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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chunking It Up with "Run Like a Mother's" Sarah Bowen Shea

Last week I had tea with Sarah Bowen Shea, one of the authors of the fabulous "Run Like a Mother" blog and book. She stopped in Bend on her book tour at The FootZone.

Sarah's a full time freelance writer and contributing editor for Runner's World and Shape magazines. She also writes for Self, the New York Times and others.

She's also the mom of an 8 year old and 5 year old twins. And she also runs marathons. Lots and lots of marathons.

Oh, and she also wrote this book with her friend Dimity McDowell, another writer/runner. Oh, and also? She is traveling around the country promoting the book and running little 5K "Fun Runs" in each city with her fans, while also training for the Big Sur Marathon.

There are so many "alsos" in Sarah's life that I almost had to take a nap during tea, just from taking so many notes. Next time I talk to her, I'm bringing an audio recorder and I'm ordering coffee.

Here's a typical Saturday for Sarah, who admits she'd like to sleep more:
  1. Up at 5:45 a.m. to run 22 miles, which took her 3.5 hours (a marathon training run, she doesn't do this every day, she assures me!)
  2. Breakfast and entertain family/guests visiting from out of town.
  3. Quick shower (seriously, I'd need a massage and hot tub at this point!)
  4. Take oldest kid to soccer game.
  5. Take twins to a play.
  6. Take oldest daughter to church event.
  7. Prepare Easter baskets for all three kids, working from the trunk of her car, outside in the rain, so they wouldn't see.
  8. Dinner for family and guests.
  9. (Skipped a scheduled ladies wine night with friends. Bummer, but really...)
  10. Collapse into bed.
  11. The next day was Easter, a busy day at their house with friends and family.
Work days are even trickier for Sarah, because she's often on tight deadlines for all the publications. She reminds me that her running schedule would not be possible without the buy-in from her husband, who helps her juggle all of this.

How does she keep up the pace day in and day out? I asked.

"I just gotta chunk it up," she says. "I think about things in chunks of time. When I'm running 22 miles, I think in terms of the first 8 miles, the second 8 miles, then the last 6 miles. I can't worry about those first 16 miles during the last 6 miles. I don't have fresh legs during that last chunk, so I have to have a fresh mind. I do this for work, too. I have to focus on the task at hand, for that chunk of time, not worry about the before or the after."

I like Sarah's "Chunk it Up" method of time management. I should start using it. I need to stop thinking about Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream every time I hear the word Chunk, though. Or I could eat the ice cream and just start running marathons on Saturdays. Right?

I also like Sarah, and I'm hoping I can get more chunks of her time in the future. She's smart, fun, and inspiring. I want to be more like her when I grow up. I'm not sure about that whole 22 miles at 5:45 a.m. on a Saturday thing though, Chunk or no Chunk.

Here are a few pictures from Sarah's FootZone tour stop in Bend, Oregon, for your viewing pleasure. There are more on their Facebook Fan Page, and if Sarah or Dimity came to your town, I'm sure we'd all love to see your pictures, so post 'em!

After a quick social mingle in the store where I met some adorable babies in strollers, and their mothers, we went outside for a picture before we started our fun run.

The sun was out, we were a relaxed group of runners, clumping together at first, then settling into comfortable pace where everyone went at their own speeds and found others who matched their pace.

For the record, I came in last place. It didn't bother me, and it was fun, because I ran with a friend and we chatted the whole time, which is one of my specialties. Also, trying to be first in a race stresses me out, so I let Sarah win.

The fact that Sarah often runs 18 miles for her marathon training runs at an average pace of 9 minutes and 49 seconds (or something) and I usually run 3 miles at an average of 11-12 minutes, really has nothing to do with it.

Later, after a leisurely day of work for me, an easy dinner and a long shower, I went back to the FootZone (and their famous "Wall of Shoes") and listened to Sarah read excerpts from Run Like A Mother.

My favorite chapter Sarah read from was about the fine art of discreet peeing during long training runs (behind bushes, parked cars, anywhere, really) and I truly appreciated the helpful hint about how convenient those fun little running skirts are for this little problem. I'd never thought of them as easy access potty skirts. I wondered why people thought they were such a good idea.

Here's the truth about Sarah's book: I have a confession to make. I got so busy talking after the book signing (big surprise, I know) that I totally forgot to buy a book, and now I have to go get one so I can have an excuse to spend a whole Chunk of time reading it.

And then, I'll do a book review!


Erica said...

wow the book is completly amazing....any running Mom, or runner or runner spouse can totally relate...instead of "chunking" my time to read it I have to chunk everything else because I spend so much time mulling over the book! They seem like wonderful people!

Fitarella said...

How fun! I did a profile on Sarah & Dimity last year and can't wait to read the book! Me thinks you need to organize a Chubby Mommy Running Club TOUR and come fun run your booty over here!!!

juliejulie said...

Great idea, Fitarella! I will, and I'll make you help me, how's that?