Introducing Our Couch to 5K Mentors

I am so darn excited about our Couch to 5K Virtual Program- it is going to be so awesome to see ya’ll take off on your running journeys.  I have so many thoughts, tidbits and random pieces of advice to share with you.  In addition, we have a ready-made running community here at Shrinking Jeans to support, motivate and encourage ya’ll.

Also, for the first time ever, we have launched  a Mentor Program.  We have selected five mentors to be paired up with five mentees, to help guide these newbie runners as they navigate the C25K running waters.  I know these women personally…..heck, one of them was instrumental in getting ME started down this path.  All of them have been around the running world, supporting and motivating others AND being such an inspiration to many.  They have agreed to give of themselves, their running knowledge and of their precious time.  I love these ladies- they rock!

Shall I introduce these bad-ass runners to you?  Yes, I shall.

BARI

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Let’s be real, I haven’t always been a runner.  I’m a working mom who loves food, good beer, and her 15 year old twins. I know how hard it can be to take time for YOU. If anyone had suggested I would take up running in my 30′s and run a marathon at 41, I would have said they were crazy.  I mean, really, I’m the girl who dropped out of marching band in the 10th grade because walking up and down the field was too hard.  True story.  

I started running in 2006 using the C25k program and ran three 5ks over the next year.  Then I quit and didn’t run again for two years.  In November 2009, I stumbled upon The Sisterhood.  Through their love, support, and badgering (ok, mostly love and support) they encouraged me to train for a 10k. I doubted but I trained and finished my first 10k in May 2010 and I never looked back.  I now have every distance up to a full marathon under my race belt!  I even completed a sprint triathlon last summer. Through all this, I’ve learned to challenge myself and set goals.  I’ve developed friendships that will last a lifetime and I really love the race environment.  Clearly, I’ve found my thing.  I run for fitness.  I run for solitude. I run for bling. I run because I CAN.

I can’t wait to celebrate with those of you training for your first 5k when you cross that finish line 9 weeks from now. I’ll even buy you a beer!  Bari blogs at Live Laugh Run Breathe.

BROOKE

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I first became a runner March 2009.  Only months (years) later did I feel worthy of the title “runner” but it was then I started down the path of addiction.  A friend/coworker emailed me a link to Cool Running’s Couch to 5K plan (that’s the plan we are using!), and an inaugural 5K hosted by the local rescue mission.  We were already working out on our lunch break, so I agreed.  Two months later, after the race, I was officially hooked.

From there I progressed in distance fairly aggressively.  I ran my first half marathon in the fall and, once again, immediately fell in love with racing the distance.   In the past 4 years I’ve completed 5 half marathons, 2 (running) marathons, 2 (walking) marathons, and numerous race distances between a 5K and 26.2 miles.

Running for me has always provided a sense of accomplishment.  My type A personality loves looking at the training schedule and marking each workout done.  Over the past year, my hard work has really begun to pay off.  I’ve set new personal records in every distance and continue to get faster with each race.

RENEE

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Renee is the author of Renee J. Ross- My Life in Motion, a blog about her adventures in running, fitness and the road to healthy living. She has lost over 50 pounds and is working hard to maintain it! Renee ran her first half-marathon in October 2010 and has run 12 more! She ran the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2012 and is now a marathoner. She is a mother, a writer and believes in social good!

KIRSTEN

KirstenI am a newly divorced mom of three who has been running on and off my since I was 5.  I got back into regularly running because of The Sisterhood back in 2009.  Right now I am prepping to run The Goofy Challenge at Disney World the weekend of January 12th – which is the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday (hopefully my mentee still has a mentor after that weekend!).  I have 7 half marathons, one full marathon, and a Tough Mudder under my belt since 2010.  Running has always been my go-to sport.  I have days where I’m unmotivated to run, but I’ve never regretted a run.  Ever.  My biggest piece of advice for anyone starting? Consistency.  Make your exercise a priority.  Put it on the calendar.  And then? Don’t think about it.  Just do it.

ERIN

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My name is Erin and I’m a 30 year old mother of 2 kids. I teach 8th grade and I didn’t start running until I was 28. In fact, you could say I was an anti-runner until then. My older sisters were incredible runners–record setters. Everyone knew them in our little town, so from the time I was five, I heard “Are you going to be a runner like your sisters?” So, I did what most kids would do–I got tired of hearing it and I walked. In gym class, I walked the mile. I remember being vaguely in awe of those boys running a 5:30 mile as I walked my defiant 15 minute mile, but it wasn’t to be then. Now, as a mother of two kids who can kick out an 8 minute mile, I find myself wondering if I would’ve been chasing at their heels?

Still, I found running in my own time and that’s okay. 28 and feeling antsy after having two kids, I’d lost all my baby weight, but I needed a stress relief. I needed to tone up my body. So I tried Couch to 5k. I won’t lie. Struggling through that first week, I thought the 60 second intervals might do me in. I thought, “This program is not going to work for me.” But it did. Countless 5ks, 10ks and 2 half marathons later, I’m proof that anyone can be a runner–even when they spend their whole lives trying not to be.  Erin blogs at School Teacher by Day, Superhero by Night.

Welcome Mentors!  I am reading through all the Mentee applications and hope to have the Mentees selected and paired up with their mentors very soon (keep your fingers crossed for today.  Life with my family of five sometimes will not cooperate with my Shrinking Jeans life but I am going to try!).  We will only be selecting FIVE mentees this time around since this is our first time trying this out, but EVERYONE can participate in the C25K Virtual Program.

Also, we now have a Facebook page for ALL Shrinking Jeans runners called *Running with the Sisterhood*. Why don’t you go run on over there and *like* us, pretty please?  It will be a great place for all us runners- new and old hats- to connect and talk all things running.  Whether you are new to running and are doing the C25K Virtual Program with us or you have been running for a long time, we want you to join us.

Happy running as you do Week 1 Day 1 of C25K!!!!

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  • Bari_F

    I am so honored to be included with such an badass group of women!

  • Gin Jimenez

    Count me in to start jan 1!

  • michelle Woods

    Have you made the decision yet on the mentees?

  • http://christy.shrinkingjeans.net Christy_TheSistherhood

    I love each and every one of these ladies so much, and am so proud to have them as mentors for our running program!!! Thank you, ladies!!!