photos by // michael gleason photography
The HAP Crim Festival of Races is Flint’s biggest celebration of the year, with entertainment, food and a spirit of comradery where the downtown area is brimming with excitement and highlighting its many great nearby restaurants. But there is another side of the Crim that takes on a serious yet sometimes fun atmosphere – and that is all the training regimens for the races of Crim day. This year, onthetown followed one of the participants who represents a large demographic of participants –
Janet Tweddle is a working mother of three children ranging in age from 1 to 6 with a very supportive spouse. She has been working at the Greater Flint YMCA (GFY) since her graduation from Alma College in 2003 and is currently its chief operating officer. She began running when first working for the GFY and decided at the same time to enter the Crim 10-mile race – her very first race of any kind!
“After I finished my first Crim, I was hooked!” she recalls. Since then, her training regimens have progressed to where her goal for the past few years is to finish a 26.2-mile marathon, typically in the fall; the Crim race is a part of her marathon training.
As with any distance running, training is year-round. Tweddle breaks up her training in two basic time frames. Starting in January, although she has no strict training plan, she will work out through the weeks with intervals of swimming, yoga and low-mileage running. Her weekly routine targets 50 laps in the pool, 2 one-hour yoga sessions and 3 to 5 miles of running indoors or out. When May arrives, she concentrates on increasing her running activity to six days a week. But during the weekends she gets her runs with one of her three children in a runner’s stroller while spouse Brian takes care of the other two.
“He is always very supportive of my running,” she adds, “because he knows I need my running for my outlet both mentally and physically.”
Tweddle points out that working at the GFY is a great benefit in more ways than one. She admits it is convenient to get her running in and stay in the building. However, by using the facility and interacting with the members, she can stay on top of the pulse of the GFY plus keep aware of and promptly address any issues. Another benefit is because she works at the GFY, “there is no excuse to miss a workout!”
As the Crim approaches, Tweddle strategically increases her training runs to 8 to 16 miles. On Crim race day, she will start with a 2-mile warm-up run, then pull up to the 10-mile starting line. Immediately after her finish, she gets in line for the start of the 5K run. Putting this all together gets her close to the training goal of 16 miles. She keeps this pace up but will get in a 20-mile run sometime before the scheduled marathon.
Tweddle says there are many sources of marathon training plans, but for the past few years, she has focused on the Hanson marathon training plan. As she looks back, however, she does not think she would have taken the first step into running if it hadn’t been for the support of the GFY’s Monday morning running group.
“I think the people here at the GFY are an inspiration; they are truly encouraging and motivating,” she says with humility. Over all her years of training, Tweddle has learned to try to work with her family schedule. That is, she makes that commitment and is willing to rise early before the kids wake up and start her day off with a charge. But as she reflects from a more holistic perspective, she believes it is important for any mom to make time for herself.
“You need to find something that is important to you and gives an outlet for you to enjoy, whatever it is – even non-athletic endeavors. As a mom, it is so easy to be only a mom and be totally engrossed in that. However, in doing so, you lose sight of your overall health and well-being. It is important to have some balance in life.”