Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Strong Running Mama: Sheila Couch

Today I have a new Strong Running Mama for you to meet. Give it up for Sheila Couch!
She's Miami Famous!
Sheila is 42 years young and married to Matthew Couch. She has two daughters: Gabriella is 7 and Brooke is 5. She's been a police officer for over 15 years and is currently a bike cop for the Albany Police Department.
Sheila on the job.
In other words, Sheila is one busy mama! But, that doesn't stop her from training for some big races:
"I just completed my first marathon (Miami Marathon) of 2014.  I have four more on the schedule for this year. Presently, I am training for the Boston Marathon. Most times I love the run. Lately, I've been battling a tight left gluteus muscle so sometimes I ask myself why am I doing this to myself. I could easily stay in shape doing CrossFit or some other type of exercise."
Sheila at the start of the Miami Marathon with fellow Strong Running Mamas, Gail and Elisa.

Sheila says she loves CrossFit and tries to fit it in whenever she can. She doesn't just do CrossFit, though. Sheila is taking it to the next level: In March she'll be going for her Level 1 CrossFit Certification so she can instruct CrossFit classes. She'll be an awesome instructor, I'm sure!

But, being able to fit in all of her workouts takes a good bit of planning and juggling:
"When the girls were little, I would go out with them in the jogging stroller. Now that they are big girls, on the weekdays I run on the Y's indoor track or treadmill. On the weekends, usually Sundays, it's up bright and early for a long run. I like to go while the family is asleep so that by the time I get back they are just getting up and I still get to make them breakfast."

Strong Running Mama!!

Some of Sheila's favorites:

Gear: "I usually run and race in a running skirt. They are very comfortable and girlie. I'm also loving my Altra sneakers right now. I love the wide toe box."

Race: "My race of choice right now is the marathon. There is something about running 26.2 miles. It changes me every single time I run it."

Training runs: "Sometimes I run solo, which is good for building mental toughness. Other times I run with a group of women known as the Strong Running Mamas, a.k.a. SRM."

Running achievement: "My most memorable running achievement would have to be running Boston in 2013. Although I did not finish, I put so much into getting to that race: I raised over $10,000 for basic cancer research, I ran in memory of a special Angel, I trained for 16 weeks, and I sat out for a week because of tendinitis. So much went into this race and then I was shorted by .1 miles. Tears still fill my eyes when I think or talk about Boston . . . I'll never forget that day. This year will be extremely emotional but I must go back and I will run and I will finish."

Along the Boston Marathon 2013 course.
I think there will be a ton of Strong Running Mamas who will be rooting for Sheila come April. Going back takes guts and that's just what Sheila has. No doubt about it. 

Sheila's PRs:

5k- 23:10 (Literacy Race)
4-miler- 32:20 (Firecracker 4)
5-miler- 38:45 (Delmar Dash)
10k- 51:55 (Turkey Trot)
15k- 1:15:20 (Stockade-athon)
Half-marathon - 1:45:49 (Boston's Run to Remember)
Marathon - 3:45:45 (Mohawk Hudson)

She's speedy! Unfortunately, she's also human and -- like the rest of us -- Sheila has had her share of injuries:

"I've been injured several times. Six weeks out from my first marathon I sprained my ankle in a car accident at work. I spent a couple of weeks water jogging. I missed one or two long runs but managed to start and finish my first marathon.

I've also battled tendinitis in my right ankle. It kept me from training on several occasions but finally last summer I changed my diet to a Paleo lifestyle and no more tendinitis.

My last injury was IT band syndrome. I was about eight weeks out from the Philadelphia Marathon. I took two weeks off from running and did the exercises my chiropractor gave me. Religiously, I stretched and wore a compression strap. I started and finished Philly with just 12 miles for my longest run. Presently, I am dealing with a tight left gluteus muscle that has slowed me down but hasn't stopped me from marathoning. It's very slowly getting better.

The biggest advice I can give about being injured is to take the time off that you need to heal. If you allow yourself the time to heal, you will make it to the start and finish of your race."
Sheila at the Philly Marathon expo.
Good advice that we should all remember to follow!

What STRONG RUNNING MAMA means to Sheila: 
"Strong Running Mama it means bad ass. I'm a mother, a wife, and a protector and I'm out there running, staying in shape and setting an example for my girls and for other women. I embody those three words. I am STRONG, I'm always RUNNING, and I'm a MAMA."
Sheila with her family -- including her little runners, Gabriella and Brooke!
Yeah! I love finding out what Strong Running Mama means to my fellow SRM!! 

You can follow along with Sheila's running at her blog: Thanks for taking the time to share your story, Sheila!

1 comment:

Tami mommy of Ten said...

I have had the pleasure to share several long training runs with Sheila. She is not only one strong mamma, but has a wonderful, sweet heart!

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