Shifting Perspective to Win, As a Whole Person
A local elite athlete and working mom turns to pacing in a year of healing
Written by: Casey Timme, Houston Marathon Committee RunHou Ambassador
If you would have asked me 5 years ago what my definition of “winning” was, I would have without a doubt thrown out words such as “PR”, “1st AG, 1st OA, Champion, etc.”. From 2017 – 2020, I was a diehard competitive runner with sights set on Boston Marathon 2019, I ran Local Elite for Chevron Houston Marathon 2020, and aspired to OTQ for 2024. In theory, I was on a roll! These were undoubtedly some of the best, yet most mentally detrimental years of my life, and to top it off, we were hit with the pandemic.
That said, the racing and competition came to a screeching halt. To me, it was a blessing and a curse. Running had been such a large part of who I was that I could not imagine what life would be like without another race on the horizon, or another training plan to follow, or how I would know who my competition was? I thought, “Is this the end of the marathon? What will I do now?” I couldn’t decide if I was disappointed or relieved.
2018: BQ at Chevron Houston Marathon!
2019: Third child born January 2019, Ran Boston Marathon April 2019, Qualified for Local Elite for Chevron Houston Marathon at HSMA 25K, ran first 50-mile race at Brazos Bend State Park (1st female)
2020: Ran as Local Elite in Chevron Houston Marathon, began running trails/ultramarathons during COVID
2021: Joined Team TROT. Ran my first 50K and 100K, however during the mid-late year I got very sick from COVID. Running was placed on hold.
2022: A year of healing. Started slow but worked my way up to Habanero Hundred 50K and was accepted on the Pacing Team for Chevron Houston Marathon
2023: Paced the 3:30 group at Chevron Houston Marathon, joined Beast Pacing, paced 4:00 group at Woodlands Marathon, became a 2024 Chevron Houston Ambassador and 3:20 Pacer for 2024!
2024: What is in store? One day, and one “win” at a time.
If you’ll notice, the shift from “racing” to “pacing” was a slow-moving process, but I embraced this and used it as an opportunity for personal growth and humility. Running was no longer about my own aspirations and goals. My new focus was more balanced with consideration for the overall well-being and enjoyment of everyone including myself.
What I love about pacing is that you are completely present in the moment, fully experiencing each race. Yes, I’m shouting to the other runners about nutrition and hydration and mile markers and potholes, all while making sure our splits are on point, but everything is just a blast and the energy is contagious! I thought, “WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! THIS IS AMAZING!!!” (And to be honest, you get the best runner’s high after pacing!) I will say, holding the pacing stick for 26.2 miles does get exhausting.
As a working mom with three kids, I have accepted the fact that a carefully constructed running plan is just not in the cards right now. Between 4:30am wake-up calls, making sure my dogs take care of their business, myself ready for work, getting children ready for school (while making sure everyone’s shoes match and that they ran a brush through their hair), dropping off at two different schools then driving an hour across town for a full day of work, my time is very limited.
Does this sound familiar? YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Whether you’re training to BQ or running your very first 5K, here are some creative ways to get your miles in that worked for me while still spending time with my family.
5 creative solutions that helped in my journey to “winning”
- Workout without “working out”: Run alongside your kids while they bike! I run my cool-down with 2 of my kids while they ride their bikes to the park. From there, we play tag, play on the monkey bars, and swing super high (which I use as a stretch). They have so much fun that they don’t even realize they are exercising! It’s kind of like throwing a handful of spinach into a smoothie – you’re getting greens without the heaping side of veggies on your plate.
- Adult Swim: On lazy summer pool days, I take full advantage of adult swim and get a few laps in during those blessed 10 minutes of free time. Yes, my kids glare at me from the side of the pool, but I remind them, they get the pool 5/6 of the hour, while I get 1/6. Play fair! – LOL
- “Racing” up and down the street: This one is fun on holidays when our entire family is together. We print out bibs, pin them to our shirt, and have a big race after the holiday meal. With three very competitive kiddos, a fight usually ensues, but it’s always so much fun and a great memory!
- Water-Kids Jobs: On super-hot summer days (which is about 70% of the year here in Houston), my kids like being the water-boy and water-girl. I’ll usually send a text saying, “INCOMING!!!” and they will come out like my own personal aid station and hand water to me as I pass by!
- Oh Technology, How I Love Thee: If I’m on a long run, my kids like to FaceTime me so I can show them anything cool I find on the roads, or a view of the trails. This makes them feel as if they are wit