Ironwomen Inspiration
Here, my son take off running on his own at 2-years-old. Photo by Sara Harris Photography.

Here, my son, Will, takes off running on his own at 2-years-old. I thought he was super fast. And still do. Photo by Sara Harris Photography.

It was 7 at night. Probably even closer to 7:30 in the middle of the week. No one was ready for school or work the next day. Given that it’s already nearing the official first day of fall, the light had started to fade. But there we were (by we, I mean myself, husband and precious son, Will) jogging through the neighborhood.

It was the only time we could all get out to pound the pavement as part of what’s now OUR training plan leading up to the Virginia Running Festival Half-Marathon at Christopher Newport University on Nov. 17. You’ll recall last week I publicly called myself out and wrote about loving running, falling off the running wagon and trying to get back on it by training for the upcoming half-marathon in Newport News. My incredible husband, Rudy, has joined me on this journey.

I felt terribly guilty until, as we rounded the corner to a flat straightaway (we were only out for a four mile pace run), Will popped his head out of the top of the jogging stroller and said, “wow. We are going really fast.”

That, my friends, is motivation. I smiled through the sweat and suddenly realized it didn’t matter if Will got his bath 20 minutes late that night. He clearly was having a great time, witnessing the importance of exercise and, of course, seeing firsthand that his mother is lightning fast on her feet (perspective).

Less than 12 hours later, as I was running again on my weekly date with a great running buddy, I realized how blessed we all are to be surrounded by some of the most inspiring and motivating people. Sometimes we just need to take a moment to see it.

Take my dear friend who I run with nearly every week. She challenges herself to new heights every day. Why? Because she can. Because she still has her health. Because she wants to live life stronger. Because she competes with the greatest adversary – herself. Moments before I sat down to type this, I learned that she placed first in her age group in the Half-Ironman triathlon held in Jamestown, Va. on Sat., Sept. 7. FIRST PLACE! HALF-IRONMAN! That’s motivating.

Last week, I learned that a friend’s older sister who quit smoking one year ago, started training for her very first 5K race, completed it, kept running and is now looking forward to running her first half-marathon next year. That’s motivating.

Earlier this month I interviewed a woman who three decades ago was in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Want to know what she’s known for widely in my community? Open water swimming. That’s motivating.

We’re heading into week two of the training plan. This week we’ll run four days – a four miler with hill intervals, a four miler with speed intervals, a seven-mile long run and a three-mile recovery run.

Personal training goal this week? Not be forced to run back to back (late evening into early morning).

Hoping to stay motivated though them all!

Stephanie Heinatz is a mother, wife, small business owner and running enthusiast who’s working to get back on her running game. Follow her training saga here as she gets ready for the Virginia Running Festival’s Half-Marathon at Christopher Newport University on Nov. 10, 2013.