Let’s Move Quad Cities celebrates the spirit and determination Quad City area residents take to promote movement and fitness. Denkmann Grade School special education teacher, Sarah Greim, 37, shares her passion for running, and inspiring others to run, too!
Running With Others is Why I Move
by Sarah Greim, mom-runner with Quad Cities Moms Run this Town
How did get you started in running and what do you like best about it?
I had always been a recreational race runner but when my son was born in 2012, I decided to really focus on getting myself back physically. In 2013 I participated in a relay team for the Quad Cities Marathon.
In 2014, I discovered Fellow Flowers, a women’s running organization that empowers women to be their best both in running and in life and their Declare It Day event. That year, I declared to run 14 races and train for them. I ran 25 that year and have increased my races each year.
This is the year I discovered Michelle Dobson’s group Quad Cities Moms RUN This Town (QCMRTT). This past year, my goal was to run a half marathon. Two QCMRTT ladies joined me at the Her Madison Half Marathon in Madison, WI.
This year, 15 of us will be going up to run this race!
I love running because it is my time to connect with myself, my friends and to think. I don’t run with music most of the time (unless it is Rachel Patton’s “Fight Song”) because I like to be free of distraction and be able to hear my body running. Running has also brought me some of my closest friends both here in the QCA and in the greater running community.
Tell us about your relationship to running and your mom.
My mom is the reason I run. I blame my “habit” on her! She would call or a race confirmation email would pop up on my account with a “by the way…I signed us up for a race” from my mom. She was and is my first Best Running Friend (BRF). Many times my mom and I will go for a run around Vanderveer Park or to Genesis West and back home. I love this time because we get to talk and enjoy each other.
When I first started running, I was S-L-O-W! My mom would wiz past me and tell me she would meet me at the finish line. Now I wiz past her (sorry, Mom) and wait to cheer her on and take her picture at the finish line.
When I was running the Her Madison last June, I remember asking the others if they ever felt like they looked like their mom when they ran. They quickly laughed and said their moms didn’t run. It was really this moment that I realized how special it was to be able to run with my mom.
Tell us about your mother’s special 2016 goals!
My mom is an amazing woman. She is a Rock Island principal and educator and this year she is retiring. With that comes a lot more time to dedicate to herself, since she has spent her life dedicated to educating our future.
She decided (or I decided for her) to run her first half marathon! She and I will be running the Quad Cities Half Marathon in September together! I am so excited for her to feel the rush of finishing her first 13.1! She also is working on starting her own consulting firm.
Talk about “Declare It Day.” What are your running goals for 2016?
Declare It Day happens every year in the beginning of February. It is a national event put together by Mel and Tori of Fellow Flowers.
Since we have a local Fellow Flowers crew (my mom, 3 other women in QCMRTT and myself), we host a local event. This event is a place for women to get together and set their goals for the year. When you have support, write it down and say it out loud, you are more likely to follow through with it.
My last 2 years have been very focused on running and mileage. In the past 2 years, I have run 40 races, including a 75 mile relay race and 2 half marathons. I ran a combined 1500 miles in those 2 years, none of which I would have done without Declare It Day, Fellow Flowers or QCMRTT.
This year, I have running goals of 4 half marathons (Dam to Dam, Her Madison, Quad Cities Half Marathon, and the Detroit Free Press International Half) and one full marathon, the Haunted Hustle in Madison.
While I will always have running goals, this year I wanted to focus on giving back to the community in the best way I knew and that was to become a race director of my own race and start my own race/running company.
What is the group “QC Moms Run This Town?”
Quad Cities Moms RUN This Town/She RUNS This Town is a group of women who run together. We range in age from 20s to my mom who is “older.” We lovingly call her the matriarch of the group. We also run all paces.
The main function of the group is to support each other in our journeys, whether that be at a race, on the path or outside of running. We try to do group runs as much as possible.
We also have a “dash and dine” once a month at various locations in the Quad Cities. This month, we are doing a “dash and wine,” where we will run and then sample wine. Right now, we have 530+ members and grow every week.
Many of my close friends come from this group of women.
I joke and say that I head up the Turtle Pace group because I’m not as fast as some of the ladies, but as I have worked on speed, I have fallen into the middle of the pack of runners.
If needed, I am always up for a walk with some of our members and those starting out on their running journey. I remember how awesome it was to have women supporting me when I was first starting out.
What are the benefits of running for mothers who run with other moms?
When you run with other mothers, they get it when you show up with a jogger and a kid (or three), and will offer to take over the jogger if you get tired.
They are a great sounding board when you are struggling with the terrible twos, threes and fours and need ideas on how to make it through another day.
But I think that running with a friend or friends really keeps a person accountable. Just this past weekend, my training partner and I had 5 miles for Sunday on the calendar. Neither of us wanted to run in the rain, but knew we both needed to be accountable and do it. It was one of the best runs we’ve had to date.
I originally started running to get physically fit and lose weight. I gained so much more than my physical fitness and healthy lifestyle.
I honestly have tightened friendships that already existed and made new ones I hope last a lifetime. I know they will celebrate my accomplishments and help me through any rough patches, both in running and personally. They also give me the most likes on my running albums!
How does one start running? What is your advice for women who are thinking about running?
I know this will sound cliché, but you put on a good pair of running shoes (seriously, get fitted. Go to a running store and have a professional fit you with a pair of real running shoes) and just go.
Each day you run, you will be better than the day before.
I remember back when I started getting serious about running I would run as far as I could and then I would walk some and then run and walk again. It was well into July when I ran my first full 5k and yes, I cried.
I also think that having a group of women like QCMRTT is the key to success. Somewhere to ask questions or to find a buddy to run or walk with makes all the difference; I know it has for me!
Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t think you “can’t” do it. Very few people start running and can win or even finish the Bix!
Join our group and come run with us. We love adding new women to our group and running.
We want to hear more about the “Run 4 Military Families.”
Directing a race has been on my mind for a few years now. I wasn’t sure how, when or why I would have a race, but knew it would be a goal at some point.
It wasn’t until last November while I was attending Rock Retreat Run hosted by Fellow Flowers, that I met my now good friend and mentor, Jen Anderson.
She is a personal role model for me. She is also a very successful race director and event planner. It was in talking to her that this dream was put into the forefront of my mind. Around this same time, my very close friend, Nancy, and her family moved to the QCA because her husband was given orders for the Arsenal. Having seen her and her family move around a lot, I knew that the families needed a lot of support to relocate, learn about their new communities and become a part of the community.
I also know that Veterans also need a lot of support and sometimes there are not the resources to help either of these groups. After making a few contacts and doing a lot of research, I decided to contact our local USO and see if I could be of help. It was from this that “Run 4 Our Military Families” was born. I’m so excited to give back to the community in the best way I know, through a 4 mile run and a 1 mile fun run! I have a goal of being able to offer it to the public for registration beginning in May.