Do they enjoy running?
My oh my. Unfortunately I can't lump all the kids into one answer! One of my twins is motivated to run--is the most likely to initiate a run together--but winds up complaining once we're out. 
Her twin, who never initiates going out for a run and will only come along if there's nothing better to do will take off and leaves us in her dust. 
My youngest daughter would prefer to dance or show off her thai kickboxing moves. 
My son has been my "jogger baby." I never had much of an opportunity to run with the girls in a stroller since they were all little at the same time. I love getting out and running with him, and I think he enjoys it too, but he's reached that stage where he wants to get out and walk, which results in some compromising on my part; ending my run early so he can get out and find a few "fossils" on the way home.
So I suppose the short answer is sometimes for both questions. They know I will never turn them down if they want to get out and run with me, but I know better than to push it!

3.  Does your family have a favorite physical activity?
Hard to name just one favorite.  Our top three would probably be:

1) Hiking in the woods
2) Swimming
3) Biking

4.  What other forms of exercise do they enjoy? 
The twins are playing on a basketball team this year and holy cow are those games fun to watch. My younger daughter asked to take a mixed martial arts class so that's what she's doing. They all took swimming last year and I don't think they'll get too far from that. They like to race each other whenever we go to the pool.

5.  Obviously we agree that Mamas need to move! How important do you think it is for a Mom to set an active example for her kiddos?
If you want your kids to be active it's not enough to sign them up for lessons or drop them off at little league. Fitness should definitely be a family affair. Sure it's a great way to keep everyone healthy, but it's also a great way to bring the family together. Even if you don't workout together, you can still share with each other how you were active.

6.  Do your kids come and see you cross finish lines?  Are there any that are particularly memorable?
My husband brought the kids out to the Bloomington Iron Girl Duathlon in September. I saw them at the beginning of the second run and I'm certain that gave me a boost and a faster run time than I would have had otherwise. How can you not pick up the pace when you see your own kids cheering for you? Sometimes logistics and schedules prevent kids at every finish, so I know the difference. Having them there definitely helps the outcome.

7.  Is there a time when you've bonded with your kids during exercise/running in a memorable or unexpected way?
Although I've joked about some of the nightmarish runs I've had with my kids I can say I've had some lovely experiences with each of them. I remember running with my youngest daughter in a stroller and encountering deer along the way. We saw so many we lost count. She was pretty little but still remembers it. I've been out with each twin separately and had some great conversations. I've noticed that these "good" runs usually take place when I'm just with one child. It's always nice to have one-on-one time and perhaps all the more memorable because we're running and out in nature.

8.  Any crazy moments spent running with your kids?  
Oh, funny you should ask. Just last week my son and I went for a run, which ended in a hike at a nature center near our house (remember how I have to compromise with fossil collecting?) I was doing some yoga poses while he was gathering rocks when I saw a pheasant close by. I told him to be quiet and we watched this majestic bird approach us. I couldn't believe it was coming right toward us. I picked up my son when the bird got closer. I didn't want him to scare the bird. In hindsight that would have been preferable to what happened next. This beautiful bird started pecking at my feet. Stunned I jumped up on the bench. The bird jumped up on the bench. I started walking away--with son in arms--and the bird came after us nipping at my heels. Then we took off screaming in a full out sprint down the trail. My 30+ lb. son still in my arms. The pheasant gave up. It's moments like those that I'm grateful I'm in such good shape.

9.  What advice would you give to Runner Moms who want to start running alongside their kids?
Go into it with low or no expectations. Also, if you're going to run with your kids don't try to hold this "family workout" to the same standard of workout  you might have running on your own. You'll likely end up disappointed. Make it about them. If they want to stop and watch the turtles sunbathe in the lake for 15 minutes or pet every dog that you pass by, just roll with it.

10.  Is there anything you would advise us NOT to do?
I'm still learning as I go. I need other moms to answer that question for me!

Kara Douglass Thom is a writer, athlete and mother of four. She is co-author of Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom (Andrews McMeel 2011), a book for moms who want to find more space in their busy lives for fitness while raising a fit family.

Do you have a question for Kara & Laurie?
Could you identify with Kara's story about being chased by the pheasant?  I know I could! Those darn geese at Presque Isle tried to eat me last summer!  I ended up standing on a picnic table waving a beach towel like a lunatic while Ken & the girls were fishing 100 yards away.  They still claim they didn't hear a thing.

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