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For many runners, the Boston Marathon is the bees knees. It's the oldest continuously running marathon (this past one was the 121st running), it requires a time qualifier to secure a spot (unless you raise a ridiculous amount of money for charity), and the city of Boston comes out in force to make it an EVENT.

When I qualified for Boston last year, I had simply promised myself that I would throw myself into training and see what happens if I really do my best. The marathon isn't really the event that I'm most comfortable with - it turns out that it's really hard - and I had finally run a race that I felt good about the previous Fall and I was really hesitant to give myself a goal that was too aggressive. Because that's the thing about the marathon: you can't bank time. You have to run a measured race, and if you go out too fast you're robbing from your later miles - hitting that wall HURTS. It's not a pleasant feeling. But in the last weeks leading up to my qualifying race everything seemed to come together, and when I crossed that finish line at 3:37.23 I knew that...

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The million dollar question. Why do the kids have to stay in the stroller during Stroller Strides? Why can't we just let the kiddos run around and play beside us while we try to work out? That way we don't have to deal with them being grumpy. Well, let me ask you this: how much do you normally get done when your toddler is running around underfoot?

I'm guessing 4 out of 5 of have visions of your darling angel running off, getting into everything, and raising just a little bit of hell (to that 5th mom: I salute you!). It's not exactly easy to get stuff done with a kid under foot, and if you've been to a Stroller Strides class you know that we keep things MOVING. If you haven't, you should! Anyhoo, we're a traveling format, meaning that we move from station to station. When we're only in one place for 7 or 8 minutes at a time, dealing with getting kids in and out of the stroller is a total drain on your workout time.

But practicality aside, the biggest reason why we keep kids in those strollers is safety. When we work out, even with the minimal equipment that we...

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So you want to run.

Where do you start?

Get 2 legs. 2 lungs. Go.

Okay, but seriously you don't need a ton of stuff to start running. I get that there's an entire industry of clothes, shoes, gadgets, books, apps, websites and accessories, and it can be pretty awesome but also a metric crap ton of stuff you may not actually need. Here's the basics of what you need to get started.

A clean bill of health. Don't underestimate this, because it's important to be of sound health. If you've had a baby get doctor's clearance - not just clearance to exercise (which can mean 'sure, start walking!') but specifically ask your doc if you're cleared to start a running program.

Running shoes. Chances are you've dug into your closet and found a pair of cross trainers that you bought a few years ago. I get it. You don't want to be the person that takes up the new hobby and goes out and buys $1k worth of stuff that you use twice. But when you're ready, go and get fitted for a pair of good running shoes. Your feet (and knees, and Achilles) will thank...

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Today I ran a race, and it was terrible. It was one of those mornings where nothing seemed to come together - my stomach felt funny, I couldn't get into a good rhythm, and at about mile 10 the wheels just completely fell off. I've had a big goal for the last couple of years, to break 1:40 in the half marathon, and I thought today could possibly be the day. It wasn't even close.

The Lake Sammamish Half has a rep for being flat and fast, and the field is indeed pretty fast and full of people looking for that PR. What that also means is that all 3 times I’ve run it, I’ve spent the entire run being passed by people. No matter what speed I run somehow the entire time people pass me. It's not something that normally bothers me, but today as I was fighting my disappointment and frustration, each new back I saw just made me madder and madder. Wach step felt like way more effort than it should have, each mile was just a few seconds slower than the last, constantly watching people pass me was disheartening. You can train and put the hours in and feel strong, and still not...

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Making mom friends is like going back to dating days (and I don't know about you guys, but I was AWFUL at dating). You meet someone cool, and hope that you click and that it can lead somewhere. Somehow in Seattle, though, it’s harder. We’re known as a city that’s hard to meet people - the notorious “Seattle Freeze”. I don’t think it’s that we’re mean, so much we’re a city populated by people who just don’t know what to say and because of that are reserved and like to stay in our lane. It’s like we lost the ability to small talk and break the ice. We smile politely, maybe comment on the weather, and that’s pretty much all we got. On the playground, or in that drop-in playtime? We’re flummoxed at what to say. It’s no wonder that we’re a city desperate to make friends! We shouldn’t be this mystified, after all, we’re functional human beings with functional relationships and have even managed to procreate. And yet you go to the playground by yourself, do your own thing while supervising your offspring, and then head out on your own. If you’re lucky, you join a PEPS group...

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Sometimes I wonder if I even seem like a real person to the ladies in my classes. They see me now, 6 years after having a kid, running marathons and telling them to just munch on some raw broccoli when I'm pretty sure they'd far rather ask if they wanted to go on a cupcake date. Yeah, I'm pretty strong now, and when this is all you see it's probably easy to figure that I was one of those irritating/lucky women who was back in her pre-pregnancy pants 2 weeks after giving birth (Spoiler Alert: I wasn't). Everyone starts somewhere. My starting place was August 2009, when I walked into a Stroller Strides class desperate to make some friends and try to get some semblance of my pre-pregnancy self back. I steadfastly walked between every station, and spent most of the exercise sets talking to the lady next to me. But here's the thing about starting: it turns out that if you don't stop, you can really get on a roll. In many ways, I consider myself the ultimate FIT4MOM Success Story. I'm just a regular schmoe who liked to drink beer, eat fried food, and avoid vegetables to the...

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