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Thousands of women have been a part of Moms on the Run over the years, but only one — besides our founder — has been with us since "Mommies in Motion," the original mom and baby fitness class in 2007 where the idea for Moms on the Run was born. That honor goes to Heather Mihm of Forest Lake Moms on the Run. Heather exemplifies our ideal of #MOTRstrong, and we're so grateful and proud to have her as a member and coach for 15 years! Read more of her story and learn why we're honoring her with a special 15th anniversary edition of Most Inspiring Member.
Q: How did you hear about Moms on the Run (was it called that yet?) and were you a runner before?
A: I actually met Karissa through a flyer in my mailbox for a mom & baby workout class that was being held in a park in the next neighborhood over that she started. I had an almost 9 month old at the time and was excited to workout having her with me and to meet other moms. The workout class was in late summer/fall and we continued to meet at a local church in the winter. One of the ladies, my friend Tia, wanted to run a race and asked about it. The next summer, Karissa started MOTR so we could train to run a 5K. I actually had always been a runner, which started with my first race training with my mom when I was 11 to run in the Hershey track meet that was coming to my hometown in Montana. I went on to move to a small ND town right before 6th grade, where I joined the track team in 7th grade. I ran track most of high school and, during college, I ran for my exercise. After college, my running dropped off for a few years. I was excited to be starting fresh with friends and bringing my baby with me in the jogging stroller.
Q: You have been with Moms on the Run since the beginning. What are some of your favorite challenges and accomplishments over the years?
A: I think my favorite challenges/accomplishments since I have joined the group are all the crazy things I have been talked into doing by others, some not even running related. I completed a rollerblade marathon with a couple of MOTR friends and that was early on in our MOTR journey, several Ragnar races and one trail Ragnar, a sprint triathlon, and an ironman triathlon relay. I think I am most proud of my first marathon, as I had said I would never do that because I didn’t think I could. Rhonda from our group won free entry to Grandma’s marathon and wanted a running partner. She asked around and everyone said no; I said I would think about it and next thing you know, she told our group I was doing the marathon with her, so my maybe turned into a yes and we started training. She ended up injured and unable to finish training or run the marathon with me so I was by myself, but I had awesome friends including her that rode bike with me while I ran those long training runs, came up with my routes for training, and went to Duluth to cheer me along the way. Rhonda ended up completing the half marathon and was at the end to give me a hug and celebrate our finishes. There is nothing like finishing your first long distance, pushing your body and realizing just how strong you really are both mentally and physically. One of my other favorite memories was our first summer’s MOTR 5K, which was at the Officer Shawn Silvera Memorial run. Jennifer, his wife, was a part of our group and one of my main running buddies, so it was nice to be there to support her and run that 5K with her and her family.
Q: Are you a coach and with which location?
A: I have coached for Forest Lake as a volunteer coach and I sub in as head coach as needed. I think I have been coaching since 2012 — a long time.
Q: What do you love most about coaching or being a part of Moms on the Run?
A: My favorite part about coaching is running with a participant on their first race, whether it is their first 5K or even a first time completing a new distance. I like to help them reach their goal for that race and just be there throughout to pace for them and to give them the support they need to get through it. My favorite part of being a part of Moms on the Run is all the incredible women it has brought into my life that I would never have met before and who leave an imprint on my journey and whom I can learn from. Also, the incredible friendships I have seen blossom from women meeting in this group even if they are not still a part of it makes me smile when I see them post on social media and I see that they are still friends or even some that run through the neighborhood and they are still running together and doing races together.
Q: Tell us about the friendships you’ve made through the program.
A: I met my four best friends — Lindsay, Mary, Maureen and Tia — during the mom and me workout class and that is what started Moms on the Run. We all have our first kids around the same age and then our second children as well. Even if we are busy with our hectic lives, we try to get together just us girls and still get the families all together when we can. My life is forever better with these four and their families in it and the support we all have for each other even during tough stuff like the teenage years. I have also met so many other women over the years whom I would call friends, as well. You get to know these women and want the best for them. I am friends with many of them on FB so even if I don’t see them at running group, I can still see what they are up to and cheer them on or lift them up.
Q: What would you like everyone to know about Moms on the Run?
A: Moms on the Run is so much more than running. It is a community of strong women who will be there for you no matter what. I have seen so many times these women step up for other members when they are going through something hard, whether it's meal trains, donations, car pools, etc.; there is a true, genuine spirit of care for someone else and their family.
Q: A question we ask everyone: At Moms on the Run, we talk about being #MOTRstrong. What does that term mean to you?
A: #MOTRstrong means having a community of crazy, fun, strong, smart, beautiful women of all ages to support you in your personal goals or get you through your life hurdles.
Q: Tell us a little about you personally (family, work in or outside of home, hobbies, etc.)
A: I have been married for 22 years this coming October and we have two kids; my daughter is 16 and my son is 13. I love watching my kids do what they love to do, which is dance, hockey, football and lacrosse. We have a 3-year-old Australian Shepherd named Ranger; he helps keep me active with getting out for walks. I enjoy taking vacations with my family, camping, and lake time. I work as an HRIT Analyst from home.
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