I have the pleasure of introducing you to another one of my best friends this month! I’ve always called Elena my BFF – my Best Fitness Friend! Anytime we get together, we are usually doing something active, which I love! And no matter how long it has been since we have hung out (we haven’t seen each other since May!), we can pick up right where we left off! E + I met when we worked together as strength coaches for a physical therapy company – right after I graduated from college and got married. It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had and was lucky enough to have a great boss who I learned a ton from and was able to make a friend for life in Elena. We have had some really fun times together – like a cereal eating competition and finishing my first marathon with her by my side the last mile! I love this girl A TON and it has been so fun to watch her become a mom!
Name: Elena Vance
Hometown: O’Fallon, MO
Occupation: I work part time as a school nurse at a preschool. I also work with the hospital in cardiopulmonary rehab and in community education.
Number of years running: 13. Wow that doesn’t even seem possible! I did my first half marathon when I was a sophomore in college because my Mom called and said she was going to run one and I wanted to join her.
Names + Ages of Kids: Braxton Lucas, 7 months
Favorite Distance to Run: I like short, fast runs between 3-5 miles.
Favorite or Most Memorable Race: Two races come to mind, finishing the full marathon with my Mom and Cousin was amazing! It was the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco and to say it was hilly is an understatement but the scenery was breathtaking. The other races that are some favorites are when I pushed a family friend in her wheelchair for the Go St. Louis Half Marathon. We did it as a fundraiser for Living Water International with our church and it was amazing to experience her getting to do a run. We only got to train with her in the chair a couple of times before the race so I had to do a lot of cross training and upper body to get ready for that race. We had a lot of fun on the course and crossing that finish line was very memorable!
Best Running Accomplishment: Finishing a half Ironman in 30 minutes less than my goal time was a big accomplishment for me. I spent 4 months training and it felt great to have completed it!
Best Parenting Accomplishment: Well I’m not very far into my parenting experience, but I’d have to say breastfeeding. I didn’t know what to expect after having him with breastfeeding and we had to overcome some initial issues with him being early and very small, but I didn’t let myself stress out about it and feel a fed baby was best. Thankfully though we stuck with it and I’ve been able to exclusively nurse him the whole time.
Advice for how you fit running into your busy schedule: I look at my schedule for the week and plan my workouts. I schedule them just as I would anything else and do my best to make sure they happen. Some days it means he’s napping in the stroller as I push him and run and others I plan to wake up early and run while my husband is home with him. I’m really excited because we just got a treadmill so that will help this winter when I can’t get him out for a run and I can get in a workout during nap time. I’ve also incorporated a lot of HIIT workouts into my routine. They are fast, effective and I can usually do them anytime, I don’t have to wait till nap time. I like to incorporate him into my workout when possible. He also loves to be held when I do squats and lunges and usually laughs the whole time! … Shameless plug for Kristen, but her boot camps for runners are amazing and have been a great addition to my workouts! ☺
Best parenting advice you’ve gotten: “Savor every moment because they grow fast!” This is so true! These last 7 months have flown by and it’s very bittersweet to watch him grow and change. I have loved each stage with him! It’s been so fun to see him grow and develop and yet there are things about the previous stage that I’ll miss. I’m careful to not get too caught up in what he’ll be doing next. He’s only little once and I love enjoying this time with him. Even though some days are harder than others, I find joy in him every single day and am so thankful I get to be his Mama!