Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In the Spotlight with "Kit Brazier"

Meet Kit Brazier

Mother of 9 kids, 13 grand kids, teaches kindergarten, an ultra marathoner and she’s over 60!!!

 I started running at UCLA in 1972 and loved it.  I ran track and cross-country for UCLA for 2 years.  Running was the best part of UCLA.  My first first marathon was the Santa Monica marathon in 1975.  I was hooked. In 1977 I ran my first ultra (50K) and I finished in 5:20 which put me as the 7th fastest woman in the US for a 50K.  I also ran a 3:29 marathon that year and qualified for Boston. 

 When I was dating my husband I took him on a long run down San Vicente to Marina Del Rey (17 miles) and he didn't complain but kept with me.  He always encouraged me to run. 

We have been married for 36 years and have had 9 children.  I wanted a big family and  feel that running through the pregnancies and running with the kids made me a better mom.  As a young mother with a lot of kids, running was my time to think and sharpen my skills to be a better mom. 

 As a young mother with a lot of kids, running was my time to think and sharpen my skills to be a better mom.  I always felt so rejuvenated when I would come back from running and I was a better mom, more energetic, happier, plus I made my closest friends from running.

In the past 40 years I have run almost 50 marathons including ultras.  Since I turned 60 I have become a marathon maniac and I have met the most amazing, inspiring people.  I am a grandma of 13 kids and I have enjoyed this stage of my life so much - and a big part of that is running.
 I teach Kindergarten and have my students run daily - all of my 9 kids run and 3 have run marathons.  They are the best supporters and my #1 fans.  
I am truly blessed.
-Kit Brazier-

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In the Spotlight with "Rossana Zemek"

Meet Rossana

Running taught me that life is much like the race course: "Dress the part and there is no doubt who you are." 

 I had this epiphany when I ran You Go Girl Half, 2014. My girlfriends and I wore Wonder Woman costumes. Cheers seemed intensified as volunteers yelled "Wonder Woman!" And I heard lots of compliments on the outfit.  It didn't matter that I am far from elite, am "back of the pack" or started running at 43. For this moment, I was a superhero. I am Wonder Woman.

 Just five years ago was a different costume. I was chemo ridden, tired, weak, battling cancer. I wore heels and leather jackets to chemo. I was openly bald.  I put my makeup on like I was in a music video.  I smiled a lot and stood tall, despite my need to collapse with weakness. "Dress the part and there is no doubt who you are."  Somehow those outfits made me feel happy and strong.

 I have been a breast cancer survivor since 2010.  I began running to celebrate life, to encourage others, to do something that scared me more than cancer.  I have completed two ultras, seven marathons, 30 half marathons, and a number of 5K's. I also completed eight rounds of chemo, three surgeries, and 33 rounds of radiation.

I realize now that adversity made me who I became.  Running my town as Wonder Woman gave me a sense of invincibility. I carry that sense in my recent days and look back fondly at my Wonder Woman costume. It reminds me of that invincible feeling.  I hope everyone finds their costume, dresses the part, and is recognized as who they are. That costume changes the course of the day.
 I am a wonderful woman. I am strong. I am defender.  Secretly, I fly an invisible jet. I have red boots on, and know how to use my lasso.
 -Rossana "Wonder Woman" Zemek-

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In the Spotlight with "Irma Gonzalez Hereford"

Meet Irma
RELENTLESS = showing or promising no decrease in force, intensity, or strength.
This is me. This is what I live by.

I am a married 38 year old 'Fit Momma'. I have 3 children…10 yr old twins (boy & girl) and a 5 year old son. Both my boys play basketball (year round) & my daughter is in dance.
I work full time, M-F & I start my shift @ 4am & I train 6 days a week.
Everyday I ask God to guide me in balancing out wife/motherhood, my 'personal' life, my career & housework. It sounds like a whole lot & it is but it is possible...you just need to find what works. One thing that works for me, is having my Faith in the man upstairs...without him, I would not be able to carry on as I do or get up after each time I stumble.

Being fit and working out has always been part of me…ever since high school when I got involved in dance and cheer. The hard work of practicing, challenging your body to perform new, harder moves and the euphoric feeling after competing…it all stuck with me...even after several years.

