Life with Kids, Mama K (CD5K)

Heart and Soles: Erin

From time to time, Soleful Mamas will be interviewing and dedicating time to highlight some of the awesome Mamas that we know. I was introduced to Erin by one of my best friends who got me into running (read: signed me up for my first 5K without telling me) and it was a blessing. Even tempered and always smiling, Erin Burke Charnick is a teacher, marathoner, triathlete, and overall amazing person. One of my favorite things about Erin is that she is full of positivity and encouragement for others. It’s just good to be around Erin. Check out her journey below!

Before we even get to the interview, check out this bad mamma jamma running a 5K while reasonably pregnant AND pushing a toddler in a jogging stroller. This chic is no joke:

Mama K: You’re a working wife and mama of how many? What are the ages?
Erin: As of now, one son who is 18.5 months. His brother or sister is due to arrive January 1, 2014…12 weeks (give or take a few) to go!!

Mama K: How long have you been running?
Erin: I started running after my freshman year of college (1999) but wasn’t truly consistent until 2005. Since 2005 I have done some sort of run that required some training every year.

Mama K: What got you started with running?
Erin: Watching my Mom cross the finish line of her first marathon. I left there that day so inspired by the event that I said I would one day run a marathon. It took almost 7 years from watching my first marathon to completing my first marathon.

Mama K: What’s the longest race you’ve ever done?
Erin: My longest race was the Ironman 70.3 in Florida… 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. I actually completed that before becoming a mother. I’d love to do it again sometime but it’s an incredible time commitment for training and I’m afraid it will be a few years before I have that time again.

Mama K: What’s your favorite race or distance to run?
Erin: I would have to say a tie between a 10K and half marathon. It usually takes me a couple miles to get into my zone or rhythm so I’m not the biggest fan of a 5K. The training involved is doable and the recovery after is much easier than the longer events.

Mama K: Do you participate in any other sports?
Erin: I love swimming and biking so triathlons are a favorite. I don’t participate in any other organized sports but I love being active and anything outdoors.

Mama K: What helps you to stay motivated?
Erin: Honestly, my motivation comes from the fact that running helps to keep my sanity. I love the way I feel after a run. Don’t get me wrong there are days that I have to drag my butt out the door but I don’t think I’ve ever regretted going out once I got out there…and I’ve had my share of bad runs! My running friends also help keep me motivated. I find that training for races keeps me focused and I love to read about running. I have The Runner’s Book of Daily Inspiration for days when I can’t seem to get moving.

Mama K: What is one surefire way to get your sneakers laced up and you out of the house?
Erin: Having a running buddy to meet. I definitely do best when I’m committed to meet a friend out there on the road. I must also say that my husband is a great supporter and when I’m coming up with excuses he usually reminds me of how much I need that time and will try to do anything he can to make my run happen.

Mama K: What is a running goal that you have?
Erin: To just keep running. I’m not out to qualify for Boston or complete a marathon in every state; my goal is just to keep running for as long as I can. I love the atmosphere at races and will continue to complete them and yes, I will at times have my sights set on a pace or goal but I just want to continue to enjoy running for a long as possible.

Mama K: What is a parenting goal that you have?
Erin: This is the toughest question yet! I’m still figuring this parenting thing out. 😉 I obviously want the absolute best for my son. I want to have healthy, well-rounded children. I want him (them) to always strive to do the best that they can and never give up!

Mama K: Do you think your running and parenting goals are interrelated?
Erin: Yes, I do believe they are interrelated. I was inspired by my Mom and her determination and passion to complete her first marathon. Running is so much more than physical. Its perseverance, passion…there is so much heart and soul that goes into it!

Mama K: What’s one piece of advice that you’ve found helpful in your running and motherhood roles?
Erin: Do what works for you and your family. As mothers we put so much pressure on ourselves to do the “right” thing but what it right for one family or person may not be right for another! So the advice is do what works for you and appreciate where you are at with things! This applies to both running and motherhood.

Mama K: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other runners?
Erin: Enjoy it! Try not to put too much pressure on yourself and just enjoy where you are at. Make your goals but remain flexible and appreciate where you are at with things. Give yourself the credit you deserve.

Mama K: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other mamas?
Erin: TAKE SOME TIME FOR YOURSELF! I know that’s hard but honestly…we need it and deserve it! It doesn’t have to be a lot of time but I find that I am better able to handle work, wife, and Mom duties if I can have just a little bit of time in a week to myself.

Erin’s the Mama in the middle (look at the cute 3rd trimester baby bump underneath that race bib!):
Erin Race

Thank you for sharing your pictures and story with us, Erin! Keep on blazing that trail of awesomeness!

For those of you interested in The Runners Book of Daily Inspiration, you can find it at or

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