Tia Moats of Forest Lake Moms on the Run is not only our Most Inspiring Member for April, she also is a founding member of our first Moms on the Run group 10 years ago. In fact, Tia inspired the idea to train for a 5K, and has been a part of Moms on the Run ever since. To learn a little more about Tia's story, we wanted to share a fun Q&A with you.
Q: You were a part of the original moms fitness class that met in a park doing exercises with their babies in 2007. Tell us about that moment you got everyone on board with wanting to train for a 5k race!
A: Running has always been in my family. My sister, brother, and dad were runners when I was growing up. I was the 'bag holding lady' along with my mom at all the races. I was always envious of their running abilities. I would try to run but was not successful. One of the most memorable 'try to start running' moments I remember was when I was in fifth grade. I wanted to go out for a run, and my sister told me that she would go with me. So, we left for the run. We got down the block and I tripped and fell. I skinned up my knee. We walked home and I got bandaged up. I was still determined to go for a run, so we left again. I got half a mile into the run, and then fell again — this time, scraping up the other knee. After that, I put off running for awhile.
During the moms fitness class, I became close friends (shout out to Heather, Mary and Lindsey!) with the girls there, and started talking about goals. I told them that I was interested in learning how to run. They entertained me and said that they would run with me. This got me to thinking that we should get together and run (I use the term "run" loosely). I mentioned this to Karissa, and encouraged her that there would people who would sign up if she started a running group. This was the birth of the group — all from a girl who wanted to learn how to run.
Q: Do you remember how you felt your first few weeks of training (were you nervous about whether you could do it)?
A: I was not super nervous about the first few weeks of training because I was coming into the group knowing a couple of the girls. I think I would have been a heck of a lot more nervous not knowing anyone. I did feel slow and sluggish, however, as I had not run at all. As you can see from my previous story, my runs were not super successful. But, I kept plugging along, because everyone was so supportive. It was a small group, but a mighty group!
Q: How did it feel to accomplish the first 5k?
A: I was so emotional finishing my 5K. I had done 5Ks before, but only walking. It felt GREAT to complete the 5K. I did do intervals during this 5K, but I think it was more due to my mind than anything. I had convinced myself before the race started that I was exhausted, and could only finish if I was doing the intervals. Also, there were hills. Minor mole hills looking back at it, but hills nonetheless. During training, we never did any hills, so again, my mind told me that I had to walk up the hills. However, I definitely took advantage of the downhills. Once I got close to the finish line , there were so many hanging around cheering — the benefits of not finishing first equals more people to cheer you in! I was getting choked up and emotional with all the support that I felt. I wasn't "hooked" yet, but I was getting there.
Q: Any significant memories from that day?
A: Here is where I convinced myself I was exhausted before the race even started. We did this thing that we all know now as dynamic stretching. We would go back and forth doing cherry pickers. CHERRY PICKERS!!! Who does that before a race? Well, I haven't forgotten those to this day, and haven't done them before a race since.
Q: Tell us about the friendships you've made through the program.
A: All of my best friends have come through Moms on the Run. These are my 'go-to' girls. If I need anything, they are there for me, and vice versa, if they need anything, I would be there in a heartbeat. Nothing compares to the friendships that you make with people who have a common goal with you, and common interests. Every year I get closer and closer with the running community and my running friends; I don't know what my life would be like if they were not in it. These ladies have seen me at my worst (both running and in real life), and have celebrated many achievements with me. I hope you all find your very best friends through this program, as well.
Q: Since year four, you have been a coach for the Forest Lake location. What has been the most rewarding thing about coaching the new beginning runners each year?
A: I LOVE coaching new runners. Many come in nervous and don't have many expectations for running, but with the great coaches helping out the new runners, they achieve more than what they even expected. We have had ladies sign up for the walking program, not even wanting to run, but there is something contagious about seeing all the other runners out there that they want to try it as well. I love seeing the excitement on the ladies faces when they have run farther than they have ever run before. Sometimes I push the ladies further than they think they can go, but they always exceed my expectations. I am SO proud of every women I have ever coached, and can't say enough about all the effort every one of those ladies put into each and every run. I can't wait to start a new season at the end of April.
Tia has been married for 13 years and has two daughters, Kira (12) and Willa (7). Kira spent a lot of time in those early years of MOTR being pushed in the jogging stroller. Now, both girls love to go to class with their mom!