After I had my twins, one day i saw a few young mothers, younger than myself @ the park. They would get out of breath and break out in a sweat after being up on their feet, chasing their kid(s) around. It wasn't a pretty sight to see or hear…and i refer to that ‘health-wise’. These mothers were on their way to being ticking time bombs if they didn't do something to get healthy. I was moved to do something about losing my maternity weight after i had my twins…and i did!
Then about 6 months after having my youngest son, i remember not being able to go upstairs without being out of breath and not having my legs hurt or feeling super heavy. One day it just hit me hard…it was 6 months since i had my son, i had dropped most of the wt i gained while pregnant but i couldn’t lose the last 20 lbs plus the wt i gained from fertility treatments. I became discouraged…and disgusted with myself. I had no excuse for this. I had to take accountability. It took a good 2 weeks after that one hit for me to focus mentally, get it together and execute my plan of action.
When i finally dropped those ‘pesky’ 20 lbs from my pregnancy…it took almost 6 months to get it off of me. Boy, was i PROUD AND ON CLOUD 9!!
The changes i see in myself, physical ones as well as mental and emotional ones…each day i notice something different and/or new that is just FABULOUS!! This keeps me going forward and forces me to push harder.

My kids know that mommy has to go to the gym and is on a special diet. They are very aware and involved of my goals because i show them pictures of women in figure…plus they witness what i do. I love it when they get to see me, especially my little girl…i love showing her that women, especially mommy’s can be strong, fit, healthy and gorgeous!
They know about hard work…they see what i put in, time-wise and strength-wise…i use this all the time with them and their everyday struggles, such as with homework or their after school activities/sports. I remind them that hard work is not easy, it takes practice and patience and that something AWESOME will come of all this hard work. They understand this concept well, they just need to reminded of it sometimes, especially when they get discouraged.
Just because you are a wife & a mom, it does not mean you can forget or neglect yourself. Wives are supportive & encouraging...they are willing to help & hold the 'home-front' while they're husbands are @ work/on duty, especially those who are in the military, law enforcement & fire/ems services. My husband is a fireman & is away quite often. So while he is gone, im both Mom & Dad...

Moms are nurturing, caring, loving and protective of their children, their family…and they should be just like that with themselves. Moms must learn to get their ‘HAPPY’ on and get inner peace…i think that without these 2 driving forces, moms have a difficult time being truly happy. Lets face it, if moms can’t make themselves happy, who will make them happy?? It all starts within yourself.

This is what I've learned and experienced…pain, you will feel lots of it, but it’s ok, physical pain is temporary. Hard work is trying and results take time to see…but all that time and effort you put in SHALL SHINE THROUGH when you least expect it. The changes you want to see, well you won’t see them overnight but you will…just need to remember that these changes are probably already there, YOU just can’t see them because we tend to be our worst critics. 

Here are a few things that help me out, daily...I pray & talk to God. I breathe deeply & I smile, a lot.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In the Spotlight with Kim Fitmiss

Meet Kim Fitmiss
I am Kim Fitmiss and I love to run.  To date I have completed 7 marathons and 7 ultra marathons and many races of varying distances. I even ran throughout my entire third pregnancy completing the  2011 Chicago Marathon  4 months pregnant. Like most people, I began to run to lose weight. But once the pounds were shed I discovered a new person. This person had determination , tenacity and commitment. I would have never known I had these traits until I started to run. Running has helped me in other areas of life to go forward with dreams that I have been afraid of pursuing. One of those dreams is to pursue a degree in Kinesiology. 

I began to go for short runs  about a half of a mile in 2009. I would run at a park near my home on the South Side of Chicago. One day I was at Walgreen's and I purchased the book Marathon Training for Dummies. This peeked my interest so I made a bucket list goal to run the Chicago Marathon in 2010.
I ran my first marathon October 10, 2010 and fell in love with the sport. I was not too pleased about my time so I signed up for the Georgia Marathon the spring of 2011. I then learned its not about my time its about the journey. After completing a few more marathons I decided to try some ultra marathons. My first ultra was the Chicago Lakefront 50/50. I ran the 50 k portion 6 months after giving birth.

It is sometimes a task running, having a family, a career and a  social life but I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's about making adjustments. For instance instead of watching TV, I use that time to run. I run when the children are at their sports practice. I also get up and run at 3 am on the treadmill before running the streets at  sunrise. I believe in no excuses when it comes to running. 
In late 2013 I decided to explore the other side of 50 miles. In April 2014 I attempted my first 100 mile ultra marathon in Albion, Indiana the Indiana Trail 100  . I became ill at mile 75 so I had to drop. I was devastated and cried for five hours. My friends quickly reminded me that I gave my all and that was my best.  I will try again April 2015. July 2014 I participated in my first 24 hour race Christmas in July in Lisle Il.  I completed my first 24 hour race and placed second overall female completing 79.57 miles. 

To end the year I will run the Des Plaines Trail 50 miler  on October 18, 2014 followed by the Chicago Lakefront 50/50, the 50 mile portion on November 1, 2014. As an added bonus to myself I decided to run an extra 12 miles after the lakefront  race to complete an 100k (62.137 miles).

My goal for running is simple to keep running. I will accomplish this by eating well, drinking more water, and most importantly resting. I hope to finally cross an 100 mile ultra finish line. If I don't  I will keep trying until I succeed.
-Kim Fitmiss-